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A whole lot of people get shot in the face in John Wick: Chapter 2, a worthy sequel to the 2014 breakout hit.

A totally bummed-out Keanu Reeves returns as the lone assassin, originally brought out of retirement after somebody killed his dog and stole his car. Many deaths later, Wick is back in his stylish home, with a new (and unnamed) dog, intent upon burying his guns and taking a long break. No such luck: A man from the past shows up with a marker, giving him a killing assignment that will take him to Italy and have him face off with Common. (It turns out Common is built like The Terminator and makes a good villain. Oh, wait … he’s sort of the good guy. Wick is actually a villain.) Balletic violence begins—and never ends.

This time out, Wick is wearing some sort of bulletproof lining under his suit. He was unstoppable before, but now he can take a bullet!

Reeves is the perfect guy for this role, physically believable as an aging yet unstoppable assassin, and great with the stoic line deliveries. He’s in one mode for this movie, and that mode is badass.

Reeves has himself a brand new franchise, and this one is very ripe for the next story. It also has another Reeves franchise guy, Laurence Fishburne, aka Morpheus from The Matrix. Thankfully, this sequel is much better than The Matrix sequels.

John Wick: Chapter 2 is playing at theaters across the valley.

Published in Reviews

The film Selma is one of the most acclaimed movies heading into awards season. It’s nominated for four Golden Globes, including Best Drama, even though it doesn’t open in wide release until Jan. 9.

A week before that opening date, the film was the star attraction as the official opening night screening of the 26th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival, at Palm Springs High School, on Friday, Jan. 2.

On the unusually crowded red carpet, director Ava DuVernay and two of the film’s actors, David Oyelowo and Common, graciously posed for photographers and spoke with news crews and reporters about the controversy stirred by the powerful film.

“We couldn’t have prepared for this. I’m just thankful that we made a truthful enough film that it is meeting this moment in a real and potent way,” said Oyelowo, who portrays Martin Luther King Jr. in the film, referring to current tension happening after the deaths of black men at the hands of law enforcement officers in Ferguson, Mo., and many other areas across the nation.

“Seven years ago when I first read this script, I felt God tell me that I was going to play this role,” Oyelowo continued. “There were very frustrating moments along the road where the film just wouldn’t get made, so to look at this divine timing of it coming out now, for me, I don’t think it’s an accident at all. I just feel very honored and humbled to be at the center of it.”

Scroll down to see some photos from the red carpet.

Published in Snapshot