Doctor Strange (2016) [IMDB]
Directed by Scott Derrickson
Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel McAdams, Tilda Swinton
Conscious of the risk of superhero fatigue, Marvel has made much of the idea that Doctor Strange deviates from their usual formula. Some particularly dazzling visuals aside, it actually largely retains the feel of previous films in the MCU - with the strengths and weaknesses that tends to imply. However, powered by the performances of a strong cast, it overcomes the flaws in its story and should keep Marvel's fire burning well into 2017.
Roughly every couple of years for about the last decade, I've returned to Diablo II. Blizzard's action role-playing game was released in 2000, and has been imitated many times but never matched. It's easy to see why so many developers have sought to make games that use the Diablo II formula: it is an addictive style of gameplay which is easy to pick up but hard to master; it can be adapted to different settings and game engines; and Diablo II itself was a tremendous commercial success.
There are also a number of reasons why Blizzard's game has remained the gold standard for action RPGs after all these years. The developer's famed quality control is one reason, as is their continued support (the game has been patched as recently as March 2016). For me, though, the single biggest asset the game has is its thrilling sense of challenge and difficulty: particularly in hardcore mode.
Last Hurrah for Chivalry [IMDB] [HKMDB]
Hong Kong, 1979
Directed by John Woo
Starring Damian Lau, Wei Pai, Lee Hoi-San
Released to a muted response in Hong Kong during November 1979, Last Hurrah for Chivalry was the last of four martial arts films directed by John Woo during the decade. For the first half of the 1980s, he would work exclusively on comedy films, both for Golden Harvest and the new studio Cinema City. That period would be commercially successful for Woo - the films were hits and he was referred to as the colony’s next “king of comedy” - but they would also be creatively stifling. When in 1986 he released his pet project and smash hit A Better Tomorrow, transforming him into a director of groundbreaking contemporary action films, Woo appeared to have left both martial arts and comedy behind for good. However, the distinctive style of the director’s “heroic bloodshed” films was made possible not only by his tutelage under mentor Chang Cheh, but also his experience of making martial arts films in the 1970s: and none more so than Last Hurrah for Chivalry.
Sometime film reviewer, Letterboxd user, novice Blu-Ray collector. Top 3 directors: Woo, Hill, Leone.
Henry V (UK, 1989) ★★★★½
The Fast and the Furious (USA, 2001) ★★★★
Goodfellas (USA, 1990) ★★★★★
[All Letterboxd Reviews]