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Buffa's Buffet: 'El Chicano' blazes a trail; 'John Wick' returns; Tarantino serves up a taste of Hollywood

The good, bad, and the even better of movie and television news is served up here. Trailer reviews, tighter movie reviews, and TV show nuggets. Grab a plate and dig in. There's something for everyone.
Credit: War Party Productions

Welcome back, entertainment fans. It's been a while since I dropped a buffet of goods at your feet, and there are a number of reasons for that. Laziness isn't one of them, but instead of getting into the boring details, let's get moving.

Movies. Television. Ideas. Thoughts. Absurd theories. Let's run a little.

EL CHICANO IS THE SUPERHERO FILM YOU NEED IN YOUR LIFE. I'll have a full review later, but let me just say this Latino superhero film is a highly entertaining, wildly innovative, and trailblazing movie that should put co-writer/director and former stuntman Ben Bray on the map. A pair of brothers in East Los Angeles walking opposite paths in the middle of a gang war with a mythical being called El Chicano taking justice into his own hands. You haven't seen George Lopez like this. You haven't seen a film like this. Avengers? Batman? They don't have anything on this Mexican-American folk hero. He rides into theaters on May 3. Mark your calendars, because this is a intense and quietly soulful take on the superhero genre. Another mad hatter from Joe Carnahan and War Party Productions. 

"Where are you from? East Los."

THE JOHN WICK 3 TRAILER IS INSANE. And that's a good thing. If you are going into one of these films looking for hardcore realism, go in a different theater. Here, Chad Stahleski and Keanu Reeves are serving up outrageous action sequences and over-the-top set pieces that will dazzle you while taking the pain of real life away for two hours. What's the plot of Parabellum? Wick, the deadliest killer in the world, going up against every bad guy in the world in a sharp suit. Horses, knives, guns, explosions, and testosterone. Asia Kate Dillon (last seen giving Damian Lewis trouble on Showtime's Billions) shows up as a thorn in Wick's side. Oh, and Halle Berry has still got it.

RELATED: Review: 'The Wedding Guest' is a good-looking yet listless thriller that fails to connect

MORE BILL AND TED? Speaking of Reeves, the new action hero on order, he is reviving this 1980's goofball comedy with Alex Winters for a 2020 release. Make that two trilogies for Reeves. A third Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure flick wasn't something on my need-to-see list, but I'll take, it. Action. Comedy. Always needed in Hollywood.

SHAMELESS SENDS FIONA OFF WITH CLASS. After a rough two-thirds of a season, Shameless's ninth round ended in soulful fashion, sending Emmy Rossum off on a high note. After battling the demons of addiction and nearly losing everything, she recovered her wits and took off from South Chicago to an undisclosed location. You can tell the writers regrouped, carving out the final two hours of her run on the show. Thank goodness, because the prior episodes were less than stellar. Rossum's Fiona will go down as not only one of the best female characters on television, but one of the best characters period. The Queen of chaos. Expect her back for the series finale, whenever that is.

THE MEG GETS A SEQUEL. While I didn't love the shark-versus-Jason Statham flick, one can't doubt the unapologetic campy nature of it all. The box office receipts were sweet enough to have that Megalodon come crashing into the seas once again. Statham is the king of the low budget action adventure film. The films make money, he never shaves, and audiences eat it up like a bucket of popcorn with just enough butter to make you smile without cringing.

QUENTIN TARANTINO DEBUTS HIS LEO-PITT SUMMER FILM. Once Upon A Time in Hollywood easily has one of the best casts in the history of movies. Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Al Pacino, and Margot Robbie aside, get a load of the supporting players. Damian Lewis, Timothy Olyphant, Dakota Fanning, Emile Hirsch, Damon Herriman, Kurt Russell, Margaret Qualley, James Marsden, Scoot McNairy, James Remar, Bruce Dern, Lena Dunham, and so many more. QT mainstays like Michael Madsen and Tim Roth are also in it. What's it about? Does it matter? Set in the 1960's, DiCaprio is a famous movie star and Pitt is his stunt double. Show them the phone book to read, and I'm there. Things happen, long conversations take place, and a lot of people die. Get ready for July.

PULP FICTION GETS REVISITED. Speaking of QT, I was honored to attend the Tenacious Eats Presents: The 25th Anniversary of Pulp Fiction last weekend. Down at the Mad Art Gallery, customers and movie fans surrendered their Saturday evening to Chef Liz Schuster in Soulard, being treated to a five course meal that included burgers, nachos, pancakes, pie, and cocktails. There was a flair to seeing Tarantino's 1994 classic on a semi-big screen again, and the live music and costumes worn by the staff brought back the feel of the film's electricity. It was movie buffs having dinner together. My dad and I had a good time, and managed to stay out of the jail cells located in the building, which used to be a police jailhouse back in the day, which was a Tuesday by the way. Check out their upcoming slate of events right here.


~Can we all just agree to give Joaquin Phoenix's Joker a try in October? I trust the actor more than the filmmaker there. 

~Check out my new podcast recorded weekly with the likes of Lynn Venhaus and Carl "The Intern" Middleman. We call it The Reel Times Trio, but it's just three film addicts from South City discussing the latest movie releases and news above The Fountain on Locust in downtown St. Louis. Ron Stevens opens up his magnetic studio doors, and lets us play around. We are five episodes in, with a theme song included, a logo and website on the way, and tons of enthusiasm. 

~City On A Hill, the upcoming Showtime series with Kevin Bacon from Gavin O'Connor, is my next new show to watch. Corrupt cops with a chance at redemption on the rough streets of Boston with Bacon included? I'm so in.

~Idris Elba's new Netflix show, Turn Up Charlie, is a sitcom-soul included flat attempt at comedy. I know Elba can make anything watchable, and he is a professional DJ in real life, but are we supposed to care more about the supporting characters than the lead here, played by Elba? I don't think so. It's all predictable and remote light fare. Turn it ON once you get tired in bed and need a bedtime story. 

One last thing. It's never too late to get to know directors. Their names, backgrounds, and future goals. They control everything you see in a movie. How much you see, what you see, and for how long you see it. Don't write off their importance ever. 

Goodbye for now. 

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