Since the late 80s, when he was cast as The Beast in a television adaptation of Beauty and the Beast, Ron Perlman has solidified himself as just that, a beast of an actor. Perlman is a consistently strong presence known for the stature and swagger he exudes in his roles. So much so that it can be easy to overlook the amount of heart and humor he can bring to a feature, but with his latest effort, Asher, Perlman brings the feels to the forefront.
The film introduces us to the titular aging hitman Asher (Ron Perlman) who has fallen into a life of routine complete with contract killing in the afternoon and a glass of wine just before bed. When his path collides with Sophie’s (Famke Janssen) on a hit gone wrong, he sees a way to the life he left behind years previously. But his old lifestyle won’t go down quietly, forcing Asher to fight for the right to start anew.
If you feel like you’ve read that plot synopsis before it’s because you almost certainly have. One of Asher’s most glaring issues is, ironic enough, the routine nature of its plot structure. First-time feature writer Jay Zaretsky is taking few chances in his initial go around. The killer with a heart of gold, the love interest who knows she should stay away, and add in a turf war for turmoil – it’s all here.
Although, Zaretsky does sprinkle in glimmers of promise throughout the screenplay. Janssen’s Sophie is given agency outside of her Asher-centric interactions with the introduction of her dementia-addled mother. This allows the film to contrast difficult topics such as euthanasia and its accompanying emotions with the emotionless killings of a hitman. Yet this idea is timidly explored, highlighting that these grand ideas are out of the scope of this film.
Thankfully, Perlman takes these glimmers and polishes them until they outshine the more mundane aspects of the film. The actor takes it upon himself to present a character full of history. The viewer can envision the difficult and empty life Asher has endured thanks to the longing ever present in Perlman’s expression. The amount of emotion conveyed in Perlman’s lethargic sighs as he goes about his day wash over you and remain until the film ends. You easily understand why Asher and Sophie leave such a strong impression on each other despite their short time together.
Janssen is an excellent companion to Perlman. She is the graceful counterpart to the lumbering Asher but manages to match him in her forlorn presentation. These two weathered individuals pull you into their plight to such an extent that when the plot calls for a revisit to the seedy underbelly of Asher’s occupation you’ll be calling for a return of the film’s more exciting storyline.
From the outside, Asher doesn’t look like much. It offers itself up as a commonplace story showcasing a couple familiar faces in the hope you’ll give it a passing glance. Beneath that uninspiring exterior though is a passionate core that will win you over if you give it a chance.
No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters
If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago.
It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced.
Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.
Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game.
From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.
Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.
The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.
What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?
And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.
Back to the movie.
Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.
Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.
The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023
Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).
Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).
Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm