Movie Review: E.T. (1982)

I can already hear some people mumbling “This isn’t horror, why the hell are you putting it in the Month of Spooks?”. And here’s my reasoning: It’s set during Halloween, which technically makes it a Halloween movie, which means that it works for Month of Spooks. Loophole, motherfuckers. So let’s talk about an alien non-invasion.

Ladies and gentlemen… “E.T.”!

The story follows a boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas) as he one day finds and befriend and alien that he goes on to call E.T. And so we follow Elliott as he tries to keep his new alien friend hidden while trying to find away to contact E.T’s species. So now we have our family friendly alien non-invasion plot. And even when I put my nostalgia aside, I fucking love this plot. It’s a fun twist on an alien coming down to earth, usually we get aliens coming down to murder all of us, but this is about a friendly little guy. And the people behind the scenes of this manage to make it endlessly engaging, fun, charming, and just plain entertaining. It’s perfectly paced while still telling an emotionally investing story.

The characters in this are fun, interesting, and overall entertaining. First up we have young Henry Thomas as Elliott, the child at the center of the story. He has a bit of a troubled life, with his parents getting separated, among other things. But he’s still a good kid, and it’s fun to see his evolution after he meets E.T. And Thomas is great in the role. Next we have Robert MacNaughton as Michael, Elliott’s older brother. He’s kind of a jerk, but he does get some decent development throughout the movie. And MacNaughton is really good in the role. Next we have a very young Drew Barrymore as Gertie, Elliott’s young sister. Not only is she absolutely adorable, but she’s also a fun character that adds a little extra charm to it all. And Barrymore is really good in the role. We also have Dee Wallace as Elliott’s mother. She’s under a lot of stress, and Elliott’s misadventures certainly isn’t helping things out. But she’s still a loving and caring mother. And Wallace is great in the role. Yeah, ’tis a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was of course composed by the one and only John Williams. And as one would expect from that legend, the score here is fucking fantastic. The theme is as memorable as all his other ones, and the rest of the score of course has that magical, whimsical, and emotional quality that Mr. Williams is so damn good at. I don’t need to say more, you know how good this score is.

Written by Melissa Mathison (R.I.P), this movie was directed by Steven Spielberg, and of course he did an excellent job with the direction. He has a way of creating magic and excitement from the smallest of scenes. It also helps that the writing here too is absolutely delightful. But seriously, Spielberg could direct a movie of someone reading the phone book and it would be charming. Probably starring Tom Hanks. Anyway, not only does he capture the childlike wonder of Elliott discovering this alien, he also manages to create some eerie and outright disturbing moments throughout. And the cinematography by Allen Daviau is absolutely breathtaking.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 98% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 91/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars and put it on his “Great Movies” list. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10. The movie won 4 Oscars in the categories of Best sound, Best visual effects, Best sound editing, and Best original score. IT was also nominated for an additional 5 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best director, Best original screenplay, Best cinematography, and Best film editing.

So yeah, “E.T.” is considered a classic for a reason. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and fantastic directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “E.T.” is a 9,88/10. Which means that if (of course) gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “E.T.” is now completed.

My blog, my Month of Spooks, my rules.

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Series Review: Fortitude – Season 1 (2015)

I am aware that I’m kind of stretching it a bit here in terms of the Month of Spooks, but there are aspects of this show that kind of work for it. Also, I kind of cheated with “Mindhunter” last year, so I think I’m allowed this one this year.

Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to… “Fortitude”.

On the edge of the arctic circle lies the town of Fortitude, a frozen place with a small population. A town that has been safe for as long as it’s existed. But the peace of Fortitude is disturbed when a violent crime occurs. So now we have our cold as hell thriller. And it’s good. It has an eerie feel to it that makes it stand out from other crime-thrillers out there, and the mysteries it sets up throughout the season are quite intriguing. I was sometimes taken out of the show a bit though. While it is fairly grounded most of the time, there are occasions when it suddenly requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. Now, aside from some of those moments, this is an engaging, chilling (HA!), and overall intriguing story.

The characters in this are layered, flawed, interesting, and mostly all feel pretty realistic. I will however not go in-depth about them because the cast here is so big that we’d be here all god damn day, and none of us want that. But I can say that the cast is pretty impressive. Including people like Richard Dormer, Nicholas Pinnock, Alexandra Moen, Luke Treadaway, Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon, Sofia Gråbøl, Elizabeth Dormer-Phillips, Darren Boyd, Mia Jexen, Christopher Eccleston, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the season was composed by Ben Frost, and I think he did a really good job with it. His music has a way of capturing the feel of this frozen and remote location. It’s eerie, it’s suspense-building, it’s emotional, it just works incredibly well for the show. There are also a few licensed tracks used throughout, and they work pretty well in their respective scenes too.

“Fortitude” was created by Simon Donald, and written/directed by a whole bunch of people, and I think what they created here is really interesting. For one, it’s a pretty unique location for a show. A remote town in one of the coldest parts of the world, perfect setting for this kind of show. And thanks to the directing and some frankly gorgeous cinematography, they really capture the feel of the location perfectly. They also build a lot of suspense with it, and even capture some imagery that is kind of horror-esque in how graphic and disturbing it is.

This show/season has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 75/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

While not perfect, “Fortitude” still serves up a nice, cold mystery. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Though as previously mentioned, the score if brought down a bit by the show expecting you to really bend your suspension of disbelief. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Fortitude” season 1 is an 8,91/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it’s definitely still worth watching.

My review of “Fortitude” season 1 is now completed.

It still kind of works as horror.

Movie Review: Constantine (2005)

So what’s on the Month of Spooks meny today? Spooky comic book adaptation? Neat.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Constantine”.

The story follows John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), a private detective handling cases of the supernatural kind, as he helps an LAPD detective (Rachel Weisz) try to prove that her sister’s death wasn’t a normal suicide, but something more sinister. All while John is dealing with the recent news that he has a really severe case of lung cancer. So now we have our spooky detective story. And it’s good. Not perfect, but good. Overall it’s a very well paced story that never feels like it drags, but there is kind of a weird disconnect between the plots of the movie. It’s clear that they used the “Dangerous Habits” story arc from the comics as basis, but then added the cop with the dead sister plot onto it because I guess they needed a more movie-esque aspect in the plot. And the two sometimes tie into each other okay, but a lot of the time they don’t fully gel. Both plots on their own are really good, but putting them together like that doesn’t fully work. But overall, pretty good stuff.

The characters in this get some decent development and are all pretty interesting. First up we have Keanu Reeves (whoa) as the titular hellblazer. He’s a sarcastic jerk who doesn’t let anyone get close, for reasons we shall not disclose, but it’s some good stuff. He’s quite a departure from the comics, but I still found him to be an entertaining and interesting character. And Reeves is really good in the role. Next we have Rachel Weisz as Angela Dodson, the detective that Constantine decides to help. She’s tough as hell without it coming off as forced or unrealistic. She feels a bit more real. And Weisz is great in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Tilda Swinton, Shia LaBeouf, Djimon Hounsou, Max Baker, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gavin Rossdale, Peter Stormare, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Brian Tyler (with some additions by Klaus Badelt) and I think he did a great job with it. The score takes influences from a couple cultures as well as taking inspiration from a couple different genres such as horror and action. And it creates a really interesting sound that elevates the various scenes where music can be heard.

Based on the “Hellblazer” comics by DC/Vertigo, this movie was directed by Francis Lawrence, and I think he did a really good job with that. While elements of the story and character have trouble capturing the vibe of the comic, his direction gets closer to capturing that feel… if it was turned up to 11 that is, but that’s slightly besides the point. But I do like the slightly gothic vibe this thing has, which often manages to add some creep factor to it all. And the cinematography by Philippe Rousselot is pretty great too, giving us some damn fine looking shots throughout.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 46% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 50/100. Roger Ebert gave it 1,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

While not necessarily a great representation of its source material, “Constantine” is still a damn good supernatural action thriller. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. As previously mentioned, it is brought down a bit by elements in the story feeling somewhat disjointed. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Constantine” is an 8,94/10. So while flawed, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Constantine” is now completed.

Whoa.

Movie Review: The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

Well, this is fun. I was already planning on doing this movie for the Month of Spooks, but then I found out that today was Guillermo del Toro’s birthday, so what better time to do it? So here we go!

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Devil’s Backbone”!

Set during the Spanish Civil War, the story follows a young boy named Carlos (Fernando Tielve) who gets moved into an orphanage for boys. And it doesn’t take long to discover some of the dark secrets that lurk within the place. So now we have our spook drama. And I found it quite engaging. I do like that it’s not just about a child sneaking around a creepy place, as it’s more about exploring the dark side of humanity rather than just jumping out at the audience like any ol’ horror flick. Yes, there is some spooky shit within the plot, and I do think it’s implemented really cleverly into the plot. It manages to blend effective drama with a simple enough ghost plot to create a really compelling and engaging package.

The characters in this are layered, flawed, and quite interesting. Fernando Tielve plays Carlos, the main character in this. He’s a good-hearted kid who gets pulled into some less good stuff, and it makes for an interesting contrast with some of the bad things he gets involved with. And Tielve is great in the role. Next up we have Eduardo Noriega as Jacinto, who is kind of the groundskeeper of this orphanage. And he’s a huge dick, I don’t know what else to say other than it makes him an interesting antagonist in this. Noriega is great in the role. Then we get supporting performances from people like Íñigo Garcés, Federico Luppi, Marisa Paredes, Irene Visedo, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Javier Navarrete, and I thought it was great. It build a good amount of suspense, it adds a lot of emotion, and it just overall sounds fantastic, making scenes where it’s prominent am even better experience. It uses a lot of strings, and I think that works very well here.

As you probably guessed from the intro to this, the movie was written and directed by Guillermo del Toro (with Antonio Trashorras and David Muñoz helping out on the writing side). And of course it’s as well crafted as ever. The way that del Toro captures his scenes/actors manages to feel very real while still having an otherworldly essence to it. And when he wants to creep me out, he really succeeded with that. And the cinematography by Guillermo Navarro is pretty stunning, capturing both the disturbing and the beautiful in this world.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 92% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 78/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“The Devil’s Backbone” is an impressive horror-drama from one of the best director’s around. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Devil’s Backbone” is a 9,67/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Devil’s Backbone” is now completed.

Happy birthday, GDT.

Movie Review: The Stakelander (2016)

Once upon a time I reviewed a movie called “Stake Land”. It was very good. Now for the Month of Spooks, I am reviewing its sequel. So let’s do it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Stakelander”.

The world has gone to shit. After his life in New Eden is destroys by the vampire brotherhood known as… The Brotherhood, Martin (Connor Paolo) must travel into the wasteland to try to find his old mentor and friend Mister (Nick Damici). So now we have our story. And I really enjoyed it. Sure, it lacks a lot of the little subtleties that made the first movie’s plot so great, but it’s still an enjoyable enough plot that works in its own right. Whereas the first one was a slowly burning road drama, this is more of a fast-paced action-horror thing. I do still prefer the first movie’s plot, but this is still an enjoyable romp.

The characters in this are interesting and entertaining. Connor Paolo reprises his role as Martin, the young man taken in by Mister in the first movie. He’s older, much more proficient at killing vampires, a hardened survivor. But he still has a warm heart beating behind that chest of his, giving some nice layers to the gruff boy. And Paolo is really good in the role. Next up we have Nick Damici reprising his role as Mister. How do we describe his character… had the movie come out in the 70s, Charles Bronson would’ve played him. He’s an older badass who is able to kick a lot of ass. But he does also have a soft side in there, he just doesn’t reveal it to anyone. And Damici is great in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Laura Abramsen, A.C. Peterson, Steven Williams, Kristina Hughes, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Redding Hunter (that is such a good name), and I think he did a good job with it. Of course there are a lot of familiar horror stings there, but there’s also a good chunk of the music that has a very western-y vibe, which I think really works for the whole “wandering through the wasteland” thing this movie is going for. And it all comes together to create a really good score.

Unlike the first movie, “The Stakelander” was not directed by Jim Mickle (though Nick Damici stayed on as writer). Instead this was directed by Dan Berk and Robert Olsen, and I think they brought a somewhat distinct style to it that I liked. Where the first movie created a very broody atmosphere for its slow character drama, this has a more light atmosphere that complements the generally faster pace. But they still do bring in the creeps from time to time, thanks to solid direction and some vicious fuckin’ vamps. And the cinematography by Matt Mitchell was really good, giving us some really good looking shots. Some decently satisfying action here too.

This movie doesn’t have much of an existence on the sites I usually use, so this’ll be brief. But I can say that on imdb.com it has a score of 5,3/10.

While it lacks a lot of the subtlety and layers that made the first one great, “The Stakelander” is still a really solid sequel. It has a good plot, good characters, really good performances, great music, and really good directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Stakelander” is an 8,76/10. So while not perfect, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “The Stakelander” is now completed.

Not gonna lie, my expectations for this were quite low, but I am glad to have been proven wrong by it.

Movie Review: We Are Still Here (2015)

And the month of spooks continues. So what’s on the menu today? Haunted shit? Cool.

Ladies and gentlemen… “We Are Still Here”.

To try to cope with the recent death of their son, a couple (Barbara Crampton and Andrew Sensenig) move into a remote New England house. But it doesn’t take long for them to find out that there’s something sinister about their new home. So now we have our spooky plot. And I find it to be good. I like that it plays around with a lot of haunted house clichés we’ve seen before in ways that makes it all feel fresh. I also like that it has an old school slow burn feel rather than the rushed factory made spookfest that so many are these days. That said, it’s not perfect. There are moments where the slow burn kinda turns into nothingness. I’m all for a slower burn, but there still needs to be some kind of hook. And there are moments throughout the movie where there is none, keeping those slow moments from feelings the most relevant. But overall it’s still a well crafted and intriguing story that both engages and chills.

The characters in this are layered, interesting, and overall entertaining. Barbara Crampton plays Anne, the woman at the center of this story, and the first to acknowledge that something might be up with the house. She’s still broken up about the sudden death of her son, and it helps make her a more interesting character as she goes through the film’s events. And Crampton is fantastic in the role. Next we have Andrew Sensenig as Paul, Anne’s husband. While the death of his son has had some effect on him, he clearly has moved on a bit more. He’s also a skeptic to the idea of spooky shit going on. But he’s never an asshole about it, as I found him quite likable. And Sensenig is great in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Lisa Marie, Larry Fessenden, Monte Markham, Michael Patrick Nicholson, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Wojchiech Golczewski, and it’s pretty good. It does have a similar sort of eerie droning sound as many other horror scores, but I think this one stands out a little better as it captures the isolated and cold feeling of the location. Would I be able to recognize a track from it if I randomly heard it? Not really. But it’s still pretty good and works well enough for the movie.

“We Are Still Here” was written and directed by Ted Geoghegan, and I think he did a really good job with it. He clearly has a knack for making a person feel uncomfortable with simple camera movements as well as what he puts in the fore/background. But his direction here is tight and helps build a decent amount of suspense throughout. And while I was creeped out in parts, I don’t think I was fully scared. But I don’t think I needed to, as the creepiness factor keeps it from feeling like a failure. Also, I’m not saying exactly what happened, but there are some really effective/enjoyable deaths in this movie that brings it up a notch for me.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 65/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,7/10.

While not perfect, “We Are Still Here” is still a really enjoyable and well-crafted movie. It has a good plot, pretty good characters, great performances, good music, and great directing. As previously mentioned, it is brought down a little bit by a few moments throughout being kinda dull. Time for my final score. *BOO!*. My final score for “We Are Still Here” is an 8,88/10. So while flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “We Are Still Here”.

That title sounds like something annoying house guests say when you try to get them out.

Movie Review: Hour of the Wolf (1968)

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s finally time. That time of year that I announced a month ago. One of my favorite parts of the year. LET THE MONTH OF SPOOKS COMMENCE!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Hour of the Wolf”.

When spending some quality time with his wife (Liv Ullmann) on a remote island, painter John Borg (Max von Sydow) begins to have a breakdown as his inner start tormenting him. So now we have our drama that features specks of horror throughout. And is the plot any good? It has a good setup, but ultimately just kind of bores in its first half. I don’t mind slow burners, but very little of substance actually happens in that first half, and I found myself checking my watch quite a bit. Then during the second half it picks up quite a bit and get some really good stuff, both in terms of plot development and overall disturbance factor. So how would I sum up my thoughts on the plot in its entirety? Fine.

The characters in this are all flawed, layered, and overall interesting. Max von Sydow plays Johan Borg, the man at the center of this story, a painter with some inner demons he must battle. And I’m not saying much more other than I find his character journey quite intriguing. And von Sydow is great in the role. Then we have Liv Ullmann as his wife, Alma. A caring woman who just wants to live a good life with her husband, it’s interesting to see her experiencing this breakdown that her husband is having, giving her quite a bit of depth. And Ullmann is fantastic in the role. We also get some supporting performances from people like Gertrud Fridh (R.I.P), Georg Rydeberg (R.I.P), Erland Josephson (R.I.P), and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The music for the movie was composed by Lars Johan Werle (R.I.P), and it’s pretty good. It’s used fairly sparingly, but when they actually use it, it is quite horrific, using a lot of horrific stings to give off a sort of disturbing and horrific vibe akin to most horror movies at the time. And I find it to be quite effective.

The movie was written and directed by Ingmar Bergman (R.I.P), and I think he did a really godo job with it here. he has crafted such a unique and intriguing mood for the film. Even in the first half, that I said I wasn’t a fan of,  the mood set by Bergman’s direction keeps it from becoming 100% uninteresting. And when we get to the second half, the mood really kicks into gear along with the plot, and we get a truly haunting and surreal ambiance that had me absolutely captivated. This is also where we get the horror stuff, which is more disturbing than outright scary, but it still kinda got to me, so I guess it did something right.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10.

“Hour of the Wolf” pitches some good ideas, and has some effective scenes, but is far from flawless. It has a fine plot, pretty good characters, great performances, really good music, and really good directing. As previously mentioned, it is brought down by the first half being quite boring and uninteresting. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Hour of the Wolf” is a 7,76/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “Hour of the Wolf” is now completed.

“Werewolf?”
“There wolf”. But there are no wolves anywhere, you lied to me, Igor.

Movie Review: Jarhead (2005)

*Ron Perlman voice activated*. War… war never changes. *Ron Perlman voice deactivated*.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Jarhead”.

Anthony Swofford is young man who recently enlisted with the United States marines. And we follow him in the time leading up to and during Operation Desert Storm, and how much damage it does to him psychologically. There’s a lot of interesting scenes throughout that does develop the story, and I was somewhat interested in everything that was going on. But I never really felt as engaged as this type of story should’ve gotten me. There was never that emotional hook that a story like this should be able to get. Now, I’m not saying it needs to make me cry, just that it needs to grab me and hold onto me really tightly… which it never really did. I remember some really well done moments throughout, but never was I fully invested in it all. Overall, a fine story.

The characters in this are all assholes… but in a believable way. I really believe that this is what one would become if going through all of that. And I find them all to be quite interesting. Jake Gyllenhaal (as previously mentioned) plays Anthony Swofford, a smart young man who goes through the ups and downs of marine life. Seeing a good guy like him tested like this is quite interesting, and it makes him a pretty compelling character. And Gyllenhaal is of course fantastic in the role. And throughout the movie we get supporting performances from people like Peter Sarsgaard, Jamie Foxx, Evan Jones, Brian Geraghty, Lucas Black, Chris Cooper, Dennis Haysbert, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score was composed by Thomas Newman, and it was pretty good. It takes some inspiration from rock and a few middle-eastern influences, all of which comes together to create an interesting atmosphere for the movie. It’s tense, fun, and just overall pretty cool. There are also a few licensed tracks used throughout the movie, all of them pleasing to the ear, and all of them working quite well in their respective scenes.

This movie was directed by Sam Mendes, and I think he did a good job. When he wanted to make me feel uneasy, he made me feel uneasy. When he wanted to build some suspense, he built some suspense. Mendes has a good eye for these things. And speaking of seeing things, the cinematography by Roger Deakins? Absolutely fantastic (what else would you expect from that man?).

This movie has gotten some slightly mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 61% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

“Jarhead” has a lot of good things going for it, but it’s far from perfect. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. As previously mentioned, it is brought down quite a bit by a lack of a good emotional hook in the story. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Jarhead” is an 8,54/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Jarhead” is now completed.

Bang a gong, get it on…

Movie Review: The Square (2017)

Not every day I review something from my own country. In fact, it’s quite a rarity. But today I’m bringing you such a thing. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s not a circle or a triangle… it’s “The Square”.

The story follows Christian (Claes Bang), the chief art curator at a very prestigious museum in Stockholm, as he goes through some trouble both in his personal life and his professional one, all while setting up a new art exhibit called “The Square”. So now we have our movie. And it’s a weird one. I could follow it all just fine, and I mostly understood the themes throughout the movie, all presented very well and implemented in some really solid ways. However, sometimes the movie feels like it jumps around quite a bit, not always having the best flow. There were several times when it went from one scene to the next and I had a feeling of “Oh, now we jumped to this place”. I’m sure this won’t bother a lot of people, and it’s not a total deal-breaker for me, but it did bug a me a little bit. But aside from that, this is a layered, intriguing, odd, and overall entertaining plot.

The characters in this are layered, flawed, and interesting. Claes Bang plays the main character of Christian, the chief art curator of this museum. He seemingly has a bit of a chip on his shoulder, but he never comes off as an asshole, as he does have some good charm and decent intentions behind his actions. And he does get some good development throughout. And Bang is great in the role. We also get some supporting performance from people like Elisabeth Moss, Christopher Læssø, Dominic West, John Nordling, Terry Notary, and many more, all doing very well in their respective parts.

What’s interesting about the music of “The Square” is that there are no pieces composed specifically for the movie, but instead they just use a couple of licensed tracks to convey various things, with “Improvisació number 1” by Bobby McFerrin being the most frequently used track. And all of them work pretty well in their respective scenes. Makes for an interesting sound for the movie.

“The Square” was written and directed by Ruben Östlund, and I think he did a great job. There’s a lot of interesting angles he gets throughout, perfectly utilizing his sets, light sources, and actors, giving the movie an intriguing visual style. The movie also has an interesting sense of humor throughout. It’s a sort of awkward and weird style of humor that isn’t as direct as most comedies, but still gets a laugh when it needs to. There also a point when the movie is kinda suspenseful, making for its best scene.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10. The movie was also nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best Foreign Language Film.

“The Square” is a unique and interesting movie. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, good music, and great directing. As previously mentioned, it is brought down by the plot’s jumpiness not quite working for me. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Square” is an 8,89/10. So while slightly flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “The Square” is now completed.

I hope that the invitation to the exhibition read “Be there or be square”.

Movie Review: Serenity (2005)

Once upon a time, there was a tv show called “Firefly”. It was this well-written genre-bending sci-fi show about a group of space cowboys and the adventures they went on. It was beloved by many, but was unfortunately canceled after only 14 episodes. Fans were devastated. But two years after it got canceled, fans saw something shiny in the distance. Was it a continuation of the show? Yes it was. And today we’re taking a look at it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Serenity”.

Set after the events of the show, we once again follow the crew of the ship Serenity, led by Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), as they are hunted down by a mysterious assassin (Chiwetel Ejiofor) hellbent on getting to a specific member of the crew. So now we have our space opera featuring cowboys. And I found this to be a really good plot. It feels like an extended episode of the show, giving us the fun space adventure we wanted while also further evolving the universe. And I also think it works the perspective of someone who hasn’t seen the show before. Sure, people might be slightly lost on a few aspects, but it’s not so ingrained in the show’s plotlines that it would alienate general audiences. And I do in think this is a fun, suspenseful, emotional, and overall well told story.

The characters in this are layered, unique, interesting, and overall entertaining. While I’m sure there are those of you here who are unfamiliar with these characters, I will not go in-depth with those returning from the show as it would make this post last far too long. But in that group we have Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Summer Glau, Adam Baldwin, Sean Maher, Morena Baccarin, Jewel Staite, and Ron Glass, all giving great performances throughout, and most getting some good development throughout. Let’s talk about Chiwetel Ejiofor as the film’s villain, simply known as The Operative. He’s a calm, well-spoken, and generally diplomatic guy who is a highly capable killer. And that makes him quite an interesting villain, making him a good foe for our beloved heroes. And Ejiofor is really good in the role. We also get some supporting performances from people like David Krumholtz, Michael Hitchcock, Sarah Paulson, Yan Feldman, Rafael Feldman, Tamara Taylor, and more, all giving solid performances.

The score for the movie was composed by David Newman, and I think he did a really good job with it. As expected from something that is about cowboys, it of course takes a lot of inspiration from western and country, with various string-based instruments used throughout to give off that cowboy-ish vibe. But there are also some tracks implementing the sort of percussion and brass one can expect from a lot of sci-fi. And it all comes together to create a fun, engaging, and emotional score.

As previously mentioned, “Serenity” is a follow-up to the tv show “Firefly”, which was created by Joss Whedon. And this movie is written and directed by Whedon as well, who does a great job bringing the stuff I love about the show to a larger scale. The fast-paced action, the intimate conversations between characters, and the overall fun vibe that the show always had. And yes, the snappy dialogue of course makes a return, and it’s just as funny and enjoyable as it was in the show. And the cinematography by Jack Green was really good, giving us a lot of cool shots. The visual effects can be hit or miss, but I don’t mind too much, especially since I know that this was a lower budget production (compared to a lot of contemporary movies). Overall the technical stuff just comes together nicely.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 83% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10.

“Serenity” is not only a good continuation of the “Firefly” universe, but it’s also an overall enjoyable sci-fi romp. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography/effects/humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Serenity” is a 9,82/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Serenity” is now completed.

Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don’t care, I’m still free
You can’t take the sky from me