Movie Review: Pain & Gain (2013)

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Let’s face it, the works of Michael Bay are not mastepieces. “Transformers”, good popcorn material. “Bad Boys”, second verse, same as the first. “Armageddon”, cheesy 90’s fun. “Pearl Harbor”…we don’t talk about “Pearl Harbor”. But he hasn’t done too much bigger-ish things in the last couple of years except for shitty “Transformers” sequels. But then this came into being…”Pain & Gain”, a phrase that is actually kind of true. But after watching it, what did this guy right here think about it? Let’s find out.

Bad boys and bad girls…”Pain & Gain”.

Miami, 1995. Bodybuilder Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) is doing some workout on a billboard. Then he runs away because…cops (cue the song “Bad Boys”). Then after a while of running, he gets hit by a car. Then we get a flashback to 1994 about what got him into this mess. He used to work at a gym with Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie). At the gym he meets his new co-worker and friend Paul Doyle (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson). These three guys are not happy with their lives, they wanna make more money. So they hatch up a neat plan. A plan that involves kidnapping the biggest douchebag in town who is also rich as fuck (Tony Shalhoub). And they manage that even though they are arguing all the time. They kidnap him, get their money and new lives. Victor Kershaw A.K.A the douchebag gets beaten up and now lives in a crappy house. The other guys live their new lives, trying to adapt to that lifestyle. Honestly, the story didn’t thrill me at all. Not saying it was bad, it just didn’t work out all too well. A lot of times they glorify the use of drugs, alcohol and violence. This movie seriously makes that shit look like a good idea…even more than “Wolf of Wall Street”. But some parts are fairly entertaining, mainly the parts featuring The Rock. Can’t put my finger on why, I just think that. One thing that would have made this movie a little better would have been if they would have made it a little shorter considering a few scenes were boring and unnecessary. It is two hours and ten minutes long…it would have worked out better being like one hour fifty minutes. Otherwise, decent enough story. And oh yeah, this is based on a true story…even though it doesn’t seem like it. And this true story is just something that I read after watching this and felt Michael Bay just glorified it…and that is not cool.

The characters were as in any other Michael Bay movie…I did not give a shit about them. I only cared because I like the actors. Like I previously stated: the only one I kinda liked was The Rock as this ex-convict turned christian. He gave me this sense that he didn’t want everything that went wrong to go wrong…and actually feel sorry about it. I did also like Ed Harris’ character in the movie even though he was…insignificant. He really had not purpose in this movie. Also, every female character in this movie was as in every Michael Bay movie…just there for fan service…nothing else. The only female standing out was Rebel Wilson…and she didn’t even have that much of an important role. So yeah, the characters were meh.

On the musical aspect I kinda liked it actually. Most of the soundtrack is composed by the great Steve Jablonsky (Gears of War franchise among other things). His score was subtle (unlike most of the movie) and almsot a little chilling. Then there were a few licensed songs. Most notably Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise”…in a version that sounds like it was a cover of it. And I did not like that too much since I am a fan of the original song.

This movie features several recurring tropes we often see in his movies. Like girls for fan service only, overuse of slow motion, some pyrotechnics and heavy focus on different colors. And while these troped bug me a little…I have to admit, Michael Bay knows how to make a good looking movie, and he proves it right here.

The reception for “Pain & Gain” has been very mixed. Rotten Tomatoes curently holds a ranking of 49% on it. Metacritic gave this a 45/100. There is no Roger Ebert review for this movie…which is fully understandable since it came out circa a week after he sadly passed away. imdb.com has the score of 6,5/10 for this movie.

So based on what I have said about this movie on the story and all other stuff I am giving this movie the score of 6,11/10. And I recommend you to rent it if you want to see it. This is not a bad movie, but it is far from buyable. Like I said, if you wanna see it…rent it…or stream it on netflix if it exists on there.

It was Painful to watch it. But I Gained a new review. (Get it?).

Bye-bye.

Anime Review: Attack on Titan (2013)

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Interesting how some animes become popular/mainstream (Se shows like “Cowboy Bebop”, “Death Note”, “Naruto”). But a lot of the more popular ones are not some of my favorites (See Naruto, One Piece). The mainstream ones usually really blow up among…well everyone. Some animes become so popular, even normal people start watching them. Today we are looking at a perfect example of one of those situations. But what does this reviewer think? 
By the way, this review is a sort of Revisit to the show to accomodate the release of the dub.

My dear people…”Shingeki no Kyojin”, or as most people call it…”Attack on Titan”.

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…sorry had to do that. But anyway, humans have lived behind three gigantic walls for 100 years when the titans arrived and almost killed everyone. They live happy behind the walls Maria, Rose and Sina. But that is only side stuff. The main story follows the young boy, Eren Jaeger who lives behind one of these walls. He lives there with his parents and his adoptive sister Mikasa Ackerman. In the town is also his friend, Armin. They all live happy, playing, getting firewood and just living. But one day, peace is disrupted as the wall gets smashed by a Colossal Titan (Most Titans are circa 15 meters tall, but this one is around 50) and all Titans in the area attack (on titan) the town. A lot of people die…including Eren’s mom. So after he and Mikasa have been evacuated, he vows to join the the Scout Corps and kill every fucking Titan, including the colossal one. And through the story we get background stories, plot-twists and generally great stuff. So yeah, the story is balls-to-the-all amazing. Nothing else.

The characters are…complex to say the least. They are not only that…they are also flawed beyond belief. It almost ruins the character aspect even though they are so cool and fun watch. A lot of love to the badass known as Levi. I can’t wait to hear his voice in the dub.

The soundtrack for “Attack on Titan” is fucking awesome. It is not only epic orchestrations…but also progressive metal. I love it, it’s kind of like “Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance”. And major love to the two opening songs that are some of the msot epic I’ve heard in a long time.

Fun fact about the animation: When this show was made…the animation studio was new and un-tested. The studio is called Studio Wit. And I gotta say…this show looks fucking amazing. Well, at least for an un-tested animation studio. Sure, the studio is a sort of surrogate/extention of Production I.G (Ghost in The Shell, Psycho-Pass). So yeah…the animation is really fucking good. Good work studio Wit. 

I honestly have no extra trivia/stuff to say at this time.

Reception for this show was only up in the fucking clouds. No one said anything bad about it. But more recently, people have started to give a little more critique. People have started calling it “slow” and “boring”. But otherwise, stilll good. It got a 9,0/10 on imdb based on more than 14000 votes.

So I have made my opinions and I am ready to Attack (on titan) with my score. I’ll give this score a 9,45/10 and a recommendation to buy it. Funimation is releasing part one of the DVD’s in june or july…can’t remember properly.

“Attack on Titan” is now reviewed.

SIND SIE DAS ESSEN NEIN WIR SING DIE JÄGER!

Movie Review: The Departed (2006)

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Martin Scorsese, you motherfucker. Woaw, woaw! I did not mean that in a bad way. I’m just saying he got a tendency to make good movies with a fair amount of well known and good actors. Take for example “Wolf of Wall Street” or “Shutter Island”. But those are the more recent examples. How about we go back a few more years. Not all the way back to “Goodfellas”. But back to 2006, which was a good year for movies. This year, Scorsese made one of the so called “powerhouses” of the year. But what does this dude think of that specific movie.

Boys and girls…”The Departed”.

We are now in Boston. The story follows several different characters. But the main focus is set on two characters and their separate…yet connected storylines. First up we have the one of Colin Sullivan (Matt Damon), a recently examined undercover state cop. But he isn’t there to be a cop. He was pretty much planted there by mobster Frank Costello (Jack Nicholson) to be a sort of mole for him. Then we have the second main storyline following William “Billy” Costigan (Leonardo DiCaprio) who is set as the sort of polar opposite of Colin. He is sent by Captain Queenan (Martin Sheen) and the asshole known as Staff Sergeant Dignam (Mark Wahlberg) to infiltrate Costello’s gang. And both main characters (Sullivan & Costigan) are trying to figure out who is the rat of each respective crew. So it is pretty much a game of cat and mouse, but without a specific cat/mouse…kinda like “Death Note”. So yeah, the story is pretty damn interesting with this Cat and Mouse game. Fun fact about the story: It is a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong movie “Infernal Affairs”. Another good point to mention about the story is that Damon’s character strikes up a relationship with psychiatrist Madolyn Madden (Vera Farmiga). So I really like the story because of how engaging it is and how it never gets boring, even though it’s two and a half hours.

The characters are complex and I want to hit them in the fucking face. Except for Costello, but that is because I love Nicholson. But these characters are complex and well acted…I fucking love that. I have nothing more for this.

The music in this is really good. It is a combination of licensed songs, most notably the song “I’m Shipping up To Boston” by Dropkick Murphys. Then there are a whole bunch of original songs composed by the fantastic Howard Shore (Lord of the Rings trilogy, Hobbit movies, Hugo). So yes…the soundtrack is really awesome.

This movie has so much talent under its wings. Here I will list up a lot of the great actors:
Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Alec Baldwin, Ray Winstone, Vera Farmiga, Anthony Anderson, Kevin Corrigan, Robert Wahlberg…this list is massive. Also, this movie looks beautiful, it is really well directed.

Reception for “The Departed” was overall good. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 92% rating and a “Fresh” certification. Metacritic gave this movie an 86/100 rating which is pretty high for their standards. Roger Ebert gave this movie 4/4 stars and said:

“It is intriguing to wonder what Scorsese saw in the Hong Kong movie that inspired him to make the second remake of his career (after “Cape Fear”). I think he instantly recognized that this story, at a buried level, brought two sides of his art and psyche into equal focus.”

I know it doesn’t sound too much like praise, but I couldn’t find a good quote…so this’ll do.
imdb.com gave this 8,5/10 and it is ranked #46 on their Top 250 list. Also this movie got 4 Oscars. It was nominated for 5 with the fifth being for Mark Wahlberg as “Best Supporting Actor”. But he lost to Alan Arkin in “Little Miss Sunshine”.

So the story is good and intriguing, the characters/acting are awesome, the music is awesome and it is beautifully made. So I am giving this movie a 9,6/10 and a personal recommendation to buy it. It is great. Sure, you can choose to rent it if you want or stay the hell away, but this movie I actually recommend to buy. I also give this my Seal of Approval. That is a thing now…so whenever I give something that seal…it’s good.

“The Departed” is at last reviewed.

So long, boys (and girls)!

Short Story: Sudden Impact

James drove home from work in his Volvo V70 along the beautiful country road. The sides of the road were lined with red tulips. It was warm outside, it was probably at least 25 degrees celsius. The CD-player in the car played Willie Nelson’s “On The Road Again”, that was James’ favorite song. He came upon the bridge that ran over a glittering stream of fresh water. The sound of the car rolling over the boards of the bridge was one of his favorite sounds, it relaxed him. The tulips that ran along the road gave off a sweet smell that made him think of his wife, Jane. They were happily married, had been for three years. It was only a short time until he would come home and see her again. Her face always left James with a smile whenever he came home from work. The rows of tulips ended and he came up on the small road that led up to the small town he lived in. When he got into the town he started cruising along the streets and waved at all the people he knew and saw walking on the sidewalks. When he cruised through the town he felt the many smells of the different stores. Grilled meat, pastries, flowers…so many nice smells. He pulled over, turned off the ignition and got out of the car. He decided to go buy some flowers for his wife. Why? Because he felt like it, that’s why. He walked into the florist shop.

“How much for a dozen roses?”
“A dozen? Something special happening today, James?”
“Nah, just feeling like giving my wife a nice present”
“Oh. Gotcha! Can you wait here a minute while I go get them for you?”
“Sure, no probs”

The florist walked into the back of the shop. She was an old friend of James. They were in the same class for many years. It took circa 5 minutes before she came back with a bouquet of red beautiful roses. 

“There ya go!”
“Thanks! Sooooo…how much?”
“25 bucks, pal”
“25? That’s pretty cheap”
“Feeling kind today”
“Ha. Thanks, Kate!”

He paid the 25 dollars for the roses, waved goodbye and walked out. He put the roses carefully in the passenger seat, sat in the driver’s seat, started the car and drove off. He got home 5 minutes later. He lived in a yellow house with two floors and a porch. He walked in. 

“HONEY, I’M HOME!”
*No response*
“HELLOOO!?”
*No response*
“YOU HOME!?”
*Still no response*

He walked in to the dining room, took the dead flowers in the vase and threw them away, filled with some fresh water and put the new ones in there. He sat down at the table and picked up the newspaper that just were there on the table. He started reading it. 
After a while he got to the comics section, his favorite part about the paper. 

*BANG*

He dropped down with his face in the paper with a hole through his head. Behind him was the kitchen. And in there was Jane…with a 9mm 1911 Colt pistol. James’ blood ran slowly all over the table. The look in Jane’s eyes was cold…and empty. 

*BANG*

She dropped on the floor with a big gaping hole on the bottom of her head. The ceiling was painted red with her blood, it was originally white. The wall was painted red with James’ blood, it was originally baby blue. The married couple had fallen. Not by disease, not by natural causes…but by the hands of one of them. The riddle will never be answered to why she did it, we can only guess. 

What is your theory? Post it as a comment.

 

(By the way, I made this because I was bored).

 

Movie Review: Out of the Furnace (2013)

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Don’t you just love it when a movie gets very mixed reviews and it makes you think “What will I think of it”? That have happened to me a good amount of times. Sure, it has decreased recently…but this movie has been nibbling my mind for a few months now. This movie has gotten both good and bad reviews all over the fucking place. But what did I think of it?

Men and women…”Out of the Furnace”!

Russell Baze (Christian Bale) does not have it easy. First he was in a traffic accident where he accidentally killed a child, sat in jail, his girlfriend Lena (Zoe Zaldana) left him and his younger brother Rodney (Casey Affleck) got involved in illegal bare knuckled fighting. The reason Rodney fights is to make money to pay back a debt to John Petty (Willem Dafoe). Also his father is sick and dying (actually he dies when Russell is in prison). So the only family he got when he gets out is his brother and his uncle Gerald “Red” Baze (Sam Shepard). Russell also works at a steel mill. When he finds out his little brother Rodney is taking part in these fights, he of course wants him out…and Rodney starts yelling and swearing at him. A little while later Rodney wants to start getting involved in even more illegal and dangerous fights that are supervised by the fucking psychopath Harlan DeGroat (Woody Harrelson). When Rodney then goes missing, Russell starts taking the investigation into his own hands. That was difficult since that is the main plot without spoilers…and writing it out without spoilers is more difficult than it seems (at least with this movie). The story in it’s basic state, is simple. But the way this movie is directed makes everything a whole lot more interesting, especially since it has a kind of slow start. But the story is good…but gets boring every now and then, which is not the best for your movie Mr. Scott Cooper. Otherwise, good story.

The characters are so flawed, you have no fucking idea how flawed they are. But it’s what makes them so great to watch. A lot of the characters I want to punch in the face at one point or the other. And the fact that a fictional character can get under your skin that much is just a proof of how great acting we got here. All characters here are incredibly well acted. For example: With Christian Bale’s character Russell you don’t see Batman or Patrick Bateman…you see this steel mill worker. Casey Affleck also gives the best performance I’ve ever seen from him (take into account that I have not seen “Gone, Baby, Gone”). But the best in this movie goes to Woody Harrelson as Harlan DeGroat…what a disgusting piece of shit he is. And that Harrelson can make me feel that way about a character he plays is just incredible. I mean, he just makes this drug addict pyschopath so believable and just the highlight of this movie…he really stole the show. I also have to give some credit to the fantastic chemistry between the Baze brothers (Bale and Affleck). They make it so believable that I just love it. It also feels great seeing Christian Bale relaxed and happy in a role as you see in a few of the scenes.

The music is one of the best parts of this movie. It relies heavily on the guitar…but not too much. The soundtrack is what gives this movie its edge and great feel of subtlety. It works out great to give the feeling it wants to give you. The soundtrack by Dickon Hinchliffe is just fucking excellent. I love it.

Fun fact: for the role, Christian Bale actually learned how to operate a furnace, so the work he does at the steel mill in this movie is legit and believable. Here is a thing, the imdb synopsis says “When Rodney Baze mysteriously disappears and law enforcement doesn’t follow through fast enough, his older brother, Russell, takes matters into his own hands to find justice.” But that don’t happen until a good 50 minutes into the movie. Just warning you. I can also mention that this movie looks beautiful. And, oh yeah! The final shot in this movie just seems weird and I don’t know why it’s there. Not saying what it is…you’ll know what I’m talking about when you see it. And one more thing (sorry). This movie is violent, so don’t watch it if you’re squeamish.

Like I previously mentioned, reception for this movie was very mixed. Rotten Tomatoes gave this movie a 52% rating which is not the best sign. Metacritic however gave it a 63/100 which I find odd since they usually have lower scores than Rotten Tomatoes and everything else. While I couldn’t find any Roger Ebert thing about this (Mainly by the fact that he had passed away before this came out), I still found a good quote for this movie.

“While it may not make the most of its incredible cast, Out of the Furnace is still so packed with talent that it’s hard to turn away.”

It got an imdb ranking of 6,9/10.

Based on what I have said from my perspective of this movie you’re probably sitting there thinking “Markus, it really sounds like you really like this movie! You’ll probably give it a high score!”. Ehhh, I really want to…but I can’t. This movie had so much going for it, it really did. But it just falls short based on how boring it is at times and of how much more complex they have to make this simple story! This movie gets a 7,52/10 (that is fairly low in my book). What carries this movie mostly are its strong performances and amazing soundtrack. So I suggest you rent it, this movie is not a buy.

I have pulled this review Out of the Furnace (sorry for the pun).

See ya.