Movie Review: Paranoid Park (2007)

Paranoid Park

 

You know, while big blockbuster movies that everyone sees are fine and dandy, sometimes you need something smaller. That is at least how I feel, seeing as how I love both huge action spectacles and quiet little movies that sneak up from nowhere. What I am trying to say is that I have reviewed quite a bit of bigger movies recently, so let’s take on a smaller indie movie.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Paranoid Park”.

In this movie we follow high schooler Alex (Gabe Nevins) who likes to skate on his skateboard. But his life changes dramatically after he accidentally kills a security guard. That’s it… simple as it comes. But just because the premise is simple to describe, doesn’t mean that it isn’t layered, because this plot has layers. What I like about it is that it shows Alex trying to live with the guilt and anxiety of what he have done. It makes for an interesting watch and an intriguing plot. What I also find interesting is how jumpy the plot is. To some that might be a terrible thing, but I love when the order is a little wonky so I can piece the puzzle together (I’m looking at you “Sin City”!).

You know what I like about the characters? They all feel so genuine. They all feel like they are real people, like they had a life prior to the movie and actually existed. Those are the best kind of characters, those you can imagine beyond the movie. Say what you want about the acting, but at least it all feels genuine. It’s kind of like when I was “Elephant” a while back (Sidenote: Coincidentally also directed by Gus Van Sant), the actors weren’t really professionals, they were picked for their roles because that their roles were kind of who they actually were(ish). I am babbling at this point, but someone might make sense of it. What I’m trying to say is they all feel very real.

What is interesting about the soundtrack to “Paranoid Park” is the fact that even though it sounds at times like there is an original score, there is none. Instead we have a collection of indie rock and licensed tracks that probably were from original scores in other movies. I mean, if your mixed soundtrack contains songs by Nino Rota (Sidenote: Awesome composer) without having him as composer, it is safe to assume it was licensed. Not that I am complaining, all of the tracks used in the movie were really good and fit every scene perfectly in one way or another. I really like what they did here with the soundtrack.

Like I mentioned before, this movie was directed by Gus Van Sant and once again he is awesome. The shots look great and his editing (Yes, Van Sant edits his own movies because he is awesome like that) is spot on great. And the cinematography by, hold on… Christopher Doyle and… Rain Li looks fantastic, giving it a dark yet colorful look that fits perfectly with the sad and almost melancholic movie. Also, if you easily get queasy then maybe don’t watch this movie because there is one scene (no spoilers) that will make you badly queasy.

This movie has been very well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 76% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 83/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“Paranoid Park” is a very quiet movie that still managed to leave quite the impact on me with a powerful story, genuine/real characters, good music, great direction/editing and excellent cinematography. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Paranoid Park” is a 9,86/10. It deserves the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

“Paranoid Park” is now reviewed.

As for those of you still doubting, this movie is not about the Black Sabbath song opening a park.

 

Movie Review: Enemy (2014)

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While dumb movies can be fun, sometimes you need something that will challenge your mind and make you think. A.K.A. a mindfuck movie. And I am a guy who loves mindfuck movies. Anytime I can get my hands on a mindfuck movie, I am excited. So let’s review something that people say is a mindfuck movie.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Enemy”.

In “Enemy” we follow history teacher Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal). One day one of his colleagues recommends a movie to him. So he rents it and watches it, noticing thato ne of the actors in the movie looks just like him. So he decides to go out there, find him, talk to him and figure out what the hell is going on. And that all adds up to one of the most interesting plots I have seen ever. The plot of the movie was complex, suspenseful and incredibly well-written. I have also never said “What the fuck is going on?” this much because of any other movie plot. The plot of “Enemy” is very confusing and strange and surreal and I love it.

Jake Gyllenhaal… how could you not have won an Oscar yet!? I’m not even kidding, he is aboslutely fantastic in this movie as both of these men. There are so many parts of his performance(s) that make it fantastic. I think I am pretty justified in calling Gyllenhaal one of my favorite actors. Mélanie Laurent, who you probably know from “Inglorious Basterds”, is also great in the movie. Every actor that was in the movie was good, but Jake Gyllenhaal outshined them all… Because he is amazing.

The score for the movie was done by Danny Bensi & Saunder Jurriaans and it is one of the most eary, disturbing, creepy and bone-chilling scoresI have ever heard. It really fits the dark and eary tone of the story perfectly and really helped to keep me creeped out and even a little bit disturbed. It also kept the movie even more weird, disturbing and fucked up than it already was… fuck you guys! I love you though, great score!

This movie is directed by Denis Villenueve who also made the movie “Prisoners” which I think will stay my favorite movie of 2013. And just like that movie, he managed to create an incredibly well-directed movie. The shots look fantastic, and the cinematography is some of the most dark but still beautiful I have ever seen.  I also like how they kept it consistent in  the coloring. What kind of coloring? Bleak and grey… perfect for this type of movie. And I am gonna repeat myself, this movie is complex beyond belief. Sure, you can interpret it all you want, but it will be difficult to find a perfect interpretation of it. Just don’t expect me to analyze and interpret it, I’m not smart enough to be able to do that.

This movie has been pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 75% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 61/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

“Enemy” is a strange movie. I mean, it’s really fucking weird. But I do also think that the story is suspenseful & excellent, the acting is spectacular, the score is fantastic, the direction/camera work is great and I just felt like this was pretty great. Time for my final score. AH, SPIDER! *SQUISH*. My final score for “Enemy” is a 9,87/10. It definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
Seal of Approval

 

“Enemy” is now reviewed.

Villeneuve… come at me, bro.

Movie Review: The Sixth Sense (1999)

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Don’t worry, I have seen this “essential” movie before so you don’t have to lose your shit. It’s just that I haven’t seen this movie in a few years and thought it could be good to give it a little rewatch to refresh my memory of it. So now I’ve seen it (again) and now I will review it (for the first time).

Ladies and gentlemen, do you have… “The Sixth Sense”?

In this movie we follow child psychologist Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) as he after getting shot, takes on a new patient. This patient is nine year old Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) who apparently can see dead people… who don’t know they’re dead! From that you might expect “Oh, it’s a horror movie then!”. But I wouldn’t really call “The Sixth Sense” a horror movie per se. I would say that it is a drama with thriller elements. Sure, there are parts that you could argue are straight up horror-related, but I counter with the fact that this movie never really tries to full on scare you, it just wants to get udner your skin and make you feel a little bit uneasy. Kind of like a thriller. But if you analyze the plot, it is really a drama-thriller, not a horror movie. Anyway, with all of that bullshit out of the way, I loved the plot. It built up a lot of suspense, it showed excellent drama and it was just overall really great. And despite knowing the final twist, I still think it is one of the greatest twists ever. I’m not gonna spoil it if you somehow haven’t seen this movie at all.

The characters in this movie (despite the unusual situation) all feel like real people, none of them simply felt like characters in a movie. And I think a lot of that comes from a combination of excellent writing and some pretty great performances, three in particular. First off we have Bruce Willis who is actually acting and playing a character not just being Mr. Grumpy action dude. Jokes aside, Bruce Willis is great in this movie, playing a very human character who you’d just wanna be friends with. Next up is Haley Joel Osment who gives possibly the greatest performance by a child-actor ever. And if not THE best, at least one of the best. The final performance I wanted to mention was that of Toni Collette who plays Osment’s mom. She was excellent in the movie, portraying every emotion you could ever mention. Yeah, she was great. Everybody was great.

The score for the movie was done by James Newton Howard who managed to create an atmospheric, creepy, suspense-building and beautiful score that has lingered in my mind ever since the movie wrapped up, it is that great.

This movie was directed by M. Night Shyama-Lama-Ding-Dong, sorry… Shyamalan. And he did a great job with it, perfectly building tension and never revealing too much of anything in the movie. He did a fantastic job directing the movie. He also did the writing for the movie which I also thought was pretty great.

This movie has been very well-received over the years. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 85% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 64/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10 and is ranked #161 on the “Top 250” list. The movie was also nominated for 6 Oscars in the categories of Best PIcture, Best Supporting Actor (Osment), Best Supporting Actress (Collette), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing.

Guys, “The Sixth Sense” is an awesome movie with a tense and beautiful story, great characters/acting, excellent music, great direction, great writing and one of the best twists in cinema. Time for my final score. AH! Dead person! Oh, it’s just Jeff. Envelope. Thank you. My final score for “The Sixth Sense” is a 9,88/10. It definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

Review of “The Sixth Sense” is completed.

Shyama-Lama-Ding-Dong…