Movie Review: Hellion (2014)

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Family is probably the most important thing in our life. You know, next to oxygen and liquids and nurishment… but on a deeper scale, family is the most important thing. So it’s sad when someone’e family life is complete and utter shit.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Hellion”.

Hollis Wilson (Aaron Paul) doesn’t really have the best life at the moment. First off, he lives in a shitty house which is a terrible place for him to try raise his two sons. Second, he might have a bit of a drinking problem. So when his youngest son Wes (Deke Garner) gets placed with his aunt (Juliette Lewis) by CPS, Hollis and his older son Jacob (Josh Wiggins) have to find a way to improve their lives and get Wes back. Now while there is a bit of the whole “Shitty father has to improve his life for his damily” cliché in here, the story still presents itself in a pretty good way. Key word(s) being “pretty good”. The way it is presented overall is really good, giving a good sense of drama (even if it at times might not make sense). However the plot moves at a slow pace. And when I complain about a movie having a slow pace, something is wrong. Also, while I usually praise ambiguity and the choice of leaving things for the imagination, the ending could have been a bit less ambiguous. So yeah, overall the plot is okay.

What “Hellion” lacks in plot, it doesn’t make up for in characters, but rather in acting. Josh Wiggins gives a really good performance for someone so young in this movie. Sure, he’s no Tye Sheridan or Haley Joel Osment, but he’s still good. Deke Garner is fine as his little brother. Juliette Lewis (fun to see her in something these days) was really good in her role. Aaron Paul… Aaron Paul. You might think I am about to complain about him, but no! He was fantastic in the movie. I would put the quality of his performance slightly below “Breaking Bad”. In other words, it’s still realy fucking great. There weren’t any bad performances in this movie, but there weren’t really any character too interesting. None stod out to me like “Yes, that character is memorable and great”, so that brings it down a little bit.

The soundtrack consists mainly of heavy metal songs. As someone who listen to a decent amount of heavy metal, I recognized some of the songs and enjoyed them. And at times it really worked for the movie, but I can also admit that at times it didn’t really work at all. I can also admit that my personal preference when it comes to metal kicked in a little since I didn’t like all the metal songs used. Most felt generic and meh. The ones that really stood out the most to me were the two songs by Metallica that they used, and that might be simply because I fucking love Metallica. But overall the soundtrack for the movie was pretty good.

While the framing and pict710ure quality for the movie was good, I still feel like I need to complain about the directing/camera work here. The movie is too shaky. At times it was fine, nothing to complain about there. But then we have times where it is really distracting and really annoying. I would’ve liked to see some more steady shots in the movie. Even “Joe” which came out the same year was more steady than this and that also looked like it took place in someone’s dumpster. What I mean by dumpster is that the location they are at looks like a piece of shit. Also, fun fact: This is based on a short done by the director Kat Candler back in 2012. Not that it improves anything, I jsut thought it’d be fun to mention it.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception to say the least. On Rotten Tomatoes it got a 60% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 55/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,2/10.

“Hellion” got major potential to be a great movie, but unfortunately it fell donw a pit and lost the potential somewhere. The story is average & slow, the characters are not interesting even though the acting overall is great, the soundtrack is pretty good and the directing is annoying & distracting. Time for my final score. AAAHHHH! My final score for “Hellion” is a 7,01/10. While not great, it is still worth a rental.
Rent it

Review of “Hellion” is completed.

I really got nothing to finish this with.

Movie Review: High Fidelity (2000)

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I like to think that I have a pretty varied catalogue of reviews on my blog. From westerns to dramas to sci-fi and so on. However I find it not having a lot of romantic comedies/romance movies in general. So let us have a look at one right now.

Ladies and gentlemen… “High Fidelity”.

Rob Gordon (John Cusack) is a compulsive list maker who also happens to own a record store (Sidenote: A dream job of mine). At the moment of the movie he is working on his list titled “Top Five Most Memorable Breakups”, with the fifth one currently in progress. So we get to follow him as he tries to cope with it and how he tries to find the love. Not gonna lie, this could turn out really awful and cheesy. But luckily, the plot was presented surprisingly well. They don’t present it in the regular romantic comedy way, oh no. They do it in a casual and actually kind of realistic way and not in a forced and terrible way. The story is in general very relaxed and laid back which really makes it that much better. And yes, it is also done in a very funny way that I laughed at when it was supposed to be funny.

The characters are quirky, colorful and surprisingly real. These are people that I have seen in real life, they are not just a bunch of funny characters who someone made up. None of them are your typical, cliché rom-com characters. John Cusack is great in the lead role as Rob, playing a bit of a damaged guy. Despite being the main character of the movie and ultimately a good guy, he is at the same time not your perfect good guy, which makes him all the better for it. Iben Hjejle plays his ex-girlfriend in this movie and she is really good too. Jack Black is great as Rob’s friend/co-worker. Todd Louiso who I’ve never heard of before was also really good as Rob’s more quiet friend. Everybody was great, even Tim Robbins who only had a tiny part in the movie.

Story: Really good. Acting/Characters: Really good. Soundtrack: FUCKING AMAZING! Not kidding, it is that great. The original score which is used sparingly was done by Howard Shore and that is really good. But what really stands out about the soundtrack is everything else. It is made up for the most part of pop and rock from the 70’s and 80’s and as some of you may know, that type of music is my jam. It also really fits the movie perfectly. IT is really a perfect soundtrack.

Stephen Frears did a great job directing this movie. It looks great and everything is fine. I really don’t have much to say here. I guess the only thing I can add is that this movie is based on a book by British author Nick Hornby, but that’s really all I can say.

This movie has been pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 79/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“High Fidelity” is a romantic comedy that actually really works. It has an entertaining plot, entertaining characters & great acting, a fantastic soundtrack, really good directing and it is really funny. Time for my final score. WHAT FUCKING IAN!? My final score for “High Fidelity” is a 9,84/10. It does get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

“High Fidelity” is now reviewed.

Not gonna lie, I’m surprised I enjoyed a rom-com this much.

Movie Review: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

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Can ayone believe that it’s been 30 years since the last “Mad Max” movie came out? It’s kind of incredible if you think about it. Now as you also may remember, I recently did a series of reviews on the original “Mad Max” trilogy. And that is the reason why it’s taken me so long to watch (and review) this one. I wanted to see the originals first. But now that those are done and this movie is out on all video platforms, I could sit down and review it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mad Max: Fury Road”.

The world has gone to shit… oh wait, it had already done that in “Road Warrior”. Anyway, everything is a wasteland and once again we follow Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy). In this movie he has to help a group of women led by someone called Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) get to safety from the new bad guy simply known as Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). And Max has to do this while being mentally haunted by his past. What I was surprised by with “Fury Road” is the dramatic heft, it is actually really good. This movie presented it’s simple plot with a surprising amount of narrative skill and dramatic heft which really imporved a lot. This movie is a straight up road trip in a wasteland filled with crazy people, yet they managed to put in a lot of great storytelling without it feeling forced or terrible and that is something I absolutely loved.

The characters in this movie are just as colorful and unique as in the previous three movies. Tom Hardy is excellent as Max, really playing this broken and even a bit cynical man. And to still your minds on the question of who I liked more as Max out of Hardy and Gibson… I liked Mel Gibson more. Don’t get me wrong, Hardy was great but I still prefer Gibson a bit more. Anyway, moving on. Charlize Theron as Furiosa… holy shit. Her performance is incredible. There is so much emotion behind her that she really disappears into her performance. Nicholas Hoult is also in the movie, playing a crazy guy named Nux. And he was also pretty great. Then we have Hugh Keays-Byrne (Sidenote: Also played main villain Toecutter in the original “Mad Max”) who plays the villain Immortan Joe. And he was pretty great as well. Nothing much to say other than that he was kind of badass. Unfortunately there was no Bruce Spence in the movie, but I guess we’ll have to live with that. Anyway, every performance was great and every character was entertaining.

The score for the movie was done by Tom Holkenborg (A.K.A. Junkie XL) who also did the score for the movie “Run All Night”. And I’m not gonna lie, the score for the movie was pretty fucking fantastic. It’s big, it’s loud, it’s bombastic and at times it is even beautiful. It is for the most part consistent of a normal orchestra with the occasional electronic sound. But then there are times where the score decides to say “Fuck it” and throw in some electric guitar and be badass. What I am trying to say is that the score is about as crazy, unpredictable and badass as the movie it is used in and I fucking love it.

Once again, George Miller is here to direct a “Mad Max” movie and wow, he has really out-done himself. This movie is perfectly directed and the shots look fantastic. This might be the best looking movie I’ve seen so far that came out this year. Also, thank the lord for the action scenes! I’m almost sick of action movies from recent years. Too much CGI, too much shaky-cam, too much green screen. But then comes “Mad Max: Fury Road” and decides to fix everything again. Everything is practical, there is minimal CGI, no green screen and there is no shaky-cam. The action in this movie is fast, visceral, brutal and the best in recent years. I would put it like this: It’s “The Road Warrior” times 500. It is crazy, bonkers and as amazing as action can be! GAAAAAAH!

This movie released to pretty much universal acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 97% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 89/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,3/10 and is ranked #112 on the “Top 250” list.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” is a breath of fresh, sandy air. It has a surprisingly dramatic & great story, great characters/acting, fantastic music, excellent direction and some of the best action ever. Time for my final score. Hey look, an envelope. WHAT A LOVELY DAY!!! My final score for “Mad Max: Fury Road” is 9,87/10. It definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

Review of “Mad Max: Fury Road” is completed.

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Great music

Hi guys. I just wanted to share an amazing song. Sort of so you can see what I’m currently listening to and because I felt like sharing it. This is a song featured in the fantastic movie “Moneyball”. It has a great soundtrack overall that I think you should listen to.

Have a good one.

Soon it will (finally) arrive…

Hello, peoples of le interwebz. I don’t know what the fuck that was, but it happened. Anyway, I just wanted to say that it won’t be long now (hopefully) until I will finally make my list of my favorite movies of 2014. There are maybe only like three movies left I have to see before I can be sure of what my list will be like.
You see, I didn’t want to make my list at the end of the year like everyone else simply to have it out at the same time as everyone else. I wanted to wait until I’d seen all the movies from 2014 I wanted to see. So that is why my lsit is so late compared to others. But soon, it’ll be here and it will be a good time.

Have a good one.

Documentary Review: Citizenfour (2014)

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You ever have the feeling that you are being watched? As in, whenever. Well those fears have in recent years been justified. Whether you’ve been on your computer or on your cellphone, you’re always watched. So have great respect for those who stand up to these types of stiuations. These so called “whistleblowers”.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Citizenfour”.

In “Citizenfour” we follow a documentarian and a reporter who travel to Hong Kong to meet with former NSA-employee Edward Snowden. If you didn’t know, NSA is a government-funded orgainzation that spies on basically every person in the U.S. (and probably a lot of other countries. And Snowden is the man who got sick of that shit and decided to leak out the fact that people were being spied on to the public. And I’m not gonna lie, I have a lot of respect for the guy. He risked life, limb and family to let people know that their own government were spying on them. And while this movie really is on the side of Snowden, it never feels like it straight up says “Snowden good, government bad”. It’s more like “The government did this shitty thing and Snowden was brave enough to expose it”. It also manages to somehow portray the events and story in a pretty tense way. So it not only feels like a documentary but also feels a little bit like a tense drama. And a lot of that comes from not doing the typical “Sit in a chair and talk to the camera” style, but rather be there as an observer and watch all of these events/interviews unfold. And that is what I love with how they portrayed the story aspects of “Citizenfour”. It feels like a real and unique movie thanks to the excellent way all of this is presented. I mean, I was rivited the whole way through and loved every minute of it.

The funny part about the soundtrack is that they really only use portions of songs. And those portions come from the Nine Inch Nails album “Ghosts I – IV”. And not only do they actually fit when used, but they manage to add something to the movie that I can’t really explain properly. I also appreciate that they chose to limit the use of music. If they had used music all the time/too much in the movie it would’ve ruined it. But luckily they had the perfect amount in this movie.

This is a movie that looks terrific. Sure, it isn’t always steady if we put it like that, but I have no problem with it since it’s simply handheld, not shaky-cam. Also, they don’t overdo it, it all looks great. It almost has a Michael Mann quality to it. But when they do use steady shots it looks fantastic. Also, “Citizenfour” is apparently part of some kind of trilogy that takes a look at the U.S. post 9/11. So maybe I should check the other ones in the trilogy at some point?

“Citizenfour” was released to almost universal acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 98% (100% is you go by “Top Critics” only) positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 88/100. And on good ol’ imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10. The movie also won 1 Oscar in the category of Best Documentary. 

“Citizenfour” goes beyond being a normal documentary, in a way it manages to actually become a really tense drama about a man on the run(ish). It presents the story of Edward Snowden and the NSA in a way that keeps it interesting from beginning to end. It also benefits from not being your standard “Sit in a chair and talk to the camera” documentary. The soundtrack’s pretty great too. Time for my final score which I stole from the NSA before running. My final score for “Citizenfour” is a 9,87/10. It most definitely deserves the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

Review of “Citizenfour” is completed.

Question of the day: Are you on the side of Snowden? Or are you against him and his actions?