Movie Review: Oculus (2014)

tumblr_nt1wteiO311sf1xlro1_1280

BOO! Got ya there, didn’t I? No? Well, screw you. *Sigh*. Anyway, hello and welcome to a review that has been teased a bit on my twitter (Cough, shameless plug, cough) over the last two(ish) days. Mainly because I knew that this would come around these days as the introduction to something special. And by something special I mean a series of reviews that I call “The Month of Spooks”. What is that? Well you obviously didn’t read my post the other day where I first used that phrase. What I mean is that since it’s October I should review some horror movies. I already got a few suggestions by a person here on wordpress and I will maybe review those movies at some point. But if you have any horror recomendations I suggest you put them as a comment on the post “The Month of Spooks” which is relatively recent so you know what you can and can’t recommend. Anyway, rambling over, review time!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Oculus”.

In “Oculus” we follow siblings Kaylie (Karen Gillan) and Tim (Brenton Thwaites). Ten years ago something very tragic happened to them which got Tim arrested and put in psychological care. But now he gets to come out, fully rehabilitated (yay?). However, his sister drags him into a sort of investigation to prove that a mirror is evil and is the reason every terrible thing happened to them as kids. And while this shit sounds like it would make for a terrible plot, it really caught me off guard. The plot is surprisingly deep and made me doubt everything through most of the movie. It made me ask “Are these guys just out of their fucking mind or is the mirror really an evil entity?” which is actually kind of great. The plot could also get really personal and emotional at times which is not something I ever expect from a horror movie, so that was kind of cool. However I feel like it started out a little slow. But after a little while the movie kicked into high gear and I was intirgued the entire way through. So high praise to this plot.

The characters all feel like they could be very real people… real people who are stuck in a terrifying situation. And the actors did a pretty great job. Brenton Thwaites as Tim was great, playing basically a male version of Scully from “The X-Files”. Now if you haven’t seen that amazing show then first off: Go watch it! And secondly: Scully is the skeptic of the two main characters in the show, and that’s what Tim is at first. And if Tim is Scully then that makes Kaylie the movie’s version of Mulder (the believer). And Karen Gillan did a fantastic job. What caught me off guard though was how well she masked her Scottish accent and did a terrific American one, she sounded legit. Every actor was really good in the movie.

The score for “Oculus” was done by The Newton Brothers and I think it’s pretty good. It’s tension-building, it’s well-composed and it just overall fit the movie pretty damn well. It’s also very electronic in how it sounds, not that that’s bad thing. Like I said, it’s a good score that fit the movie.

This movie was directed by Mike Flanagan who I have not seen anything else from. But I can still for sure say that he did a great job directing this movie, the shots look great. Here is a fun fact: This movie is apparently based on a short film that Flanagan made in 2006, also starring the character of Tim (Sidenote: Not played by Brenton Thwaites in that one). Another fun fact: It was shot in only 24 days which is a crazy short amount of time for a movie to be made. But I guess that since it is a pretty limited film in size and scope, that makes a little bit of sense. Also, since this is a horror movie, was it scary? Yeah… it was. But it isn’t like a “BOO, MOTHERFUCKER!” type of horror movie, it instead relies on dread, suspense and disturbing imagery to scare. And it did it perfectly, getting under my skin and disturbing me to the point of leaving my room after finishing it and then hugging my dog, true story. Would I call it terrifying? No, but scary and creepy are definitely adjectives I’d like to use for it which in itself is pretty great.

This movie has gotten some pretty mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 73% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 61/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,5/10.

“Oculus” surprised me on every level. It has a great & emotional plot, terrific acting and characters, a really good score, great directing and as a horror movie it manaegd to scare me. Although I will subtract a little bit because it started out a little slowly. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “Oculus” is a 9,57/10. Yeah, despite the slow start of the movie, it sitll gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

Review of “Oculus” is now done.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the scariest piece of reflective glass of them all?

Series Review: Reaper (2007 – 2009)

Reaper-reaper-942999_1280_1024-1024x819

The Devil went down to Georgia. He was lookin’ for a soul to steal.
He was in a bind ’cause he was way behind. He was willing to make a deal
When he came across this young man sawin’ on a fiddle and playin’ it hot.
And the Devil jumped upon a hickory stump and said “Boy, let me tell you what.”

Ladies and gentlemen, this is… “Reaper”.

Sam Oliver (Bret Harrison) is a slacker of the highest degree(ish). He basically had a pretty smooth ride through life. That all changes however when he on his 21st birthday finds out that his parents sold his soul to the Devil (Ray Wise) before he was born. So now Satan himself comes to take Sam’s soul. Or is he (cue “X-Files” theme)? While he isn’t coming to collect it in the literal sense, he still sort of does. Instead of instantly making Sam his slave or sending him straight to hell, the Devil makes Sam his very own bounty hunter who has to collect souls who have escaped from hell. And from that we get a “freak of the week” show that actually manages to weave it’s main plot into every episode perfectly. The best way I could explain the plot is that it is a mix of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Clerks”. Because, you know… Sam is a slacker who works retail with his friends who also takes down hellish beings. I can also say that they manage to weave so much humor perfectly into the plot as well despite the relatively serious idea. Don’t get me wrong, this show can be serious and actually do drama surprisingly well, but it also has some hilarious comedy in the plot. What can I say, it’s a perfect blend of stuff.

The characters in this show are all very colorful, interesting and really entertaining with their very varied personalities. Bret Harrison perfectly plays the character of Sam with both a mix of “What the fuck is going on” and “Well, I guess I have to save the day”. He doesn’t look like much but trust me, this guy got some serious talent. Tyler Labine plays his best friend and sidekick Sock and he is just awesome. Rick Gonzalez plays the third man in the gang, Ben, and he does a great job as well. Missy Peregrym plays Sam’s love interest, Andi. And you know what? She’s great too. She’s actually a great female character. You may have noticed that I saved one for a short while now. If you didn’t then you obviously didn’t read the last section where I mentioned “The Devil” who is played in this show by Ray Wise. And oh my god (I mean “Oh my Devil”) he is by far the best part of the show. Wise not only gives a really good performance but he also has some of the best, if not the best lines in the show. And Wise plays Satan perfectly! Every actor does in fact do a great job in this show.

I swear guys, I am looking for the person/people who did the score for the show because it’s really good and it would be fun to share it with you guys. So if you find them somehow then please share the info in a comment. However I can mention that the soundtrack to a pretty big extent is made up of licensed tracks that are really good and fit the not too serious tone of the show. It’s mostly rock/metal/punk songs and with my taste in music that means it’s pretty great. But if you hate those types of music, you might get annoyed with the use of the tracks in the show.

The writing for the show is excellent, with some surprisingly deep drama being created through the dialogue. And of course the writing is pretty fucking hilarious at the same time. The show also manages to create a pretty deep lore about the Devil and hell and demons and all things inbetween which I’m not gonna lie, impressed me a bit. They also got really creative with the escaped souls and the vessels Sam had to use to capture them with. Great job, writers of “Reaper”! It’s just so sad that the show got canceled so soon.

This show has gotten a little bit of mixed reception. On Metacritic (yeah, no Rotten Tomatoes this time) it has a score of 81/100. At least on season 1, season 2 has a lower score. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10.

“Reaper” is a show that caught me off-guard in every way with a surprisingly good plot, great characters and acting, a great soundtrack, good action scenes, surprisingly deep lore and some hilarious comedy. Time for my final score. O potens ultima signant, conjuro te. My final score for “Reaper” is a 9,93/10. It gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Reaper” is now completed.

I am the dark lord of asses!

The Month of Spooks

Hey guys, this is your captain speaking, if you look to your left you will see nothing of importance because you are most likely sitting in your room/office/house/apartment looking at your wordpress feed. Maybe you are also sipping on a nice cup of coffee, or tea if you don’t like the nectar of the gods. I know I am sounding a bit like an asshole, but we’re still gonna be friends by the end of this little post because that is how life is. Wow, this little bullshit section got a little longer than I expected it to, I need to cut down on the stupidity. Anyway, I have a few things to announce for this month we call October, A.K.A. the month of spooks.

First off, on the 29th I will give a little review/analysis of an episode of the TV-series “Tales From The Crypt” over at channelsuperhero.com, so look forward to that. And please check out and follow the blog because it is kind of awesome. They review superhero stuff all the time and it is always interesting to see their stuff. And while we’re at it, please check out flightstightsandmovienights.com because that is where we find the “bit of this, bit of that” stuff from the man who runs Channel Superhero.

Next thing I wanna mention is that I will bring you a review of the TV-show “Reaper” by this weekend. I usually never announce my reviews in advance because I usually tend to wing it with what I watch and review, so it’s even a bit of a surprise for me in that sense. However since I have been mainly watching “Reaper” for a few weeks straight I feel like I know that the review for the series will come and can therefore give you this heads-up.

Next up, since it’s October A.K.A. the month of spooks, I want to review some horror movies. Problem is, I don’t know which might be entertaining to watch and review. In other words, I want some “good” ones to watch. And to find these elusive movies I need the help of you guys. So I want you to suggest some good ones down in the comments. I can tell you this that I already know I will watch and most likely review “Oculus”. But like I said, I need more than that. However I will not review movies that I have covered in the past… good thing there are very few horror movies here. So “The Shining”, “1408”, “The Thing” and “The Sixth Sense” are out of the game. All other ones you can think of are good to go. Oh, I almost forgot; “Jaws” is also out of the game because that is not only one I have covered in the past, but also because it is a summer movie. Other than those… have fun with your suggestions! I am really looking forward to seeing some good ones from you!

Aaaaaand that’s about it. Really, I got nothing else to announce here. So I hope you have learned of something that sounds interesting to you. Maybe it’s my Tale From The Crypt which will come in the future or maybe it’s the horror stuff or maybe you just need me to talk about “Reaper”. Who knows? What I do know however is that I feel great about this month and I look forward to giving you guys some (hopefully) interesting content.

Welcome to the Month of Spooks!

Great Music #4

Hi guys. Here again to share some great music (Because I can). This time I am sharing the beautiful (and tear-jerking) song “Tears in Heaven” by the masterful songwriter/musician Eric Clapton. He made the song as a tribute to his son who at a very young age died after falling from a very tall building. I love this song and I hope you do too.
Enjoy (the tears).

Movie Review: The Grey (2012)

images1283114_Liam_Neeson2

What does it take for your to survive? And I’m not just talking about basic needs like food or water, I mean everything else that can come into play. Are you the strong-willed leader or are you the one who will most likely break down and die first? It’s difficult to say. You also have to ask; What lengths am I iwlling to go to for survival? Think about that one.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Grey”.

John Ottway (Liam Neeson) works as a marksman/bodyguard for an Alaskan oil company. Then when he and a bunch of workers hop on a plane to get the hell out of the camp they were staying in, it crashes in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness. Surviving the crash are Ottway and six of the workers. They scavenge anything they can from the crashed remains of the plane. So now they have to survive in the middle of fuckin’ nowhere. And if the cold doesn’t kill them, the wolves will. Yes, there is a pack of wolves stalking and hunting them. And from that we get an exciting tale of survival that is really suspenseful and surprisingly thoughtful. It doesn’t only present this as a “Ooo, who’s gonna get picked off next?” type of story, but it is surprisingly philosophical and really asks what takes of you as a man to take this. It’s also really character-driven which is not something I expected at all with this. With my rambling I am trying to say that I really liked the plot of the movie.

Like I said, this movie heavily character-driven. And when you want the characters to drive your movie, you better make damn sure they are interesting characters. And I’m not gonna lie, they actually succeeded pretty well with these characters. Not only do they have a lot of depth as characters, but they are also really well acted. I think it goes without saying that Liam Neeson was great in this movie, playing a badass like in “Taken” but still being a vulnerable and even broken man. Every other actor was great too. I also think it was fun seeing Frank Grillo in a great role because I really like that guy, he’s a really good actor. Everybody was in fact good and every character was great and helped drive the story.

The score for “The Grey” was composed by Marc Streitenfeld who also did the scores for movies like “American Gangster” and “Prometheus” which is fitting since both of those were directed by Ridley Scott who was a producer on this movie. Anyway, enough of that little bonus fact. Now what did I think of the score itself? It was pretty damn great. The score manages to help build a lot of tension, but it also manages to be emotional and thought provoking which really shows that Streitenfeld has great skill as a composer. Yeah, it’s pretty great.

This movie was directed by Joe Carnahan who also did the “A-Team” movie (Oh shit). But fear not because unlike “The A-Team”, this movie is very well directed. The shots look great and everything looks pretty steady. And the cinematography is gorgeous, taking full use of the location that they’re in. That’s right, they are in an actual location that is cold as hell and isn’t a green screen in a studio. And the wolves were actually animatronic. Okay fine, when you see them in full motion and running, they are CG. But there are a lot of animatronics used as well which is kind of awesome. I have to also admit that there were a few times where the movie was a little scary, almost like a horror movie. There especially two moments that made me go “Oh shit… that’s actually a little scary”. I’ll show a picture of one of those moments that isn’t really much of a spoiler since it was in the trailer.
the-grey-eyes

“The Grey” has gotten a little bit of a mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 79% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 64/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

“The Grey” is a tense and exciting survival movie featuring some badass wolves vs. a badass Liam Neeson. But it’s plot is also surprisingly deep and thought provoking, the acting is terrific, the music is great, the directing is really good and the cinematography is gorgeous. Time for my final score. ARH-WOOOOOOOO! My final score for “The Grey” is a 9,86/10. It definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “The Grey” is now completed.

Listen here wolf, I don’t know who you are, but I have a very particular set of skills.

 

Movie Review: Selma (2014)

selma

As I teased/promised yesterday in a tiny post that I would review this here movie. And Ya know what, I am a man of my word and shall therefore deliver a review.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to… “Selma”.

This movie follows civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) in one of the biggest periods of his life. As he is trying to make sure there are true equal voting rights for black people, he plans to start a giant march between Selma and Montgomery (Sidenote: Both towns are in the state of Alabama) as a sort of protest. And then drama. The story not only touches on the bigger aspects with the whole black rights thing, but it even explores a little bit of Dr. King’s family life and the relationship between and his wife. The story also decides to show you every terrible thing that happened to the people involved in the protests. What I am trying to say is that this movie got a lot of balls in the air at the same time. And I do think that it manages to juggle them perfectly. The story is full of excellent drama and it never feels like it is a “Ooo, white guilt” movie, it actually delves into all of the issues at the time in a very professional and superbly well-presented manner. I also like how the movie doesn’t present Dr. King as a flawless and god-like man, but actually presents him as human. It’s not always easy to watch, but I still thought the story was great!

Like I said, the character of Martin Luther King (jr) is humanized in this movie and is not presented as a god among men, but as a man with a really good heart which is kind of awesome. And holy fuckin’ shit, David Oyelowo gives us an incredible performance as the good Dr. I’m not joking, this is one of the best performances of last year. Carmen Ejogo as his wife was also terrific. A lot of great acting in this movie actually. Tom Wilkinson, Giovanni Ribisi, Cuba Gooding Jr, Oprah Winfrey, Common. And hello Tim Roth, fun to see you in an awesome role again. There is only good, great and amazing acting in this movie and I think that really helps out a lot.

The soundtrack to this movie is pretty great. The score was done by Jason Moran and it is pretty great, with all the right emotions and tension in place. And the licensed tracks used are perfectly placed as well and really helps sell teh time period. And ouf course I’m gonna talk about the original song “Glory” by Common and John Legend that was made for the movie… it’s pretty great. Perfect for the movie and overall really good music. Great job, guys!

This movie looks pretty fucking fantastic. The directing is really good and the cinematography is absolutely fantastic. The cinematography was done by Bradford Young who also did it for the movie “A Most Violent Year” which I kind of loved and reviewed a while back (Shameless plug). I feel like I need to disclaim something; if you can’t stand violence (a.k.a. if you’re a little squeamish) then this might not be the movie for you since it is at times really violent (But for a reason).

This movie has gotten some pretty great reception from critics and people alike. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 99% (100% if you go by “Top critics” only) positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 89/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10. “Selma” also won an Oscar in the category of Best Original Song (Glory). And it was nominated for an additional Oscar in the category of Best Picture. 

“Selma” is a difficult movie to watch because of it’s often brutal scenes, but it is also a very emotional and well told movie with fantastic acting, great music, good directing and terrific cinematography. Time for my final score. I HAVE A DREAM… My final score for “Selma” is a 9,86/10 and definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

Review of “Selma” is now completed.

… THAT ONE DAY THIS NATION WILL RISE UP…

Great music #3

Hi guys… I’m back from Rome! So there will be things coming up soon. I can for example promise you that you will get a review of “Selma” at some point tomorrow. Anyway, enough of that. Let’s talk music!

Every once in a while I like to share songs that I like/listen to. And this time it’s kind of badass. It’s the song “Primo Victoria” by Swedish metal band Sabaton. What is it about? D-day. Ya know, “Saving Private Ryan” and all that shit. The landings on Omaha beach and the fight against the nazis. Simple as that. Anyhow, I love the song and that’s why I’m sharing it.
Enjoy!