“Middle-earth: Shadow of War” Announcement Trailer

Hello there, ladies and gentlemen. Hope you’re all having a good Tuesday. Let’s talk about a trailer that just came out.

So here we have a trailer for “Middle-earth: Shadow of War”, the sequel to 2014’s “Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor”. To be honest, I never played “Shadow of Mordor”, but I’ve heard from a lot of people on the internet that it’s a really good game. So I will pick it up and play it at some point. But until then, here’s an explanation of the plot from “Shadow of Mordor” as I understand it. The game follows a ranger named Talion (Troy Baker) who dies and then gets resurrected by a Wraith, and then he goes off to murder a bunch of orcs or some shit. Again, I never played the game, so I don’t know the entire plot… just that first bit with Mr. Ranger-man dying and coming back to life. Anyhow, now we have a trailer for the sequel. And apparently there will be an epic fucking war. It’s hard to say what it will be about exactly, but I kind of like that. And sure, a pre-rendered CG trailer doesn’t exactly give us an image of what the game will be like, but it still looks awesome. Also, it does something that you don’t see in too many video game trailers… it gives us a release date for a gameplay reveal. Most game trailers go like “Here’s a CG trailer, get excited, you shits!” and then expects us to be patient and then also get surprised when some gameplay gets revealed. But the “Shadow of War” gameplay reveal is set for March of this year, so that’s cool. So I am actually kind of excited about this. “Middle-earth: Shadow of War” is set to be released on August 25th 2017.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited about “Shadow of War”? And what are your thoughts (if you played it) regarding “Shadow of Mordor”? Leave any and all answers in the comments!
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer!

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Movie Review: Frailty (2002)

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As all of you probably know by now, we recently suffered a great loss. Actor Bill Paxton unfortunately passed away at the age of 61 due to complications following surgery. I can’t possibly know what his family is going through right now, and I give my most sincere condolences to them. Not only is this a great loss for his family, but also for the entire movie/TV industry. Paxton was never one of those actors that really sold thousands of movie tickets, but he always gave it his all. He is one of those actors that always brought a smile to my face. Even when he played a bit of a dick (See: “Nightcrawler” or “True Lies”), I liked him. And it’s not really until the news of his death reached me that I realized how much I loved him as an actor. Deaths of good actors/musicians/authors/entertainers always suck, but this is one that actually hurt. So in honor of this great man, I have chosen to review a movie of his that I hadn’t seen yet.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Frailty”.

One dark and stormy night (I shit you not), FBI agent Wesley Doyle (Powers Boothe) finds a man (Matthew McConaughey) in his office who wants to talk to him. The man tells the story of his father (Bill Paxton, R.I.P) who apparently got visions from god, compelling him to hunt down people who were “demons” and to then destroy them. And through most of the movie we see a flashback to the time when the man was young and experienced his dad doing these things. And I’m not gonna lie, I thought it was a really solid plot. Through most of the movie I sat there wondering if the guy actually got told by god to do these horrible things or if he was just a fucking loon. And I loved how it managed to keep it like that throughout. There was also a lot of good suspense to the plot too, which made it even better. Yeah, this movie has a creepy/disturbing plot that is pretty great.

The characters in this movie are all pretty interesting. Bill Paxton knocks it out of the park as the dad. His performance got layers to it. You can tell that his character isn’t just making up bullshit excuses so he can kill people, the man really believes that he’s doing the right things. Gives layers to the character. McConaughey is alright, alright, alright in this… admit it, that joke was funny. But seriously, he does a good job here. Matt O’Leary and Jeremy Sumpter plays Paxton’s two kids in this movie, and they are really good in the movie. And Powers Boothe is of course pretty great too. Yeah, the acting here is really good.

The score for the movie was composed by Brian Tyler and it was really good. Sure, it never does anything particularly original, his score does take cues from a lot of horro/thriller scores (not jumpscare cues, mind you!), but it overall sounds really good. It’s ominous, it’s creepy, and it fits the movie perfectly.

This movie was the directorial debut of Bill Paxton, and I got to say that I’m really impressed. His directing here is slow and very tense, which makes for some pretty great scenes. The movie also looks really good. I wouldn’t say that it’s one of those “Wow, this is gorgeous” movies, but it does look good.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 73% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 64/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“Frailty” is a surprisingly great horror/thriller. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Frailty” is a 9,80/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Frailty” is now completed.

Rest in peace Bill Paxton… you will be sorely missed.

 

Movie Review: The Wolverine (2013)

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Here we are people. The final movie in my “Mangoldathon” series of reviews leading up to the release of “Logan” this coming week. I’ve had fun going through this director’s movies, and I hope you enjoyed reading the reviews that came out of it all. But now we’re here… the last one. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Wolverine”.

After the events of “X-Men: The Last Stand” we find Logan (Hugh Jackman) at his lowest low, hiding out in the middle of nowhere. But one day he gets summoned to Japan by a man (Hal Yamanouchi) he once knew. And soon Logan gets dragged into a conflict which will test him both physically and mentally. And I honestly thought the plot here was really solid. It’s a pretty serious action-drama that touches upon a lot of interesting things regarding the character of Logan, including the themes of mortality and love. And I thought it was pretty damn great… except the last 20-ish minutes of the movie. I mean, that part was entertaining, but it’s such a weird shift in tone from the rest of the movie. Again, the majority of the plot is great, and that final bit of the movie is… fine.

The characters are interesting and entertaining to watch. I think it’s safe to say at this point that Hugh Jackman is awesome as Logan/Wolverine. I mean, the dude’s always been great in the role, but I feel like this might be his best outing as the character (Keep in mind that at the time of writing, I have not seen “Logan”). Here he gets to stretch some of his acting muscles a bit more, getting to show more emotions while also being more of a vulnerable/troubled character. Rila Fukushima plays Logan’s new ally Yukio, and she’s really good in the movie. Tao Okamoto plays Mariko, a young woman that Logan seems to be forming a bit of a romance with, and she’s really good in the movie. Svetlana Khodchenkova plays the character of Viper and while the character might feel a tiny bit out of place, Kodchenkova still did a really good job. And then we also get some great performances from people like Hiroyuki Sanada, Brian Tee, Hal Yamanouchi, Will Yun Lee, and Famke Janssen.

The score for the movie was composed by Marco Beltrami and it was pretty great. It was exciting, it was badass, and fit the location very well. The movie is set in Japan and to help with that, the score did feature some Japanese instruments, and I thought that was pretty cool. And overall the score just fits the movie very well overall.

As stated in the intro of the review, this movie was directed by James Mangold and he really did a great job. He directs the movie with a certain intensity that the other “X-Men” movies kind of lack. Especially the action scenes, which are all really badass and also fairly realistic. Or well, at least compared to other “X-Movies”. And the movie is just gorgeous, there were seriously shots in the movie that made me go “Wow”. Also, this is pretty violent for PG-13… yeah, it’s definitely one of the more violent PG-13 movies I’ve seen.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 69% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 60/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“The Wolverine” is a really solid action movie with some great character stuff for Logan/Wolverine. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. However, I am deducting some points because of that weird shift in tone near the end of the film. Time for my final score. *Snikt*. My final score for “The Wolverine” is a 9,01/10. I’d say that it’s worth buying.
worth-buying

My review of “The Wolverine” is now completed.

And that’s it for the “Mangoldathon”… Hope “Logan” is good.

Movie Review: Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015)

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Fuck cancer. That’s really all I can say… fuck the fucking cancer and all it fucking stands for. As much as I’d like to come up with a more clever intro, I honestly can’t. So… fuck cancer.

Ladies and gents, let me introduce you to… “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl”.

Greg (Thomas Mann) is a young man who likes to make parodies of old movies together with his “friend” Earl (RJ Cyler). However, Greg’s life changes a bit when he starts befriending his classmate Rachel (Olivia Cooke) who has cancer. And from this we get a coming-of-age story that is clever, entertaining, and surprisingly nuanced. I mean, sure one of the main characters has cancer, but they don’t use that to make a sappy teen drama. What we have here is a movie that feels real in the sense that it explores both the humor and the drama of life. That said, it did tug at my heartstrings a bit and even made me cry. What, I’m mature enough to admit that I cried… I’m not made of fucking stone. But yeah, I really liked the plot of this movie. Interesting, entertaining, emotional, and charming.

The characters in this movie are all very entertaining and feel pretty real. Thomas Mann is really good as Greg, this young man who has very low self-esteem. Olivia Cooke is great as this girl Rachel who befriends Greg while also dealing with having luekemia. RJ Cyler is really good as Earl, the “friend” of Greg. What I also like about this central trio is that they have great chemistry with each other which makes for some really good scenes. We also get some really good supporting performances from people like Nick Offerman, Molly Shannon, Connie Britton, and Jon Bernthal. Yeah, it’s a very well acted movie with good characters.

The score for the movie was composed by Nico Muhly and Brian Eno and whle it was used pretty sparingly, it was still really good. Whenever it was used it fit the scene very well, whether it’s in a more humorous scene or a more dramatic one. Then there are also a whole bunch of licensed tracks used throughout, both “normal” songs and tracks from various movies, the latter of which makes a lot of sense with the story and such. But yeah, all the music works very well within the movie.

This movie was directed by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon and I think he did a really good job. Scenes flow very well and the cmaera work for the most part looks really good. I say “for the most part” because there were a few points where the handheld style made it a little too shaky at times. It doesn’t detract too much from the movie, but I still feel like it was worth mentioning. Also, here’s a fun fact: This movie was written by the same guy that wrote the book that this is based on. And his writing is great. It made me laugh quite a bit.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 82% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

“Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” is a funny and very well made coming-of-age story with a lot of heart. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, really good directing, and great writing. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” is a 9,80/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” is now completed.

I’m actually surprised that I liked it as much as I did… Well done, cast and crew of this movie!

Great Music #23

Hey guys. It’s that time again where I share a song that I like. Sounds good? Alright, on with the show.

So what song are we taking a look at today? A badass metal track? A moody blues tune? A cool rock song? Well, no. Not really. The song we’re talking about today is “Raise Your Glass” by Pink. Yeah, we’re talking about a pop song that was a pretty big radio hit. Kind of a departure from the music I usually talk about here, isn’t it? But to be honest, I love Pink… she’s  one of my favorite artists. She’s never been one of the typical pop princess artists. She’s always kind of done her own thing, which makes for some fucking awesome songs. Her combination of pop, rock, and a devil may care attitude makes me appreciate her as an artist so much. And this song is jsut something that makes me respect her a bit more. This song is really an ode to the less popular people in the world, the “weirdos” as you could call them. Like the lyrics say “Raise Your Glass if you are wrong, in all the right ways”. Really, it’s a tribute to people who are who they are. And that is something I appreciate. Really, if you wanna be weird, be weird. As long as you’re happy with yourself. I raise my glass to all you awesome motherfuckers out there!
Have a good one and enjoy!

Movie Review: Girl, Interrupted (1999)

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Hello there, guys! The “Mangoldathon” continues! What, you thought I forgot about it? Pfff… no. Anyhow, let’s get into it!

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… “Girl, Interrupted”.

Susanna Kaysen (Winona Ryder) is a troubled young woman who in the 1960s gets put in a mental hospital. And we follow her as she gets to know her fellow inmates and also maybe learn a bit more about herself. While the plot itself was good, I never found myself fully invested in it. I mean, it wasn’t bad at all, and I was never bored… but I also never felt “Yeah, this is really immersive and investing”. And that’s a bit of a shame, really. Because like I said, the plot in itself isn’t bad, and it is clearly aimed to be dramatically investing… however I was never really invested in it. So it’s overall.. okay.

The characters in this movie are all very interesting. Winona Ryder is great as Susanna Kaysen, perfectly portraying the troubled young woman. Angelina Jolie plays Susanna’s fellow inmate, Lisa, and she is fantastic. Her performance is believable and also a million flavors of fun. Then we also get a whole bunch of great supporting performances from people like Brittany Murphy (R.I.P), Whoopi Goldberg, Jeffrey Tambor, Vanessa Redgrave, Jared Leto, and Elizabeth Moss. It’s a very well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Mychael Danna, and I think it’s really good. It was dramatic, it had some good energy to it, and it overall just fit the movie very well. There was also some really good use of licensed track in the movie, most notably “Downtown” by Petula Clark. The music in this movie is really good… not much else I can say about that.

As you probably picked up on through the intro of the review, this movie was directed by James Mangold. And he did a great job here. His directing is confident and it makes scenes flow very well which helps make the pace much better. It’s also a very good looking movie, with smooth camera movements and such.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 54% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 51/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10. The movie also won 1 Oscar in the category of Best supporting actress (Jolie).

“Girl, Interrupted” is a flawed but still pretty solid drama. It has a pretty good plot, good characters, great acting, really good music, and great directing. However the plot isn’t as engaging as it should be. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Girl, Interrupted” is an 8,88/10. While flawed, it’s still worth buying.
worth-buying

My review of “Girl, Interrupted” is now completed.

I might review one more movie for the “Mangoldathon”. Not entirely sure yet.

 

Movie Review: The Road (2009)

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On the road again
Just can’t wait to get on the road again…

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Road”.

The world has gone to shit. Everything has turned into a fucking wasteland. And in this horrible place we follow a man (Viggo Mortensen) and his son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) as they wander around, trying to survive as well as make it to the coast. And that’s it. No bigger conspiracy, no trying to figure out a way to fix the country, no zombies… just a man and his son trying to survive. That said, it’s still a very layered and interesting plot. Sure, the basic premise is very simple, but there’s still a lot of suspense and drama throughout the runtime that makes for an absolutely enthralling plot.

The characters in this movie are flawed, damaged, and really interesting. Viggo Mortensen is fantastic as the father, playing him as this stubborn and suspecting man that is very protective of his son. Kodi Smit-McPhee was great as the son, perfectly playing this vulnerable, curious, and kind of naïve little boy. We also get Charlize Theron in a bunch of flashbacks throughout the movie, and she is great in those scenes. Also, don’t be fooled by the big name actors whose names appear on the posters, they all appear in the movie very briefly. Sure, they all do a great job in the movie, but none of them are in it particularly long. That said, it was pretty cool seeing people like Robert Duvall, Garret Dillahunt, Guy Pearce, and Michael Kenneth Williams in here.

The score for the movie was composed by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis and fuck me, it is fantastic! There was never any doubt about to be honest, but it’s always fun to be right. It’s dramatic, haunting, emotional, tense, and just overall very well composed. It really fit this movie perfectly.

This movie was directed by John Hillcoat and I think that he did a great job with it. His directing is deliberately slow-paced and perfectly captures the feeling of the source material. That’s right, for those that didn’t already know… this is an adaptation of a book. It’s based on “The Road” (surprising, I know), which was written by American author Cormac McCarthy. And as someone that has read the book, I can safely say that the world I got in my head when reading the book got perfectly translated to the screen. The directing, cinematography, the feeling of unease… all of those things are present in this movie. I also want to mention that there is some slightly disturbing imagery in this movie… just so you know.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 75% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 64/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“The Road” is not only a great adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel, but it’s also an overall terrific movie. It features a great plot, good characters, great performances, fantastic music, great directing, and great cinematography. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “The Road” is a 9,88/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “The Road” is now completed.

Yep, this movie is as depressing as the book… greeeaaat.

 

Movie Review: Predestination (2014)

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Time. A very abstract concept that we are obsessed with. “How long is the movie?”, “What time is my doctor’s appointment?”, “What took you so fucking long?”. Pretty interesting stuff, especially when we start involving it in fiction and start messing with the ficitonal timelines.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Predestination”.

The story follows a temporal agent (Ethan Hawke) as he travels back in time to try to catch a very dangerous and elusive criminal. And without getting into spoilers, this is one of the most mind-bending and surprisingly compelling sci-fi plots that I have ever experienced. Really, the twists and turns throughout the movie really caught me off guard and truly fucked with my mind. Compelling, investing, clever, and thought-provoking… Yeah, I thought it was pretty great.

I was pretty quickly invested in the characters and I was endlessly interested/fascinated by them. Ethan Hawke is great as the main character, and I’ll just leave it at that. Sarah Snook was terrific as this person that Ethan Hawke meets in the movie, her character is also the most compelling one in the movie. Yeah, not much else to say here. NEXT!

The score for the movie was composed by Peter Spierig and it was really good. It was tense, dramatic, surprisingly emotional, and just overall fit the movie very well. Really can’t say much else here. It was a good score for the movie. Moving on!

This movie was directed by two brothers, Michael Spierig and Peter Spierig (Hey, Mr. Composer-man!). And the directing on display in this movie is really solid. For one, they really take their time with scenes and really let things simmer. There’s also a lot of suspense in their direction, making a lot of scenes really great, especially the parts when certain mindfucky things get revealed. Fun fact: The movie is apparently also based on a short story by Robert A. Heinlein, titled “All You Zombies”.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 69/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“Predestination” is one of the most surprisingly awesome movies that I have ever seen. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Travels in time to fetch envelope*. My final score for “Predestination” is a 9,80/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Predestination” is now completed.

Do you guys realize how difficult it is writing about a movie like this without ruining anything?

 

Movie Review: Unbreakable (2000)

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Oh, M. Night Shyamalan. You started out so amazingly with “The Sixth Sense” and in later years everything went to shit. But it seems like he’s making a bit of a return in the last few years. Gotta say, he’s quite the interesting individual.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Unbreakable”.

David Dunn (Bruce Willis) is the sole survivor of a horrible train accident. And soon he is approached by the mysterious Elijah Price (Samuel L. Jackson) who suggests that David might have special abilities. And from this we get a slowly paced, subtle, suspenseful, and incredibly fascinating plot about self-discovery. I was invested throughout the entirety of the plot, getting sucked into the drama and getting genuinely surprised by some of the twists and turns throughout the movie. And the big twist at the end (without spoiling it) will polarize audiences. Some will love it, some will hate it. Me? I thought it was pretty great, adding a bit more weight to the already very well told story. Yeah, I think this movie has a great plot.

The characters in this movie are all layered and I thought they were interesting. Bruce Willis gave a great performance in this movie. His performance was very subtle and subdued and he was just great in the role. Samuel L. Jackson was great as Elijah Price, I felt a lot of sympathy for his character because of his disability (Osteogenesis imperfecta), and I think Jackson overall gave a great performance. Robin Wright was great as Dunn’s wife. Spencer Treat Clark played Dunn’s son and he was really good in it too. But yeah, the acting here is great.

The score for the movie was composed by James Newton Howard and wow, it was pretty fucking great. The stuff he composed was emotional, suspenseful, and even kind of thought-provoking, and absolutely helped elevate a lot of the movie’s scenes. A standout for me was the main theme, “Visions”. But like I said, the entire score is fucking great.

Like I mentioned at the start of this review, this movie was directed by the very polarizing M. Night Shyamlaman, and his direction here is terrific. What I like about it is that it lingers and let’s things sink in, unlike a lot of modern movies where there are plenty of cuts and such. Conversations often play out in one continuous shot and it really adds to the quality of it all in my opinion. His directing here is also very suspenseful, making for some pretty great scenes. I’ll also mention, Eduardo Serra’s cinematography is absolutely gorgeous.

This movie has been decently received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 68% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 62/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“Unbreakable” is a great movie that gives us an interesting twist on the superhero genre. It has a great plot, really good characters, great acting, great music, great directing, and great cinematography. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Unbreakable” is a 9,86/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Unbreakable” is now completed.

Not gonna lie… I think I might like this a little bit more than “The Sixth Sense”…

 

My Favorite Scenes: Batman Begins – I’m Batman

Hello and welcome to this corpse of a series. For anyone new, “My Favorite Scenes” is the series where I take a look at scenes I like from movies and TV shows and share my thoughts on why I like them. Kind of self-explanatory. So let’s get into it!

So today, as you read in the title of the post, we are taking a look at a scene from a movie about the greatest superhero of all… Arm-Fall-Off Boy! I’m of course kidding, we’re actually talking about the god damn Batman. Though I will add that Arm-Fall-Off Boy is a very real superhero, feel free to google it if you don’t believe me.
“Batman Begins”, the 2005 reboot movie directed by Christoher Nolan that was a modest hit at the box office, and spawned two sequels, one of which earned an Oscar win for best supporting actor. Who knew a franchise about a grumpy billionaire dressing up like a crazy bat-person could be so beloved? Jokes aside, I love these movies. And to be quite honest, “Begins” is my favorite in the trilogy. Anyway, what scene are we talking about today? Well, it’s the scene in the movie where Batman (Christian Bale) officially comes to life. Carmine Falcone (Tom Wilkinson) is at this place filled with containers, overseeing his henchmen prepare drugs for transportation. Then suddenly, somethign happens. His henchmen start getting picked off, one by one. And finally, this weird entity pulls Falcone out of the car and utters the phrase “I’m Batman”. Yeah, I fucking love this scene. Not only because of the bit where Bale says “I’m Batman”, though that is amazing. This entire scene is actually really tense. The way Batman stalks the goons, taking them all out, it’s all very tense and almost a little scary. Say what you want about Nolan and his philosophical stuff, the dude knows how to build tension. And this scene proves it. From the tense stalking to the badass final “I’m Batman”, this scene is amazing.
Enjoy!