Movie Review: Atomic Blonde (2017)

Spies? 1980s? Charlize Theron? “John Wick” crew members? This sounds fucking sweet, so let’s talk about it.

Ladies and gents… “Atomic Blonde”.

Germany, 1989. Mi6 agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) has been sent on a mission to retrieve a list that has the names of undercover agents on it. And that’s the basic idea behind the plot. It’s something that’s been seen in movies and such before, but I would’ve been okay with it here had they done something fun and clever with it. But this plot has some issues. Firstly, it’s told as a series of flashbacks with Lorraine reporting to two agents played by Toby Jones and John Goodman. The problem is that this immediately takes the tension out of the plot, since we know where the hell she ends up. And secondly, for such a simple-ish idea, this plot is messy and kind of convoluted. I get that a spy movie needs to have twists and turns, but this thinks it’s clever in how it layers twist on twist on twist, but it just comes off as messy and convoluted. So the plot here is quite meh.

The characters here are… okay, I think. You don’t learn a lot about them in the movie, which made me not care too much about any of them. Charlize Theron plays Lorraine Broughton, the eponymous hero. She’s a highly skilled badass that can kick all sorts of ass while also being good at sneaky spy shit. However, you never really get to know her a lot. You get hints of things that have happened in her life, but nothing solid enough to make her compelling. But Theron gives a great performance here and I did enjoy seeing her kick ass. James McAvoy plays David Percvial, one of Broughton’s contacts in Berlin. He’s a bit less serious as a character, but he still gets to kick some ass. He’s charming, but not that deep of a character. McAvoy is great. Eddie Marsan plays a German man called Spyglass in this movie, and he might be the most compelling character in the movie despite not being a main one. That said, he’s not too deep. Marsan is great in the role at least. Toby Jones and John Goodman as the two agents that Broughton tells her story to are fine… they don’t get too much to do. They’re both good in the roles, but they’re not that interesting. Then we get some really solid supporting performances from people like Sofia Boutella, Til Schweiger, Bill Skarsgård, and more.

The score for the movie was composed by Tyler Bates and it was good. It’s heavily electronic/synth-based and definitely fits the late 80s setting, and it’s quite fun to listen to. Then there’s a whole bunch of licensed tracks used throughout and I have mixed feelings about them. I like most of the songs here, my problem with them comes with how some of them are used within the editing of the movie. They often make it sound like the music comes from a source within the scene, whether it’s a speaker or a boombox, but then they cut it out like a regular background soundtrack. And those edits don’t really work that well as they distract quite a bit from the overall experience. But I admit that some are used well enough throughout the movie. Good music.

This movie was directed by David Leitch, one of the two men behind the first “John Wick” movie. And for the most part I think he did a great job. His directing is slick and everything has good energy to it, keeping it from feeling boring. And the cinematography by Jonathan Sela is absolutely stunning, he really make the movie look stylish hand cool. The action scenes here range from pretty good to fucking incredible. They are all a lot of fun to watch as it’s clear how much actual stuntwork is done here, both by stunt people and the actors themselves, which is so great to see in today’s computerized movie environment. Especially during an action scene during the second half of the movie. I won’t say what happens exactly, but it’s fucking amazing.

This movie has gotten some mixed-ish reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 76% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 63/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

Weird title and flaws aside, I enjoyed “Atomic Blonde”. It has a meh plot, okay-ish characters, great performances, good music, and great directing/cinematography. A previously mentioned, the plot is very messy as hell, and the characters aren’t great. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Atomic Blonde” is a 7,87/10. While flawed, I’d definitely say that it’s worth renting.

My review of “Atomic Blonde” is now completed.

Cool.

Movie Review: War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

It has come to this. From James Franco trying to use science to help people, to apes and humans having to reluctantly cooperate to survive… to a war. The end of an era.

Ladies and gentlemen… “War for the Planet of the Apes”.

When the ape colony faces a horrible tragedy, Caesar (Andy Serkis) has to go on the hunt for the army that caused this tragedy to get revenge. So now we have our ape-drama. That’s right, you heard me… ape drama. It’s not so much a straight-forward war movie as it is Caesar’s personal conflict, both against a physical threat and his own inner darkness. And this plot is tense, epic, intriguing, and emotional. Really, it’s pretty fantastic.

The characters here are all interesting as all hell, especially those we’ve gotten to know over several movies. Andy Serkis of course returns as Caesar, our portagonape. And you can tell that he’s in a much darker place here than in the previous movies. He’s struggling with his inner darkness, showing that he’s incredibly conflicted about his path of revenge. And that makes him insanely compelling. And Serkis is fucking fantastic in the role. Karin Konoval returns as Maurice, Caesar’s right hand orangutan. And Maurice is still a great character, the voice of reason. And Konoval is great in the role. Terry Notary returns as Rocket, another of Caesar’s closest pals. And he’s still a badass. And Notary is great in the role. Alright, new people time! First up, Woody Harrelson as The Colonel, a Colonel who’s a bit of a dick and is also the leader of the army that Caesar goes after. And while he at first can seem like a generic evil Colonel type character, you soon learn that he (and the other humans) are just desperate to survive. They don’t wanna be dicks, but they kind of have to so they don’t get wiped out. And Harrelson is great in the role. Then we have Amiah Miller as a little girl that Caesar and crew runs into during their journey. She can’t speak, but she is still quite interesting. And Miller is pretty damn good in the role. Then we have Steve Zahn as Bad Ape, a strange ape that Caesar and crew run into. He is meant to be a sort of conic relief character, which could go to shit very easily in such a dark and serious movie. But they manage to find the right balance of humor and emotion with him to make him fit in very well. And Zahn is great. Really, all the performances here are quite solid.

The score for the movie was composed by Michael Giacchino and it was pretty damn fantastic. You do get tracks that are the big badass bombastic battle brass ones, but you also get a good amount of tracks that are a bit more quiet for the moments that need something more intimate and emotional. And it all comes together to make a beautiful package that enhances the movie in every way.

The movie was directed by Matt Reeves, the man behind “Dawn of the Planet of the Planet of the Apes”. And once again, he knocked it out of the god damn park. His directing here is big and sweeping, but also tight and personal, never losing sight of the characters among some of the bigger moments. And while this isn’t a straight-up action movie, there are still a couple of action scenes in this movie. And they are big, badass, and intense. The movie is also quite brutal for a PG-13… just thought I’d mention that. And I don’t think I really have to talk about the visual effects, because you already know that they are absolutely incredible. These apes look real. I have trouble believing that this was done with computers, the amount of detail in the fur and movements combined with external effects looks so incredibly real… but this is CGI, and it’s some of the best CGI I’ve ever seen.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 82/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“War for the Planet of the Apes” is a fantastic movie, and solidifies this as one of the best trilogies ever. It has a fantastic plot, great characters, great performances, fantastic music, and amazing directing/cinematography/visual effects. Time for my final score. *APES!*. My final score for “War for the Planet of the Apes” is a 9,88/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “War for the Planet of the Apes” is now completed.

Apes. Together. Strong.

Short Film Review: Conscientia (2017)

This is something that doesn’t happen often, me reviewing a short film. And before we begin, I will be 100% transparent with this. I was asked by one of the people who made this short to review it early. The guy who asked me is someone I consider a friend, and I wanted to make that clear because any potentially good things I might have to say about this are not because of my previous affiliation with these guys. I will judge this on it’s own merits. So let’s find out if it’s any good.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Conscientia”.

Samuel (Jakob Lewis Barnes) is struggling with his inability to sleep, which causes him to slowly lose his mind and perception of reality. This soon comes to a head during one fateful night. So what we have here is a weird yet interesting horror plot that is told in a somewhat non-linear style. You can still easily pick up on what order things are in, but it’s still not a straight line of events. And I have to say that I quite enjoyed the plot here. It is simple enough to follow along easily, but it still has some slightly more complex ideas that will make you think. The short format makes it feel a little bit thin and not fully developed, but they still do a pretty good job to condense the idea into a shorter format.

Here we have two characters, one that we get to know a little bit, and one that is just kind of there. I get that you can’t give them super big arcs when you keep it this short, but I didn’t find myself fully invested in the two here. Jakob Lewis Barnes plays Samuel, our protagonist/insomniac. His psychological struggle is interesting to watch, but I’d like to see it developed a bit more. But at least Barnes gave a really good performance here. Then we have Hannah Thomas as Lauren, a woman that Samuel seems to be dating. And she’s the one that I explained as “just there”. With Samuel you get some idea of what type of character he is, but with Lauren it’s just “Hello, I am character” and not much else. Thomas gives a good performance, even though her character doesn’t do much. So overall, good performances, okay-ish characters.

The score was composed by Martin Gratton, and I think he did a good job. The score was chilling and eerie, and it really helped sell the uneasy feel that the director clearly wanted to go for. So yeah, good score for the short.

This short was directed by Nick Deal and I think he did a good job working with his limitations. The short feels somewhat claustrophobic since it’s set mostly inside one small apartment, and Deal’s direction (combined with Gratton’s aforementioned score) helps the short feel tense, eerie, and creepy, elevating it beyond it’s small budget. The talent and ambition here is great enough to be able to make something that exceeds their limitations, and I respect that quite a bit.

While not perfect, “Conscientia” is still a pretty damn good short. It has a good plot, okay-ish characters, really good performances, really good music, and really good directing. My flaws with it is that some aspects feel slightly underdeveloped (but it’s not a dealbreaker). Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Conscientia” is a 9,11/10. While flawed, I highly recommend watching it (when it gets released).

My review of “Conscientia” is now completed.

Firstly: Nick, Jakob, Jumpcut… thank you for giving me this opportunity, I feel truly honored.
Secondly: “Conscientia” will be released on Monday, only on youtube.

Movie Review: John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017)

Before we get into the review itself, I have to go into a small rant. After the surprising awesomeness that was “John Wick”, I of course got excited as all hell for the sequel, it was one of my most anticipated movies of 2017. And for the longest time it looked like I would get to see it in the cinema. Then something happened. They took it away from the cinema’s webpage, and they wouldn’t air it. Why? Because the first one “Didn’t make enough money”. What a load of fucking horseshit. Why take away an opportunity to make money, you dumb fucks. Then they chose to show it in theaters… but not in my nearest, which again is fucking horseshit. I was fucking furious when I found out about this shit, and I still kind of am. “Didn’t make enough money”… what kind of fucking numbers were you looking for, you dumb fucks? Not every movie makes as much as fucking “Avengers”. Fuckers. Sorry about that, guys, had to get that shit off my chest before I did anything else. Sometimes assholes need verbal spankings. Now, onto the review.

Ladies and gentlemen… “John Wick: Chapter 2”.

John Wick (Keanu Reeves) has to once again come out of retirement, but this time it’s to pay off a debt. And soon he finds himself going on a very dangerous path. And while the plot to “John Wick: Chapter 2” lacks the emotional core of the first movie, it makes up for it by further exploring this assassin underground that was hinted towards in the first movie. And while this plot isn’t exactly award worthy, it still works perfectly for this movie and I never found myself disliking it. I enjoy seeing this underworld, I want to know more about it, and I wanna see John Wick try to survive in this world. So yeah, this is a good plot.

The characters here range from “yeah, that one is pretty interesting” to “meh”. I didn’t exactly think any of them felt out of place, but almost none of them truly interested me. Keanu “Whoa” Reeves returns as John Wick, the semi-retired hitman with a mysterious past. While not the deepest of heroes, you can still relate to him on some level due to the tragic parts that we know of his past. And he’s a gentlemanly badass that will fucking destroy you if you get in his way. And Keanu Reeves is great in the role. Riccardo Scamarcio plays Santino D’Antonio, the antagonist of the movie. He’s a bit a cowardly asshole. And while not the best villain in the world, he works fine for this movie I guess. And Scamarcio gives a good performance. Ian McShane returns as Winston, the owner of the hotel from the first (and this) movie. Here he gets a somewhat meatier role, and in it he is quite entertaining (because that’s how McShane works). And McShane is great in the role. Common plays Cassian a bodyguard/hitman that John seems to have a bit of a past with. He’s cool, charming, and badass. And Common is great in the role. And the role is filled with even more great supporting roles from people like Ruby Rose, Laurence Fishburne, Lance Reddick, Peter Stormare, John Leguizamo, and more. It’s a well acted movie.

The score was composed by Tyler Bates & Joel J. Richard and it’s just awesome. Guitars, heavy beats, some droning stuff… it’s really all just perfect. At times it almost even reminds me of a western, with some guitar licks that could fit right in those types of movies. And all the music in this complements the movie perfectly, often elevating certain scenes. There even are a couple of tracks done by other artists for the movie that work well in their scenes.

This movie was directed by Chad Stahelski, one of the two who did the first movie. And his directing here is just fucking magnificent. There’s a lot of energy to his directing, which gives the movie and fast and frantic feel, which I think is how John Wick felt in those action scenes. Speaking of which, holy fuck the action here is amazing. No shaky-cam, no CGI, no quick cuts… just excellent work from the stunt team and everyone involved with the action. From vehicles, to fisticuffs, the shooty-bang-bangs, to knives… the action here is absolutely amazing. What this movie somewhat lacks in story and characters, it makes up for in action. Can we also talk about Dan Laustsen’s cinematography? Because it’s stunning. The use of light, darkness, and colors here is magnificent and makes for some amazing eye candy.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 90% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 75/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“John Wick: Chapter 2” is a pretty damn awesome action-thriller. It has a good plot, pretty good characters, great performances, great music, and fantastic directing/action/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Whoa*. My final score for “John Wick: Chapter 2” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “John Wick: Chapter 2” is completed.

The amount of “OUCH” in this movie is crazy.

Movie Review: Batman vs. Two-Face (2017)

This is a bit of a bittersweet one. As I hav stated way too many times on this blog, I am a longtime fan of DC animation, and I love talking about it. However, today I talk about this movie with a little bit of sorrow behind my words. This was the last movie/show/thing where Adam West plays Batman. So that’s it. After this, we can no longer look forward to any further appearances from him. So here’s to you, Mr. West, you awesome man.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Batman vs. Two-Face”.

After a horrible accident leaves him disfigured, district attorney Harvey Dent (William Shatner) takes on the alter ego of Two-Face and then starts wreaking havoc on Gotham. So it’s up to Batman (Adam West, R.I.P) and Robin (Burt Ward) to get out there and stop Two-Face. So is this plot any good? Yeah. It isn’t just a straight forward “take the villain down” story, as it has some pretty interesting twists throughout, while still keeping it relatively simple and fun. What I also like about this plot is that it’s a lot more tonally consistent than the previous movie, “Return of the Caped Crusaders”. And while I liked this plot, it’s nothing special. It’s good, but ultimately kind of forgettable.

The characters here are fun and really interesting. As said in the intro of this review, this was the last appearance of Adam West (may he rest in peace) as the Caped Crusader. And while he sounds old, his voice still has a lot of energy to it, which makes it so much more enjoyable. And really, he’s good as Batman. Burt Ward returns s Robin and he still has the childlike naivety that made his Robin so enjoyable. And Ward is jsut really good as Robin. Julie Newmar returns as Catwoman. While not as energized in her performance as Adam West, she still clearly gives it her all and she manages to do a pretty good Catwoman (even if she does sound a bit on the older side). Then we have Steven Weber, reprising his role as Alfred from “Return of the Caped Crusaders”. And if I didn’t already know that it was Steven Weber voicing Alfred, I could never guess that it was him. So yeah, he’s great. Thomas Lennon returns s the voice of police chief O’Hara, and he’s fine. Let’s talk about the newcomer here, William Shatner as Harvey Dent/Two-Face. Firstly, I really liked what they did with the character here, they really managed to reinvent him in a clever way for the Westian Bat-world. As Harvey Dent he just sounded like William Shatner being nice. But as Two-Face his voice was unrecognizable, downright sinister. So yeah, Shatner was great here. Then there are a bunch of supporting actors in here that I won’t go in-depth with because I don’t want to drag this out too much. But I can say that they were really good in their roles.

The score for the movie was composed by DC regulars Lolita Ritmanis, Kristopher Carter, & Michael McCuistion. And it’s very jazzy and fun, fitting the 60s “Batman” series style perfectly. And admittedly I did enjoy just listening to it in general. So yeah, it’s really good.

Rick Morales who directed “Return of the Caped Crusaders” returned to direct this, and he did a good job. The directing/animation here flows very well and feels energized enough to never feel dull. There’s plenty of goofy and fun action stuff here. And since it’s animation they are allowed to do more crazy things than the 60s live action series, and they come up with some fun, fast, and exciting action scenes that still feel like they fit this goofy world.

Since this is a small direct to video movie, there’s not a lot of data on my usual sites. But on Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,1/10.

“Batman vs. Two-Face” is a fun little movie and a great sendoff for Adam West. It has a good plot, great characters, really good performances, really good music, and solid directing/animation. My only flaw with it is that it’s not the most memorable in terms of plot… just kind of scoots by. Time for my final score. Holy review, Batman! My final score for “Batman vs. Two-Face” is an 8,76/10. While flawed, I’d say that it is worth buying.

My review of “Batman vs. Two-Face” is now completed.

Rest in peace, Mr. West. We miss you.