Series Review: Chernobyl (2019)

Usually I make some kind of cute remarks in these intros that relate to the thing I’m reviewing. But in this case I just can’t. There’s nothing clever I can say. So I guess we should just get into the review itself.

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… “Chernobyl”.

The Chernobyl power plant, Ukraine, April 1986. It’s in the middle of the night. The people working the plant notice something going awry. The core has exploded. So we follow in the aftermath of that, showing how it affects the people either working the plant or trying to stop it from getting worse. We also get to see how scientist Valery Legasov (Jared Harris) tries to figure out ways to fix it, while dealing with all the red tape of the Soviet government. So now we have our historical drama. And man, this is a fucking masterclass in storytelling. Sure, it doesn’t give you any major twists or turns, but it instead takes the relatively straightforward events and tells them in a very nuanced, respectful, and anxiety-inducing way. There isn’t a scene in this show that didn’t have me on the edge of my seat. It may not technically be listed as horror, but it sure as hell felt like it at times.

The characters in this all feel layered, flawed, nuanced, realistic, and overall very interesting. Jared Harris plays Valery Legasov, the scientist put in charge of trying to fix the whole conundrum of the Chernobyl explosion. He’s one of those people who tries to make sense of everything, but also gets frustrated when people won’t listen to him. And it’s interesting to see him go through the various issues he has to deal with in the series. And Harris is fantastic in the role. We also get performances from people like Stellan Skarsgård, Emily Watson, Jessie Buckley, Barry Keoghan, Con O’Neill, Paul Ritter, David Dencik, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for “Chernobyl” was composed by Hildur Guðnadóttir, and it was fantastic. It’s dark, it’s eerie, it’s emotional, it’s anxiety-inducing… it’s exactly the kind of score that is befitting of the storytelling. So yeah, it fits quite well.

Based on the horrifying nuclear disaster in 1986, the show was created and written by Craig Mazin, with Johan Renck directing. And the craft behind this is stellar. The direction is always eerie, never letting up any of the suspense. It’s claustrophobic, but also intimate with its characters, really bringing you into their personal struggles. And the cinematography by Jakob Ihre is quite eerie too.

This show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 83/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 9,7/10 and is ranked #1 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

“Chernobyl” isn’t a fun show… but it is quite fantastic. It has a great plot, really good characters, fantastic performances, great music, and great writing/directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Chernobyl” is a 9,94/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Chernobyl” is now completed.

You know what’s interesting? The guy who wrote this show also wrote the “Hangover” sequels and some of the later “Scary Movie” entries.

Movie Review: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019)

Keanu fucking Reeves. Started out promisingly in comedies, dramas, and various action flicks. Then around 2008 he kind of dropped off the mainstream map after a few… less than critically well received movies. Then in 2014 he starred in “John Wick”, which gave his career the adrenaline boost it needed. And now he seems to be back on top. And I say, good for him. So let’s talk about his latest flick. Oh, and spoilers for the end of “John Wick: Chapter 2”, because that ties into this… sorry.

Ladies and gentlemen… “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum”.

After killing a member of the High Table, the ever tenacious John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is rendered excommunicado, with a 14 million dollar bounty on his head, and must fight for survival as he encounters trouble at every corner. So now we have our constantly moving action story. From a storytelling perspective, these movies aren’t what you’d call “high art”. But I don’t need that. It’s just our hero being relentlessly pursued in an interesting, very comic book-esque world. And that makes for a fun bit of garnish in-between all the shooty-bang-bangs and fisticuffs. The story is present enough that it adds something to the experience, but not so up its own ass that it distracts from everything else. It’s fun.

The characters in this are colorful and pretty interesting. Just like I mentioned with the plot, they feel very much like they’re ripped right out of a comic book. Keanu Reeves of course returns as title character John Wick. A man who lost everything, then is given a new chance, and then shit hits the fan again. He’s endured a lot, and I find him to be a strong and engaging action protagonist that I care about a fair bit. He even gets some decent development here too. And Reeves is really good in the role. And the supporting cast, which includes people like Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Halle Berry, Anjelica Huston, Asia Kate Dillon, and many more, is pretty fucking good.

As with the previous two movies, the score for “Parabellum” was composed by Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard. And like the previous two movies, this score is awesome. It once again takes the approach of mixing very electronic stuff with some sick rock beats and occasional guitar screeching to make a sound that is distinctly “John Wick”. And it’s just as tense, exciting, badass, and pleasing to my ears as the last two times.

Chad Stahelski returned to direct this third entry in the franchise he helped create. And dude’s direction just gets better with each iteration. A clear focus, wonderful long takes, and a great sense of energy. The cinematography by Dan Laustsen is absolutely breathtaking, with some beautiful use of colors. And let’s talk about the thing we all watch these movies for: The action. Fuck me, it is amazing. It’s real, it’s visceral, it’s fun, it’s violent, it’s clear… it just comes together beautifully. You can see everything that happens, which also let’s you see just how much work has gone into the fucking choreography. There are also some rather creative kills throughout the movie too, and they add even more to it. It’s very well crafted, this movie.

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 73/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,0/10.

“John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” is one of the most impressive action movies of this decade, and I absolutely loved it. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography/action. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” is now completed.

You’d think the people constantly coming after John would take a hint that you don’t fuck with the Baba Yaga.