Series Review: Hap and Leonard – Season 3 (2018)

Some of you may or may not remember that I started watching/reviewing this show in the second half of last year. And I quite liked those first two seasons. So now we’re here, season 3 all wrapped up. So let’s get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Hap and Leonard: The Two Bear Mambo”.

When their friend/lawyer Florida (Tiffany Mack) goes missing, Hap (James Purefoy) and Leonard (Michael K. Williams) get sent to investigate what happened to her. Only problem is that to do this they have to travel to Grovetown, a tightly knit community that doesn’t take too kindly to people of color (and their sympathizers). So now we have our plot. And I think that it’s pretty damn good. What I like about “Hap and Leonard” as a show in general is that it can discuss serious and difficult subject matter, while still being able to have a fun and pulpy tone throughout, and this season is no exception. “The Two Bear Mambo” (this season’s subtitle) deals with a lot of heavy themes like racism and corruption, while still giving us the fun buddy crime-drama that one expects from the show. It’s a tense and layered plot that I really enjoyed following.

The characters in this are layered, unique, and quite interesting. James Purefoy returns as Hap Collins, the east Texas worker with a penchant for southern ladies. He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he’s a good man and quite an entertaining character. I also like how they explores his psyche throughout the season, with a lot of it dealing with his fear over maybe losing Florida. And Purefoy is great in the role. Then we have Michael K. Williams as Leonard Pine, the black, gay, Vietnam vet best friend of Hap. He’s tough, but he’s also charming, and has some demons of his own to battle, and I really like him as a character. And Williams is of course great in the role. I also feel like I once again have to compliment the chemistry between Purefoy and Williams, because it’s fantastic. Then we have Tiffany Mack as Florida Grange, lawyer and former love interest of Hap. While we get less of her this season than in the previous one, we do still get some solid stuff with her. She’s a badass. And Mack is really good in the role. Then we get supporting turns from people like Cranston Johnson, Andrew Dice Clay, Evan Gamble, Corbin Bernsen, Laura Allen, Jesse C. Boyd, Douglas M. Griffin, Sydney Wease, Louis Gossett Jr, Pat Healy, and more. All doing very well in their respective roles. ’tis a well acted season.

As with the previous two seasons, the score was composed by Jeff Grace, and once again he knocked it out of the park. His score helps build a lot of suspense, while also letting some tracks capture the fun, swamp-noir style of the show (thanks to some good guitar tracks). There’s also a good amount of licensed tracks used throughout, and they all work very well within their respective scenes. A lot of good music here.

Based on a series of novels by Joe R. Lansdale, the show was created by Jim Mickle & Nick Damici (and written/directed by them and a bunch of other cool people). And while I haven’t read the books, I still feel like this is a very well realized world that they’ve created here. And the directing is really good, with a lot of tightly directed scenes that build a decent amount of tension. There’s also a few action throughout the season, and they’re quite entertaining. The show’s signature dark humor also makes a welcome return, and it made me laugh.

This show/season has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 79/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“Hap and Leonard: The Two Bear Mambo” is another solid season of this quirky little show. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/writing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Hap and Leonard: The Two Bear Mambo” is a 9,80/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Hap and Leonard: The Two Bear Mambo” is now completed.

Ass needs some kickin’.

Series Review: Stranger Things – Season 2 (2017)

The Month of Spooks, still going strong! And on the plate today we have the second season of last year’s smash hit Netflix series. So let’s get into it.

Ladies and gents… “Stranger Things” season 2.

It’s 1984, one year has passed since the horrifying events that transpired in Hawkins, Indiana. And ever since he’d been rescued from the Upside Down, Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) ihas been experiencing a series of terrifying visions. And we soon find out that a new threat in looming over the sleepy little town, ready to take over. And that’s just the main plot here, we do get several sub-plots as well. This is an ambitious narrative, both in making the monstrous threat feel bigger, and in just expanding this world that we’ve gotten to know. And while that is a risky move for any show, since the multiple sub-plots aspect can tangle itself up and become convoluted, I feel like “Stranger Things” pulls it off nicely. You have the tension of the monster plot, you have the drama of finding out more about Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), you have the kids meeting this new girl (Sadie Sink) that comes to town, you have the struggles of Nancy, Jonathan, and Steve (Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery)… what I’m trying to say is that there’s a metric buttload of threads here, and they never feel like they tangle into a mess. It’s a solid plot filled with good drama, mystery, and charm.

The characters in “Stranger Things” are likable, layered, and endlessly interesting. Let’s start with Will Byers, played by Noah Schnapp, because he is more or less the focus of this season. Sure, he’s safe(ish) from the Upside Down, but he’s experiencing these horrifying/traumatic visions, putting him in a more vulnerable position. And Schnapp is great in the role. Then we have Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler, the pseudo-leader of this group of friends. Seeing him trying to cope after his friend/love Eleven has been out of his life is actually a bit heartbreaking, but he’s not some mopey idiot about it, keeping him interesting. And Wolfhard is great in the role. Then let’s go with David Harbour who once again plays police chief Jim Hopper. He’s still a stern man with his heart in the right place. Hopper was my fave last season and he still might be. So yeah, Harbour is great in the role. Gaten Matarazzo returns as Dustin, the funny and slightly naive little man with the colorful hat. Like I said, he’s a bit naive, but he’s not stupid. He’s also the funniest of the four main kids. And Matarazzo is great in the role. Caleb McLaughlin returns as Lucas, the slightly more serious one in the group. And McLaughlin is great in the role. Then we have Winona Ryder once again as Joyce, mother of Will, and slightly neurotic person. However, her being a bit nervous like that is understandable after everything that happened last season. But she seems to have found a decent system for her life… until shit starts getting real again, that is. And Ryder is great in the role. Natalia Dyer returns as Nancy and she’s really good. Charlie Heaton returns as Jonathan, and he’s great in the role. Joe Keery is back as Steve, and he’s great in the role. Millie Bobby Brown returns as Eleven, and she’s great in the role. Right, returning faces done, now for some newbies. We get Sean Astin as Bob, Joyce’s new boyfriend. He’s a bit of a dork, but he’s a good person and he does everything to try to be a good pseudo-father for the Byers boys. And Astin is really good in the role. Sadie Sink plays Max, the new girl in town with a seemingly troubled home life. She meets the boys and more or less starts befriending them. And Sink is great in the role. Then we have Dacre Montgomery as Billy, a new guy in town who is a big asshole bully. And while he doesn’t have much of an arc, Montgomery is really in the role. And finally, we have Paul Reiser as a doctor who is likable and kind, but seems to have some shady shit going on. And Reiser is great in the role. Overall, this has great characters and the performances are great.

Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein returned to do the score for this season, and once again they killed it. The synth-heavy sounds perfectly capture the era and tone, and does even manage to create some decent tension at times. Really, it’s more of the good synth-y stuff, not much else I can say. And since this is set in the 80s, we of course get some really awesome licensed songs throughout from not only the 80s, but also 60s and 70s… it’s really just an awesome soundtrack that made me very happy. Overall, great music.

The show was created by the Duffer brothers, and written/directed by a whole bunch of people. And it’s just overall very well handled. The directing is tense, fun, and filled with energy. And Tod Campbell’s cinematography is of course absolutely stunning. And the visual effects in the show look great too. There’s also plenty of comedy in this show, and I thought it was all really funny. I also enjoy that it never overshadows the drama/Lovecraftian sci-fi, but just is another part of the world that comes into play every now and then.

This show/season just came out but has already been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 78/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,9/10 and is ranked #37 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

“Stranger Things” season 2 is pretty awesome. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, fantastic music, and great directing/cinematography/writing. Time for my final score. *Rawr*. My review of “Stranger Things” season 2 is a 9,86/10. So it of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Stranger Things” season 2 is now completed.

Awesome.

Movie Review: The Lost Boys (1987)

So far for the Month of Spooks we’ve covered a couple kinds of horror. Namely hauntings and psychopaths. So let’s move on to a different kind of horror. And what better to move on to than one of the most reliable kinds of horror, vampires! So let’s fuckin’ do it.

Ladies and gentlemen, they are… “The Lost Boys”.

During a summer, brothers Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim, R.I.P) move with their mom (Dianne West) to the town of Santa Carla. However their lives soon take a turn for the worse when they discover that this town is a haven for a group of vampires. So now we have our vampire plot. And I’d say that it is pretty good. It doesn’t take itself too seriously which I think makes it really enjoyable and easy to get through. But while it is a pro for the movie, it is also a bit of a con. Sure, this somewhat lighter tone makes it a fun and enjoyable ride, but it also makes things feel a bit inconsequential, taking away some tension from it all. It doesn’t bring it down too much for me, but I still feel like I should mention that the plot here didn’t engage me as much as it could have. So overall it is good. Not great, but good.

The characters here are all fun and decently interesting. Jason Patric plays Michael, the older of the two brothers who move to vampire-town. He is the one who gets the biggest arc here. Sure, it’s not the deepest character arc in cinema, but it’s definitely the best arc in the movie. And Patric is really good in the movie. Corey Haim (may he rest in peace) plays Michael’s brother, Sam. He’s a young, somewhat impulsive, but still well meaning lad. And Haim is really good in the role. Dianne West plays their (for the most part) really chill mom. And she’s good in the role. Kiefer Sutherland plays David, the head of the group of vampires. A thrill-seeking, corny, badass vampire who’s quite a bit of fun. And Sutherland is really good in the role. Then we have Corey Feldman (because of course he’s in the 80s movie) and Jamison Newlander, the Frog brothers, a pair of vampire hunting youngsters that Sam befriends. They’re pretty fun, and both Feldman and Newlander give good performances. Really, this is an overall well acted movie filled with recognizable faces.

The score for the movie was composed by Thomas Newman and it was pretty good. It was fun and horror-ish, adding some mild tension to certain scenes. There’s not a lot I can say about the main score here… it’s good. But what I can say more about is the soundtrack… holy shit, it is great! It’s filled with awesome rock and pop music from bands/artists like INXS, Lou Gramm, Gerard McCann, Echo & The Bunnymen, Tim Cappello, and even Aerosmith/Run DMC. It’s a very 80s soundtrack, but I love it and it works very well within the movie.

This movie was directed by Joel Schumacher (second Schumacher movie in less than a month, I swear this is a coincidence). And I think he did a really good job here. His shots look good and everything flows pretty nicely throughout. There are also some pretty neat directing tricks in here that he had to use due to the apparently low-ish budget. And the vampire makeup stuff looks fine. In terms of scares… I wasn’t scared. It is tense in parts, but it never made me feel scared or creeped out. But I get the feeling that it didn’t try to strictly try to spook us, but rather just be a somewhat chilly horror-comedy that you can watch and just have with. As for the jokes… yeah, I laughed. Never a gut-busting laughter, but it did manage to get past chuckle at a couple points.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 73% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 63/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“The Lost Boys” is a fun little vampire movie. It has a good plot, good characters, really good performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Lost Boys” is an 8,99/10. While I didn’t love it, I still think that it is definitely worth buying.

My review of “The Lost Boys” is now completed.

I already wasn’t a fan of noodles, and this movie isn’t doing noodles any favors.

Series Review: Stranger Things – Season 1 (2016)

strangerthings

I may have been born in the late 1990’s, but I am still familiar with the 1980’s. The movies, the music, the TV shows… I know that stuff. So when that stuff is brought up in some way, I’m in. Yeah, that was the best I could come up with for the intro.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Stranger Things” season 1!

The year is 1983 and we’re in the town of Hawkins, Indiana. One late night, young Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) disappears under mysterious circumstances. So now his mother (Winona Ryder), the local police chief (David Harbour), and his best friends (Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin) have to look for him. All of this while a mysterious girl called Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) shows up and creates even more mystery on what the hell is going on. And from that we get supernatural stuff and drama and government conspiracies and I’m not gonna say anymore about that because the plot of the show is terrific and should be experienced. The plot itself reminds me a lot of movies from 1980’s, with a lot of similar themes going on as those classic things. But the story is not just an homage to all of those classic movies and books, because it’s also a pretty original mystery with plenty of great dramatic moments, suspenseful scenes, and twisty turns. The mystery is interesting and it always kept me guessing what was going on and I just loved that. Not gonna lie, there was a moment during the last episode that actually made me tear up… It’s manly to cry, okay!

The characters in this show are great, there’s no doubt about that one. Winona Ryder is an actress I’ve been a fan of for a long time, thanks to movies like “Beetlejuice” and “Edward Scissorhands”. And she is absolutely terrific in this show, playing a mother who just wants her son back, but starts going crazy… in the eyes of the community, that is. David Harbour as Chief Jim Hopper is simply one of the greatest characters I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing in a show. Not only does he give us some genuinely funny lines, but he has a good arc and his performance is absolutely terrific. The three central kids in the show are really good too. And not only because their performance are overall good and they happen to be likable… but because they actually act like real kids. What I mean by that is that when adults write dialog for kids, it doesn’t really fit kids, feels fake. But not here, this stuff is real, this is what kids are actually like. And then we have Millie Bobby Brown as the mysterious girl Eleven… yeah, she blew my damn mind. It’s like the acting talent of an Oscar winning actor… crammed into a 12 year old girl. And the character overall is really interesting, with plenty of backstory given throughout the season. Seriously, give a big hand to this girl for giving such a fantastic performance. We also have Matthew Modine as a strange science man in the show and he’s fine, never really blows me away in any way… but he was pretty good.

The score for the show is aboslutely fantastic! If you’ve seen any of John Carpenter’s films from the 80’s or if you’ve at least seen the sci-fi classic “Blade Runner”, then you should know what the music in this show sounds like. A lot of synths and ominous sounds and I love it, it’s so great. Thank you, Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein for creating this lovely score for the show. But it’s not just that synth-based score, we also get some 80’s songs and they are all really good too and used perfectly throughout the show.

This show was created by the Duffer brothers and it’s clear that they love the Spielberg/Carpenter films of the 1980’s. They also directed six of the eight episodes and this is a very good looking show. The camera work is terrific and the cinematography is great. I also really enjoyed the 2.00:1 aspect ratio, gave it a very interesting look. There is some CGI in this show, but not too much. And when it’s used, it looks pretty good, never blew my mind but also never insulted my eyes. I also have to say that the show at times was surprisingly scary. I am not one to be scared by movies and such easily, so the fact that the last few episodes managed to scare me was pretty impressive.

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 75/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 9,1/10 and is ranked #23 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

“Stranger Things” is a show that for me just came out of nowhere. I wasn’t really anticipating this show at all prior to it getting so many good/great reviews. But now that I’ve seen it… holy shit. The story is great, the characters are great, the acting is great, the music is great, the directing is great, everything is great! Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for the frist of season of “Stranger Things” is a 9,93/10. So yeah… it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Stranger Things” season 1 is now completed.

“Mornings are for coffee and contemplation” – Chief Jim Hopper. A sentiment I agree with.

Great Music #12

Hello there, my dear friends and followers. Some of you might’ve expected some kind of trolling/April fools joke here, but I can promise you that there’s nothing like that. All I wanted to do was a share some great music with you.

So the song I am sharing this late evening is “Will You Still Love Me” by rock band Chicago. But this isn’t really anything like the type of “rock” songs I typically share with you, since it is more like an 80’s power ballad that mixes rock and pop. It’s a love story, and while it may seem like your typical thing at times, it still shows what it means to just be a great song that is both easy on the ears and powerfully done.
Enjoy!

Great Music #7

Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. After a bit of an abscence, I am back with “Great Music”. It’s not so much of a serious thing here on my blog, but it’s still fun to just share great music with you guys on occasion. And today that is what I am doing.

If you’ve followed my blog for some time you have probably figured out my taste in music; rock/metal. Sure, I like other kinds of music too, but those are really the main ones. And for this one I am sharing a rock song from the late 80’s/early 90’s. It is the song “I’ll be Waiting” by Talisman, a band I had no previous knowledge of before Spotify recommended this song to me a while ago. And boy, am I glad that they recommended this song because it is actually really good. Sure, if you hate 80’s rock/hair-metal, you’re gonna hate this here song. But if you can appreciate those types of tunes then I highly recommend it because even though the lyrics are pretty standard, it’s still a really well crafted song. Also, I learned as recently as today that the band (Talisman) apparently is Swedish… just like me. So that’s fun.
Enjoy!

Movie Review: The Wedding Singer (1998)

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Adam Sandler, love or hate the guy. He has made some missteps during his 20+ year long career. A few of those include movies like “Jack & Jill” and “That’s my Boy”. But he has made some generally decent ones like “Bedtime Stories” and “Funny People” (take note I haven’t seen “Punch, Drunk, Love” yet). But today we are looking at something slightly different. Something that has gotten average ratings.

Ladies and Gentlemen…”The Wedding Singer”.

Robbie (Adam Sandler) is a wedding singer (Roll credits). He is one of the more popular ones. Soon he is going to get married himself…problem is his fiancée (Angela Featherstone) left him at the altar on the special day. And that puts him in a deep depression. While on the other end on the spectrum we have Robbie’s good friend Julia (Drew Barrymore) who wants to get married while her fiancé Glenn (Matthew Glave) is not too caring about it (at first). So after a few things involving the depression and Robbie trying to get back to work he realises something…he might have a small thing for Julia. So we see his struggle with trying to deal with his feelings for Julia while she looks all happy that she is gonna get married. Now this story sounds all sappy and cliché and boring and all that fun shit…and it is. But it is so fun to watch since it is not as stupid as a lot of Sandler’s other movies and not as lame as most romantic comedies. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and found it not only easy to follow, but also somewhat sweet and fun.

The characters are basically cardboard cutouts for this type of movie with the exception of Sandler and Barrymore…mainly because they are Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. BUT even though most other characters are cardboard cutouts I did find them entertaining to watch. They were well acted and had some decent enough writing. And the chemistry between Sandler and Barrymore was honestly really good, it was probably one of the best parts of the movie.

The music in this movie is something else…and by that I mean it is a soundtrack I love. Why? It is based on 80’s rock/pop/stuff music…and I love that shit. There was a crap-ton of songs I recognized in this movie and I always find it amuzing when that type of stuff happens. There were a few original tracks here and there…but it was nothing special (not calling it bad). Soooooo yeah…the music was good.

I don’t really have much to say here. The movie is set in the 80’s, so it means you will see a lot of old haircuts and cars and other scary things. This movie also has an awesome scene featuring Billy Idol…yeah.

Reception for the movie wasn’t too shabby. Rotten Tomatoes currently has a 67% rating for it. Metacritic has the score of 59/100. Roger Ebert didn’t seem to enjoy this movie considering he gave it a 1/4 star rating. imdb.com has given this the score of 6,8/10.

I have given one or two opinions of mine about the movie and I am ready to hand out my score for it. “The Wedding Singer” gets an inofficially official rating of 8,56/10 and a recommendation to add it to you DVD/Blu-Ray/VHS collection. It is not the most original or best comedy ever…but it is entertaining enough to warrant a buy.

“The Wedding Singer” is now reviewed.

I honestly have nothing good to end this with.