Movie Review: The Kid Detective (2020)

I’ve always found the idea of private investigators a fascinating one. Whether they’re investigating missing cats, potentially cheating spouses, or other things that are too petty for the police, these detectives are interesting to me, and often help make for some great fiction. So let’s talk about a detective story.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Kid Detective”.

When he was a kid, Abe Appelbaum (Adam Brody) was a famous detective, solving cases left and right, being celebrated by everyone around him. Now in his thirties, he’s grown cynical, jaded, and often hungover, still scraping by on petty cases. But one day a high schooler (Sophie Nélisse) walks into his office, with the offer of his first “proper” case: Solving the murder of her boyfriend. Detective fiction is tricky to pull off in a way that feels fresh, often stumbling into very familiar tropes and clichés. But “The Kid Detective” is that rare gem that manages to stick out a bit. While it does allow itself to indulge in some of the tropes of detective fiction, it also does a lot to play around with and subvert most of them, delivering a take on the genre that feels very refreshing and unique. Meanwhile it also acts as an interesting and darkly comedic character study about someone with a bright future who ultimately stumbled. And when you mix these two elements you get a very compelling whole that went to places I never expected from it.

The characters in this are all very colorful, entertaining, and interesting. First up we have Abe, the titular dick. Once a bright young mind beloved by all, now cynical and not taken seriously by anyone. Seeing how far he’s stooped from that original splendor is really interesting, and is further complemented by a small glint in his eye that shows the old Abe might still be in there. He’s a really compelling protagonist, and I think Adam Brody is terrific in the role. Next is Caroline, the girl who seeks Abe’s assistance with investigating her boyfriend’s murder. She could best be described as wide-eyed and naive, being an innocent observer to Abe’s antics. But I also think she makes for a nice counterbalance to Abe, creating an interesting dynamic there. And I think Sophie Nélisse does a good job in the role. We also get supporting work from Jonathan Whittaker, Wendy Crewson, Peter MacNeill, Tzi Ma, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Jay McCarrol, and I think he did a really good job with it. One thing I really appreciate about it is how it actually incorporates instrumentation and some thematic elements from all kinds of detective fiction. You get some more noir inspired stuff, like out of the 40s and 50s. You get some stuff that sounds like it’s out of the 80s. And even some more modern flourishes appear too. And it all makes for a really nice whole that works really well for the movie. There’s also one or two licensed songs used throughout, and those work pretty well too. The music’s just good, yo.

“The Kid Detective” was written and directed by Evan Morgan, and I think he did a really good job with it. He shows that he has a knack for keeping a scene flowing nicely at a good pace, without making anything feel rushed. He lets moments breathe, allowing scenes to simmer a bit in the viewer’s mind, giving us the intimacy and breathing room necessary for the story to work as well as it does.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 80% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.8/10.

“The Kid Detective” is a subversive and refreshing take on the detective formula that I loved. It has a great story, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and really good directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Kid Detective” is a 9.89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Kid Detective” is now completed.

Between this and “Ready or Not”, Adam Brody is proving himself to be a force to be reckoned with.

Movie Review: Ready or Not (2019)

ReadyOrSpooks

Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togevah today. Alright, enough of that. Time for Month of Spooks content.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Ready or Not”!

Grace (Samara Weaving) is a lovely young woman who’s going through the happiest day of her life, finally getting married to her beloved Alex (Mark O’Brien). And after the main wedding it is time to take part in Alex’s family’s wedding tradition of playing a game. The game chosen is hide or seek. What Grace doesn’t know however as she goes to hide is that the family will hunt her down using lethal weapons… ain’t that fuckin’ lovely? And I’ll just come right out and say it, I fucking loved the story in this movie. It may not be that deep or heartwrenching, but it’s insanely entertaining. It’s a fast-paced thriller with a dark sense of humor, never leaving me bored at any point. And even though it has a lot of humor to it, the story still manages to create a suspenseful and sinister vibe that keeps it from just feeling silly. It rides the line between thriller and pitch black comedy beautifully. And it’s a complete blast to follow.

The characters in this are colorful, fun, entertaining, and pretty interesting. Samara Weaving is excellent as Grace, a kind, sassy woman whose life gets flipped turned upside down. Seeing her development over the runtime is interesting, and Weaving’s performance really sells it all amazingly. Mark O’Brien plays Alex, Grace’s new husband, a man in conflict with his two sides. One side just wants to save his wife, and the other understands that this is some sick, fucked up tradition that has to happen, and that conflict is pretty cool, with O’Brien giving a great performance. The last one we’ll go slightly in depth with is Adam Brody as Daniel, Alex’s brother. He’s taking part in this weird tradition, but you can always tell that he’d so jaded because of it. He’s not enthusiastic, but he’s also not strictly for it… it has just worn him down, which makes him an interesting wild card in the story. And Brody is fantastic in that role. We also get some supporting work from Andie MacDowell, Henry Czerny, Nicky Guadagni, John Ralston, and more, all doing great in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Brian Tyler, and I think he did a damn good job with it. It’s not exactly the most original score I’ve heard, but it is a solid enough thriller score with enough bombast and subtle creepiness to make it an enjoyable addition to this movie.

“Ready or Not” was directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, and I must say that I’m really impressed by their work here. They know how to keep ratcheting up the intensity in scenes, always keeping me on edge with what was going on. Sometimes they succeed with this through fast-paced chases, and sometimes it’s achieved through slower points that focus more on a creeping suspense. And holy fuck, some of the violence in this is really nasty. I know horror has a penchant for brutality, but it’s worth noting that it’s rare for it to get to me like it did here. It’s brutal in a way that makes me squirm, without completely sacrificing the overall fun factor of the entire thing. Still… yikes.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 64/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.8/10.

I absolutely fucking loved “Ready or Not”, it’s one hell of a good time. It has a great story, great characters fantastic performances, good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Ready or Not” is a 9,90/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Ready or Not” is now completed.

Can someone please make a video game out of this? Like, can we task Creative Assembly to do that?

Movie Review: Thank You For Smoking (2006)

putvfWCdMBv6y7faxMkubRnpl4y

I have a very mixed feelings about corporations and the people who work for them. Doing all kinds of dirty and terrible businesses while having some skilled and equally slimy face to the outside world who will distract people from the bad shit. And while I don’t condone that type of work, I have to admit that it’s pretty fucking clever.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Thank You For Smoking”.

The movie follows Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) who is the spokesperson for Big Tobacco. Nick is in a little bit of a dilemma as he is trying to speak for cigarettes and make people actually keep buying them while at the same time trying to be a bit of a role model for his young son, Joey (Cameron Bright). That’s right, this movie is centered on a man saying smoking is cool and good for you, the usual villain thing… and it aboslutely works perfectly. No, I don’t mean that I wanna go out right now and buy a pack o’ smokes, I am saying that it is a damn clever way of delivering the story. I mean, the moral at the end of the movie (no spoilers) is actually the smartest way of handling this type of thing. And since this is meant to be a satirical comedy, is it funny? Yes it is funny, I would even say that it is pretty fucking hilarious, it made me laugh a lot. And since the the movie managed to deliver a smart & interesting story while also making me laugh, I really have to give it some major cred.

The characters in this movie are colorful, well rounded and incredibly entertaining. And you know what makes them even better? The actors. Aaron Eckhart is aboslutely fantastic in the role as Nick Naylor. He is perfectly on that line of slimy public figure while still remaining as likable as one can be. And you actually root for him in his struggle to balance his job and the relationship to his son. And like I said, Eckhart is terrific in the role. William H. Macy plays the senator who Naylor is constantly butting heads with and he is also great in his role. Cmaeron Bright is really good in the role as Naylor’s son. And then we have J.K. Simmons as Naylor’s boss and of course he knocked it out of the park because he’s J.K. Simmons. There are so many moe names I could mention, but I don’t feel like going through the entire list. But I do really think every actor did a great job in the movie.

What I like about the soundtrack is that it’s kind of a mixed back of styles. No, not in the “Cowboy Bebop” sense where you will basically hear any and all genres possible, but rahter to get a decent mix of stuff. The original score for the movie was composed by Rolfe Kent and it is great, kind of Henry Mancini-esque in it’s style. Then we have a lot of licensed tracks relating back to smoking in some way and they all perfectly fit into the movie when they are used.

This movie was directed by Jason Reitman (Sidenote: Son of Ivan Reitman who directed “Ghostbusters”). And you can really notice that it is one of Reitman’s movies since it has his style that would be noticeable in his movies. Okay, to be honest I have only seen “Juno” prior to this, so I don’t have too much to go on, but according to people who have seen more of his movies they have said that he has a very unique style. Very snappy, very stylish but still very conventional. And I guess that is kind of what I really like about his directing style. I can also say that the movie features some fantastic writing (also done by Reitman) that both made me laugh out loud and think “Yes, this shit is true”. What I am trying to say is that it’s both funny and thought provoking. Fun fact: this movie is based on the book of the same name by Christopher Buckley… just wanted to throw that out there.

This movie has been well received. Om Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“Thank You For Smoking” is a very clever satire of not only cigarette companies, but of the American conglomerate in general. It has a smart & well-crafted story, great characters & acting, great music, really good directing, great writing and it is really hilarious. Time for my final score. *Huff puff*. My final score for “Thank You For Smoking” is a 9,90/10. It most definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Thank You For Smoking” is now completed.

You wanna get better at rhetorics? Listen to Nick Naylor.