Movie Review: Avengers: Endgame (2019)

Can you guys believe it? 11 years and 22 movies. The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s ultimate culmination is finally here. It’s kind of mindblowing and impressive, regardless of one’s opinion on the movies themselves. So let’s get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Avengers: Endgame”.

After the horrifying events in “Avengers: Infinity War”, the team feels somewhat defeated. But they still rise up to the occasion to find a way to fix what has been caused by Thanos (Josh Brolin). And I was scared going into this. Would they stick the landing? Well, guess what, they fucking did. It’s dramatic, tense, fun, emotional, and a perfect sendoff for this entire cinematic universe. And that is all I’m saying about that. I guess you could nitpick stuff, but I don’t want to. This is great. #DontSpoilTheEndgame

A shitload of characters return. Most of their development came from the other movies, but they did also get a little from this, and it just works really well. These are fully developed characters that I love. And the performances are great. Not gonna say all who are in this because there’s far too many. But holy fucking shit, there is not a weak link in this cast. All the actors do wonder with the great material they’re given.

As with “Infinity War”, the score was composed by Alan Silvestri. And in my review of that movie, I didn’t give the score enough credit. Yes, I had positive comments about it, but on subsequent rewatches of that movie, I’ve grown to love it a lot more. And the man somehow managed to fucking top himself with “Endgame”. The score manages to encapsulate all the epicness, emotion, and energy that the story needed flawlessly. Silvestri, I salute you.

They started with “The Winter Soldier”. They came back for “Civil War”. They took over the main mantle for “Avengers: Infinity War”. And they came to tie the bow on the gift that is “Endgame”. So yeah, their direction was great here too. These dudes know how to do big, epic action in a very human way, and it feels so great that they got the task to wrap this entire shebang up for now. Trent Opaloch’s cinematography is also absolutely amazing. And it goes without saying that the visual effects in this are absolutely spectacular. Hell, let’s give the visual effects crew some extra credit here for giving us some of the most impressive effects in movie history. The package is incredibly well put together.

This movie just came out, but it has already been incredibly well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 77/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 9,1/10 and is ranked #5 on the “Top 250” list.

Yes I’m keeping it vague and brief here, but that’s what I have to do to not accidentally spoil it. Still, with that said, “Avengers: Endgame” is an absolutely marvelous movie and a perfect way to end the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and fantastic direction/writing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Avengers: Endgame” is a 9,90/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Avengers: Endgame” is now completed.

I’m not saying that I cried, but I cried.

Movie Review: The Abyss (1989)

Sci-fi. A genre that I hold very closely to my heart. From “Star Wars” to “Blade Runner” to “Ex Machina”, there’s a ton of movies/shows/books/games/etc. within the genre. And one of the main reasons why I adore the genre so much is that there are so many kinds of stories that can be told within the genre. From pew pew laser action to brain-y AI philosophizing, it’s a versatile genre. So let’s explore another one of its depths.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Abyss”.

After an American nuclear submarine mysteriously sinks to the bottom of the ocean, a diving crew gets tasked with diving down there to investigate what might have happened to it. And soon they discover something they never expected to find down there.  So now we have our underwater thriller with a potential sci-fi twist. And yeah, this plot is great. What we have here is not just people finding something strange and never before seen, but it’s also about people stuck in a claustrophobic situation and how that affects them. And it makes the plot so much deeper. The plot here is tense, engaging, awe-inspiring, and just overall enjoyable.

The characters in this are all interesting and overall entertaining. First up we have Ed Harris as Bud Brigman, who is more or less the leader of the dive team. He’s a man willing to do a lot to get the job done, but he also cares deeply for his crew, never wanting to push them too far. He’s an interesting character who gets some decent development throughout. And Ed Harris is of course great in the role. Next we have Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Lindsey, the somewhat estranged wife of Harris’ Bud. She’s quick-witted, smart, and quite tough, making her quite an enjoyable foil to the rest of the cast. And Mastrantonio is great in the role. Next we have Michael Biehn as Lieutenant Coffey, the leader of some Navy SEALs who have been tasked with helping out on this dive. He’s tough and a little bit of a dick, but he’s not a straight up bad person. And he gets some really interesting development through the movie that I won’t explain any further. And Biehn is great in the role, it’s probably the best I’ve ever seen him. And we get some supporting performances from people like Leo Burmester, Todd Graff, Kimberly Scott, John Bedford Lloyd, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Alan Silvestri, and it was absolutely fantastic. His score has a way of evoking a sense of awe and wonder, as well as building tension. It captures many kinds of emotions, and just overall elevates the movie quite a bit. It’s seriously fantastic.

“The Abyss” was written and directed by James Cameron, and he did a great job with all that. His directing really evokes that sense of claustrophobia that a movie set under the sea should be able to bring. And this sense of claustrophobia of course gives the movie some really solid suspense that kept me on the edge of my seat for a good chunk of it. And Mikael Salomon’s cinematography is stunning, especially in the many ways it plays around with lighting. Combine that with the absolutely amazing visual effects, and you got one of the most visually stunning movies around.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 62/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best Visual Effects. It was also nominated for an additional 3 Oscars in the categories of Best Cinematography, Best Set Decoration, and Best Sound.

“The Abyss” is a highly ambitious movie from James Cameron, and I think it worked out incredibly well. It has a great plot, good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and fantastic directing/cinematography/visual effects. Time for my final score. *Blub*. My final score for “The Abyss” is a 9,86/10. Which of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Abyss” is now completed.

Thank god that it wasn’t… abyssmal.

Movie Review: Avengers: Infinity War (2018)

10 years. That is how long the Marvel Cinematic Universe has existed. Starting with 2008’s “Iron Man”, it has gone to become one of the biggest franchises in cinema. Say what you want about the movies themselves, but you can’t deny the impact this franchise has had on modern cinema. And now it’s time to talk about it’s latest outing. And it’s a big one.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Avengers: Infinity War”.

A powerful alien named Thanos (Josh Brolin) in on a quest to find all of the infinity stones so he can carry out a devastating plan. So the heroes of the Marvel universe have to team up to try and stop him. And that’s about as in-depth as I will go with the plot details in case anyone reading this hasn’t seen it yet (but want to). But what I can say is that there’s a lot of stuff going on throughout this plot, with several threads in various locations. I don’t envy any filmmaker who has to try and balance this many plot threads. But they really nailed it with this one. It’s a big, epic comic book plot that is surprisingly dark and emotionally charged while still giving us the fun superhero romp that we expect from these Marvel movies. It even made me tear up. Yeah, this is a good plot.

The characters in this are plentiful, and while I would’ve liked a bit more out of some of them, I understand why some were a little more sidelined, especially since the filmmakers had to get so many in there in general. Not gonna go through all that get development, but I will say that they’re handled very well. And those that doesn’t get as much here, they’re still cool and entertaining and well set up through the other movies. But let’s talk about Josh Brolin as Thanos. Holy shit, he is an awesome villain. Not only is he a big and intimidating new foe, but they actually give him layers and make him a compelling antagonist. You understand his motivation, even if you don’t necessarily agree with him. And that’s how some of the best villains work. And Brolin delivers a great performance. Sure, Thanos is a big CGI beast, but Brolin did the motion capture for it, and every little aspect of his performance shines through here. Now to just list a fuckload of actors here because they need to be mentioned, but I can’t go through ’em in detail (too many for that). Robert Downey Jr, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Scarlett Johansson, Don Cheadle, Chadwick Boseman, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Chris Pratt, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Dave Bautista, Anthony Mackie, Letitia Wright, Tim Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Sebastian Stan, Benedict Wong, Danai Gurira, Pom Klementieff, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Gwyneth Paltrow, Peter Dinklage, William Hurt, Terry Notary, Tom Vaughan-Lawlor, Michael James Shaw, Carrie Coon, Stan Lee, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba, Kerry Condon, and so many more (some I don’t wanna spoil). Fuck, that’s a lot of actors. All doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Alan Silvestri, and it is stunning. A lot of big brass, some smaller and more emotional string pieces, and a few other things. It’s a score that perfectly complements the movie and fits each scene perfectly. It’s one of those scores that really added to the movie.

This movie was directed by Joe & Anthony Russo. And I have to say, well done, you two. Their directing here is big and sweeping (makes sense for a flick of this size), yet also tight and intimate, bringing good insight into the turmoil of the characters. And compared to the action scenes of their previous MCU outings, there’s not a lot of “Bourne” inspired shaky-cam here. It’s more locked down, giving us a better look at all the crazy shit that’s going on. Yes, there are a few shaky shots, but those make a bit of sense for their respective bits. But the action in general is shot relatively smoothly and it’s all quite badass. Heroes and villains tossing each other around and punching each other and shooting each other, and it’s all so much fun. It’s also surprisingly heavy-hitting, with every attack/hit feeling like there’s a lot of actual impact behind it. And at this point I don’t think I need to talk about the visual effects, they’re pretty much guaranteed to be extraordinary in these movies. And they are so here too. And Trent Opaloch’s cinematography is fantastic too, there are some truly breathtaking shots in this.

This movie just came out, but it has already been really well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 68/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 9,1/10 and is ranked #9 on the “Top 250” list.

“Avengers: Infinity War” is pretty much everything you could want from this type of movie. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and great directing/cinematography/visual effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Avengers: Infinity War” is a 9,73/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My final score for “Avengers: Infinity War” is now completed.

I honestly have no idea where they’ll go from here…

Movie Review: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

This is a very special review. Some of you might think my reasoning for it is because both “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” are coming out soon, and that could be a valid argument for it, but that is wrong in this case. I am reviewing this movie in honor of a friend who passed away recently. He was a big fan of the Captain, and I thought that this was the best way I could honor him on here. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Captain America: The First Avenger”.

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is a young man who just wants to serve his country, but isn’t allowed due to his scrawny build. But one day he takes part in a secret government experiment that turns him into a super soldier. And shortly after this he finds himself on the path to taking down Hydra, an evil nazi death cult led by the evil Johann “Red Skull” Schmidt (Hugo Weaving). So now we have our origin story. And I have to say, I found myself more invested in the plot here than I did the first time I watched it. Sure, I’m not gonna sit here and pretend like this is the most original or even most well written plot ever, but it’s far from bad… in fact, it’s quite good. On one hand you get a fun WW2 adventure with a sci-fi twist, and on the other you get an inspiring tale of overcoming great adversity despite your limitations. The plot isn’t too deep and complicated, but it makes up for that in how inspiring and entertaining it is.

The characters here are unique, interesting, and entertaining. Chris Evans plays Steve Rogers/Captain America, a young man who’s been picked on most of his life. But despite this he has always stood up to bullies and bad people, always willing to give his life for what he cares about. He’s a truly inspiring character if I’ve ever seen one. And Evans is great in the role. Hayley Atwell plays Peggy Carter, a special agent that Steve works with throughout the movie. She’s tough but she does also have a more vulnerable side, making her feel a bit more layered than some characters with similar setups. And Atwell is great in the role. Then we have Tommy Lee Jones as colonel Chester Phillips, Steve’s superior and a tough but fair military man. And Tommy Lee Jones is very Tommy Lee Jones in the role… AKA really good. Then we have Hugo Weaving as Johann Schmidt, AKA Red Skull, AKA evil nazi death cult leader, AKA villain. And he’s suitably intimidating in the role, making the character a bit more interesting in the process. The character in itself isn’t very deep, but Weaving’s performance is what makes him so interesting and memorable. So yeah, Weaving is really good. Then we have Sebastian Stan as James “Bucky” Barnes, Steve’s best friend. You do get a good feel of their friendship and the character is decently interesting. And Stan is really good in the role. And throughout the movie you get some really solid supporting performances from people like Dominic Cooper, Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones, Neal McDonough, Kenneth Choi, Richard Armitage, Derek Luke, JJ Feild, and many more. It’s a very well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Alan Silvestri and I thought it was pretty great. What I like about it is that it aims to capture the feel of inspiration and wonder that comes with Steve’s journey from Brooklyn boy to Captain America. And it does help build some decent tension at times. And in general the score really inspires me to want to go out and do some good. So yeah, the music is great.

The movie was directed by Joe Johnston and I think he did a really good job here. What I like about his direction is that he gives the movie a very retro vibe, often emulating action-adventures of the past. And I think that style really works well for the story and setting. It even bleeds through into the action scenes which are intense, badass, and just a ton of fun.

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 66/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

While it isn’t necessarily the best MCU film, “Captain America: The First Avenger” is an inspiring and highly entertaining action movie. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and really good directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Captain America: The First Avenger” is a 9,60/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Captain America: The First Avenger” is now completed.

Here’s to you, Eric… you are sorely missed. Rest in peace, my friend.

Movie Review: Van Helsing (2004)

The Month of Spooks continues. And what’s this? An adventure movie featuring classic monsters? That’s cool. I mean, how could it possibly go wrong?

Ladies and gentlemen… “Van Helsing”.

The story follows legendary monster hunter Van Helsing (Hugh Jackman) as he travels to Transylvania with a friar named Carl (David Wenham). Why are they traveling to Transylvania? Obviously they’re traveling there to kill Dracula (Richard Roxburgh). So now we have our adventure plot featuring classic monsters. And is it any good? No… it’s bad. There’s no point in the plot where I’m even remotely interested in what is happening. They have a fun idea that could make for a fun little easy-breezy adventure plot. But it somehow manages to be both paper-thin and convoluted at the same time. It’s also duller than dishwater, fucking boring. And the tone is inconsistent, at best. The plot here is bad. I’m not gonna try to put it in a more elaborate way… it’s bad.

The characters have motivations (sort of)… but I never found myself giving a single shit about any of them. Hugh Jackman plays the titular Van Helsing, monster hunter extraordinaire. He has an okay motivation for what he does (sort of), but it never plays into the plot in any significant way, so I could never care about it. And Hugh Jackman… I love Hugh Jackman, but he’s not very good in this. Kate Beckinsale plays a woman that Van Helsing runs into pretty early on, and she’s somehow important to it all because she’s related to some big shot person. It was mentioned like twice and it was so poorly delivered that it never stuck to my mind. She’s supposed to be a badass lady, which is something I like seeing in a movie… but here she comes off as more of a lucky idiot, an idiot savant as it’s usually called. And her attempt at an accent here? Nope, no good. Beckinsale is bad in this. David Wenham plays Carl, the friar that is joining Van Helsing on this journey. He’s meant as a comic relief, but he never really says anything funny. Wenham is… okay in the role. Richard Roxburgh plays Dracula in this and his performance is awful… but in the right way. The performance has more ham than a Christmas buffet, and it made me laugh. It doesn’t really give the movie any points, but it at least made some scenes easier to get through than others. There are talented actors in this, but none of them are particularly good in it.

The score for the movie was composed by Alan Silvestri and it is pretty good. Here’s why it doesn’t work though… the overall quality of everything else is so low that this epic and booming score doesn’t quite match up with what’s happening on screen. It just feels off.

This movie was directed by Stephen Sommers and he did a meh job. It feels so bland and uninteresting that nothing about what I was seeing interested me. The action too has a sever lack of tension… and impact… and fun… it’s fucking boring. There’s also an overload of shitty CG. And to those giving the “Well, it was the early 2000s” argument”: The final “Lord of the Rings” movie came out the year before and the CG in that looks amazing. There was also an overload of it. Sure, there were a few props, costumes, and sets that looked pretty good, but they rarely got as much focus as the terrible computer effects.

This movie hasn’t been particularly well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 23% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 35/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars (Wut?). And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,0/10.

“Van Helsing” is bad… just bad. It has a bad plot, bad characters, bad performances, okay music, and bad directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Van Helsing” is a 4,32/10. I didn’t like it and I would recommend skipping it.

My review of “Van Helsing” is now completed.

*Annoyed groan*

Movie Review: Identity (2003)

Who doesn’t love a good mystery? I don’t mean in real life, because murder is fucking horrible, but I mean in movies and television shows. There’s something about murder mysteries that I just love. Even when they’re not that great and kind of formulaic (like most crime procedurals), I still enjoy watching them.

Ladies and gents… “Identity”.

It was a dark and stormy night… what, I’m not trying to be funny, it was actually dark and stormy. Anyway, a group of strangers find themselves stranded at a motel in the middle of nowhere during this weird storm. And soon they start getting killed off one by one. Basically it’s “And then there were none” in a shitty Nevada motel. But that is a formula that has proven successful in many different movies and shows, so maybe it could work here too. And while there are a lot of conveniences in this plot, it is still overall an eerie and suspenseful mystery. I found myself invested in this plot, trying to figure out who the hell was guilty. There are also a few twists in this movie that I will not spoil, but let me just say that they will polarize audiences. I for one thought they were for the most part pretty good. It’s really hard to explain why some of them worked so well without spoiling the twists, but I honestly thought that they did work pretty well. The only twist I’m a bit iffy on is the final one. It’s not awful and doesn’t detract too much from the plot, but it did feel a bit odd. But overall this is an interesting mystery that has some flaws.

The characters in this movie are pretty shallow and not the most interesting. I didn’t really hate them, but I also didn’t love any of them… they were okay. But while the characters weren’t the most compelling, the performances were great. I wouldn’t exactly call any bad, all of them were good, so I’m just gonna list some of the actors. John Cusack, Ray Liotta, John C. McGinley, Amanda Peet, John Hawkes, Clea DuVall, William Lee Scott, Jake Busey, and Alfred Molina.

The score for the movie was composed by Alan Silvestri and it was great. The stuff he composed for this movie is eerie, tense, and just overall very well composed. It really helped elevate some of the scenes throughout.

This movie was directed by James Mangold and yes, I missed that this was a Mangold movie during the “Mangoldathon” and I feel a little bit of shame over that. Still, better late than never. Anyway, I thought he did a really good job here. The shots look great and he manages to create a good amount of suspense with his direction. The biggest problem with the directing is that there’s one obvious (and kind of dumb) jumpscare in the movie, but it doesn’t bring the movie down for me. It’s quick moment, over in a second, nothing to be angry about. But overall his directing here is really good. Really, this is a damn pretty movie.

This movie has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 62% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 64/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“Identity” is a really interesting albeit flawed thriller. It features a good plot, okay characters, really good performances, great music, and great directing. The flaws come from some notable conveniences and the final twist being a bit odd, and the characters aren’t really the most compelling. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Identity” is an 8,97/10. It’s flawed, but I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Identity” is now completed.

I’m so happy that this movie gave me an excuse to write “It was a dark and stormy night”… always wanted to do that.