Movie Review: Out of Sight (1998)

Hey. Sorry for the lack of blog posts lately. Had a bad case of the lazy. But now I’m back. And hopefully we’ll get some consistency in post frequency from it. Anyway, first review of the year, here we go!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Out of Sight”.

After he escapes from prison, career criminal Jack Foley (George Clooney) has to go on the run and try to avoid a U.S. Marshal (Jennifer Lopez) that he shares a connection with. So now we have our crime-caper plot. And it’s a good one. It doesn’t rely that much on shocking twists and turns for its narrative, instead just relying on a fast pace and a sort of sex appeal that gives it a unique vibe that I can’t say I’ve seen much of in crime-capers. But yeah, the plot here is just generally fun, fast, and quite entertaining.

The characters in this are colorful, interesting, and overall quite entertaining. George Clooney plays Jack Foley, the crook at the center of this story. I’d say he’s like a less cool-headed version of Danny Ocean, but you can definitely recognize some elements of that character in this one. Though Foley does stand out as his own entity and I find him to be quite an entertaining protagonist. And Clooney is great in the role. Next we have Jennifer Lopez as U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens… no, wait… sorry, wrong Elmore Leonard franchise… U.S. Marhsal Karen Sisco, that’s her name. She’s a tough, sexy, and capable woman who is on the hunt for our main protagonist. She’s pretty fun and has an enjoyable dynamic with Foley. And Lopez is really good in the role. We also get supporting turns from people like Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Steve Zahn, Catherine Keener, Dennis Farina, Luis Guzmán, Albert Brooks, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by David Holmes, and it’s awesome. It’s funky, it’s jazzy, and it captures the sort of sly sex appeal that the plot is going for, which adds to the overall fun factor of the entire thing. My favorite aspect of it is how many slick basslines there are throughout, I love the inclusion of them. There are also a few licensed tracks used throughout, and they work well in their respective scenes. So yeah, this movie has great music.

Based on a novel by Elmore Leonard (hence the joke from earlier), this movie was written by Scott Frank, and directed by Steven Soderbergh. And as a fan of “Justified” (another Elmore Leonard adaptation), the writings and overall style of this movie appeals to me. It has a similar kind of energy and snappiness to “Justified”, and that just makes it incredibly watchable for me. But even discounting my love for the aforementioned tv show, the movie just has this sort of infectious energy that I find quite fun. And even through the fun, it manages to have a decent bit of suspense throughout, giving it a bit of a welcome edge.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 85/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10. The movie was nominated for two Oscars in the categories of Best adapted screenplay, and Best film editing.

“Out of Sight” really surprised me, it’s one hell of an enjoyable movie. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Out of Sight” is a 9,65/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Out of Sight” is now completed.

Despite having seen multiple Elmore Leonard adaptations, I haven’t read any of his books. Might need to fix that soon.

 

Movie Review: A Most Violent Year (2014)

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If you’re the boss of a company, you want what’s best for said company. So therefore you might have to do some stuff you might not have wanted to do in the first place to keep it running. But you also have to think about your family (if you have one), and make sure they are healthy and good. It is quite the dilemma.

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare for… “A Most Violent Year”.

We follow Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac), an ambitious immigrant in New York City, year 1981. He runs a prtty successful business that runs oil. But as his trucks get robbed time and time gain, he has to find a way to keep his business safe. He also have to make sure his wife (Jessica Chastain) and kids are safe. And I found it all very interesting. Not only that but I was also riveted by the story and how it unfolded. And even though the story is a work of fiction, it still felt like something that could be real. It is also surprisingly suspenseful, even though it isn’t really a thriller. And don’t get fooled by the title, this is a pretty quiet drama, not an action movie. The plot also had some prety great twists here and tehre And I found it all to make a pretty great story.

The characters are fleshed out, entertaining and actually kind of unique in a sense. Oscar Isaac gives a terrific performance as Abel, a man who wants to go legit but gets forced into some not as legit stuff. So in a way he is kind of like Michael Corleone from “The Godfather”. Jessica Chastain as his wife was also pretty great, but that doesn’t surprise me since she’s been great in other things. David Oyelowo played a D.A. ‘(District attorney) in the movie and he was pretty great as well. Also, Albert Brooks was in this movie and while not as fantastic as he was in “Drive”, he was still great in this movie. Every performance in this movie was pretty great, I found no weak link here.

The score for the movie was done by Alex Ebert (Sidenote: No relation to movie critic Roger Ebert). And I gotta say, it is a very ominous and even a little bone-chilling score… and I fucking love it. Sure, it’s not as dark and terrifying as “Requiem For a Dream” (not comparing, just saying), but it is still pretty bone-chilling and haunting. It is also very well done and sounds perfect. It is definitely something I’d want for a suspenseful movie. I mean, some of the suspense actually comes from the score. So I do think that it really fit the movie perfectly and actually showed overall quality as a score/soundtrack.

“A Most Violent Year” was directed by J.C. Chandor. And while I haven’t seen anything by him yet, I have been curious about his two previous movies for a while. One of them is “All is Lost” and the other one is “Margin Call”. Anyway, Chandor did a great job directing this movie, the shots line up perfectly and it is overall very well-directed. I also really liked the cinematography by Bradford Young, it looked fantastic. His cinematography almost gives the movie a David Fincher-esque style/quality to it, and I love that shit. I also gotta mention that the writing in the movie is pretty fucking great. The dialogue is fantastic and it all feels very natural. Also, Chandor is the writer of the movie, so he did two great things with this movie!

This movie has been received pretty damn well. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 90% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 79/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

“A Most Violent Year” is one of the most surprisingly great movies I have seen in a while. It has a fantastic plot with some great twists, fantastic performances & characters, a terrific score, great direction, excellent cinematography and great writing. Time for my final score. Jeff! Get over here! *Punches Jeff in face*. Maybe that was a little too violent, huh Jeff? My final score for “A Most Violent Year” is a 9,87/10. It most definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “A Most Violent Year” is now completed.

Onwards to J.C. Chandor’s other movies!

Movie Review: Taxi Driver (1976)

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Martin Scorsese is known these days as one of the greatest directors of all time, and for good reason. He has made some truly great movies such as “The Departed” and “Shutter Island”. But now it is time to take a look at one of his oldest movies which a lot of people call one of his best IF not his best.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Taxi Driver”.

In this movie we follow mentally unstable Vietnam war Veteran Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro). Since he has trouble sleeping at night he takes a job as a nighttime taxi driver (roll credits). When driving around like this he sees every type of person New York has to offer… and that is not really a god thing. All the scum and assholes make him want to take action against it all to both try to stop it and also to save the life of the really young prostitute Iris (Jodie Foster). And with that said we have a psychological and powerful tale from the point of a mentally unstable man. Seeing the plot unfold was really interesting. The further Travis went down the rabbit hole, the more interesting everything got. And seeing as the plot never once got boring, that is awesome!

Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way first… Robert De Niro was FUCKING AWESOME in this movie! I have always liked the guy, he is a really good actor, but here he gives one of the greatest performances I have seen from anyone ever. De Niro was perfect at portraying the psychological decline of Travis. And Jodie Foster in the movie was also really good. When this movie came out in ’76 she was really young, yet her performance was still really good. And every other were also great in the movie. This movie was like “Weak performance? What the hell is that?”.

The score by Bernard Hermann was a mix of soft jazz and darkly haunting tracks. Seriously, the soundtrack will haunt my dreams after this… which technically isn’t a bad thing. And with that said, the soundtrack was great. It all fit so well into every little part that each track was used in.

When “Taxi Driver” first came out in 1976 it cause a fair amount of controversy and there were two main reasons for that. The first of them was the pretty graphic violence which I can kind of understand. But at the same time, comparing it to “Clockwork Orange” might be a bit of a stretch. Sure the violence here was graphic, but it wasn’t as disturbing as “Clockwork Orange”. The second of the reasons this was controversial is a reason I really do get. *Ahem* They cast a 13-year old girl as a prostitute! And while she is never shown naked and/or having sex in the movie, I can still kind of get behind the argument why that would stir up some controversy. Now with that informative stuff out of the way, this is a great looking movie! Scorsese is a master director who knows how to make a scene look fantastic! And he showed it fairly early in his career with this movie.

“Taxi Driver” has been VERY well-received over the years, being called “One of the greatest movies ever”. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 98% positive rating wit ha “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 93/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 4/4 stars and later added it to his “Great Movies” list. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,4/10 and is ranked #79 on the “Top 250” list. The movie was also nominated for 4 Oscars in the categories of Best Picture, Best Actor (De Niro), Best Supporting Actress (Foster) and Best Original Score. 

People, “Taxi Driver” is a great movie with a terrific plot, fantastic performances, a great score and some great direction/camera work. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “Taxi Driver” is a 9,89/10. This is a fantastic movie that of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
Seal of Approval

Review of “Taxi Driver” is completed.

You talkin’ to me?

Movie Review: Drive (2011)

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You guys know what is rare to find in movies these days? Good car scenes. And by that I don’t only mean car chases, I mean driving parts in general. Sure we have the “Fast and the Furious” franchise for the car chases, but that don’t satsify the “normal driving” parts. And “normal driving” parts are usually difficult to find if you want good ones. And good storytelling is not rare to find, but sometimes you need something that is both subtle and got something action-y. So then I heard about this movie called “Drive”. So I got curious and watched it a month or two later. So is “Drive” any good? Let’s find out!

P.S. I saw this movie first time a few years back, this review is based on me re-watching the movie now as I am older and understand shit even better.

Drivers and Driverettes…Well…Drive.

The story is set in Los Angeles and follows a guy called “Driver” (Ryan Gosling). Yes he is called Driver (or kid) in the movie, his real name is never revealed. He is a stunt guy at a movie studio, you know doing all the car crashing and what-not. He is also a mechanic at a workshop owned by his friend and boss Shannon (Bryan Cranston). He also lives a third life as a getaway driver. There’s a hundred-thousand streets in this city. You don’t need to know the route. You give me a time and a place, I give you a five minute window. Anything happens in that five minutes and I’m yours. No matter what. Anything happens a minute either side of that and you’re on your own. Do you understand?” That is the first quote we hear not only when he does his getaway driver thingy but also the first quote in the entire fucking movie. One day he meets and befriends his new neighbour Irene (Carey Mulligan) and her son Benicio (Kaden Leos). Irene’s husband Standard (Oscar Isaac) is in jail. Throughout the movie he does a fair amount of driving, he gets a lot tighter with Irene & Benicio, gets signed (by the help of Shannon) for racing by a man named Bernie Rose (Albert Brooks) and ends up in more shit than he originally intended to. The reason this review have been fairly restricted so far is that it is so difficult to not start going on about the entire story in the movie because that would be spoilers. The reason it is so difficult not to spoil is since the story is one of the best in movie history (in my opinion of course). I love it so much that I just want to get into a full discussion about it. But I can’t, this is a spoiler free blog. But yeah, I love the story. Also, the people who went into this and expected a “Fast & Furious”-esque movie will be sorely disappointed.

The characters in Drive are more flawed than a lot of characters I have seen. But that is what makes them so damn good! They have nothing that makes you think “OMG BEST CHARACTER EVER!”. However, you may like them and that is good. ’cause I know I liked them a lot even if some of them (Albert Brooks & Ron Perlman) were total dicks. One character that you’ll most likely actually like is Shannon, he is just trying to make money while also being very nice and a father figure for Driver. He is justbeinghimself and not being a dick in the process. The characters in this movie are so fucking well acted that I don’t mind if they are dicks or flawed or anything. The most well acted (my opinion acting up again) here is honestly Ryan Gosling as Driver, what a great performance! He delivers the character of Driver in such a quiet and cold manor that it can not be ignored on how great it is.

The music I didn’t care too much for at first. Not saying it is bad, just saying it is not my main cup of tea. It is a sorta techno-pop-stuff genre, but I can’t set my finger on it to 100%. It’s hard what to call it. Maybe I should just call the style…DRIVE. So yeah, good music.

Like I said on the story part is that this is not a hard boiled “Fast & Furious” movie like some people might think. This movie relies more on subtlety and philosophy and symbolism to do it’s talking. Also, this movie is beautifully filmed. It just looks amazing!

Reception for Drive was pretty much only good. For example, it won the “Best Director’s” or what it is called award from the Cannes Film Festival. It got a Rotten Tomatoes rating of 93% and is certified “Fresh”. And for once, Metacritic has a good score for a movie, the movie got a 78/100 there. Roger Ebert gave the movie a 3,5/4 stars and named it his “7th favorite movie of 2011”. To quote him:

“Here is a movie with respect for writing, acting, and craft. It has respect for knowledgeable moviegoers.”

The imdb rating for the movie at the time of this review is a 7,8/10. Damn.

So based on my weird opinions on “Drive”, I am giving the movie a 9,99/10. This movie is at the time of this review, my new favorite movie with “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” falling not far behind. I think it’s not only worth checking out, I also think that you should buy this movie if you haven’t. Please, do it NOW!!!

I reviewed “Drive”, my new favorite movie.

See you later!