Movie Review: Spider-Man 2 (2004)

And so my series of reviews of Raimi-directed “Spider-Man” movies continues!

Ladies and gents… “Spider-Man 2”.

As Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) tries to balance college, work, and being the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, he runs into even more trouble when scientist Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) becomes the villainous Doc Ock. So now we have our sequel. It’s bigger, but does that make it better? Yes, very much so. It has a lot of themes to balance, and it manages to do that beautifully. At times it’s fun, at times it breaks the viewer’s heart, at times it’s uplifting. It takes all its various themes and creates a web (HA!) that is a perfect representation of Spider-Man and his adventures.

The characters are colorful, flawed, layered, fun, and overall just really interesting. Tobey Maguire reprises his role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Seeing his development throughout here is fascinating. Yes, you do get a lot of the charming awkwardness seen in the first movie, but you also get to see a lot of new sides to him that came forward after the events of the first movie, and from things that happen here. And Maguire is great in the role. Alfred Molina plays Otto Octavius, the brilliant scientist who becomes the villain of the story. He’s under constant conflict with himself throughout, making him quite a compelling character. And Molina is great in the role. Kirsten Dunst returns as Mary-Jane Watson, and she gets some decent development throughout. And Dunst is good in the role. James Franco returns as Harry Osborne, who also has some interesting character drama going on, with Franco giving a great performance. We also get supporting work from people like Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons (still the best), Bill Nunn, Dylan Baker, Daniel Gillies, Donna Murphy, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As with the first movie, the score was composed by Danny Elfman, and he somehow managed to one-up himself. The score here of course brings back a lot of the sweeping heroics of the first, while also adding in a lot of nice little touches that makes it stand out. Really, it’s amazing, one of the best scores of the time. And there’s the odd licensed track used throughout that works quite well too.

As with the first movie (and as mentioned in the opening of this review), this movie was directed by Sam Raimi, who (like Elfman) upped his game. His camptastic sense of energy makes a triumphant return, which makes it electrifying to watch, even in the “slower” scenes. It also adds a lot to the action scenes, which are a blast to watch, thanks to the energetic, visceral feel that Raimi gives to them. There’s one scene in particular that really encapsulates that, and if you’ve seen this movie, then you probably know which one I’m talking about. And to bring up something I mentioned in my previous “Spider-Man” review, the effects in this still hold up. The last one had a lot of rough stuff, but the ones in this one… still so good.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 83/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best Visual Effects. It also got an additional 2 nominations in the categories of Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing.

“Spider-Man 2” is a sequel that takes everything that was good about the first one, and improves on it significantly. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/action/effects. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “Spider-Man 2” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Spider-Man 2” is now completed.

Here’s a fun anecdote: As I was (re)watching this, I realized that I actually hadn’t seen this one before. My mind had tricked me into thinking that I had seen it before, when I hadn’t. It’s quite interesting.

Series Review: Angie Tribeca – Season 1 (2016)

Police work is serious business. Finding killers, stopping drug dealers, preventing further thefts. So it’s interesting when the profession is played around with in film and tv in a more comedic format. We’ve gotten quite a few variations on that throughout the years, and today’s review is of one such thing.

Ladies and gents… “Angie Tribeca” season 1.

Angie Tribeca (Rashida Jones) is a tough-as-nails, no nonsense, lone wolf of a police detective in an LAPD precinct. But her whole life will change when she’s assigned a new partner (Hayes MacArthur) who will help her solve some really horrible crimes, like the apparent suicide of several bakers, or the death of a beloved ventriloquist. So now we have our cop comedy (copedy?). And what I like about the plot(s) of this show is that it kind of follows the “Airplane!” mentality of storytelling, in that it doesn’t immediately feel like a comedy until they start involving the jokes and other silly things throughout. It gives it a fun and (in these modern times) refreshing feel that I always loved following. And each case that the team takes on is of course a fun spin on the typical cop formula as well. Good stuff.

The characters in this take some of the established characteristics of serious cop shows and turns them into sillier and slightly more incompetent versions of them. First up we have Rashida Jones as Angie Tribeca, who respresents the typical “I had a partner, and now I don’t want a partner” badass who might learn to warm up to a new partner. She’s a good cop, but can be a bit impulsive form time to time. And Jones is great in the role. Then we have Hayes MacArthur as Jay Geils, Angie’s new partner in crime-solving. He shows a decent amount of deductive reasoning, but he is also not the smartest tool in the shed. And MacArthur is great in the role. Next up we have Jere Burns as Chet Atkins, Angie’s and Jay’s lieutenant. He’s loud and a bit stuck up, but ultimately cares about his precinct and is often involved in operations. And Burns is great in the role. Then we have Andree Vermeulen as Monica, a medical examiner who works at the precinct. She’s smart and is probably the one who is the best at actually doing her job at this precinct. And Vermeulen is really good in the role. Then we have Deon Cole as Tanner, another detective from the precinct. He’s a little harder to pin down as a character, but he is an enjoyable character who gets some good moments throughout. And Cole is really good in the role. And finally we have detective David Hoffman, played by Jagger… a german shepherd. Yes. One of the main players is a dog. And there’s a really funny recurring joke about him throughout that I will not spoil. But I can safely say that Jagger is a good boy. Then you get tons of great supporting work throughout from people like Alfred Molina (who might be my favorite in the show), Lisa Kudrow, Gary Cole, John Michael Higgins, and so many more. A lot of talented people in this.

The score for “Angie Tribeca” was composed by Jim Latham, and I think it was really good. Kind of like I mentioned with the plot, the music takes a sort of “Airplane!” approach where it’s done like it’s not in on the joke, and has a fairly serious sound, which adds to the absurdity of the entire thing, which improves on a lot of scenes throughout.

The show was created by Steve Carell and his wife Nancy, and written/directed by them (and various other people). And they’ve created something really fun here. It’s mostly shot like a relatively serious show (again, kind of like “Airplane!”), but it’s filled with a lot of gags. Speaking of which, the comedy in this copedy (I am gonna start using that term from now on) is absolutely hilarious. I’d say that it’s a mix of “Naked Gun” and “Hot Fuzz”. It can be extremely silly (“Naked Gun”) and it can be snappy and self-award (“Hot Fuzz”), while still feeling like it’s own thing. I don’t think there’s any joke in this that I found bad. I always laughed, whether through a small chuckle or a gut-busting laughter. It’s so much fun.

This show/season has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 78/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

Season 1 of “Angie Tribeca” is the type of silliness that we don’t really get much of these days, so I find the show quite refreshing. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, good music, good directing, and fantastic comedy. Time for my final score. *FREEZE!*. My final score for season 1 of “Angie Tribeca” is a 9,84/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Angie Tribeca” season 1 is now completed.

Sometimes you just need a good laugh.

Movie Review: Wonder Woman (2009)

With WB/DC very recently having released their new DCEU movie “Wonder Woman”, and with my often proclaimed love for DC animation I thought it was a good time to go back a few years and review the last movie that had “Wonder Woman” in the title. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen, she is… “Wonder Woman”!

After having crashed on the mysterious island of Themyscira, U.S. army pilot Steve Trevor (Nathan Fillion) finds himself at the mercy of the island’s inhabitants, the Amazons. And when they deem him a non-hostile, they aim to bring him back to modern civilization. The one who gets tasked with this is none other than the island’s princess, Diana (Keri Russell). But it quickly becomes more than just a delivery mission as Ares (Alfred Molina), the god of war escapes from Themyscira’s prison. Which means that Diana and Steve have to team up to stop Ares from creating neverending chaos and destruction. And yeah, this plot is really good. While not the deepest, as a matter of fact it’s quite shallow, it still gives us a good insight into Diana’s origin and into the mythology of her world. There are also a few okay twists throughout the plot, giving it a little extra meat on the bone so to speak. Yeah, it’s a good plot.

The characters here are all entertaining and get a surprising amount of depth. Diana is portrayed as this young and brave woman that wants to see the world and see what’s beyond Themyscira, to learn what is out there. And Keri Russell does a really good job voicing her. Steve Trevor, as he’s presented here, is a bit of a pig. He’s not necessarily a bad person, he’s just kind of a womanizer. But he does get a decent amount of character development throughout the movie as he works with Diana, and Nathan Fillion is just great in the role. Ares is portrayed as a kind of mad but still intelligent warrior who wants nothing but war and hate, and Alfred Molina is great in the role. Hyppolita, Queen of the Amazons. A badass woman who wants the best for her daughter, while also trying to be a good leader. She’s voiced by Virginia Madesen who does a great job in the role. Next up we have Artemis, the right hand woman of the queen, and she’s just a badass. She’s voiced by Rosario Dawson who’s Rosario Awesome in the role. Really, this is just an overall well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Christopher Drake and it was pretty great. It was big, dramatic, epic, exciting, and just overall fit the movie very well. Definitely one of the best scores I’ve heard from one of these direct-to-video DC movies.

This movie was directed by Lauren Montgomery and she did a great job here. The scenes flow very well and none of them feel out of place or like they overstay their welcome. And since this is an animated movie, how is the animation? It’s quite good. Remember, we’re judging this based on direct-to-video animations, since they (this included) don’t get the same budget big animated features do. But yeah, overall the animation here is quite good. Everything flows nicely and just looks overall good. Especially the action scenes which are just fun and exciting and badass.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“Wonder Woman” is another great DC animated movie. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and really good animation. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Wonder Woman” is a 9,78/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Wonder Woman” (the animated one) is now completed.

If you’re wondering if I will review the new live action movie, I might. Not sure exactly when, but it will probably happen in the near-ish future.

 

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.

Movie Review: Justice League Dark (2017)

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I have stated my love for the DC animated movies a whole bunch of times on this blog, so I’m not gonna annoy you with that again. Instead I’m just gonna say this: First review of a 2017 release on this blog… exciting!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Justice League Dark”!

People are going crazy and killing each other because of some supposedly supernatural threat. So Batman (Jason O’Mara) travels to various places to recruit some magic heroes such as John Constantine (Matt Ryan), Zatanna (Camilla Luddington), and Deadman (Nicholas Turturro) to find out what the hell is going on and then find a way to stop it. And from that we get very well paced and entertaining plot. The main plot is a bit standard, but it’s not bad at all, it is in fact very entertaining. My biggest problem comes in the form of a few exposition dump scenes. I get that some of these characters aren’t the most well known and because of that need some establishing, but the ways that they get established contain a lot of exposition, and that brought it down just a bit. Again, the plot overall was good, but those few infodump scenes knocked it down a little for me.

The characters are interesting and really entertaining. Jason O’Mara has in previous projects established himself to be a pretty solid Batman, and in this one it’s no different, he did a really good job. Matt Ryan was awesome as Constantine, but that is something I knew already from the “Constantine” TV show and from his one-episode appearance on “Arrow”. But it was so great having him reprise the role because he is so great as the character. Nicholas Turturro (Sidenote: Brother of John Turturro) was really good as Deadman. Though to be honest, I really knew nothing of the character prior to this. But the performance itself was fun and good. Next we have Camilla Luddington as Zatanna, and she did a really solid job. And I also feel like mentioning that Ray Chase was really good as Etrigan… not much else I can add there. There are also some really good supporting performances from poeple like Jeremy Davies, Rosario Dawson, Jerry O’Connell, Roger Cross, and Enrico Colantoni.

The original score for the movie was composed by Robert J. Kral and I think that what he composed for the movie was good. Nothing mindblowing or even great, but definitely good, fitting the scenes very well.

This movie was directed by Jay Oliva, a DC animation regular. And since this is an animated movie… how is the animation? It’s actually really good, I mean… for a DC animated direct-to-video budget. But while the animation isn’t the most detailed, it flows very well and looks really good, especially in the action scenes. Especially the last big action scene, that stuff looks pretty great. Also, there’s some violent imagery in this movie. I mean, there’s blood, there’s some slightly brutal stuff going on. Not as brutal as maybe “Dredd”, but still pretty violent for this type of movie. So I’d actually argue that the R-rating on this movie is pretty justified, compared to “The Killing Joke”. The language is still PG-13, but the imagery and such is R.

Since this movie just came out and is a direct-to-video feature, it barely has any reception to look at. You know, at least from the sites I use. But I can at least say that on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“Justice League Dark” is another solid DC animated movie that I had a lot of fun with. It has a good plot, good characters, great voice acting, good music, really good animation, and some great action. However, I will bring it down a notch because of those infodump scenes… could have been handled a bit smoother. Time for my final score. *Uses magic spell to summon envelope*. My final score for “Justice League Dark” is a 9,12/10. So even though it’s not perfect, I’d still say that it’s worth buying!
worth-buying

My review of “Justice League Dark” is now completed.

Can we just have Matt Ryan playing every incarnation of John Constantine? Please.

 

 

 

Movie Review: Maverick (1994)

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As you may have noticed, I love westerns. I’m gonna admit, they are my favorite type of movies. There are a lot of great ones out there. Then there are the not so good ones like “The Lone Ranger (2013)” and “Jonah Hex (2010)”. A lot of times you can see a few re-occuring themes in the good ones, yet it is so good. But then you have some of the more different ones that mix in comedy or Quentin Fucking Tarantino. The movie of today we are looking at contains one of those things, and no it is not the latter of the two. This is a more comedic take on the western genre.

Sirs and ma’ams, the poker playing western comedy…Maverick.

This movie is as you may have realized, during the wild west. It follows a man named Bret Maverick (Mel Gibson) who is stuck, with his ass on a horse, his neck in a noose that is attached to an old tree. He has been put there by a gang led by a man simply called Angel (Alfred Molina). When Angel and his gang leaves, they leave a present for Maverick and the horse…a bunch of motherfucking rattlesnakes. So from that point we get Maverick narrating combined with a long-ass flashback to what the hell got him into that situation. It is mainly because of Maverick wanting to get to a poker tournament with a price of half a million dollars and an entry fee of 25 grand that gets him into a lot of comedic situations that leads up to the point at the beginning. A lot of these situations involve an attractive young woman by the name of Annabelle Bransford (Jodie Foster) and a Marshall named Zane Cooper (James Garner). While the main story is simple enough to follow and the situations are fun to experience through the movie, a lot of times it doesn’t make sense. It is just too weird sometimes. Also, Maverick mostly gets out of these situations with the help of some dumb luck. Also, this movie uses a lot of twists that make no sense and are not the most clever ones to exist. I mean, a lot of these twists are just unnecessary and could have been left out.

The characters are just, awesome! They are unique and just a hell of a good time to watch. They are all horribly flawed and sometimes somewhat douchey…but I don’t fucking care! This is a simple western, we don’t come here to get complex characters, we come to get entertained! And entertainment is most certainly what we get. There is nothing else to say.

Music is for the most part your typical western stuff…in other words good. But there are a few songs that are not even possible to be existing during this time period. And those are a few country songs. But the fact that they are used are still pretty clever since there are a handful of country musicians acting in this movie. Good job Maverick, you clever movie.

Just to mention, Maverick himself in this movie is a little bit of a coward. But he still does more to help than some characters do. Also there is one of the most awesome scenes ever in this when Maverick is in a bank that gets robbed by Danny Glover and his crew. Why is that awesome? Because when Danny Glover looks at Maverick he has this look like “I recognize you, but how? Nah”. It is just a clever nod to them being a team in the “Lethal Weapon” Movies.

Time for my western movie segment called “Gunfights” where I give my opinion on the gunfights in the movies since westerns tend to have those. And they were okay, nothing special. Fun, but a little shallow. They weren’t “Tombstone” quality, but they worked I guess.

Reception for “Maverick” was overall…not bad. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 74% rating. Metacritic doesn’t even know what this movie is. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. He gave it a neat quote to go with it:

“The first lighthearted, laugh-oriented family Western in a long time, and one of the nice things about it is, it doesn’t feel the need to justify its existence. It acts like it’s the most natural thing in the world to be a Western.”

It got the score of 7,0/10 on imdb.com

So overall, “Maverick” wasn’t bad. It was highly entertaining and is perfect popcorn material. Just make sure you don’t choke on it when laughing at the funny parts (which are fairly plenty). I am giving “Maverick” an 8/10. It is very entertaining and is worth a watch.

Wow, I just reviewed a western that wasn’t too well known.

Later.