Movie Review: Blaze (2018)

Biopics are fascinating. They give us a glimpse into a real life individual’s personal life, while also trying to provide a couple hours of entertainment. And striking the right balance between fact and compelling drama can be tough. But some people manage it.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Blaze”.

The story follows the life and times of Blaze Foley (Ben Dickey), a raggedy man with a talent for music. From his humble beginnings, and through the highs and lows, including his marriage to Sybil Rosen (Alia Shawkat), we get a good glimpse into Foley’s life. And I think that the plot here is really good. There are elements that we recognize from other biopics, but the way they’re used throughout “Blaze” feels fresh, due to the gentle and nuanced writing. It creates a fascinating tale that can be as heartbreaking as it is warmly nostalgic. The deliberately slow pace might prove a bit frustrating for some, but I thought it worked very well for the story here.

The characters here are flawed, nuanced, charming, and overall feel very real. Ben Dickey plays the titular musician. A likable man with a lot of tragic flaws. Seeing his journey as a character here is really fascinating, and I really grew to care about him. And Dickey is great in the role. Alia Shawkat plays Sybil Rosen, a woman and aspiring actress/writer that Blaze has a committed relationship with. The journey she has here, which really are the ups and downs of being with Blaze, is really interesting, and makes her an interesting and sympathetic character. And Shawkat is really good in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Charlie Sexton, Josh Hamilton, Wyatt Russell, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As this is a biopic about a musician, it should be expected that one would hear a lot of songs from said artist throughout. You’d be correct in that assumption, you do hear a lot of Foley’s music here… and I love it. Not only because the music is incredibly well written, but also because the way it’s implemented in the storytelling is absolutely wonderful. So yeah, the music here is great.

Based on “Living in the Woods in a Tree: Remembering Blaze Foley” (bit of a mouthful) by Sybil Rosen, this movie was written by Ethan Hawke & Sybil Rosen, with Hawke also handling directing. And the craft here is wonderful. It has a warmness to it, and a willingness to just sit down and really get to know these characters, not always feeling the need to get to the next “big event”. Like I said in the story bit, the pacing is deliberately slow, and the direction embraces that and turns it into some truly compelling stuff. And the cinematography by Steve Cosens helps kind of give it all a nostalgic storybook feeling that really adds to the experience.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 75/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“Blaze” is a wonderful movie about a very interesting man. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great writing/directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “Blaze” is a 9,77/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Blaze” is now completed.

That was a nice experience.

Movie Review: Green Room (2016)

green-room-movie

Usually I try to come up with some clever opening to my reviews that somehow relates back to the movie that I’ve watched… but this time I couldn’t think of anything. Well, at least something that sounds good. So let’s just get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the… “Green Room”.

Pat (Anton Yelchin, R.I.P.) is part of a punk rock band. And one day the band gets a gig at a neo-nazi bar. At first it looks like everything’s going fine… but then they become witnesses to a horrible crime in there, which means that the nazis lock them in a room to be able to deal with them later. So now our “heroes” have to try to escape the nazis and their cold, calculating leader (Patrick Stewart). The idea of this plot alone intrigued me to no end, I found it to be a really interesting premise. And the execution of the plot itself, it was really good. As the film went along I was constantly on edge, never knowing what type of turn the plot was gonna take next. From the moment the band came to the nazi bar to the final shot, I was hooked and on edge, it was so great.

Oh boy, how do I put this… the main characters of this movie weren’t the most intelligent bunch in cinema history. Seriously, they get dumb ideas and make stupid decisions like a lot of horror movie characters. The director has joked about this before, saying that this is the final part in his unofficial “inept protagonist trilogy”. Still, that doesn’t really justify the characters being kind of stupid to the point of lesser annoyance. Oh well, I can at least appreciate that the nazis weren’t stereotypically cartoony villains, instead feeling very grounded and surprisingly realistic. I can also say that the performances were really good. Anton Yelchin (god rest his soul) is very likable in the lead role and to give credit where credit is due, his performance was very good. Imogen Poots did a great job in here role as well. Then we also have Patrick Stewart who like I said, played the leader of the nazis, a role that feels really weird for a man like him. Seriously, he’s one of the least nazi people on the face of the earth. Anyway, his performance was terrific, very understated, truly nailed it. And every other supporting actor in the movie did really well for themselves too.

The score for the movie was composed by Brooke Blair and it was really good even if I rarely noticed it. The score is surprisingly quiet and never pulls attention away from anything. But listening to it afterwards, I have to say that it was really good. Then there were of course some punk/metal song in the soundtrack that I think worked for the movie, even if I’m not the biggest fan of the tracks in general. Except for one track that started right at the end, msotly because it’s a totally different genre and it was just great.

This film was directed by Jeremy Saulnier who I think did a terrific job with the directing of this movie. The directing is very tension-filled and never let’s you feel relaxed. Yes, it’s not a straight-up action thrill ride, but it’s a very intense thriller that really got under my skin. Speaking of getting under skin, this film is really brutal and gory. I’m not talking like there being blood that shoots out everywhere all the time. I mean it more like there being several moments featuring blood and gore that was very realistic and brutal and actually made me a bit queasy, which is something that very rarely happens. Also, the cinematograpy is absolutely beautiful. Dark and icky… but beautiful.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 79/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“Green Room” may have some annoyingly stupid characters, but overall I found it really good. The plot is great, the acting is great, the music is good, the directing is terrific, and the film had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Also, it made me feel queasy from the gore, somethign that very rarely happens, so I applaud it for succeeding with that. Time for my final score. ANARCHY IN THE UK! My final score for “Green Room” is a 9,01/10. It’s definitely worth buying.
Worth buying

My review of “Green Room” is now completed.

Never do anything near nazis, kiddos.