Movie Review: Justice League (2017)

Cinematic universes. Something every studio is trying to pull off after Marvel’s success with it. Most notably we’ve had DC/Warner Bros trying to catch up with their own DC Extended Universe. And it’s been a bit hit and miss for critics and general audiences alike. So let’s see if their big team-up movie is any good.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Justice League”.

When our world is threatened by the evil alien Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds), Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) have to create a team of superpowered individuals to try to stop this dangerous new enemy. And that’s really all this is about. Okay, there’s a bit more to it, but I prefer to keep plot details relatively vague. Now is this a good plot? For the most part I’d say so. It’s a very straight-forward plot compared to some of the earlier outings in this franchise. I think my only problem with it is that it feels a bit choppy during the first act, like it’s been cut down to fit in a two hour runtime (which it most likely has). But that choppy start aside, this is a fun, fast-paced, and highly enjoyable comic book adventure plot.

The characters in this vary a bit in their depth, but I found most of them to at least be quite enjoyable. Ben Affleck reprises his role as Batman/Bruce Wayne, and we can tell that he has changed a bit since “BvS”. After what happened at the end of that movie, he has become a somewhat more light-hearted, less homicidal hero. And I liked seeing him as he worked to getting the team together to stop the end of the world. And Affleck is once again great in the role. Next we once again have Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. She’s once again a fiercely inspiring, fun, and warm character that I’d follow to hell and back. Seeing her working to get the team together and all that is really interesting, and she’s once again a really cool character. And Gadot is once again great in the role. Next up we have Ezra Miller as Barry Allen/The Flash. He gets some decent character development, but for the most part he’s there to be the comic relief, and he works really well for that while still getting some badass moments. And I thought Miller was great in the role. Next we have Ray Fisher as Cyborg, the genius, yet damaged mechanical member of the gang. He gets a decent amount of character development here and I thought he was a really cool character. And Fisher was really good in the role. Next we have Jason Momoa as Aquaman, the half man/half Atlantean warrior. He is very much a superpowered version of Jason Momoa, and I think it kind of works because I find that persona quite enjoyable. So yeah, Momoa was really good in the role. Henry Cavill returns as Superman, and the little we see of him here is my favorite appearance of the character in this franchise. And Cavill was really good in the role. Now, let’s talk Steppenwolf (no, not the band). As a villain he’s… fine, I guess. He’s a big CGI monster with some lines hinting at some deeper stuff, but ultimately ends up becoming kind of generic. Thought Ciarán Hinds did a really good job voicing him though, suitably menacing. We also get supporting performances from people like Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Billy Crudup, Connie Nielsen, J.K. Simmons, Amber Heard, Joe Morton, and more… all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Danny Elfman, and it was pretty good. Nothing special, heroic big brass tunes with some strings thrown in for added effect. It’s far from bad, and the various tracks work well within their respective scenes. And for those wondering about that “Danny Elfman to use Batman and Superman themes in the score”, it does occur, but it’s more snuck in rather than just overtly used as their own tracks… and I think it works surprisingly well.

The movie was directed by Zack Snyder… and Joss Whedon. As most people probably know, this movie had a very troubled production, with Snyder having to leave the project due to a personal tragedy, so Joss Whedon had to come in and do some reshoots. These things considered, the direction here is quite consistent. When a new director comes in to do reshoots, it could feel like a different movie in parts, but it’s remarkable how consistent it feels here. So is the direction in general any good? Yeah. It’s good, it flows pretty nicely, there’s some good shots here. And the action I quite liked. Now, it didn’t leave the same impact as the action in “Wonder Woman”, but it was easy to follow and I had quite a lot of fun with it. What I liked most about it was seeing the various heroes show off their abilities, with The Flash and his speedforce being the standout. And the visual effects here are for the most part damn good. Some things look a little off at times, from some backgrounds, to closeups of Steppenwolf (BORN TO BE WIIIIIILD!), to even Cyborg at times. But like I said, for the most part the effects look great (again, The Flash having some of the best ones).

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 40% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 45/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

Despite a few flaws (that probably stem from production issues), I had a lot of fun with “Justice League”. It has a good plot, good characters, good music, and good directing/action/visual effects/humor. As previously mentioned, the plot is a bit choppy at the start, the villain is a bit bland, and the effects could be less than stellar at times. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Justice League” is an 8,52/10. So while flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Justice League” is now completed.

Come Together…

Movie Review: Nocturnal Animals (2016)

I honestly don’t know what the fuck to start with. Usually when reviewing a movie I can come up with some clever(ish) intro that somehow relates back to the movie. But in this case it’s fucking impossible. So let’s just get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Nocturnal Animals”.

Susan Morrow (Amy Adams) is a wealthy art gallery owner living in New York City. And one day she gets package form her ex-husband (Jake Gyllenhaal) containing a novel that he’s written. So Susan of course starts reading it and becomes obsessed with this dark and twisted story. We also get to follow along as the story in the novel gets visualized for us. So now we have our dark, weird, and complex story. And yeah, those are really my thoughts: It’s dark, weird, and complex. Because it’s not just about a really beautiful woman reading a book, because there are plenty of metaphors that get drawn between the story that Susan’s reading, and her own life. We also get a look into her past and then that stuff somehow relates back to the book and Jesus fucking Christ, this movie has more layers than a “Scooby-Doo” sandwich. But I don’t fault it for that because I appreciated the complexity of it all, and I thought about it and I never felt lost. So we have a complex and layered story that is also tense, eerie, fascinating, and at one point heart-wrenching. So yeah… it’s pretty damn good.

The characters in this are like the story… complex and layered. Amy Adams is fantastic as Susan Morrow. A lot of times she doesn’t even need to say anything to show how good her performance is, as a lot of it is portrayed through her eyes and her mannerisms. There are so many subtleties to her performance that help make it as great as it is. Jake Gyllenhaal puts on a bit of a double role in the movie as he plays both Susan’s ex-husband, Edward, and the novel’s main character, Tony. And he is fantastic in this, with one of the roles having him give an intense and emotionally charged performance, and the other one just being generally great. Michael Shannon plays Booby Andes, a cop within the novel that Susan’s reading. And he’s basically just a tough guy who doesn’t give a shit and he’s just a blast to watch… yeah, he’s awesome. Aaron Taylor-Johnson plays a guy named Ray Marcus, an asshole who was kind of creepy and really unpleasant, and he really got under my skin. So kudos to Aaron Taylor-Johnson… great job. Really, this movie is filled to the brim with great performances/actors, so I won’t go on for too long about each and every one because we’d be here all fucking week. But to be somewhat fair, here are some of them listed: Isla Fisher, Ellie Bamber, Armie Hammer, Karl Glusman, Laura Linney, Michael Sheen, and Andrea Riseborough.

The score for the movie was composed by Abel Korzeniowski and I do have to say that it was fucking amazing. As could be expected from Korzeniowski (at least if you watch “Penny Dreadful”, like I do), his music is heavily based in string instruments, which helps to create an eerie, dramatic, and emotional sound that complements the movie perfectly. Out of all the original scores of movies that came out last year, this might be my personal favorite.

This movie was directed by fashion designer Tom Ford, and he did a great job here. His directing is very tight and suspenseful. And his direction combined with Seamus McGarvey’s cinematography makes this one of the most visually arresting movies of the last few years. There were a whole bunch of shots in this movie that actually made me go “Woaw”, and that isn’t very common for me. I do also have to mention that there are a few disturbing visuals throughout this movie too, so don’t expect this to be just pretty people captured in pretty cinematography, because there’s some fucked up and weird stuff here… so don’t bring grandma.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 74% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 67/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10. The movie was also nominated for 1 Oscar in teh category of Best supporting actor (Shannon). 

“Nocturnal Animals” is a movie that I thought was pretty fucking great, but that I am aware have and will divide audiences. It has a great plot, great characters, fantastic performances, fantastic music, and fantastic directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Nocturnal Animals” is a 9,89/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Nocturnal Animals” is now completed.

Now that I think about it, this movie could almost have been called “Behind Blue Eyes”. Because most of the main actors have blue eyes and are troubled in some way…

Movie Review: Arrival (2016)

The universe. An infinite space that has been fascinating us puny humans since the damn of man. What kind of worlds are out there? How far does it actually reach? And are we alone in the universe? We may never find out the answers to any of these questions, but they sure as shit are interesting to think about and discuss.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Arrival”.

Giant banana-shaped vessels have come down to earth. The military and government do not know what these alien things want. So language expert Louise Banks (Amy Adams) gets brought in to try to communicate with the aliens and find out what they’re doing here. And now we have an intelligent drama with aliens in it. Firstly, a plot about trying to communicate with aliens is actually quite refreshing. Most “aliens coming to earth” movies are about aggressive invasions, but this isn’t really that. It’s a clever spin on the “aliens coming to earth” genre of movies. The plot overall is also really suspenseful because for most of the movie you don’t know what these aliens want. The plot also has a surprising amount of emotion that really got to me. I should also mention that this is quite slow-paced, which might put some people off. But I appreciate it, gives me time to really soak in everything that’s going on. Really, it’s quite a fascinating science fiction-drama plot that I think was pretty fucking great.

The characters in this movie are all interesting in some way. Amy Adams was fantastic as Louise Banks. She’s a deep and complex character and I was really invested in arc in the movie as she was trying to find ways to communicate with these aliens. Jeremy Renner is great as Ian, a scientist that is helping Louise with the alien communication. Forest Whitaker plays a soldier that is part of this operation and he was great in his role. We also got Michael Stuhlbarg as a CIA agent that is part of the operation and he was really good in the role. Yeah, there were no bad performances in this movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Jóhann Jóhansson and it was absolutely fantastic. His score was eerie, tense, thought provoking, and just fit the scenes incredibly well. They also used Max Richter’s “On the nature of Daylight” in the movie. Not gonna say how if you haven’t seen the movie, but let’s just say that it was pretty damn good how it was used.

This movie was directed by Denis Villeneuve (one of my favorite directors) and once again he knocked ith out of the fucking park with the directing. He makes scenes flow very well and his directing really helps to improve on the storytelling. I also have to comment on Bradford Young’s cinematography which is stunning, it is an absolutely gorgeous movie. And while the visual effects aren’t necessarily the main focus in this movie, they are there and they look fantastic. Most big sci-fi movies will have the visual effects there for the sake of looking flashy and cool, but here they exist to serve the story.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 81/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,0/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best sound editing. It was also nominated for an additional 7 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best director, Best adapted screenplay, Best cinematography, Best film editing, Best sound mixing, and Best production design. 

“Arrival” is a fantastic science fiction-drama. It has a fantastic plot, really good characters, fantastic performances, fantastic music, fantastic directing/cinematography, and great visual effects. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Arrival” is a 9,90/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Arrival” is now completed.

It’s official… I am excited for “Blade Runner 2049”. Villeneuve will succeed!

Movie Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

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In the world of movies, there is a common trend of setting up cinematic universes that cross over several different films. Most noticeably we have Marvel who, let’s face it, fucking nailed it with their cinematic universe. Well, let’s see how DC handles the start of their universe with this thing.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”!

So after the events in “Man of of Steel”, Superman (Henry Cavill) is in a lot of hot water. Is he a hero, is he a dangerous alien, is he good, is he bad? These questions are constantly asked by people. Well after all of that trouble, the eyes of one Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) are on Superman. So Wayne decides to suit up again to try to stop Superman, while Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) hatches his very convoluted plot in the background. Meanwhile, we also have Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) being up to her own little thing too in the middle of all of this. Also, the plot of this movie is trying to set up the rest of the Justice League and WHY ARE THERE SO MANY THINGS GOING ON!? *Deep breath*. Okay, this isn’t a good sign. There is a bit too much stuff going on for me to fully enjoy the plot. The Batman going after Superman stuff, that’s good. Lex Luthor’s plan, very convoluted and actually kinda dumb. The plot of this movie is a fucking mess! Did I enjoy it? I guess. But it’s so messy, I can’t appreciate it. Too much stuff going on in this movie.

Okay, the plot is a mess. But how are the characters? Well, they’re not bad. Henry Cavill plays Superman, just like in “Man of Steel”. And he’s not bad. A bit too brooding and dark for the character, but his performance overall is pretty good. Amy Adams returns as Lois Lane and she was really good. Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman… absolutely fantastic. I cared about Bruce Wayne, I cared about Batman, Affleck perfectly captured the feel of the character. Sure, he kills people and I don’t know why, but overall his performance is fantastic. Jeremy Irons as Alfred, he’s great. Then we also have Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor… oh boy. I don’t know what to say. There were parts where he was somewhat interesting and he did a decent job, but most of the time he was twitchy and eccentric and crazy and not Lex Luthor. And finally, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. While her character was very tacked on, she was still very awesome. Seriously, her performance was good and her action-based entrance is so amazingly badass. So the acting overall in this movie is good and I find the characters interesting and entertaining.

The original score was composed by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL and it’s fine. Not great, but fine. It’s not a soundtrack that I’m gonna go out of my way to listen to. But it worked for the movie and it sounds overall fine. Not bad, not great.

This movie was directed by Zack Snyder and let’s face it, he has trouble balancing story… but holy shit, this movie looks amazing! The visuals are terrific, I could look at shots from this movie all day and be happy with that. And that is something Zack Snyder does well, he knows how to make a really good looking movie. It’s a wonderfully directed movie. The action scenes are brilliantly handled. Sure, a lot of them are very big and bloated, but I can also say that they were a lot of fun. Out of all the action scenes in the movie, my favorite might be the warehouse scene that everybody knows about. Seriously, it’s like something right out of one of the “Arkham” games. And the main one between Bats and Supes… it’s good. It’s brutal, it’s badass, and it’s only like 8 minutes long. In a 2,5 hour movie, you’d think that the scene the movie is named after would be a bit longer. But what you see in it is pretty great. The reason why they stop fighting, pretty bullshit… but the fight before that end is really good. There are a ton of CGI in this movie, and at one point I felt like there might’ve been a little too much, but I guess that’s jsut what I have to handle when they decide to put *SPOILER* in the movie even though it made little to no sense. At least the visual effects in the movie are very well done.
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This movie has not been too well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 27% positive rating (ouch). On Metacritic it has a score of 44/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is a really mixeed bag for me. The plot is convoluted and filled with too many things and Jesse Eisenberg is a little too over-the-top as Lex Luthor. But then we also have a whole bunch of other great performances/characters, pretty good music, beautiful camera work, and terrific action scenes. Time for my final score. Tell me… do you review? You will. My final score for “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is a 7,03/10. While not as great as one could hope for, it’s still worth a rental.
Rent it

My review of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is now completed.

Hey, at least Batfleck proved all the naysayers wrong!

 

Movie Review: Catch Me If You Can (2002)

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Biographical movies are always a thing that has kept my interest. They are labeled under “Based on a true story” in the filing cabinet. Most of the times these situations might seem like a big fucking stretch… yet they happened, of course with a few modifications so it would fit in movie form. Today we are taking a look at on of those situations where it sounds so unreal that you might think someone jsut had a really wild fantasy… but when you read about it you see that it really was true how unrealistic it might seem.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Catch Me If You Can”.

Like I said this story is too good to be true. It is about Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) who during the 60’s travels around the U.S. “Okay fair enough, what’s the catch?” I hear you asking. And the catch is that Abagnale was a con artist who tricked people to get money and free flying across the country. The funny thing is that he basically stole several million dollars across his journey… and he had not even turned 21 yet. The movie focuses on his journey of conning people and getting rich. You also get to follow the FBI agent (Tom Hanks) who is hot on his tail. You also get to see the close relationship Abagnale has with is father, Frank Abagnale Sr. (Christopher Walken). And yes, this explanation of the story may be vague at best but I found it too interesting to talk too much about. This story is one that is too full of twists, turns and awesome things that should be experienced by the viewer rather than getting it spoiled by me.

The characters in this movie are really interesting. They are very well-written and got some great pieces of dialogue. They never seem either fake or boring, they always work out for the best of the situations. They are also incredibly well-acted. But that shouldn’t come as a surprise since the three most prominent characters are played by three incredible actors (DiCaprio, Hanks, Walken). But in general, all actors did a great job both performing and delivering the clever dialogue that Jeff Nathanson wrote.

The music is an interesting thing. Why? Because it was made by John Williams and all pieces of music by him are interesting in one way or another… DUH! But in all seriousness, the original tracks in this movie are really nice to listen to. They also work for the movie well enough because they are nothing bombastic but rather pretty subtle(ish) and just fits the overall style of the movie (Crime-Drama-Comedy). There are also a bunch of older licensed tracks in the movie that honestly work fantastically to sell the feel of the scenes they are used in. They also help a bit with establishing the time period.

Speaking of establishing the time period, this movie does it perfectly. When a movie is set in a certain time period you have to take into consideration that it has to work in that time period’s favor. You need to make the movie feel like it actually captures the time period it is set in. And this movie does that perfectly with it’s clothing, music, vehicles… everything. And that is actually more difficult than it may seem. But this movie did it perfectly. If you want a recommendation for another movie that captures it’s time period very well I can point you towards 2013’s “American Hustle”… just saying. But back to the movie we were originally talking about! Another aspect that really worked with the movie was the camera work. But that doesn’t surprise me considering this movie was directed by Steven Spielberg who is a master class director. This movie is also surprisingly funny. There were times I was surprised to find a laugh. Not that I’m complaining because I am a big fan of crime-comedies. And I have to say that the comedy in this movie was really fun.

This movie was met with some prety good reception. Hell, even the real Frank Abagnale liked it. But anyway, uhmm… Rotten Tomatoes has a 96% positive score for it and has certified it “Fresh”. On Metacritic it has a 76/100. Roger Ebert seemed to like it as he gave this movie 3/4 stars stating:

“This is not a major Spielberg film, although it is an effortlessly watchable one”.

On imdb.com it has a score of 8,0/10… yet is strangely not on the “Top 250 list”. It was also nominated for 2 Oscars in the categories of Best supporting Actor (Christopher Walken) and best original Score.

This movie got an interesting story, great acting, great music, it is really funny and it is just awesome. So now it is time to hand out my final score. And now… my final score for “Catch Me If You Can” is a 9,71/10 which of course, my friends, grants it the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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“Catch Me If You Can” is now at last reviewed.

My mom kept nagging on me that I had to see it… YOU HAPPY NOW!?

 

Movie Review: The Master (2012)

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Back on the drama platform again. Some dramas get universal praise, while some get hated and some are just somewhere inbetween. And no, this is not one of the inbetween movies…at all. This is a movie that got recognized as a great movie pretty damn quick. But is it something that this guy can get behind and love as much as the critics did?

Ladies and gentlemen…”The Master”.

The story of the movie is set in 1950 and follows a man named Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix). Freddie isn’t really a completely stable person. First he was kind of traumatized by being in war and then he ended up a bit of a drunk. One night when he is on one of his drunken escapades he ends up one a boat filled with people led by Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Dodd is someone who the people pn the boat call “Master” (Roll credits). Basically it is like a cult or organization that Freddie ends up joining. And then he struggles to be in the organization but also having the disadvantage of having the bottle as his best friend. And that is it realyl considering how difficult it is to explain this movie without spoilers. But the premise is kind of interesting and the execution isn’t too shabby. It is just that strangely enough…the story of this movie doesn’t appeal to me. Not saying it’s bad, it just isn’t that kind of super awesome to me. It is kind of good, but not perfect.

The characters are kind of like the story…odd. Okay, I never mentioned odd in the story segment, but it is kind of odd. But the way these characters are is diffcult to say. I could say they are portrayed very realistically, but I am not sure on if what they do is realistic or not. I can at least say that the acting is really good…I mean REALLY GOOD. Joaquin Phoenix is pretty much unrecognizable as this drunken mess of a man. This guy pulls off the role perfectly! I honestly think it is one of the best performances I have seen from any actor. Philip Seymour Hoffman was also great as this leader of the organization. Still, Philip Seymour Hoffman is good in everything. But with characters/acting I was pleased.

The music is fantastic. A good mix of orchestral tracks, both bombastic and calm. Composer Jonny Greenwood did an excellent job making the soundtrack for this movie.

This movie looks better than most movies I have ever seen. Paul Thomas Anderson really shows here that he knows how the camera works and how to make a really good looking scene! Also, when I looked in the cast list for this movie I was surprised to see Swedish actress Lena Endre in there. Not saying seeing here there was a bad thing, just surprising.

The reception for “The Master” was good. On Rotten Tomatoes this movie has a 85% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has 86/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars and said this;

Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” is fabulously well-acted and crafted, but when I reach for it, my hand closes on air. It has rich material and isn’t clear what it thinks about it. It has two performances of Oscar caliber, but do they connect? Its title character is transparently inspired by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, but it sidesteps any firm vision of the cult religion itself — or what it grew into.

On imdb.com this movie has a score 0f 7,1/10. This movie was also nominated for 3 Oscars. Best actor in a leading role (Joaquin Phoenix), Best Actor in a supporting role (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Best actress in a supporting role (Amy Adams).

I have given this movie some good words and some less good words. So now I am ready to give it my score. This movie gets my personal 8,43/10 and a recommendation to rent it. This movie has a lot of things going for it, but is still not really worth buying (In my opinion).

“The Master” is now reviewed.

While Philip Seymour Hoffman is cool, he is not as cool as the Master from Doctor Who.