Series Review: National Treasure (2016)

Sexual assault. A horrible thing that I wish never existed, but unfortunately is all too common in our world. It’s a very uncomfortable, but very important topic that needs to be discussed if we want change. On that note, here’s a show about being accused of such things.

Ladies and gentlemen… “National Treasure”.

Paul Finchley (Robbie Coltrane) is a comedian with a very long career, beloved by many people, a bona fide national treasure. But he soon finds himself in hot water when he’s accused of sexual assault. So we follow Paul as he tries to deal with these accusations and how they affect not only his life, but the lives of the people he loves. So now we have our drama. And I have to say that I found this plot quite compelling. Seeing Paul’s life go through change because of these accusations makes for some really solid drama. Another great element of the plot is that you never really know if Paul actually committed the acts or not, which makes you doubt everything, which adds a layer of tension to it all. I don’t wanna say too much because I don’t wanna ruin anything, but I’ll end this part by simply saying that this plot is great. Tense, emotional, and utterly compelling.

The characters in this are all layered, damaged, and really interesting. Robbie Coltrane plays Paul Finchley, the man at the center of this story who finds himself accused of sexual assault. As previously mentioned, Paul is a comedian with a very long and successful career, leading to him being loved by many people. So seeing that slowly peeled away because of these accusations leads to some great character stuff, especially as we learn more about his life and see how all these things affect his life. And Coltrane is fantastic in the role. Julie Walters plays Marie, Paul’s wife. She’s a tough, take no nonsense woman, but she does show a few more vulnerable sides to her as well throughout, which of course happens because of the accusations against her husband. And we do learn some things about her too throughout that adds to her character. And Walters is just absolutely fantastic in the role. Then we have Andrea Riseborough as Dee, Paul’s & Marie’s daughter. She’s a former addict now trying to get through the aftermath of that while also getting tested emotionally because of the accusations against her father. And Riseborough is fucking great in the role. Then we get some supporting performances from people like Babou Ceesay, Tim McInnerny, Mark Lewis Jones, Trystan Gravelle, Susan Lynch, and many more… all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the show was composed by Cristobal Tapia De Veer and it was good. While the style wasn’t my cup of tea, I can acknowledge that it was well composed and worked well within the show, using a very electronic style that often helped create an uneasy and emotional feel within the show. It’s not something I would find myself listening to during my spare time, but I think it works for the show.

The episodes were written by Jack Thorne, and directed by Marc Munden. And the combination of those two is quite good. The direction somehow manages to capture the feel of unease and confusion of the characters. Combine that with the writing and you get some compelling stuff. And the cinematography by Ole Bratt Birkeland is stunning, this is a great looking show. There are a few weird cuts throughout the episodes, but none of them makes me think less of the show… just confused why they were there.

This show has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 83/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“National Treasure” isn’t always an easy watch, but it’s a great and I’d even say important miniseries. It has a great plot, really good characters, fantastic performances, good music, and really good directing/writing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “National Treasure” is a 9,71/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “National Treasure” is now completed.

This is not quite how I’d imagine the Hagrid’s and Mrs. Weasley’s reunion going…

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: Birdman (2014)

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Superhero movies! You either love them or you hate them, that’s how it is. Fine you can be indifferent about them too, but that isn’t important. So last year I heard about this new superhero movie that when it came out got some of the best reviews of any superhero movie ever. So I was of course pumped! Now this superher-what? This isn’t a superhero movie? Really? Well, fuck you, Jeff!

So this isn’t a superhero movie apparently… fuck it, this is my review of “Birdman”.

“Birdman” is about washed up actor Riggan Thomson (Michael Keaton). In the early 90’s he played superhero “Birdman” (Roll Credits). But now he got no major relevance. So to kind of get back some of that former glory he is setting up a stage play. But that isn’t as easy as it may seem. For one it is on Broadway, A.K.A it is a big production. Next up he has to deal with a few family issues, mainly his daughter Sam (Emma Stone). He also has to deal with a last minute replacement actor named Mike (Edward Norton) who is really “method”. We also get to kind of see Riggan’s descent into madness throughout. And it turns out the story of “Birdman” is fucking amazing. I have never been invested in a story this weird and amazing since I first saw “Fight Club”. Seeing Riggan and everybody try to deal with setting up the play is interesting and then to see the often kind of surrealistic descent into madness from Riggan just adds to the already multi-layered and amazing story.

The characters in this movie are all incredibly interesting with some terrific writing and great development. It is also noticeable that they all have their own problems to deal with. It was also great to see a movie with so many great performances. Michael Keaton gives the best performance of his entire career. I have always liked the guy, bur he has never really been THIS good. Emma Stone was also great. Hell, even Zach Galifianakis was really good in this movie. And I am aware you know I will gush over Edward Norton since he is my favorite actor so let’s just get it over with. Edward Norton was fucking amazing in this movie. Now he is always great, but he hasn’t given a performance this good since I don’t know, “The Illusionist” maybe. But I do think all the acting in the movie was great and all characters were well-rounded and well-written.

The score was done by Antonio Sanchez and the funny thing about the score is that it is made from percussion only… but I didn’t mind. The score was truly great and really worked to give the feel of all the situations and emotions of the characters. There is also a thing about the score that integrates itself into the movie in a really fun way that I am not going to spoil, but when you see it you will know it and really enjoy it. Overall I found the score to be great.

This movie looks amazing. Not only because they found people who could line up the shots perfectly but also because it all looks like a continuous shot. That’s right, the entirety of “Birdman” looks like one long never-ending shot. Of course there are cuts in it, but it is cheated and edited so well that it isn’t easy finding them all. It is also kind of ironic that this is about a guy who used to play an iconic superhero, even bigger irony is that the last movie that said character was in came out 1992 (according to characters in the movie). Why is this ironic? Well because Michael Keaton used to play Batman back in the day and that the last movie he played Batman in was “Batman Returns” which came out in 1992. See the irony? Good. To keep on the same trail of superheroes, this movie gives a lot of great statements on superhero movies, stage plays, actors, critics and everything within the entertainment business you could think of. And that type of self aware commentary is something I love seeing in movies. Of course I love myself a good superhero movie, but the way this movie comments on them is genius. Believe me, this movie doesn’t rip the superhero movies a new one, but it sheds a good amount of light and gives great commentary on it. There is also a scene featuring some great commentary in the movie where the character of Riggan just explodes on a critic and it is glorious! Of course I might sound a tiny bit like a hypocrit saying that because I might be viewed on as a critic and I completely understand that, but I’m not a critic… but that’s for another time! *Nudge nudge, wink wink*.

This movie like I said in the beginning got some great reviews. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and is certified “Fresh”. On Metacritic it has a score of 88/100. And on imdb.com it has an 8,1/10 and is ranked #202 on the “Top 250” list. Also, as of this review the movie has been nominated for 9 Oscars (Holy shit) in the categories of Best motion picture of the year, Best Actor (Michael Keaton), Best Supporting Actor (Edward Norton), Best Supporting Actress (Emma Stone), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best cinematography, Best sound mixing and Best sound editing.

“Birdman” is an achievment in film-making with it’s original filming/editing style. It also got some truly great performances, a great score, a great original story and some great commentary on the entertainment industry. Time for my final score. JEFF! Where’s the fucking envelope!? Thank you! My final score for “Birdman” is a 9,86/10. This is a fantastic movie that of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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“Birdman” is now reviewed.

Why the extra title? Why not simply choose one? Either you go “Birdman” or you go “The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance”. Simple as that.