Movie Review: Almost Famous (2000)

Music. One of the most powerful things in the world. A medium that transcends language. You may not understand what that foreign person is saying, but you will connect thanks to the recognizable riff of “Smoke on the Water”, or the vocal melody of “Stairway to Heaven”. Music, connecting people better than words can.

Ladies and gents… “Almost Famous”.

The year is 1973. High school student William Miller (Patrick Fugit) has been given the opportunity of a lifetime: To follow up-and-coming band Stillwater on tour and write an article on them for Rolling Stone Magazine. So yeah, that’s about it. We follow William and the journey he goes on with this band. From meeting them, to seeing them play, to the various other highs and lows of a 70s rock band being on tour. And I found myself fully engrossed in the plot of this movie. When it wants to be fun and breezy, it’s fun and breezy. And when it wanted to tug at my heartstrings, it did. It rides the balance between fun and dramatic perfectly, creating a journey that I loved following from the start to finish.

The characters in this are all entertaining, layered, interesting, and feel like real people. Patrick Fugit plays William, the young man who’s been given this opportunity. He’s naive, but not dumb. He holds these guys in high regard, and you can see the joy in his eyes as he hangs out with the band. But you also see him get some good development throughout. And Fugit is great in the role. It’s also refreshing to see him play such a happy character after having seen him be so stressed and damaged in “Outcast”. Next up we have Billy Crudup as Russell, the lead guitarist of the band. He’s the member we get to know the best and that gets the most amount of development. He is a bit mysterious, but as he spends time with William he starts to open a bit more and really develops as a character. And Crudup is great in the role. Then we have Kate Hudson (who I mistook for Drew Barrymore at first, oops) as “Penny Lane”, a mysterious girl that William runs into early on that follows along on the journey. She’s a pretty secretive girl, but she also becomes one of William’s closest friends during this journey. She’s a very fun and interesting character. And Hudson is great in the role. I’m not gonna go in-depth with any more characters as most don’t get the same kind of development as the main three, and also because I don’t want this post to get too long. But we do get some supporting work from people like Jason Lee, Frances McDormand, Noah Taylor, Fairuza Balk, Anna Paquin, Philip Seymour Hoffman (R.I.P), Terry Chen, and more. All doing really well in their respective roles.

While not a lot can be found on it online, there was music in this composed by Nancy Wilson (one half of rock duo Heart), and the little I found out about it was really good. There has been one piece officially released from it that is fantastic, and she also co-wrote some songs for the band in the movie (with some additional help from Cameron Crow and Peter Frampton). And there were of course A LOT of 70s rock tracks used throughout to capture that era and story, and it worked brilliantly. Then again, I am a bit biased due to my love for that era of music. Still, the soundtrack for this movie worked perfectly for it.

The movie was written and directed by Cameron Crowe and he did a fantastic job. His directing is tight and intimate, getting us close to the characters and their situations, making us feel like were really part of it. But it’s not the “look at me and how personal I can get”, Crowe’s direction doesn’t call attention to itself. There’s also a lot of humor in this movie and I found it to be really funny, I laughed out loud several times. But the humor never feels out of place or like it overtakes the drama, it fits into the movie incredibly well.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 90/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best original screenplay. It was also nominated for an additional 3 Oscars in the categories of Best supporting actress (Hudson), Best supporting actress (McDormand), and Best film editing.

“Almost Famous” is a fun, inspiring, and engaging little dramedy. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, fantastic music, great directing, and funny humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Almost Famous” is a 9,89/10. Which means it gets a the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
 

My review of “Almost Famous” is now completed.

Hold me closer, tiny dancer…

Movie Review: X-men – Days of Future Past (2014)

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I love Marvel, you love Marvel, please Marvel give us a super crossover with all franchises and stop bitching about who gets what rights. Sorry, had to get that out of my system. To be completely honest I did grow up on Marvel more than DC. As a kid I watched shows like “Spider-man” or “X-Men: Evolution“. I guess I’ve always been a Marvel guy (But I do still love me some good DC stuff). I think that “X-men” have been a franchise that interested me more than most because of how diverse the characters and their powers are. You have a guy with Metal Claws and super healing and then one with Laser vision and a Demon Smurf who can teleport. Sorry, getting off track (But only a little). I simply love “X-men”. So of course I saw the movies that had their ups and downs. But now we have another one, directed by the guy who did the first two (Sidenote: He also did “The Usual Suspects”). So is this any good? Or should we burn that shit? Let’s have a look!

(X)Men and (X)women… “X-Men: Days of Future Past”.

So what is the plot of this movie? The future is complete shit. The mutants are being hunted down by these giant robots called Sentinels who were originally created by Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage). So what do our Mutant heroes do to try to stop them? They decide to send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back in time to stop the creation of them. Back in time he teams up with young Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) and young Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult) to stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from causing the creation of the sentinels (Trust me, the movie will explain how that works). And while Wolverine is in the past doing his thing the other Mutants have to try to fend off the Sentinels attacking them. This plot might seem like it is all over the damn place but trust me, it is inredibly focused and well-written. I found the story to be engaging, suspenseful and just fantastic. I really loved how they handled it.

The characters in this movie never feel cluttered or underused, they all fit perfectly into this movie. And there are a lot of characters in this movie. They brought in pretty much everyone from the “X-men” franchise into this movie. And like I said, no one felt out of place, they all worked and were very unique an fleshed out. Here, let me mention some of the characters I missed earlier; Storm (Halle Berry), Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Bishop (Omar Sy), Colossus (Daniel Cudmore) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender/Ian McKellen). But by far, the best character in the entire movie (My opinion) has to be Quicksilver (Evan Peters). He was pretty fucking awesome. There was also a risk using him since he could have been annoying… but he wasn’t. He was nothing but pure awesome, definitely my favorite in the movie. And I do not think I have to mention anything about the acting considering the cast. You have seen pretty much everyone in this movie in one way or another in previous insallments of the franchise or in other movies. They all gave great performances.

The score by John Ottman was nothing short of fantastic. Orchestral tracks for all kinds of situations. Need something for a big fight? You got it! Need something for a more subtle and quieter scene? Done! This soundtrack got it all! Besides, I might be slightly biased considering my love for many of John Ottman’s other works. Anyway, the score was awesome.

The way this movie was directed really hightened the experience for me. I already knew Bryan Singer was a great director with movies like the first two “X-men” movies and “The Usual Suspects” that I mentioned before. But this movie is probably his most well-directed one yet. It looks beautiful and never lingers on anything too long. The CGI in this movie was also really impressive. Sure, previous movies have shown great CGI too, but this is where you just Marvel (puns…) at it. It is magnificent. The action in this movie is also really great. It really gets better with the CGI too since it can elevate the scene since that is the only way these characters can really show their powers. I also have to mention how dark this movie gets at a few points. I mean sure, other Sci-fi action movies have been dark before, but this came as a big surprise to me. “X-men” movies haven’t been this dark before. And that really gave this movie a great edge.

People (and critics) really seemed to like this movie. On Rotten Tomatoes this movie has a 91% positive score and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. And finally on imdb.com it has an 8,1/10 and is ranked #204 on the “Top 250” list.

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” got a great story, great characters/acting, a great soundtrack, great visual effects, great action, great emotion, great humor and is delightfully dark. Now for the final score. Hey, Wolverine, will you help me cut this envelope open? Thank you! My final score for “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is a 9,82/10. This movie is great and of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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“X-Men: Days of Future Past” is now reviewed.

How in the hell will “X-Men: Apocalypse” be able to  top this?

Movie Review: 25th Hour (2002)

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If you didn’t know, I love Edward Norton. He is not only a fantastic actor…but he also donates a good amount of money to charity and let’s face it…he is one handsome son of a bitch. He have pulled out some great performances in movies like “Fight Club” and “American History X” (in which he was amazing). He is one of those actors that never is bad…NEVER! It is the movie that is bad, not him! HE IS NEVER BAD YOU MOTHERFUC…hmm, sorry about that, I had a fanboy rage moment there. So we are taking a look at one of his lesser known movies.

Dudes and chicks…”25th Hour”.

Montgomery Brogan (Edward Norton) is not at his highest point in life. Why? Because he is going to jail in 24 hours. For what you may ask. And I can tell you he is going in for drug dealing. In 24 hours he will serve a seven year long sentence. During these last hours he kind of re-evaluates his life. He wants to set a few things straight before he ends up in the joint for seven years. He got busted because someone probably ratted him out and he thinks it might be his girlfriend Naturelle (Rosario Dawson). But during these last hours he also have a few drinks with his friends Jacob (Philip Seymour Hoffman, R.I.P) and Frank (Barry Pepper). I am not going further than this with the story explanation for one reason: This story is too easy to spoil and is too interesting to spoil. It is a story that I think you should experience yourself. It is emotional, it is gripping and it is deep and makes you think about what’s right and wrong…trust me.

The characters are…people. People who have been through some shit. First up is Montgomery (out of those I wish to shortly analyze). A man who ended up on the wrong side of the law. An intelligent man who could have gotten a great job but didn’t have a too good start of life. Next up is Jacob. A teacher who got a lot on his mind at the time. His best friend is going to jail, one of his students (Anna Paquin) shows interest in him and tries to get a higher grade. And finally up on the table is Frank…he is for the most part a partying, drunk stock broker who like Jacob is a little confused since his best friend Monty is going to prison. In general…the characters in this movie are incredibly realistic and incredibly well acted. Still…that is not too much of a surprise when you have people Like Edward Norton and Philip Seymour Hoffman as some of your main actors. In general…I found them incredibly interesting to watch.

The music is damn good. The bits of original score by Terence Blanchard are magnificent, really expressing the feel of depression, sadness and a little isolation that the movie wants to show. And I fucking love that stuff. The score is near perfection (not gonna sit here and try to explain why I said “near perfection”). There are a few licensed songs as well but…I didn’t really give a shit about them. They were decent enough I guess.

I have nothing really to mention in the “General Stuff” section. Maybe I can mention that it is based on a novel by David Benioff. There, I mentioned it. Now go away.

Reception for “25th hour” was overall good. Rotten Tomatoes has a 78% rating for it and a “Fresh” Certification. Metacritic has given this movie a 67/100 score. Roger Ebert himself gave this 4/4 stars and put it on his “Great movies list”. The score for the movie on imdb.com is 7,7/10.

“25th Hour” is an intelligent, compelling, gripping and overall fantastic movie. My final score for it is a 9,76/10. This movie is worth a buy. Wait…worth a buy!? I command you to buy it! How do I do that? With the “SEAL OF APPROVAL” of course!
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Review of “25th Hour” is now done.

I wonder what I would do with my last 24 hours…