Movie Review: Mission Impossible 2 (2000)

Here we are, the second part in my “Mission Impossible” review series leading up to “Mission Impossible: Fallout” in August. So let’s get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mission Impossible 2”.

When a rogue agent (Dougray Scott) gets hold of a deadly virus, it is up to Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) to try to stop him from doing some bad stuff with it. So we go from a complex spy plot to a simple save the world plot. And I’m fine with that… for the most part. On one hand, sometimes you just need a “hero trying to stop a villain from doing bad shit”, and when it focuses on that it’s actually fun. But on another hand, this movie can be quite boring. The first half to be a bit more exact, as it meanders a bit too much for my taste. But when the second half kicks in, we get the fun, fast-paced, and focused action plot that we want. So overall this plot is… fine.

The characters in this are… well, they are… how do I put this… flat-ish. The first movie had tons of good character development, and this… doesn’t. Tom Cruise of course returns as IMF agent Ethan Hunt, and unlike being a vulnerable and interesting character, in this he’s kind of like James Bond. He went from a complex character to a badass archetype. And while he can be fun to watch, I feel like something’s kind of missing here. Oh well, at least Tom Cruise is really good in the role. Next we have Dougray Scott as the villain, Sean Ambrose. He’s not one of the greatest villains of all time, but he works quite well for the story being told, being an enjoyable foil for Ethan. And Scott gives a really good performance. Next we have Thandie Newton as Naya, a thief that Ethan recruits for the mission (impossible) and even falls in love with. She feels less like a fully realized character and more like a somewhat generic love interest/prop. But she does get some decent enough moments throughout to make her feel somewhat useful. And Newton is good in the role. Then we get supporting performances from people like Ving Rhames, Anthony Hopkins, Richard Roxburgh, John Polson, Brendan Gleeson, and Rade Serbedzija, all doing okay in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Hans Zimmer, and it’s pretty good. It uses an interesting blend of orchestrations, acoustic guitar, and slightly distorted electric guitar to create some pretty cool sounds. It actually helps to make some bits a bit more exciting. As for the theme by Limp Bizkit… it’s actually okay when there are no vocals, as the instrumentals are fairly competent.

This movie was not directed by Brian De Palma, but was instead helmed by John Woo. And I think he for the most part did a good job. The shots look good and he does make the edit quite interesting. And when we actually get to the action scenes Woo shows his true colors… and man, that is a good thing. The action scenes in this are fast-paced, badass, brutal (for PG-13), and tons of fun. Say what you want about his pigeon fetish, but you can’t deny that Woo knows how to handle action sequences.

This movie has gotten a lot of mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 57% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 59/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,1/10.

“Mission Impossible 2” is a mixed bag of things, but ultimately works if you want some enjoyable action. It has an okay plot, meh characters, really good performances, really good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mission Impossible 2” is a 7,01/10. So while very flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “Mission Impossible 2” is now completed.

SLOW-MO PIGEONS DUAL-WIELDING PISTOLS.

Movie Review: Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

“Avengers: Infinity War” is almost here, and I am incredibly excited. So let’s talk about one of the latest entries into the MCU.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Thor: Ragnarok”.

After he gets banished to the planet of Sakaar, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has to find a way to return to Asgard to stop the evil Hela (Cate Blanchett) and the doomsday event known as Ragnarok. So now we have our Marvel space adventure. And I really liked it. The plot here is fun and keeps a fast pace that keeps it from dragging. In a lot of ways I prefer it to the other “Thor” plots, because it aims for a fun comic book adventure rather than trying to be convoluted (a la “The Dark World) or Shakespearean (a la the first one). But as much as I enjoy the plot here, I do have a problem with it. My problem is that it feels a little disjointed at times, since it tries to both do “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Planet Hulk” in it’s entire thing. Yes, I enjoyed it all, but those bits almost feel a bit disconnected, which makes me have to knock it down a little bit. But with that said, it’s still a really fun plot with a decent emotional core to it.

The characters in this are all entertaining and interesting in some way. First up we have Chris Hemsworth reprising his role as the titular god of thunder. Here we see a somewhat different side of Thor, a changed Thor, a Thor that has learned to lighten up a bit. And while he is generally a more lighthearted person compared to previous movies, he still feels like the same character as before, only having gone through some evolution. And he’s a really enjoyable character. And Hemsworth is great in the role. Next up we once again have Tom Hiddleston as Loki, god of mischief and adoptive brother of Thor. He’s still a sneaky fucker, but you can still tell that he does kind of care about his brother. He’s still such an enjoyable presence. and Hiddleston is great in the role. Next up we have Cate Blanchett as Hela, the villain of the story. She is the goddess of death who has come to claim Asgard for herself. She’s a suitably intimidating villain with an interesting connection to the characters. While not the strongest Marvel villain, she works quite well for the story here. And Blanchett is really good in the role. Then we have Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, a badass lady that Thor runs into on Sakaar. Not gonna say too much as her story is unveiled in the movie, and it’s pretty cool. But like I said, she’s a total badass. And Thompson is great in the role. Then we have Mark Ruffalo returning as Bruce Banner/Hulk. He’s been on Sakaar for quite a while, and they play around with that in a few interesting ways in the movie. And Ruffalo is really good in the role. Then throughout the movie we get supporting work from people like Karl Urban, Anthony Hopkins, Jeff Goldblum, Taika Waititi, Idris Elba, Clancy Brown, Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel House, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Mark Mothersbaugh, and I really liked it. Part of it is of course the big, dramatic, and emotional orchestral tunes that one would expect from a big comic book action movie like this. But then there are tracks here that take inspiration from 80s synth soundtracks, which makes this score stand out a bit, and just adds to the overall fun factor. And there’s a licensed song used in this movie, and if you don’t know what it is, I will not ruin it. But let’s just say that when they use it, I got chills. A great song that was used amazingly. Yeah, this movie has some great music.

This movie was directed by Taika Waititi, and I think he did a really good job with it. His directing here is fast and filled with tons of energy, making the movie feel really fun and breezy. The action scenes too are a lot of fun, with a lot of Taika’s energy being brought into them. The visual effects too are great. Yes, there’s like a moment or two of less than stellar green screen, but those moments are brief, and not too bad, so I’ll let it slide. This movie also features some of the most beautiful shots I’ve seen in a Marvel movie. This movie also has a lot of comedy in it, so much that this movie is even classified as a comedy. And is it funny? Yeah, I laughed. From chuckles to belly laughs. It’s an insanely funny movie.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 92% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10.

“Thor: Ragnarok” is a really fun space adventure, and by far the best “Thor” movie. It has a good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, really good directing/visual effects, and hilarious comedy. As previously mentioned, my one flaw with the movie is that it can feel a bit disjointed when going between certain plot points, but it doesn’t ruin it for me. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Thor: Ragnarok” is a 9,20/10. So I’d say that it’s definitely worth buying.

My review of “Thor: Ragnarok” is now completed.

“AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!”. 

12 Films of Christmas (Final Part)

We’re finally here, guys. The final part of this silly series of mine. We’ve talked about all kinds of christmas cheer. From the obnoxiously sweet “Elf”, to the not very cheerful “Bad Santa”, to the commercialism-critiquing “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, to the explosive and and violent “Die Hard”. It’s really been fun doing this.

This whole thing started with “The Grinch”, so it will end with “The Grinch”. It’s christmastime in Whoville, and everyone in town is overly excited for the holiday. Except for little Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen) who just doesn’t get what the point of it all is. Oh, and the Grinch (Jim Carrey) hates it too. So he cooks up a vile plan to steal christmas from the people of Whoville. And is this any good? It’s… okay. I’m not gonna sit here and pretend like it’s one of the greatest christmas movies of all time, but I don’t think it’s one of the worst either. The biggest problem is that it takes a classic 25-minute long story and extend the runtime while also “modernizing” it. From 25, to 140. From simple humor about stealing christmas, to weird, early 2000s humor. Ron Howard directed this, but that’s quite difficult to tell. You could’ve told me that this was directed by Jerry Generic, and I would’ve believed you. It’s more concerned with weird late 90s/early 2000s filmmaking tricks rather than being interesting or making sense. Anyway, is there anything I like about this. Jim Carrey as the Grinch. Not only is the makeup/costume amazing, but his shtick works surprisingly well… even though it’s just Jim Carrey being Jim Carrey while wearing a Grinch costume. But he’s still enjoyable in the role. Taylor Momsen as Cindy Lou Who is adorable, and her performance is good… so that’s a plus. And there are some jokes here that land. Also, I like Anthony Hopkins’ narration. Not because it’s “inspiring” or “entertaining”, but more because I imagine it being Hannibal Lecter reading the story to one of his victims, and that makes this entire ordeal a bit more fun. So yeah, “The Grinch”… it’s average.

What are your thoughts on “The Grinch”? And what’s your favorite Jim Carrey movie? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Merry christmas, happy holidays, and have a good one.

Series Review: Westworld – Season 1 (2016)

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It is no secret at this point that I love westerns, I’ve stated it a few too many times on this blog… and on twitter… and in real life. So I always get a bit excited when a new western gets announced. Movie, TV show… doesn’t matter, just give me a western.

Sirs and ma’ams, welcome to… “Westworld”.

Welcome to “Westworld” (roll credits), a giant theme park made to resemble the old west. This park is filled artificial beings called “hosts”, and if you’re in the park you can practically do whatever you want to them. Kill, beat up, fuck… any of it. And everything it seems to be going pretty well here. However, things soon seem to be going a little bit haywire. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that because there’s a lot of things going on here and I don’t really wana spoil any of it. But I will say that the plot is intriguing, dramatic, and overall really entertaining. And it gets even deeper and more mind-blowing as the season goes on. And I fucking loved it.

The characters in this show are all very interesting and get more and more layers as the season went on. And the actors they got for the show portrayed it all very well. To try to stay as spoiler-free as possible I’m just gonna list some of the main players in the show because they were all great and talking more in depth about them might acidentally spoil some stuff. But we did get some great acting from Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris, Anthony Hopkins, Jimmi Simpson, Ben Barnes, Luke Hemsworth, Rodrigo Santoro, and Angela Sarafyan… among a fuckload of other actors that did great work here!

The music in the show was composed by Ramin Djawadi and he gave us some pretty damn great tracks, The main theme is of course a standout for me, it is absolutely fantastic. And the rest of his original tunes were pretty damn great too. Exciting, hanting, and dramatic are just a few of the words I’d use to describe it. What I also kind of enjoyed is that there were some musical covers in the show that I didn’t expect. I’m not gonna say what they are, but you will most likely go “Hey, I know that song!” when you hear it. I know I did.

This show was brought to us by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy (Nolan’s wife), and was co-produced by J.J. Abrams. And what they have given us here is pretty great. The writing is superb and the directing is just as great. The shots look fantastic and scenes flow very well. And whenever there’s a bit of action it is exciting and badass. I also wanna add that this is an HBO series, so expect lots of violence and nudity. If you have a problem with those things then you might not have a great time with this show. Though I’m sure most people that read my blog aren’t really wimps like that. Also, fun fact: This show is based on an old movie that was written and directed by Michael Crichton (the brain behind “Jurassic Park”).

This show 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 74/100.  And on imdb.com it has a score of 9,2/10 and is ranked #16 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

All I can say is that “Westworld” is a fucking amazing show. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, great writing, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Bang!* My final score for “Westworld” is a 9,90/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Westworld” season 1 is now completed.

Wait… HOW LONG UNTIL SEASON 2!? 2018!?

 

 

Movie Review: Thor – The Dark World (2013)

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Superhero movies are honestly one of my favorite types of movies. They can feature fun stories in combination with great action and good acting. Also they are fun to watch because the main character usually has some kind of awesome superpower (That we can never have because we’re regular mortals). Right now the leaders of the superhero movie empire are Marvel. And I agree they make some great movies (My favorite probably being X-Men 2). But a few years ago they came out with a movie based on a superhero comic series based on norse mythology…hmm. That movie was “Thor”, based on the comic series based on the norse god of thunder. It was a movie that got mixed reception. To be honest I was one of those that thought it was fairly good. If I have to put it somewhere within my score system I’d say it is one the “rent” spectrum. But can the sequel to it be better? Or will it just be even worse? Let’s find out!

Ladies and gentlemen…”Thor: The Dark World”.

The story follows both the events of both the first movie and “The Avengers”. In the realm where our hero Thor (Chris Hemsworth) lives he fights some bad guys. In our realm we see his love interest from the previous movie, Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), being on a date with this guy Richard (Chris O’Dowd). Their date gets interrupted by annoying sidekick Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) who gets Jane to a place to do science stuff. With the help of some local kids (almost forgot, their in London) they find this weird portal thing. When Jane later discovers this great power after she gets lost, she wakes the dark elves led by the evil Malekith (Christopher Eccleston). So of course Thor finds her and wants to help her (Not aware of Malekith), much to his father Odin’s (Anthony Hopkins) dismay. But when they find out about Malekith, it is up to Thor to stop him. But he is not all alone. He has help from a bunch of people. For example the handsome (and now with a different actor) Fandral (Zachary Levi), the beautiful but dangerous Sif (Jaimie Alexander) and his not very trust worthy, but always enjoyable “brother” Loki (Tom Hiddleston). And that is kind of the plot in a nutshell without giving you too many details (given you have not seen this movie yet). And while my explanation of the story is vague, at best…it is actually rather interesting. I like how they use fantasy in mix with science fiction/technology without going full steampunk on us. To sum it up in a short way: Woman discovers plot mcguffin, evil elf wakes from his long-ass nap, Thor has to save everyone. And while that is not my favorite way of explaining things, that is what it is. It is kind of a standard story, but it is like I always say: It is not the concept that is important, it is the execution. And the execution is pretty good.

The characters are…yeah I don’t know really. One example is Thor…I can’t relate to the guy. Why? Because he is essentially a god. Am I a god? No! I am just a dude with a computer. I can relate to human beings…not norse gods. Most other characters are like him…superhuman beings. And most other humans are pretty…nothing special I suppose. I have to complain though about one character…and that is who I called the “Annoying sidekick” Darcy. She serves no other purpose than to be “Comic relief”. Her voice annoying, her lines are lame and just…ugh! But the movie makes up for that…ish by having the always sassy and great Loki. I fucking love this guy! He always has something to say…and everything he says is excellent. That’s it really. So yeah…the characters are like a fruit salad…mixed. You might dislike a few parts…but there are a few sweet and tasty things in there.

The music…here I can return to giving a bit of praise. It is big and epic! And I don’t throw around the word “epic” a lot. Fun thing is that the soundtrack was composed by one of my favorite composers; Brian Tyler. Just listen to the soundtrack for the movie…you’ll know why I like it. Then go listen to everything else by Brian Tyler…do it…NOW!

Thank fucking Christ! Why am I like that? They did a thing with this movie that I like more than the first movie…they got rid of the fucking dutch angle! YES! If you’re wondering, a dutch angle is when you film a movie in a 45 degree angle. It is for the most part used to show a person’s mental instability in a scene (Suc has paranoia or disorientation). Problem is director of the previous movie, Kenneth Branagh, used it a little too much…and it had no “mental instability” scenes. The dutch angle were just there all the time. But thanks to Alan Taylor (the director for this movie) we don’t have it anymore…and I am so thankful for that. Also, the action in this movie is amazing…not kidding. I love watching Thor and the other people kick asses in this movie.

Reception for “Thor: The Dark World” was overall pretty good. Not the best when it comes to the Marvel movies, but still not bad. Rotten Tomatoes holds a 65% positive rating. Metacritic has the lowest score I’ve seen with a 54/100. imdb.com has a 7,2/10 score on the movie (at the time of this review).

“Thor: The Dark World” has a lot of great things going for it. Good story, good acting, great action, great visuals…no dutch angle. But it also has it’s fair share of flaws…such as annoying sidekick Darcy, not the most relatable characters and…not much else really. Just a few thigns in the plot that are only nitpicks. But now that I have ranted on about that…let’s give this movie a score, shall we. My final score for “Thor: The Dark World” is an 8,66/10. While not perfect, it is still a lot better than the original “Thor” and definitely worth buying.

My review of “Thor: The Dark World” is now completed.

FOR ASGARD!