Movie Review: The Square (2017)

Not every day I review something from my own country. In fact, it’s quite a rarity. But today I’m bringing you such a thing. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s not a circle or a triangle… it’s “The Square”.

The story follows Christian (Claes Bang), the chief art curator at a very prestigious museum in Stockholm, as he goes through some trouble both in his personal life and his professional one, all while setting up a new art exhibit called “The Square”. So now we have our movie. And it’s a weird one. I could follow it all just fine, and I mostly understood the themes throughout the movie, all presented very well and implemented in some really solid ways. However, sometimes the movie feels like it jumps around quite a bit, not always having the best flow. There were several times when it went from one scene to the next and I had a feeling of “Oh, now we jumped to this place”. I’m sure this won’t bother a lot of people, and it’s not a total deal-breaker for me, but it did bug a me a little bit. But aside from that, this is a layered, intriguing, odd, and overall entertaining plot.

The characters in this are layered, flawed, and interesting. Claes Bang plays the main character of Christian, the chief art curator of this museum. He seemingly has a bit of a chip on his shoulder, but he never comes off as an asshole, as he does have some good charm and decent intentions behind his actions. And he does get some good development throughout. And Bang is great in the role. We also get some supporting performance from people like Elisabeth Moss, Christopher Læssø, Dominic West, John Nordling, Terry Notary, and many more, all doing very well in their respective parts.

What’s interesting about the music of “The Square” is that there are no pieces composed specifically for the movie, but instead they just use a couple of licensed tracks to convey various things, with “Improvisació number 1” by Bobby McFerrin being the most frequently used track. And all of them work pretty well in their respective scenes. Makes for an interesting sound for the movie.

“The Square” was written and directed by Ruben Östlund, and I think he did a great job. There’s a lot of interesting angles he gets throughout, perfectly utilizing his sets, light sources, and actors, giving the movie an intriguing visual style. The movie also has an interesting sense of humor throughout. It’s a sort of awkward and weird style of humor that isn’t as direct as most comedies, but still gets a laugh when it needs to. There also a point when the movie is kinda suspenseful, making for its best scene.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10. The movie was also nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best Foreign Language Film.

“The Square” is a unique and interesting movie. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, good music, and great directing. As previously mentioned, it is brought down by the plot’s jumpiness not quite working for me. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Square” is an 8,89/10. So while slightly flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “The Square” is now completed.

I hope that the invitation to the exhibition read “Be there or be square”.

Movie Review: Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

I know that I’m late with watching/reviewing this, but hey… Better late than never. So shut up… let’s get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Blade Runner 2049”!

Set 30 years after the first movie, we follow a Blade Runner named K (Ryan Gosling) as he works a case. And during this case he stumbles upon a really old secret that will lead him onto a dangerous quest to find former Blade Runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) and hopefully get some answers. And once again we have a deep plot that at first just sets up an intriguing mystery, but soon also starts to ask questions about humanity and what makes you human or not… like the first movie. But while it does pose some of the same questions as the original, it isn’t really anything like it. Sure, it’s a familiar story with some similar themes, but it mostly does it’s own things, feeling like a proper, expansive continuation rather than a retread of the first movie. I should also mention that it is quite slow-paced, which will put some people off. But for me it worked, taking it’s time to develop the story and it’s developments. The plot here is unpredictable, tense, emotional, philosophical, filled with twists and turns, and I absolutely loved it.

The characters are layered, flawed, and really interesting. Also, forgive me if I’m a bit brief with some of these descriptions as I don’t wanna spoil too much. Ryan Gosling plays K, our protagonist.  Like Deckard before him, he’s a Blade Runner, and while Blade Running he stumbles upon the plot. Within the first couple minutes you get a good feeling that he is a bit of a troubled man, and he goes through a lot of emotions through the movie as he learns more and more. And Gosling is great in the role. Robin Wright plays K’s boss, a tough and smart lady. And Wright is great in the role. Ana de Armas plays Joi, the girlfriend of K. She’s a likable and kind-hearted lady that we quickly learn something interesting about. And de Armas is really good in the role. Then let’s talk about Harrison god damn Ford who returns in this as Rick Deckard. When we meet him you can tell that he’s damaged on the inside after stuff that’s happened in his life (both during “Blade Runner” and between both the movies). He’s grumpy, troubled, and tired. And I have to say that Harrison Ford was great in the role, giving one of his best performances ever. Jared Leto plays Niander Wallace, the menacing creator of the newest Replicants. He’s our villain who is suitably weird and menacing, and Leto is really good in the role. Really, all actors in this movie range from really good to great, brief appearance or lengthy role. ’tis a very well acted movie.

The score was composed by Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch and it is absolutely amazing. It manages to emulate the stuff that Vangelis composed back in 1982, while also doing enough things differently to make it stand out. Yes, the synth sounds are still there, but there are also a whole bunch of modern touches to it as well, making it a very epic, emotional, tense, and exciting score that is a feast for the ears. Also, there are a couple of licensed tracks used throughout (which came as a surprise), and they were used well in their respective scenes. Yeah, this movie had some solid music.

Ridley Scott was supposed to originally direct this, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. So instead Denis Velleneuve took over the reins. And holy crap, he did a fantastic job. His directing here (as with most of his movies) is sweeping, taut, suspenseful, and thought-provoking. And let’s not draw this out for too long, Roger Deakins’ cinematography is absolutely fucking spectacular, and if he doesn’t win the Oscar for Best cinematography, then I will get furious and stomp around the house (too lazy to riot). Seriously, this is one of the most beautiful movies I’ve ever had the pleasure of looking at. And the mix of practical effects and CGI here is seamless, it all blends together so well that I never questioned what I was looking at. This feels like “Blade Runner” while still updating it a bit. And for those wondering if there’s any action here: There are a couple of action scenes, but they’re few and far between. That said, when they happen they are awesome. Violent and hard-hitting, but awesome.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 81/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,5/10 and is ranked #61 on the “Top 250” list.

“Blade Runner 2049” exceeded all my expectations (which were decently high), and turned out to be one of the best sequels of all time. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and fantastic directing/cinematography/visual effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Blade Runner 2049” is a 9,90/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Blade Runner 2049” is now completed.

This further cements my mantra “Villeneuve can do no wrong”.

Movie Review: Baby Driver (2017)

VROOM! VROOM VROOM! What? That’s what cars sound like… don’t fucking judge.

Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, right now I got to tell you about the fabulous, most groovy… “Baby Driver”!

Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a young man who also happens to be one hell of a getaway driver. And after being brought in by his boss (Kevin Spacey) he finds himself having to take part in a heist that is seemingly doomed to fail. So now we have our heist plot. And I thought it was pretty great. Now, it’s not just about this guy pulling heists with a couple other people. It’s really about this guy and how he deals with falling in love, while dealing with this dangerous situation. And it’s so well handled, because it’s presented both as a fun, fast-paced action flick and a tense thriller. There’s also a surprising amount of drama in here that works very well. And it’s just an incredibly well handled plot.

The characters here are fun, unique, and really interesting. Baby, like I said, is a young and highly skilled getaway driver. What I didn’t mention though is that he uses his personal playlists to keep him moving in life. He also has a lot of layers to him, with us getting to see most sides of him. The cold and calculating driver, the traumatized young man, the music loving fun dude… he’s just a really interesting character. And Ansel Elgort is great in the role. Lily James plays Debbie, a waitress that Baby meets and falls in love with. And Lily James is really good in the role. I also have to mention that I actually bought into their romance. It was cute. Kevin spacey plays Baby’s boss, Doc, and he’s great in the role… it’s Kevin fucking Spacey, what else did you expect? Jon Hamm (aside from being unnecessarily handsome) plays Buddy, one of Baby’s colleagues (for lack of a better word), and he’s a tough and charming man. And Hamm was great in the role. Eiza Gonzáles plays Darling, Buddy’s wife and partner in crime (HA!). A tough, fun, and sexy lady. And Gonzáles was really good in the role. Jamie Foxx plays Bats, another one of Baby’s colleagues. He’s kind of a psychotic asshole, and he was quite a cool character. And Jamie Foxx was great in the role. We also got to see Jon Bernthal, CJ Jones, Lanny Joon, and Flea in supporting roles in the movie, and they were all great. It’s overall a really well acted movie.

The score for the movie (yes, there was a score) was composed by Steven Price. It wasn’t too prominent in the movie (as we’ll talk about in a second), but when it was used it was used very well to build up tension and such. Now, onto the real meat of the music. And by that I mean, let’s talk about the soundtrack. ’cause this movie uses a lot of licensed tracks used throughout. Not only are most of those songs fucking great, but they also play very integral parts in the filmmaking itself. Really, they are used absolutely perfectly in the movie.

This movie was written and directed by Edgar Wright and I think he did a fantastic job here. His directing is slick, fast-paced, and really tense, perfectly suiting the plot he wanted to tell. Which brings us to the music. The directing and editing perfectly matches the music. It’s almost like a musical in how the music is used in combination with the directing and editing. I mean, the action scenes here are absolutely fantastic. Not only because they are like 99% practical, but because they are timed to the beats of the songs, which is really fun to see. Gunshots, cars drifting around, jumps, everything is choreographed to match the music. But the quieter moments too are often done to work with the music. The amount of love and care that went into the craft of this is astonishing and gives me hope for the movie industry. Must’ve been a pain if an actor or stunt person missed a beat and had to redo it.

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 86/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10 and is ranked #183 on the “Top 250” list.

“Baby Driver” is one of the coolest and most exciting action movies to come out in recent years. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, fantastic music, and fantastic directing/choreography/editing. Time for my final score. *Vroom*. My final score for “Baby Driver” is a 9,90/10. So it of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Baby Driver” is now completed.

Your move, action movies.

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: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

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You know those classics people talk about as “The Greatest Movies Ever”? It kind of annoys me when people talk about them like that and they go like “What!? You haven’t seen it yet!? What’s wrong with you!?”. That has happened to me a lot…but the ones being like that are my own parents, mainly my mom. So it is kind of nice when I tell her I have seen a movie that she has nagged on me about for a while. And while that is a slightly unrelated story, it still has a little relation to the movie we are talking about today.

Ladies and gentlemen…”One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (What a mouthful).

The story of this movie is that of a dream of freedom. To clarify; R.P. McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) is sent from prison to a mental hospital (the loony bin for you less serious people). There he meets one of the most evil(ish) nurses of all time in the form of Nurse Mildred Ratched (Louise Fletcher). He isn’t too happy with her. So he starts to rebel against her in every way he possibly can. But he is not all alone. In there he meets a bunch of colorful figures such as Martini (Danny DeVito), Cheswick (Sydney Lassick), Taber (Christopher Lloyd) and the stuttering Billy Bibbit (Brad Dourif). Together they (often kind of indirectly) rebel against Nurse Ratched and the mental hospital. And that is really the story in a nutshell. It is kind of an interesting concept that not only sounds good on paper, but also translates really well onto the screen. the story is incredibly well executed and is just really intriguing. Based on the book by Ken Kesey (which I read almost a year ago), I think it captures the feeling of the book perfectly. It is just all around interesting.

The characters are honestly the strongest part of the movie. Let’s start with the three sort of “most prominent” characters. And first in that line is R.P. McMurphy himself. He is this guy who is both a rebel and a good person at the same time. While he may seems like this street-smart guy, he also has a lot of heart and wants the best for his fellow inmates. He is exactly what I want from a perfect character. Multi layered. He is smart, kind, rebellious and got the perfect amount of craziness á la Jack Nicholson to keep him fun and interesting. Next up is Nurse Ratched. She might seem like a kind nurse at first, but after a while you will see that she is not the most kind nurse ever…trust me. She is the perfect villain (Yeah, I said it). She and R.P. are kind of the two different sides of a coin. One is a good hearted but crazy guy and the other one is a not very good hearted but completely level-headed woman. And the final character I wanna mention is the character of Billy Bibbit (Yes, the stuttering guy). Sure, he might seem completely weird at first, but after a while you notice he is actually not that crazy…he just stutters. That is all I wanna mention when it comes to characters…the yare interesting and incredibly well-acted.

The music…great. I don’t know who composed the original tracks, but he/she gets a major pat on the back from me. Then there are a few licensed tracks that while nice, I don’t really care about. But the combination in the movie is honestly great. Nothing else to say.

It is difficult for me to talk about the camera work in this movie since I watched it recorded on an old VHS tape. But from what I could gather it was well done. It was a little blurry, so it was a little difficult to tell. This movie also gets a little bit of bonus points from me for having Jack Nicholson in it…kind of like how I give a few movies bonus points for Edward Norton…yeah.

Reception for this movie was pretty damn good. The movie has a 96% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification on Rotten Tomatoes. Metacritic has a score of 79/100 for it. Roger Ebert gave this movie his perfect score of 4/4 stars and put it on his “Great Movies list”. He also said this.

Miloš Forman’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a film so good in so many of its parts that there’s a temptation to forgive it when it goes wrong. But it does go wrong, insisting on making larger points than its story really should carry, so that at the end, the human qualities of the characters get lost in the significance of it all. And yet there are those moments of brilliance.

This movie has a score of 8,8/10 on imdb.com and is ranked #15 on the Top 250 list. This movie also won 5 Oscars. Best picture, Best Leading Actor, Best Leading Actress, Best Director, Best Adapted screenplay. It was also nominated for 5 additional Oscars. Best supporting actor (Brad Dourif), Best cinematography, Best film editing, Best original score.

I have thrown my opinions of a few different aspects on this movie and I’m ready to hand out a score. My final score for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is a 9,8/10 and I tell you that you have to buy it! Now! This is an incredibly well directed, well-acted and just generally amazing movie. Also the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!” makes a triumphant return!
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“One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is at last reviewed.

This movie reminds me that Jack Nicholson is retired…and that makes me sad…