Movie Review: The Babadook (2014)

That’s right, more Month of Spooks stuff coming your way. So let’s stop it with this dawdling and get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Babadook”.

Amelia (Essie Davis) is a woman who’s had to try to raise her rambunctious son all on her own after her husband’s death. And soon her life is turned even further upside down when a sinister force starts seeping into her life, turning her challenging life into a hellish one. So now we have our plot. And I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand you have a dramatic thriller about the psychological struggles of this mother. And I find that stuff utterly compelling and kind of horrifying. Then we have the monster with the goofy name side with the plot… and those parts take me out of the movie quite a bit. Sure, those bits provide some decent creepiness, but said creepiness doesn’t stop it from taking me out of the experience. Had the plot stuck to the psychological drama, I would’ve given this movie top marks. I know, I shouldn’t judge a movie for what it could’ve been, but I am just saying that the current state of it doesn’t quite gel for me. There is a great plot in here, but there’s also a monster grabbing me and pulling my ass away from it.

The characters in this are all flawed and pretty interesting. First up we have Essie Davis as Amelia, the woman at the center of this story. She deals with a lot of grief and other emotions, even though it’s been so long since the event that caused it. And it doesn’t exactly help that her son is a real troublemaker. All of this amplified when the titular sinister force starts coming into her life, making everything horrible for her. She’s quite an interesting character. And Essie Davis is absolutely fantastic in the role. Next we have Noah Wiseman as Samuel, Amelia’s son. He’s loud, annoying, emotionally dependent on his mother, and just causes Amelia a lot of pain. But you can also tell that he never means any ill will by it all, and it’s interesting to see what effect it has on his immediate surroundings. And Wiseman is… I don’t know how to put it. There are moments where his performance is pretty good, and there are moments where it’s honestly kinda bad. So let’s just chalk it up to “fine”. And the supporting performances from people like Hayley McElhinney and Daniel Henshall are good.

The score for the movie was composed by Jed Kurzel, and it was pretty good. It managed to blend creepiness with some decently emotional beats as well to create a score that just worked quite well for the movie.

“The Babadook” was written and directed by Jennifer Kent, and I think she did a good job with it. The movie is decently shot, and Kent manages to bring in some pretty good dread throughout with her direction. This movie is decently creepy. It’s also quite impressive that this was Kent’s directorial debut, one would’ve thought that she’d been doing it for a bit longer than that. I mean, there are little mistakes here and there, but nothing that babatook me out of “The Babadook”.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 98% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 86/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

While I wasn’t blown away by it like a lot of people, I still think “The Babadook” is a good movie. It has a good-ish plot, okay characters, really good performances, good music, and really good directing. As previously mentioned, the inclusion of the supernatural monster angle didn’t fully work for me. Also, while I judge kid performances a bit differently from adult ones, there were enough bad moments from the main kid that it brings it down a little bit more for me. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Babadook” is a 7,87/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it’s definitely worth a rental.

My review of “The Babadook” is now completed.

“Fool of a Babatook” – Gandalf, kind of.

Movie Review: Wolf Creek (2005)

Month of Spooks is continuing. Really, I had nothing better to put there right now… MOVING ON!

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to… “Wolf Creek”.

A group of friends (Cassandra Magrath, Kestie Morassi, Nathan Phillips) have decided to do some backpacking in the Australian outback. But their nice vacation soon turns sour when a psychotic killer (John Jarratt) kidnaps them and starts turning their lives into a hellish nightmare. So now we have our outback horror movie plot. And it is actually pretty good. While it sounds like this could be your typical generic slasher plot, it actually subverts expectation a bit. The way they introduce the killer, the way everything happens throughout, it is familiar but still feels different from other movies of a similar style. I will say that it takes almost half the movie for the main plot to get going, but it didn’t bother me here because this is how you do build-up. It doesn’t feel too slow or too boring or too dumb, it feels like a natural progression from fun trip to fucking nightmare. And the way everything here played out I thought was good. Not saying that it’s one of the best horror plots ever, but it did exactly what it had to do.

What I like about the characters here is that I didn’t hate them. As a matter of fact I found myself actually caring about them… yeah, the horror movie meatbags that are propped up to probably get axed off are actually decent characters. While they don’t necessarily have the most distinct personalities (in that way they are quite interchangeable), I still enjoyed them. And I think that’s because the actors are good. Cassandra Magrath, Kestie Morassi, Nathan Phillips… good job, you three. Now, let’s talk about the main event here… John Jarratt as the psychotic Mick Taylor. He’s a charismatic, funny, and even likable man when you first meet him. Then he shows his true colors and he turns into quite the terrifying son of a bitch. And Jarratt is great in the role. Yeah, the performances here are good.

The score for the movie was composed by Frank Tétaz and it was really good. It was dark, eerie, and tense, often adding to the tension of a scene. While I wouldn’t exactly call it memorable, it still gets the job done quite well, it manages to set and then hold a mood pretty damn well. It even manages to add some good drama in certain moments, making me feel a little more invested in the situation.

This movie was written and directed by Greg McLean and I think he did a really good job. His directing is tight and tense, and shot on handheld more often than not, giving the movie a very gritty and documentary-esque feel that adds to the tension of the movie. I also have to mention that this shit is disturbing as fuck. Sure, some of it might be for the sake of having disturbing content in your horror movie, but I didn’t think any of it felt too out of place here. But you do get to see some violent/brutal shit throughout this movie which made me have some strong reactions to it, and I can usually handle violence in movies quite well. So if you’re squeamish in the slightest… yeah, you’ve been warned. As for overall scariness… I wouldn’t call it strictly scary, but it is quite tense and disturbing, which I think is what the movie was going for. And if that’s the case then the movie did it’s job.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 53% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 54/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie a thumbs down (ouch). And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,3/10.

While I wouldn’t call “Wolf Creek” a masterpiece, it still did a great job at being a disturbing little horror flick. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *G’day!*. My final score for “Wolf Creek” is a 9,50/10. Which means that it just managed to get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Wolf Creek” is now completed.

I feel dirty after watching that. I need a hug.

 

Movie Review: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

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Can ayone believe that it’s been 30 years since the last “Mad Max” movie came out? It’s kind of incredible if you think about it. Now as you also may remember, I recently did a series of reviews on the original “Mad Max” trilogy. And that is the reason why it’s taken me so long to watch (and review) this one. I wanted to see the originals first. But now that those are done and this movie is out on all video platforms, I could sit down and review it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mad Max: Fury Road”.

The world has gone to shit… oh wait, it had already done that in “Road Warrior”. Anyway, everything is a wasteland and once again we follow Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy). In this movie he has to help a group of women led by someone called Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) get to safety from the new bad guy simply known as Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). And Max has to do this while being mentally haunted by his past. What I was surprised by with “Fury Road” is the dramatic heft, it is actually really good. This movie presented it’s simple plot with a surprising amount of narrative skill and dramatic heft which really imporved a lot. This movie is a straight up road trip in a wasteland filled with crazy people, yet they managed to put in a lot of great storytelling without it feeling forced or terrible and that is something I absolutely loved.

The characters in this movie are just as colorful and unique as in the previous three movies. Tom Hardy is excellent as Max, really playing this broken and even a bit cynical man. And to still your minds on the question of who I liked more as Max out of Hardy and Gibson… I liked Mel Gibson more. Don’t get me wrong, Hardy was great but I still prefer Gibson a bit more. Anyway, moving on. Charlize Theron as Furiosa… holy shit. Her performance is incredible. There is so much emotion behind her that she really disappears into her performance. Nicholas Hoult is also in the movie, playing a crazy guy named Nux. And he was also pretty great. Then we have Hugh Keays-Byrne (Sidenote: Also played main villain Toecutter in the original “Mad Max”) who plays the villain Immortan Joe. And he was pretty great as well. Nothing much to say other than that he was kind of badass. Unfortunately there was no Bruce Spence in the movie, but I guess we’ll have to live with that. Anyway, every performance was great and every character was entertaining.

The score for the movie was done by Tom Holkenborg (A.K.A. Junkie XL) who also did the score for the movie “Run All Night”. And I’m not gonna lie, the score for the movie was pretty fucking fantastic. It’s big, it’s loud, it’s bombastic and at times it is even beautiful. It is for the most part consistent of a normal orchestra with the occasional electronic sound. But then there are times where the score decides to say “Fuck it” and throw in some electric guitar and be badass. What I am trying to say is that the score is about as crazy, unpredictable and badass as the movie it is used in and I fucking love it.

Once again, George Miller is here to direct a “Mad Max” movie and wow, he has really out-done himself. This movie is perfectly directed and the shots look fantastic. This might be the best looking movie I’ve seen so far that came out this year. Also, thank the lord for the action scenes! I’m almost sick of action movies from recent years. Too much CGI, too much shaky-cam, too much green screen. But then comes “Mad Max: Fury Road” and decides to fix everything again. Everything is practical, there is minimal CGI, no green screen and there is no shaky-cam. The action in this movie is fast, visceral, brutal and the best in recent years. I would put it like this: It’s “The Road Warrior” times 500. It is crazy, bonkers and as amazing as action can be! GAAAAAAH!

This movie released to pretty much universal acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 97% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 89/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,3/10 and is ranked #112 on the “Top 250” list.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” is a breath of fresh, sandy air. It has a surprisingly dramatic & great story, great characters/acting, fantastic music, excellent direction and some of the best action ever. Time for my final score. Hey look, an envelope. WHAT A LOVELY DAY!!! My final score for “Mad Max: Fury Road” is 9,87/10. It definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

Review of “Mad Max: Fury Road” is completed.

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Movie Review: Mad Max – Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

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We are finally here, the final part of my series of “Mad Max” reviews (“Fury Road” not included). It has been a… strange journey to say the least. From the revenge story of “Mad Max” to the vehicular insanity of “The Road Warrior” and now we have the finalé left.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you… “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome”.

Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) is back to be scruffy-looking and badass. This time he stumbles upon a place called Bartertown where he meets the town’s leader called Aunty Entity (Tina Turner). But after some shit hits the fan, he gets exiled into the wasteland and left to die. But then he is taken in with some children who live in a forest/jungle/how-did-that-end-up-there-in-the-sandy-wasteland whom he then teams up with to rebel against Aunty Entity. While I was entertained through the entirety of the movie, I feel like the plot got a little… stupid. I love the first half where he is in Bartertown/Thunderdome, fighting for his life, but when he ends up with the kids it feels like an entirely different movie… and not really in a good way. It started to feel less like a “Mad Max” movie and more like a Steven Spielberg movie. And I was not the biggest fan of how the plot developed, even though it was enjoyable to watch.

I think it’s safe to say that Mel Gibson is fantastic as Max. He nailed it the first two times, and he nailed it here too. I would even say that he got some great character development in this movie, with Max evolving a fair amount as a character which is great to see. I was however worried about the casting of Tina Turner in the movie. Don’t get me wrong, I love her, I think she is a fantastic musician… but since I have never seen her act before I was worried that she would suck. Did she suck? Not really. While she wasn’t as terrible as I thought she might’ve been, she was still not great. Her performance was at a lot of times over-the-top and a little campy, but she was still fine. All other performances on the other hand were pretty great. And since this is a “Mad Max” movie you can expect that everyone have lost their fucking minds and are all very colorful, which is always fun.

The music was done by composer Maurice Jarre. And as per usual it was great, with Jarre showing that he can create pieces of music for all moods a movie wants to show. There were also one or two tracks done/sung by Tina Turner and those were pretty great which is to be expected. All of the music was in fact very well composed and really enjoyable to listen to.

George Miller returns as director, but is this time also joined by George Ogilvie who I have never fuckin’ heard of. No offense to the man, I’m sure he’s a nice guy, I just haven’t heard of him before. Anyway, holy shit this movie looks amazing. Out of all the movies so far, this might be the best looking one out of them all. The cinematography is beautiful and the pans and zooms and overall directing is simply great. It also has some pretty great action scenes. Mainly two of them; The first one is the fight in Thunderdome between Max and a huge, muscular man named Blaster. The second one is the big chase at the end which is typical “Mad Max” badassery. What is a little weird about the movie is that it is the only one in the series (“Fury Road” included) that is rated PG-13. Why the sudden change of age rating, Miller? It doesn’t really take away from the movie, I just find it weird. Answer me, damn it!

This movie has gotten some mixed reception to say the least. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 81% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 80/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,2/10.

“Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome” is a strange movie. It has an entertaining plot that still derails itself halfway through, but it also has really fun characters/great performances, and excellent soundtrack, terrific directing/cinematography and awesome action. Time for my final score. MAAAAAAAAAAAD MAAAAAAAAAAX! My final score for “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome” is an 8,78/10. I’d still say that it’s worth buying.
Worth buying

I have finally reviewed the final part in the “Mad Max” trilogy (A.K.A. “Beyond Thunderdome”).

Who runs Bartertown?

Movie Review: The Road Warrior (1981)

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Time for part two in my series of reviews based on the original “Mad Max” trilogy before “Fury Road” comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray. So sit back, relax, enjoy a cold drink and have a good time while reading this.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Road Warrior”.

The world has gone to shit. Everything is a huge wasteland and fuel has become the most precious commodity. Once again we follow Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) as he travels through the wasteland, together with a dog. So one day he comes upon a small community that has a pretty big problem with a group of bandits led by a man called Lord Humungus (Kjell Nilsson). So he agrees to help them get rid of this bandit problem. And I’m not gonna lie, I was very invested in this story. Sure, there isn’t much of a real story per se, but it is still riveting to say the least. And I never felt like the plot dragged at any point, it had perfect pacing in my opinion.

The characters in “The Road Warrior” are… colorful, to say the least. Let’s start with Max, a pretty cynicla guy who Mel Gibson plays perfectly. What I also like about him is the fact that he isn’t your typical action hero who survives everything and never really gets a scratch. He is in peril through a lot of the movie and shows that he is vulnerable which makes him so much more interesting. Kjell Nilsson is also great as the buff, mask wearing Lord Humungus. Show stealer: Bruce Spence as a kind of crazy guy with a gyrocopter and a fascination with snakes. He was great and entertaining as hell. Honestly, everybody was great in the movie.

Once again the score was composed by Brian May, and once again I have to mention that it isn’t Brian May from the rock band Queen. Anyway, holy shit he really got this score right. As you might remember (if you’ve been here for more than a few weeks), I didn’t like the score for the first “Mad Max” movie that much. But with “The Road Warrior” he really impressed me because this is a terrific score. Not only does it help keep the adrenaline of the action scenes going, but it also managed to have some pretty good drama to it. Good job Brian, you did well.

Just like the first movie, “The Road Warrior” is directed by George Miller. And once again he did a pretty great job at it, getting a lot of great shots and like I said in the “Story/Plot” part, he paced it perfectly. Here’s a fun fact for your butts: This movie was shot in sequence. It’s not always easy to find a movie that has been shot in sequence, but they pulled it off. Also, fucking hell, I love the action in the movie! While the action in “Mad Max” was really good, the action here is what I would call fantastic. It has a lot more intensity than the first movie, it is a little mroe plentiful than the first movie and it is overall much better than in the first movie. And all of it is practical… it almost brings me to tears how much I love that fact.

This movie has been very well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 98% positive rating (100% is you go by “Top Critics” only” and a “Fresh” Ceritification. On Metacritic it has a score of 76/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“The Road Warrior” took everything good/great about the first “Mad Max” movie and improved on it as much as possible. The story (despite not being there as much) is better, the characters and performances are better, the music is much better, the directing is a little better and the action is some of the best I have ever seen. Time for my final score. AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH. My final score for “The Road Warrior” is a 9,86/10. It gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

“The Road Warrior” is now reviewed.

You wanna get out of here, you talk to me.

Movie Review: Mad Max (1979)

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I know, I know, I am a bit alte in the game when it comes to the “Mad Max” franchise. But hey, better late than never, right? Anyway, time for another series of reviews based on a movie franchise. And this time it is for (if it wasn’t obvious already) “Mad Max”. So I will try to review all original movies before “Mad Max: Fury Road” comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray. And yes I know, I am not done with my series of “Jaws” reviews, but I swear that I will get that done soon enough. But for now, let’s talk about the first of a series of Australian movies.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mad Max”.

The world has almost gone to shit (that’s a new one). There is still a little bit of order left in the world with police officers still existing to keep everything in control. In this movie we follow officer Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) who have to take up arms again to try to take out a motorcycle gang to avenge his wife and son. That is basically the plot in a nutshell, strange thing is that it doesn’t happen until fairly late in the movie (mild spoilers I guess). Not that the plot is slow, not at all. The plot moves at a really good pace, it’s jsut so weird that the main plot of the movie comes in at such a late point. Anyhow, the plot is really good.

The characters are prety good I guess, it just seems like no one is completely sane (SIdenote: I guess that is why they call it “MAD Max”). How is the acting then? It’s fine at best, no one gives really a noteworthy performance in that sense. I guess the best one comes from Gibson who actually is really good in the movie. However, everyone else is at best fine. The bad guys however (for the most part) are rather meh. I think the actors confused crazy for weird and awkward. Because the main bad guy (Sidenote: The one called “Toecutter” played by Hugh Keays-Byrne) doesn’t really give that great of a performance here. Like I said, I think he confused crazy and psychotic with weird and awkward. And that kind of drags it down a bit for me. Gibson’s really good though, so that’s something!

The score was composed by Brian May, no, not the guitarist from Queen, but an Australian man who did music for a bunch of Australian movies. Anyway, it was good, definitely a product of it’s era. You notice that this music was composed back in the 70’s, it has the sort of 70’s action-thriller style. I don’t know how to explain it better, that is the only way I can explain it. And it was pretty good, fit the movie well enough.

When you watch this movie, would you expect it to come from the same guy that directed “Happy Feet”? Because I sure as shit didn’t. Because this is a violent and weird movie that is as far from a movie about cute dancing penguins as possible. Anyway, this movie was directed by George Miller who did a great job with directing this movie that apparently was on a very thin budget. The shots look great and he did an overall great job. And the action in the movie is really cool too. They did a lot of crazy stunts with the vehicles and I love seeing these types of real stunts because we never get them these days. Fuckin’ CGI…

This movie has been pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 67/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

“Mad Max” is a mixed bag of stuff. The story is good, the acting is for the most part fine with Mel Gibson being really good and the main bad guy not being that great, the music is fine, the action/stunts are great and the direction/camera work being great. Time for my final score. *Australian Phrase*. My final score for “Mad Max” is an 8,77/10. I think it’s worth buying.
Worth buying

Review of “Mad Max” is done.

He’s a very, very Maaaaad Max…