Movie Review: Out of Sight (1998)

Hey. Sorry for the lack of blog posts lately. Had a bad case of the lazy. But now I’m back. And hopefully we’ll get some consistency in post frequency from it. Anyway, first review of the year, here we go!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Out of Sight”.

After he escapes from prison, career criminal Jack Foley (George Clooney) has to go on the run and try to avoid a U.S. Marshal (Jennifer Lopez) that he shares a connection with. So now we have our crime-caper plot. And it’s a good one. It doesn’t rely that much on shocking twists and turns for its narrative, instead just relying on a fast pace and a sort of sex appeal that gives it a unique vibe that I can’t say I’ve seen much of in crime-capers. But yeah, the plot here is just generally fun, fast, and quite entertaining.

The characters in this are colorful, interesting, and overall quite entertaining. George Clooney plays Jack Foley, the crook at the center of this story. I’d say he’s like a less cool-headed version of Danny Ocean, but you can definitely recognize some elements of that character in this one. Though Foley does stand out as his own entity and I find him to be quite an entertaining protagonist. And Clooney is great in the role. Next we have Jennifer Lopez as U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens… no, wait… sorry, wrong Elmore Leonard franchise… U.S. Marhsal Karen Sisco, that’s her name. She’s a tough, sexy, and capable woman who is on the hunt for our main protagonist. She’s pretty fun and has an enjoyable dynamic with Foley. And Lopez is really good in the role. We also get supporting turns from people like Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Steve Zahn, Catherine Keener, Dennis Farina, Luis Guzmán, Albert Brooks, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by David Holmes, and it’s awesome. It’s funky, it’s jazzy, and it captures the sort of sly sex appeal that the plot is going for, which adds to the overall fun factor of the entire thing. My favorite aspect of it is how many slick basslines there are throughout, I love the inclusion of them. There are also a few licensed tracks used throughout, and they work well in their respective scenes. So yeah, this movie has great music.

Based on a novel by Elmore Leonard (hence the joke from earlier), this movie was written by Scott Frank, and directed by Steven Soderbergh. And as a fan of “Justified” (another Elmore Leonard adaptation), the writings and overall style of this movie appeals to me. It has a similar kind of energy and snappiness to “Justified”, and that just makes it incredibly watchable for me. But even discounting my love for the aforementioned tv show, the movie just has this sort of infectious energy that I find quite fun. And even through the fun, it manages to have a decent bit of suspense throughout, giving it a bit of a welcome edge.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 85/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10. The movie was nominated for two Oscars in the categories of Best adapted screenplay, and Best film editing.

“Out of Sight” really surprised me, it’s one hell of an enjoyable movie. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Out of Sight” is a 9,65/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Out of Sight” is now completed.

Despite having seen multiple Elmore Leonard adaptations, I haven’t read any of his books. Might need to fix that soon.

 

“Wheelman” teaser trailer!

Hello there, my friends! Time for some trailer talk! So here we go!

We have now gotten our first look at Netflix original movie “Wheelman”. So what’s this all about then? Well, Frank Grillo stars as a badass getaway driver who gets pulled into a really bad situation. And that’s really all we know, and that’s all we need. Getaway driver, bad situation, action, Frank Grillo. Now, I’ve actually had this movie in my sights for a while mainly due to a couple of things. For one, it stars the aforementioned Frank Grillo, one of the most badass actors working today. And it was produced by both Grillo and Joe Carnahan, the man who made the excellent “The Grey” and the really fun “Stretch” (which I recently reviewed *Nudge nudge wink wink*). So since I follow their social media feeds I’ve known about this project for a while, and now we finally have our first look at it. And while there isn’t a lot of footage to go on, I would still say that I’m excited. I’m always up for a good action movie, and a bit of Frank Grillo. Sure, the director, Jeremy Rush, hasn’t directed a movie prior to this, but I am still quite interested in this. “Wheelman” is set to be released on October 20th, only on Netflix.

What are your thoughts on this? Are you excited for “Wheelman”? And what’s your favorite movie about/heavily featuring a getaway driver? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy the teaser!

Movie Review: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

*Insert repetitive comment about Markus loving westerns here*.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”!

The story of this movie follows the outlaws known as Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman, R.I.P) and the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) as they travel around, rob trains and banks, and generally outwit the law. And while that is a very basic plot that we’ve seen in many other movies, “Butch Cassidy” does it much better by focusing on the bond between our two heroes as they go through all kinds of shit. It’s actually quite an interesting plot that manages to be fun and exciting without sacrificing any drama. By drama I don’t mean that it’s super serious and overly dramatic, but when it needs to have some good drama, it nails it.

The characters in this movie and interesting, entertaining, and pretty fleshed out. Paul Newman is great as Butch Cassidy, playing him as this charming and confident bandit. He’s endlessly likable and fun to watch. Robert Redford is great as the Sundance Kid, playing the slightly more serious one of the two. Katharine Ross plays Etta, a woman that our two heroes knows/socializes with, and she’s great in the role. Really, there are no weak performances in this movie. Not saying that all are great, but none stood out as bad.

The score for the movie was composed by Burt Bacharach and it was good. It was fun, delightful, and overall worked very well in the scenes that tracks were featured. And I guess I should talk about the one “song” in the movie. It’s called “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” and it was sung by B.J. Thomas, and it’s quite good. Like the score it is fairly lighthearted and it’s pretty delightful. I like it.

This movie was directed by George Roy Hill and I think he did a really good job. The shots look great and everything flows very well. And when bullets start flying, it’s fun, badass, and exciting. What I was also kind of surprised about was that there was comedy in this movie. Not saying that it’s the typical “This is a comedy, now laugh!”, but this movie has a sense of humor. And it’s funny, I laughed at the jokes in the movie. Some might think that blending this humor with some of the more serious moments in the movie could end up poorly, but this movie did this very well.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10 and is ranked #201 on the “Top 250” list. The movie won 4 Oscars in the categories of Best original screenplay, Best cinematography, Best original song, and Best original score. It was also nominated for an additional 3 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best director, and Best sound.

“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” is an incredibly fun movie and most definitely a classic. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Bang*. My final score for “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” is a 9,87/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” is now completed.

This is one of those movies where I was just smiling for most of it. It’s such a delightful movie.

Movie Review: Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

Bank robbery. Doesn’t matter what cause you are doing it for, it’s always a bad idea. No matter how desperately a person might need the money, he or she should not attempt to rob a bank… EVER! It’s a bad idea that has so much more risk than reward.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Dog Day Afternoon”.

Sonny (Al Pacino) and Sal (John Cazale, RIP) and two men who walk into a bank during a hot summer afternoon to rob it. And what was supposed to be a simple bank robbery soon turns into a tense and complicated hostage situation. The plot in “Dog Day Afternoon” is pretty great, not just because of my love for heist films, but because it doesn’t just present it in the typical black and white cops vs. robbers way. The situation and the motivations behind it are much more grey than in other movies, and that’s what I loved about the plot. You see every little angle of it. It’s rare to see such a nuanced plot in bank robbery/heist movies that I found it quite refreshing. The plotis really a tense drama that managed to hold my interest from start to finish.

The characters, like the plot, are very layered and have plenty of nuance to them which makes them really interesting to watch. Al Pacino is fantastic as Sonny. And what I really like about his character is that he osn’t jsut your typical asshole bank robber, he’s just a man who does this for “good reasons”. By “good reasons” I don’t mean that bank robbery is okay (read the intro again), but that his motivations isn’t just to get rich, but he has a clear motivation that I can understand/get behind. John Cazale is great as Sal, the man that is helping Pacino rob the bank. We also get James Broderick (RIP) as an FBI agent that is there to negotiate with Pacino/Cazale, and he’s great. We have Chalres Durning (RIP) as a cop that tries to negotiate with Pacino/Cazale, and he’s great. We get Chris Sarandon as someone that is close to Pacino’s character, and he’s great. We even get a brief, but still welcome, appearance from Lance Henriksen who plays anotehr FBI agent and he is really good here. The entire cast is great in this movie, and all the characters are great.

What is interesting about the music in this movie is that there is none. Okay, I kind of lied there, there is a song at the beginning of the movie to sort of establish the city and such. But other than that there is nothing. No score, no other licensed tracks… jack fucking shit. And while I do love me some good music in a movie, I think that the lack of it here actually kind of works to it’s advantage. I try to imagine the scenes in my head with music, and I can’t… does not compute. This movie has no music in it, and I really liked that about it.

This movie was directed by Sidney Lumet (RIP) and I think he did a pretty damn great job. The framing is great and his direction here is very tense and engaging.  I felt like I was stuck in this shitshow with the characters, and that is proof of great directing. What makes that even mroe interesting is that there is barely any violence in the movie. As a matter of fact, there is almost no violence in it at all. Kind of refreshing to see that in a crime movie for once.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist (how dareth thou, Metacritic?). Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars and put it on his “Great Movies” list. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,0/10 and is ranked #243 on the “Top 250” list. The movie also won 1 Oscar in the category of Best original screenplay. It also got an additional 5 nominations in the categories of Best picture, Best actor (Pacino), Best supporting actor (Sarandon), Best director, and Best film editing. 

“Dog Day Afternoon” is an incredibly nuanced bank robber drama that engaged me from start to finish. It has a great plot, great performances, no music (which works for the movie), and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Dog Day Afternoon” is a 9,89/10. This means that is gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Dog Day Afternoon” is now completed.

They don’t make movies like this anymore… quite sad, really.

Movie Review: Hell or High Water (2016)

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Neo-western, a genre that has me quite fascinated. For those that don’t know, a neo-western is a movie (or show, or book) that has the feel of a western, but is set in more modern times. A great example of a neo-western is my favorite tv show “Justified”, an action-drama about a modern day cowboy. And I’ve made it very clear time and time again on this blog that I’m a huge fan of westerns, which makes the neo-western genre even more interesting to me.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Hell or High Water”.

Toby (Chris Pine) and Tanner (Ben Foster) are brothers. And together they are robbing a bunch of small banks in the state of Texas because they need money for reasons that I won’t get into, in case you don’t already know. But while the brothers are out and robbing these banks, a Texas ranger (Jeff Bridges) is trying to catch them, as one last big victory before his retirement. And from that we get a slowly burning heist thriller that grabbed me from the first first scene and held onto me for the entirety of the runtime. It’s a very plot that kept me invested in every scene. It’s a tense and dramatically investing plot that I absolutely loved.

What I appreciate about the characters in this movie is that they were given a lot of time. Like I said, it’s a slowly burning heist thriller, so we spend a lot of time getting to know these very interesting characters. Chris Pine really surprised me in this movie. I mean, I already liked him as an actor (“Star Trek”, yo!), but this is so different from the stuff I’ve seen him previously do. His performance is so subdued in comparison to what I’ve seen him in before, and I think he was fantastic here. Ben Foster, holy fuck, that guy was absolutely terrific in this movie, he really disappeared into his character, I didn’t recognize Foster, all I saw was his very unhinged character. Jeff Bridges was really good in the movie… there’s not much else to say here. We also had Gil Birmingham as Jeff Bridges’ partner in this movie, and he was really good too. Really, there were no bad performances in the movie at all.

The score for the movie was composed by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, and the stuff they composed for this movie was pretty damn great. I thought the music they composed for “The Assassination of Jesse James”  was some of the best I ever heard, so when their names popped up in the openign credits of this movie I got excited… and that excitement was totally justified by the excellent music they had composed for this movie. There’s also a decent amount of country music in this movie, and I think it all fits the movie very well.

This movie was directed by David Mackenzie and wow, this was a very well directed movie. You can tell that the scenes here are deliberately slow paced, and it was pretty refreshing seeing that. So when violence/action finally happened it had more of an impact than if this would have been a straight-up action movie. not saying that a straight-up action movie would have been bad, I’m just praising this movie for being different. The cinematography is also gorgeous, and Taylor Sheridan’s writing is really solid. It’s a tightly made movie.

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 88/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

“Hell or High Water” is an absolutely excellent heist-thriller. It features a great plot, great characters, fantastic performances, great music, great directing, and great cinematography. Time for my final score. *GET ON THE GROUND!*. My final score for “Hell or High Water” is a 9,90/10. So it of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Hell or High Water” is now completed.

Jeff Bridges with a mustache is one of the greatest things ever.

Movie Review: Inside Man (2006)

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The amount of ways bank robberies can be executed are astonishing. You can do it all methodical and plan for months every inch of the plan or you could just go in guns blazing. Any way is possible and that is why it is so fascinating with heist movies for me since you never know which way they will go with. So now, let’s look at a movie about a bank robbery.

Men and women… “Inside Man”.

In this movie we see how a group of bank robbers led by a man named Dalton Russell (Clive Owen) enter a bank to rob it (duh), but it soon also turns into a hostage situation. So now it is up to police detective Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington try to get the hostages out and save the day together with broker Madeleine White (Jodie Foster). And from that we get a surprisingly layered story filled with suspense and some pretty great twists. Yeah… I was surprised by the amount of depth to be found in the plot of this heist movie. It always keeps you guessing how it’s gonna go, and when you think you got it, the movie pulls the rug from under you and goes “Surprise, motherfucker!”.

The characters in this movie are all thoroughly entertaining to observe as they deal with the different situations throughout the movie. Denzel Washington is at his Denzel-iest in this movie… that’s a new adjective, Denzel-y (Denzel-ier, Denzel-iest). He is just so likeable in his role as this police detective turned hostage negotiator. He is also very believable in his role. Clive Owen plays the leader of the bank robbers and he is excellent in this movie. He plays the character in a manner which makes us believe that he is actually this intelligent and methodical criminal. Jodie Foster is also great in her role as a somewhat slimy yet charming high-power broker. Also, I think that she only gets more attractive with age… I don’t know, call me a perv if you wish. Willem Dafoe is also in this movie as a police captain and he was great. Christopher Plummer was also great as the elderly owner of the bank. And Chiwetel Ejiofor as Denzel’s partner was also great.

The score for the movie was done by Terence Blanchard who apparently is a frequent collaborator with director Spike Lee. And while I can’t recall any other original score he’s ever done, I can for sure say that he did a terrific job with the score for this movie. He uses a lot of trumpets and such to create different styles for different scenarios. And if you listen to the music in general you can hear that he takes some inspiration from other great composers. In the action bits he emulates his inner Hans Zimmer and in the more emotional songs he gets out his inner Ennio Morricone. Now, I wouldn’t say that this score is better than anything I have heard from those two, but I will say that if you like those two composers I think you’ll enjoy the score for “Inside Man”.

Like I said before, this is a Spike Lee joint. And he shows that he is a terrific director in this movie. The shots look great and he manages to he manages to perfectly capture the closed and locked-in feeling of being stuck in a bank with a bunch of bank robbers who might kill you at any second. And by that I mean when you get to see from inside the bank from the perspective of the hostages. But he also manages to catch the feeling of distress that everyone on the outside (except Denzel, somehow) feels over if they will managed to save these hostages or not. Now I haven’t really seen anything from Spike Lee except for “25th Hour” which is one of my favorite movies of all time, but now that I have seen both that and “Inside Man” I will probably check more of his joints out because he’s a great director. Also, here is something that I noticed which was pretty entertaining: in this movie we see both Clive Owen and Chiwetel Ejiofor as characters important in some way to the plot, in a movie that came out in 2006. Both actors also had important roles in “Children of Men” which also came out in 2006. Small world.

This movie has been pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 76/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“Inside Man” is an entertaining heist-thriller that is actually really clever and smart and is held up by a suspenseful and twist-filled plot, excellent performances, great music, excellent direction and a great tone. Time for my final score. GET DOWN ON THE FUCKING GROUND! GIVE ME THE ENVELOPE! GIVE IT TO ME! My final score for “Inside Man” is a 9,81/10. It gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

“Inside Man” is reviewed.

Vladimir, I am Inside Man, what I do?
Boris you dumb borshch, I told you to be Inside Man at bank, not go INSIDE MAN!
Oh… Chert , chuvak.