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: Captain Phillips (2013)

Yo-ho yo-ho, a pirate’s life is not for me, that shit sounds fucking dangerous. Think I’ll stick to land… or at least stick to waters that don’t have pirates.

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… “Captain Phillips”.

Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) is the captain of an American freighter ship going outside the coast of Africa. During one such trip the ship gets boarded and taken over by a group of Somali pirates. So now Phillips and his crew has to do everything they can to survive this horrible situation. So now we have our hostage-drama-thriller. And I must say that the plot here is pretty great. This is an incredibly tense plot. From the moment that Phillips sets his foot on the ship, a feeling of unease started to set in. Then when the pirates are put into the mix, getting close to the boat, that’s where the plot starts getting truly intense. And that tension never really lets up throughout the plot. It’s also handled pretty realistically, very little about this feels Hollywood-y. It brings the tension, it brings the drama, it’s just a damn good plot.

While the characters here aren’t the deepest out there, they’re still really interesting and I found myself caring about them. I think it’s safe to say that Tom Hanks is good in everything he does, and this is no exception. As a matter of fact, this might be one of his best (though “Philadelphia” is still his best in my opinion) performances ever. The character is likable, but he is also brave and clearly terrified for what might happen. And Hanks just portrays all that flawlessly. The men playing the pirates here are all terrific, which makes it extra interesting when you find out that none of them had really acted before. They really nailed the ruthless and intense pirate roles perfectly, with Barkhad Abdi being an absolute standout among them. Then you get various other actors in the movie all doing well for themselves, including Michael Chernus, David Warshofsky, Corey Johnson, Max Martini, Chris Mulkey, and a few more. So yeah, it’s a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Henry Jackman and it was great. His score is intense, dramatic, and just overall well composed. It often helped raise the tension throughout. It really added a lot to the movie.

The movie was directed by Paul Greengrass, and he brings his signature handheld style to this movie. And while handheld shaky-cam tends to be really annoying and awful, he knows how to do it right (though “Bourne Supremacy” had some problems with that). His directing here is intense, with the handheld shakiness actually adding to the overall intensity of the movie, really making me feel like I was there with them. And again, nothing about the directing here felt Hollywood-y, it felt pretty realistic.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 8,3/10. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10. The movie was also nominated for 6 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best supporting actor (Abdi), Best film editing, Best sound editing, Best sound mixing, and Best adapted screenplay. 

“Captain Phillips” is a great drama-thriller. It has a great plot, really good characters, fantastic performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Captain Phillips” is a 9,88/10. Which of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Captain Phillips” is now completed.

Look at me… I’m the captain now.

Movie Review: Eye in the Sky (2016)

As time goes on humans are continuing to look for new and interesting ways to kill each other. One of the most interesting toys that humans have come up with is the drone. A machine flying high in the sky to fire missiles so you die. Okay, they can be used for non-lethal surveillance as well, but we all know that those things are capable of highly destructive killing.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Eye in the Sky”.

Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) is a colonel within the UK military and she’s been tasked with leading a drone operation to take out a group of terrorists located in Kenya. However the operation runs into quite a problem when a little girl is in the so-called kill zone. This triggers a tough discussion about what should be done. Should they strike, should they not? Can they somehow minimize collateral damage? This plot was pretty fucking great. There’s a lot of layers to the plot, with the political aspects of politicians/military making a drone strike and it potentially killing a girl plus other people who might be unlucky enough to be near. But there’s not only the political angle to it, but also an overall moral dilemma for the people piloting the drone. What I also appreciated was the fact that it didn’t just go for the typical “military are heroes stopping the bad terrorists” approach, but it’s actually being more grey in it’s approach. It’s also in general really suspenseful, with the tension rising more and more throughout the entire thing. At one point it also got me a bit emotional… just thought I’d mention that. So yeah, this plot is pretty fucking great.

The characters in this were all fleshed out enough that I would not only find them pretty interesting, but I also cared about them. Helen Mirren is great, playing this woman who has to try to stay calm while also calling the shots in this difficult operation. Aaron Paul is terrific as the drone pilot, starting as just your average guy controlling a big metal thing in the sky to at one point giving us some of that emotion that he’s known for. Phoebe Fox plays Aaron Paul’s co-pilot and she’s great in the role. Alan Rickman (may he rest in peace) is great as a general that is involved in this whole ordeal. We also got Barkhad Abdi as one of the military’s allies located in Kenya, and he was really great in the role. All teh actors did really well in this movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Paul Hepker & Mark Kilian and it was great. The score was intense, dramatic, and fit the movie very well, perfectly adding to the tension/excitement of certain scenes.

This movie was directed by Gavin Hood (who also has a small role in the movie) and I would say that he did a pretty damn good job. The shots do look great, but what I love most about his direction is how taut it is. Even in moments where nothing really happens, he finds some way to make it really tense. In lesser hands this would’ve had a bunch of unnecessary action scenes so the audience won’t get “bored”, but Hood managed to hold my attention with very little. There are barely any gunshots in this war movie, but it’s still incredibly tense.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% 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.

“Eye in the Sky” is a fantastic political war thriller. It has a great plot, really good characters, fantastic performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Eye in the Sky” is a 9,89/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Eye in the Sky” is now completed.

Great job, mr. Hood… now I know that “X-Men Origins” being bad wasn’t your fault!