Movie Review: Mission Impossible 3 (2006)

Holy shit, we’re already at the third part in my “Mission Impossible” review series. Time sure flies. Well, I guess we should jump into it like a Tom Cruise stunt.

Ladies and gents… “Mission Impossible 3”.

We once again follow IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) as he gets dragged into another mission. And this time his mission is to find and capture a very elusive and dangerous arms dealer (Philip Seymour Hoffman, R.I.P). So now we have our twisty-turny spy thriller plot. What’s fun is that it takes the MacGuffin, single villain plot of the second movie and mixes it with some of the deeper conspiracy/twist-based stuff of the first. It’s a good, fast-paced, and entertaining spy thriller plot. But there is also where we find the main flaw/draw of the plot: It’s fast-paced. Like, “almost give you whiplash with how fast-paced it is” fast. It’s good because it keeps stuff from getting boring or too slow (a la the first half of “MI2”), but it also makes some scenes feel a bit too rushed. So overall this plot is really good, if a little too fast at times.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, and quite interesting. Tom Cruise of course returns as IMF agent Ethan Hunt, and I really mean it. This is not the wannabe James Bond from “MI2”, this is the Ethan of the first movie, but with some added details. He’s trying to settle down, but he’s also active in operations, trying to keep that side of his life secret. And Cruise is great in the role. Next we have Philip Seymour Hoffman (may he rest in peace) a Davian, the villainous arms dealer antagonist of this film. He’s a sinister, matter-of-fact, menacing motherfucker who proves a truly formidable foe for Ethan and his team. And Hoffman is fantastic in the role, taking lines that would be shit in lesser hands, and turning them into some of the most menacing things I’ve heard in movies. Next we have Michelle Monaghan as Julia, Ethan’s fiancée. Not gonna say too much as her development and such is kind of spoiler territory, but let’s just say that she’s a more interesting character than one would assume at first. And Monaghan is really good in the role. Then we get supporting work from Ving Rhames, Laurence Fishburne, Keri Russell, Jonathan Meyers, Maggie Q, Billy Crudup, Eddie Marsan, Simon Pegg, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Michael Giacchino and it was pretty damn good. What he did here is that he gave us an orchestral score that featured both big, bombastic action tracks and smaller, tension-building tracks for some of the smaller scenes. It’s really a damn solid score that works very well for this movie.

This movie was the feature film debut of J.J. Abrams, and I think he did a really good job with it. As some of you might know, he has a penchant for making his movies very fast-paced, and while that can be a little bit of a detriment to the plot here (as mentioned in a previous section), it does nothing but help the action scenes here. The action here is fucking great, giving us fighting, shooting, swinging, running (so much running), and more, blending it into some damn entertaining stuff.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 70& positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 66/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

“Mission Impossible 3” is a return to form after the disappointing second installment. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and really good direction. As I mentioned earlier, the relentless pace of this movie makes a few moments throughout feel a little bit rushed (but not enough to ruin the movie). Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mission Impossible 3” is an 8,87/10. So while flawed, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Mission Impossible 3” is now completed.

Only one more to go.

Movie Review: Almost Famous (2000)

Music. One of the most powerful things in the world. A medium that transcends language. You may not understand what that foreign person is saying, but you will connect thanks to the recognizable riff of “Smoke on the Water”, or the vocal melody of “Stairway to Heaven”. Music, connecting people better than words can.

Ladies and gents… “Almost Famous”.

The year is 1973. High school student William Miller (Patrick Fugit) has been given the opportunity of a lifetime: To follow up-and-coming band Stillwater on tour and write an article on them for Rolling Stone Magazine. So yeah, that’s about it. We follow William and the journey he goes on with this band. From meeting them, to seeing them play, to the various other highs and lows of a 70s rock band being on tour. And I found myself fully engrossed in the plot of this movie. When it wants to be fun and breezy, it’s fun and breezy. And when it wanted to tug at my heartstrings, it did. It rides the balance between fun and dramatic perfectly, creating a journey that I loved following from the start to finish.

The characters in this are all entertaining, layered, interesting, and feel like real people. Patrick Fugit plays William, the young man who’s been given this opportunity. He’s naive, but not dumb. He holds these guys in high regard, and you can see the joy in his eyes as he hangs out with the band. But you also see him get some good development throughout. And Fugit is great in the role. It’s also refreshing to see him play such a happy character after having seen him be so stressed and damaged in “Outcast”. Next up we have Billy Crudup as Russell, the lead guitarist of the band. He’s the member we get to know the best and that gets the most amount of development. He is a bit mysterious, but as he spends time with William he starts to open a bit more and really develops as a character. And Crudup is great in the role. Then we have Kate Hudson (who I mistook for Drew Barrymore at first, oops) as “Penny Lane”, a mysterious girl that William runs into early on that follows along on the journey. She’s a pretty secretive girl, but she also becomes one of William’s closest friends during this journey. She’s a very fun and interesting character. And Hudson is great in the role. I’m not gonna go in-depth with any more characters as most don’t get the same kind of development as the main three, and also because I don’t want this post to get too long. But we do get some supporting work from people like Jason Lee, Frances McDormand, Noah Taylor, Fairuza Balk, Anna Paquin, Philip Seymour Hoffman (R.I.P), Terry Chen, and more. All doing really well in their respective roles.

While not a lot can be found on it online, there was music in this composed by Nancy Wilson (one half of rock duo Heart), and the little I found out about it was really good. There has been one piece officially released from it that is fantastic, and she also co-wrote some songs for the band in the movie (with some additional help from Cameron Crow and Peter Frampton). And there were of course A LOT of 70s rock tracks used throughout to capture that era and story, and it worked brilliantly. Then again, I am a bit biased due to my love for that era of music. Still, the soundtrack for this movie worked perfectly for it.

The movie was written and directed by Cameron Crowe and he did a fantastic job. His directing is tight and intimate, getting us close to the characters and their situations, making us feel like were really part of it. But it’s not the “look at me and how personal I can get”, Crowe’s direction doesn’t call attention to itself. There’s also a lot of humor in this movie and I found it to be really funny, I laughed out loud several times. But the humor never feels out of place or like it overtakes the drama, it fits into the movie incredibly well.

This movie 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 90/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best original screenplay. It was also nominated for an additional 3 Oscars in the categories of Best supporting actress (Hudson), Best supporting actress (McDormand), and Best film editing.

“Almost Famous” is a fun, inspiring, and engaging little dramedy. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, fantastic music, great directing, and funny humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Almost Famous” is a 9,89/10. Which means it gets a the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
 

My review of “Almost Famous” is now completed.

Hold me closer, tiny dancer…

Movie Review: Sleepers (1996)

It’s kind of incredible how something that at a point seems so innocent can turn into something horrible. This theme has been explored in film multiple times, “Atonement” (a movie I reviewed a while back) is only one example. And even though we’ve seen it several times, it is still endlessly fascinating.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Sleepers”.

The story follows a group of four friends. When they were young they meant to pull a prank, but it went disastrously wrong, which got them sent to a youth detention center. There they endured brutal abuse by multiple caretakers. And this plot follows the friends before, during, and after their horrifying time at this detention center and how it affects their lives. It might sound like I’m spoiling the plot of this, but I’m really not. I give you what you need to know to understand what it’s about… but I’m keeping enough away as to not spoil it. Anyhow, is this plot good? Yes. It’s dark, disturbing, and harrowing, but it’s still interesting and kept me engaged from start to finish. It is a long movie, and it does feel like it. While I’ve watched movies with much worse pacing than this, there were still moments where the pacing dragged a little bit. But those moments aside, this is a truly engaging plot.

I’m not gonna talk too much about the characters here, because their personalities and paths are better experienced rather than explained. But in the core cast of friends we have Jason Patric, Brad Pitt, Billy Crudup, and Ron Eldard. And they are all great in the roles. Then we have Joe Perrino, Brad Renfro (R.I.P), Geoffrey Wigdor, and Jonathan Tucker as the young versions of the four friends. And they all do very well in the roles as well. Then we have Robert De Niro as a goodhearted priest, and he’s great in the role. Then we have Kevin Bacon as one of the “caretakers” at the detention center, and his character is an absolute fucking scumbag… and Bacon is really good in the role. And then there’s a bunch of great supporting work here from people like Dustin Hoffman, Minnie Driver, Vittorio Gassman (R.I.P), Frank Medrano, and many more. Not a weak link in this entire cast.

The score for the movie was composed by the one and only John Williams and let’s fucking face it, the man can do no wrong. The score is emotional, tense, and just overall fits the movie very well, often taking scenes from “pretty good” to “wow” levels. Seriously, it’s great. Williams is a master.

This movie was written and directed by Barry Levinson and is based on a book by Lorenzo Carcaterra. As for the accuracy to the book, I can not attest as I have not read it at the time of writing this. But I can speak for how Levinson did in writing/directing, and I think he did a damn good job. His direction is very tight and really pulls the viewer into the scene, making you feel like you’re there with the characters. He even manages to create some decent tension throughout, which is really cool. The cinematography by Michael Ballhaus is also pretty damn good. My only real flaw within this whole “technical/general stuff” part is that there were some weird edits thrown into certain parts of the movie. I kind of get what they were going for with those small edits, but it took me out of the movie for a moment or two when it happened. It’s not enough to break the movie for me, but it does bring it down a couple of notches.

This movie has gotten a little bit of a mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 74% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 49/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“Sleepers” isn’t an easy watch, but it’s definitely worth your time. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and really good directing/cinematography. As previously mentioned, I did have a couple of flaws with it. The pacing in a couple of moments dragged a little, and there were a couple of weird edits. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Sleepers” is an 8,99/10. While flawed, It is still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Sleepers” is now completed.

If you sleep through this movie, I will appreciate the pun and then yell at you.

Movie Review: Rudderless (2014)

Grief. Something we all have to deal with at some point in our lives. Whether it’s for something as small as a great TV show ending or something as big as someone you love passing away. There’s no avoiding it, we all experience it at some point. And we all deal with it in different ways.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Rudderless”.

While going through a downward spiral, grieving father Sam (Billy Crudup) finds a box of songs that his son had recorded before his death. So with the help of these songs and a young man named Quentin (Anton Yelchin, R.I.P), Sam starts a band to try perhaps find some catharsis in his life. And from this we a plot that really got to me. While one of the central themes of this movie is grief, it doesn’t have a somber and depressing feel. It moves between the heavier and the lighter moments very well, never lingering too long on one or the other. There are ups and there are downs, just like in real life. And I think that this plot was overall very well handled.

The characters in this movie are interesting, entertaining, and feel very real. Billy Crudup is great as Sam. He’s a very damaged individual who’s starting to maybe find a purpose in life again, and Crudup plays that so fucking well! Anton Yelchin (may he rest in peace) plays the young man that Sam befriends early on in the movie, and he is great in the role. Laurence Fishburne plays the owner of a music store and he is really good in the role. Felicity Huffman plays Sam’s ex-wife, Emily, and she’s great. We also get Selena Gomez popping up at a few points in the movie and she actually did a really good job. All actors were really solid in this movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Eef Barzelay and it was really good. However, while the score he composed (the background music to be more precise) is really good, I want to talk about the music that’s sung/performed in the movie. The songs overall are fucking great! What’s even cooler is that they were actually performed by the cast. When you see Billy Crudup on stage with a microphone and a guitar, he is actually performing it. And you can tell that with every person performing a song in the movie. And it all sounds great. So yeah… this movie has some great fucking music!

This movie was directed by William H. Macy, And for a first time director, he did a really good job. The shots look really good and the scenes in the movie flow really well. Macy really had a lot of energy in his directing. Not energy like when you direct a snappy and cool action movie, but energy as in the movie never grinding to a halt or getting boring. He really did a solid job!

This movie has gotten some slightly mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 62% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 52/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“Rudderless” perfectly balances the line between drama and comedy, making for a pretty great movie. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and really good directing. Time for my final score. *Sing along*. My final score for “Rudderless” is a 9,67/10. So it of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Rudderless” is now completed.

Billy Crudup can play music and William H. Macy can direct a movie… The world’s full of surprises.

We now have a trailer for “Alien: Covenant”!

Hello there guys, and merry christmas! Also, happy holidays for those of you who may not celebrate christmas! Anyway, uhm… trailer!

So we have finally gotten a trailer for “Alien: Covenant”, the sequel to 2012’s “Prometheus”. So what is this all about? Well… Crew flies in space, crew lands on planet, crew finds alien life forms, chaos ensues. It’s basically the first “Alien”, only on a slightly different planet and with some other characters. But you know what, I don’t mind. It looks like it will be a thrilling science fiction-horror movie. I am also happy to see the classic Xenomorph egg, with a chestburster flying out of it. Also, there’s a Xenomorph at the end of this trailer and it makes me happy. And finally, Jebuz fucking Crust, this movie looks like it will bring back the gory stuff from the first two “Alien” movies. It really seems like they are going full on Rated R with this thing… which I love! And for those wondering, I have seen “Prometheus” and I thought it was a good movie. Yeah, it’s safe to say that I am excited about this movie. “Alien: Covenant” is set to be released in May of 2017.

What are your thoughts on this? Are you looking forward to “Alien: Covenant”? And what did you think about “Prometheus”? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments!
Enjoy!

Movie Review: Spotlight (2015)

spotlight-one-sheet

Bullshit happens in our world all the time. From corrupt politicians, to corrupt courts, to corrupt cops, to corrupt men of faith… a lot of corruption now that I think about it. Anyhow, all of it is awful… I got nothing else to say.

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… “Spotlight”.

The year is 2001. The Boston globe’s investigative team (called “Spotlight”, roll credits) starts investigating allegations of sexual abuse within the Catholic church. And the movie follows their journey as they are looking into this, and some of the difficulties with getting it done. And it’s no huge conspiracy thriller we’re dealing with here, oh no. This is a quiet and slowly burning drama that completely engrossed me from start to finish. Seeing these people investigate all of this is incredibly fascinating. And I have to admit that when certain things were uncovered and we learned more about what was going on… I got a little bit disturbed… because the things that we learn are pretty fucked up. But yeah, I was totally invested in the story of this movie. It was very interesting and had a good amount of emotion to it.

The characters in this movie are all very clearly passionate about this investigation they are working on, and they are all very interesting and believable. And the actors definitely helped sell a lot of that for me. Mark Ruffalo is great, Michael Keaton is great, Rachel McAdams is great, Liev Schreiber is great, Brian d’Arcy James is great, John Slattery is great… every single actor in this movie is great! But what I enjoyed about these performances mainly is how reserved they all are… which adds a lot to the realism of it. Really, the way they act in this movie doesn’t feel Hollywoodized in any way, it feels very real and genuine. There’s only maybe one outburst (typical Oscar/Hollywood thing) in this movie, but it feels like it has a purpose where it is, and doesn’t just feel like it’s there for the sake of being there. Yeah, it’s a very well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Howard Shore and it is pretty damn good. Most of the time I really didn’t necessarily notice it, but that isn’t really a bad thing. Like with the story and acting, the score is very quiet and reserved and perfectly fits the movie. And after also litening to it a bit after the movie I have to say that the music overall is really good.

This movie was directed by Tom McCarthy and I think he did a really good job with it. The shots never do anything too crazy or innovative, but it’s a smoothly directed movie that looks great. And again, it perfectly works with the more quiet and reserved style of everything else in the movie.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 93/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10 and is ranked #192 on the “Top 250” list. The movie also won 2 Oscars in the categories of Best picture and Best original screenplay. It was also nominated for an additional 4 Oscars in the categories of Best supporting actor (Ruffalo), Best supporting actress (McAdams), Best director, and Best film editing. 

“Spotlight” is a pretty fuckin’ great movie. It has an engrossing plot, really interesting characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *ahem*. My final score for “Spotlight” is a 9,88/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Spotlight” is now completed.

Remember that time Bruce Wayne, Howard Stark, Bruce Banner, Christine Palmer,  and Sabretooth worked for a newspaper? Good times.