12 Films of Christmas 2018 (Part 11)

Part 11. The penultimate part. Man, time sure has flown by. It feels like barely any time has gone by, yet we’re already right at the end of this. Anyway, less sentimentality, more profanity.

Can you really talk about christmas movies without ever mentioning Shane Black? He makes movies that aren’t strictly about the holiday, but are set around it. And “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” is no different. Released in 2005, the movie follows Harry (Robert Downey Jr.), a no-good shyster pretending to be an actor to evade the law. As he does this he gets to work with a detective (Val Kilmer) to prepare for a role. But soon they find themselves having to solve the complicated murder of a young woman. So now we have our murder mystery that is also a satire of murder mysteries while also being a buddy cop movie of sorts… hmm. And I still think it’s one hell of a fun movie. I saw it for the first time a few years back and loved it… and I still do. The mystery (while a bit convoluted) is quite fascinating, and Downey and Kilmer make for one hell of a double act. They have an infectious chemistry that I loved following from start to finish. All the performances here are great, and Shane Black’s dialog is as razor sharp as ever. “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” is a total blast.

On the eleventh day of christmas, Markus he did laugh, at Val Kilmer asking “Who taught you math!?”.

Movie Review: Four Lions (2010)

Terrorism. A horrible thing that I wish wouldn’t exist in our world, but unfortunately pops up a terrifying amount of times every year. Hopefully we’ll one day be free of it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Four Lions”.

The story follows a group of British jihadists who plan to commit an act of terror, and we follow them as they train and prepare to commit this horrible act. Luckily they aren’t the most competent of people. And that’s really it. You’d think a concept like this wouldn’t very good, relying more on tasteless shock humor for the sake of shocking audience members. But this is an incredibly clever, funny, and fascinating plot that has a surprising amount of heart to it. It very much has the feel of “The Thick of It” or “In the Loop” (makes sense given some of the crew members), and I think that is awesome. It’s a cleverly satirical plot that kept me entertained and interested from start to finish.

What is interesting about the characters here is that they’re really just a bunch of bumbling idiots. They’re not your typical “scary muslim” type characters that you see in so many movies featuring terrorism. They are just average people/idiots who feel like they should commit some horrible acts, somehow endearing us to them and their quest. I’m not gonna go in-depth with all of them as I don’t want to spoil some fun stuff, but I will talk about one of them. The one I want to talk about is Riz Ahmed who plays Omar, who is more or less the main-main character of this movie. While he is up for this quest and has some great comedic chemistry with the other “Lions”, we do get to see some other, somewhat emotional sides to him when he’s with other people. He’s a well-rounded, and interesting character that I cared about. And Ahmed is great in the role. As for the other characters, they don’t get the same depth as Omar, but I don’t think they need it as they have more focus on their outrageous personalities. Arsher Ali, Nigel Lindsay, Kayvan Novak, Adeel Akhtar… I salute you. Everyone in this movie is great.

The interesting thing about the music in “Four Lions” is that there is no real original score here, just a whole bunch of licensed tracks used throughout the movie. And I think that works really well, since they have found some really solid tracks to use throughout the various scenes here.

This movie was written and directed by Chris Morris (with several other people helping out with writing), and I have to say that I’m impressed with all that stuff. Sure, they don’t go for some grand, sweeping epic here. As a matter of fact it feels very low budget (which it probably is), but I like that. As previously mentioned, it very much has the feel/style of “The Thick of It” and “In the Loop”, even having a similar documentary-esque directing style that I think often elevates a lot of the scenes. As for the comedy here (since it is a satirical comedy), I think it is fucking hilarious, I laughed quite hard at it. Admittedly the humor here is very dark and will most likely put some people off… but I loved it.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 82% positive rating and a “Fresh” ceritifcation. On Metacritic it has a score of 68/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“Four Lions” takes a serious and disturbing subject and turns it into one of the funniest movie this decade. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Four Lions” is a 9,88/19. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Four Lions” is now completed.

Don’t blow people up, kids.

Movie Review: The Voices (2015)

I’ve already talked about how important mental health is in the opening paragraph of my review of “The Accountant” (*cough* shameless plug *cough*), so I won’t go on about that for too long here. That said, MENTAL HEALTH IS FUCKING IMPORTANT.

Ladies and gentlemen, can you also hear… “The Voices”?

Jerry (Ryan Reynolds) is a troubled young man who just wants to live a normal life, but that is hard when his pets talk to him (yes, you read that right). And after his crush (Gemma Arterton) stands him up after he asked her out, things take a dark and weird turn. So now we have our weird thriller that is also a dark comedy. And I gotta say that I really enjoyed the plot of this movie. Now, it’s a very weird one because it goes in a couple of directions that I didn’t really expect, which I really liked. It managed to catch me off guard quite a lot, managing to create not only odd and funny moments, but also suspenseful and dramatic ones too. Now, the tone of this movie is a little all over the place with this movie which will put some people off, but for me it actually kind of work within the context of the story and the main character. So yeah, I really enjoyed the plot of this movie.

The characters in this movie are all unique, interesting, and quite fun. Jerry can seem like your average, likable guy at first, but as the plot moves along we get to know him a bit more, and we find out just how troubled he is. And Ryan Reynolds is fucking fantastic in the role, perfectly balancing the funny and the tense/dramatic aspects of the character. Gemma Arterton plays his workplace crush who basically helps get the main plot going, and she’s good in the role. Anna Kendrick plays another one of Jerry’s colleagues and she’s really good in the role. Jacki Weaver plays Jerry’s psychiatrist, Dr. Warren, and she’s great in the role. And let’s just get through this quickly: Ella Smith, Paul Chahidi, Stanley Townsend, Adi Shankar, and Sam Spruell all do very well here. Now, I wanted to rush through those guys because I wanted to talk about two of the most interesting characters in the movie: Jerry’s pets (yes, you read that right). I did already mention that they talk to him, and what I like about that is they’re given interesting personalities too. The dog, Bosco, is Jerry’s moral compass and always tries to talk Jerry into being a good boy. And the cat, Mr. Whiskers… well, he’s just a huge asshole, always trying to make Jerry be a bad guy. Really, this movie is filled with interesting characters and solid performances.

The score for the movie was composed by Olivier Bernet and it’s really good. Sure, a lot of it sounds similar to a lot of other horror/thriller scores, but I think it still works for the movie. There are of course also less serious tracks in here too for certain moments in the film, and they all work very well too. There’s also one licensed track that they use in the movie. I’m not gonna say what song it is or how they use it, but let’s just say that it’s very unexpected and just awesome.

This movie was directed by Marjane Satrapi and I think she did a great job here. She manages to create a lot of suspense here, while also managing to create a fun mood for the lighter scenes. Also, I didn’t expect a lot in terms of cinematography with this movie, but holy shit am I glad to have been proven wrong… this movie looks great! And since I’ve mentioned a few times how this is a dark comedy, how is the actual humor in the movie? Well, I thought it was hilarious… but that’s mainly because of my love for dark and off-kilter humor. I laughed a lot… maybe I’m just a bad person, who the fuck knows?

This movie has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 73% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,4/10.

“The Voices” isn’t for everyone, but as someone that likes dark, weird, and off-kilter comedies, I thought it was great. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, really good directing, and great humor. Time for my final score. *Meow*. My final score for “The Voices” is a 9,56/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Voices” is now completed.

SEE… I TOLD YOU CATS ARE ASSHOLES!