Movie Review: The Dry (2021)

Hey there. Doing well? I hope you’re doing well… I got nothing clever to intro this with, so let’s just get into this shit.

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “The Dry”.

After he returns to his old hometown for a funeral, Federal Agent Aaron Falk (Eric Bana) starts looking into some allegations laid against his dead friend, all while dealing with his past coming back to haunt him. “The Dry” mixes elements of smalltown drama with police procedural, and I think that the story here is quite compelling. It weaves main plot and subplots quite nicely, making for a world and narrative that feels lived in, like we’re going into lives that have existed for years, rather than it feeling like it starts with the audience’s arrival. And while its very deliberate pace might test some people’s patience, I found the slow, drip feeding approach of the storytelling to be quite engaging, as it also made me question everything going on, which added quite a bit of suspense to proceedings. ’tis a damn solid story.

The characters in this are all flawed, layered, and overall quite interesting. Much like the narrative, they all feel pretty real and like they actually had lives and existed before we saw them. And the grounded feel of them helps make this story and world quite compelling. But what really helps sell them are the actors, who all deliver terrific work. I’ve been a fan of Eric Bana for years, but this might be the best performance I’ve seen from him. Further filling out the cast, we got people like Genevieve O’Reilly, Bruce Spence, Keir O’Donnell, Matt Nable, Julia Blake, Joe Klocek, BeBe Bettencourt, and a lot of other talented people.

The score for the movie was composed by Peter Raeburn, and I think he did a really good job with it. It’s very somber, leaning heavily on strings to deliver a fairly serious and often also sad score that really helps sell the drama and desperation of Aaron’s investigation and predicaments. It’s good.

Based on the novel of the same name by Jane Harper, “The Dry” was directed and co-written by Robert Connolly, who I think did a damn good job here. Connolly’s direction is (for the most part) not very flashy, but rather quite subdued, which I think fits the story and the pacing of the movie, really letting every dramatic beat simmer nicely. Stefan Duscio’s cinematography adds a lot as well, giving us some really nice shots that still captures the dry, gritty vibe of this place and story wonderfully.

This movie’s been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 90% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 69/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.9/10.

While its slow, deliberate pace may put off some people, I found “The Dry” to be a highly engrossing crime-drama. It has a great story, really good characters, fantastic performances, really good music, and great direction/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Dry” is a 9.61/10. Which does mean that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Dry” is now completed.

I am so used to seeing Bruce Spence as aliens, monsters, and creeps, so it was a nice change of pace to see him as a regular dude for once.

Movie Review: Tokyo Godfathers (2003)

Hello! As some of you might remember, last year I retired my 12 Films of Christmas series, as I got burnt out on doing 12 themed pieces over the span of 12 days. And I stand by that retirement. However, that won’t prevent me from still doing a few chrimbo movies on this blog. So with that out of the way, let us talk about one.

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “Tokyo Godfathers”!

’twas the night before christmas, and all throughout Tokyo, some shit was stirring, I can’t keep this up, yo. Anyhow, during christmas eve, three homeless people find a baby abandoned in some trash and set out on an adventure to find its parents. “Tokyo Godfathers” is a unique take on familiar ideas, creating a compelling narrative that is equal parts heartwarming, heartbreaking, tragic, and funny. It’s a wonderful and delightfully off-kilter story that had me feeling every emotion possible. I’m sorry that this section is so brief and vague, but it’s hard to talk any more in depth about this story without revealing too much. But trust me when I say that it’s a great little tale.

The characters in this are colorful, charming, flawed, nuanced, and overall quite interesting. First up are our leading three, all coming from tragic backgrounds, all trying their damndest to make the most of their bad situation(s). They’re a frankly amazing trio of characters that I loved following. They’re also wonderfully brought to life by the vocal talents of Toru Emori, Yoshiaki Umegaki, and Aya Okamoto. The supporting cast is great too, featuring interesting characters voiced by terrific actors like Akio Otsuka, Yusaku Yara, Kyoko Terase, and more.

The music for the movie was composed by Keiichi Suzuki, along with Moonriders, his band. And I think they did a swell job with it. It takes some influences from jazz, pop-rock, and various styles of film score to create a unique soundscape that fits the movie wonderfully.

“Tokyo Godfathers” was directed and co-written by Satoshi Kon, and he and his crew did an amazing job here. The animation quality is spectacular, with beautifully fluid movements and actions. But much like Kon’s other works, the characters have a lot of imperfections to them, compared to the oft’ flat and glossy look of many animes, which really helps add to the grounded and somewhat gritty vibe of this movie. It’s stunningly animated, cleverly edited, and just overall wonderfully put together. Kon was an absolute master who was taken from us too soon.

This movie has been quite well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7.8/10.

“Tokyo Godfathers” is not just a fun christmas romp, but also a beautifully nuanced drama, and I adored every bit of it. It has a great story, great characters, great performances, really good music, and fantastic direction/animation. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Tokyo Godfathers” is a 9.93/10. Which does mean that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Tokyo Godfathers” is now completed.

Simply wonderful.

Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Hello there, hope you’re having a good weekend. Only a few days until “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is released, which means it’s time for me to cover the second (and final) movie in the previous reboot. So let’s go!

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”.

Peter Parker’s (Andrew Garfield) life is a bit of a hectic one, trying to balance being Spider-Man with being a regular New York teenager. But this is going to get way tougher when a series of new villains emerge and start causing chaos. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is a curious case of occasional good ideas getting absolutely crushed by the overabundance of superfluous plot threads. First is the Peter/Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) romance, fine. Then there’s the introduction of Electro (Jamie Foxx), fine. But then there’s also the backstory involving Peter’s parents. And a plot involving Harry Osborn (Dane Dehaan). And then there’s a few more threads throughout. There’s so much shit going on that it really messes with the pacing. First act is fine, and even has some great shit going on. But as the film goes on, it just becomes an overstuffed, underdeveloped, sluggish mess that is hard to engage with. There are moments of quality in the storytelling, but the overall narrative is just… ugh.

The characters in this are a mixed bag. Our two leads, Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, they’re both charming, fun, engaging, and just overall a great pair, with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone both delivering top notch performances. Next we have Max Dillon/Electro, who is at first set up as our main villain. His characterization is bizarre, and I don’t completely get why they wrote him the way they did. And Jamie Foxx… it’s a mixed bag of a performance. On occasion I do enjoy it, but it often just didn’t click with me. Dane Dehaan as Harry Osborn? Decent performance, undercooked writing. Paul Giamatti as Aleksei Sytsevich? Unnecessary, but very amusing. I’ll at least say that the rest of the supporting cast is solid, featuring people like Sally Field, Colme Feore, Marton Csokas, Felicity Jones, Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz, and more.

The score for the movie was composed by Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, Junkie XL, Johnny Marr, Steve Mazzaro, and Andrew Kawczynski… FUCK, that’s a lot of composers. But they acted as sort of a supergroup to make the music for this, and I think it mostly paid off. It’s an interesting mix of styles and genres, making for a unique and slightly eclectic score that I thoroughly enjoyed hearing throughout the movie. There’s also a handful of licensed songs used throughout, and they are a bit of a mixed bag. Some work pretty well, some less so.

As with the first one, “Amazing Spider-Man 2” was directed by Marc Webb (HA!), and I think he did a solid job. Despite the script being a complete mess, Webb’s direction is sound, flowing beautifully and bringing some nice energy to proceedings. It especially shines in action scenes, which are all generally quite enjoyable. And that’s something I can say, on the technical side of things, this movie is solid.

This movie has gotten some very mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 52% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 53/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.5/10.

Despite a lackluster and overly messy script, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” still has enough bright spots in it to keep it from total failure. It has some good story moments, it has a few good characters, the performances are (mostly) great, the music is really good, and the direction is really solid. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is a 6.23/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is now completed.

*thwip*

Movie Review: Nightmare Alley (1947)

With the impending release of Guillermo del Toro’s adaptation of this story (super excited for that), I thought it could be fun to watch the first film bearing the title. So without further ado… let’s go.

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries, I’d recommend not walking down… “Nightmare Alley”.

The story follows Stanton “Stan” Carlisle (Tyrone Power), a con man currently working with a traveling carnival. And we follow him as he lies and deceives everyone around him for his own personal gain, and what consequences that brings to his life. It’s an interesting narrative, filled with twists, turns, and good ol’ noir suspense. It’s a fascinating look at a very shady and fascinating man, giving us a fairly nuanced and clever little noir narrative. Its pacing can be a little bit weird at times, sometimes jumping a little too quickly and sometimes dragging its feet. It doesn’t completely break the story, as I’d say it mostly paces itself quite well. And the overall narrative is quite engaging, so it does mostly even itself out.

The characters in this are colorful, flawed, layered, and overall just highly interesting. At the enter of our story is Stan Carlisle, a con man and supposed mentalist, always working and scheming to further his own interests. He’s quite a solidly written and engaging lead character, with Tyrone Power giving a great performance in the role. We also get supporting work from Joan Blondell, Coleen Gray, Helen Walker, Mike Mazurki, Taylor Holmes, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Cyril J. Mockridge, and I can’t remember any of it. Nothing sticks out as bad about it, nothing sticks out as good about it… it just doesn’t stick out in any way at all. It’s probably perfectly passable, but man, I wish I had more to say.

Based on the novel of the same name by William Lindsay Gresham, “Nightmare Alley” was directed by Edmund Goulding, who I think did a damn good job. Do you like seedy, dimly lit sets with very atmospheric shadows draping over the characters? Well, that’s what you get here, and it’s handled to perfection in that regard. It takes the classic noir stylizations and does them beautifully. It’s a solidly crafted film.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 75/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7.8/10.

While its pacing can let it down a little, “Nightmare Alley” is still a damn good noir film. It has a really good story, really good characters, great performances, and great direction. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Nightmare Alley” is an 8.45/10. So while flawed, I’d still say it’s definitely worth buying.

My review of “Nightmare Alley” is now completed

Is it just me, or is “Tyrone Power” one of the coolest names ever?

Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)

If you’ve been following me for a few years, you might remember that back when “Spider-Man: Far From Home” came out in 2019, I reviewed all of the Sam Raimi-directed webhead movies. Well, now that we’re getting “Spider-Man: No Way Home” in a few weeks I thought it was a good time to finally talk about the two “Amazing” movies. So today I’ll be reviewing the first one, and then the sequel in like a week. Sound good? Then let’s get into it!

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “The Amazing Spider-Man”.

After he gets bitten by a genetically modified spider, high school student Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) starts developing spider-like powers… wait a minute, this is how I kicked off my review of the 2002 “Spider-Man” (absolute hack). But yeah, since this is a reboot, it kind of does have a similar setup to what has come before. But despite this, “Amazing Spider-Man” manages to still stand on its own two feet, largely thanks to a slightly more serious and subdued tone. For the first two acts, I genuinely found myself really invested in the storytelling , it’s an enjoyable and emotionally resonant take on a very familiar setup. It does start stumbling towards the last act however, largely due to the villain of this. Again, early scenes of the character getting introduced are really strong… but the further we go on, the more he loses the compelling drama and just sort of devolves into generic villain, which does affect the drama of the narrative a bit. There are still some really good moments in this final act, and even the weaker elements aren’t outright terrible, but it is enough to bring the overall product down for me a little. Again, on the whole it’s a strong story, even though it does stumble a little towards the end.

The characters in this are all pretty solid, generally I find most of them quite compelling. Peter Parker in this isn’t the überdork he’s been in a few other adaptations, but he still carries some of that awkward charm that the character needs, and it’s all beautifully brought to life by Andrew Garfield giving a fantastic performance. Then we have Gwen Stacy, a smart, clever, and fun young woman who also acts as a love interest for Peter, and she’s great, with Emma Stone killing it in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Rhys Ifans, Irrfan Khan, Martin Sheen, Sally Field, Denis Leary, and more, all delivering really solid performances.

The score for the movie was composed by James Horner, and it was great. Some nicely inspiring and heroic brass, some more somber and emotional pieces, some tense bits involving strings, synths, and some other goodies… it’s just a damn solid score. Horner never missed when he was still around, and this is just further proof of it.

Based on various Marvel Comics, “The Amazing Spider-Man” was directed by Marc Webb, who I swear was chosen for the pun alone. Joking aside (for now), I think he did a damn good job. The direction of this movie has this way of feeling very grounded while still bringing some of the energy of superhero comics to life. But there are also a select few bits that are directed and edited with a bit of a horror vibe, and I really dig it. So on the whole, it’s just a really well crafted film.

This movie has gotten mixed to positive reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 72% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 66/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.9/10.

While it does stumble in parts, “The Amazing Spider-Man” is still a damn good retelling of the wall-crawler’s origin. It has a really good story, really good characters, great performances, great music, and really solid direction. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Amazing Spider-Man” is an 8.45/10. So while flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “The Amazing Spider-Man” is now completed.

Well, that’s that for today. *Thwip*.

Series Review: Vigil (2021)

I’ve talked about my fair share of British tv shows over the years. And now it’s time to talk about yet another one, let’s gooooo!

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “Vigil”.

Following a death on board the submarine HMS Vigil, DSI Amy Silva (Suranne Jones) gets sent aboard to investigate it. But what starts out as a somewhat death investigation soon turns into a much larger conspiracy involving the Royal Navy and potentially various other, high level sectors. So it’s part mystery, part conspiracy thriller, and then also part melodrama. So let’s break things down a little, starting with the mystery and conspiracy angle. At the off-set it feels fairly grounded, just a standard Beeb cop drama of a death being investigated, and as it goes on it becomes more complex, more improbable, and even a bit silly… and I liked that. It’s a conspiracy thriller right out of Robert Ludlum or or Tom Clancy’s typewriter, and there’s something about those kinds of stories I find quite compelling. It keeps it fun and engaging. Now let’s talk about the third part I alluded to earlier… the melodrama. Interspersed throughout is a backstory involving Amy and her relationship to fellow policewoman Kirsten Longacre (Rose Leslie). And while a bit of personal drama can add some nice weight to a show like this, it didn’t feel super well implemented in this. There are a few moments involving the two that I don’t mind, but a lot of these scenes of romantic melodrama just don’t feel as naturally baked into the show as they could be. So yeah, the story here is a little bit mixed. Mostly good, but has some things that let it down.

The characters in this are all decently interesting, sporting interesting personalities and mostly having interesting dynamics between each other. But what really makes them stand out is the cast. Every actor in this cast is at the top of their game, bringing the characters to life beautifully. Suranne Jones, Rose Leslie, Shaun Evans (my personal standout), Paterson Joseph, Stephen Dillane, Daniel Portman, Martin Compston, Adam James, Anjili Mohindra, and more, are all fantastic in this show.

The score for the show was composed by Berenice Scott and Glenn Gregory, and I think it was pretty good. It’s a mostly ambient affair, taking a low-key and almost sneaky approach  to build creeping tension or have you more invested in the personal drama. And I think it works fine, it’s a decent score that works well for the show.

“Vigil” was created for the BBC by Tom Edge, with writing by him, Chandni Lakhani, and Ed Macdonald, and with directing duties split between Isabelle Sieb and James Strong. And I think this show has some strong direction. While the submarine seems waaaay bigger than an actual sub, they still find good ways of making it feel claustrophobic, which adds a little to the suspense in the scenes set down there. But even the ones set on the surface, following the investigations up there are really well helmed with good shots and editing. It’s just a well crafted show.

This show has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 75% positive rating. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7.3/10.

While its melodramatic bits drag it down at times, “Vigil” is still a highly enjoyable, if ludicrous, conspiratorial police thriller. It has a fun plot, good characters, fantastic performances, pretty good music, and great directing/editing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Vigil” is a 7.98/10. So while it’s far from perfect, I’d still say it’s worth watching.

My review of “Vigil” is now completed.

We all live in a Vigil submarine…

Movie Review: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)

Been quite a while since I talked about a Marvel movie on here… yeah, 2019, blimey. And before we move on, I know these movies aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s fine. I just like watching them and I’m gonna keep talking about them as long as they’re made. So yeah… on with the review.

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”.

After having lived a quiet life in San Francisco for years, Shang-Chi (Simu Liu) must come out of hiding when his father (Tony Leung) begins stirring to enact a mysterious and potentially dangerous plan. The story in “Shang-Chi” is interesting to me, because it takes some of the familiar themes and structural pillars of other MCU movies, but makes them feel fresh by implementing elements usually seen more in wuxia stories and kung fu movies in general. But it also weaves in a pretty nuanced and surprisingly complex family drama throughout, which really makes the story feel more tangible and emotionally resonant. So when you blend all of these together, you get a narrative that feels familiar yet also fresh and unique for this franchise. And I loved it.

The characters in this are colorful, fun, pretty layered, and overall just quite interesting. Simu Liu plays Shang-Chi, our protagonist. He’s a man who’s gone through a lot of things in life, and it does create an interesting conflict with his more lighthearted side and the good stuff he’s experienced since moving to America. And I find him to be an interesting lead, with Simu Liu giving a damn good performance. Tony Leung plays Shang-Chi’s dad, Xu Wenwu, a mighty leader of the shady organization The Ten Rings. He’s a complex and interesting character that makes for a really compelling antagonist, and Leung is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Michelle Yeoh, Florian Munteanu, and many more, all giving great performances in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Joel P. West, and I think he did a great job with it. It’s big and epic, but it can also be quiet and emotional. And it creates this really cool vibe for the movie by blending elements of typical western action movie music with traditional Chinese music, and it makes for a really engaging soundscape that worked insanely well for the movie. There are also a few licensed tracks used throughout, and they’re fine. They’re not something I’d really find myself listening to in my spare time, but they worked well enough within their respective scenes.

Based on various Marvel comics, “Shang-Chi” was directed and co-written by Destin Daniel Cretton, and I think he did a great job with it. He has this really fun, yet grounded energy to his style that melds really well with a lot of the big budget comic book stuff. And it does help give the movie a nice vibe and flow that I highly enjoyed. I especially think his direction shines in the action scenes that are spread throughout this movie. There’s some nice, decently long takes, and we always get a good view of the action going on. But what I appreciate most about it is the focus on martial arts. Don’t get me wrong, I love the big, pew pew action of the other MCU movies, but there’s something so refreshing when instead of Iron Man flying around blowing shit up, it’s a dude using kung fu to fend off an opponent. And even when the action got way bigger in scale and effects budget, it was really fun and well handled. It’s just really well made and comes together so well.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 92% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7.6/10.

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is a fun and absolutely wonderful action movie with some well written and nuanced character drama. The story’s great, the characters are great, the performances are great, the music is great, and the direction is great too. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Shang-Chi” is a 9.90/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is now completed.

I really need to watch more Tony Leung movies.

Movie Review: Tick, Tick… Boom! (2021)

You know what’s kinda weird? Despite being a musician since childhood, I’ve never really been a huge fan of musicals. Or I should say, live action musicals. I don’t know why, it’s just a weird quirk of mine. But on occasion there might be one that cracks my grumpy heart. Is this one of them? I guess we’ll find out.

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, gents, and non-binaries… “Tick, Tick… Boom”

The story follows Jonathan Larson (Andrew Garfield), a young, aspiring theater composer as he struggles to keep his life afloat, trying to balance love, friendship, and putting together his first musical. I really loved the storytelling within “Tick, Tick… Boom”. There are moments it can seem slightly scatterbrained, but I think it really adds to it, since it perfectly encapsulates just how hectic Jon’s life is. The story takes an interesting look at the man’s life as well as the struggles of trying to be creative in a world where that can’t be a guarantee of success. But what carries the story the most is the sheer amount of heart. Right from scene one, it carried this warm, sincere charm that had me immediately hooked, and carried it all the way to the ending. It’s just such a nice and emotionally resonant story that hit me in a way that I haven’t felt in quite a while.

The characters here are colorful, charming, layered, and overall just all feel very real. Something about them all made them feel like actual people and not just characters performed by actors. Our lead character, Jon, was just an absolutely endearing and fascinating character that I loved following throughout the movie. And Andrew Garfield was absolutely fantastic in the role. Then we also get supporting work from people like Robin de Jesus, Jonathan Marc Sherman, Alexandra Shipp, Vanessa Hudgens, Bradley Whitford, MJ Rodriguez, and more, all giving terrific performances. It’s just a damn good cast.

The music in this was composed by Jonathan Larson, and I loved all of it. The instrumentation, the melodies, the lyrics, it all comes together beautifully to create tracks that make me want to dance, cry, laugh, rethink my life… it’s all wonderfully introspective and I think all actors brought the songs to life marvelously.

Based on the autobiographical musical by Jonathan Larson, “Tick, Tick… Boom!” is the directorial debut of Lin-Manuel Miranda, and I think he did a really solid job. His direction can be a little rough around the edges at times, but even then, it’s really good for someone making their feature debut. The man has worked with musicals in different ways for years, so he has a good grasp of how it should work, and that experience and talent does help elevate his direction a little. Speaking of musicals, I love the way the musical numbers are handled. They flow nicely, and they’re wonderfully edited, beautifully moving between people and spaces in ways that few other musicals do. So yeah, this is really well helmed.

The movie just came out, but so far it’s been quite well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 87% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8.2/10.

“Tick, Tick… Boom!” is a fantastic little movie that I absolutely loved. It has a great story, great characters, fantastic performances, fantastic music, and really good directing/editing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Tick, Tick… Boom!” is a 9.90/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Tick, Tick… Boom!”

I’m gonna end up listening to that soundtrack a lot, aren’t I?

Movie Review: 7 Prisoners (2021)

I’ve been trying to come up with some relevant and mildly interesting thing to put as the intro for this one, but I’m coming up short. It’s just hard when you’re talking about something covering some serious shit. So I guess we should just jump into it.

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “7 Prisoners”.

Mateus (Christian Malheiros) lives a rough life with his family, barely scraping by on what they have. So to be able to provide for his family, he takes a job at a junkyard in São Paolo. But he soon finds out that this new life of his is way more rough and dangerous than he could have ever imagined. “7 Prisoners” is a hard movie to watch, due to its gritty, grimy, fly-on-the-wall style of storytelling. There’s nothing flashy or filmy about it. The movie has this very grounded and real feel to it, which often makes it a really uncomfortable watch. Throughout the movie, the story tackles some very real and heavy topics in really interesting, nuanced, and often even disturbing ways. And I was utterly enthralled by it all from start to end. Maybe it could be *slightly* longer, as a few moments feel a little brief, but on the wholeI do think it’s a terrific narrative.

The characters in this are interesting, layered, and all feel very real. They have this believable, worn out quality to them, like they’re real people in this world and not actors just hopping into a role. Mateus is more or less our leading man, and he’s a really complex character, beautifully brought to life Christian Malheiros who delivers a fucking fantastic performance. Then we have Rodrigo Santoro as Luca, Mateus’ boss/warden/captor. He is a terrifying antagonist. Part of it is because he can be very intense at times, but what really brings the scariness home is that he also shows a fair bit of humanity. It makes him more layered, and that honestly makes him more terrifying to me, and Santoro is fantastic in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Vitor Julian, Josias Duarte, Clayton Mariano, Lucas Oranmian, and more, all giving great performances.

The score for the movie was composed by Felipe Puperi, and it was good. It’s a somber, moody piece that never really stands out too much, subtly complementing the low-key style of the movie. It works really well.

“7 Prisoners” was directed and co-written by Alexandre Moratto, and I think he did a terrific job. His style is very simple, gritty, and very subtle. Like I said about the storytelling, it has a very fly on the wall vibe to it. It doesn’t stick out or feel filmy, it just feels like we’re observing a very real situation and it helps really add to the sense of unease built throughout. It’s just really well crafted.

This movie’s been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 80/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7.2/10.

“7 Prisoners” is a great Brazilian crime-drama I highly recommend. It has a great story, really good characters, fantastic performances, really good music, and great direction. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “7 Prisoners” is a 9.66/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “7 Prisoners” is now completed.

Brazil: Come for the sun, surf, and scary crime.

Great Music #38

Hey there, my friends, I hope you’re doing well. Welcome back to Great Music, the series where I ramble on about songs I enjoy. Been a while since last time… Jesus Christ, September 2020!? Man, I need to get better at doing these… anyhow, let’s talk music.

So what’s on our menu today? Well, I’ll tell you, just relax. So today we’re talking about a song by a band from my own home country of Sweden. The song I’ve chosen today is “I Sell My Kids for Rock’n’Roll” by Crucified Barbara… talk about eye-catching title.

Formed in Stockholm in 1998, Crucified Barbara was a hard rock/sleaze rock/metal band that had a decent audience for a while, but really came into the public eye when they competed in the 2010 Swedish Melody Festival (basically our lead-in to Eurovision) with their song “Heaven or Hell”. They then later broke up in 2016. Much like much of the general public, I didn’t really know about them until that one song. And even then, I didn’t immediately latch onto them (despite my love of rock and metal), that took another few years. But then I finally did, and “I Sell My Kids for Rock’n’Roll” has sort of become the one track I find myself going back to the most. It’s a rip-roaring belter of a song, with fast riffs, heavy percussion, and debaucherous lyrics. Now, this isn’t anything new within the world of rock music (Bill Idol, Mötley Crüe, and many more come to mind), but I feel that Crucified Barbara bring this unique energy within the song. I can’t quite put my finger on what, but they have this firey, balls to the wall attitude that makes this song stick out. Aaaaaand I love it.

Have a good one and enjoy the song.