Movie Review: Gran Torino (2008)

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I love Clint Eastwood. He is a great actor, great director and probably the biggest badass that ever lived. He has made good movies, he has made bad movies and he has made meh movies, but one thing is always consistent with him… he is Clint Fucking Eastwood. So now, let’s review one of his more modern movies.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Gran Torino”.

Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) is an old and grumpy war veteran who doesn’t want anything to do with anyone. But after a young Hmong guy named Thao (Bee Vang) tries to steal Walt’s 1972 Gran torino (Roll credits) he is taken in by Walt, reluctantly by both of them, to try to redeem himself. And so begins a story of bonding and friendship and a grumpy/racist old man. And I am surprised how well the story was handled. The setup is somewhat familiar, “Old man reluctantly takes in young man but grows to like him”. But it was handled in an interesting way that I liked. I was also suprised how touching the plot actually was, it really did get to me. Not only was the plot entertaining as all hell but it was also really well-told and like I said, touching.

You could say Walt is a terrible person, I won’t blame ya. But he was still an interesting character to follow since he isn’t your typical “old man” protagonist. He was also really entertaining and had a lot of great lines to give. Clint Eastwood gave a great performance as him. Bee Vang (who I’ve never heard of before) was also really good in this movie as this young man. Every actor was in fact great. Also, I did some research and it turns out one of the minor characters in this movie (name of the character is Trey) was played by Clint’s son, Scott… that’s kinda fun.

The soundtrack for this movie has no real original score. The only hint of it is an original song that Clint Eastwood co-wrote… that’s it for original musical material. Most song were licensed tracks used throughout the movie, but that didn’t ruin it at all, au contraire, they worked very well like that. All music worked where it was used.

Seeing as this movie was directed by Eastwood himself, it is of course very well-directed. I don’t think that comes as a surprise though as Eastwood has shown for the past 40-ish years that he is a great director. This movie is very well shot and it never looked bad at all. What I was surprised at however was how legitimately funny it was. And by legitimately I mean that it never felt unintentional in any way, it was all intended and it was also very funny. I guess that is because of the overall great writing of this movie.

This movie has been very well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 79% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has an 8,2/10 and is ranked #142 on the “Top 250” list.

“Gran Torino” is a movie with a familiar yet well-told story, great performances, some good music, great direction and some great writing. It was also surprisingly touching and funny. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “Gran Torino” is a 9,85/10. It definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

Review of “Gran Torino” is now done.

Review is completed, now get off my lawn!

 

Movie Review: Locke (2014)

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Sometimes you need something quiet and subtle to help balance out all the explosions in your movie watching. Now don’t get me wrong, I like silly and fun action movies as much as the next guy, but I like a quiet drama every now and then as well. Hell, one of my favorite movies of all time, “Drive”, is for the most part a slow and methodical drama and not an action fest like most people expected. But enough of that, today we are taking a look at a slow moving drama that is set in just one location.

Sirs and madames… “Locke”.

Like I said, this movie is set in just one place, a car to be exact. And in this car we have hard-working family man Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy). Now he is driving somewhere to take care of a problem while a lot of other things come down on him at the same time. I will not spoil what his problem is as I found it more interesting finding out what it was by watching. I also loved seeing this movie unfold and just see how this man tried to handle everything around him despite the fact that it was tearing at him. The plot was really well done and definitely a breath of fresh air.

Despite the fact that the only visible character in the movie was the one of Ivan Locke, I still loved all of the characters in the movie. What I forgot to mention in the plot segment was that constantly throughout the movie he has phone conversations with a bunch of different people. And even though you could never see these people I really thought they were great characters who could be real people thanks to the superb writing and great (vocal) performances by the actors. And Tom Hardy in this movie was fantastic as usual, giving a subtle yet explosive performance. And what I mean by that is that his character was very quiet, but he had a lot on his mind which you could notice through Hardy’s facial expressions and his maneurysms, especially at times that he got big news that would change everything at times. I know my words don’t make any fucking sense, but trust me, I know what I am talking about. What I can clearly say at least is that the acting and characters are superb.

The score by Dickon Hinchliffe (Out of the Furnace) was pretty fucking great. There were a lot of ambient sounds throughout the songs that really helped highten the sense of loneliness and desperation that the movie wanted to convey. And of course there was excellent use of the guitar in the songs. To be honest, with all the guitar in the soundtrack I almost thought this score was done by Gustavo Santaolalla. But now that I know that Dickon Hinchliffe did the score the guitar still makes a lot of sense. And I fucking love it!

This movie looks fantastic, Steven Knight really shows that he is a force to be reckoned with as a director. There are a lot of beautiful shots both outside the car and inside of it. I also heard something about this movie being shot in sequence several times over and then took the different parts of each shoot and splice them together into one movie. Now if that is true or not, I am not sure, someone please tell me if it’s true or not.

This movie has been generally well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it stands strong with a 91% positive rating and it is certified “Fresh”. On Metacritic it has a score of 81/100. And on imdb.com it stands on a 7,1/10.

“Locke” is a riveting, interesting and different movie with a terrific performance from Tom Hardy, a terrific score by Dickon Hinchliffe and some great direction/camera work. Time for my final score. Where the hell is he with that envelope? *Dials phone* Jeff, where are you? In the car? Well why aren’t you here with that god damn envelope? What? You left it here earlier? Yeah? Well, fuck you too. Sorry about that. My final score for “Locke” is a 9,76/10 and then of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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“Locke” is now reviewed.

Did anyone seriously before this movie believe a movie about Tom Hardy driving a car for 90 minutes would be interesting? Because I didn’t.