Movie Review: Logan Lucky (2017)

Heist movies! I love ’em. Well, I love ’em when they’re good at least. Which begs the question: Is this movie any good? Well, how about we get into the review to find out.

Ladies and gents… “Logan Lucky”.

The story follows two down on their luck brothers named Jimmy and Clyde (Channing Tatum and Adam Driver) as they decide to pull off a heist while a huge NASCAR race is going on. Basically it’s “Ocean’s Eleven”, but with hints of “Dukes of Hazzard” and even “Beverly Hillbillies”. And I highly enjoyed the story being told here. Sure, we’ve seen these beats told time and time again over the years, and even the format is very familiar to the director, but I just can’t deny how fresh and fun this take feels. It just has a pace and energy that I love. It also has plenty of heart, which is shown through many moments throughout. So yeah, it’s not an original narrative… but it’s a hell of an enjoyable one.

The characters in this are all very colorful and entertaining, but for the most part are all also quite interesting and at times even surprisingly nuanced. First up is Jimmy Logan, a blue collar worker/ex-sportsman who finds himself in quite a bad spot after he’s laid off. This is of course what drives him to wanna pull the heist, so he can live and also provide for his daughter. He’s a compelling lead, and Channing Tatum is really good in the role. Next we have Clyde, Jimmy’s brother. He’s a former soldier and current bar owner. His dynamic with his brother is pretty interesting, and I think he makes for a pretty interesting character in general. And Adam Driver is great in the role. And the final one we’ll go into detail on is Joe Bang, a legendary explosives expert that the brothers have to bust out of prison to pull off the heist successfully. He’s an enigmatic motherfucker who I loved watching, mostly because he’s played by Daniel Craig. And not just Daniel Craig… but Daniel Craig chewing all the scenery. He is amazing in the role, a ton of fun. The rest of the supporting cast is great too, featuring people like Riley Keough, Jack Quaid, Brian Gleeson, Katie Holmes, David Denman, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by David Holmes, and it was good. His score has a fairly lighthearted, funk rock inspired vibe that perfectly melds the heist premise with the southern setting wonderfully, working very well in those moments when it’s used. There are also quite a few licensed tracks used throughout, and they work insanely well in their respective scenes. There’s good music here, yo.

“Logan Lucky” was directed by Steven Soderbergh, and he of course brought his A-game. His directing is slick and energetic in a way that of course hearkens back to his “Ocean’s” movies, but while still having its own flavor to it. And that flavor can probably best be described as beer and cheap chicken wings. I’m just kidding, though I do think that the sort of bumpkin feel Soderbergh’s going for is captured marvelously and adds such a unique and fresh feel to the heisting procedures. The movie also has a charming sense of humor that I found my self laughing quite hard at at times. And as with a lot of Soderbergh’s work, the editing is of course terrific. It’s a very well crafted movie.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 92% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 78/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7.0/10.

While a lot of its story beats can feel very familiar, I still found “Logan Lucky” to be a highly enjoyable and charming heist dramedy. It has a really good story, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/editing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Logan Lucky” is a 9.76/10. Which does mean that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Logan Lucky” is now completed.

Cauliflower

Movie Review: Reign of the Supermen (2019)

As has been made clear many times on this here blog, I like watching animated adaptations of DC Comics properties. Yes, there’s been a few less than stellar ones through the years, but I always root for them, because of my nearly lifelong love of these characters. So with this said, let’s talk about one.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Reign of the Supermen”.

Set six months after “The Death of Superman“, the world is still trying to recover after one of its biggest heroes died at the hands of the monster known as Doomsday. And in the wake of the Man of Steel’s demise, several new and mysterious Supermen start revealing themselves, all trying to be the new hero of Metropolis. While the movie at times suffers from trying to cram a lot of plot into 80 minutes, I still found myself enjoying the hell out of proceedings. The creative team really know how to squeeze genuine emotion and clever storytelling out of this admittedly silly premise. There were times where I really felt something more than just “Yay, superheroes!”. Again, it’s not perfect as it has a lot of plot to dish out in a very short runtime, but for the most part the story holds up, even providing a surprising amount of nuance.

Like with the story, the crew managed to give a surprising amount of nuance to the characters in here, giving them interesting motivations and entertaining arcs. I won’t go too much into details about them, as it would risk spoiling stuff, so I’ll just leave it on all characters having something interesting to them. Also, holy crap this cast. Rebecca Romijn, Cameron Monaghan, Cress Williams, Jerry O’Connell, Rainn Wilson, Charles Halford, Rosario Dawson, and so many more… it’s an incredible cast, with everyone giving their A-game.

As with a lot of these DC animations, the score for “Reign of the Supermen” was composed by Frederik Wiedmann, and as per usual, it is terrific. This man brings us terrific tunes every time he composes the score for one of these movies. It’s big and epic, but also low-key and intimate. My man brought his A-game once again.

Based on the 90s comic storyline of the same name, “Reign of the Supermen” was directed by DC animation regular Sam Liu. And if you’re somewhat unfamiliar with that name, let’s just say that he’s one of the most reliable hands in the DC/WB animation department. The man knows how to infuse properties with a certain energy that is quite engaging to experience. When scenes need to slow down and be more emotional, his direction is great. And when action happens, his direction is great. The man knows how to deliver on animated comic book goodness. Speaking of which, the animation here is great. It has a decent amount of detail, and it has a nice fluidity to it that really shines during action scenes.

This has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

“Reign of the Supermen” may buckle slightly under the weight of too much plot in too little time, but it still manages to be a damn fine animated feature. It has engaging plot, it has really good characters, great performances, great music, and really good animation/direction. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Reign of the Supermen” is an 8,87/10. So while flawed, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Reign of the Supermen” is now completed.

Fun fact: As I was writing this, I put on some music. And one of the songs that came on was “Land of Confusion” by Genesis, which has the oddly fitting lyric “Oh Superman, where are you now?

Movie Review: The Death of Superman (2018)

One of the most recurring things on this here blog (except for lame jokes and personal opinions) is my constant support of animated movies based on DC Comics. And while it’s been a while since my last post on one, my adoration for the franchise hasn’t faded in the slightest. So seeing as this will be my last review of the year, we might as well make it one about this recurring theme.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Death of Superman”.

When a mysterious new threat arrives on earth, Superman (Jerry O’Connell), as well as the other Justice League members), as to step up to stop it before it can destroy us all. I thought the plot was good here. It’s straightforward, yet somewhat nuanced. I wouldn’t call it the deepest plot in this franchise, but there’s enough little details to keep it from just being another “Let’s beat up the bad guy plot”. It’s about Supes coming to terms with his relationship with Lois (Rebecca Romijn) and if he should come out of the closet, in regards to his dual identity. And the stuff around this new threat (who we all know is Doomsday, but I digress) has a natural sense of escalation that also works well enough for the plot.

The characters in this are fine, they are all enjoyable and work pretty well in the story. Jerry O’Connell reprises his role as Clark Kent/Superman. He’s charming, he’s likable, and he’s just generally a good guy (as Superman should be), while still struggling with some minor conflicts while also having to deal with the bigger conflict of a giant murder-alien from who knows where. And it made me care about him a bit more. And O’Connell does a really good job voicing him. Rebecca Romijn plays Lois Lane, the tough, but believable reporter who seems to have some relationship issues with Clark. And I think she’s a pretty interesting character here. And Romijn does a really good job voicing her. Next we have Rainn Wilson (yes, really) as Lex Luthor (I’m serious), the brilliant businessman with a great intellect, but a bit of an arrogance problem. Not saying much more there, you know who Lex is. But what I will say is that Wilson is really good in the role. Then we get supporting performances from people like Rosario Dawson, Nathan Fillion, Jason O’Mara, Christopher Gorham, Shemar Moore, Matt Lanter, Nyambi Nyambi, Rocky Carroll, Patrick Fabian, Paul Eiding, Jennifer Hale, Charles Halford, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As with the majority of these DC animated features, the score was composed by Frederik Wiedmann, and as per usual, it is pretty great. It is grandiose, it is epic, but it is also emotional and intimate, creating a sound that perfectly complements the life of Clark Kent. This guy never disappoints.

The movie was directed by Jake Castorena and DC animation veteran Sam Liu. And the direction here is fine, there is a decent flow to the scenes, nothing feels too rushed or too slow. And the animation here is pretty good. In quiet dialog-driven scenes, it looks fine, not much to write home about. But it’s in the action scenes where the animation comes to life and shows just how talented the people working on these movies are. These are fast, brutal, and at one point even kinda breathtaking. So yeah, the animation here is good.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 92% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

While not my favorite movie in this current line of DC animated movies, “The Death of Superman” is still a highly enjoyable and somewhat touching superhero romp. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and really good directing/animation. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Death of Superman” is an 8,80/10. So it’s definitely worth buying.

My review of “The Death of Superman” is now completed.

And that’s that for 2018. See ya next year.

Series Review: Constantine – Season 1 (2014 – 2015)

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Whenever you find a good show you want it to go on for quite some time, right? Well that is something that happens to me every now and then. I find a show that maybe has one (or more) seasons and I think “Man, this is great, keep this going!”. Unfortunately continuations don’t always happen and that saddens me. This is such a time. The only reason I am reviewing this is because there is a chance it won’t get a second season. I otherwise want to review a show if it is finished and I have finished every episode. So let’s have a look.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Constantine”!

This show is based on the “Hellblazer” comics and is about protagonist John Constantine (Matt Ryan). He is an exorcist/demonologist/master of the dark arts. After he went into hiding after a major fuck up he has to come back out as a darkness is coming in towards the world. But he isn’t operatingn alone, oh no! He will try to save the world with his old friend and driver Chas (Charles Halford) and his newly found friend and psychic Zed (Angélica Celaya). There is also an angel by the name of Manny (Harold Perrineau, also fucking really?). Of course the layout isn’t only main story of John and friends taking on this huge darkness. The show follows a sort of “Freak of the week” format where every episode(ish) they have to face a new smaller supernatural threat. Now that has been the complaint done by some people as it doesn’t benefit the narrative structure 100%, and I can get behind that argument. But I still enjoyed it. It was fun and great seeing John and the others take care of every supernatural problem they encounter. I liked the plot.

The characters in the show all have good personalities and are all very interesting. Let’s start off with our main man, Constantine (roll credits). He is a careless, witty, cool, asshole. But that is how I like him and Matt Ryan portrays that so well. What I also like is that Constantine isn’t an action hero in this unlike in that movie with Keanu Reeves (Sidenote: The movie is enjoyable). In this show he is vulnerable, believe me, he can take care of himself but he isn’t like this ultra badass action dude. That is why I like him, he is relatable. It is also fun having Captain Edward Kenway (Sidenote: “Assassin’s Creed 4: Black Flag” reference) playing this awesome character. Next up is Chas, John’s best friend and driver… in a taxi. I am not going to spoil the cool thing about Chas here as you find out in the first episode and as it is the coolest shit ever. Sure, he isn’t AS prominent as John but he is still a valuable asset to the show. What you like about him is that he is the calm and collected center who sort of balances out the weird that is John Constantine. Also, whenever he gets angry he explodes and it is glorious especially since Charles Halford has such a powerful voice. And finally we have Zed, a psychic who helps John with her visions that usually help the gang to determine where to go next. What I like about her is like Chas, she is a good balance to John and his shenanigans. She is also a tough lady who can take care of herself when she needs to but she still keeps a kind of vulnerable and almost innocent aura about her. Overall the characters of “Constantine” are all great and really well-acted.

The score was done by acclaimed composer Bear McCreary (Walking Dead, Battlestar Galactica). And I think it works perfectly. You get what you’d expect from a horror-themed fantasy show. A lot of suspenseful tracks with a lot of epic tracks as well when they are needed. I also noticed there is a good usage of like a keyboard or organ or something, I don’t fucking know what it is but it sounds awesome! You can hear it mostly in the theme tune of the show which I would call a great theme tune. The music in the show is great.

The visual effects in this show are pretty great. They are really well done and look truly horrific and badass and awesome. The same can be said for how they did with the camera work. It looks great with excellent cinematography. There is a fair amount of use of the “Dutch angle” (Sidenote: Dutch angle means you film it at a circa 45 degree angle). They did it excellently in the scenes where it was used and it fit the scenes perfectly unlike that piece of shit called “Battlefield Earth”.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception to say the least. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 72% positive rating. Metacritic once again has the lowest score with a score of 53/100. And on imdb the show has a score of 7,7/10.

“Constantine” is one of the best fantasy shows of recent years. Sure, the narrative style will divide audiences but the plot and individual episodes are all great. The acting is really good, the writing is great with one moment in the show almost tearing me up, the score is excellent and everything about the visuals is just fantastic. Time for my final score. O potens ultima signant, venit ad me! My final score for “Constantine” season 1 (Or “Constantine” in general if there is no season 2) is a 9,88/10. I absolutely loved this show and I will give it my “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
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Review of “Constantine” is completed.

Just a minute more guys, I really want this show to go on and get more seasons so I would appreciate it if you could sign this petition to help maybe get it continued, thank you! http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/save-constantine