Movie Review: Spider-Man 3 (2007)

And so we come to the end of this review series on the Raimi-directed “Spider-Man” movies. It’s been fun revisiting this franchise. So let’s talk about the final part!

Ladies and gents… “Spider-Man 3”.

Peter (Tobey Maguire) seems to finally have his life under control. But that soon takes a dark turn when a mysterious space goop enters his life and changes his for the worse. All the while a super-powered petty criminal (Thomas Haden Church) roams the city after having escaped from prison. ALL THE WHILE Peter finds himself in some love triangle drama with Mary-Jane (Kirsten Dunst) and Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard). ALL THE WHILE his- fuck this. Just… fuck it. There are elements in the plot that are good. But overall, it’s a god damn mess. It has more threads than a spider web, and they are all (for the most part) paper thin. Like I said, there are some nice parts here too, some finely handled dramatic/emotionally charged bits. But they all find themselves tangled up in this scatterbrained web.

The characters here are mixed. Some are nuanced and interesting, and some are Topher Grace as Eddie Brock. The returning core cast of Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and James Franco are all great in their roles, and do wonders with the material they’re given (which sometimes isn’t great). Rosemary Harris as Aunt May is still the warm, comforting presence she’s always been. J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson is still an absolute blast to watch. As for new blood, there’s Thomas Haden Church as Flint Marko/Sandman. He’s given a surprising amount of development, and gives a really solid performance. And then we have the aforementioned Topher Grace as Eddie Brock. Look, Grace is not a bad actor, and he actually does a good job playing an absolute slimeball here… but he feels miscast for the character of Eddie Brock. And the stuff they do with the character here… just, no. Overall, decent cast.

Unlike the first two movies, the score in this one wasn’t composed by Danny Elfman. Instead, musical duties were handed over to Christopher Young, who I think did a great job. He incorporates Elfman’s iconic theme wonderfully, while still bringing his own flair to a lot of the other tracks. There are some emotionally charged pieces here that really work well within the movie.

As we’ve pointed out already, “Spider-Man 3” was, like its predecessors directed by Sam Raimi, who I think mostly did a great job here. I say mostly, because compared to the other two, there’s a lot more leaning on CGI for various things in this one. Which also makes some bits look a bit wonky, especially a chase scene early on in the movie. There is cool stuff to it, but overall the green screen effect looks kinda unfinished. And there are a few CGI humans in this movie, and they were a bit distracting. But with all that said, whenever it doesn’t use shit effects, it looks good. The action scenes in this are generally great, with one fight scene some ways into the movie being one of my favorite parts of it.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 63% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 59/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,2/10.

So while “Spider-Man 3” is a bit of a let-down compared to the first two, it’s still an enjoyable superhero movie. It has a messy plot with good moments, mostly good characters, really good performances, great music, and good directing/action with only a few wonky effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Spider-Man 3” is a 6,95/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “Spider-Man 3” is now completed.

Bit a downer to end this series on. C’est la vie, je suppose.

Movie Review: Hellraiser (1987)

And as we reach the end of October, we come to the penultimate Month of Spooks review. Kinda bittersweet as I love doing these reviews, but I’m also looking forward to talking about non-horror stuff again. But it’s not completely over yet.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Hellraiser”.

After moving into a new house, Julia (Clare Higgins) discovers the recently reanimated corpse of her former lover (Sean Chapman), who urges her to bring him people to feast on so he can regain his strength. So now we have our horror plot. And I actually enjoyed it. The setup itself is pretty fun, and the way they develop on it with the help of some other supernatural things that are in the movie really adds to it. Mix it all together and we get an enjoyable horror plot that actually subverts multiple conventions of the genre.

The characters in this are… fine. I didn’t find myself too invested in their struggles and such, except for maybe one. I never thought any of them were necessarily bad, just not very compelling. First up we have Clare Higgins as Julia, the unfaithful wife who kind of makes the plot happen. Her motivations are feel kinda muddled, and I never really found myself interested in her as a character. But I can say that Higgins was pretty good in the role. Next is Andrew Robinson as Larry, Julia’s husband who is in the dark about the supernatural stuff throughout the movie. He’s a good guy who just wants to live a good life. He can come off as kind of dull, but he’s not a bad character. And Robinson is fine in the role. Next we have Ashley Laurence as Kirsty, Larry’s daughter. Remember when I said there was like only one character I actually cared about? Yeah, it’s her, she is the most compelling one for me. And Laurence is really good in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Sean Chapman, Robert Hines, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Christopher Young, and it was fantastic. As bombastic as it was subtle, it perfectly manages to instill fear while also having a surprising amount of emotion behind it. The score here manages to elevate the movie quite a bit. Good stuff.

Based on a novella by Clive Barker, this movie was written and directed by… Clive Barker, I’ll be damned. And I have to say, I think he did a great job here. He shows here that he kinda knows what he was doing behind the camera. He shows a surprising amount of restraint here and manages to create a lot of suspense throughout. And when I say that he shows restraint it doesn’t mean that he skimps out on the gory details, because that stuff is here and it is gore-ious (HA!). But what I mean is that a lot of people directing horror could make their directing loud, abrasive, and lacking in subtlety. But Barker actually gives the viewer’s a lot of breathing room here which adds to the suspense and creepiness of the movie. Now, back to the blood and gore and effects. Holy shit, this is some disgustingly beautiful stuff. The visual effects are excellent, once again showing that practical effects can’t be beaten. They are detailed, bloody, and are just overall fantastic.

This movie has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 68% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 57/100. Roger Ebert gave it 0,5/4 stars (ouch). And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

While flawed, I still think “Hellraiser” is a really solid horror flick. It has a really good plot, meh characters, good performances, fantastic music, and great directing/visual effects. And as previously mentioned, it is brought down a bit by most of the characters not being that compelling to me. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Hellraiser” is an 8,56/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Hellraiser” is now completed.

Almost at the finish line.

Movie Review: Sinister (2012)

And the Month of Spooks rolls on. Aaaaand we’re back to creepy house stuff. So let’s just jump into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Sinister”.

Ellison Oswalt (Ethan Hawke) is a true crime author who moves into a new house with his family. And while searching through the house he stumbles upon a box of super 8 reels. When he decides to watch them for research he finds out that they feature the gruesome murders of various people. And shortly thereafter some strange things start happening around the house. You could say that these occurrences are… sinister (HA!). Puns aside, this is a good plot. It’s a slowly burning horror movie that has an interesting enough idea and manages to do some interesting things with it. Sure, the plot features various horror cliches throughout, but it does them well enough that I didn’t mind. The plot is tense and at times quite disturbing. The only things about it that I don’t like is the very final moment of the film. I’m not gonna spoil what it is in case you’re someone who wants to watch the movie, and to be honest it didn’t ruin anything for me. But it felt a bit out of place compared to the rest of the movie. But yeah, overall this is a tense, interesting, and kind of disturbing plot.

The characters in this feel real and interesting and I found myself actually caring about them. Ethan Hawke plays Ellison Oswalt (a combination of Harlan Ellison and Patton Oswalt), the author looking for his next big hit. Seeing him go through all this horrifying shit is part fascinating and part terrifying, because we do really get to know him and even care about him, which makes it scary when he’s put at risk. And Ethan Hawke (as usual) is great in the role. Then we have Juliet Rylance as Oswalt’s wife, Tracy. She’s a loving and caring wife who only gets mad at her husband because his obsession with these cases makes him act strange, putting pressure on the family. And Rylance is really good in the role. Then we have James Ransone as a police deputy who helps Oswalt with the investigation, getting some inside info for him. But unlike other deputies in horror flicks (Like Dewey in “Scream”), he isn’t an idiot… just a bit starstruck. He’s clever, he’s charming, and Ransone is really good in the movie. Then we have Clare Foley and Michael Hall D’Addario as Oswalt’s kids. Both actors are good in their roles. Yeah, this is a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Christopher Young and it was great. It was weird, eerie, dark, creepy, atmospheric, and just overall well composed, more often than not helping to elevate the tension of a scene. Really, the music was great. I wouldn’t listen to it while riding the bus or sitting alone in my room, but it was great.

This movie was directed by Scott Derrickson (who later went on to make “Doctor Strange”) and I think he did a great job. His directing is tight, claustrophobic, and incredibly tense. And while there are some jumpscares in this movie, it doesn’t rely on them (unlike a lot of modern horror flicks). Also, they are genuine and feel earned. And since this is a horror movie, let’s talk scariness level. Fuck me, this movie was terrifying. Like I said, the movie builds a lot of tension, and then puts in a few genuinely scary jumpscares. It also features some horrifying imagery that will stay in my head for days. I felt genuinely terrified throughout the movie. Real fear, real dread. Good job, crew.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 63% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 53/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

Guys, “Sinister” is fucking terrifying. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great/horrifying direction. Time for my final score. *BOO!*. My final score for “Sinister” is a 9,65/10. So it does get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Sinister” is now completed.

Sinister purpose, knockin’ at your door…

My Favorite Scenes: Spider-Man 3 – Birth of Sandman

What’s going on, guys? So today I felt like bringing this fossil back to life. That’s right, I’m not good at updating the “My Favorite Scenes” series, but finally I am doing it. And todya we are talking about a scene from a movie that people really seem to hate. Before we dive into the scene, let me tell you my quick thoughts on the movie; It’s fine. There is a lot wrong with the movie, but I do still enjoy it a pretty good amount. There, I said it, now let’s talk about this scene. Where the movie was not very good at parts, this scene suddenly comes out of nowhere and goes “I am giving you the feels!” (By the way, I personally hate the term “The feels”). In this scene we see Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church), after some kind of accident, becoming Sandman. And when you watch this you will most likely believe that he’s not really a bad guy, but a good guy who did something bad. And that is portrayed perfectly through the directing, the visual effects and the beautiful song by composer Christopher Young. I love this scene so much.
Enjoy!

Movie Review: Rounders (1998)

rounders.

Poker is something that has fascinated me for quite some time. There are so many little things that can affect a round and not just luck like most people assume. Of course there is a little luck involved when it comes to what cards you get, but there is also a lot of strategy involved, mainly to know when to raise, fold or go all-in. Then you also need to be able to read a person to find out if they got a great hand that will win them the game or a hand that makes them nervous, gotta know a little about human psychology. But that isn’t important now since we are not playing as much as watching people play.

Ladies and gents… “Rounders”.

Our story follows young poker genius Mike McDermott (Matt Damon). He is retired from poker and gambling after something that happened during a game against Russian poker player Teddy KGB (John Malkovich). But now he lives a quiet life with his girlfriend Jo (Gretchen Mol), he studies law and he generally seems to have it pretty decent. Then when his old friend Lester “Worm” Murphy (Edward Norton) gets released from prison he has to get back into the world of poker to help his friend pay off some brutal loan sharks. And the plot is intriguing in that sense. It is a nice plot to see how these two work everything to try to get the money together to pay off these loan sharks. The problem however is that it would be even better if there was any genuine suspense in the plot. Believe me, I think the plot is great but I feel that it needed a bit more suspense. But it was pretty good overall.

The characters in this movie are all varied, colorful and really well-acted. But shouldn’t come as a surprise considering some of the main stars of the movie are Matt Damon, Edward Norton and John Malkovich. But htye all have personalities and they all fill their seats perfectly. I think my favorite character in the movie however might be Worm (Surprise, Surprise). Not only because he is played by my favorite actor (Edward Norton) but also because of his dry wit, quick mouth and overall “loveable asshole” style. And Edward Norton plays him perfectly! But I do in general think all characters are great.

The score was done by Christopher Young and really fits the style of the movie. A lot of piano in a sort of jazzy style was used to great effect to get the dry wit style of our two main characters and the poker. There were a few tracks that were also a bit more slow and calm but they were great too. There was also a good mix of licensed tracks in there that really worked for everything.

This movie was shot pretty well. I mean, John Dahl has never been known as a visionary director (Sidenote: I had never heard of him until this movie) but he knew how to make the movie look pretty good. Also, remember all that rambling I did in the beginning about how poker worked? Yeah, Matt Damon explained that in the movie in a similar way and I thought it might fit here. And just to make sure and not confuse you, this isn’t a comedy even if the promotional material make it look like that, this is a drama with a lot of dry wit and clever dialogue. Sound good? Great!

This movie was pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes the movie got a 65% positive rating. On Metacritic the movie has a score 0f 54/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3/4 stars. And imdb.com has a score of 7,4/10 for “Rounders”.

“Rounders” is a movie with a good plot that could use a little more suspense, colorful characters powered by great performances, a really good score, good direction/camera work and some great dialogue. Time for my final score. Where the hell is it… oh there, under the poker chips. Oops. My final score for “Rounders” is a 8,99/10. It is a really good movie that is definitely worth buying.
betala-kassa-butik

Review of “Rounders” is completed.

I told you I might’ve been able to squeeze a review in before I traveled to Rome!