Movie Review: 99 Homes (2015)

Homes. We live in them. They shelter us from the harshness of the outside world. And yet despite their importance, a few small legal stipulations can instantly take them away from us.

Ladies and gents… “99 Homes”.

After he gets tossed out of his own home, Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield) goes on a quest to find a job so he can try to get it back. This eventually leads him to working for Richard Carver (Michael Shannon), the real estate agent that made Dennis leave his home. Already there you get an interesting setup. And the movie uses it to its advantage in developing the drama of the story, and it only grows more and more compelling as Dennis delves further down this spiral, becoming more involved with the real estate business. I honestly didn’t see where the story went at first, and even when I got some idea of the path later on, I still found it really engaging thanks to the genuinely interesting writing.

The characters in this are really interesting, as they’re actually pretty layered. Andrew Garfield plays Dennis Nash, a dedicated single father doing everything he can to keep his family afloat. He is the one that goes through the most development in the cast here (which makes sense, since he’s the main character), going from his emotionally charged starting position to where he ends up. And Garfield is fantastic in the role. We then have Michael Shannon as Richard Carver, real estate agent and dickhead extraordinaire. If you just think of those words together with the casting, you can probably imagine what the character’s like. And you’re mostly right… and it’s awesome. Michael Shannon’s awesome. We also get supporting work from Laura Dern, Noah Lomax, Tim Guinee, J.D. Evermore, and a whole bunch of other people, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Antony Partos & Matteo Zingales, and I think they did a pretty good job with it. The score is a mostly synthesized affair, making for a decently dramatic sound that fits the movie well enough. Not much else I can say. Good, but not too memorable.

“99 Homes” was written by Ramin Bahrani and Amir Naderi, with Bahrani serving as director. And I think Bahrani did a great job. He really knows how to bring you into it. There’s a confidence in his direction that gives the movie a certain flair that elevates it everything else by quite a margin. He almost gives the movie a bit of a documentary-esque vibe, without sacrificing the cinematic flair of the fictional elements. He also knows how to build some good suspense at times, especially with a scene early on that I won’t spoil. Bahrani’s good.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 76/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

“99 Homes” is a damn fine drama, taking a nuanced look at some fairly complex issues. It has a great plot, good characters, great performances, pretty good music, and really good writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “99 Homes” is a 9,62/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “99 Homes” is now completed.

Oh, and that “Based on true events label”? Not quite true. It uses the 2008 recession as basis for its story, but beyond that, the story and characters are fabrications.

Movie Review: Thor: Ragnarok (2017)

“Avengers: Infinity War” is almost here, and I am incredibly excited. So let’s talk about one of the latest entries into the MCU.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Thor: Ragnarok”.

After he gets banished to the planet of Sakaar, Thor (Chris Hemsworth) has to find a way to return to Asgard to stop the evil Hela (Cate Blanchett) and the doomsday event known as Ragnarok. So now we have our Marvel space adventure. And I really liked it. The plot here is fun and keeps a fast pace that keeps it from dragging. In a lot of ways I prefer it to the other “Thor” plots, because it aims for a fun comic book adventure rather than trying to be convoluted (a la “The Dark World) or Shakespearean (a la the first one). But as much as I enjoy the plot here, I do have a problem with it. My problem is that it feels a little disjointed at times, since it tries to both do “Thor: Ragnarok” and “Planet Hulk” in it’s entire thing. Yes, I enjoyed it all, but those bits almost feel a bit disconnected, which makes me have to knock it down a little bit. But with that said, it’s still a really fun plot with a decent emotional core to it.

The characters in this are all entertaining and interesting in some way. First up we have Chris Hemsworth reprising his role as the titular god of thunder. Here we see a somewhat different side of Thor, a changed Thor, a Thor that has learned to lighten up a bit. And while he is generally a more lighthearted person compared to previous movies, he still feels like the same character as before, only having gone through some evolution. And he’s a really enjoyable character. And Hemsworth is great in the role. Next up we once again have Tom Hiddleston as Loki, god of mischief and adoptive brother of Thor. He’s still a sneaky fucker, but you can still tell that he does kind of care about his brother. He’s still such an enjoyable presence. and Hiddleston is great in the role. Next up we have Cate Blanchett as Hela, the villain of the story. She is the goddess of death who has come to claim Asgard for herself. She’s a suitably intimidating villain with an interesting connection to the characters. While not the strongest Marvel villain, she works quite well for the story here. And Blanchett is really good in the role. Then we have Tessa Thompson as Valkyrie, a badass lady that Thor runs into on Sakaar. Not gonna say too much as her story is unveiled in the movie, and it’s pretty cool. But like I said, she’s a total badass. And Thompson is great in the role. Then we have Mark Ruffalo returning as Bruce Banner/Hulk. He’s been on Sakaar for quite a while, and they play around with that in a few interesting ways in the movie. And Ruffalo is really good in the role. Then throughout the movie we get supporting work from people like Karl Urban, Anthony Hopkins, Jeff Goldblum, Taika Waititi, Idris Elba, Clancy Brown, Benedict Cumberbatch, Rachel House, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Mark Mothersbaugh, and I really liked it. Part of it is of course the big, dramatic, and emotional orchestral tunes that one would expect from a big comic book action movie like this. But then there are tracks here that take inspiration from 80s synth soundtracks, which makes this score stand out a bit, and just adds to the overall fun factor. And there’s a licensed song used in this movie, and if you don’t know what it is, I will not ruin it. But let’s just say that when they use it, I got chills. A great song that was used amazingly. Yeah, this movie has some great music.

This movie was directed by Taika Waititi, and I think he did a really good job with it. His directing here is fast and filled with tons of energy, making the movie feel really fun and breezy. The action scenes too are a lot of fun, with a lot of Taika’s energy being brought into them. The visual effects too are great. Yes, there’s like a moment or two of less than stellar green screen, but those moments are brief, and not too bad, so I’ll let it slide. This movie also features some of the most beautiful shots I’ve seen in a Marvel movie. This movie also has a lot of comedy in it, so much that this movie is even classified as a comedy. And is it funny? Yeah, I laughed. From chuckles to belly laughs. It’s an insanely funny movie.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 92% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10.

“Thor: Ragnarok” is a really fun space adventure, and by far the best “Thor” movie. It has a good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, really good directing/visual effects, and hilarious comedy. As previously mentioned, my one flaw with the movie is that it can feel a bit disjointed when going between certain plot points, but it doesn’t ruin it for me. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Thor: Ragnarok” is a 9,20/10. So I’d say that it’s definitely worth buying.

My review of “Thor: Ragnarok” is now completed.

“AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHH!”. 

Movie Review: Hail, Caesar! (2016)

hailcaesar

The movie industry, one of the biggest and most profitable industries in the world. It’s given us sooooo many hours of entertainment for such a long time that it’s kind of ridiculous. And not only is it guilty of giving us entertainment, but it’s also the thing that’s given this blog most of it’s content.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Hail, Caesar!”.

Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is a fixer for a big Hollywood studio in the 1950s. As a fixer, his job is to keep problems with actors, directors, and such to a minimum. And soon he gets a bit of a rough time when problems pour in from every possible direction. So what we have here is an odd crime-comedy-thing with a whole bunch of plot threads going on at the same time. And while that stuff can be interesting, I feel like the way it’s handled here is a bit messy. Not saying that any of the plots going on are bad, but it’s just that it’s kind of a fucking mess. I mean, I was constantly interested and entertained, but I feel like it could have been a bit more focused.

The characters are all interesting and very entertaining. I will mention that there are a shit-ton of big name actors in this movie, and instead of spending 50 hours listing them with one comment each, I will simply say that they all did a great job and I’m just gonna list their names. Cool? Cool. *Deep breath*. Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Alden Ehrenreich (First-timer, did a fantastic job), Ralph Fiennes, Channing Tatum, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Jonah Hill, Clancy Brown, Alison Pill, Fisher Stevens, Christopher Lambert, David Krumholtz, and more. *Exhale*. God damn, there’s a lot of people in this movie!

The score for the movie was composed by Carter Burwell and it was fun, kind of quirky, and overall well composed. It fit the movie very well. There are even a few songs (as in musical numbers) in this movie performed by the actors, and they are surprisingly good and really catchy.

This movie was directed by the Coen brothers, and I think they did a great job here. There’s energy, there are clever moments, and there’s an overall sense of fun. And the cinematography by Roger Deakins is of course great, as per usual. The humor in this movie is also pretty solid. I’m not saying that every “funny” moment hit, but when it did hit… it hit very well. There’s one scene involving Alden Ehrenreich and Ralph Fiennes in this movie that is really damn funny, it’s most definitely my favorite scene in the entire movie.

This movie has gotten some slightly mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 85% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,3/10. The movie has also been nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best production design. 

“Hail, Caesar!” is a fun homage to old school cinema. It has some okay plots, good characters, great performances, really good music, great directing, and some really good humor. However it is brought down by the plot being kind of messy. Time for my final score. *ACTION!*. My final score for “Hail, Caesar!” is an 8,87/10. So even if it’s messy, I ‘d still say it’s worth buying.
worth-buying

My review of “Hail, Caesar!” is now completed.

Alden Ehrenreich… I trust that you’ll make a good Han Solo (please!).

Movie Review: Warcraft (2016)

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Before we begin the review itself I just want to say  that I am no fan of the video games that this is based on. So any fanservice in this movie would kind of fly past me and wouldn’t change my judgment of anything. Just wanted to get it out of the way. Now, let’s do this shit.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Warcraft”.

Orcs have gone through a magic portal into the world of Azeroth, because their own world went to shit. The leader of the orcs, Gul’dan (Daniel Wu), will do anything to take over Azeroth. However, one of the other high(ish) ranking orcs named Durotan (Toby Kebbell) thinks that Gul’dan’s ways are wrong, and sort of sides with the humans to try to stop Gul’dan and his evil ways. Now this is some really interesting stuff. The basic idea is really interesting, as it presents both the human side and the orc side of things here. It’s not like “Human good, orc bad”, it’s a lot more grey than that, which is something I really liked about it. However, to be completely honest, the plot isn’t perfect. My main problem here is really the same as my main issue with the first “Harry Potter” movie. It sets up this world, a lot of the mythology existing in it, and the factions/characters, which kind of ruins the pacing a bit. The plot that we get presented is good, but the pacing is not.

The characters here are… okay. I never felt like I truly cared about any of them, except for maybe one of them. And that one was Durotan, the orc we follow for a good amount of the movie. His motivations were good and I did care about him. And Toby Kebbell, with the motion capture and voice acting was great in the role. Travis Fimmel played the main human character, Anduin Lothar, and I think he did a pretty good job. Paula Patton played a half human/half orc character named Garona, and she was good in her role. Ben Schnetzer played a young mage in the movie and he was okay. I felt like he was in the movie a bit too much, not because of his performance, but because there was just something about his character. We also got supporting performances from people like Ben Foster, Rob Kazinsky, Clancy Brown, Dominic Cooper, and Ruth Negga, all of whom did a pretty good job.

The music was composed by Ramin Djawadi and it was pretty damn badass. It was this big and epic orchestral score that worked really well in the movie, elevating a good amount of scenes, making some of them more (in lack of a better word) epic.

This movie was directed by Duncan Jones, a man who not only made two sci-fi movies I love, but who’s also apparently a big fan of the games. So with that knowledge I had hopes that it would be a well directed movie… and I was right. It’s a very well directed movie, the shots look great. Speaking of things looking great, let’s talk about the visual effects. Jesus fucking Christ, the effects here look great. The orcs look very realistic, and they blend very well with the human characters. Which brings me to the action scenes, all being really fun, exciting, and badass. And my guess is that they wouldn’t really have been as good if a different director would have taken it on.

This movie has not been the most well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 28% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 32/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

“Warcraft” is far from a perfect movie, but it’s definitely one of the better video game movies out there. I can see the potential in a film franchise here. It has a good plot, okay characters, pretty good performances, really good music, great directing/action, and great visual effects. However it is bogged down a bit by poor pacing and the fact that I didn’t care too much about msot of the characters. Time for my final score. *rwlrwlrwlrwl*. My final score for “Warcraft” is an 8,55/10. So I’d say that it is worth buying.
Worth buying

My review of “Warcraft” is now completed.

Weird to see both Jesse (Dominic Cooper) and Tulip (Ruth Negga) from “Preacher” in this movie…