Movie Review: BlacKkKlansman (2018)

Good grief, that title stylization is such a double-edged sword. Looks neat, and is a great piece of wordplay… but god damn, it is a pain to keep in mind when writing it out. Oh well, that’s all the time we’re spending on that, let’s get into the review.

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 and gentlemen… “BlacKkKlansman”!

Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is a young, black police officer in the 70s. He’s an ambitious young man, looking to make a real difference. And one way he intends to do this is by starting an undercover operations to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan with the help of one of his colleagues (Adam Driver). So now we have our quite unique story setup… and good god damn, I loved seeing how it unfolded. What makes it work so well is how impressively they balance tones. On one hand, it’s an undercover cop movie featuring one of the most horrible organizations in the worlds, which is very serious. But then they also acknowledge the bizarreness of a black man making an attempt to enter the Ku Klux Kunts, and have a bit of fun with that idea. So it manages to both put me on the edge of my seat with some of the darker aspects, and have me smiling at some of the more lighthearted and fun moments. It’s also remarkably fast-paced. The movie has a 135 minute runtime, but I never felt that, it moved at a brisk pace that kept it from getting dull. It doesn’t rush through things though, when it needs to slow down and soak in a moment, it does that. But yeah, it’s well paced and well written and highly entertaining.

The characters here are flawed, nuanced, colorful, and overall just quite interesting. John David Washington plays Ron Stallworth, the young cop at the center of this story. He’s smart, highly determined, but also a bit of an underdog considering he’s like the only black officer in the department. And he’s one of the more uniquely compelling protagonists of recent years. And Washington is fantastic in the role. We then have Adam Driver as Flip Zimmerman, Stallworth’s colleague who joins in on this batshit undercover operation. He’s a bit torn between some various things we learn about him throughout the movie, and it makes him quite fascinating to follow. And Driver is fantastic in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Laura Harrier, Robert John Burke, Michael Buscemi, Ryan Eggold, Jasper Pääkkönen, Paul Walter Hauser, Topher Grace, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for “BlacKkKlansman” was composed by Terence Blanchard, and it was great. There’s a consistent theme that gets woven throughout various tracks, making for a consistent emotional quality while still giving it a few different spins. There are of course a few unique tracks as well, and they are very good too. There’s also a few licensed tracks used throughout, and those work quite well in their respective scenes. So yeah, this movie has good music.

Based on a book by Ron Stallworth, “BlacKkKlansman” was directed by Spike Lee. And he did a great job, he really brought his A-game here, giving it a fierce energy that makes it stand out among so many movies in recent years. His direction manages to capture the broadness of this whole operation while never sacrificing the intimacy with the characters. And this makes it absolutely electrifying. And Chayse Irvin’s cinematography is stunning, complementing the storytelling wonderfully. There’s also a surprising amount of comedy throughout the movie, and it’s very funny. It helps to digest some of the bizarre and darkly uncomfortable aspects of this story.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 83/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best adapted screenplay. It was also nominated for an additional 5 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best original score, Best director, Best supporting actor (Driver), and Best film editing.

Despite it’s annoying-to-write title, “BlacKkKlansman” is a fantastic and highly unique bio-pic. It has a great plot, great characters, fantastic performances, great music, great directing/cinematography, and funny comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “BlacKkKlansman” is a 9,90/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “BlacKkKlansman” is now completed.

This kind of stuff is why I love movies.

Movie Review: Straight Outta Compton (2015)

Straight-Outta-Compton-Oshea-Jackson-Jr-Corey-Hawkins-Jason-Mitchell-Neil-Brown-Jr-WallpapersByte-com-1366x768

Straight outta Compton, crazy motherfucker named Ice Cube
From the gang called
I’m not black enough to say this word With Attitudes.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Straight Outta Compton”.

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.

So this is a movie about gangsta rap group N.W.A that emerged in the late 80’s. The group consisted of Ice Cube (O’Shea Jackson Jr), Dr. Dre (Corey Hawkins), Eazy-E (Jaosn Mitchell), DJ Yella (Neil Brown Jr) and MC Ren (Aldis Hodge). And this movie is basically how they started out easily in Compton, California and then after having met producer Jerry Heller (Paul Giamatti) how they rose to superstardom. And then it follows what happened when some complications rose among the group. And I have to say that I found the development of the story extremely interesting. The basics of it is a “rags-to-riches” story, but it adds a lot of good drama and even a bit of tension to it all to make it surprisingly unique in it’s execution. I was heavily invested the entire time and I never felt like it dragged at any point which feels weird since the movie is two and a half hours long.

The people you see in this movie are all a bunch of interesting individuals. What I didn’t mention earlier is that while the movie is about NWA, it more or less follows Ice Cube, Eazy-E and Dr. Dre more than the other two. And I guess that might come from the fact that Cube and Dre are producers on this film together with Eazy-E’s widow. Anywho… the acting in this movie was good. You know what’s kind of weird in that sense? Ice Cube is played by Ice Cube’s son. Doing a movie like that would feel like a dumb idea A.K.A. tooting your own horn, but here it really worked. O’Shea Jackson Jr. was great as his dad… that just feels so weird to say. Every other actor was great as well in their roles. I don’t wanna say that every individual because then we’d be here all fuckin’ week… yeah.

I think it goes without saying that if you absolutely hate hip hop/rap, you will not be too happy with the soundtrack for this movie. But would once expect a different kind of soundtrack for a movie like this? Not really. However I have to say that I was a little surprised to find out that there was an original score in this movie as well. And I also have to say that it was really good. It was tense, dramatic and just great. Good job with the score, Joseph Trapanese!

This movie was directed by F. Gary Gray and I am impressed, this is a very well directed movie with lots of great shots and little touches to it. And I think that really helps with the pacing of the movie that I mentioned earlier. Ya know, the part where I mentioned that this movie moves at a pretty quick pace for it’s long(ish) runtime. I also wanna mention that if you hate cursing, nudity, violence, drug use and other not too decent things then maybe you wanna keep away from this movie.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,0/10. The movie was also nominated for 1 Oscar (Fuckin’ really?) in the category of Best Original Screenplay. 

“Straight Outta Compton” is an interesting movie about the lifetime of a legendary hip hop group. It has a great story, great acting, a great soundtrack and great directing. Time for my final score. Yo. My final score for “Straight Outta Compton” is a 9,87/10. IT most definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Straight Outta Compton” is now completed.

Damn, that shit was dope!