Movie Review: One False Move (1992)

The 90s were such a fascinating time for movies, particularly ones within the crime and thriller genres. Some were kinda typical and formulaic, but often still entertained. But then we also got ones that could subvert expectations. I only say this because 90s thrillers are among my favorite kinds of movies, and today we’re talking about one such movie, one that I only heard about for the first time late last year.

Ladies and gents… “One False Move”.

After a group of criminals commit a violent crime in Los Angeles, they flee the city, heading east towards Arkansas to go into hiding. However, the L.A. police are already onto them, so they get to the quaint Arkansas town first to team up with the local Sheriff (Bill Paxton) to hopefully get his help in apprehending the criminals. In the first half hour or so it may kinda seem like a typical thriller in a lot of ways, but as we move on through the story, it evolves in a lot of unexpected ways, turning into a surprisingly nuanced take on race and humanity. And despite this switch in focus, it all feels natural. The story uses its setups to give us a genuinely clever and layered narrative that managed to keep me enraptured from start to end.

Just like the plot before them, the characters in the movie may seem like one simple idea at first, but as time passes, we find out that there’s more than meets the eye. Bill Paxton plays Sheriff Dale Dixon, a lovable countryside Sheriff who’s ready for action. And the arc he goes through here is so unexpected, yet so compelling, that I can’t help but find him an electrifying character. And Paxton is terrific in the role. Next we have Cynda Williams as a young woman who travels with the criminal group at the center of the story, and we quickly learn she does have some interesting history (to keep it vague). And Williams is really good in the role. Then we have Billy Bob Thornton and Michael Beach as the two main crooks, and they make for an interesting presence in the movie. And both actors are great in their roles. We also get some supporting work from people like Jim Metzler, Earl Billings, Natalie Canerday, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The music for the movie was composed by Peter Haycock, Derek Holt, and Terry Plumeri. I really like what they did with the score. There is an interesting mix of genres in the score. At times it sounds like a more typical movie score with regular orchestrations, and at times it goes for blues instrumentation. I find it to be quite a fascinating blend that really adds to the film’s atmosphere, giving it a fairly unique soundscape that I loved listening to throughout the runtime.

Written by Billy Bob Thornton & Tom Epperson, “One False Move” was directed by Carl Franklin, who I think did a great job. He manages to give the entire thing a very grounded feel, without sacrificing any cinematic flair. This also helps bring in some decent suspense at times, which further adds to the nuance of the narrative and world of the movie. So combine Franklins confident direction with James L. Carter’s really good cinematography, and you get an insanely well crafted movie.

This movie has been really well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 87/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

While the change in narrative focus may put some people off, I personally thought “One False Move” was a great little crime-drama. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “One False Move” is a 9,80/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “One False Move” is now completed.

I miss Bill Paxton.

Movie Review: White Boy Rick (2018)

Don’t do crimes.

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 gents… “White Boy Rick”.

Detroit, the 1980s. Teenager Richard Wershe Jr. (Richie Merritt) comes from a broken home. But soon he finds himself on quite an interesting rise, as he starts getting involved both as an FBI informant and a drug trafficker. So now we have our crime-drama. The premise of it all I find highly intriguing, and there are some decent moments and ideas going on throughout the movie. But looking at the package as a whole, it feels quite underwhelming, with the script, while not bad, feels severely underwritten. The writer’s should’ve probably done another draft or two to truly flesh out a lot of the storytelling, because as it stands, it doesn’t quite reach the dramatic heights it sets out for. And this makes it often feel a lot more boring and uninteresting than one would want a fascinating premise like this to be.

Much like the story, the characters in this story suffer due to the undercooked script. I can see what the team were going for with all of them, but they never quite get far enough to make ’em that compelling. Richie Merritt plays Richard Wershe Jr, the young man at the center of the story. He’s the closest we get to a compelling character, as he gets the biggest arc of the bunch (probably due to his status as “protagonist”). And Merritt is okay in the role. Next we have Matthew McConaughey as Richard Wershe Senior, the father of our main character. He’s a bit of a hick, while also trying to be a decent dad. As said before about other things: Good idea, mediocre execution. At least McConaughey gives a really good performance. We also get supporting work from people like Bel Powley, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brian Tyree Henry, Rory Cochrane, RJ Cyler, Jonathan Majors, Eddie Marsan, and more, all doing pretty well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Max Richter, and it was really good. Richter’s a talented composer, and he managed to bring some really compelling synth/piano goodness to the soundscape of this movie. It manages to take scenes that are mediocre at best, and manages to make them alright. There’s also a few licensed songs used throughout, and they work fine I guess.

“White Boy Rick” was directed by Yann Demange, and I think he did an okay job with it. There are scenes in the movie that I think are really well directed, but then there are also scenes that I feel are a bit drab in execution. Again, it’s kind of a mixed bag in execution, which unfortunately really brings me out of the experience. There are scenes where Demange’s directing truly shines, and I applaud those moments. But there are times where it dips too, which is a shame.

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

“White Boy Rick” has some decent elements to it, but in the end is a disappointment. It has an undercooked story, less than compelling characters, good performances, really good music, and okay directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “White Boy Rick” is a 4,78/10. So despite some bright spots, I’d recommend skipping it.

My review of “White Boy Rick” is now completed.

Mustache McConaughey.

Movie Review: Sexy Beast (2001)

Despite what the title implies, this is not a porno. I know, I’m just as shocked as you are. But hey, life is weird like that sometimes.

Ladies and gents… “Sexy Beast”.

Gary Dove (Ray Winstone) is a former safecracker who has now retired to Spain with his wife (Amand Redman). However, his seemingly quiet life soon gets interrupted when volatile gangster Don Logan (Ben Kingsley) shows up to try to recruit him for another job. So now we have the setup for our British crime story… except not exactly. There is definitely a setup for a British crime/heist story, but what “Sexy Beast” does is put the job to the side for most of it, focusing on Gary trying to navigate the dangerous waters knows as Don fucking Logan. So it’s really more of a character-driven thriller rather than a typical crime story, and I really dug that. It’s fast-paced, it’s suspenseful, and it’s a lot more nuanced than one might expect from that title.

The characters are flawed, colorful, and really interesting. First up we have Ray Winstone as Gary “Gal” Dove, the former crook at the center of our story. At the start you don’t see much from him in terms of development, but as soon as ge knows Logan’s about to enter, he starts going through some interesting character stuff. And Winstone is really good in the role. Next we have Ben Kingsley as Don Logan, someone that our protagonist clearly has some history with. He’s a scary, unpredictable motherfucker that adds so much to the development of the story and characters. And Kingsley is fucking phenomenal in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Ian McShane, Amanda Redman, Cavan Kendall, James Fox, Julianne White, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Roque Baños, and he did a good job with it. Sure, I don’t exactly remember any of it enough to hum it to you, but it worked well enough in the scenes where it could be heard. There were also a handful of licensed songs used throughout, and they worked quite well in their scenes.

“Sexy Beast” is the directorial debut of Jonathan Glazer, who I must say did a fucking great job for someone who’d never made a movie before. I admit that some of the surreal imagery used in the movie doesn’t fully click for me, but generally I liked Glazer directed. It’s energetic, it’s snappy, and it just has a way of creating a unique vibe seldom seen within the genre. And the editing is on point too.

This movie has been really well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 79/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10. The movie was nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best supporting actor (Kingsley).

“Sexy Beast” is an excellent crime-thriller that subverts the expectations one has of the genre. It has a great plot, good characters, great performances, good music, and great directing/editing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Sexy Beast” is a 9,62/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Sexy Beast” is now completed.

Never heard Kingsley swear this much before, holy shit.

Movie Review: Goodfellas (1990)

Yes, you got that right. I only now got to this “must watch” piece of cinema. Shut up.

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 gents… “Goodfellas”.

As far back as he could remember, Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) always wanted to be a gangster *brass music plays*. And throughout the movie we follow his rise within the mob, giving us all the ups and downs. And yes, we’ve seen this kind of shit in a bunch of movies before. But I don’t think I’ve seen it done this well before. The movie is two hours and twenty minutes long, but you never feel that runtime thanks to writing that is equal parts dramatically compelling and pure entertainment value. It crackles along at a good pace, while still presenting us with situations that last with the viewers, even after the credits have rolled. It doesn’t do the slow, methodical approach that “The Godfather” used, instead opting for a more popcorn-friendly style still rises above most basic gangster stories.

The characters in this are flawed, nuanced, colorful, entertaining, and just overall really interesting. Ray Liotta plays Henry Hill, the man at the center of the story with dreams of being the next big gangster. His journey from small time crook to where he eventually ends up is quite fascinating, and he’s one of the most compelling protagonists I’ve had the pleasure of following in anything I’ve watched recently. And Liotta is great in the role. Next we have Lorraine Bracco as Karen, Henry’s wife. Seeing her journey alongside Henry is quite interesting, especially since she becomes a bit of a conflicted character that has a really interesting rapport with Henry and his story. And Bracco is great in the role. Next we have Joe Pesci as Tommy, Henry’s friend and a fellow gangster. He’s a very short-tempered guy who makes for a lot of unpredictable scenes, which is all I’ll say about him. And Pesci is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino, Frank Sivero, Tony Darrow, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

What’s interesting about the music in “Goodfellas” is that there is no typical score. No composer, no orchestra… jack shit. Instead there’s a lot of licensed music, mostly period accurate rock songs, that get used throughout to help set the mood and tell the story. And god damn it, the use of said songs here is fucking spectacular, partly because there’s a lot of music in there I genuinely like in general, but also because the director (and possibly editor) has a good fucking grasp of how to utilize a song throughout a scene.

Based on a book called “Wiseguy” by Nicholas Pileggi, the movie was co-written by Pileggi and Martin Scorsese, with Scorsese of course handling direction. And really, what else can I say that hasn’t been said before? This shit is immaculate. The blend of the writing and directing here creates a crackling energy that makes it an absolute blast to watch. Never does it feel dull. There are a few moments where it risks slipping into it, but then it picks up again, like a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating and a “Fresh” ceritifcation. On Metacritic it has a score of 89/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,7/10 and is ranked #18 on the “Top 250” list. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best supporting actor (Pesci). It was also nominated for an additional 5 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best supporting actress (Bracco), Best director, Best adapted screenplay, and Best film editing.

I don’t think I’m bringing anything new to the table when I say that “Goodfellas” is fucking rad. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Goodfellas” is a 9,88/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Goodfellas” is now completed.

I see why people like this so much.

Series Review: Mayans M.C. – Season 1 (2018)

In 2008, a show called “Sons of Anarchy” started airing. It was created by Kurt Sutter, and ran for seven seasons, ending in 2014. I loved that show. And in 2018 we got a spin-off. And in 2019 I finally watched it. So let’s talk about it.

Damas y caballeros… “Mayans M.C.” season 1.

Set a few years after “Sons of Anarchy” ended, we follow EZ Reyes (J.D. Pardo), a prospect within the Mayans motorcycle club. And throughout the show we get to see him take part in the club’s various dealings with various criminal elements, as well as the law. So now we have our biker crime-drama. Early on it’s easy to tell that it’s a bit more focused than it’s big brother, “Sons of Anarchy”, at least in terms of first season stuff. There is more of a central through-line here that makes it a bit more compelling in parts. But it’s not free of faults, as there’s a lot going on here. They set up a few face-to-face conflicts early on (cool), but they also then have a lot of sneaking around going on, making it a little convoluted at first. I did settle into it after a few episodes, but I feel like dumping that many separate plot threads early on is a bit much at the start, ease people into your world, then expand. Though like I said, I did settle into it soon enough, and I did find the overall plot quite compelling, especially when things started ramping up towards the end of the season.

The characters in this are layered, flawed, colorful, and overall quite interesting. J.D. Pardo plays Ezekiel “EZ” Reyes, the show’s main protagonist. A smart young man acting as a prospect for the Mayans M.C. He’s a good guy involved in some complicated, sometimes illegal shit, which makes it interesting to see his inner turmoil throughout the season. And Pardo is really good in the role. We then get Sarah Bolger as Emily Galindo, a woman EZ once had a relationship with, but is now married to a cartel boss. She has an interesting arc throughout the season that I won’t spoil, but it does make her quite a fascinating character. And Bolger is great in the role. We then get Danny Pino as Miguel Galindo, the cartel boss that Emily married. He’s ruthless when people make him angry, but can be a reasonable man when shit isn’t hitting the fan too hard. He has a few more sides than other, similar kinds of characters, which makes him quite interesting. And Pino is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Clayton Cardenas, Michael Irby, Edward James Olmos, Carla Baratta, Richard Cabral, Maurice Compte, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the show/season was composed by Bob Thiele Jr. And I think he did a good job with it, using a fair bit of acoustic guitars that helps brings the biker side and the drama side into one. There are also a good amount of licensed tracks used throughout, and they work quite well in their respective scenes. So yeah, this show has some damn good music.

“Mayans M.C.” was created by Kurt Sutter & Elgin James, with writing and directing by them and a whole bunch of other cool people. And the craft here is pretty tight, building decent suspense when needed, and having a good flow between the various storylines going on in each episode. They also find a way to really get intimate with the characters through the direction, really making me feel like I’m there with them. As for the few action scenes throughout the show, they’re pretty good. Kinda standard, but still serviceable enough.

This show/season has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 72% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 57/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

While starting off with a few too many balls in the air, season 1 of “Mayans M.C.” is still a highly compelling biker drama. It has a good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and really good writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mayans M.C.” season 1 is an 8,99/10. So I’d say that it’s definitely worth a watch.

My review of “Mayans M.C.” season 1 is now completed.

At first I was worried about a “Sons of Anarchy” spin-off. But you guys proved me wrong. Bien hecho. 

Movie Review: Out of Sight (1998)

Hey. Sorry for the lack of blog posts lately. Had a bad case of the lazy. But now I’m back. And hopefully we’ll get some consistency in post frequency from it. Anyway, first review of the year, here we go!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Out of Sight”.

After he escapes from prison, career criminal Jack Foley (George Clooney) has to go on the run and try to avoid a U.S. Marshal (Jennifer Lopez) that he shares a connection with. So now we have our crime-caper plot. And it’s a good one. It doesn’t rely that much on shocking twists and turns for its narrative, instead just relying on a fast pace and a sort of sex appeal that gives it a unique vibe that I can’t say I’ve seen much of in crime-capers. But yeah, the plot here is just generally fun, fast, and quite entertaining.

The characters in this are colorful, interesting, and overall quite entertaining. George Clooney plays Jack Foley, the crook at the center of this story. I’d say he’s like a less cool-headed version of Danny Ocean, but you can definitely recognize some elements of that character in this one. Though Foley does stand out as his own entity and I find him to be quite an entertaining protagonist. And Clooney is great in the role. Next we have Jennifer Lopez as U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens… no, wait… sorry, wrong Elmore Leonard franchise… U.S. Marhsal Karen Sisco, that’s her name. She’s a tough, sexy, and capable woman who is on the hunt for our main protagonist. She’s pretty fun and has an enjoyable dynamic with Foley. And Lopez is really good in the role. We also get supporting turns from people like Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Steve Zahn, Catherine Keener, Dennis Farina, Luis Guzmán, Albert Brooks, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by David Holmes, and it’s awesome. It’s funky, it’s jazzy, and it captures the sort of sly sex appeal that the plot is going for, which adds to the overall fun factor of the entire thing. My favorite aspect of it is how many slick basslines there are throughout, I love the inclusion of them. There are also a few licensed tracks used throughout, and they work well in their respective scenes. So yeah, this movie has great music.

Based on a novel by Elmore Leonard (hence the joke from earlier), this movie was written by Scott Frank, and directed by Steven Soderbergh. And as a fan of “Justified” (another Elmore Leonard adaptation), the writings and overall style of this movie appeals to me. It has a similar kind of energy and snappiness to “Justified”, and that just makes it incredibly watchable for me. But even discounting my love for the aforementioned tv show, the movie just has this sort of infectious energy that I find quite fun. And even through the fun, it manages to have a decent bit of suspense throughout, giving it a bit of a welcome edge.

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 85/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10. The movie was nominated for two Oscars in the categories of Best adapted screenplay, and Best film editing.

“Out of Sight” really surprised me, it’s one hell of an enjoyable movie. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Out of Sight” is a 9,65/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Out of Sight” is now completed.

Despite having seen multiple Elmore Leonard adaptations, I haven’t read any of his books. Might need to fix that soon.

 

12 Films of Christmas 2018 (Part 9)

Holy shit, we are already three quarters through this dumb thing. Man, time flies like a hummingbird on cocaine. Anyway, let’s get into this thing.

So what’s the movie today? Is it another cute and family-friendly thing? More made-for-tv schlock? Nope. Today we’re going quite far from the glitzy shit of the Hallmawk channel or the kid-friendly stuff of the Muppets. Today we are talking about a foul-mouthed, violent, and foreign movie. This is “Jackpot”, a 2011 Norwegian crime-comedy-thriller written by famed author Jo Nesbø and follows Oscar (Kyrre Hellum) who wakes up, covered in blood and with a shotgun in his hand… in a strip club. And we follow him as he talks to a cop about everything that led up to this. So how’s this connected to christmas? It’s set around the holidays, that’s it. Anyway, do I think this is a good movie? Kind of. With this I really sense that Nesbø tried to emulate Quentin Tarantino a bit. And while I like Tarantino, I don’t think it was the right approach for this. Nesbø is a brilliant writer, but I think that’s more when he goes for his own style rather than trying to ape someone else. That’s not to say that this is bad, because it’s not. The actors are great, the directing is pretty solid, and there’s some genuinely funny and even kinda tense moments. It’s one of those that I kinda recommend you putting on during a rainy Sunday afternoon, when you got not much else to do. “Jackpot” is a decent crime caper.

On the ninth day of christmas, Markus gives to you, something with blood, booze, and some money too. 

Movie Review: A Perfect World (1993)

Don’t commit crimes. It’ll only lead to bad stuff. Like prison. But if you do commit a crime (or two) and go to prison, don’t try to escape. You did the crime, so you should do the time. Don’t commit crimes.

Ladies and gents… “A Perfect World”.

After he escapes from prison, Butch Haynes (Kevin Costner) takes a boy (T.J. Lowther) hostage. And during their journey through the back roads of Texas, the two form a bit of a bond. All while a Texas Ranger (Clint Eastwood) heads the search for Haynes. So now we have our little crime-drama. And I found the plot here to be quite engaging. Admittedly it does fall into a couple of cliches throughout, but it’s not enough to ruin it for me. The journey of Haynes and the kid is endearing and it’s one I found myself really caring about. It’s a lot more slow-paced and concerned with the emotional journey than chases and shootouts. And it makes it feel a bit deeper than other movies with similar premises.

The characters here are layered, interesting, and overall entertaining. Kevin Costner plays Robert Haynes, the recently escaped prisoner. The movie makes it clear that he’s done some bad stuff, but he still feels like he’s a good person when he needs to. He’s charismatic and seems like he really cares about the kid. He feels a bit more real than other movie criminals. And this might be the best performance I’ve ever seen from Costner, he’s great here. T.J. Lowther plays Phillip, the kid that Haynes kidnaps. He’s a young and naive kid that sort of quickly accepts this journey he’s been put on, but it’s still interesting seeing him interact with Haynes and what happens during their journey. And Lowther is good in the role. Not saying it’s the greatest child performance ever, but he’s definitely good. Costner and Lowther also share a very likable chemistry that was enjoyable to watch. Then we have Clint Eastwood as Texas Ranger Red Garnett. It’s basically Clint Eastwood, but slightly less gruff than usual. And he’s so good at that type of role that I can’t help but enjoy it. Then we have Laura Dern as Sally, Garnett’s new assistant. And she’s tough and determined without turning unlikable. It’s fun seeing her more or less own the other guys in the room, showing that women can be badasses too. And yeah, Dern is great in the role. Then we get some solid supporting performances from people like Bradley Whitford (who’s a total dick in this), Keith Szarabajka, Ray McKinnon, Jennifer Griffin, and more! ’tis a very well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Lennie Niehaus and it was good. It was sued relatively sparingly, but it worked well for the movie, elevating certain moments throughout. There were also a whole bunch of licensed tracks used throughout and they worked quite well in their respective scenes.

The movie was directed by Clint Eastwood and I think he did a great job. His direction here is a bit more understated than in some of his other movies, but it works so damn well to make this movie stand out and have a unique feel. He also manages to build some really good suspense in certain scenes, properly showing how to make a scene tense. And the cinematography by Jack N. Green is pretty fucking good. There were times where it actually made me go “Wow”, which doesn’t happen too often.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 81% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“A Perfect World” is a really great movie. It has a great plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “A Perfect World” is a 9,63/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “A Perfect World” is now completed.

Definitely an underrated gem in Eastwood’s filmography.

Movie Review: Brick (2006)

With the recent commercial success of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”, I thought it was time for me to go back and have a look at Rian Johnson’s directorial debut. Before lightsabers, before time travel, before cooking meth with Walter White… it’s the very beginning of his film career.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Brick”.

After his ex-girlfriend disappears, Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) pushes himself into an underworld high school crime ring, so he can investigate and find out what the hell actually happened to her. So now we have our movie. And the plot here is pretty good. It pays a lot of homage to classic noir, having a densely written plot that has a good amount of twists and turns. And I was for the most part intrigued by it all. My flaw with it is that there were parts where the pacing maybe dragged a little. I get that noir movies do that, but there’s a difference between intriguingly slow-paced and just slowly slow-paced. There are honestly moments where it got a little boring. But for the most part I found the plot to be an interesting mystery. It’s pretty good.

To be quite honest, I didn’t fully engage with all of the characters here. I only really felt like I was engaged with one character, and the other ones just were there, being part of the story. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Brendan, the young man at the center of this story. He is a bit of a loner, but he’s also clever and a bit of a smart-ass. And I found his character to be quite interesting. And Gordon-Levitt was great in the role. As for the other characters, I didn’t find them engaging (as I mentioned before). But I didn’t dislike them either, as I still found them entertaining in some way. And all the performances from people like Lukas Haas, Nora Zehetner, Noah Fleiss, Matt O’Leary, Richard Roundtree, and Meagan Good were all solid.

The score for the movie was composed by Nathan Johnson and it was really good. It’s weird and often hearkens back to classic film noir scores, without totally ripping off those older scores. It has a unique sound that elevates the movie and often adds a weird sense of unease to the movie.

As I alluded to in the beginning of this review, “Brick” was written and directed by Rian Johnson. And for a low budget directorial debut, I think he did a damn fine job here. It’s nicely framed and everything has a nice flow to it. his direction also has a bit of a dreamlike quality to it, making the situations portrayed on screen feel a bit more tense and uneasy. This was an early sign of Johnson’s talent as a director. Steve Yedlin’s cinematography is also quite good.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 79% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

Rian Johnson’s “Brick” is a really good movie and showed audiences that this man is talented. It has a pretty good plot, okay-ish characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. But as previously mentioned, there are some pacing issues, and I didn’t feel engaged with several of the characters. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Brick” is an 8,60/10. So while it is flawed, I’d still say that it is worth buying.

My review of “Brick” is now completed.

Do you reckon we could build a house using this movie?

Movie Review: Shot Caller (2017)

Don’t commit crimes, kids. It’s bad for you.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Shot Caller”.

Jacob (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) used to be a successful businessman, but that started changing after getting thrown in jail because of a DUI. And he soon starts getting involved with the gangs inside of the prison, turning him from a successful business person and loving father, to a stoic and ruthless gangster. And I thought the plot here was pretty good. It’s told in a semi-non-linear way, in that it jumps between past (ending up in jail) and present (out of jail) and shows how Jacob changes over that time, and I thought that was quite interesting. And overall there is some decent tension throughout the plot, as well as some pretty good dramatic moments spread throughout. My problem with it is that I felt like the pacing dragged at times. I’m fine with a movie that can move at a somewhat slower pace, but this at times just decided to drag it’s feet rather than move at a decently steady pace. It’s not a constant ass-drag, but it is noticeable in parts. So overall the plot here is pretty good.

The characters here are pretty good. Some more interesting than others. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays the main character Jacob (or Money as he’ll be known as later). Seeing his progression from good-natured businessman and loving father to this cold and ruthless gangster is endlessly fascinating. And you can tell that even when he’s become this cold gangster, he’s a bit conflicted, like there’s still good in him. And Coster-Waldau is great in the role. Then we have Jon Bernthal as a guy called Shotgun, one of the gang members that Jacob gets to know. As the movie goes on we get to know some interesting things about him that makes him feel a bit deeper than a lot of other ones in the movie. And Bernthal is great here. Then we get Emory Cohen as Howie, a young man who’s part of Jacob’s gang. And he gets some interesting development here. And Cohen is really good in the role. Then you get some really solid supporting performances from people like Omari Hardwick, Evan Jones, Benjamin Bratt, Lake Bell, Jeffrey Donovan, Holt McCallany, and many more. ’tis a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Antonio Pinto and I have mixed feelings about it. There are some great tracks here that are very well composed and work to elevate the scenes that they’re used in. But then there are some tracks that aren’t particularly well composed and feel distractingly out of place in certain moments. So at best I guess the score could be summarized as okay.

This movie was written and directed by Ric Roman Waugh and I think he did a pretty good (there’s that phrase again) job with it. Scenes have a decent flow and have a decent amount of tension to them. And while this isn’t an action movie, when the shit does hit the fan it is badass, exciting, and violent as fuck. And the cinematography from Dana Gonzales looks good.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 67% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 59/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“Shot Caller” has flaws, but it’s still a good movie. It has a pretty good plot, pretty good characters, great performances, okay music, and good directing/cinematography. My flaws are that the pacing drags at times, and some of the music is kind of distracting in how it doesn’t always work. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Shot Caller” is an 8,51/10. While flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Shot Caller” is now completed.

They might as well rename it to “Cops, Crooks, and Facial Hair”.