Series Review: Luther – Season 2 (2011)

Beware the Ides of Elba, for they resume… funnily enough smack dab in the middle of the month, I’ll be damned. Anyhow, let’s continue talking about this British crime show. Oh, and there will be a few spoilers for the end of season 1, as that leads into this… so you’ve been warned.

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “Luther” season 2.

Still reeling from the death of his ex-wife, DCI John Luther (Idris Elba) finds himself going back to work, once again having to solve a series of violent cases. His life gets even more complicated when he finds himself having to look after and protect a young woman from the darkness of her past. What’s interesting about season 2 of “Luther” is that it somehow manages to have this almost over-the-top/silly popcorn feeling to its crime stories, while still managing to retain a sense of suspense that somehow feels even darker and even more grim than what we got in season 1. And then we got John’s personal arc over the season, which delves into even more morally grey territories than the first season, which I found utterly compelling. And it all comes together in a really interesting set of episodes that I found absolutely riveting from start to end. Even the reduced episode count (going from 6 to 4) holds up, as it never feels like they’re actually skimping out on plot or character development, despite that being a very real risk when lowering the amount of episodes you produce. It’s fun, it’s dark, it’s emotionally charged, it’s tense… yeah, season 2 of “Luther” has some great fucking storytelling.

The characters this season remain utterly compelling this season, with no one feeling like a weak link at any point. All of them have this nuanced to them that makes them deeply fascinating, and they all get some really interesting development. What also helps is the cast, who once again are all superb. Idris Elba is still amazing as our lead and Ruth Wilson is still electrifying as Alice Morgan. The rest of the supporting cast, containing people like Warren Brown, Dermot Crowley, Paul McGann, Aimee-Ffion Edwards, Lee Ingleby, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Michael Smiley, Steven Robertson, and more, are all great. Just superb acting all around.

The score was once again composed by Paul Englishby, and I feel he really stepped up his game this time around. His score is a bit bigger, more grandiose, more emotional, while still being able to retain the brooding quality that was established in the first season, making for a dynamic and engaging score that just elevates each scene so much. The few licensed songs used throughout the season also work pretty well in their respective scenes.

Season 2 of “Luther” was written by series creator Neil Cross, with Sam Miller directing all four episodes. And once again, the craft here is absolutely superb. In slower, more character-driven scenes, the direction finds nice ways of feeling intimate, yet distant, giving us a surprisingly objective, yet really engaging look at the characters. And when things need to get intense, it does that insanely well too, keeping me on the edge of my seat for the entire scene(s). Basically it takes what was good about season 1’s craft and improves upon it.

This show/season has been really well received. On Rotten Tomatoes the season has a 100% positive rating. On Metacritic the season has a score of 78/100. And on imdb.com the show has a score of 8.5/10 and is ranked #248 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

Season 2 of “Luther” takes what made season 1 great and further improves upon it, giving us four episodes of dark, morally complex police drama. It has a great story, great characters, great performances, great music, and great direction. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 2 of “Luther” is a 9.77/10. Which does mean that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Luther” season 2 is now completed.

Two down, three to go

Series Review: Luther – Season 1 (2010)

This is a show I’ve only seen an episode or two of over the years. So when I saw that it was leaving Netflix at the end of the month, I felt that it was the perfect time to catch up on the entirety of it over the next few weeks. So look forward to more reviews coming in this little project I’ve decided to call “The Ides of Elba”.

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “Luther” season 1.

John Luther (Idris Elba) is a brilliant but rough-around-the-edges police detective as he’s reinstated after an extended absence following a horrible and traumatic case. And we follow him as he works to solve various dark and horrific crimes, all while struggling to keep his personal life together, along with developing an uncomfortable kinship with a deranged young woman (Ruth Wilson). At first glance, “Luther” might have the air of a typical police drama, it manages to stand out partly thanks to a gritty and dark tone, exploring much darker and heavier crime stories. But it also works thanks to the overarching storylines, involving Luther’s past, his tense relationship with his estranged wife (Indira Varma), and his newfound “friendship” with the aforementioned deranged young woman. Yes, there is a lot going on, and it can make the episodes feel slightly long in the tooth at times, but it’s all written with so much nuance and suspense that I can forgive some of the slower and more feet-draggy (that is now a word, shut up) moments. So yeah, the story here’s good.

What I love about the characters of Luther is that none of them are really written in a perfect black and white manner. Everyone’s written with a lot of ambiguity and nuance. Be they “hero”, support, or villain, all of them have many layers to them that make them deeply fascinating. Even our main character, while a policeman who tries to do good and save the day, is written incredibly grey, and it makes him an incredibly compelling character to follow. It also helps that Idris Elba is fucking incredible in the role. The supporting cast is great too. Ruth Wilson, Indira Varma, Steven Mackintosh, Warren Brown, Saskia Reeves, Paul McGann, there’s not a weak link in this cast.

The score was composed by Paul Englishby, and I think he did a really good job with it. Very brooding, very eerie, really helps maintain the gritty vibe that the writing goes for, often elevating the suspense of certain scenes. They also use licensed songs on occasion, and they work really well in their respective scenes. Overall, there’s good music here.

“Luther” was created and written for the BBC by Neil Cross, with direction by various cool people. And I think the craft here is superb. The scenes have a very deliberate pace to them, shots willing to linger for a while, slowly building this creeping suspense that often culminates in really intense and at times even brutal payoffs. It helps bring the material to life in a fresh and exciting way that wasn’t seen that much on tv back in 2010.

This show/season has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes the season has a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic the season has a score of 83/100. And on imdb.com the show has a score of 8.5/10 and is ranked #247 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

Season 1 of “Luther” makes one hell of a first impression, giving us a dark and captivating six episodes that had me (mostly) enraptured from start to end. It has a great story, great characters, fantastic performances, really good music, and great direction. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 1 of “Luther” is a 9.44/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Luther” season 1 is now completed.

Beware the Ides of Elba, for there’s more coming your way…

Series Review: Dracula (2020)

Look, I know that the Month of Spooks is over, so I should logically take a break from horror stuff for a bit. But I’ve been watching this recently, and I have some shit I have to say about it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Dracula”, the Netflix/BBC adaptation.

Transylvania, the late 1800s. Jonathan Harker (John Heffernan) finds himself recounting his less than pleasant stay with Count Dracula (Claes Bang) to a kindly, if sassy nun (Dolly Wells). As we go through the three episodes of this show, we get to see what happened before, during, and after Jonathan’s meeting with this nun. And the narrative in this show is quite fascinating, because it fluctuates wildly in quality… sort of. Episode 1 is honestly fantastic, a scary, fun, and emotionally engaging way to bring us into this new take on a classic tale. Episode 2 isn’t as fantastic, but it’s still a really solid episode of television. Then episode 3 completely shits the bed. There are good ideas within that episode, but the drop in quality is still ridiculously vertical. How do you go from one of the most exciting and electrifying new horror-dramas around to that mess, that quickly? I don’t know. But while that last episode can be classified as bad, what came before is good enough that I can’t give the show/story too much grief. Two thirds being this good has to count for something. And it does. I can still say I liked a lot of the story on display, even if there’s still that one final chunk that tarnished the overall package.

The characters in this are fascinating, because some of them are really fascinating and engaging, and some of them are in episode 3 (I’m being a salty bitch, aren’t I?). Let’s start with the Count himself, played by Danish actor Claes Bang. He is one charismatic motherfucker, manipulating people with his charm, wits, and general presence. And Bang is absolutely amazing in the role. Next is Dolly Wells as Agatha, the nun I mentioned earlier. She has quite a fascinating presence within the narrative that I won’t spoil, because it’s genuinely interesting. But what I can say is that Dolly Wells is great in the role, and has some excellent chemistry with Bang when they get to verbally spar. John Heffernan is great as Jonathan Harker, Morfydd Clark does an okay job as Mina. And we get some great supporting work from people like Sacha Dhawan, Mark Gatiss, Jonathan Aris, and more. Many actors do a really good job, and some aren’t great (guess where they were).

The score for the show was composed by David Arnold and Michael Price, and I think they did a fantastic job with it. That’s right, no shade thrown here, just admiration for good compositions. Their music here is creepy, intense, emotionally charged, and just overall helps add to a lot of scenes throughout the three episodes.

Based on the classic Bram Stoker novel, “Dracula” is a Netflix/BBC collaboration written and created by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat (who also gave us “Sherlock”). And as discussed before, the writing takes a bit of a dive in that final episode. But leading up to that, this is a well written show. And the directing, split up between Paul McGuigan, Damon Thomas, and Jonny Campbell, is generally great. There’s a good sense of pacing to the directing, no shot or moment lingers too long or too briefly. And when paired with the beautiful cinematography, set design, and visual effects, you get one of the most visually arresting tv shows I’ve had the pleasure of looking at. Speaking of visual stuff: There’s some really brutal and grisly body horror going on throughout this show, and it is awesome. Kudos to the crew for going all out on that.

This show has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 70% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 75/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.8/10.

While it does end on a sour note, “Dracula” still has enough good stuff to warrant a recommendation. It has a mixed plot, mixed characters, great performances, great music, and excellent directing/cinematography/effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Dracula” is a 7.12/10. So while it is heavily tarnished by that final episode, I can still say that it’s worth watching.

My review of “Dracula” is now completed.

One, two, three episodes. Ah-ah-ah!

Series Review: Peaky Blinders – Season 5 (2019)

Yes, I finally got the opportunity to catch up. If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’d know that I’m a big fan of this show. I’ve reviewed every season (*not so subtle nod*), and I’ve loved each and every one of them. So now we got the question: Does the latest outing land on that list, or is it somehow a big pile of disappointment? Let’s have a look.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Peaky Blinders” season 5.

1929. Tommy Shelby (Cillian Murphy) tries to balance his life as a politician with keep tabs on his family business, all the while antagonistic forces, including fellow politician Oswald Mosley (Sam Claflin), fight against his every move. More scheming, more violence… more “Peaky Blinders”. And I’ll be up front about my thoughts, I loved the plot this season. There’s a lot going on, making episodes feel very dense, but it’s handled in such a smooth and clever way that you never get lost. The tone also feels darker and more dire than before, partly due to it being set during one of the toughest times in modern history (the depression), but partly also because it focuses so heavily on Tommy’s rapidly deteriorating mental state. There wasn’t ever really a moment in the season where it felt like I could figure out what was gonna happen next, due to clever and subversive drama that was brought to life by the spectacular writing. I was on the edge of my seat for all six episodes, and I adored every minute of it.

The characters of season 5 are just as flawed, nuanced, human, and interesting as they’ve ever been… maybe even more so, due to developments in the previous season and in this one. Seeing Tommy go so far down in the abyss this season was enrapturing, and Cillian Murphy is once again fucking amazing in the role. Arthur has possibly had the biggest arc in the entire show, and it’s interesting to see him at this point in his life, wonderfully portrayed once again by Paul Anderson. Helen McCrory is still an absolute badass as Aunt Polly. Sophie Rundle, Finn Cole, and Harry Kirton all kill it once again in their roles. Aidan Gillen was once again great as Aberama Gold. Let’s talk newcomers. First up we have Sam Claflin as Oswald Mosley, who apparently was a very real person. Now, I can’t speak to how accurate Claflin’s portrayal was to the real deal, as I am neither old nor British. I can however talk about his role in the show. He’s a level-headed, scheming, and highly intelligent conservative politician, clashing with Tommy’s ideology and work at multiple points, making him a most dangerous opponent, even without guns or violence. And Claflin is great in the role. Then we got Anya Taylor-Joy as Gina, the recent wife of Finn Cole’s character Michael. It’s not clear at first what purpose she’ll serve within the show’s dramatic developments, but soon enough you’ll find out, and she’s made an intriguing part of the cast. And Taylor-Joy does a good job in the role. The entire cast is fucking great, yo.

As with previous seasons of “Peaky Blinders”, season 5 relies on a lot of licensed music to add to its storytelling, mainly within the hard rock and blues-rock genres. When I first heard it back in the day, I was very much taken aback by it. But now it’s so ingrained in the show’s identity for me that I wouldn’t have it any other way. There are also a few tracks made for the show, brought to us by Anna Calvi, and those are good too.

Series creator Steven Knight handled writing for all the episodes, with Anthony Byrne handling direction on all six episodes, and Si Bell doing the cinematography. And the craft is the best the show has ever given us. Plenty of impressive camera movements suck us further into the character drama, with some gorgeous wide shots on occasion to make us go “Wow!”. The show’s always been impressive from a craft standpoint, but they’ve truly stepped up their game this time around.

The show/season has of course been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it… exists. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8.8/10 and is ranked #54 on the “Top 250” tv list.

I think it comes as a surprise to absolutely fucking no one when I say that I loved season 5 of “Peaky Blinders”. It’s a darker season that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout all of it, furthering my investment in the characters. It has a great plot, fantastic characters, fantastic performances, great music, and fantastic directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Peaky Blinders” season 5 is a 10/10 (fuck yeah). So of course it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Peaky Blinders” season 5 is now completed.

If you haven’t (for whatever reason) watched this show, THEN BY ORDER OF THE PEAKY FOOKIN’ BLINDERS, YOU WILL.

Series Review: His Dark Materials – Season 1 (2019)

Adapting books is difficult. There’s a risk of alienating old fans if you fuck it up, and there’s a chance of alienating new ones if you just adapt word for word, with no regard for the viewing experience. We’ve covered some good ones, and some bad ones on the blog before… so let’s see where this falls into the spectrum

Ladies and gentlemen… “His Dark Materials” season 1.

Set in an alternate universe England, the story follows Lyra (Dafne Keen), a girl looking to find a way to get out of her boring scholastic existence and into some adventure. Well she soon finds her wish coming true when she gets dragged into a big, magical adventure through this mysterious, alternate world. I really enjoyed following the story here. It’s a fresh take on the familiar “child hero” fantasy formula. And unlike so many other such adaptations it manages to balance a generally family friendly approach with a lot of darker moments that dare to challenge younger viewers a bit. It reminds me of the “Harry Potter” movies a bit in that sense. There’s also enough interesting twists in the story to keep me on my toes. The pacing does feel like it slightly drags at times due to how dense with content each episode is, but generally it never full on breaks the show for me. It’s still a really engaging and entertaining story.

The characters in this are layered, flawed, and overall just interesting. Dafne Keen plays Lyra, our protagonist. She’s clever, crafty, adventurous, and just a really entertaining protagonist that I loved following throughout. And Keen is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Ruth Wilson, Kit Connor, Amir Wilson, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ariyon Bakare, James Cosmo, and James McAvoy, among many others. And they all do very well in their respective roles.

The score for the show/season was composed by Lorne Balfe, and it is absolutely fantastic. From the beyond catchy main theme, to many of the quieter pieces, to some of the bigger tracks, it is all fantastic. What I also like is that as we switch between a few different settings within the show, Balfe actually plays around a bit with his instrumentation, not only relying on the typical orchestral stuff. So yeah, this show has some great music.

Based on the beloved novels by Philip Pullman, “His Dark Materials” is a co-production between BBC and HBO, written by Jack Thorne, and directed by a bunch of cool people. And the craft here is seriously fantastic. The direction manages to capture the sweeping nature of the epic fantasy story it sets up, while still staying intimate with the characters, bringing us further into the world in a wonderful way. And this show is also proof why HBO should be allowed to help out with the financing of a show, because in terms of sets, effects, props, puppetry, and all such production values, this is one of the most well crafted and expensive-looking shows I have ever witnessed. It is stunning what they’ve made here.

This season/show has generally been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 80% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 67/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10.

It’s of course not flawless, but I still kinda loved season of “His Dark Materials”. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing, cinematography, and effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 1 of “His Dark Materials” is a 9,55/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “His Dark Materials” season 1 is now completed.

I’ve had a weird void in my life since the “Harry Potter movies ended. And this show has kinda filled it for the past two months.

12 Films of Christmas 2018 (Part 11)

Part 11. The penultimate part. Man, time sure has flown by. It feels like barely any time has gone by, yet we’re already right at the end of this. Anyway, less sentimentality, more profanity.

Can you really talk about christmas movies without ever mentioning Shane Black? He makes movies that aren’t strictly about the holiday, but are set around it. And “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” is no different. Released in 2005, the movie follows Harry (Robert Downey Jr.), a no-good shyster pretending to be an actor to evade the law. As he does this he gets to work with a detective (Val Kilmer) to prepare for a role. But soon they find themselves having to solve the complicated murder of a young woman. So now we have our murder mystery that is also a satire of murder mysteries while also being a buddy cop movie of sorts… hmm. And I still think it’s one hell of a fun movie. I saw it for the first time a few years back and loved it… and I still do. The mystery (while a bit convoluted) is quite fascinating, and Downey and Kilmer make for one hell of a double act. They have an infectious chemistry that I loved following from start to finish. All the performances here are great, and Shane Black’s dialog is as razor sharp as ever. “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” is a total blast.

On the eleventh day of christmas, Markus he did laugh, at Val Kilmer asking “Who taught you math!?”.

Movie Review: Eden Lake (2008)

Time for another Month of Spooks review, and this one is of an actual horror movie, I swear. So what’s on the table today? Backwoods stuff? Great…

Ladies and gentlemen… “Eden Lake”.

A nursery school teacher (Kelly Reilly) and her boyfriend (Michael Fassbender) decide to just get away for a bit, and decide to go on a romantic weekend at the remote area known as Eden Lake. But after they confront som loud teenagers, their romantic weekend away soon turns into hell on earth. So now we have our backwoods horror-thriller. And fucking hell, this shit is unrelenting. I mean, it’s utterly compelling and it had me in its grip from start to finish, but it was also quite an uncomfortable watch, which isn’t really a detriment to the movie, but it doesn’t make it very quote, unquote “enjoyable”. I do like that there’s a natural and believable buildup/escalation from the youths just being a simple nuisance, to shit really hitting the fan, adds some nice layering to it, perfectly building up the threat of the movie. The story is dark, bleak, unrelenting, unforgiving, and uncomfortable, and that’s what makes it as solid as it is.

The characters in this… I honestly don’t know what to say. The two mains are fairly likable, they’re not terrible, they’re decently well developed. Kelly Reilly plays Jenny, a teacher who just wanted a nice weekend with her boyfriend. She’s charming, likable, and when push comes to shove, she’s surprisingly tough and clever, but in a realistic and interesting way. And Reilly is absolutely fantastic in the role. Next we have Michael Fassbender as Steve, Jenny’s boyfriend. He’s the kind of guy who loves joking around with his girlfriend, but he’s not a dick. And I found him to be an interesting character to follow in this. And Fassbender is great in the role. And then we have a young Jack O’Connell as Brett, the leader of this gang of miscreants (to put it lightly). He’s a horrible individual, taking pleasure in the suffering of others, being an absolutely unrelenting threat to our two leads. And I found him to be a solid antagonist for the movie. And O’Connell is great in the role. The rest of the cast is rounded out by people like Finn Atkins, Thomas Turgoose, Jumayn Hunter, James Burrows, and Tom Gill, among others, and there is no such thing as a weak performance here, they’re all good.

The score for the movie was composed by David Julyan, and I barely noticed it. I mean, there were moments where I heard it, and in those moments it was good and worked well enough for the scene. But for the most part I never picked up on it… maybe I couldn’t hear it over the racing of my heart. But Julyan usually makes great stuff, and the little I did hear in this was good, so I’ll say that it was good.

“Eden Lake” was written and directed by James Watkins, and I think he did a great job. The level of intensity is impressive, and it had me on the edge of my seat for pretty much all of the runtime. It’s fucking unrelenting, just when you think you’re getting a minute to breathe, it comes right back and fucks with you some more. And that kind of intensity I think works excellently for the movie, and I’d say that it makes it quite scary in that regard. And Christopher Ross’ cinematography is really solid too, creating some pretty damn good looking shots.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 81% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 65/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

“Eden Lake” is not for everyone. But if you want an intense, uncomfortable, and brutal backwoods thriller, then I highly recommend the movie. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, good music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Eden Lake” is a 9,56/10. So it does get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Eden Lake” is now completed.

Jesus fucking Christ.

Movie Review: The Brothers Grimm (2005)

Before we get into the review itself, I want to apologize for my absence for almost two weeks. First I was busy, and then I got really sick. But now I’m back! Woo!

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Brothers Grimm”.

Jake (Heath Ledger, R.I.P) and Will (Matt Damon) are a pair of brothers who travel from town to town, defeating demons for the people. And by defeating demons I mean that they set up a fake demon based on local folklore, “defeat it”, and then get paid by the people of those towns. But these dirty rotten scoundrels are about to come face to face with something they never thought they’d run into… a forest filled with actual magical creatures. So now we have our dark fairy tail. And is this plot any good? There’s a lot of good ideas here, but in the end it’s a fucking mess. At times it’s a comedy, at times it’s a horror movie, at times it’s a whimsical fantasy, at times a family drama. It creates an inconsistent and messy blend that doesn’t work.

The characters in this I can see the potential of, but we only ever skim the surface of them. Heath Ledger (May he rest in peace) plays Jake, one of the two titular brothers. He has a love of fairy tales, and often shows signs of believing in them (at least more than his brother). He’s also a little bit of an idiot and a coward. He’s probably the closest we have here to a compelling character. Though that could also be because Heath Ledger is really good in the role. Matt Damon plays Will, the second Grimm brother. He’s more or less the leader of the two, and can be a bit of a jerk at times. And his character is… meh. Damon’s good though. Then we have Peter Stormare as an Italian soldier that the brothers travel with through the movie. He’s a bit of an idiot and chews all the scenery. And yes, Stormare is glorious in the role. Then we have Lena Headey as Angelika, a young hunter that the brothers run into during their quest and eventually join forces with. She’s a no-nonsense badass with a mysterious past, and while that sounds interesting, it’s only surface-level. But Headey is really good in the role. And we get some okay supporting turns from people like Jonathan Pryce, Mackenzie Crook, Monica Bellucci, Richard Ridings, and more.

The score for the movie was composed by Dario Marianelli, and I think he did a good job with it. His score is bombastic, emotional, quirky, and even has a bit of a fairy tale feel to it. It somehow elevates the movie above it’s mediocrity. It’s almost too good for whatever the hell is on screen at any given time.

This movie was directed by Terry Gilliam and I have mixed feelings. On one hand, his direction really helps sell the fairy tale style and even builds a lot of atmosphere. But it is devoid of any real tension, despite being part horror flick. And the CGI in this movie, good fucking god… it’s awful. I can usually excuse a little bit of bad CGI, but when you have so many awesome practical sets/costumes/props, the bad CG gets quite distracting, especially when it’s as prominent as it is here.

This movie hasn’t been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 38% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 51/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,9/10.

While “The Brothers Grimm” has some good things going for it, I’d say it’s a bit too messy to recommend. It has a very messy plot, meh characters, good performances, good music, okay directing, and awful effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Brothers Grimm” is a 4,98/10. So I’d recommend skipping it.

My review of “The Brothers Grimm” is now completed.

Feels good to be back.

Movie Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Ah, limited releases. I don’t like you. It’s stupid. Just let everybody get movies at the same time. Stop with the limited bullshit. I don’t like getting shit late.

Ladies and gents… “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”.

When the local police fails to find whoever killed her daughter, Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) aims to get their attention using three billboards located just outside of the town. And soon enough Mildred finds herself having a bit of a feud with the local police. And despite what the trailers might’ve indicated, this isn’t so much a crazy Coen-y comedy as much as it is a drama featuring bursts of dark comedy. Yes, there are parts in this movie that are of a more comedic nature, but this is for the most part a layered and emotionally charged drama. And I found myself engaged by this plot from start to finish. This is one of the few movies I’ve watched recently where I’ve felt emotionally invested. I might’ve been interesting and somewhat engaged by other movies, but none of them have been able to grab me quite as much as “Three Billboards”. It’s a fantastic plot.

The characters here are deep, interesting, engaging, entertaining, and they felt real (even amidst some of the crazier moments). Frances McDormand plays Mildred Hayes, the lady utilizing the title of the movie. She’s tough and determined, but she also has a more vulnerable side that comes froth every now and then. She feels like a fully fleshed out character and I really cared about her. And McDormand is of course fantastic in the role. Woody Harrelson plays William Willoughby, the chief of police in Ebbing, Missouri. He’s a family man who wants to find whoever killed Mildred’d daughter, but he can’t exactly do it. There’s also another aspect to the character that I won’t go into, but it does add another emotional layer to him. And Harrelson is great in the role. Then we have Sam Rockwell as Jason Dixon, a police officer. He’s a racist, bigoted, sack of fucking shit. And he does have an interesting arc in this movie that I won’t go into, but I found it quite engaging. And Rockwell is absolutely fantastic in the role. And then we get some supporting performances from people like John Hawkes, Peter Dinklage, Lucas Hedges, Kerry Condon, Abbie Cornish, Caleb Landry Jones, Zeljko Ivanek, Amanda Warren, and more. And they range from okay to great. ’tis a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Carter Burwell and it was terrific. It was dramatic, emotional, tense, and just overall well composed. It worked very well for the scenes it was used in, adding a lot to those scenes. There were also a bunch of licensed tracks used throughout, and they were all used very well in their respective scenes. This movie has some damn good music.

This movie was written and directed by Martin McDonagh, and I think he did a fantastic job on both those fronts. The movie is very well directed, with him managing to fully engage me in a scene. He even managed to get some decent tension out of a couple moments in the movie. And the writing is of course on point. It’s engaging and and fully grips ya. And let’s talk about the humor here. It’s darker than the asshole of black void. it made me cringe but it also made me laugh quite a bit. And it works very well with the drama of the movie. The balance is perfect, and McDonagh manages to get a very good flow between the two without making any of it feel jarring. And the cinematography by Ben Davis is really good, giving us some damn pretty shots.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 88/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,3/10 and is ranked #129 on the “Top 250” list.

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is another win for Martin McDonagh, it’s absolutely fantastic. It has a fantastic plot, great characters, fantastic performances, great music, and fantastic directing/cinematography/humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is a 9,89/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is now completed.

Sam Rockwell better get an Oscar.

“Sicario 2: Soldado” trailer.

Hello there, ladies and gents. Time for some trailer talk. So here we go.

So we have our first trailer for “Soldado”, the sequel to 2015 thriller “Sicario”. So in this one we see Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) once again bringing in his contact Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) to take care of business. But it seems like it’s less about cartel people this time, and more focusing on terrorism. And it looks like it’s much bigger than the first movie, going for a more explosive route. I loved “Sicario”, it’s my favorite movie of 2015, mainly due to the direction from Denis Villeneuve. I guess the actors were great too, and the cinematography and music were great, but it was Villeneuve who clearly brought the most to it. But instead of Villeneuve, this movie was directed by Stefano Sollima, an Italian director whose work I am not familiar with. But do I think this movie looks good? Kind of. It seems to lack the subtlety and dread of “Sicario”, but it still looks like it could be interesting. I’m hoping that Taylor Sheridan’s writing is good enough to shine through and make it a good movie. “Sicario 2: Soldado” is set to be released in June of 2018.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for “Soldado”? And what did you think of “Sicario”? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer.