Movie Review: The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

Can we just take a second to talk about how this movie just came out of fucking nowhere? We’ve gotten a few tiny details about it for a while, but we knew jack shit about it. Then last night during the Super Bowl a teaser for it was released that said “Hey, this movie is getting released on Netflix right after the game”. That is unprecedented in the modern film industry. It’s fucking insane. Anyway, here’s a review of the movie.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Cloverfield Paradox”.

The earth is going through a bit of an energy crisis, so a group of scientists work on a space station to try to solve it. But when they test out a device intended on solving it, they accidentally seem to mess with space-time, which means they have to face whatever consequences that come from their actions. So now we have our space-thriller. And is it any good? I’ll give it this, I was never bored of the plot in any way here. My problem is that the space-thriller here, while having some interesting ideas going on, never goes all-out on them and just comes off as a bit undercooked and bland. Then we have the “Cloverfield” part of the title, and this movie is somehow trying to connect all the movies in the Cloverfranchise, and it doesn’t always make sense that way. So overall here we have a messy plot that is undercooked and bland. The space-thriller side of the plot is kind of fun at times, but the entire thing is messy.

The characters here are a bit uninteresting. If you wanted me to go in-depth with them, then I couldn’t do that. I don’t know enough to do that. The only one we get some idea about is Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s character, and even that is a little too weak to fully care. But I can at least say that the cast here is really solid, and they all do quite well (some better than others). Other than Mbatha-Raw, we also have people like Daniel Brühl, David Oyelowo, Chris O’Dowd, Aksel Hennie, Ziyi Zhang, John Ortiz, and Roger Davies, all doing well in their roles.

Like with “10 Cloverfield Lane”, the score for this movie was composed by Bear McCreary, and it’s good… almost too good. It’s really exciting and overall very well composed, and somehow always outshines the scenes that feature it (hence why I called it “too good”). Sure, at times it does kind of succeed in making some moments/scenes more exciting and slightly tense. Good music, doesn’t always fit.

This movie was directed by Julius Onah and I think he did an okay job. Again, when it’s just the contained space-thriller the movie can be pretty fun, even if it doesn’t always work in a narrative way. But he does capture the feel of isolation quite well, making me feel a bit more interested in what’s going on. Though there’s an overall lack of actual tension. And the scares aren’t really scary. Mildly creative, but not scary. The cinematography is good, and the visual effects and sets looks fantastic. There’s good stuff here.

This movie just came out, so it doesn’t have too much data on my usual sites (at the time of writing). But on Rotten Tomatoes it has a 13% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 36/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“The Cloverfield Paradox” is a heavily flawed movie, but it does still have some fun to it. The plot is messy, the characters uninteresting, the performances are great, the music is good, and the direction/cinematography/effects and such is good. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Cloverfield Paradox” is a 6,55/10. So while it’s far from great, I’d still say that it could be worth watching.

My review of “The Cloverfield Paradox” is now completed.

I’m still excited in seeing what the Cloverfranchise could bring next.

Movie Review: Selma (2014)

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As I teased/promised yesterday in a tiny post that I would review this here movie. And Ya know what, I am a man of my word and shall therefore deliver a review.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to… “Selma”.

This movie follows civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (David Oyelowo) in one of the biggest periods of his life. As he is trying to make sure there are true equal voting rights for black people, he plans to start a giant march between Selma and Montgomery (Sidenote: Both towns are in the state of Alabama) as a sort of protest. And then drama. The story not only touches on the bigger aspects with the whole black rights thing, but it even explores a little bit of Dr. King’s family life and the relationship between and his wife. The story also decides to show you every terrible thing that happened to the people involved in the protests. What I am trying to say is that this movie got a lot of balls in the air at the same time. And I do think that it manages to juggle them perfectly. The story is full of excellent drama and it never feels like it is a “Ooo, white guilt” movie, it actually delves into all of the issues at the time in a very professional and superbly well-presented manner. I also like how the movie doesn’t present Dr. King as a flawless and god-like man, but actually presents him as human. It’s not always easy to watch, but I still thought the story was great!

Like I said, the character of Martin Luther King (jr) is humanized in this movie and is not presented as a god among men, but as a man with a really good heart which is kind of awesome. And holy fuckin’ shit, David Oyelowo gives us an incredible performance as the good Dr. I’m not joking, this is one of the best performances of last year. Carmen Ejogo as his wife was also terrific. A lot of great acting in this movie actually. Tom Wilkinson, Giovanni Ribisi, Cuba Gooding Jr, Oprah Winfrey, Common. And hello Tim Roth, fun to see you in an awesome role again. There is only good, great and amazing acting in this movie and I think that really helps out a lot.

The soundtrack to this movie is pretty great. The score was done by Jason Moran and it is pretty great, with all the right emotions and tension in place. And the licensed tracks used are perfectly placed as well and really helps sell teh time period. And ouf course I’m gonna talk about the original song “Glory” by Common and John Legend that was made for the movie… it’s pretty great. Perfect for the movie and overall really good music. Great job, guys!

This movie looks pretty fucking fantastic. The directing is really good and the cinematography is absolutely fantastic. The cinematography was done by Bradford Young who also did it for the movie “A Most Violent Year” which I kind of loved and reviewed a while back (Shameless plug). I feel like I need to disclaim something; if you can’t stand violence (a.k.a. if you’re a little squeamish) then this might not be the movie for you since it is at times really violent (But for a reason).

This movie has gotten some pretty great reception from critics and people alike. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 99% (100% if you go by “Top critics” only) positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 89/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10. “Selma” also won an Oscar in the category of Best Original Song (Glory). And it was nominated for an additional Oscar in the category of Best Picture. 

“Selma” is a difficult movie to watch because of it’s often brutal scenes, but it is also a very emotional and well told movie with fantastic acting, great music, good directing and terrific cinematography. Time for my final score. I HAVE A DREAM… My final score for “Selma” is a 9,86/10 and definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

Review of “Selma” is now completed.

… THAT ONE DAY THIS NATION WILL RISE UP…

Movie Review: A Most Violent Year (2014)

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If you’re the boss of a company, you want what’s best for said company. So therefore you might have to do some stuff you might not have wanted to do in the first place to keep it running. But you also have to think about your family (if you have one), and make sure they are healthy and good. It is quite the dilemma.

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare for… “A Most Violent Year”.

We follow Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac), an ambitious immigrant in New York City, year 1981. He runs a prtty successful business that runs oil. But as his trucks get robbed time and time gain, he has to find a way to keep his business safe. He also have to make sure his wife (Jessica Chastain) and kids are safe. And I found it all very interesting. Not only that but I was also riveted by the story and how it unfolded. And even though the story is a work of fiction, it still felt like something that could be real. It is also surprisingly suspenseful, even though it isn’t really a thriller. And don’t get fooled by the title, this is a pretty quiet drama, not an action movie. The plot also had some prety great twists here and tehre And I found it all to make a pretty great story.

The characters are fleshed out, entertaining and actually kind of unique in a sense. Oscar Isaac gives a terrific performance as Abel, a man who wants to go legit but gets forced into some not as legit stuff. So in a way he is kind of like Michael Corleone from “The Godfather”. Jessica Chastain as his wife was also pretty great, but that doesn’t surprise me since she’s been great in other things. David Oyelowo played a D.A. ‘(District attorney) in the movie and he was pretty great as well. Also, Albert Brooks was in this movie and while not as fantastic as he was in “Drive”, he was still great in this movie. Every performance in this movie was pretty great, I found no weak link here.

The score for the movie was done by Alex Ebert (Sidenote: No relation to movie critic Roger Ebert). And I gotta say, it is a very ominous and even a little bone-chilling score… and I fucking love it. Sure, it’s not as dark and terrifying as “Requiem For a Dream” (not comparing, just saying), but it is still pretty bone-chilling and haunting. It is also very well done and sounds perfect. It is definitely something I’d want for a suspenseful movie. I mean, some of the suspense actually comes from the score. So I do think that it really fit the movie perfectly and actually showed overall quality as a score/soundtrack.

“A Most Violent Year” was directed by J.C. Chandor. And while I haven’t seen anything by him yet, I have been curious about his two previous movies for a while. One of them is “All is Lost” and the other one is “Margin Call”. Anyway, Chandor did a great job directing this movie, the shots line up perfectly and it is overall very well-directed. I also really liked the cinematography by Bradford Young, it looked fantastic. His cinematography almost gives the movie a David Fincher-esque style/quality to it, and I love that shit. I also gotta mention that the writing in the movie is pretty fucking great. The dialogue is fantastic and it all feels very natural. Also, Chandor is the writer of the movie, so he did two great things with this movie!

This movie has been received pretty damn well. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 90% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 79/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

“A Most Violent Year” is one of the most surprisingly great movies I have seen in a while. It has a fantastic plot with some great twists, fantastic performances & characters, a terrific score, great direction, excellent cinematography and great writing. Time for my final score. Jeff! Get over here! *Punches Jeff in face*. Maybe that was a little too violent, huh Jeff? My final score for “A Most Violent Year” is a 9,87/10. It most definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “A Most Violent Year” is now completed.

Onwards to J.C. Chandor’s other movies!

Movie Review: Jack Reacher (2012)

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Book to film adaptations are one of the biggest gambles in the movie industry. There are always books that some people want to see as movies and/or TV-shows. Personally I am waiting for any type of adaptation of Patricia Cornwell’s book series about Kay Scarpetta. But enough about that. Today we are taking a look at a book to film adaptation that not many saw coming and that got decent reviews when it came out.

Jacks and Jills…”Jack Reacher”.

The story is as follows: Trained military sniper shoots (and kills) five innocent civilians. When he later is captured he requests that a certain man investigates his case. And that man is our main character; Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise). So when Reacher comes to start his investigation he runs into the suspect’s lawyer Helen (Rosamund Pike). The two starts investigating the case, they find out a lot more than they would expect. They run into some bad stuff during this. One thing is that there might be more people involved in this. And that is all I can really say without diving into the spoiler end of this pool. This movie is something I expected to be a straight up action film (based on a trailer I saw). But this movie is so much more than that. It is a dark, brutal, smart crime-thriller that always stays on. And you guys know I am a HUGE fan of crime-thrillers. Hell, I even made a Top 5 list about crime thrillers a while back. But anyway, this is a movie that spends a good amount of time with investigations, so it’s not all non stop action. But when there is action in this movie…it is awesome! This movie is a big thrill ride that never let’s go. The only thing that kinda bugged me (a little bit) was the fact that a bunch of conversations between Reacher and Helen are very, how should I put it…expositional. I am not kidding, a lot of their conversations are made for exposition…and that bugs me a little bit. Otherwise…good storytelling in this movie.

The characters are…I don’t know how to put it. They are…complex, I think is the right word to explain them. It is difficult to say. One thing for sure is that they are interesting to watch. I especially got very interested in Cruise’s character Jack Reacher. Sure, he is the main character, but a lot of times the main character in movies is kind of uninteresting. But here he is a complex, brutal guy who you can never really tell what he is thinking. And I love complex characters. So yeah, that is what I can say about the character in this movie. They are complex and have several layers on them.

The music is fucking amazing. It is as dark and cold as…the music in “Prisoners” (2013). That is all I can really say. I did say that the movie was dark and brutal, so I guess the soundtrack fits. Wait…guess? No! I know it fits!

The camera work in this movie is really well done. I think the scenes when the camera swings around the current character of that scene, it looks really good. I do think the direction by Christopher McQuarrie was excellent. And I did some research about the character of Jack Reacher prior to this review…apparently Tom Cruise isn’t Reacher in that sense even though his acting was great. Apparently Reacher is a guy that is like 6 foot 5 inches tall and in general being a real Hulk of a man. And that is something that bothered fans of the books when it comes to this movie. They weren’t happy about Tom Cruise who is only 5 foot 7 inches tall and not overly muscular. And I can see why it would bother them…but I don’t care. Tom Cruise pulled off a great performance and that is all that matters to me.

The reception for “Jack Reacher” was pretty good. Rotten Tomoatoes has a 61% positive rating calling it “Jack Reacher is an above-average crime thriller with a smoothly charismatic performance from Tom Cruise.” Metacritic gave this a 50/100. Roger Ebert has no review or score for it. This movie has a solid 7/10 on imdb.com.

I have spoken about “Jack Reacher” and I am going to hand out a score for this movie. My final score for “Jack Reacher” is an 8,89/10 and a recommendation to buy it. With a few faults it is not worthy of the “SEAL OF APPROVAL”. Mainly due to the expositional conversations. But it is still worth buying. This is a thrilling murder mystery that should be watched by anyone who wants a good movie.

“Jack Reacher” is now reviewed.

I should probably seek out the book…