Movie Review: The Harder They Fall (2021)

Hello there! Now that we’re out of October and I’ve had a few days of rest, I can go back to talking about non-horror stuff for a bit. So let’s gooooo!

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries. The bigger they are… “The Harder They Fall”.

When outlaw Nat Love (Jonathan Majors) finds out that the man (Idris Elba) responsible for once causing him great trauma is getting released from prison, he unites with his old gang to track down and get revenge on this nemesis. “The Harder They Fall” is interesting in its storytelling due to how formulaic yet fresh it feels. I know, that’s a bit of a paradox, but hear me out. At the core is a very typical revenge western, something we’ve seen god knows how many times before, but then there’s a lot of times where there’s an interesting and unique spin put on one of the tropes, which keeps it feeling fresh and a little unpredictable. But then there are also other tropes that the story embraces with such gusto that those moments never feel dull or uninteresting. It manages to ride that balance between familiar and fresh beautifully, giving us a fun and engaging narrative that both entertains and engages.

The characters in this are colorful, fun, nuanced, and quite interesting. They’re all based on real people, but this isn’t adhering to any biopic format, so these real people can be used to dramatize in all kinds of interesting ways. And I found them all really engaging, with each actor firing on all cylinders. Jonathan Majors, Idris Elba, Zazie Beetz, Regina King, Lakeith Standfield, Edi Gathegi, Damon Wayans Jr, Deon Cole, Danielle Deadwyler, Delroy Lindo, they’re all fantastic, as are every other actor appearing in this.

The score for the movie was composed by Jeymes Samuel, and I really liked it. It creates a very fun and unique vibe by mixing traditional western strings and brass with elements of hip hop, funk, a little bit of jazz, and some other elements I can’t quite pinpoint. But it’s an interesting blend that may seem a little anachronistic on paper, but works insanely well within the film itself.

“The Harder They Fall” was directed and co-written by Jeymes Samuel  for Netflix, and I think he did a great job with it. Samuel has this really fun and electrifying energy to his direction, making each scene crackle in a way that keeps each moment highly engaging, while still allowing for more dramatic scenes to breathe and take their time. His style and energy especially comes alive during the action scenes, which are all kinetic, bold, and and absolute blast to watch. Adding further to the enjoyment of the movie is the editing by Tom Eagles, which maintains this snappy and fun kineticism that you don’t necessarily see in many films nowadays. It’s just an insanely well crafted film

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 68/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.3/10.

“The Harder They Fall” is an absolute treat, serving as both a send-up and subversion of the western genre. It has a really good story, great characters, fantastic performances, really good music, and great directing and editing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My review of “The Harder They Fall” is a 9.67/10. Which does mean that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Harder They Fall” is now completed.

A rootin’ tootin’ good time

12 Films of Christmas 2020 (Part 9)

After today’s post there will only be three parts left. Almost there, we can power through this, friends. So let’s go.

So today we’re talking about “Holiday Rush”, a 2019 Netflix dramedy about Rush Williams (Romany Malco), a popular radio DJ who gets fired just before the holidays. So he plans to find new ways to get back on the air, but in the meantime grabs his spoiled kids and moves in with his aunt (Darlene Love) just to stay safe over the holidays. Considering the cast, I expected this movie to be a straight up comedy. But no, it’s more of a dramedy, which in itself is fine. But hoo boy, I found myself bored. Due to none of the writing being particularly nuanced, along with poor pacing, you get a narrative that had me checking my watch every few minutes. Which is a shame, because there are some incredibly talented people in this cast. From Romany Malco, to Sonequa Martin-Green, to Darlene Love, to Deon Cole, you have a lot of genuine talent in this… that said, they don’t feel like they get properly used. Take Deon Cole for example. He can be extremely funny. But he gets no good jokes here at all. And before you ask, yes, there are a few genuinely chuckle-wrothy lines/moments in this. I counted three. But still, that kind of just reiterates what I said. The cast feels somewhat wasted on an undercooked script that otherwise has some decent potential.
So in conclusion, “Holiday Rush” isn’t great.

On the ninth day of christmas, I watched something quite dull
But at least no one bashed in my damn skull

Series Review: Angie Tribeca – Season 1 (2016)

Police work is serious business. Finding killers, stopping drug dealers, preventing further thefts. So it’s interesting when the profession is played around with in film and tv in a more comedic format. We’ve gotten quite a few variations on that throughout the years, and today’s review is of one such thing.

Ladies and gents… “Angie Tribeca” season 1.

Angie Tribeca (Rashida Jones) is a tough-as-nails, no nonsense, lone wolf of a police detective in an LAPD precinct. But her whole life will change when she’s assigned a new partner (Hayes MacArthur) who will help her solve some really horrible crimes, like the apparent suicide of several bakers, or the death of a beloved ventriloquist. So now we have our cop comedy (copedy?). And what I like about the plot(s) of this show is that it kind of follows the “Airplane!” mentality of storytelling, in that it doesn’t immediately feel like a comedy until they start involving the jokes and other silly things throughout. It gives it a fun and (in these modern times) refreshing feel that I always loved following. And each case that the team takes on is of course a fun spin on the typical cop formula as well. Good stuff.

The characters in this take some of the established characteristics of serious cop shows and turns them into sillier and slightly more incompetent versions of them. First up we have Rashida Jones as Angie Tribeca, who respresents the typical “I had a partner, and now I don’t want a partner” badass who might learn to warm up to a new partner. She’s a good cop, but can be a bit impulsive form time to time. And Jones is great in the role. Then we have Hayes MacArthur as Jay Geils, Angie’s new partner in crime-solving. He shows a decent amount of deductive reasoning, but he is also not the smartest tool in the shed. And MacArthur is great in the role. Next up we have Jere Burns as Chet Atkins, Angie’s and Jay’s lieutenant. He’s loud and a bit stuck up, but ultimately cares about his precinct and is often involved in operations. And Burns is great in the role. Then we have Andree Vermeulen as Monica, a medical examiner who works at the precinct. She’s smart and is probably the one who is the best at actually doing her job at this precinct. And Vermeulen is really good in the role. Then we have Deon Cole as Tanner, another detective from the precinct. He’s a little harder to pin down as a character, but he is an enjoyable character who gets some good moments throughout. And Cole is really good in the role. And finally we have detective David Hoffman, played by Jagger… a german shepherd. Yes. One of the main players is a dog. And there’s a really funny recurring joke about him throughout that I will not spoil. But I can safely say that Jagger is a good boy. Then you get tons of great supporting work throughout from people like Alfred Molina (who might be my favorite in the show), Lisa Kudrow, Gary Cole, John Michael Higgins, and so many more. A lot of talented people in this.

The score for “Angie Tribeca” was composed by Jim Latham, and I think it was really good. Kind of like I mentioned with the plot, the music takes a sort of “Airplane!” approach where it’s done like it’s not in on the joke, and has a fairly serious sound, which adds to the absurdity of the entire thing, which improves on a lot of scenes throughout.

The show was created by Steve Carell and his wife Nancy, and written/directed by them (and various other people). And they’ve created something really fun here. It’s mostly shot like a relatively serious show (again, kind of like “Airplane!”), but it’s filled with a lot of gags. Speaking of which, the comedy in this copedy (I am gonna start using that term from now on) is absolutely hilarious. I’d say that it’s a mix of “Naked Gun” and “Hot Fuzz”. It can be extremely silly (“Naked Gun”) and it can be snappy and self-award (“Hot Fuzz”), while still feeling like it’s own thing. I don’t think there’s any joke in this that I found bad. I always laughed, whether through a small chuckle or a gut-busting laughter. It’s so much fun.

This show/season has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 78/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

Season 1 of “Angie Tribeca” is the type of silliness that we don’t really get much of these days, so I find the show quite refreshing. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, good music, good directing, and fantastic comedy. Time for my final score. *FREEZE!*. My final score for season 1 of “Angie Tribeca” is a 9,84/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Angie Tribeca” season 1 is now completed.

Sometimes you just need a good laugh.