Movie Review: We Are What We Are (2013)

And the Month of Spooks continues with another review! So let’s get into it!

Ladies and gentlemen… “We Are What We Are”.

The Parkers are a reclusive family who follow some ye olde customs. However, when the mother in the family dies the daughters (Ambyr Childers, Julia Garner) have to start taking more responsibilities at home, and they soon find their lives taking a turn for the worse It’s difficult talking about the plot of this without accidentally spoiling stuff, so I’m not gonna say anything more about the plot itself. I will however say that I thought it was great. It’s a slow burn, which might put some people off. But the movie rewards patient viewers with an engrossing, tense, and disturbing plot filled with twists and turns. It’s a very well handled plot and I thought it was great.

The characters in this are all flawed, damaged, and interesting. Ambyr Childers plays Iris, the older of the two Parker sisters. And while she is a fairly soft-spoken character that doesn’t speak too much, you can still tell a lot about her by just looking at her eyes. You can see the sadness and pain behind them, you can see that she wants something more out of life than what she has. And Childers is great in the role. Julia Garner (AKA Ruth Langmore from “Ozark”) plays Rose, the younger of the Parker sisters. As with Childers she acts a lot with her eyes, and you can tell that she isn’t as comfortable with their situation as her sister. And Garner is great in the role. Bill Sage plays Frank, the father of the Parker family. He is more often than not a very soft-spoken man, but can explode when things don’t go as planned. And like with the two ladies playing his daughters, he acts with his eyes quite a bit. And there are several other subtleties in his performance that I won’t get into here, but they do add layers to the performance. And Sage is great in the role. We also get Wyatt Russell as a police deputy that has some history with one of the Parker sisters, and he’s really good in the role. We also have Jack Gore as Rory, the youngest child in the Parker family. And while it isn’t one of the best child performances ever, I’d still say that it’s good (which is great to see). We also have Michael Parks (may he rest in peace) as a coroner that looks into the dead Parker mom. And he’s great in the role. We also have Nick Damici in a small role as a Sheriff. And he’s good… not much else to say for such a limited role. And we have Kelly McGillis as the Parkers’ neighbor, and she’s good in the role. Overall it’s a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Jeff Grace, Philip Mossman, and Darren Morris. And it was fantastic. It is tense, dramatic, eerie, and even emotional. It really helped elevate a lot of the scenes, adding so many layers to those scenes. Then there were also a couple of licensed tracks used throughout and they were used well in their respective scenes.

This movie was directed by Jim Mickle (a man who has popped up on this blog several times before), and written by Nick Damici & Jim Mickle. And I have to say that he did a terrific job with his directing here. It is slow and methodical, with no shots feeling out of place or dull. He manages to build a lot of tension throughout the movie and even had me feeling uneasy from start to finish thanks to the eerie atmosphere of it. And I have to mention that Ryan Samul’s cinematography is fantastic. There’s also some gore in this, so if you’re slightly squeamish… you have now been warned. And as a final little mention here, this is apparently a remake of a Mexican film of the same name. I haven’t seen it… just thought I’d mention it’s existence.

This movie has gotten some slightly mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,9/10.

“We Are What We Are” is a damn good little horror-drama. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “We Are What We Are” is a 9,86/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “We Are What We Are” is now completed.

Another win for Mr. Mickle.

12 Songs of Christmas 2016 (Part 2)

Hello there, my friends! It’s the second day in my “12 Songs of Christmas” thing. So let’s just get into it and talk about music!

So today’s song is “Christmas is Here” by Buckcherry. A little backstory, I was introduced to this band a year or so ago when I watched the TV show “Reaper” and one of their songs was used in an episode. I thought “Hmm, that’s a pretty cool song, bettter look it up”. So I looked up the episode, the soundtrack for said episode, found the song (“Broken Glass”), listened to it, then listened to more songs by the band. Then a while later when I was looking for “different” christmas songs (not your mainstream/typical stuff), I found “Christmas is Here” and added it to my “Christmas list of Doom”. And it’s a pretty simple and delightful little christmas rock song. So yeah, I really like it.
Enjoy!

Movie Review: Midnight Special (2016)

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Big budgeted action movies are great and all, but sometimes we need to take it down a notch and give some attention to the smaller guys. You know, the movies with small(er) budgets. And that’s what we’re doing today.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Midnight Special”.

Roy (Michael Shannon) is on the run together with his friend (Joel Edgerton) and his son (Jaeden Lieberher) from the government and also a cult. Why? Because Roy’s son apparently has superpowers. And from this basic idea we get a surprisingly deep, emotional, and tense plot that has a decent amount of layers to it. It’s not just a suspense thriller/road movie, but also an intriguing mystery surrounding this boy and his powers. And the ending (no spoilers), I thought it was a solid ending for the movie. I mention this because there are people who don’t really like how this movie concludes, and that’s fine… I’m just saying that I thought it worked. I thought the entire plot worked very well, it was great.

The characters in this movie are all really interesting. Michael Shannon is great in the main role as the father who just wants to do anything to find his super-son’s purpose, whatever that may be. Joel Edgerton plays his best friend in the movie, and he gives a really good performance too. Jaeden Lieberher who plays the superpowered kid, Alton, is actually really good in the movie. I am usually someone who is a bit against child actors, but I do have to admit that this kid was genuinely good. We also got Adam Driver as one of the government agents and he was really good in the movie. I’d say that most if not all actors did a really good job.

The score for the movie was composed by David Wingo and it was pretty fuckin’ good. It is a beautifully haunting score that perfectly manages to create a lot of emotion that perfectly fits the movie. Seriously, it’s some awesome stuff.

This movie was directed by Jeff Nichols who also made the movie “Mud”, which I really liked. And here he did a great job with the direction. The movie is magnificently shot, it looks beautiful. What I also enjoyed about it is how well the CGI in the movie blended with everything else. None of it felt out of place or looked bad, it all worked very well in the movie. There’s also a good amount of suspense in the movie, which I really liked.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 76/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“Midnight Special” is a pretty different movie. It’s more of a slow burn than most modern sci-fi movies, but that’s also kind of why I like it. But also because it has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. I WILL FIND HIM! My final score for “Midnight Special” is a 9,87/10. So it of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
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My review of “Midnight Special” is now completed.

This apparently bombed at the box office. Shame on you, world.

 

Movie Review: Locke (2014)

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Sometimes you need something quiet and subtle to help balance out all the explosions in your movie watching. Now don’t get me wrong, I like silly and fun action movies as much as the next guy, but I like a quiet drama every now and then as well. Hell, one of my favorite movies of all time, “Drive”, is for the most part a slow and methodical drama and not an action fest like most people expected. But enough of that, today we are taking a look at a slow moving drama that is set in just one location.

Sirs and madames… “Locke”.

Like I said, this movie is set in just one place, a car to be exact. And in this car we have hard-working family man Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy). Now he is driving somewhere to take care of a problem while a lot of other things come down on him at the same time. I will not spoil what his problem is as I found it more interesting finding out what it was by watching. I also loved seeing this movie unfold and just see how this man tried to handle everything around him despite the fact that it was tearing at him. The plot was really well done and definitely a breath of fresh air.

Despite the fact that the only visible character in the movie was the one of Ivan Locke, I still loved all of the characters in the movie. What I forgot to mention in the plot segment was that constantly throughout the movie he has phone conversations with a bunch of different people. And even though you could never see these people I really thought they were great characters who could be real people thanks to the superb writing and great (vocal) performances by the actors. And Tom Hardy in this movie was fantastic as usual, giving a subtle yet explosive performance. And what I mean by that is that his character was very quiet, but he had a lot on his mind which you could notice through Hardy’s facial expressions and his maneurysms, especially at times that he got big news that would change everything at times. I know my words don’t make any fucking sense, but trust me, I know what I am talking about. What I can clearly say at least is that the acting and characters are superb.

The score by Dickon Hinchliffe (Out of the Furnace) was pretty fucking great. There were a lot of ambient sounds throughout the songs that really helped highten the sense of loneliness and desperation that the movie wanted to convey. And of course there was excellent use of the guitar in the songs. To be honest, with all the guitar in the soundtrack I almost thought this score was done by Gustavo Santaolalla. But now that I know that Dickon Hinchliffe did the score the guitar still makes a lot of sense. And I fucking love it!

This movie looks fantastic, Steven Knight really shows that he is a force to be reckoned with as a director. There are a lot of beautiful shots both outside the car and inside of it. I also heard something about this movie being shot in sequence several times over and then took the different parts of each shoot and splice them together into one movie. Now if that is true or not, I am not sure, someone please tell me if it’s true or not.

This movie has been generally well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it stands strong with a 91% positive rating and it is certified “Fresh”. On Metacritic it has a score of 81/100. And on imdb.com it stands on a 7,1/10.

“Locke” is a riveting, interesting and different movie with a terrific performance from Tom Hardy, a terrific score by Dickon Hinchliffe and some great direction/camera work. Time for my final score. Where the hell is he with that envelope? *Dials phone* Jeff, where are you? In the car? Well why aren’t you here with that god damn envelope? What? You left it here earlier? Yeah? Well, fuck you too. Sorry about that. My final score for “Locke” is a 9,76/10 and then of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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“Locke” is now reviewed.

Did anyone seriously before this movie believe a movie about Tom Hardy driving a car for 90 minutes would be interesting? Because I didn’t.