Movie Review: I Sell the Dead (2009)

Greetings, friends. It is time for more Month of Spooks content. Ain’t that exciting? Let’s go!

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “I Sell the Dead”.

Grave robber Arthur Blake (Dominic Monaghan) has been captured  by authorities, awaiting his end. And in his final hours he tells a priest (Ron Perlman) about the various crimes committed by him and his friend (Larry Fessenden). I like the story of “I Sell the Dead”, it’s a fun and breezy batch of stories that explore an oft neglected theme within horror (grave robbing). And while it gives us that gothic horror angle and an interesting exploration of it, it also gives us a lot of goofy humor, and it all somehow comes together beautifully and makes for one of the most fun and enjoyable narratives I’ve experienced in a while.

The characters in this are all weird, colorful, charming, and really interesting. I don’t know what to say about them without getting too much into spoilers, so I’ll just stick to surface level stuff. First I want to mention Dominic Monaghan and Larry Fessenden as our two lead grave robbers. The two on their own are a lot of fun, but together they’re an absolute riot, with the actors sharing some fucking incredible chemistry. Ron Perlman’s a lot of fun as the priest taking Monaghan’s confessions. And throughout the movie we see supporting work from people like Angus Scrimm, Brenda Cooney, John Speredakos, Daniel Manche, Joel Marsh Garland, and more, all giving really good performances.

The score for the movie was composed by Jeff Grace (hell yeah), and I think he did a really good job with it. He uses a lot of strings and some woodwind to capture a really eerie vibe that adds to the gothic feel of the movie. But he also creates a fair bit of whimsical tracks for the more comedic scenes in the movie, and those tracks work really well too. Grace is a composer whose work I’ve enjoyed a good amount of times through the years, and this is honestly one of my favorite scores of his, it’s so good.

“I Sell the Dead” was written, directed, and edited by Glenn McQuaid, who I think did a really good job with it. McQuaid has this really fun and snappy style that I think really fits with the tone of the movie, complementing both the horror and comedy beautifully. This especially shines in his editing, which is incredibly fun. And yes, there are some hokey green screen/background effects at times, but I don’t mind, I think they add to the wacky charm of the movie. It’s good stuff.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 72% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 62/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.1/10.

I kind of loved “I Sell the Dead”, it’s an insanely funny horror-comedy that I had fun with from start to end. It has a good story, great characters, great performances, great music, great directing/editing, and hilarious humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “I Sell the Dead” is a 9.87/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “I Sell the Dead” is now completed.

Hellboy as a priest… huh.

Movie Review: Mute (2018)

I’ve been looking forward to this movie for quite a long time. The director is one whose movies I’ve enjoyed quite a bit, so a new movie from him is something I of course was hyped about. And now it’s finally out, and I have now seen it. So let’s talk about it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mute”.

Berlin, 40 years from now. Leo (Alexander Skarsgård) is a mute bartender living a seemingly happy life. But after his girlfriend disappears, he goes on a mission to find out what happened to her, which leads him down the seedy Berlin underground. So is this plot any good? Parts of it are. The problem(s) with this plot is how tonally inconsistent it is. Because at first it seems like it’s just gonna be an emotional and gritty character drama, but then it throws in  bunch of more lighthearted and almost silly scenes featuring a pair of surgeons (Paul Rudd & Justin Theroux) as they go about their lives. Yes, the surgeon stuff is important to the plot, but it’s so tonally different to Leo’s quest. The pacing is also inconsistent. At times it moves at an acceptably slow-ish pace, but then there are times where some unnecessary stuff happens that pulls the pace to a bit of a crawl. Really, the best word I can use to describe the plot of “Mute” is inconsistent. Not necessarily bad (though some bits aren’t that great), just very inconsistent.

The characters in this are (you guessed it) inconsistent. Alexander Skarsgård plays Leo, the mute bartender at the center of this story. He’s clearly a damaged person, and seeing him go through his journey is compelling as he’s a fairly interesting character. I’m also really impressed by Skarsgård’s performance, because he has to convey so much emotion without being able to utter a single word… and the dude kills it in the role. Paul Rudd plays Cactus Bill, one of the two surgeons that are a large part of this story. He’s a dickhead, but he also seem to have some morals (mainly relating to his daughter), so he’s somewhat grounded (even if I don’t always like the character). And Rudd is good in the role. Then we have Justin Theroux as Duck Teddington (best name ever?), the other surgeon. He’s a bit of a hippie that we learn some interesting stuff about through the movie. And he’s one of the reasons for the “tonally inconsistent” things I mentioned before. Theroux is good in the role. Then we get supporting performances in the movie from people like Noel Clarke, Rob Kazinsky, Dominic Monaghan, Seyneb Saleh, Florence Kasumba, and more, most doing a good job (though the characters could use some more work).

The score for the movie was composed by Clint Mansell, and now we finally have something that I can give some high praise to! His score here does take some cues from “Blade Runer” (and a few from “Moon”), but it does enough unique stuff to stand out in a crowd, and ends up being a fucking great score that elevates a lot of scenes in the movie. There are also a few licensed tracks used throughout, and they work decently in their respective scenes.

This movie was written and directed by Duncan Jones, and this is very clearly a passion project of his. But did he do well? For the most part, sure. The direction here has a nice flow to it, and I was fairly sucked into it. It also helps that Gary Shaw’s cinematography is really fucking gorgeous, this movie has some really great eye candy in it. And any and all visual effects in this look really good.

This movie just came out, but it has already received some less than stellar reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 6% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 36/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

“Mute” is a mixed bag. It has a tonally inconsistent plot with some pacing issues and some lackluster character work. But it does also have some good ideas, a few okay characters, great performances, fantastic music, and good direction/cinematography/effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mute” is a 6,31/10. While very flawed, it could still be worth a watch.

My review of “Mute” is now completed.

At least this movie has a really cool easter egg in it…

Series Review: Flashforward (2009 – 2010)

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What would happen if we saw our own future? Would we try to change it or would we embrace it even more? I honestly would panic and wonder what the images all meant and what tiny factors in my life could change/keep it. This is something interesting that I’ve been thinking about a lot in my life. Maybe you have as well… who knows?

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to get a… “Flashforward”.

“On October 6th, the world blacked out for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. The whole world saw the future”. That is the phrase uttered at the beginning of basically every episode. If you didn’t catch what it meant, the plot is that on october 6th 2009, every person in the world blacked out and got a vision of their future. When everyone wakes up, they have no idea what the hell is going on and what happened. So the FBI sets up a special taskforce to find out what happened, why it happened, how it happened and if it might happen again. At the forefront of this is seasoned FBI agent Mark Benford (Joseph Fiennes) and his partner Demetri Noh (John Cho). And from this we get a really cool concept… but is it only good on paper? No, it’s actually great in execution as well. This show is very addicting in the way that it makes you want to know who/what is behind this terrible event and if it’s able to stop him/her/it for good. And thanks to constant suspense, interesting revelations and genuinely good twists it really entertains and shows itself as a really good story. What is sad about it though is that the show ended after 1 season and I feel like that is a shame since there was so much potential for even more interesting plotlines and situations. But I can at least say that what we got was pretty damn good.

What I love about the characters in the show is that we get so many different types of them. First up we have Mark Benford, the seasoned FBI agent who is both determined to find out everything about this whole blackout thing while at the same time not losing his family. And Joseph Fiennes was pretty damn great in the role. John Cho was great as Benford’s younger yet still skilled partner who has his problems. And I would say that all characters are great in the show since I can’t sit here and talk about them all because this is a pretty damn big ensemble cast. But all characters are interesting/great and all actors do a really great job.

The score for the show was composed by Ramin Djawadi who you might know from shows like “Prison Break” and “Game of Thrones”, or from movies such as “Pacific Rim”. And like in those things, it’s great. This show doesn’t rely that much on being as grandiose as some of those scores, but it still holds up really well. A lot of it is based in ambient sounds, but there are of course some orchestral tracks for some of the bigger scenes and it is all great. It all fits the show terrifically. And the licensed tracks they use for a good amount of the show work really well too.

This show looks terrific. I mean, it is really well directed and the camera work is great. Sure, some of the CGI at times don’t look that great, but overall I wouldn’t complain too much about it since it’s not distractingly bad. I do however like the action scenes in the show. Not because they’re huge and extravagant (because they’re not), but because they handled perfectly. When they happen you do notice them, but they never feel like going full Michael Bay which is something I really appreciate. And I do have to say that there are some genuinely suspenseful moments/scenes. One of them (without spoiling it) is a part of episode 17 where I seriously sat and curled myself into a ball, slightly squealing because I was like “Come on… please”. Seriously, that level of suspense rarely happens to me. Fun fact: this show is loosely based on the book of the same name by Robert J. Sawyer. I haven’t read the book yet, but I feel right now like I should at some point in the near future. *blacks out*… *Wakes up minutes later*. I just had a flashforward where I saw myself reading it.

This show, despite only getting one season was well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“Flashforward” is one of those shows that was just too shortlived. It had a great story, great characters & acting, great music, great directing and great action & suspense. Time for my final score. *Blacks out*. My final score for “Flashforward” is a 9,89/10. It most definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

Review of “Flashforward” is now completed.

Who knew William Shakespeare was such a badass?
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