Series Review: Swamp Thing (2019)

I’ve been waiting for this show to be made available over here for quite a while. And finally, Friday the 8th, we got it. And now that I have finished it, I can finally give my thoughts. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Swamp Thing”.

CDC doctor Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed) finds herself traveling back to her old hometown of Marais, Louisiana when some strange viral shit is found coming out of the swamps of that area. And as she continues her investigation of it, she soon finds out that there’s more to these swamps than meets the eye. Secrets, tragic backstories, the horror of the unknown, these are some of the things that are explored throughout the 10 episodes of “Swamp Thing”. I point out the episode count because this show was meant to be 13, but after the very sudden cancellation of the show, they had to reduce it to 10. And while the finished package holds up very well, I could still sense some of those cuts here and there. But the story we get here is still pretty great, creating a surprisingly nuanced journey that scares and emotionally invests in equal measure.

The characters in this are flawed, damaged, layered, and very interesting. Crystal Reed plays Abby Arcane, a CDC doctor with a tragic past, returning to her old home town. She’s determined, good at heart, but is also sometimes haunted by things that happened to her once, and she’s a great protagonist that I loved following. And Reed is great in the role. Next we have Derek Mears as the titular creature. I won’t say much more than saying that he’s an interesting character, and Mears’ performance is really good. Then we have Andy Bean as Alec Holland, a scientist Abby meets when she returns to Marais. He’s a bit eccentric, but a good dude who is pretty interesting. And Bean is really good in the role. Next we have Will Patton as Avery Sunderson, a beloved businessman in Marais… however there’s a bit more to him than meets the eye. And Patton is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Virginia Madsen, Henderson Wade, Maria Sten, Kevin Durand, Ian Ziering, Jennifer Beals, Jeryl Prescott, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the show was composed by Brian Tyler, and it was great. It’s sometimes loud and intimidating, and sometimes more quiet and emotional. There’s also plenty of low, droning BWOOOMs. And while those could be obnoxious in lesser hands, the way they’re used here works quite well, and adds to the uneasy vibe the show clearly wants to go for.

Based on the iconic DC Comics character created by Len Wein, Alan Moore, and Bernie Wrightson, “Swamp Thing” was developed by Gary Dauberman and Mark Verheiden, with writing and directing by them and a whole bunch of other cool people. And I think the craft here is superb. The amount of suspense built is insane, which makes for a horror show that ends up being genuinely scary. I also have to praise the effects in this show, because they’re spectacular. What we get here is a healthy blend of practical effects and CGI. For example, the Swamp Thing suit is completely practical, and looks amazing. The swamps, completely practical (with some possible CG enhancements). Now, with this being both an effects-heavy show and a horror series, that means that there’s plenty of gore throughout. And I mean plenty. And not just gore for the sake of gore, but gore to disturb and shock the viewer. And I mean, it certainly got some “OH MY GOD!” and “HOLY SHIT” out of me as I watched it all unfold. So if you have trouble with insanely violent media… consider yourself warned.

This show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 67/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

Despite some of the cut corners made from the episode reduction, “Swamp Thing” is still a damn fine horror-drama. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, great music, fantastic effects, and great directing/writing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Swamp Thing” is a 9,61/10. So yes, you got that right, it does actually get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Swamp Thing” is now completed.

Can someone please uncancel this?

Series Review: Mayans M.C. – Season 2 (2019)

That’s right, two posts in one day. A rare occurrence here. But today it happens. Now either this is a blessing or a pain, depending on your point of view. Either way, let’s talk about Hispanic bikers.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mayans M.C.” season 2.

Set several months after the first season, as EZ Reyes (JD Pardo) has a lot of problems to balance. From familial tensions, to problems hitting the club, to the constant antagonistic pressure from federal prosecutor Lincoln Potter (Ray McKinnon). Secrets are discovered, drama occurs, it’s more “Mayans”. And I thought the plot here was great. There’s a lot of threads going on here, but they never feel like a fucking mess. And seeing it all unfold is quite engaging. Sure, some of its social commentary (while being shit I agree with) can be a bit on the ham-fisted side at times, but it never full on detracts from the overall storytelling of the show.

The characters here are flawed, layered, and overall quite interesting. JD Pardo returns as EZ Reyes, prospect within the Mayans M.C. He deals with a lot of personal shit this season around, after a revelation at the end of the first season. And combining that with some of the stuff happening this season makes for a compelling arc. And Pardo is once really good in the role. Clayton Cardenas returns as his brother, Angel, and he also has a great arc here, with Cardenas giving a great performance. Sarah Bolger returns as Emily, former love of EZ, current love of gangster Miguel Galindo. She’s got a lot going on too. And Bolger is really good in the role. And with supporting work from people like Ray McKinnon, Michael Irby, Danny Pino, Edward James Olmos, Carla Baratta, Richard Cabral, Emilio Rivera, Ada Maris, and many more, you get some damn fine performances rounding out the cast.

Just like with season 1, the score for season 2 was composed by Bob Thiele Jr, and once again it’s great. A lot of guitars, some others strings, overall it manages to create a sound that honor some of the Mexican culture, while also capturing the feel of a gritty biker drama. There’s also plenty of licensed music used throughout, and it all fits very well, while also just in general being pleasing to my ear.

The show was created by Elgin James and Kurt Sutter, with writing and directing by both of them, along with a bunch of other cool people. And the craft here is top notch. There’s a strong vision for how they want the episodes to flow, which comes through both in writing and in camerawork. Season 1 was a strong, decently confident start. Here in season 2, their confidence is clearly a lot higher, which makes their craft feel even stronger. These guys know what the fuck they’re doing, and the way it comes through in the show makes it such a standout in today’s tv.

This season/has show has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating. On Metacritic it exists, but has no score. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

Season 2 of “Mayans M.C.” improves on what was set up in the first season, even if some of its social commentary can be slightly clumsy at times. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mayans M.C.” season 2 is a 9,50/10. So while it borders on a lower rating, it still gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Mayans M.C.” season is now completed.

’cause a beaten dog never forgets.

Movie Review: How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Look, I loved doing the Month of Spooks. But god damn, have I missed being able to talk about other kinds of movies. So let’s talk about a children’s film.

Ladies and gentlemen… “How to Train Your Dragon”.

Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is the son of a great dragon-slaying viking (Gerard Butler), yet he himself is expected to reach his father’s legacy. And one day when he meets an injured dragon, he soon learns that these beasts might not just be bloodthirsty monsters. So now we have our children’s fantasy adventure story. And by Odin’s beard, this story is great. Yeah, sure, we’ve seen similar premises done before. But the care they put into how their storytelling is presented here is quite astonishing. The story here is told in a really mature way that doesn’t treat its audience like absolute idiots, like so many kid’s movies do. And by the end I was emotionally invested in the story, thanks to the clever and nuanced storytelling.

The characters in this are colorful, layered (for the most part), unique, and really interesting. First we have Hiccup, son of a great viking, but more of a scrawny wimp himself. He’s a smart young dude, relying on wits to get him through shit rather than actual force. And he has an interesting and fun arc in this movie that I really enjoyed following. And I think Jay Baruchel did a great job voicing the character. We then have Gerard Butler as his burly dad, and he’s great. You get America Ferrera as Astrid, a local girl that Hiccup may have a bit of a crush on, and she’s great in the role. You get Craig Ferguson as another viking/comic relief, and he’s great. And in other supporting roles you have people like Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig, T.J. Miller, and more, and they all do a great job. Really, it’s a top notch cast.

The score for the movie was composed by John Powell, and it was absolutely wonderful. Big and epic, but also small and intimate. Epic and exciting, but also subtle and emotionally resonant. It manages to capture every emotion one would want in a movie like this.

Based on a novel by Cressida Cowell, “How to Train Your Dragon” was written by William Davies, Dean DeBlois, and Chris Sanders, with DeBlois and Sanders handling direction. And just like the story and characters before it, the craft on display here is marvelous. Everything in the direction is carefully considered, not a single frame is pure filler, everything exists either do develop a character or to add nuance to the story. Which leads us to the animation, which is absolutely spectacular. It’s highly detailed, and makes for some absolutely gorgeous images, especially during the action scenes, which are some of the best I’ve ever seen in an animated feature. The final set piece alone is one of the best I’ve seen in relatively recent movies. And with this being an animated kid’s film, there’s of course plenty of humor throughout… and it’s funny, I laugh. Slapstick, snappy comebacks, it’s all there, and it’s funny.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 99% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10 and is ranked #189 on the “top 250” list. It was also nominated for 2 Oscars in the categories of Best animated feature and Best original score.

“How to Train Your Dragon” is one of the best animated films I’ve seen in recent years. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, fantastic directing/animation, and funny comedy. Time for my final score. *Aye*. My final score for “How to Train Your Dragon” is a 9,90/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “How to Train Your Dragon” is now completed.

I can now see what all the fuss was about.

Series Review: Fortitude – Season 2 (2017)

And so we’re here, the final post for the Month of Spooks. And it’s a follow-up to a post I did last year, where I talked about the first season of this show. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Fortitude” season 2.

Set some time after the events of season 1, we return to the remote Scandinavian town of Fortitude. And once again, strange things start happening after a body is discovered. So now we have our Arctic antics. And I like the plot here, probably more than the first season. It’s a slow burn mystery-thriller that dips its toe into some macabre themes and scenarios, while still taking the time to make me care about most of the characters, really adding layers to it all that maybe weren’t as strong the first time around. Though while it is an overall stronger story for me with a bit more intrigue and experimentation, it does still have some flaws. While I do love a slow burn, there are some moments here where the pacing outright drags, which of course makes it a little more of a pain to watch. And the ending is a bit… flaccid. Yes, I know there’s a third season, but I feel like the ending here is a bit too sequel-baity, for lack of a better word. But despite these flaws, I still found the story here to be pretty damn solid.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, and overall quite engaging. Most of the cast from season 1, including Richard Dormer, Sienna Guillory, Luke Treadaway, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, , Mia Jexen, Sofie Gråbøl, Alexandra Moen, and more, with their characters getting extra depth, will all those actors firing on all cylinders. Now, for newcomer we have Dennis Quaid (pictured at the top), who plays Michael Lennox, a fisherman who gets involved in the strange shit going on in and around Fortitude. The character is given decent depth, as we learn some interesting stuff about his home life, at the same time as he evolves from the events in the story. And Quaid is pretty good in the role. ’tis a solid cast.

Ben Frost, who did the score for season, returned to do the music this time around too, and I think he really outdid himself. His score here is fucking spectacular, managing to perfectly capture every emotion possible, while still being an overall fitting score for the frozen shithole that is Fortitude. Yes, there are moments where the score lowers itself to some generic horror stings. But when it’s not doing that, it is absolutely fantastic. And the occasional licensed tracks used throughout work pretty well too.

The show was created by Simon Donald, who along with a bunch of other people, wrote the episodes this season, with some other cool people directing. And the craft behind this season is fucking emaculate. The direction manages to create an interesting sense of unease throughout that really makes it a bit more unsettling. And my god, the cinematography this season is absolutely amazing. And I don’t just mean the shots of the frozen vistas around Fortitude, but even a lot of shots indoors look great too. And the effects here are great too, featuring some really impressive practical gore effects, which kinda got under my skin.

This show/season has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating. On Metacritic it exists without a score. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

Season 2 of “Fortitude” takes what was good about the first season and takes it up to 11, though it is brought down by some pacing issues and a less than satisfying ending. It has a really good plot, good characters, fantastic performances, fantastic music, and fantastic directing/cinematography/effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 2 of “Fortitude” is an 8,96/10. So while flawed, it’s definitely still worth a watch.

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

So this is it, huh? Well, it’s been a blast doing Month of Spooks.

Movie Review: Constantine: City of Demons (2018)

Two animations in a row? I know, fucking insanity up in this joint. But hey, it’s my blog and my Month of Spooks, so I can do whatever I want. Besides, why wouldn’t I wanna talk about DC’s arguably most well known horror character?

Ladies and gents… “Constantine: City of Demons”.

When his daughter is thrown into a supernaturally induced coma, Chas Chandler (Damien O’Hare) enlists the help of his old mate, John Constantine (Matt Ryan), to hopefully fix this whole situation. And as they look further into the situation, they not only get into new troubles, but old wounds get opened back up too. I thought the story here was good. Leans a bit too heavily on exposition during the first act, but as soon as we get into act two, things aren’t quite so info-dumpy. And I have to admit that I didn’t fully see where this story was going, it managed to throw me for a loop multiple times, telling a narrative that understands the “Hellblazer” mythos and themes, while still making it accessible to anyone unfamiliar with the material. That latter point might be somewhat related to the info-dumping in the first act, which makes it kind of a double-edged sword, but that’s just how shit ends up some times. But yeah… the story’s good, if a bit flawed.

The characters in this are flawed, colorful, and overall quite interesting. Constantine in this is more like in the comics rather than how he’s portrayed in the Keanu Reeves movie. He’s British, snarky, and a bit aloof. And while he’s not quite as morally flexible as he is in the comics, they do nod towards that idea a fair bit throughout this movie, which makes him a bit more interesting. And Matt Ryan (in his fourth appearance) is great in the role. Damien O’Hare as John’s trusted friend Chas Chandler does a great job as the committed and brave, yet slightly impulsive type. And in the supporting cat we got people like Laura Baily, Robin Atkin Downes, Jim Meskimen, Rachel Kimsey, Rick Wasserman, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Kevin Riepl, and it was alright. It is overall a well composed score that worked fine for the movie, but I felt that it might’ve been a little bit on the bland-ish side. It does have some cool chorals that make it stand out a little bit, but for the most part it’s your typical orchestral stuff with occasional synthesizers for effect. Again, not bad, pretty good, but a little bland.

Of course based on the legendary DC/Vertigo Character, “Constantine: City of Demons” was directed by Doug Murphy, who I think did a good job with it. He doesn’t force a lot of needless action or an unnecessarily rapid pace, instead opting for a decent bit of downtime, letting characters breathe and letting the audience take in what’s going on a bit. And even when there is action, it isn’t typical action-action with fists flying all about the place or flashy spells pew-pewing all day long, which I think is a fun change of pace. And the animation carrying it all, I think is good (based on the standards of these lower budget DC animated flicks). There are some minor things that distracted in it, like some of the blood splatter effects, but for the most part the animation looks nice and wonderfully brings out some of the nastier stuff in the DC universe.

This movie has been decently well received. On imdb.com (which is the only site with a clear number), it has a score of 7,4/10.

While it isn’t perfect, “Constantine: City of Demons” is still a very enjoyable take on the titular Hellblazer. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, okay music, and really good directing/animation. Though it is unfortunately brought down a bit by a little too much exposition dumping, and some minor animations niggles. Time for my final score. *Bollocks*. My final score for “Constantine: City of Demons” is an 8,77/10. So while flawed, I’d say it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Constantine: City of Demons” is now completed.

“Abraka-fooking-dabra” – John Constantine.

Movie Review: Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2001)

Well this is a first for the Month of Spooks… animation. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust”.

When a girl (Wendee Lee) is kidnapped by a vampire, her family hires a legendary bounty hunter (Andrew Phlipot) to get her back. The setup is an old school one, but the way they handle it feels fresh. For one, it’s set in the distant future… but it also looks like the old west. This blend of different styles makes for a fun and unique universe. But it’s not just the world building that works about this movie. “Bloodlust” really takes time to weave a surprising amount of nuance throughout, making me really care about what really happens throughout the story, be it larger, epic moments or smaller, intimate drama.

Like with story before them, the characters in this movie have a bit more nuance than expected. At first they can seem like stereotypes. Broody, stern, Hannibal from “A-Team”, asshat. But if one sticks around, the characters get fleshed out quite a bit, making them a hell of a lot more compelling. First up we have D(E,F,G), the titular character at the center of the story. He’s the broody fucker I mentioned before… but he’s also a compassionate, strong-willed, and endearing guy who works to stay on the side of good. And I think Andrew Philpot does a great job with the voice work. Next we have Leila (cue Derek and the Dominos), another bounty hunter searching for the kidnapped girl. Tough, determined, stern, and also has a good heart. And she grows quite a fun rapport with D. She’s voiced by Pamela Adlon, who I think does a damn fine job with it. Wendee Lee does a good job as the kidnapped girl, who we meet multiple times throughout. And the vampire that did said kidnapping, played wonderfully by John Rafter Lee, is quite an interesting antagonist. Again, all the characters are pretty interesting. And the supporting cast is great.

The score for the movie was composed by Marco D’Ambrosio, who did a wonderful job with it. It’s moody and atmospheric, but also big and epic, as well as emotionally charged. It perfectly helps create the vibe the movie is going for, which is has a familiar sense of gothic brood, while still feeling fresh and unique for this movie.

Based on a manga series by Hideyuki Kikuchi, “Bloodlust” was directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, who I think did a wonderful job with it. His direction manages to keep the energy and pacing up throughout, without making it feel like he’s rushing things. He will let quiet moments simmer a bit, but without accidentally slipping into boredom. And holy fucking shit, the animation is stunning, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering the fact that Madhouse was the studio behind it (they make well animated stuff, yo). Combining Kawajiri’s meticulous direction with the animation talents at Madhouse was clever, as it makes for not only some gorgeously detailed wide shots, but also some insanely entertaining action scenes. It also makes it so the few pure horror bits we get become genuinely creepy. So well done, crew.

This movie has been generally well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 72% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 62/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10.

“Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust” isn’t just a highly entertaining vampire action movie, but it’s also a surprisingly nuance movie that subverts a fair bit of expectations. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/animation. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust” is a 9,67/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust” is now completed.

Any time you have a character with single-letter names, I just wanna continue the alphabet after referring to them.
“So what’s the character’s name?”
“D”
“Interesting”
“E, F, G, H, I… “

Movie Review: Dawn of the Dead (1978)

During last year’s Month of Spooks, I reviewed “Night of the Living Dead”. Now in 2019, we’re moving on to its legendary pseudo-sequel. To be honest, I didn’t even plan this sequelization, it just happened. SERENDIPITY, HO!

Brainies and gentleflesh… “Dawn of the Dead”.

The world has gone to shit. Zombies are rapidly taking over everywhere. And in all this chaos we follow a small group of survivors as they seek shelter inside of a shopping mall. It’s a solid enough premise for a zombo flick, and the overall execution of it is damn good too. It works because it’s not only about some people trying to survive, but also because there’s a healthy dose of social satire strewn throughout the movie, giving the movie a bit of an edge over most zombie movies out there. Now, while I praise it for going in a unique direction with its story (for the time), I do have some issues with it, mainly in regards to pacing. It takes a bit for the main part of the plot to get going, and there are then moments throughout where the pacing drags ever so slightly. But for the most part, the plot here moves at a good pace and is overall a well written, fun, and surprisingly nuanced take on the zombie sub-genre.

If you asked me what the characters’ names were, I wouldn’t be able to tell you. I can see the characters and recognize them, but I have no real clue about who they are beyond “Oh yeah, you’re a guy in this”. Despite this, I found them quite interesting as subjects of this satirical zombo story. The way they interact and handle various situations is quite interesting. And the performances are all quite solid.

The score for the movie was composed by Dario Argento, along with Italian rock group Goblin. And it’s an interesting score. At times big, at times a bit more somber, it is an unusually unpredictable score that overall just really fit the movie well. It often adds to the enjoyment of the various scenes.

Just like with its predecessor, “Dawn of the Dead” was written and directed by George A. Romero, who I think did a solid job with it. You can tell that he’s gained a bit more confidence as a director between movies, as he very cleverly creates a unique mood with his direction, a mood that is often uneasy, but still enjoyable.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10.

While I don’t necessarily adore it as much as some people, I still think “Dawn of the Dead” is a damn fine movie. It has a really good plot, okay-ish characters, really good performances, good music, and really good writing/directing. Though as mentioned earlier, it is brought down a bit by some mild pacing issues. Time for my final score. *Braaaaains*. My final score for “Dawn of the Dead” is an 8,78/10. So while not perfect, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Dawn of the Dead” is now completed.

Yup

Movie Review: From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

And the Month of Spooks continues. This time with a strange hybrid. So here we fucking go.

Ladies and gents… “From Dusk Till Dawn”.

A pair of criminals (George Clooney & Quentin Tarantino, yes really) are on the run for some horrible crimes they committed. To stay away from the law, they take refuge in a titty bar somewhere in Mexico. They are however in for a horrible surprise, when they find out that the people at the bar aren’t exactly what they appear to b- vampires, they’re vampires. So now we have our profane crime-thriller/vampire movie. And the story here is fine. Straightforward, but clashing in tones. One moment it’s this Tarantinian crime story, then it’s a family drama, then it’s horror, then it’s a dark comedy. While there are a lot of solid moments here, they don’t necessarily flow that well into each other, creating these tonal clashes. Like I said, there’s a lot of fun moments, and it does entertain in that sense, but the lack of good transitions does distract at times.

The characters in this are decently interesting, if a bit poorly defined at times. George Clooney plays Seth Gecko, one of the two brothers on the run from the law. He’s assertive, strict, bit of a dick, but does at times show a more human side (even if his exterior still screams asshole). He’s clearly the leader of the two, and he’s an interesting character to follow, even if he’s not very likable (which might put some people off). And Clooney is great in the role. Next we have Harvey Keitel as Jacob Fuller, a family man that’s been kidnapped by the Geckos. He’s a former preacher just trying to enjoy a nice trip with his kids, but that of course goes a bit awry. He’s a decently interesting guy, and Keitel is great in the role. Next we have Quentin Tarantino (yes, really) as Richie Gecko, Clooney’s younger brother. He’s a creepy psychopath. That’s all I’ll say, as I don’t wanna get into too much detail. And I honestly think Tarantino is good in this role, it’s probably the best performance I’ve seen from him. We also get supporting work from people like Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu, Tom Savini, Danny Trejo, Salma Hayek, Fred Williamson, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Graeme Revell, and it’s good. It’s not too prominent, but when it can be heard, it’s pretty good, creating some decent ambiance. The movie also has a fair bit of licensed tracks used throughout, a lot of them within the blues-rock genre, which not only fits the movie surprisingly well, but also is right up my alley. So yeah, this movie has good music.

“From Dusk Till Dawn” was written by Quentin Tarantino, and directed by Robert Rodriguez (not the last collaboration between the two). And Jesus heart-staking Christ, it’s obvious form a mile away. Tarantino’s dirty dialogue, Rodriguez’ energetic and oft campy direction, it’s all here in spades, and it gives the movie a nice sense of energy that keeps it from getting boring. It also does add a bit to the action scenes that exist in the movie, which are fun to watch, partly due to the stuff I just mentioned, and partly due to the really solid visual effects that are on display here.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 64% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 48/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

So while “From Dusk Till Dawn” has a fair bit of flaws, I still enjoyed watching it. It has an okay story, okay characters, great performances, really good music, and really good writing/directing/effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “From Dusk Till Dawn” is a 7,56/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it’s worth renting.

My review of “From Dusk Till Dawn” is now completed.

Daaaark Night. It’s a Daaaark Night. What? It’s a good song. Even the movie knows it.

Series Review: The Strain – Season 1 (2014)

Hey, finally a tv show in the Month of Spooks.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Strain” season 1.

After a plane filled with dead people lands in New York, a mysterious viral outbreak begins, turning people into savage, vampiric creatures. And it’s up to Doctor Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) to find out what the hell is going on. So now we have our horror story. And it’s a good one. Sure, it does lean into some classic vampire tropes, but it also plays around with others to create something that feels fresh and unique in television. Admittedly the first few episodes are a bit on the slow side. They’re not bad, they carry a fair bit of intrigue, but they feel a bit like a drag at times. But when you get past them, and the plot truly gets going, it is an utterly compelling and quite entertaining vampire thriller.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, and quite interesting. Corey Stoll plays Ephraim Goodweather, a CDC scientist who has to investigate this mysterious viral outbreak. Eph (as he’s called by so many) has a lot of personal flaws and demons in his past, and seeing him have to deal with those in tandem with this intense outbreak makes him an interesting character. And Stoll is great in the roll. Yes, pun intended. Next we have David Bradly as Abraham Setrakian, a mysterious old man who seems to know a lot about what’s going on with this whole situation. We learn a lot about him as the show goes along, and I don’t wanna ruin it (’cause it’s good and should be experienced rather than told). And Bradley is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Mia Maestro, Kevin Durand, Miguel Gomez, Richard Sammel, Sean Astin, Jonathan Hyde, Ben Hyland, Ruta Gedmintas, Robin Atkin Downes, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the show/season was composed by Ramin Djawadi (oh sweet), and it’s pretty good (what do you mean “pretty”?). It’s not among Djawadi’s best work, but he still did a really solid job, giving us some decently tense pieces when needed, and some more emotional tracks in others. It’s pretty good.

Based on a series of novels by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, the show was created by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, with writing and directing by them and some other cool people. And the craft in this show is pretty spectacular. The direction creates a fair bit of tension, while still making us feel intimate with the characters. And fuck me sideways, the use of colored lighting in this show is fucking magnificent. Reds, greens, blues, yellows, it is stunning to look at. And the visual effects are pretty great too. Since it is a Del Toro production, there’s a lot of disgusting-looking practical creature effects, with some CG mixed in at times. And god damn, it is so cool to see that here, since it makes everything going on feel more real. It also kind of adds to the horror, as it doesn’t make the scary creatures look all shiny and fake. It’s some creepy stuff.

This show/season has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

Season 1 of “The Strain” may drag a bit at the start, but it ultimately ends up being an effective and highly entertaining vampire thriller. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, good music, and great writing/directing/effects/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 1 of “The Strain” is an 8,67/10. So while flawed, I still think it’s definitely worth watching.

My review of “The Strain” season 1 is now completed.

David Bradley’s a bit of a badass. Honestly never expected that.

Movie Review: The Invitation (2016)

Every year for the past few years, as we get closer to October (AKA the Month of Spooks), people keep recommending this fucking movie. So there, I finally got around to it. YOU HAPPY NOW?

Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for accepting… “The Invitation”.

On a night like any other, Will (Logan Marshall-Green) gets invited to a nice dinner at his ex-wife’s home. And as the night goes on, old memories keep coming back, all the while Will suspects that something might be going on. So now we have our story, and I think it’s an interesting one. What we have here is partly a character-driven drama, and partly a bit of a psychological thriller, and the blend makes for an utterly compelling and unpredictable experience that kept me on the edge of my seat from scene one. It is quite a slow burn, which might turn some viewers off, but for me it just added to the overall experience.

The characters in this are flawed, nuanced, and overall interesting. And I won’t go through them all, as that might ruin some of the reveals or interesting moments with them in case you’ll watch it. But the cast features people like Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Michelle Krusiec, Mike Doyle, Jordi Vilasuso, Michiel Huisman, John Carroll Lynch, and they all are great in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Theodore Shapiro, and I thought it was good. It is this low, almost droning score that creates a bit of an uncomfortable tension in some scenes, and adds emotional weight to others. It isn’t one I’m gonna find myself listening to in my spare time, but I thought it worked quite well for this movie.

“The Invitation” was directed by Karyn Kusama, and I think she did a fantastic job with it. She has a way of staying intimate to the main character while still encompassing everything going on around. To call the direction tight and focused would be underselling it. This is complemented by the outright stunning cinematography by Bobby Shore, which gives the movie an almost dreamlike vibe at times.

This movie has been generally well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

I can see now why people kept recommending me to watch “The Invitation”, because it’s fucking great. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Invitation” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Invitation” is now completed.

Maybe it’s a good thing that I don’t get invited to a lot of stuff.