Great Music #24

Hi there! I’m back to talk about some music I like. So here we go.

So the song I’ve picked today is a metal one. It’s “Confusion” by Metallica, a band I’ve praised about six billion times on this blog and on social media and in real life. But I can’t help it, they jsut make so much awesome stuff. And I have two reasons why I’ve chosen “Confusion” for today. Number 1: It’s a really good song by one of my favorite bands. Two: I want to talk about the music video. Let’s start with the story of this thing. “Confusion” is a song about a soldier who comes home from war and gets an average job and then these two worlds start blurring together because this person has PTSD. Metallica have never eschewed from having deep and serious themes in their song, so this is nothing new. What is really interesting here is the video. Sure, it’s basically just a video version of the song, that’s been done millions of times before. What’s so special about this one? Look at the video. The way it’s shot, the way it’s paced… it’s fucking fantastic. The video for “Confusion” was directed by Claire Marie Vogel, a woman who has done a lot of photography and also directed a fair amount of music videos. And just looking at the video for “Confusion” gives me the impression that she’ has a lot of talent. The video is just under seven minutes, and if she can make something that short as dramatic and intense as it is, imagine what she could do with an entire movie! People are always talking about how the movie industry (Hollywood especially) needs more women making the things. I am all for that. Let’s start with getting Claire Marie Vogel some movie gigs… please.
Have a good one and enjoy!

We now have a trailer for “Logan”!

Holy. Fucking. Shit. You guys.

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen! We now (finally) have a trailer for “Logan”, AKA “Wolverine 3” for those who maybe didn’t know. And I got a few things to say here. So without further ado, let’s talk about it.

So this is basically the “Old Man Logan” story, only with way less Marvel characters because rights and shit. But it of course follows Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) as he is broken, beat, and scarred (thank you, Metallica). Thi is a story set further into the future and it follows Logan as he goes through one last “adventure” with a broken Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and a little girl (Sienna Novikov). I of course put quotation marks around the word adventure because this shit is serious. From the tone conveyed through the directing and the acting, to the song used being “Hurt” by Johnny Cash. Seriously, this is some heavy stuff that of course will have some badass action in it. So what do I like about it? Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, always reliable for good performances, and this trailer shows it. I also like what I see in terms of the action we get in this trailer. I am also glad that they got James Mangold to direct this one, because he i a fantastic director. From the really good “Walk the Line”, to the fantastic “3:10 to Yuma”, to “The Wolverine” in 2013. I am also interested to see what they’ll do with this since it’s confirmed to be Rated R. Wolverine is a violent character, so an R-rating for a gritty “Old Man Logan” type story makes a lot of sense actually. I also think it’s a bit funny how the trailer song is Johnny Cash’s version of “Hurt”, since James Mangold directed “Walk the Line” which is a movie about Johnny Cash. Besides that, I am excited! This movie looks great, and I am definitely going to go see this when it comes out. “Logan” is set to come out in early March of 2017.

So what are your thoughts? Are you guys looking forward to “Logan”? And what’s your favorite James Mangold movie? Leave any and all answers in the comments!
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer!

Movie Review: Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)

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Folk music, a genre that these days got a pretty mixed reception. Some love it, some hate it and then we have some stuck in the middle type of people. It’s always interesting to know what people think of stuff like that. What are your thoughts? Share ’em in the comments.

Ladies and gentlemen, let us go… “Inside Llewyn Davis”.

It’s the early 1960’s and we follow folk musician Llewyn Davis (Oscar Isaac) as he deals with all kinds of hardships throughout this week of his life. And I have to say that it was a very interesting and entertaining watch. The stroy really makes you feel for Llewyn as he goes through all of these terrible things. And I don’t mean terrible things in the usual Coen brothers’ sense, but more as in he can’t seem to catch a break. It’s a very personal story that I somehow related to despite not being a shit-out-of-luck musician. It was great.

The characters are all very interesting, entertaining and realistic. Oscar Isaac was absolutely phenomenal as this broken man who’s just trying to make a living through his passion for folk music. After seeing Isaac in this movie and a bunch other over the past two(ish) years I think I am justified in saying that he’s become one of my favorite actors. Anyhow, we have a bunch more great people in this movie. Carey Mulligan (Sidenote: whom Isaac played together with in “Drive”) plays a friend of Llewyn’s and she is terrific in this movie. Justin Timberlake plays her boyfriend and he is also really good in this movie. Then we have a ton of other great supporting actors who I will only mention quickly because otherwise we’d be here all day. *DEEP BREATH*. Adam Driver, John Goodman, Garrett Hedlund, Stark Sands, F. Murray Abraham and a lot more.

Let’s just get this out of the way: If you strongly hate folk music, you’re absolutely gonna hate the soundtrack to this movie. The entire soundtrack is basically folk music. I personally kind of like it. I wouldn’t say that I absolutely lvoe folk music overall, but I do think the songs used in this movie were really good and fit the movie very well. I guess one of the main reasons why I really liked the songs here is because they are terrifically performed by the actors in the movie. Yeah… they do that. Oscar Isaac, Justin Timberlake,  Adam Driver… they all perform the songs in this movie. Sure, some songs take help from outside sources (such as Marcus Mumford), but for the most part they are performed by the actors in the movie.

Like I said before, this movie was directed by the Coen brothers and as with everything I’ve seen from them, this is very well directed. It’s a little sad though that their regular cinematographer, Roger Deakins, was unavailable at the time. But the guy they got instead still did a fantastic job with it and the movie looks really great and interesting. And as per usual, the Coen’s sharp writing is here and it’s as great as ever. What I do really like about it is not only that it’s quick and witty, but also how it can so easily switch between serious and melancholic to darkly hilarious without fucking everything up. And every piece of dialogue seems so real and genuine which adds to the greatness of it.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 92/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10. The movie was also nominated for 2 Oscars in the categories of Best Cinematography and Best Sound Mixing. 

“Inside Llewyn Davis” is a very funny yet dramatic movie featuring a great story, fantastic performances, great music, excellent directing & cinematography and terrific writing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Inside Llewyn Davis” is a 9,88/10. That means it msot definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Inside Llewyn Davis” is now completed.

Oscar Isaac, you awesome man.

 

Documentary Review: Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father (2008)

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Disclaimer: Trying my hand at reviewing documentaries as well. And for that I am using a slightly different format. Yeah… disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father”.

What this documentary is about is filmmaker Kurt Kuenne going around interviewing people who have met, known and loved his childhood friend, Dr. Andrew Bagby. That idea seems very random at first, but you also get to know why he does this. He does this because of a tragic incident where Andrew was murdered by his ex-girlfriend Shirley Turner… who in a turn of events also happened to be pregnant with his child. So we get to see Kurt go around and interview all of these people from Andrew’s life but we also get to see how a lot of people, including Andrew’s parents trying to change the legal system for the better. And with that said, this story was not only well put together but is was also really emotional. This is a movie that obviously was very personal to Kurt and everyone else involved and I think that is what really made it all come together so well. If it had been done by any other random filmmaker trying to make something out of this I don’t think it would have been as powerful or genuine. Throughout the entire thing you get to feel all emotions you can think; sadness, joy, anger, you name it. And I am not going to lie, this movie made me cry… a lot. Rarely do I ever feel this emotionally distraught. While it was difficult at times, I still really ‘”enjoyed” (Sidenote: In lack of a better word) seeing this unfold.

One thing that really stood out to me in the documentary was the music. Not only was it fantastic, but it also really helped set the mood in a neat way. There were times when the music helped build a bit of suspense to then build up to some twist/revelation. Then there was also the music that was very emotional with a mix of strings and piano. And while most people would call that a cheap trick to get people emotional, I feel like it just worked for the movie in the right way. To really sum it up… the score for the movie was fantastic in every way.

The editing in this movie is quick, aggressive and never lingers on anything for too long. Kuenne really showed his talents as a filmmaker with this documentary. Getting good shots while filming, using cool little editing tricks to keep it interesting and also being able to switch between several people/situations with ease. I got nothing else really.

Yes, reception of said media will have a return in documentary reviews as well. That is what happens, shut up. Anyway, a lot of people seemed to like this. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a really high rating with a 94% positive rating (Sidenote: 100% if you go by “Top Critics” only). On Metacritic it has a score of 82/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,6/10 (Damn, dude).

I really feel like this documentary is a good way of testing if you are able to feel emotions or not. And I can safely say that it managed to get to me and get me all emotional. With great filmmaking, a great score and genuine emotion behind everything in this movie I am ready to hand it my final score. My final score for “Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father” is a 9,89/10. Of course it then gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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Review of “Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father” if completed.

If you want to know more about this, go visit http://www.dearzachary.com/ and have a look.

 

Movie Review: End of Watch (2012)

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Cops are an important part of our society. Sure, a lot of them are corrupted and take bribes and some have shot innocent people (mostly black people for whatever reason) without reason, in turn killing them. But there are a few cops out there who actually do their fucking job properly. There are also a lot of movies about cops out there… most of them portraying cops as these badasses who can’t be beaten. It is incredibly rare to find a cop movie with some kind of realistic portrayal of the officers out there. But back in 2012 there came a movie that people claimed was a realistic portrayal of some officers. Well we will see about that in my review of said movie!

Sirs and ma’ams… “End of Watch”.

This movie is done in a sort of documenary(ish) way and follows police officers Brian Taylor (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Mike Zavala (Michael Peña). Like I said, they are two police officers and this movie follows their everyday job as officers. You know, patrolling the streets, investigating things and doing some paperwork. But this movie is more about the friendship between the two men and how they as officers often have to deal with tough situations on a day-to-day basis. They even get involved in a little trouble with a certain Mexican-American gang. And what realle sells this movie to me is the realism of the situations and how they are handled. As you may have guessed, I was very interested in the story of this movie. I thought it was well-written, realistic but most importantly; interesting. I really enjoyed watching these two go through their lives and how they would make it through these situations. The story… fucking A-grade writing here!

The characters in this movie didn’t really feel like characters at all to me. They honestly felt like real people, not just actors doing another role even though I was aware that they are actors playing a fictional character. They were not only portrayed so fantastically and realistically, but they were also superbly written! Just listening to the dialogue in this movie was great even though nothing really happened other than people talking. I also gotta give major praise to Gyllenhaal and Peña because not only were their performances fantastic in this movie, but their chemistry was fantastic as well! They really felt like they were real friends and not just two actors sharing time on screen. The dialogue sessions between these two were honestly some of the best scenes in movie history (in my opinion). They were well-written, well-acted, hilarious and even a little bit deep. So yeah, the characters in this movie… realistically portrayed and very well-written.

The music was fantastic in this movie. There weren’t really any new tracks for it, only licensed tracks… but I didn’t mind. The soundtrack really fit the feel that South Central Los Angeles gave away. They were also very fun to listen to because of how nice you could join in on the groove of them. The tracks also worked fantastically with the different situations they and the characters took part in. Also, I am all for Latino pop/rap music (which there was a good amount of in this movie).

Fun fact about his movie: The actors got to come along with real cops to get the feel of how they work while they were preparing for this movie. They rode with them on different jobs to get the feel of it. They also took part in five months of intensive training for their roles. Now wasn’t that interesting? Also, this is one of the few films that have honestly made me cry. It is not easy to make me cry with the help of a movie. And I don’t mean in the “shed a tear” kind of way, but properly cry. Not gonna spoil what happened, but I seriously cried like a little kid… good job movie.

“End of Watch” is one of those movies that got good reception all across the board (except for those assholes who hate everything that is considered good). On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 85% score with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a 68/100. Roger Ebert really liked it, giving it 4/4 stars and said:

“one of the best police movies in recent years, a virtuoso fusion of performances and often startling action” 

On imdb.com this movie has a score of 7,7/10.

With some great performances, well-written story, well-written dialogue, great music, great action and some of the best on-screen chemistry I have ever seen in a movie (Gyllenhaal and Peña), this movie is one I really liked. Time for the final score. My final score for “End of Watch” is a 9,81/10 which grants it the “SEAL OF APPRVOAL!”
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“End of Watch” is now reviewed.

Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do, whatcha gonna do when they co… sorry.

Movie Review: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014)

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Sequels are probably the one thing (besides shitty horror movies and comedies) that is the most common in our modern movie world. Some are good, some are bad (Cough, cough, Transformers, cough!). And today we are taking a look at the sequel to the excellent “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (Still a mouthful).

APES!…”Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”.

Just so you know, this review will contain some spoilers for “Rise of the…” considering this is a sequel. So if you have not seen that movie yet I suggest you go watch that first and come back when you have done that. Okay, for the rest of you people who had the common sense to watch “Rise of the…” first…let’s go!
The story is set 10 years after the events of the previous movie. The so called “Simian Flu” eradicated most of humanity except for a few who apparently were immune. A few of these were our important (main) characters Malcolm (Jason Clarke), Dreyfus (Gary Oldman), Ellie (Keri Russell) and Alexander (Kodi Smith-McPhee). On the other side of the spectrum we have the a giant community of apes led by Caesar (Andy Serkis). Not only is Caesar the leader of all apes…he is also a husband/father. But of course his leadership is threatened by not only war with the humans (if that would happen) and his servant and “friend” Koba (Toby Kebbell). The humans want to restore power to their town with the help of a nearby dam. Problem is that a giant ape “army” (using the word loosely) between them and the dam. But as Malcolm want to make peace with the apes to work in peace, Dreyfus having some problem with that and Koba having something bad in mind, shit will go down. Now that is kind of the story in a nutshell without spoilers. I am keeping it as simple as possible (which is more difficult than it seems) to not spoil anything. Because this story might have a kind of predictable idea…the execution is strangely more awesome. It is perfectly executed and always keeps you interested (at least in my case). This movie is one that some people have called “boring”…but I disagree. Those people probably expected non-stop action and did not like when there would be good amount of drama. Oh yeah…it is the “Drive” situation again. And once again I love how it turned out and don’t care that there is a good amount of drama. The drama only makes it better…kind of like “Drive” (Comparisons on two different types of movies…jeez).

The characters are portrayed very realistically. They are not as cheesy as in the 1967 original…but also not trying to be too dramatic. All characters are incredibly human (Yes, even the apes). I have never seen a movie where I have seen primates show emotions and make it seem so realistic. That is the only word to describe the characters here really…realistic (Again…yes, even the apes). Malcolm is the guy who only wants peace between humans and apes but also to help humanity survive by getting the dam running. Dreyfus does not have a problem shooting the apes and even talking about it in public. Then we have Caesar…oh my god, give Andy Serkis his fucking Oscar already. I don’t care what the academy thinks about performance capture…give Serkis his god damn Oscar already!

The score is fantastic. A lot of epic tracks are of course in there for the more action-based bits, but it also features some calmer tracks to work with the drama and slower bits. Composer Michael Giacchino did a fantastic job with the soundtrack and has my utmost respect and admiration.

The CGI in this movie is breathtaking…even more so than in the pervious movie. It is so good. I am not kidding, you can look at this movie and your jaw will drop to the floor. I wouldn’t get surprised if it got an Oscar nomination for best Visual Effects. Also, the camera work is fucking magnificent in general. Matt Reeves know how to make a great looking movie and I love that. And if I can be honest for one second, there was a scene in the movie, not saying which…that made me cry. Not like “Oh no…I am crying my eyes out”. More like “I just shed a tear”. If a movie succeeds in doing that, then it does something right.

The recpetion for “Dawn of the…” has been nothing but general praise (Unless you count the few assholes who calls it boring). Rotten Tomatoes has a 91% positive rating with a “Fresh” Certification. Metacritic has 79/100 as score. imdb.com has 8,5/10 as main score and the movie is ranked #155 on the Top 250 list.

I have given my primitive opinions on a few things that this movie has to offer. And now I am willing to hand out my final score. My score for “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is a 9,70/10 and a recommendation to buy it when it comes out. But wait, with that score also means, *gasp*…the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
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“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” is now reviewed. I honestly think it is slightly superior to the previous one.

APES! TOGETHER! STRONG!