Movie Review: E.T. (1982)

I can already hear some people mumbling “This isn’t horror, why the hell are you putting it in the Month of Spooks?”. And here’s my reasoning: It’s set during Halloween, which technically makes it a Halloween movie, which means that it works for Month of Spooks. Loophole, motherfuckers. So let’s talk about an alien non-invasion.

Ladies and gentlemen… “E.T.”!

The story follows a boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas) as he one day finds and befriend and alien that he goes on to call E.T. And so we follow Elliott as he tries to keep his new alien friend hidden while trying to find away to contact E.T’s species. So now we have our family friendly alien non-invasion plot. And even when I put my nostalgia aside, I fucking love this plot. It’s a fun twist on an alien coming down to earth, usually we get aliens coming down to murder all of us, but this is about a friendly little guy. And the people behind the scenes of this manage to make it endlessly engaging, fun, charming, and just plain entertaining. It’s perfectly paced while still telling an emotionally investing story.

The characters in this are fun, interesting, and overall entertaining. First up we have young Henry Thomas as Elliott, the child at the center of the story. He has a bit of a troubled life, with his parents getting separated, among other things. But he’s still a good kid, and it’s fun to see his evolution after he meets E.T. And Thomas is great in the role. Next we have Robert MacNaughton as Michael, Elliott’s older brother. He’s kind of a jerk, but he does get some decent development throughout the movie. And MacNaughton is really good in the role. Next we have a very young Drew Barrymore as Gertie, Elliott’s young sister. Not only is she absolutely adorable, but she’s also a fun character that adds a little extra charm to it all. And Barrymore is really good in the role. We also have Dee Wallace as Elliott’s mother. She’s under a lot of stress, and Elliott’s misadventures certainly isn’t helping things out. But she’s still a loving and caring mother. And Wallace is great in the role. Yeah, ’tis a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was of course composed by the one and only John Williams. And as one would expect from that legend, the score here is fucking fantastic. The theme is as memorable as all his other ones, and the rest of the score of course has that magical, whimsical, and emotional quality that Mr. Williams is so damn good at. I don’t need to say more, you know how good this score is.

Written by Melissa Mathison (R.I.P), this movie was directed by Steven Spielberg, and of course he did an excellent job with the direction. He has a way of creating magic and excitement from the smallest of scenes. It also helps that the writing here too is absolutely delightful. But seriously, Spielberg could direct a movie of someone reading the phone book and it would be charming. Probably starring Tom Hanks. Anyway, not only does he capture the childlike wonder of Elliott discovering this alien, he also manages to create some eerie and outright disturbing moments throughout. And the cinematography by Allen Daviau is absolutely breathtaking.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 98% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 91/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars and put it on his “Great Movies” list. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10. The movie won 4 Oscars in the categories of Best sound, Best visual effects, Best sound editing, and Best original score. IT was also nominated for an additional 5 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best director, Best original screenplay, Best cinematography, and Best film editing.

So yeah, “E.T.” is considered a classic for a reason. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and fantastic directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “E.T.” is a 9,88/10. Which means that if (of course) gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “E.T.” is now completed.

My blog, my Month of Spooks, my rules.

My Favorite Scenes: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind – Can’t Help Falling in Love

Hello people! I know, I know. Two posts the same day and also pretty tight on each other, it is annoying. But I felt like I had to share this one thing. As you know, this “series” was created for me to be able to share My Favorite Scenes from movies/TV with you guys. And I just reviewed a movie with an (in my opinion) incredible scene that I just had to share. It is a scene from the 2002 biographical crime-comedy “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” that features our main guy Chuck Barris (Sam Rockwell) looking at his life while someone at his game show/talents show sings “Can’t Help Falling in Love” by Elvis Presley (Pretty awfully if you ask me). But having the imagery in combination with the song jsut resonated with me so well that I couldn’t help falling in love with it (See what I did there?). I love this scene and I hope you do to… after you see the movie of course.
Enjoy!

Movie Review: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)

gUzZ67mUtK4TTR7NAyLYmh2kh5a

Biographical pictures (Or Bio-pics for you lazy folks) is one of the touchiest subjects within movies. People always complain “Ugh, that shit didn’t actually happen!” or “He wasn’t like that, you portrayed him wrong!”. I can see why people have a tendency to complain about things like that. So that is why I have chosen to look at movies from the standpoint of seeing it as a movie and judging it as a movie rather than judge it based on how exact it is to the actual events portrayed. So let’s look at a bio-pic that seems like it couldn’t have been real in any way. But in some aspects it apparently was…

Ladies and gentlemen… “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”.

This movie is about ascent and eventual decline of game show host and alleged CIA hitman Chuck Barris (Sam Rockwell). We get to see his life from his point of view as he tries to become a big and respected guy within the media industry while also being a hitman hired by Jim Byrd (George Clooney). We also get a look into his personal life with his girlfriend/future wife Penny (Drew Barrymore). The way this story is shown is through a mix of seeing the actors do what they are paid and then at a few points we get to see interviews with some people who have actually met Chuck. And all this help conjure up a very interesting and unconventional plot. I was very entertained by the plot of this movie and I loved seeing how it unfolded in this very unconventional style.

The characters are all very colorful, realistic and amazingly written. They all feel like real people in this big web of deception and entertainment. And I am so happy to say (like most times) that Sam Rockwell gives a terrific performance in this movie. He really brings Barris to life with a lot of energy, style and humanity. I mean, he shines in the scenes where he gets to show a lot of emotion in one way or another. And I can safely say that all actors in the movie were great.

The odd thing about this movie is that there is no original score for the movie. Usually you can find at least a few tracks that a composer has created, but there is no real “original score”. On the otehr hand there are a lot of licensed tracks from the era(s) that the movie is set in (Sidenote: The movie is set during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s). And the music used in the movie fits every scene perfectly and just helps set the mood throughout the movie. I loved listening to the music throughout.

This movie was directed by George Clooney and holy shit is it well-directed. I find it difficult to comprehend the fact that this was Clooney’s directorial debut. It is stylish and got a lot of falir and energy in it’s direction.  One example I can give where the direction combined with music and acting just shined and resonated deeply with me was a scene in the movie where Chuck was looking at his life a bit while “Can’t help falling in love with you) by Elvis was played in the background. That scene was just great. And after a little bit of research I found out one interesting thing about the real life story; Barris may or may not have made up the fact that he killed people for CIA… but I don’t care. He wrote it in his book, it made it into the movie and it made the plot a whole lot more interesting. Like I said, I judge the movie as a movie rather than judging it as a real life story. Just thought the fact could be fun to mention.

This movie was pretty well-received even if it didn’t do great at the box office. On Rotten Tomatoes the movie has a 79% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 67/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie a score of 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

“Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” has an unconventional and interesting plot with great writing, great acting, great use of music, splendid direction from George Clooney. Time for my final score. And the winner is… this one. My final score for “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” is a 9,84/10. It of course receives the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
49920178

“Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” is finally reviewed.

I am usually not a guy who tries to push my opinion onto people, but I feel like my thoughts on bio-pics are the way to go. Don’t believe it’s a good idea? Go watch John Flickster explain it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rI8HFD_YVw

 

Movie Review: Donnie Darko (2001)

021110202029donnie-darko-wallpaper_2
Mindfuck stories! I love them. Mainly because they make you think. That is why I am such a fan of stuff like “Matrix” and “Inception”. But if you don’t like watching these types of movies because you have to use your brain for once, then you have nothing to be here for. Seriously, shoo! Go away! But you other people, you can stay. Today we are taking a look at a movie that is a mindfuck but also a cult classic.

Bunnies and Rabbits…”Donnie Darko”.

The story of the movie follows young man (high school student) Donnie Darko (Jake Gyllenhaal, also roll credits). He lives with his father (Holmes Osborne), his mother (Mary McDonnell), his older sister (Maggie Gyllenhaal, irony) and his younger sister (Daveigh Chase). Donnie is for the most part a normal guy. Except for the fact that he has a tendency to sleepwalk quite a long distance from his house. But one night when a jet engine suddenly bursts through his room (while he’s out because of sleepwalking) he then starts having visions of this large, creepy rabbit named Frank (James Duval). Frank makes Donnie lose touch with reality and commit crimes. Thing is…only Donnie can see him and he doesn’t know where he comes from. And that is where I stop because otherwise I will get into spoilers. This story is like I previously said…a mindfuck. It is complex, weird and…yeah, weird. That is really all that can be said. It is not your typical run-of-the-mill mindfuck. This is one that stands out in the crowd like a large, creepy rabbit at a carneval. This movie makes “Fight Club” look normal! Yeah, achieving that is pretty big in itself. But still, I really liked the complex story…worth thinking about.

The characters…ah yes. No one is normal really in this movie (Except maybe Donnie’s science teacher, played by Noah Wyle). Which makes them really interesting to watch. One thing that also makes them interesting to watch is that they are played by actors who know what the hell they’re doing. I especially felt invested in the character of Donnie, not only was his character very well-written, but Jake Gyllenhaal does one hell of a job playing him…he was excellent. But in general…every character was interesting in one way or another. But Frank creeps me out…a whole lot.

The music…creepy. That is all you need to know. Okay, that wasn’t really fair to you, but I don’t know what to say. It is creepy and cold…kind of like the overall tone of the movie. It fits perfectly for the overall creepiness of the entire movie. And the end theme…the song they play during the final scene…I love that song. I had heard it prior to seeing the movie…but hearing it in the movie made me so happy. Not gonna spoil the scene itself…just saying…search “Gary Jules – Mad World”…you’ll see why I love it and think it’s so beautiful.

The camera work in the movie is excellent. It looks incredibly good and always makes a scene interesting. Richard Kelly did a great job with it. Also…what kind of sick motherfucker would come up with the design of Frank…it is terrifying…STOP!

Now for the reception “Donnie Darko” got. It was overall good reception. It first debuted on the Sundance Film Festival and got a lot of praise there. Then it came to regular cinemas and got even more praise there. Rotten Tomatoes has a “Fresh” cerftification and an 85% positive rating for it. Metacritic has 71/100 as their score for it. Fun thing: Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars in his original review  but raised it to 3/4 stars on his review of the director’s cut version 3 years later. And imdb.com has the score of 8,1/10 for it and has it ranked #193 on the Top 250 list.

My opinions on a few aspects of the movie are given. It is clever, complex and creepy (The 3 C’s). My final score is a 9,56/10 and a recommendation to buy in combination with the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
49920178
I thoroughly enjoyed “Donnie Darko” and highly recommend it.

Review of “Donnie Darko” is completed.

Still can’t believe I found a movie that makes “Fight Club” look normal.

Movie Review: The Wedding Singer (1998)

Image
Adam Sandler, love or hate the guy. He has made some missteps during his 20+ year long career. A few of those include movies like “Jack & Jill” and “That’s my Boy”. But he has made some generally decent ones like “Bedtime Stories” and “Funny People” (take note I haven’t seen “Punch, Drunk, Love” yet). But today we are looking at something slightly different. Something that has gotten average ratings.

Ladies and Gentlemen…”The Wedding Singer”.

Robbie (Adam Sandler) is a wedding singer (Roll credits). He is one of the more popular ones. Soon he is going to get married himself…problem is his fiancée (Angela Featherstone) left him at the altar on the special day. And that puts him in a deep depression. While on the other end on the spectrum we have Robbie’s good friend Julia (Drew Barrymore) who wants to get married while her fiancé Glenn (Matthew Glave) is not too caring about it (at first). So after a few things involving the depression and Robbie trying to get back to work he realises something…he might have a small thing for Julia. So we see his struggle with trying to deal with his feelings for Julia while she looks all happy that she is gonna get married. Now this story sounds all sappy and cliché and boring and all that fun shit…and it is. But it is so fun to watch since it is not as stupid as a lot of Sandler’s other movies and not as lame as most romantic comedies. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and found it not only easy to follow, but also somewhat sweet and fun.

The characters are basically cardboard cutouts for this type of movie with the exception of Sandler and Barrymore…mainly because they are Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. BUT even though most other characters are cardboard cutouts I did find them entertaining to watch. They were well acted and had some decent enough writing. And the chemistry between Sandler and Barrymore was honestly really good, it was probably one of the best parts of the movie.

The music in this movie is something else…and by that I mean it is a soundtrack I love. Why? It is based on 80’s rock/pop/stuff music…and I love that shit. There was a crap-ton of songs I recognized in this movie and I always find it amuzing when that type of stuff happens. There were a few original tracks here and there…but it was nothing special (not calling it bad). Soooooo yeah…the music was good.

I don’t really have much to say here. The movie is set in the 80’s, so it means you will see a lot of old haircuts and cars and other scary things. This movie also has an awesome scene featuring Billy Idol…yeah.

Reception for the movie wasn’t too shabby. Rotten Tomatoes currently has a 67% rating for it. Metacritic has the score of 59/100. Roger Ebert didn’t seem to enjoy this movie considering he gave it a 1/4 star rating. imdb.com has given this the score of 6,8/10.

I have given one or two opinions of mine about the movie and I am ready to hand out my score for it. “The Wedding Singer” gets an inofficially official rating of 8,56/10 and a recommendation to add it to you DVD/Blu-Ray/VHS collection. It is not the most original or best comedy ever…but it is entertaining enough to warrant a buy.

“The Wedding Singer” is now reviewed.

I honestly have nothing good to end this with.