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…

Movie Review: Warcraft (2016)

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Before we begin the review itself I just want to say  that I am no fan of the video games that this is based on. So any fanservice in this movie would kind of fly past me and wouldn’t change my judgment of anything. Just wanted to get it out of the way. Now, let’s do this shit.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Warcraft”.

Orcs have gone through a magic portal into the world of Azeroth, because their own world went to shit. The leader of the orcs, Gul’dan (Daniel Wu), will do anything to take over Azeroth. However, one of the other high(ish) ranking orcs named Durotan (Toby Kebbell) thinks that Gul’dan’s ways are wrong, and sort of sides with the humans to try to stop Gul’dan and his evil ways. Now this is some really interesting stuff. The basic idea is really interesting, as it presents both the human side and the orc side of things here. It’s not like “Human good, orc bad”, it’s a lot more grey than that, which is something I really liked about it. However, to be completely honest, the plot isn’t perfect. My main problem here is really the same as my main issue with the first “Harry Potter” movie. It sets up this world, a lot of the mythology existing in it, and the factions/characters, which kind of ruins the pacing a bit. The plot that we get presented is good, but the pacing is not.

The characters here are… okay. I never felt like I truly cared about any of them, except for maybe one of them. And that one was Durotan, the orc we follow for a good amount of the movie. His motivations were good and I did care about him. And Toby Kebbell, with the motion capture and voice acting was great in the role. Travis Fimmel played the main human character, Anduin Lothar, and I think he did a pretty good job. Paula Patton played a half human/half orc character named Garona, and she was good in her role. Ben Schnetzer played a young mage in the movie and he was okay. I felt like he was in the movie a bit too much, not because of his performance, but because there was just something about his character. We also got supporting performances from people like Ben Foster, Rob Kazinsky, Clancy Brown, Dominic Cooper, and Ruth Negga, all of whom did a pretty good job.

The music was composed by Ramin Djawadi and it was pretty damn badass. It was this big and epic orchestral score that worked really well in the movie, elevating a good amount of scenes, making some of them more (in lack of a better word) epic.

This movie was directed by Duncan Jones, a man who not only made two sci-fi movies I love, but who’s also apparently a big fan of the games. So with that knowledge I had hopes that it would be a well directed movie… and I was right. It’s a very well directed movie, the shots look great. Speaking of things looking great, let’s talk about the visual effects. Jesus fucking Christ, the effects here look great. The orcs look very realistic, and they blend very well with the human characters. Which brings me to the action scenes, all being really fun, exciting, and badass. And my guess is that they wouldn’t really have been as good if a different director would have taken it on.

This movie has not been the most well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 28% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 32/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

“Warcraft” is far from a perfect movie, but it’s definitely one of the better video game movies out there. I can see the potential in a film franchise here. It has a good plot, okay characters, pretty good performances, really good music, great directing/action, and great visual effects. However it is bogged down a bit by poor pacing and the fact that I didn’t care too much about msot of the characters. Time for my final score. *rwlrwlrwlrwl*. My final score for “Warcraft” is an 8,55/10. So I’d say that it is worth buying.
Worth buying

My review of “Warcraft” is now completed.

Weird to see both Jesse (Dominic Cooper) and Tulip (Ruth Negga) from “Preacher” in this movie…

My Top 20 Directors

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Yesterday I asked you guys to give me ideas for a countdown, well I thank you for the contributions even if it only was one person who did it. I got the suggestion “Top 10 Favorite Actors/Actresses”. While that is a great idea, I realized that it would be too difficult for me to make a list for that topic. So it made me think of maybe talking about my favorite directors. This would be a little easier for me to figure out. So let’s go over the rules.

Rule #1: Same as always; This is my list featuring my opinions, so no bitching allowed.

Rule #2: For a director to be abled to be featured here I have to have seen at least two of said director’s movies (And of course enjoyed them). So if you don’t see a certain director on the list, then you know why.

Rule #3: The directors have to have directed at least two movies. I will not include people who have only directed episodes of TV-shows, despite how great they are.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, My Top 20 Favorite Directors!

Before we officially begin, let’s do a few honorable mentions. These are director’s I still really like, but didn’t really make it into the list. J.J. Abrams, Guy Ritchie, Peter Jackson, Spike Lee, Gus Van Sant, David O. Russell, Martin McDonagh and David Ayer. Those were a lot of honorable mentions, but that’s how life is.

Number 20: Don Siegel.

Some of you probably say “Who?”. Well if the picture didn’t give it away, Don Siegel is the director of “Dirty Harry”, a classic crime/action movie. He also the directed the pretty great “Escape From Alcatraz”, also starring Clint Eastwood. Those are the only movies I have seen from him and I am impressed by him.

Number 19: John Carpenter.
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The strange thing about Carpenter is that it’s only recently that I have begun to really appreciate him as a director. Sure, when I was younger I watched both “Halloween” and “Christine” and enjoyed them both, but it’s not until now that I really feel like I can say that I like him as a director. You know, thanks to movies like “The Thing”, “Escape From New York” and “They Live”.

Number 18: Joel and Ethan Coen.
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Some would call this cheating, but film buffs would know that what I am doing is perfectly correct. I mean, these two always direct movies together, that is kind of their thing. But at the same time it might be a little controversial putting them on this spot on the list considering how beloved they are. But they are still on the list for a reason; some great fucking movies. The ones I am mainly talking about are “O, Brothers Where Art Thou”, “The Big Lebowski”, “True Grit” and “No Country For Old Men”. The last one I should probably rewatch because it has been a few years since last time.

Number 17: James Cameron.
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This is a director who once upon a time was known as one of the greatest. Now I feel like he might be losing his mind… but only a little bit. What the hell do I mean? well he has plans to direct a bunch of sequels to “Avatar” over the coming years. “Avatar” is not a bad movie, it’s just that a bunch of sequels feels unnecessary. But at least we still have a ton of Cameron classics like “The Terminator”, “Aliens”, “Terminator 2”, “True Lies” and “Titanic”.

Number 16: Hayao Miyazaki.
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The amount of creative and visually amazing animated movies this man has made is incredible. He has been making animated movies for so long and has retired and un-retired so many times that you never know when he actually will retire fully. Well, at least we know he has given us a ton of amazing animated features such as “Spirited Away”, “Howl’s Moving Castle” and “Princess Mononoke”.

Number 15: Michael Mann.
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This is a director who has made some pretty cool thrillers. He also makes some of the best shootouts in all of cinema. That’s right, Michael Mann comes in at number 15 because he has made some pretty great movies (in my opinion). Like I said, the shootouts in his movies are awesome, but the overall shots in his movies look amazing. Let me give you a few examples of great movies by him; “Heat”, “The Insider” and “Collateral”.

Number 14: Ben Affleck.
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Though he has only directed three movies he still fits perfectly into this list. Why? Because the movies he have directed are pretty fucking awesome. Not only are they very dark in nature, but they also feel realistic and plausible, something a lot of directors might struggle with. Make fun of his past however much you want, but his present is something to simply applaud. Thank you Mr. Affleck for your amazing movies “Gone Baby Gone”, “The Town” and “Argo”.

Number 13: Richard Donner.
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Not enough people give this man the love he deserves. He has come out with some pretty good movies that people actually admit to loving… but they never give any credit to the man who truly brought them to life. Maybe you’ll appreciate him more if I tell you that he is the man who gave us “Superman” in 1978. He is also the man behind the “Lethal Weapon” movies, which you should know I really like.

Number 12: Denis Villeneuve.
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Despite only having seen two of his movies, I am still incredibly impressed by him. Not only has he shown great promise as a director, but the movies themselves are two movies that I have really grown to absolutely adore. This has led me to be more than hyped to see his new/coming movies “Sicario”. But I still love his two movies “Prisoners” and “Enemy”.

Number 11: Clint Eastwood.
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You’d probably assume I’d put this man, myth and legend higher on the list. But remember, this list is for directing, not acting. So while I like a fair amount of movies he has directed, there are directors I enjoy more than him. But with that said, I still love him as a director thanks to movies like “Unforgiven”, “The Outlaw Josey Wales”, “Gran Torino”, “Mystic River” and “American Sniper”.

Number 10: Ridley Scott.
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One of the most influential film makers of the past 50 years, Ridley Scott is an obvious addition to this list. Sure, in recent years he have had some misfires, but I still think he is a great director who has created some truly great movies. Which is why I am looking forward to his new movie “The Martian”. But until then I will have to settle with movies like “Alien”, “Blade Runner”, “Gladiator”, “American Gangster” and “Prometheus” (Yes, I liked “Prometheus”, deal with it).

Number 9: Edgar Wright.
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Is this a surprise? A director who has made some of the most hilarious and awesome movies of the past 15 years? It shouldn’t be a surprise because you should all know that he’s great. Thank you “Shaun of the Dead”, “Hot Fuzz”, “The World’s End” and “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World”.

Number 8: Martin Scorsese.
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Martin Scorsese is a director who has been making movies since the late 60’s and is still going strong. Some would argue stronger than ever. Known for his unapologetic and give-no-shit style of film making, he has made a lot of movies you probably shouldn’t see with your grandma. Unless your grandma is a fucking badass, then go ahead and show her movies like “Taxi Driver”, “The Departed”, “Wolf of Wall Street” and “Shutter Island”.

Number 7: Bryan Singer.
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The man who has directed more “X-Men” movies than anyone else makes it onto the number 7 spot on my list. Hell, with “X-Men: Apocalypse” coming out next year he has made four movies in the series (which isn’t bad at all). But we must not forget his early masterpiece “The Usual Suspects”, since that is what gave us Mr. Singer.

Number 6: Quentin Tarantino.
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What? You think I’d forget about this guy? Not in a million years! In fact, his give-no-fuck style of film making is so unique and strong that it has burnt itself into my head. He not only has skills as a director, but he is also an amazing screenwriter. I mean, the reason people watch his movies is to listen to the amazingly entertaining dialogue. Anyway, I don’t think anyone would be able to forget him thanks to his awesome movies, such as “Pulp Fiction”, “Inglourious Basterds” and “Reservoir Dogs”.

Number 5: Duncan Jones.
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Almost there guys. At number five we see director Duncan Jones (Sidenote: Son of David Bowie). Sure he has only directed two movies, but those two have had such an impact on me that they take up as much space as seven movies. The two movies in question are “Moon” and “Source Code”. Also, he is currently directing the “Warcraft” movie which will come out summer 2016 and I’m not gonna lie… I am actually a little excited thanks to his great track record.

Number 4: Steven Spielberg.
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I don’t think I have to explain why Mr. Spielberg is on this list, you all know why he is here. I also don’t really have to mention any of his movies because you all know at least a bunch of his movies that you like/love. But I can at least say that my favorite of his movies is “Catch Me If You Can”.

Number 3: Christopher Nolan.
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Whether it’s the confusing nature of “Memento” or the complex space stuff of “Interstellar” or the dark action of “The Dark Knight” trilogy, Nolan always finds a way to captivate audiences which is why he is on my list. He has made some movies that I truly love. I mean, “Inception” is one of my Top 10 movies of all time. And I love his “Batman” movies a lot. And “Interstellar” was my msot anticipated movie of 2014, so you know that he had to be on  this list.

Number 2: Sergio Leone.
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At second place we find the Italian director of some of the greatest, if not the greatest, western films of all time. I mean, as soon as I saw that they had released a new DVD pack featuring his “Man With No Name” trilogy, I immediately knew I had to buy it. This is a director who have made a ton of great movies and the ones I have seen are movies I constantly want to return to even though I haven’t done that yet. His movies has had such an impact on me and I simply adore the man. Rest in peace, signore Leone.

NUMBER 1: DAVID FINCHER!
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You should’ve figured this out when you started reading this post. Time and time again I have stated how much I absolutely love this guy as a director. Not only does he show that he has perfect control over his actors and everything else on set, but his movies are all so refreshing to see since they aren’t your typical studio movies. His movies are dark, yet accessible. He have also made some of my favorite movies of all tiem such as “Gone Girl” and “Se7en” (se-seven-en). He also made my all time favorite movie “Fight Club”. This is a man who I have an incredible amount of respect for and he is my favorite director.

So that was my list. Did you enjoy it? Who is your favorite director? Maybe like this post, maybe not, it’s up to you. Anyway, I’m done here.

Have a good one.

 

 

Movie Review: Moon (2009)

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I am a huge fan of sci-fi movies. Of course it started pretty early with “Star Wars” when I was about six. And after that I have seen a whole bunch more sci-fi movies that have just made me love them even more. It especially pleases me when I find a sci-fi movie that happens to be pretty different from other ones. A pretty good example was last year’s “Interstellar”. And today we are taking a look at a pretty different sci-fi movie.

Men and women… “Moon”.

In this movie science has found a way to stop energy problems by mining gases… on the moon! And we get to follow astronaut Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) who works with mining these gases. He works there with his AI computer GERTY (Kevin Spacey, hehe… Space-y). But soon Sam’s three year contract is going out and he will get to go home to his family. But during these remaining two weeks he starts to discover some secrets he never thought he would find. And I will not say anymore as this is a plot best experienced. That’s right, I fucking loved the plot to this movie! It was deep, it was suspenseful and it threw a few pretty good curve balls.

The character of Sam Bell is troubled in a few ways and I’m not saying more about that. What I can say however is that Sam Rockwell was incredible! I have been a fan of his for quite some times now but none of his other performances I have seen have been this fantastic! So many little nuances in his performance. He also portrayed a lot of different emotions perfectly. And Kevin Spacey (Space-y… hehe) was good as this AI. When playing an artificial intelligence you don’t have to pull off many emotions and therefore it wasn’t fantastic, but it was still good. What, you expected GERTY to sound like Verbal Kint or something?

The score for the movie was done by Clint Mansell and once again he delivered. The music is atmospheric, haunting and emotional all at once. All thanks to Mansell’s fantastic composition. And the classic Mansell piano makes a triumphant return in this movie!

This movie was the directorial debut of Duncan Jones and holy shit did he make a great first impression. He has perfect control over the camera work in this movie and makes everything look great. The direction is also kind suspenseful. Fun fact: Duncan Jones is actually the son of musician David Bowie… just wanted to mention that. You know what else I can praise? The sets and visual effects. Both of those things were incredible in the movie! The sets look great and had been perfectly set up! And the visual effects were breathtaking to say the least. Sure, “Interstellar” looked a little better, but these were still pretty fucking great. And the writing in the movie was also really good, the dialogue that occasionally occured was great.

This is a pretty well-received movie. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 67/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com the movie has a score of 8,0/10.

Guys… “Moon” has a fantastic plot, a fantastic performance from Sam Rockwell, a fantastic score by Clint Mansell and some of the greatest direction/visual effects/sets I have ever seen. TIme for my final score. *Cough* My final score for “Moon” is a 9,90/10. I loved everything about it and of course it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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“Moon” is now reviewed.

Kevin Space-y… hehe…