Movie Review: The Abyss (1989)

Sci-fi. A genre that I hold very closely to my heart. From “Star Wars” to “Blade Runner” to “Ex Machina”, there’s a ton of movies/shows/books/games/etc. within the genre. And one of the main reasons why I adore the genre so much is that there are so many kinds of stories that can be told within the genre. From pew pew laser action to brain-y AI philosophizing, it’s a versatile genre. So let’s explore another one of its depths.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Abyss”.

After an American nuclear submarine mysteriously sinks to the bottom of the ocean, a diving crew gets tasked with diving down there to investigate what might have happened to it. And soon they discover something they never expected to find down there.  So now we have our underwater thriller with a potential sci-fi twist. And yeah, this plot is great. What we have here is not just people finding something strange and never before seen, but it’s also about people stuck in a claustrophobic situation and how that affects them. And it makes the plot so much deeper. The plot here is tense, engaging, awe-inspiring, and just overall enjoyable.

The characters in this are all interesting and overall entertaining. First up we have Ed Harris as Bud Brigman, who is more or less the leader of the dive team. He’s a man willing to do a lot to get the job done, but he also cares deeply for his crew, never wanting to push them too far. He’s an interesting character who gets some decent development throughout. And Ed Harris is of course great in the role. Next we have Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Lindsey, the somewhat estranged wife of Harris’ Bud. She’s quick-witted, smart, and quite tough, making her quite an enjoyable foil to the rest of the cast. And Mastrantonio is great in the role. Next we have Michael Biehn as Lieutenant Coffey, the leader of some Navy SEALs who have been tasked with helping out on this dive. He’s tough and a little bit of a dick, but he’s not a straight up bad person. And he gets some really interesting development through the movie that I won’t explain any further. And Biehn is great in the role, it’s probably the best I’ve ever seen him. And we get some supporting performances from people like Leo Burmester, Todd Graff, Kimberly Scott, John Bedford Lloyd, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Alan Silvestri, and it was absolutely fantastic. His score has a way of evoking a sense of awe and wonder, as well as building tension. It captures many kinds of emotions, and just overall elevates the movie quite a bit. It’s seriously fantastic.

“The Abyss” was written and directed by James Cameron, and he did a great job with all that. His directing really evokes that sense of claustrophobia that a movie set under the sea should be able to bring. And this sense of claustrophobia of course gives the movie some really solid suspense that kept me on the edge of my seat for a good chunk of it. And Mikael Salomon’s cinematography is stunning, especially in the many ways it plays around with lighting. Combine that with the absolutely amazing visual effects, and you got one of the most visually stunning movies around.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 62/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best Visual Effects. It was also nominated for an additional 3 Oscars in the categories of Best Cinematography, Best Set Decoration, and Best Sound.

“The Abyss” is a highly ambitious movie from James Cameron, and I think it worked out incredibly well. It has a great plot, good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and fantastic directing/cinematography/visual effects. Time for my final score. *Blub*. My final score for “The Abyss” is a 9,86/10. Which of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Abyss” is now completed.

Thank god that it wasn’t… abyssmal.

Movie Review: Man on a Ledge (2012)

I am not very fond of heights. Sure, it could lead to a pretty awesome view or two, but overall I don’t see the purpose of being high up. Especially if shit gets fucked and you fall off that height. Just increases the chance of your death. So I’m gonna stay on the ground, thank you very much.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Man on a Ledge”.

Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) is a man on a ledge (hehe). And as people gather to witness this man’s apparent suicide attempt, police psychologist Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) gets brought in to try to talk him down. All while a heist is happening in the building across the street. So now we have our plot. And I’m just gonna say it, the idea behind this movie is actually really good. However the execution on the other hand is not that great. While not the worst execution of a plot ever, it is still really bland and convoluted, not making a lot of sense. It also lacks the tension that so clearly could be achieved from this premise. And the twists throughout are… not great. They often add to the convoluted aspect of the plot that I mentioned earlier, not making too much sense. So overall the plot is… meh.

The characters here are meh… there’s no other way to put it. None of them are particularly interesting. At least I didn’t want to hit them for sucking (so that’s something). Sam Worthington as an actor is the very definition of hit and miss… more often miss than hit. But to give credit where it’s due, his performance here isn’t bad, it’s fine. One of the better performances I’ve seen from him. Elizabeth Banks plays the police psychologist brought in to talk Worthington off the ledge (presumably through the window, rather than off the ledge towards the street). And she’s fine in the role. Jamie Bell plays Worthington’s brother, and he was fine in the role. Genesis Rodriguez plays Jamie Bell’s girlfriend in this and she isn’t very good in the role. Sure, the material she’s given isn’t great, but her delivery isn’t very good either. Edward Burns plays a cop who is on this case, and he’s fine in the role. Anthony Mackie plays a cop who also happens to be an old friend of Worthington’s, and he’s good in the role. Titus Welliver plays another cop who’s a douchebag, and he’s fine in the role. We also get Ed Harris as a businessman that is important to the plot, and while he isn’t in the movie too much, he’s great… he’s Ed fucking Harris… presumably collecting a paycheck. So overall the acting here is… fine.

The score for the movie was composed by Henry Jackman and it was fine (using that word a lot in this review). I am usually a big fan of Jackman’s work, he’s composed a whole bunch of scores that I’ve liked. But the stuff he did here was generic action-thriller stuff that you won’t remember in an hour. It’s just there and it’s… fine.

This movie was directed by Asger Leth who did a fine job. And by fine I don’t mean like a fine wine, but just… fine. His directing here doesn’t build a lot of tension, and it doesn’t give us any awesome shots, but it’s also not offensively bad. It’s just fine, passable directing that works for a bland action-thriller like this. The action scenes too, they’re okay, nothing memorable, but nothing awful.

This movie hasn’t been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 31% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 40/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

“Man on a Ledge” is an okay thriller. It has a meh plot, meh characters, okay performances, okay music, and okay directing. The main flaws with this movie is that nothing stands out in this movie… all of it is just passable. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Man on a Ledge” is a 6,12. While not great, it is maybe worth a rental.

My review of “Man on a Ledge” is now completed.

Meh…

Movie Review: State of Grace (1990)

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Don’t get involved with mobsters… EVER! It just brings trouble. Understood? Good.

Ladies and gentlemen… “State of Grace”.

Terry Noonan (Sean Penn) is an undercover cop who has returned to his old home of Hell’s Kitchen, New York, after being away for a certain amount of years. And soon he gets in touch with his old friend Jackie (Gary Oldman) who gets Terry involved with the Irish mob, led by Jackie’s brother, Frankie (Ed Harris). And soon Terry gets involved in some pretyt intense stuff. From this we get a surprisingly investing and very well told mob story. There are a few surprises strewn throughout the plot that really helped keep my interest. I’m not saying that they’re mindblowing twists, but they were most defiiinitely a little surprising. So yeah, the plot here is really solid.

I admit, the characters in thsi movie aren’t the most original when it comes to what type of character they all are. But I was definitely interested in all of them. Sean Penn is great as Terry, he perfectly plays this conflicted undercover cop. Ed Harris is great as the mob boss, but you knew that already… it’s Ed fucking Harris. Gary Oldman in this movie is fantastic, playing this very unhinged man. Really, he’s a blast to watch. Robin Wright plays the sister of Harris/Oldman that gets romantically involved with Terry, and she’s great in the role. Then we also get some really good supporting performances from people like John Turturro and John C. Reilly. A solid cast giving great performances… me likey.

The score for the movie was composed by the legendary Ennio Morricone, and he delivered some pretty great tunes, like he always does. The music is dramatic, tense, and it worked very well for the movie. And it just overall sounds great, because Ennio Morricone can do no wrong.

The movie was directed by Phil Joanou and Michael Lee Baron and they did a really solid job. Scenes flow smoothly and everything is just overall well handled. I of course also have to mention that the cinematography by Jordan Cronenweth looks great. But what else should one expect from the man who did the cinematography for “Blade Runner”. One final thing I also want to mention is that this movie contains one of the coolest shootouts that I have ever seen. It’s very late in the movie, but the wait is so worth it. The mix of visuals and sound is really great. It’s also really violent, so if you are squeamish you might not be the biggest fan.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“State of Grace” is a really solid gangster movie. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, great directing, and great cinematography. Time for my final score. *Bang*. My final score for “State of Grace” is a 9,79/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “State of Grace” is now completed.

Early 90s Gary Oldman would make a great Deadpool… just a thought.

Series Review: Westworld – Season 1 (2016)

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It is no secret at this point that I love westerns, I’ve stated it a few too many times on this blog… and on twitter… and in real life. So I always get a bit excited when a new western gets announced. Movie, TV show… doesn’t matter, just give me a western.

Sirs and ma’ams, welcome to… “Westworld”.

Welcome to “Westworld” (roll credits), a giant theme park made to resemble the old west. This park is filled artificial beings called “hosts”, and if you’re in the park you can practically do whatever you want to them. Kill, beat up, fuck… any of it. And everything it seems to be going pretty well here. However, things soon seem to be going a little bit haywire. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that because there’s a lot of things going on here and I don’t really wana spoil any of it. But I will say that the plot is intriguing, dramatic, and overall really entertaining. And it gets even deeper and more mind-blowing as the season goes on. And I fucking loved it.

The characters in this show are all very interesting and get more and more layers as the season went on. And the actors they got for the show portrayed it all very well. To try to stay as spoiler-free as possible I’m just gonna list some of the main players in the show because they were all great and talking more in depth about them might acidentally spoil some stuff. But we did get some great acting from Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris, Anthony Hopkins, Jimmi Simpson, Ben Barnes, Luke Hemsworth, Rodrigo Santoro, and Angela Sarafyan… among a fuckload of other actors that did great work here!

The music in the show was composed by Ramin Djawadi and he gave us some pretty damn great tracks, The main theme is of course a standout for me, it is absolutely fantastic. And the rest of his original tunes were pretty damn great too. Exciting, hanting, and dramatic are just a few of the words I’d use to describe it. What I also kind of enjoyed is that there were some musical covers in the show that I didn’t expect. I’m not gonna say what they are, but you will most likely go “Hey, I know that song!” when you hear it. I know I did.

This show was brought to us by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy (Nolan’s wife), and was co-produced by J.J. Abrams. And what they have given us here is pretty great. The writing is superb and the directing is just as great. The shots look fantastic and scenes flow very well. And whenever there’s a bit of action it is exciting and badass. I also wanna add that this is an HBO series, so expect lots of violence and nudity. If you have a problem with those things then you might not have a great time with this show. Though I’m sure most people that read my blog aren’t really wimps like that. Also, fun fact: This show is based on an old movie that was written and directed by Michael Crichton (the brain behind “Jurassic Park”).

This show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100.  And on imdb.com it has a score of 9,2/10 and is ranked #16 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

All I can say is that “Westworld” is a fucking amazing show. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, great writing, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Bang!* My final score for “Westworld” is a 9,90/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Westworld” season 1 is now completed.

Wait… HOW LONG UNTIL SEASON 2!? 2018!?

 

 

Movie Review: Run All Night (2015)

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Liam Neeson has become quite the action star in recent years. I mean, who ever thought “God… It would be so awesome to see that guy from “Schindler’s List” do an action movie”. But ever since “Taken” in 2009, he has become one of the biggest action stars of the modern age. So let’s review another one of his action movies.

Ladies and gentlemen, I suggest you… “Run All Night”.

So in this movie we follow ex-hitman Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson) who one night kills the son of his old boss/friend Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris) to protect his own son (Joel Kinnaman). Now Jimmy and his son have one night to try to set everything straight while being chased by Sean’s mobsters, a police officer (Vincent D’Onofrio) and a hitman (Common). The idea is pretty great because it constantly keeps our heroes on the move, they can’t get any rest, they have to keep going to not die. What the plot also does pretty great is make you feel “I’m not sure if they will succeed or not”, it constantly keeps your attention with it’s suspense and and surprisingly good storytelling. Problem however is that there is at least one point in the movie where they have a few too many irons in the fire and everything becomes convoluted. But I was never bored, I was entertained by the plot through the entire thing.

You know what I was surprised by with this movie? The depth of the characters. I’m not kidding, these are some pretty deep characters. Liam Neeson doesn’t play your typical “I have a very particular set of skills” action star that you see in every movie these days, in this he is a very broken man, a drunk who’s haunted by all the deaths he have caused. Sure, he kicks a ton of ass in the movie, but he isn’t the superhero he’s been in everything else he’s starred in recently. Joel Kinnaman was also pretty great in the movie. This is probably the best I have seen him in anything (Sidenote: Keep in mind that I haven’t seen the TV-show “The Killing). He was fine in “RoboCop”, nothing else. Ed Harris was pretty great as always, I mean he is Ed Harris… he’s always great! And Common was pretty great as this professional hitman going after Liam Neeson and his son. Every actor did a great job and all the characters were interesting.

The score for the movie was done by Tom Holkenborg (Sidenote: Also known as “Junkie Xl”). And the score was pretty great, fitting perfectly in every scene it was used in and help keep the suspense/tension of the situations our heroes endured. It was also surprisingly emotional at times without feeling forced. The score overall was great.

This movie was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, the same guy who directed “Non-Stop”, also starring Liam Neeson. And this movie is very well-directed. The shots look fantastic, the movie has tons of energy & style and it is just an overall great looking movie. And the action scenes in this movie are pretty great too. They are fierce, they are brutal and they are Rated-R (YEEEEES!!!). The only action scene I had problems with was (minor spoiler) a car chase, and that was mainly because the editing was a little too choppy for me to really get invested in it. If it hadn’t had as many cuts as it had, I would probably enjoy it more than I did. All othe actions scenes are pretty great though.

This movie has been pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 60% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 59/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

Guys, I had a great time with “Run All Night” despite the plot being convoluted at times and the car chase being choppy. But I otherwise thought the plot was pretty solid, the acting/characters great, the music great, the direction terrific and the action badass and awesome. Time for my final score. Jeff, give me the envelope. Jeff, give it to me! Jeff, I have a very particular set of skills, skills that I have aquired over a very long career. Thank you! My final score for “Run All Night” is a 9,21/10. It really is worth buying.
Worth buying

Review of “Run All Night” is completed.

I don’t know if I can Run All Night.

 

Movie Review: Snowpiercer (2014)

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Post apocalyptic stories are really fascinating. It is interesting to see how different authors/directors portray their post apocalyptic world. Some of my favorite post apocalyptic stories include the TV show “The Walking Dead” and the excellent novel “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy. What I am trying to say is that I enjoy post apocalyptic stuff and I was therefore intereted in this movie.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Snowpiercer”.

The world has gone to shit. Everything is frozen because of something humans discovered once. And because of that there aren’t many humans left (thank you, people!). Now the few remaining humans all live on this train that circles the world during the course of one year. But this train isn’t like the happiest place ever, oh no. It has basically become a very tragic society. In the front we have the good parts of the train where people live happily and richly and asshole-y. And in the back we have the essential shithole. But soon we will have a revolution led by Curtis (Chris Evans) and old man Gilliam (John Hurt). And while that sounds like typical “the little people standing up for themselves” story, you’d be right an wrong. It looks like that at first but the story is much more well-written than that. It contains twists, excellent plot progression and some genuinely good storytelling. I loved the plot to the movie. It was interesting to see Chris Evans with all these other people trying to take this train, because it wasn’t just an action movie, it also had a lot of dramatic strength too and it managed to surprise me with everything that it did. And that is why I kind of loved the plot.

The characters in this movie all have serious arcs which makes them so interesting. And that is great because there are a lot of characters in this movie and that is something they could have fucked up, but didn’t. Chris Evans is pretty fantastic in this movie. He shows all emotions possible in this movie and he captures them all perfectly. He is also excellent in the action scenes. John Hurt is also pretty great, but you all knew that. I mean, it’s John frickin’ Hurt! Octavia Spencer was also great in this movie as this mother who loses her child pretty early on. She also showed a lot of emotion and gave a great performance. To be honest, everybody in this movie was great! All characters and all performances were great.

The original score by Marco Beltrami was another thing in this movie that was great. It fit the mood of this dark and at times disturbing movie. His score really helped bring the intensity to an entirely different level. There were also some emotional songs in the soundtrack as well that were pretty great too. Like I basically said at first, the entire score is great.

Don’t go into this movie expecting a generic American action movie which is kind of ironic because of Chris Evans who also plays Captain America in the Marvel movies. Anyway. this is as far from your typical American action movie as you can get. So if you want a generic American action movie then this isn’t for you. The action in “Snowpiercer” is intense, brutal and visceral. And for those of you who have seen the movie, yes there is shaky-cam in the movie, but they use it in a good way compared to everyone else who decides to use it. The camera work in general is pretty great too. This was directed by Korean director Joon-ho Bong who I have not seen anything else from. But now that I’ve seen how great of a director he is with “Snowpiercer” I kind of want to see something else by him. Because he was great.

This movie has been really well-received by critics and a fair amount of people alike. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 84/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

“Snowpiercer” is a very original and different movie that I loved. The story was great, the acting was great, the music was great and everything from the camera work/director was also great. Time for my final score. The hell? *Opens up bullet*. The score was rolledi nto a bullet… weird. My final score for “Snowpiercer” is a 9,83/10. It definitely deserves the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
Seal of Approval

Review of “Snowpiercer” is completed.

Wait… This isn’t the Hogwarts express!

Movie Review: Gone Baby Gone (2007)

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Stories of disappearances and kidnappings are things that I absolutely hate hearing about, but unfortunately they will always find a way to surface. Sure, there are cases where the missing people have been found and everything is happy-go-lucky again and that is always great to hear. But then unfortunately we have the stories of those who are never found or when they are found they are dead. And with that depressing start, let’s talk about a movie!

Guys and gals… “Gone Baby Gone”.

“Gone Baby Gone” is based on the novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane and is about private detectives Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan). One day they get hired by the McCreadys (Amy Ryan, Amy Madigan, Titus Welliver) to find their missing/abducted daughter/niece. But as this is based on a Dennis Lehane novel you can of course the plot to go a lot deeper than that with a lot of complexity and twists. And the movie follows on with that splendidly! Whenever there was a twist in this movie, it worked and i never saw them coming. The plot was also really well done and well presented. It is also pretty realistic and very grounded for a Hollywood thriller.

The characters all felt real, I felt like this is a person I could probably meet in the real world. The writing feels very real and not at all cheesy or silly. I am also happy to say that the performances in this movie are phenomenal! Casey Affleck was perfect as this troubled and almost broken young man. Monaghan was also terrific. And I don’t think I have to mention Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris and how great they were because… they are Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris. All the performances in this movie were fantastic and it really helped elevate the already great story.

The score by Harry Gregson-Williams was fantastic. Not only because I have been a fan of him for a long time, but also because it was legitimately great. For the most part the score was based around piano and a little bit of stringed intruments (Mainly violin). It helped build a lot of atmosphere, suspense and beauty in every scene. There were also a few licensed tracks used throughout, but they only helped in some way whenever they were used. So overall, the music in this movie was great.

This movie is directed by Ben Affleck and I have to say, I am having a really fucking hard time believing this is his feature film debut. It is so professionally directed and shot that you think he has made a bunch of movies before. But this is only his first (Holy shit). Also, a small (and unnecessary) thing I have picked up is that this is one of two movies Affleck has been involved with that has the word “Gone” in the title (The other being “Gone Girl”). Don’t know why I picked up on that, I just did. Like I said, this movie is based on the Dennis Lehane novel. The funny thing is that I own the book… but I haven’t read it yet. And that is a bit of a shame because I am a fan of Lehane and his work. This is also one of four movies (that I know of) that currently exists based on Lehane novels. The other ones are “Mystic River”, “Shutter Island” and “The Drop”. So far he got some pretty fucking great adaptations.

This movie was pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. Roger Ebert really seemed to like this movie as he gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10. The movie was also nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best Supporting Actress (Amy Ryan).

“Gone Baby Gone” is a complex, well written, superbly acted, reall well directed movie with a terrific score. Time for my final score. *Clears throat* My final score for “Gone Baby Gone” is a 9,77/10 which of course gives it the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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I have now reviewed “Gone Baby Gone”.

Markus, where are my socks? Gone, baby… Gone.

Movie Review: The Rock (1996)

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Michael Bay is one of those few directors that I don’t know what to say about. On one hand he made some decent movies like “Armageddon” and even the first “Transformers” movie. But on the other hand we have the “Transformers” sequels and “Pain & Gain”. His track record for me is something that have split me when it comes to my opinion on the guy. So now I am checking out one of his more well-received and popular ones. Yeah, people actually seemed to like this. But what does this guy think? Do I like it? Well I’m not telling you, you’re gonna have to read.

Men and women… “The Rock”.

“The Rock” is about an angry (and possibly crazy) marine general by the name of Francis X. Hummel (Ed Harris). He has with the help of a rogue squad of military men taken over Alcatraz island and imprisoned the tourists there. He also threatens to send a bunch of missiles filled with incredibly lethal gas towards San Francisco unless he and his troops get 100 million dollars. Of course you would want to take care of that situation if you were part of the FBI, right? But how would you do it? Well in the movie they decide to use a chemical weapons specialist (Nicolas Cage) and a 60-year old ex-con (Sean Connery) together with a team of people to take care of the situation. Why an ex-con? Because at one point he apparently escaped Alcatraz. To be honest… this plot is genius. It is simple in what it is but adds a few more details to it. Let me show you. Basic: Man takes over Alcatraz and threatents to send missiles on San Francisco if he doesn’t get money. Team of people have to stop him. Then they add some more layers to it with for example the fact that the missiles contain lethal gas and that one of the team members once escaped Alcatraz. I find it genius… even though there isn’t too much brain to be found here. I liked it though.

The characters are all interesting in one way or another. Our chemical weapons expert is played by Nicolas Cage, so you know he might act a little nuts every now and then. But by far the most interesting one is John Mason (Connery). Like I said before, ex-con, but he also has some of the best lines in the entire movie. He is also a badass who does badass stuff. Yeah. Overall the characters in the movie are all great and all actors did a great job.

The music was done by several composers. The main ones were Nick Glennie-Smith (Home Alone 3, Lion King 2), Hans Zimmer (Inception, Batman Begins) and Harry Gregson-Williams (Metal Gear Solid 2, 3, 4). The soundtrack consists of epic orchestra and some guitar (yeah!). It really works for the movie and fits perfectly. There was also a little help from Don Harper (Twister) and Steven Stern (The Asassination of Richard Nixon).

The action in this movie is fucking awesome! Yes, a Michael Bay movie with awesome and actually visible action! It does exist! It was fun to watch and the good thing is that there is plenty of it in this movie. The camera work overall was really good. Remember, this was before shaky-cam really existed. Also on a sidenote, this is the second review I’ve done this month featuring “The Rock” (A.K.A Alcatraz, also roll credits).

Like I said in the beginning of the review, this movie was well-received. Might even be Michael Bay’s best received movie. Anyway, time to look at the scores from different sites. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a score of 66%. On Metacritic it has a 59/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars in his review. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10. The movie was also nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best sound.

“The Rock” is a cool, slick and visceral action movie with good acting, good music, a good story and some great action. Time for my final score. My final score for “The Rock” is a 9,73/10 which as you may know gives it the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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Review of “The Rock” is now completed.

Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen. 

Movie Review: A Beautiful Mind (2001)

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Biographical movies are not easy to make. You have to not only have a good director, but you also need a good cast (and of course a lot of other people who know what the hell they’re doing). I am one who likes to watch a good biography every now and then. Last time I watched such a film was when I watched “Dead Man Walking”. Today we are taking a look at a biographical movie that tackles something else than a guy on death row or a gangster…this movie is about a teacher.

Ladies and gentlemen…”A Beautiful Mind”.

The movie follows the real life (with a few slightly more fictional aspects) story of mathematician John Nash (Russell Crowe). While he is a genius mathematician, he is also incredibly asocial. He is not one of those you see interacting and having fun with a bunch of friends a friday night. His only real friend is a man named Charles (Paul Bettany). But soon Nash will be pulled into some top secret cryptography work with the government. He at that point works for/with agent William Parcher (Ed Harris). This job is so top secret that he will have to keep it secret from his wife Alicia (Jennifer Connelly). Thing is…this job will turn his life around in some very strange ways. And that is all I am gonna say, becuase this movie and it’s story is magnificent. It is both dramatic, complex and somewhat tragic…which is something I adore. If I was a teacher and the story was my student, I’d give it an A+!

The characters are complex. For example, John like I said is an asocial genius…which makes him a lot more interesting. But honestly, even though he and most characters are interesting and fantastically acted, Paul Bettany steals the show. He is one who just oozes charisma and is highly entertaining to watch. He is a little bit like Sam Rockwell in “Seven Psychopaths”. But in general to the entire situation, every character is complex, interesting and…realistic. Also, the actors are doing an amazing job in this movie…especially Russell Crowe.

The music in this movie is amazing. Sure, a lot of it is the type of music you’d expect from a drama…but that is not a bad thing. The soundtrack by James Horner is beautiful (mind). And what I mean by my first statement about it being what you’d expect is that there are a lot of orchestral tracks, but also a few relaxing, calm tracks that use the piano a fair amount. There is also a little voice…thingy (can’t really call it singing, because singing requires lyrics) in a good amount of the tracks…and that is one of the things that makes it beautiful. I love it.

While the camera work offers nothing new or innovative, it still looks really good. Ron Howard knows how to make a great looking movie (Even though I already knew that thanks to “Apollo 13”, “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels & Demons”). And again…Paul Bettany stole the show…I’m sorry I repeat myself, but the truth needs to get out there. Also, this movie almost made me cry a little bit during the second half (not saying how, just saying that it happened).

The reception for “A Beautiful Mind” was good. Rotten Tomatoes has a 76% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. Metacritic has 72/100 as score. Roger Ebert gave this movie a perfect 4/4 stars. imdb.com has the score of 8,2/10 and has the movie ranked #161 on the Top 250 list.
This movie was also nominated for a total of 8 Oscars (Holy shit). And it won on 4 of them (Best Picture, Best supporting actress, Best director, best screenplay based on previously published material). The other 4 nominations were for Best Leading Actor, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup, Best original score.

The acting is fantastic, the story is complex and fantastic, music is fantastic and…FUCK IT! This entire movie is fantastic. My final score is a 9,71/10 and a recommendation to buy it…and also the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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Review of “A Beautiful Mind” is finished.

Why didn’t Russell Crowe win the Oscar for this movie!? HE SHOULD’VE WON IT!

Movie Review: A History of Violence (2005)

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Dramas…what is there to say about them? They might be awesome, like “Elephant (2003)”. Or they might be ass, like…I don’t know, “Twilight (2008)”, or something. There are a lot of well known dramas out there. But what about one that was well known when it came out…but not really anymore? Today we are taking a look at such a movie.

Ladies and gentlemen…”A History of Violence”.

Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen) is one of those guys that people like. He is a calm, mild-mannered man who owns his very own café. He lives a happy life on the countryside with his wife Edie (Maria Bello), his son Jack (Ashton Holmes) and his daughter Sarah (Heidi Hayes). But one evening when his café is about to close up and two armed robbers/killers (Stephen McHattie & Greg Bryk) invade. So when one of them is distracted, Tom takes act and manages to kill both of them. As the news spread that he had saved the day there, he is seen as a local hero. This of course drives more people to his café and also attracts a mysterious man named Carl Fogarty (Ed Harris). Fogarty thinks Tom is this guy “Joey Cusack”, a gangster who used to work with him. Of course this stirs up some issues which not only affects Tom…but also his family. Now, this story might sound somewhat complex…but you get it pretty fast. It is a story that fits perfectly within the 95 minute length. It is kind of like “Drive (2011)”. It is short, but they manage to get a lot of stuff in there. It is also incredibly well paced.

Characters are just…realistic. Yeah, realistic. I am not saying they are all likeable, just saying they are for the most part reacting to things in a very realistic way. I mean, wouldn’t you get mad and try to save the day if someone held your employees and customers at gunpoint? No? Well fuck you, then.

The music is amazing. Howard Shore knows how to make a near perfect soundtrack. And I am only using near perfect on this considering I liked it a lot…but not THAT much. If there is one soundtrack Howard Shore has made perfect…it is “Lord of The Rings Trilogy (2001 – 2003)”. But in general…this is great. A good amount of brass instruments and strings are used in it. The irony with Howard Shore making this soundtrack is that both he and Viggo Mortensen did things in the “Lord of The Rings Trilogy”. Shore did the score and Mortsensen was the badass semi-protagonist Aragorn.

I was surprised when I learned the truth about this movie. It is based on a graphic novel…yeah. I thought that it might have been based on a regular book…oh well, the more you learn. It is also shot in such a way that to me it looks like it was a “Made For TV” movie. I don’t know why…just feels like that.

“A History of Violence” had universally good reception. Rotten Tomatoes has an 87% postive rating for it and a “Fresh” certification. Metacritic has 81/100 as score for it. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars and said this:

“A History of Violence seems deceptively straightforward, coming from a director with Cronenberg’s quirky complexity. But think again. This is not a movie about plot, but about character.”

imdb.com has 7,5/10 as score for this. It was also nominated for two Oscars. Best Supporting Actor (William Hurt) and Best writing, adapted screeplay (Josh Olson).

I have said some stuff about this little movie here. But now I can see you have your faces pressed against the screen wondering “BUT MARKUS…WHAT IS YOUR SCORE FOR THIS MOVIE!? WE WANNA KNOW!”. Well I was about to get to that, my very curious friends. This movie gets a 9,67/10 and of course…”THE SEAL OF APPROVAL!”. I really liked this movie and think you should buy it. I know availability will maybe not be the easiest thing always…but if you can get your hands on it…DO IT!
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Review of “A History of Violence” is done.

If you piss me off…a history of violence WILL unfold (no it won’t).