Movie Review: Blindspotting (2018)

Life is fucking messy. You might think you have it figured out, but then something comes out of god damn nowhere and screws with you. You couldn’t see that coming. There are a lot of blindspots like that.

Ladies and gents… “Blindspotting”.

Collin (Daveed Diggs) has recently been released from prison on probation, and has to try to keep himself out of trouble so he doesn’t get thrown back in. This causes him to reevaluate his life and in turn his relationship with his best friend (Rafael Casal). What I find interesting about “Blindspotting” is its various subject matters and the way(s) it tackles them. There is some dark stuff throughout the movie, but the filmmakers also show us some of the more lighthearted aspects of the lives of these guys. And the way these tones are balanced throughout is incredible. Yes, I’ve seen movies mix drama and comedy before, but the way “Blindspotting” does it, I’ve never really seen. It’s quite a fresh and compelling story that I loved following.

The characters in this are flawed, nuanced, and just really interesting. Daveed Diggs plays Collin, the guy who the movie mostly focuses on. He’s a good dude who’s done some bad stuff, and seeing him try to keep his life from going down that path again is utterly compelling. And Daveed Diggs is fantastic in the role, really bringing a lot of depth to the role. Rafael Casal plays Miles, Collin’s best friend since they were boys. He’s a bit of a wild card, and I’ll just leave it at that, and that he’s a really interesting foil for Collin. And Casal is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Janina Gavankar, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Ethan Embry, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The music in “Blindspotting” largely consists of hip-hop, and while I don’t think I’d listen to most of the tracks in my spare time, I do think they all contributed to the movie in some interesting way that worked for each scene. There is apparently also a score by Michael Yezerski here, but I don’t remember hearing something like that, so I can’t really comment on it. The rest of the music though… Good.

The movie was written by its two stars, Rafael Casal & Daveed Diggs, with directing duties being handed to Carlos López Estrada. And the passion behind the craft here is infectious, which adds a lot to the technical talent on display. The way Estrada brings us into each scene with the characters often makes it feel like I was a bit of a fly on the wall of each conversation, I felt truly transported into it. Estrada also shows on multiple occasions how good he is at building suspense, making for some truly great sequences. And as I alluded to early on in the review, this movie is part comedy. And I found those bits to be really funny, which I did not expect, as I kinda thought this’d be more of a straight up drama. But yeah, the comedy in this is hilarious.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 77/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“Blindspotting” is a clever, unique, and refreshing dramedy that shouldn’t be missed. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, good music, great directing, and hilarious comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Blindspotting” is a 9,88/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Blindspotting” is now completed.

Choose a life, choose a job, choose a car- Wait, that’s “Trainspotting”…

Series Review: Sneaky Pete – Season 2 (2018)

In early 2017 we saw the premiere of “Sneaky Pete”, a new Amazon series. I watched it, and I gave it a very positive review. So now season 2 has been out for a few days and I’ve watched it all. So let’s talk about it and see if it’s any good.

Ladies and gents… “Sneaky Pete”.

When we last saw Marius (Giovanni Ribisi), he found himself in a bit of a pickle. Two intimidating enforcers (Desmond Harrington & Joseph Lyle Taylor) thinking he was another man asked where “his” mother was. Why would they care about someone’s mother? Because she had gotten hold of eleven million dollars that their boss wanted. So we follow Marius as he tries to find this woman and her supposed eleven million. But we also follow the family that he’s snuck his way into as their lives start spiraling out of control as well. So now we have our plot. And while I think the first season had a somewhat more engaging plot, I still think that this season has a really interesting, suspenseful, and fun plot. It has a lot of twists and turns, and they all work quite well for the plot, keeping it all fun, fresh, and fairly unpredictable.

The characters in this are all quite colorful, unique, and interesting. Giovanni Ribisi is back as Marius/Pete, the con man posing as his former cellmate to get in with the cellmate’s estranged family. He’s an incredibly clever, quick-thinking, man who always tries to be one step ahead of everyone. In season 1 he was more of a no-good shyster who was only out for himself, but here in season 2 we see that he’s evolved a bit, like he actually cares for this family. He’s quite an engaging character, and he has a really solid arc this season. And Ribisi is great in the role. Marin Ireland plays Julia, the “cousin” of our main character. She works in a bail bonds office, and has (much due to Marius) gotten herself into some shit. And it’s interesting to see her go through that stuff and see what she does about it. Ireland is damn good in the role. Then we have Margo Martindale as Audrey, the “grandmother” of our main character, and the matriarch of the Bernhardt family. She’s tough, but she’s also a nice old grandmother. And she has one of the most interesting character arcs this season. And Martindale is of course fantastic in the role. Then we have Peter Gerety, Libe Barer, and Shane McRae as three more members of the family. They’ve all great characters with good arcs, but I’m lumping them together because I don’t wanna make this part too long. But I can at least say that they’re all great in the role. We also get a lot more of Ethan Embry as the real Pete this season, and he’s a fun and interesting character to follow. And yeah, Embry is really good in the role. Then you get supporting performances from people like Jacob Pitts, Jay O. Sanders, Justine Cotsonas, Alison Wright, Jennifer Ferrin, Jospeh Lyle Taylor, Desmond Harrington, Jasmine Carmichael, Jane Adams, and many more. And they’re all great.

The score for the show was composed by Nathan Barr, and I think he did a good job. His score isn’t the most standout thing ever, but it gets the job done. It helps create tension, it adds a little extra emotion, and it’s just overall well composed. There are also a whole bunch of licensed tracks used throughout the season, and thye work very well within their respective scenes. And I just wanna add that the show’s theme song, “Harder Out Here” by The Bight Light Social Hour, is such an awesome song.

The show was created by David Shore & Bryan Cranston, but Graham Yost stands as the showrunner. And it was written/directed by a whole bunch of different people. And this is a very well directed show. The direction here is fast-paced and fun, but never to the point of losing and seriousness/tension, because when a scene has to be serious and suspenseful, it fucking nails it. And at times it also has some fun humor in it. It’s not a comedy, but it does implement humor at various points throughout, and it works quite well.

This season/show has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 83% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,3/10.

While I still prefer the first season, season 2 of “Sneaky Pete” is still a great season of crime television. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 2 of “Sneaky Pete” is a 9,75/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Sneaky Pete” season 2 is now completed.

Trust in me…

Movie Review: Late Phases (2014)

phase

We have covered a few different horror topics here with the Month of Spooks. We have covered zombies, spooky animation, murders on an island, slashers(Thank Zoë!), and haunted houses. So I guess it’s time to move on to something different… like werewolves.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Late Phases”.

Ambrose McKinley (Nick Damici) is an old, blind, war veteran who just moved into a retirement community. But the peace is very suddenly broken when his neighbor gets killed by a werewolf. So now Ambrose has one month to prepare for the next attack from the beast. I know… this sounds really dumb. But trust me, the plot here is surprisingly well handled. What we have here is a very unusual horror movie. It’s a slow-burning drama about this lonely man, who happens to inhabit the same world as a werewolf. I was genuinely surprised at how invested I was in the plot, I really wanted to see what happened next and how this bitter, blind, man was handling everything in his life. It really is a compelling plot.

The characters in the movie are all pretty interesting. Sure, some get less time than others when it comes to screen time, but they all have some kind of purpose in the grand scheme of things. Nick Damici is pretty damn great as Ambrose, playing him as this bitter, broken, man who has a bit of a rough relationship with his son. Speaking of which, his son is played by Ethan Embry who does a really good job in the movie too. You can tell that the relationship between Damici’s and Embry’s characters isn’t the best, which adds a lot to the drama. Really helps make these characters more compelling and interesting. Then we also get some really good supporting performances from people like Lance Guest, Tom Noonan, and Tina Louise (to only mention a few).

The original score was composed by Wojciech Golczewski and I think that it was really good. It really worked in the movie, somehow enhancing a lot of the scenes it was used in. Either helping to add emotion or tension to the scene. The score is haunting and definitely helped increase the quality of the movie.

This movie was directed by Spanish director Adrián García Bogliano, and I think he did a great job directing this, making a very tightly directed movie that both builds tension and drama throughout it’s 95 minute runtime. And when shit goes down it’s fucking glorious. Brutal, tense, and badass without being overly cheesy. And the visual effects in this are really good. Sure, there are parts where the werewolf looks pretty bad. As in, distractingly bad. But then there are also bits where the werewolf looks pretty damn great. I’m at least glad that they decided to do this with mostly practical stuff. Not sure if there is any CGI in the movie, but if there is then I couldn’t really notice it. But yeah, tight direction, good effects, some shitty werewolf stuff.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 69% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 51/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,9/10.

“Late Phases” is one of the most unexpectedly good movies that I’ve ever seen. A character-driven horror-drama with a good plot, good characters, great acting, great music, great directing, mostly good effects, and a badass final act. Though as I said, there are some times where the werewolves look like shit to a distracting degree. Time for my final score. *HOWLING NOISE!*. My final score for “Late Phases” is a 9,01/10. While not perfect, it’s most definitely worth buying!
Worth buying

My review of “Late Phases” is now completed.

Big thanks to youtube channel GoodBadFlicks for introducing this movie to me. If you’re not subscribed to him already, I suggest you go do it.