12 Films of Christmas 2019 (Part 1)

Season’s greetings, ladies and gents. Alright, enough of that holly jolly shit, let’s get down to business. For a few years now, I’ve had this series on my blog where I do twelve shorter pieces starting on December 13th, leading up to December 24th (AKA the date where us in Sweden primarily celebrate christmas). First two years, I did christmas songs. The next two, I did films. Now, for this year, I’m doing films again. However, I’m throwing a monkey in the wrench this year… I won’t use actual christmas movies. Instead I’m just using 12 movies, and I have to contrive a reason as to why I’m mentioning them in a christmas series. Gotta find some way to switch up the monotony, you know. So without further ado… here we go.

As you probably guessed from the image at the top, I am starting this series off with a classic of sci-fi/fantasy cinema. “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back”, released in 1980, sequel to the 1977 super surprise hit “Star Wars”. It once again follows Luke, Leia, and Han (Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford) as they battle against the sinister galactic empire. Most of you probably assume that my contrivance for this is the first act of the movie, which is set on the snow-covered planet of Hoth. And while that adds to it, it’s not my main motivation (twist, motherfuckers). But for my contrivance to work, there will be spoilers. So if you haven’t seen “Empire Strikes Back”, then you’re either lying or you’ve lived under a rock for the past 39 years. So if you don’t want spoilers, go watch it, then come back. Don’t worry, I’ll wait…

Dramatic exaggeration of my long wait.

Welcome back. Now, spoilery contrivance time. If you’ve seen this movie, you should know that it’s all about bringing friends and family together, which is also what the holidays are about. First things first: We see Han get reunited with his old buddy Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams). It seems slightly tense at first, but then there’s a hug and laughter and offers of refreshments.

And then there’s the family reunion. Later in the movie, we have Luke meeting the spooky looking Darth Vader (David Prowse/James Earl Jones). They scuffle a bit, Luke gets disarmed (HA!), and that’s when the classic line happens. No… I am your father! Got chills when I rewatched it yesterday, it’s still great. And isn’t it nice to see a boy and his father get reunited? Sure, it’s a bit awkward at first, but somewhere down the cockles of your heart, there’s still a bit of holiday heart warmth to it.

“Empire Strikes Back” is not only a fantastic movie, but also a nice, heartwarming movie about awkward reunions with friends and family. Perfect holiday analogy!

Have a good one.

 

Movie Review: Wonder Woman: Bloodlines (2019)

Sorry for the lack of posts so far this month. Been hit with a weird case of apathy. But hopefully will get back on track soon enough. So to try to get things back into gear, let’s go into one of my most talked about subjects here on the blog: DC animated movies.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Wonder Woman: Bloodlines”.

Wonder Woman (Rosario Dawson) has to face her toughest challenge yet when several of her villains team up to pull off an evil, potentially world-threatening scheme. All the while a young woman she saw grow up (Marie Avgeropoulos) starts turning towards the dark side. So now we have our big, sweeping tale of heroism and family drama and I’m being totally facetious, this plot holds together like wet cardboard and paper glue. There are decent ideas here that could make for a solid superhero plot… but the way it’s stitched together doesn’t quite work. Allegedly emotional moments get a disinterested/sarcastic “Oh no, not that person” from me. So yeah, unfortunately I didn’t find the plot that engaging, which is sad, because there are decent ideas presented throughout.

The characters in this, like with the plot, have good ideas to them, but in execution just end up… meh. The one that I probably cared about most was the titular princess of Themyscira. She’s kind, she’s tough, she’s… Wonder Woman. And Rosario Dawson gives it her all in voicing her. Then we have Jeffrey Donovan playing Steve Trevor, sidekick and love interest. He’s all quips, all the time. I like quips… but it doesn’t quite work here, because there’s nothing else there, no other trait than “Spew quip”. Which means Donovan doesn’t have much to work with. The other actors in the movie, including Marie Avgeropoulos, Kimberly Brooks, Michael Dorn, Courtenay Taylor, Adrienne C. Moore, and a bunch of other people, they all give good performances… even if the writing leaves a bit to be desired.

As with a lot of other DC animated movies, the score for “Wonder Woman: Bloodlines” was composed by Frederik Wiedmann, and as per usual, it is great. Big and epic, somber and emotional, mysterious and intriguing, his score captures all the emotions and such one would require from a big superhero adventure… however, a great score does not a great movie make.

Based on the iconic DC Comics character created by William Moulton Marston, “Wonder Woman: Bloodlines” was directed by Sam Liu and Justin Copeland. And this teamup isn’t great. Look, the animation itself is really frickin’ good, highly detailed and really fluid. But as with the plot and characters, something feels a bit off. The action isn’t as well crafted as some other DC animated efforts, and there’s something weirdly bland about shot composition in most scenes. Such a mixed bag in this department.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,8/10.

I wanted to love this… but unfortunately I didn’t. It has a not good plot, meh characters, good performances, great music, and meh direction. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Wonder Woman: Bloodlines” is a 4,50/10. So unfortunately I have to say that I’d recommend skipping this.

My review of “Wonder Woman: Bloodlines” is now completed.

When I envisioned my return to the blog, I thought it’d be something grand and joyous… but now I’m just sad.

Series Review: Swamp Thing (2019)

I’ve been waiting for this show to be made available over here for quite a while. And finally, Friday the 8th, we got it. And now that I have finished it, I can finally give my thoughts. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Swamp Thing”.

CDC doctor Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed) finds herself traveling back to her old hometown of Marais, Louisiana when some strange viral shit is found coming out of the swamps of that area. And as she continues her investigation of it, she soon finds out that there’s more to these swamps than meets the eye. Secrets, tragic backstories, the horror of the unknown, these are some of the things that are explored throughout the 10 episodes of “Swamp Thing”. I point out the episode count because this show was meant to be 13, but after the very sudden cancellation of the show, they had to reduce it to 10. And while the finished package holds up very well, I could still sense some of those cuts here and there. But the story we get here is still pretty great, creating a surprisingly nuanced journey that scares and emotionally invests in equal measure.

The characters in this are flawed, damaged, layered, and very interesting. Crystal Reed plays Abby Arcane, a CDC doctor with a tragic past, returning to her old home town. She’s determined, good at heart, but is also sometimes haunted by things that happened to her once, and she’s a great protagonist that I loved following. And Reed is great in the role. Next we have Derek Mears as the titular creature. I won’t say much more than saying that he’s an interesting character, and Mears’ performance is really good. Then we have Andy Bean as Alec Holland, a scientist Abby meets when she returns to Marais. He’s a bit eccentric, but a good dude who is pretty interesting. And Bean is really good in the role. Next we have Will Patton as Avery Sunderson, a beloved businessman in Marais… however there’s a bit more to him than meets the eye. And Patton is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Virginia Madsen, Henderson Wade, Maria Sten, Kevin Durand, Ian Ziering, Jennifer Beals, Jeryl Prescott, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the show was composed by Brian Tyler, and it was great. It’s sometimes loud and intimidating, and sometimes more quiet and emotional. There’s also plenty of low, droning BWOOOMs. And while those could be obnoxious in lesser hands, the way they’re used here works quite well, and adds to the uneasy vibe the show clearly wants to go for.

Based on the iconic DC Comics character created by Len Wein, Alan Moore, and Bernie Wrightson, “Swamp Thing” was developed by Gary Dauberman and Mark Verheiden, with writing and directing by them and a whole bunch of other cool people. And I think the craft here is superb. The amount of suspense built is insane, which makes for a horror show that ends up being genuinely scary. I also have to praise the effects in this show, because they’re spectacular. What we get here is a healthy blend of practical effects and CGI. For example, the Swamp Thing suit is completely practical, and looks amazing. The swamps, completely practical (with some possible CG enhancements). Now, with this being both an effects-heavy show and a horror series, that means that there’s plenty of gore throughout. And I mean plenty. And not just gore for the sake of gore, but gore to disturb and shock the viewer. And I mean, it certainly got some “OH MY GOD!” and “HOLY SHIT” out of me as I watched it all unfold. So if you have trouble with insanely violent media… consider yourself warned.

This show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 67/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

Despite some of the cut corners made from the episode reduction, “Swamp Thing” is still a damn fine horror-drama. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, great music, fantastic effects, and great directing/writing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Swamp Thing” is a 9,61/10. So yes, you got that right, it does actually get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Swamp Thing” is now completed.

Can someone please uncancel this?

Movie Review: How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Look, I loved doing the Month of Spooks. But god damn, have I missed being able to talk about other kinds of movies. So let’s talk about a children’s film.

Ladies and gentlemen… “How to Train Your Dragon”.

Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) is the son of a great dragon-slaying viking (Gerard Butler), yet he himself is expected to reach his father’s legacy. And one day when he meets an injured dragon, he soon learns that these beasts might not just be bloodthirsty monsters. So now we have our children’s fantasy adventure story. And by Odin’s beard, this story is great. Yeah, sure, we’ve seen similar premises done before. But the care they put into how their storytelling is presented here is quite astonishing. The story here is told in a really mature way that doesn’t treat its audience like absolute idiots, like so many kid’s movies do. And by the end I was emotionally invested in the story, thanks to the clever and nuanced storytelling.

The characters in this are colorful, layered (for the most part), unique, and really interesting. First we have Hiccup, son of a great viking, but more of a scrawny wimp himself. He’s a smart young dude, relying on wits to get him through shit rather than actual force. And he has an interesting and fun arc in this movie that I really enjoyed following. And I think Jay Baruchel did a great job voicing the character. We then have Gerard Butler as his burly dad, and he’s great. You get America Ferrera as Astrid, a local girl that Hiccup may have a bit of a crush on, and she’s great in the role. You get Craig Ferguson as another viking/comic relief, and he’s great. And in other supporting roles you have people like Jonah Hill, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Kristen Wiig, T.J. Miller, and more, and they all do a great job. Really, it’s a top notch cast.

The score for the movie was composed by John Powell, and it was absolutely wonderful. Big and epic, but also small and intimate. Epic and exciting, but also subtle and emotionally resonant. It manages to capture every emotion one would want in a movie like this.

Based on a novel by Cressida Cowell, “How to Train Your Dragon” was written by William Davies, Dean DeBlois, and Chris Sanders, with DeBlois and Sanders handling direction. And just like the story and characters before it, the craft on display here is marvelous. Everything in the direction is carefully considered, not a single frame is pure filler, everything exists either do develop a character or to add nuance to the story. Which leads us to the animation, which is absolutely spectacular. It’s highly detailed, and makes for some absolutely gorgeous images, especially during the action scenes, which are some of the best I’ve ever seen in an animated feature. The final set piece alone is one of the best I’ve seen in relatively recent movies. And with this being an animated kid’s film, there’s of course plenty of humor throughout… and it’s funny, I laugh. Slapstick, snappy comebacks, it’s all there, and it’s funny.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 99% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10 and is ranked #189 on the “top 250” list. It was also nominated for 2 Oscars in the categories of Best animated feature and Best original score.

“How to Train Your Dragon” is one of the best animated films I’ve seen in recent years. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, fantastic directing/animation, and funny comedy. Time for my final score. *Aye*. My final score for “How to Train Your Dragon” is a 9,90/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “How to Train Your Dragon” is now completed.

I can now see what all the fuss was about.

Movie Review: Constantine: City of Demons (2018)

Two animations in a row? I know, fucking insanity up in this joint. But hey, it’s my blog and my Month of Spooks, so I can do whatever I want. Besides, why wouldn’t I wanna talk about DC’s arguably most well known horror character?

Ladies and gents… “Constantine: City of Demons”.

When his daughter is thrown into a supernaturally induced coma, Chas Chandler (Damien O’Hare) enlists the help of his old mate, John Constantine (Matt Ryan), to hopefully fix this whole situation. And as they look further into the situation, they not only get into new troubles, but old wounds get opened back up too. I thought the story here was good. Leans a bit too heavily on exposition during the first act, but as soon as we get into act two, things aren’t quite so info-dumpy. And I have to admit that I didn’t fully see where this story was going, it managed to throw me for a loop multiple times, telling a narrative that understands the “Hellblazer” mythos and themes, while still making it accessible to anyone unfamiliar with the material. That latter point might be somewhat related to the info-dumping in the first act, which makes it kind of a double-edged sword, but that’s just how shit ends up some times. But yeah… the story’s good, if a bit flawed.

The characters in this are flawed, colorful, and overall quite interesting. Constantine in this is more like in the comics rather than how he’s portrayed in the Keanu Reeves movie. He’s British, snarky, and a bit aloof. And while he’s not quite as morally flexible as he is in the comics, they do nod towards that idea a fair bit throughout this movie, which makes him a bit more interesting. And Matt Ryan (in his fourth appearance) is great in the role. Damien O’Hare as John’s trusted friend Chas Chandler does a great job as the committed and brave, yet slightly impulsive type. And in the supporting cat we got people like Laura Baily, Robin Atkin Downes, Jim Meskimen, Rachel Kimsey, Rick Wasserman, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Kevin Riepl, and it was alright. It is overall a well composed score that worked fine for the movie, but I felt that it might’ve been a little bit on the bland-ish side. It does have some cool chorals that make it stand out a little bit, but for the most part it’s your typical orchestral stuff with occasional synthesizers for effect. Again, not bad, pretty good, but a little bland.

Of course based on the legendary DC/Vertigo Character, “Constantine: City of Demons” was directed by Doug Murphy, who I think did a good job with it. He doesn’t force a lot of needless action or an unnecessarily rapid pace, instead opting for a decent bit of downtime, letting characters breathe and letting the audience take in what’s going on a bit. And even when there is action, it isn’t typical action-action with fists flying all about the place or flashy spells pew-pewing all day long, which I think is a fun change of pace. And the animation carrying it all, I think is good (based on the standards of these lower budget DC animated flicks). There are some minor things that distracted in it, like some of the blood splatter effects, but for the most part the animation looks nice and wonderfully brings out some of the nastier stuff in the DC universe.

This movie has been decently well received. On imdb.com (which is the only site with a clear number), it has a score of 7,4/10.

While it isn’t perfect, “Constantine: City of Demons” is still a very enjoyable take on the titular Hellblazer. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, okay music, and really good directing/animation. Though it is unfortunately brought down a bit by a little too much exposition dumping, and some minor animations niggles. Time for my final score. *Bollocks*. My final score for “Constantine: City of Demons” is an 8,77/10. So while flawed, I’d say it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Constantine: City of Demons” is now completed.

“Abraka-fooking-dabra” – John Constantine.

Movie Review: Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust (2001)

Well this is a first for the Month of Spooks… animation. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust”.

When a girl (Wendee Lee) is kidnapped by a vampire, her family hires a legendary bounty hunter (Andrew Phlipot) to get her back. The setup is an old school one, but the way they handle it feels fresh. For one, it’s set in the distant future… but it also looks like the old west. This blend of different styles makes for a fun and unique universe. But it’s not just the world building that works about this movie. “Bloodlust” really takes time to weave a surprising amount of nuance throughout, making me really care about what really happens throughout the story, be it larger, epic moments or smaller, intimate drama.

Like with story before them, the characters in this movie have a bit more nuance than expected. At first they can seem like stereotypes. Broody, stern, Hannibal from “A-Team”, asshat. But if one sticks around, the characters get fleshed out quite a bit, making them a hell of a lot more compelling. First up we have D(E,F,G), the titular character at the center of the story. He’s the broody fucker I mentioned before… but he’s also a compassionate, strong-willed, and endearing guy who works to stay on the side of good. And I think Andrew Philpot does a great job with the voice work. Next we have Leila (cue Derek and the Dominos), another bounty hunter searching for the kidnapped girl. Tough, determined, stern, and also has a good heart. And she grows quite a fun rapport with D. She’s voiced by Pamela Adlon, who I think does a damn fine job with it. Wendee Lee does a good job as the kidnapped girl, who we meet multiple times throughout. And the vampire that did said kidnapping, played wonderfully by John Rafter Lee, is quite an interesting antagonist. Again, all the characters are pretty interesting. And the supporting cast is great.

The score for the movie was composed by Marco D’Ambrosio, who did a wonderful job with it. It’s moody and atmospheric, but also big and epic, as well as emotionally charged. It perfectly helps create the vibe the movie is going for, which is has a familiar sense of gothic brood, while still feeling fresh and unique for this movie.

Based on a manga series by Hideyuki Kikuchi, “Bloodlust” was directed by Yoshiaki Kawajiri, who I think did a wonderful job with it. His direction manages to keep the energy and pacing up throughout, without making it feel like he’s rushing things. He will let quiet moments simmer a bit, but without accidentally slipping into boredom. And holy fucking shit, the animation is stunning, which shouldn’t be a surprise considering the fact that Madhouse was the studio behind it (they make well animated stuff, yo). Combining Kawajiri’s meticulous direction with the animation talents at Madhouse was clever, as it makes for not only some gorgeously detailed wide shots, but also some insanely entertaining action scenes. It also makes it so the few pure horror bits we get become genuinely creepy. So well done, crew.

This movie has been generally well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 72% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 62/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10.

“Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust” isn’t just a highly entertaining vampire action movie, but it’s also a surprisingly nuance movie that subverts a fair bit of expectations. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/animation. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust” is a 9,67/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust” is now completed.

Any time you have a character with single-letter names, I just wanna continue the alphabet after referring to them.
“So what’s the character’s name?”
“D”
“Interesting”
“E, F, G, H, I… “

Series Review: The Strain – Season 1 (2014)

Hey, finally a tv show in the Month of Spooks.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Strain” season 1.

After a plane filled with dead people lands in New York, a mysterious viral outbreak begins, turning people into savage, vampiric creatures. And it’s up to Doctor Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) to find out what the hell is going on. So now we have our horror story. And it’s a good one. Sure, it does lean into some classic vampire tropes, but it also plays around with others to create something that feels fresh and unique in television. Admittedly the first few episodes are a bit on the slow side. They’re not bad, they carry a fair bit of intrigue, but they feel a bit like a drag at times. But when you get past them, and the plot truly gets going, it is an utterly compelling and quite entertaining vampire thriller.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, and quite interesting. Corey Stoll plays Ephraim Goodweather, a CDC scientist who has to investigate this mysterious viral outbreak. Eph (as he’s called by so many) has a lot of personal flaws and demons in his past, and seeing him have to deal with those in tandem with this intense outbreak makes him an interesting character. And Stoll is great in the roll. Yes, pun intended. Next we have David Bradly as Abraham Setrakian, a mysterious old man who seems to know a lot about what’s going on with this whole situation. We learn a lot about him as the show goes along, and I don’t wanna ruin it (’cause it’s good and should be experienced rather than told). And Bradley is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Mia Maestro, Kevin Durand, Miguel Gomez, Richard Sammel, Sean Astin, Jonathan Hyde, Ben Hyland, Ruta Gedmintas, Robin Atkin Downes, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the show/season was composed by Ramin Djawadi (oh sweet), and it’s pretty good (what do you mean “pretty”?). It’s not among Djawadi’s best work, but he still did a really solid job, giving us some decently tense pieces when needed, and some more emotional tracks in others. It’s pretty good.

Based on a series of novels by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, the show was created by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, with writing and directing by them and some other cool people. And the craft in this show is pretty spectacular. The direction creates a fair bit of tension, while still making us feel intimate with the characters. And fuck me sideways, the use of colored lighting in this show is fucking magnificent. Reds, greens, blues, yellows, it is stunning to look at. And the visual effects are pretty great too. Since it is a Del Toro production, there’s a lot of disgusting-looking practical creature effects, with some CG mixed in at times. And god damn, it is so cool to see that here, since it makes everything going on feel more real. It also kind of adds to the horror, as it doesn’t make the scary creatures look all shiny and fake. It’s some creepy stuff.

This show/season has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

Season 1 of “The Strain” may drag a bit at the start, but it ultimately ends up being an effective and highly entertaining vampire thriller. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, good music, and great writing/directing/effects/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 1 of “The Strain” is an 8,67/10. So while flawed, I still think it’s definitely worth watching.

My review of “The Strain” season 1 is now completed.

David Bradley’s a bit of a badass. Honestly never expected that.

Movie Review: Evil Dead 2 (1987)

Going a bit more old school with today’s Month of Spooks entry. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Evil Dead 2”.

After being the only survivor of an attack by a demonic force, Ash Williams (Bruce Campbell) runs into some strangers. And he has to team up with them to try to survive an absolute fucking onslaught of demons. So now we have our sequel/soft reboot. And fuck me, it’s good. Sure, the plot doesn’t do anything too major in terms of advancing storytelling techniques, but it instead presents some basic ideas and executes them in a way that is both scary and overall really entertaining. It manages to both be suspenseful horror and campy, fun popcorn entertainment.

The characters in this are colorful and entertaining. Bruce Campbell plays Ash Williams, sole survivor and overall main protagonist. He goes through a bit of a surprising arc here, which involves his psyche kinda getting broken by all the batshit insane/horrific things happening to him, and I really found myself caring for him. And Campbell is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Sarah Berry, Dan Hicks, Kassie Wesley DePaiva, and Ted Raimi, and they all do very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Joseph LoDuca, and it was good. Like the story, it kind of mixes more suspenseful pieces with more fun, slightly campy tracks, and this blend makes for an enjoyable score that fits the overall mood of the movie. Yeah. Not much else to say there.

“Evil Dead 2” was written by Sam Raimi and Scott Spiegel, with Raimi handling direction. And Raimi has such a good grasp of how to create a compelling atmosphere, right from scene one I was invested in what was going on, thanks to Raimi’s direction, which manages to create slowly seeping chills while still being highly energetic and fun. I mean, his direction is largely why the first 25-ish minutes genuinely scared me. I also have to give a lot of cred to the team that created the various effects throughout the movie, because they were fucking spectacular. Puppets, makeup, prosthetics, stop motion, liquids… it all looks great, and adds so much to the experience. What is also interesting is that there’s a decent amount of comedy throughout this movie, and that all of it is quite funny, and luckily never clashes with the more horrific elements of the movie.

This movie has been generally well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 98% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 69/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

“Evil Dead 2” is an absolute blast. It has a really solid plot, good characters, great performances, good music, great writing/directing, fantastic practical effects, and funny comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Evil Dead 2” is a 9,87/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Evil Dead 2” is now completed.

Groovy.

Movie Review: Hellboy (2019)

It should come as no surprise that I’m a huge fan of Guillermo Del Toro’s two “Hellboy” movies from the mid to late 2000s. They’re fun, character-driven, action movies filled with solid performances. So when a reboot was announced, I got scared. Then set pics came out, and I got less scared. And now I finally watched it. So let’s talk about it.

Ladies and gents… “Hellboy”… the rebootification.

When an evil blood witch (Milla Jovovich) is about to return, it’s up to Hellboy (David Harbour) and his allies to try to stop her. So now we have our plot. And it’s quite a mixed bag. On one hand, it’s an apocalyptic horror-fantasy, and on the other it’s a lighthearted monster romp, and it just clashes. Now, movies can switch between different tones and still work, we’ve seen it so many times. But “Hellboy” doesn’t have the flow to hold it up. Every tonal shift feels so sudden and unwarranted. And even if you take the scenes in on their own, they’re often so blandly written that I just didn’t give much of a shit. And that’s not how I want it. I want to give a shit, I wanted this to be a great story. But as it stands, it’s not great.

The characters in this are, like the story, a bit of a mixed bag. I see the potential in them, but they flip-flop around a bit much. Are they goofy comic action movie characters or are they broody soap opera ones? Both apparently. David Harbour plays the titular horned hero, a demon summoned from the depths of hell, raised to stop evil. He’s a bit of a jerk, but he’s also sometimes a decent enough dude. Seeing him learn more about himself is interesting, even if, as said before, he flip-flops a little bit. But I do think Harbour is good in the role, doing his best with the material he’s given. Next we have Ian McShane as Al Sweareng- I mean Professor Broom, Hellboy’s adoptive father. The reason I made that little joke was because in terms of writing, he feels like a watered down version of Al Swearengen from “Deadwood”.  I love “Deadwood”, but you can’t make everything “Deadwood” just because Ian McShane’s in it. Oh well, at least it’s an enjoyable performance. And Milla Jovovich plays Nimue, the Blood Queen, the movie’s main antagonist of the movie, and she’s fine in the role. Again, subpar material. We also get supporting work from people like Daniel Dae Kim, Sasha Lane, Stephen Graham, Thomas Haden Church, and more, all doing either okay or very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Benjamin Wallfisch, and it was alright. It’s not exactly memorable, but it’s overall well composed. A lot of BWOOOOOM, some emotional strings, and some electronic enhancements, making a decently passable score. Then there are also a whole bunch of licensed tracks used throughout, and I swear, it feels like they went through several of my spotify playlists to pick out some of those tracks. Some of the tracks work fine in their respective scenes, and some are… meh.

Based on the critically acclaimed comics by Mike Mignola, this movie was directed by Neil Marshall, and I think he did an alright job with it. You can tell that he put a lot of work into shot composition and making sure scenes could flow decently well, making for occasionally fun action beats. But then the shit hits the fan again. The editing is really weird, making for some awkward cuts and moments. And let’s talk effects. Most of them are pretty good, both the practical and CG. But then we get to the blood and gore. I don’t mind that shit in a movie, it can be kinda fun or intense. But here it looks like someone tried rendering raspberry jam on a Windows 98, which really took me out of it when I started enjoying parts of the action scenes.

This movie has not been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 17% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 31/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,2/10.

I really wanted to like this movie, and it does admittedly have its moments. But in the end “Hellboy” (The Rebootification) is not really a good movie. It has a janky plot, meh characters, good performances, okay music, okay direction, and bad editing/blood effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Hellboy” (The Rebootification) is a 4,87/10. So I’d recommend skipping it.

My review of “Hellboy” (The Rebootification) is now completed.

You make me sad, movie.

Movie Review: Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2019)

Yes. This is a real movie. And I watched it. And now I’m gonna talk about it.

Dudes and chicks… “Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”.

When Ra’s Al Ghul (Cas Anvar) teams up with the Shredder (Andrew Kishino), the Turtles (Eric Bauza, Darren Criss, Kyle Mooney, Baron Vaughn) find themselves following the villains to Gotham City, where they run into Batman (Troy Baker). Aaaand cue the crossover craziness. Is this a masterpiece of storytelling? No. Is this high art? No. But is it a well written and fun crossover that never takes itself too seriously? Yes. For the most part, the plot here is lighthearted comic book action. But there are also moments where it actually dares to go a little darker, but it never feels like it clashes with the more fun and ridiculous scenes. It balances its tone perfectly, giving us one of the most unique and enjoyable plots in recent DC animations.

The characters are colorful, fun, charming, memorable, and pretty interesting. Troy Baker plays Batman, and he’s the ever serious Batman… you know who Batman is, there’s nothing new done to him as a character. But Baker’s voice work is solid here. Then we have Eric Bauza, Darren Criss, Kyle Mooney, and Baron Vaughn as the four Ninja Turtles Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello. And they are exactly as one expects the frickin’ Turtles to be (if you’re familiar with them). And the four actors voicing them are great in their respective roles. While there isn’t much in terms of actual development here, what makes the characters stand out here is how well they play off of each other. It’s their chemistry that makes them so enjoyable to follow… good stuff. We also get supporting work from people like Cas Anvar, Carlos Alazraqui, Rachel Bloom, Andrew Kishino, Tara Strong, Ben Giroux, Brian George, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Kevin Riepl, and it was good. Some orchestrations, some synthesizers, some guitar, a lot of fun percussion, it’s the right kind of score to add an extra bit of fun to the insanity of the movie. I really enjoyed hearing it throughout the movie, and it worked well in the various scenes.

Based on a comic by James Tynion IV & Freddie Williams II (fancy lads and their numbered names), this movie was directed by Jake Castorena, and I think it is a well directed movie. The animation flows nicely and has a really good sense of energy to it. Some of the character designs could maybe be a little hit or miss (mainly Donatello for me), there was nothing I’d call bad here. Especially not the action scenes, which I found to be great. Brutal, fluent, and well directed, the various fight scenes throughout are an absolute joy to behold. There’s also a really fun chase here that was a blast to watch. So yeah, there’s a ton of well animated, absolutely ridiculous action scenes throughout the movie… which makes me very happy. There are also a lot of jokes in this movie, and they made me laugh very hard. Some really clever, some incredibly dumb, all funny.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

So “Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is absolutely insane, and I loved every minute of it. It has a really fun plot, really good characters, great performances, good music, really good animation/direction/action, and hilarious humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is a 9,84/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is now completed.

That was… BATshit insane.