Movie Review: Almost Famous (2000)

Music. One of the most powerful things in the world. A medium that transcends language. You may not understand what that foreign person is saying, but you will connect thanks to the recognizable riff of “Smoke on the Water”, or the vocal melody of “Stairway to Heaven”. Music, connecting people better than words can.

Ladies and gents… “Almost Famous”.

The year is 1973. High school student William Miller (Patrick Fugit) has been given the opportunity of a lifetime: To follow up-and-coming band Stillwater on tour and write an article on them for Rolling Stone Magazine. So yeah, that’s about it. We follow William and the journey he goes on with this band. From meeting them, to seeing them play, to the various other highs and lows of a 70s rock band being on tour. And I found myself fully engrossed in the plot of this movie. When it wants to be fun and breezy, it’s fun and breezy. And when it wanted to tug at my heartstrings, it did. It rides the balance between fun and dramatic perfectly, creating a journey that I loved following from the start to finish.

The characters in this are all entertaining, layered, interesting, and feel like real people. Patrick Fugit plays William, the young man who’s been given this opportunity. He’s naive, but not dumb. He holds these guys in high regard, and you can see the joy in his eyes as he hangs out with the band. But you also see him get some good development throughout. And Fugit is great in the role. It’s also refreshing to see him play such a happy character after having seen him be so stressed and damaged in “Outcast”. Next up we have Billy Crudup as Russell, the lead guitarist of the band. He’s the member we get to know the best and that gets the most amount of development. He is a bit mysterious, but as he spends time with William he starts to open a bit more and really develops as a character. And Crudup is great in the role. Then we have Kate Hudson (who I mistook for Drew Barrymore at first, oops) as “Penny Lane”, a mysterious girl that William runs into early on that follows along on the journey. She’s a pretty secretive girl, but she also becomes one of William’s closest friends during this journey. She’s a very fun and interesting character. And Hudson is great in the role. I’m not gonna go in-depth with any more characters as most don’t get the same kind of development as the main three, and also because I don’t want this post to get too long. But we do get some supporting work from people like Jason Lee, Frances McDormand, Noah Taylor, Fairuza Balk, Anna Paquin, Philip Seymour Hoffman (R.I.P), Terry Chen, and more. All doing really well in their respective roles.

While not a lot can be found on it online, there was music in this composed by Nancy Wilson (one half of rock duo Heart), and the little I found out about it was really good. There has been one piece officially released from it that is fantastic, and she also co-wrote some songs for the band in the movie (with some additional help from Cameron Crow and Peter Frampton). And there were of course A LOT of 70s rock tracks used throughout to capture that era and story, and it worked brilliantly. Then again, I am a bit biased due to my love for that era of music. Still, the soundtrack for this movie worked perfectly for it.

The movie was written and directed by Cameron Crowe and he did a fantastic job. His directing is tight and intimate, getting us close to the characters and their situations, making us feel like were really part of it. But it’s not the “look at me and how personal I can get”, Crowe’s direction doesn’t call attention to itself. There’s also a lot of humor in this movie and I found it to be really funny, I laughed out loud several times. But the humor never feels out of place or like it overtakes the drama, it fits into the movie incredibly well.

This movie 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 90/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best original screenplay. It was also nominated for an additional 3 Oscars in the categories of Best supporting actress (Hudson), Best supporting actress (McDormand), and Best film editing.

“Almost Famous” is a fun, inspiring, and engaging little dramedy. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, fantastic music, great directing, and funny humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Almost Famous” is a 9,89/10. Which means it gets a the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
 

My review of “Almost Famous” is now completed.

Hold me closer, tiny dancer…

Movie Review: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Ah, limited releases. I don’t like you. It’s stupid. Just let everybody get movies at the same time. Stop with the limited bullshit. I don’t like getting shit late.

Ladies and gents… “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”.

When the local police fails to find whoever killed her daughter, Mildred Hayes (Frances McDormand) aims to get their attention using three billboards located just outside of the town. And soon enough Mildred finds herself having a bit of a feud with the local police. And despite what the trailers might’ve indicated, this isn’t so much a crazy Coen-y comedy as much as it is a drama featuring bursts of dark comedy. Yes, there are parts in this movie that are of a more comedic nature, but this is for the most part a layered and emotionally charged drama. And I found myself engaged by this plot from start to finish. This is one of the few movies I’ve watched recently where I’ve felt emotionally invested. I might’ve been interesting and somewhat engaged by other movies, but none of them have been able to grab me quite as much as “Three Billboards”. It’s a fantastic plot.

The characters here are deep, interesting, engaging, entertaining, and they felt real (even amidst some of the crazier moments). Frances McDormand plays Mildred Hayes, the lady utilizing the title of the movie. She’s tough and determined, but she also has a more vulnerable side that comes froth every now and then. She feels like a fully fleshed out character and I really cared about her. And McDormand is of course fantastic in the role. Woody Harrelson plays William Willoughby, the chief of police in Ebbing, Missouri. He’s a family man who wants to find whoever killed Mildred’d daughter, but he can’t exactly do it. There’s also another aspect to the character that I won’t go into, but it does add another emotional layer to him. And Harrelson is great in the role. Then we have Sam Rockwell as Jason Dixon, a police officer. He’s a racist, bigoted, sack of fucking shit. And he does have an interesting arc in this movie that I won’t go into, but I found it quite engaging. And Rockwell is absolutely fantastic in the role. And then we get some supporting performances from people like John Hawkes, Peter Dinklage, Lucas Hedges, Kerry Condon, Abbie Cornish, Caleb Landry Jones, Zeljko Ivanek, Amanda Warren, and more. And they range from okay to great. ’tis a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Carter Burwell and it was terrific. It was dramatic, emotional, tense, and just overall well composed. It worked very well for the scenes it was used in, adding a lot to those scenes. There were also a bunch of licensed tracks used throughout, and they were all used very well in their respective scenes. This movie has some damn good music.

This movie was written and directed by Martin McDonagh, and I think he did a fantastic job on both those fronts. The movie is very well directed, with him managing to fully engage me in a scene. He even managed to get some decent tension out of a couple moments in the movie. And the writing is of course on point. It’s engaging and and fully grips ya. And let’s talk about the humor here. It’s darker than the asshole of black void. it made me cringe but it also made me laugh quite a bit. And it works very well with the drama of the movie. The balance is perfect, and McDonagh manages to get a very good flow between the two without making any of it feel jarring. And the cinematography by Ben Davis is really good, giving us some damn pretty shots.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 88/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,3/10 and is ranked #129 on the “Top 250” list.

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is another win for Martin McDonagh, it’s absolutely fantastic. It has a fantastic plot, great characters, fantastic performances, great music, and fantastic directing/cinematography/humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is a 9,89/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” is now completed.

Sam Rockwell better get an Oscar.

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” trailer!

Hello there, guys. Hope you’re all having a good day! Another interesting trailer has been released… so let’s fuckin’ talk about it.

We now have our first trailer for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (god damn, what a mouthful!), the newest movie from writer/director Martin McDonagh. So what is this all about then? Well, it’s about a woman (Frances McDormand) who after the unsolved murder of her daughter puts up some billboards trying to get the attention of the police. And then dark crime stuff ensues. I am a big fan of McDonagh two previous movies “In Bruges” and “Seven Psychopaths”, so my expectations are quite high. So what do I think of this trailer? Yeah, it’s fun. It looks like it will be as darkly funny as his previous movies which is something I love about it. The language is as vulgar as I expected and the delivery from the acotrs is perfect. So am I looking forward to this? Hell fucking yes! “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” doesn’t have a set release date, but it’s expected to be released this year.

So what are your thoughts? Are you looking forward to “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (Seriously, what a mouthful)? And are you a fan of any of McDonagh’s previous works. Leave any and all answers in the comments!
Have a good one and enjoy!

Movie Review: Burn After Reading (2008)

Spies. Romanticized in movies to the point of it being kind of ridiculous. And sure, we have some of the more low-key spy thrillers out there that aren’t all “Look at me, I’m James Bonding all over Europe, motherfucker”. But sometimes you just need someone or something to take the piss out of the general genre.

Ladies and gents… “Burn After Reading”.

The plot is about a whole bunch of things. But the main one is basically that two gym employees (Brad Pitt and Frances McDormand) get hold of the memoirs of CIA agent Osborne Cox (John Malkovich). And they then plan to try to sell this intel and soon we have a twisty-turny plot that was pretty good. The plot had a lot of interesting and entertaining moments, but I was never really into it. Now, I know that this is meant to mainly be a comedy taking the piss out of the spy genre, and it does that pretty well, but my heart was never truly into it. I don’t know how to exactly put it, but to try to summarize it… The plot itself was decently interesting and entertaining, but I was never truly into it. I guess it just didn’t invest me as much as other satires have.

The characters in this movie are all very entertaining and memorable. John Malkovich was fantastic as Osborne Cox, this kind of alcoholic CIA agent who’s prone to anger. George Clooney plays US Marshal Harry Pfarrer and he was great in the role. His character was a very twitchy and suspicious/paranoid and a bit ADHD and Clooney did all of that very well. Frances McDormand plaus one of the two gym employees who gets hold of Cox’s memoirs and she’s simply terrific in the role. Brad Pitt played the other gym employee and his character was just kind of an idiot… and he was so fun to watch. The character was very entertaining and Pitt was great in the role. And then we also have Tilda Swinton playing Cox’s wife who also happens to be having an affair with Pfarrer and she was great in the role. She was probably the most serious of the characters in the movie and Swinton gave a great performance. Every actor in the movie does a great job.

The score for the movie was composed by Carter Burwell and it was pretty great. Not only was it well composed, but i would also say that it was a joke in itself. Let me explain. This movie is a comedy, but the music is incredibly serious. We see the stuff happening and we laugh, but the music sounds like something we’d hear in a serious spy movie, and I honestly think it was a deliberate choice by Burwell and the directors. So yeah… it was really good and it worked very well for the movie.

This movie was written and directed by the Coen brothers, and they of course did a great job. The shots look great and the writing is on point as always. Sure, not every line is a punchline, but the dialogue is snappy and fun enough to keep a person entertained. And there’s of course violence in the movie. Sure, it doesn’t happen all the time… in fact, it rarely happens in the movie. But when it happens, it hits hard.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 78% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 63/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

“Burn After Reading” is a fun satire of the spy genre. It has a good plot, great characters, great performances, great music, great directing, and great writing. However, I am bringing it down a bit because of the plot never truly hooking me into it. Time for my final score. *Grabs envelope*. My final score for “Burn After Reading” is an 8,88/10. So even though it’s flawed, I’d say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Burn After Reading” is now completed.

*Burns envelope*.

 

Movie Review: Hail, Caesar! (2016)

hailcaesar

The movie industry, one of the biggest and most profitable industries in the world. It’s given us sooooo many hours of entertainment for such a long time that it’s kind of ridiculous. And not only is it guilty of giving us entertainment, but it’s also the thing that’s given this blog most of it’s content.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Hail, Caesar!”.

Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin) is a fixer for a big Hollywood studio in the 1950s. As a fixer, his job is to keep problems with actors, directors, and such to a minimum. And soon he gets a bit of a rough time when problems pour in from every possible direction. So what we have here is an odd crime-comedy-thing with a whole bunch of plot threads going on at the same time. And while that stuff can be interesting, I feel like the way it’s handled here is a bit messy. Not saying that any of the plots going on are bad, but it’s just that it’s kind of a fucking mess. I mean, I was constantly interested and entertained, but I feel like it could have been a bit more focused.

The characters are all interesting and very entertaining. I will mention that there are a shit-ton of big name actors in this movie, and instead of spending 50 hours listing them with one comment each, I will simply say that they all did a great job and I’m just gonna list their names. Cool? Cool. *Deep breath*. Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Scarlett Johansson, Alden Ehrenreich (First-timer, did a fantastic job), Ralph Fiennes, Channing Tatum, Tilda Swinton, Frances McDormand, Jonah Hill, Clancy Brown, Alison Pill, Fisher Stevens, Christopher Lambert, David Krumholtz, and more. *Exhale*. God damn, there’s a lot of people in this movie!

The score for the movie was composed by Carter Burwell and it was fun, kind of quirky, and overall well composed. It fit the movie very well. There are even a few songs (as in musical numbers) in this movie performed by the actors, and they are surprisingly good and really catchy.

This movie was directed by the Coen brothers, and I think they did a great job here. There’s energy, there are clever moments, and there’s an overall sense of fun. And the cinematography by Roger Deakins is of course great, as per usual. The humor in this movie is also pretty solid. I’m not saying that every “funny” moment hit, but when it did hit… it hit very well. There’s one scene involving Alden Ehrenreich and Ralph Fiennes in this movie that is really damn funny, it’s most definitely my favorite scene in the entire movie.

This movie has gotten some slightly mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 85% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,3/10. The movie has also been nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best production design. 

“Hail, Caesar!” is a fun homage to old school cinema. It has some okay plots, good characters, great performances, really good music, great directing, and some really good humor. However it is brought down by the plot being kind of messy. Time for my final score. *ACTION!*. My final score for “Hail, Caesar!” is an 8,87/10. So even if it’s messy, I ‘d still say it’s worth buying.
worth-buying

My review of “Hail, Caesar!” is now completed.

Alden Ehrenreich… I trust that you’ll make a good Han Solo (please!).

Movie Review: Primal Fear (1996)

primal

I love crime-based movies. The fun thing about it is how wide it can actually be. Crime/drama, crime-trhiller, crime-comedy, the list goes on. I even like the thing that relates to the crime genre simply known as “Legal Dramas”. I know those are not for everyone, but I can enjoy them (If they’re good). And then I find this legal drama starring Richard Gere and my favorite actor Edward Norton. So indeed I was kind of interested… even though this was quite a while before I realized Ed Norton was my favorite actor. I think I heard about this movie in like January of 2013, and it’s been on my watchlist even since. But now I finally sat down to watch it. So what did I think about the movie? Well stay to find out!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Primal Fear”

This movie is based on the book with the same name by William Diehl and is about defense attorney Martin Vail (Richard Gere) who takes on the job to be the attorney of altar boy Aaron Stampler (Edward Norton) who has been accused of murdering archbishop Rushman (Stanley Anderson). But this movie is a bit more deep than that and doesn’t simply rely on CSI techniques and legal bullshit, oh no. There is so much more to this story than meets the eye… problem is I can’t talk about them since I don’t spoil in my reviews. But while the story in premise was pretty straight forward, the execution and general final product was pretty cool. Not saying it was without it’s flaws however. There are a few things in a sort of side-plot with Martin and one of his personal vendettas that didn’t really interest me too much, but that is not the important stuff. But the story was overall good.

I am going to be completely honest… I did not like all the characters too much. Sure the main protagonist Martin was kind of likeable but he was still a not too interesting jerk. But I was on the other hand intrigued as hell by the character of Aaron Stampler (Norton). Not only was it hightened by Norton’s great performance, but I always felt something was up with him… especially as you get deeper into the plot and further into the movie. I am not saying why if you haven’t seen, but I promise you will also be pretty intrigued. Overall the characters were good but forgettable, except for Aaron.

The music, while nothing special, was pretty good. As you may expect from this type of movie there were a few licensed tracks in it, but there was also an original score by James Newton Howard. And the original score was pretty good, if a little generic. But I did think all the music worked for the movie as a whole.

The camera work in this movie is nothing special, that is the truth. Not saying it was bad, just saying it wasn’t revolutionary or even great to be honest. And speaking of great stuff (not too clever segue, I know), I fucking loved the ending. I thought it was pretty clever how it was set up and delivered, good job movie. I am of course not gonna spoil the edning for you guys because that would be so incredibly rude. But I can at least mention that how it concluded left a small amount to interpretation in what would happen next, and I really liked that about the movie. Great job, movie!

So how was this movie when it comes to the reception? Well as far as I could find out, people enjoyed it. The main factor that people were praising was Edward Norton’s performance (I don’t blame them). On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 74% positive rating. On Metacritic it has the fairly low score of 47/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars and had this little thing to say;

“the plot is as good as crime procedurals get, but the movie is really better than its plot because of the three-dimensional characters,”

On imdb.com this movie has a score of 7,7/10. It was also nominated for One Oscar in the category of Best Supporting Actor (Edward Norton). The nomination does not surprise me to be completely honest… just saying.

This movie has a good plot, decent characters, good music, a really cool ending and a phenomenal perforamnce by Edward Norton. So it is time for the final score. And my final score for “Primal Fear” is an 8,78/10. So I think this movie is worth buying (But it’s not mandatory).
betala-kassa-butik

Review for “Primal Fear” is now done.

“Well how the fuck should I know!?”