Movie Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

And the 2018 catch-up continues. Admittedly I don’t have a super specific series set up, but catching up on the year’s movies is what one have to do when nearing the end of said year. Enough rambling, let’s shrink.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Ant-Man and the Wasp”.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has to once again don the Ant-Man suit, but instead of using it to steal some shit, he has to use his abilities, as well as the assistance of his ally Hope (Evangeline Lilly), to get hold of some tech to try and pull Janet Van Dyne out of the Quantum Realm. But this quest will prove challenging as opposing forces want this technology for their own purposes. So now we have our “Ant-Man” sequel plot. And it’s good, a fun comic book romp. Has a few decent dramatic moments. Not much I can say, it’s just a fun superhero plot. Doesn’t do much, but doesn’t do little either. It’s fast-paced and easy to follow while expanding on a few of the ideas set up in the first movie. It doesn’t do anything special, but it also doesn’t need to. It’s just an easygoing and fun plot.

The characters in this are colorful, interesting, and really entertaining. Paul Rudd of course returns as Scott Lang, the charming ex-con/superhero with a heart of gold. He’s fun, he’s someone I care about, and he is just generally an enjoyable protagonist. And Paul Rudd is great in the role. Next we have Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne/Wasp. She was just sort of a tough sidekick/teacher in the first movie, but here she gets to do a lot more, especially since she now has her own super suit to play with. And she’s quite an enjoyable character to follow. And Lilly is great in the role. Michael Peña returns as Scott’s best friend, Luis, and he’s just as hilarious as he was the first time around. Michael Douglas returns as Dr. Hank Pym, and he’s once again pretty great. Newcomer time! First up, Hannah John-Kamen as “Ghost”, a mysterious new villain with a pretty compelling arc that I won’t say more about here, but I found it to be pretty cool. And John-Kamen is really good in the role. We also get Walton Goggins as some shady black market dealer, and he’s as Goggins-y as ever, and while his character doesn’t have much to actually do, Goggins is really good in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale, Abby Ryder Fortson, David Dastmalchian, Randall Park, T.I., Laurence Fishburne, Michelle Pfeiffer, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

Like with the first movie, Christophe Beck did the score for this one. And it’s just as fun and enjoyable as the first time around. It’s bouncy, irreverent, and just overall fits the lighthearted tone that the movie generally goes for. The added use of synth and (for lack of a better word) bouncy percussion really helps keep the pace up. It’s just fun. And there are a few licensed tracks used throughout that work well enough in their respective scenes.

As with the first movie, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” was directed by Peyton Reed and I think he did a good job with it. His directing is fun, fast-paced, and just generally has a certain energy that makes it all quite enjoyable to watch. The action scenes too are quite solid, giving us some good close quarters combat, as well as the shrink/grow superhero stuff we came to see. There’s of course also a lot of comedy throughout this movie, and I found most of it to be quite funny. A few jokes weren’t the best, but none of them made me want to tear my brain out. Some mild nose-wrinkling, some chuckles, a few out loud laughs… yeah, it’s funny.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 70/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is a fun movie… not one of the best of the year, but an enjoyable romp nonetheless. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, really good directing, and funny comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is an 8,76/10. So while not perfect, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is now completed.

Baba Yaga…

Advertisements

Movie Review: An American Werewolf in London (1981)

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. For today’s Month of Spooks post we’re going with a classic about werewolves. And it’s also a first time watch for me, so it’s pretty exciting. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “An American Werewolf in London”.

After getting attacked by a werewolf while trekking through the English countryside, American college student David (David Naughton) gets sent to the hospital. And we follow him as he tries to cope with the possibility that he might turn into a werewolf himself. So now we have our story. And I think it’s really good, and I think a lot of it comes down to the tone here. While it has its basis in horror, it never takes itself too seriously. That isn’t to say that there isn’t any drama here, because there is, and I think it is fairly effective in getting the audience invested. But it is often more of a dramedy rather than a straight-up horror movie, which I think works very well, and even makes the horror parts of the plot even more effective as it’s such a change in tone and style. Good stuff.

The characters in this are interesting and entertaining. First up we have David Naughton as David, the college student who might be turning into a werewolf. Seeing his development as he copes with the thought of turning as well as everything else surrounding the entire situation is quite interesting, and it makes him a pretty compelling character. And Naughton is great in the role. Next we have Jenny Agutter as Alex, the nurse who treats David at the hospital, while also being a bit of a live interest. She’s charming, clever, and just an overall fun foil for David. And Agutter is really good in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Griffin Dunne, John Woodvine, Frank Oz, Don McKillop, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Elmer Bernstein, and it was good. Typical mood-building horror stuff, worked well enough for the various scenes it was used in. Then there were also a bunch of licensed tracks used throughout the movie, and they really added a lot to the movie, giving a bit of extra charm to it, somehow adding to the entire experience. So yeah, this movie had some good music.

This movie was written and directed by John Landis, and I think he did a great job with it. He builds a thick atmosphere here, thick enough that you can shoot it with a silver bullet, and it just adds a lot to the movie. There’s a dread that lingers in the background, and it gives a lot of layers to it all. But it’s not just doom and gloom, as there’s a fair bit of humor throughout the movie. And I found it all to be quite funny. And let’s not delay it any further. Rick Baker’s makeup and effects… they are absolutely fantastic and still really hold up to this day. Especially THAT scene. The people who have seen it know which scene I’m talking about. Mind-blowing stuff, yo.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 60/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best makeup.

“An American Werewolf in London” deftly blends horror, comedy, and drama to create an interesting and compelling package. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, good music, and great directing/makeup and effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “An American Werewolf in London” is a 9,67/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “An American Werewolf in London” is now completed.

There’s a bad moon on the rise. Awooo.

Movie Review: The Guard (2011)

Ireland. An island known for its alcohol, Bono, and delightful accents. And thanks to movies, it’s probably now getting known for its dark filmmakers.

Ladies and gents… “The Guard”.

When a drug smuggling operation is believed to be operated out of the Irish west coast, a local policeman (Brendan Gleeson) has to work with an FBI agent (Don Cheadle) to try to find the people behind the operation and stop them. So now we have our Irish crime story. And is it any good? Yeah… surprisingly so. I mean, it’s not much of a mystery as we get a lot of details early on, but it’s still quite a bit of fun to see Gleeson and Cheadle investigate this entire ordeal. It has a very fun and quirky vibe about it without getting silly, still feeling like a good crime story as it’s embracing some of that Irish charm.

The characters in this are colorful, unique, highly entertaining, and surprisingly layered. First up we have Brendan Gleeson as Gerry Boyle, the Irish cop at the center of this story. He’s a loud, racist, bullheaded asshole with a warm heart beating inside of him. We get to see many sides of Gerry throughout the movie, and it makes him quite an interesting character. And Gleeson (as expected) is fantastic in the role. Then we have Don Cheadle as Wendell Everett, the FBI agent who has to work with the Irish police to investigate the drug smuggling. He’s a bit more uptight compared to the slob that is Gerry Boyle, which makes him a good foil for Boyle’s antics. And he’s given a fair bit of depth here too. And Cheadle is great in the role. And we get some supporting performance from people like Liam Cunningham, Mark Strong, David Wilmot, Fionnula Flanagan, Dominique McElligott, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was done by American indie rock band Calexico, and it was quite good. The score has a very western-y vibe that somehow works incredibly well for this Irish crime comedy, somehow blending with the overall strangeness of everything going on throughout the movie. It works quite well for the movie.

“The Guard” was written and directed by John Michael McDonagh, and I think he did  great with it. The shots look pretty good, and his direction has a fun vibe that never feels too slow or too fast, finding a good balance for each element it presents. And since this a comedy the main question is “Did I laugh?”. Yeah, I did. Now, I should preface this by saying that the humor in this movie is quite dark, which should come as little to no surprise considering who this guy’s brother is. But if you like the humor in stuff like “In Bruges”, “Seven Psychopaths”, or even Quentin Tarantino’s various movies, then you’ll probably find this movie funny. Anyway, I sure as hell laughed, I thought it was fucking hilarious.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 78/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“The Guard” is a hilarious Irish crime-comedy wit ha surprising amount of heart. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, great directing, and hilarious comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Guard” is a 9,64/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Guard” is now completed.

Damn you, Ireland. Damn you and your awesome accents.

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…

Series Review: The Tick – Season 1 (2017 – 2018)

Whereas Netflix is currently known as the king of streaming these days, I feel like we should give some major cred to Amazon. Mainly because they’ve produced quite a diverse range of shows and movies, and a good amount of them I have enjoyed. So let’s talk about one such show today.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Tick”.

Arthur Everest (Griffin Newman) is a very nervous young man with a tragic past. And one day his life changes when he meets a mysterious man in a blue suit, simply known as The Tick (Peter Serafinowicz). And soon the two find themselves teaming up to try to stop the evil villain known as The Terror (Jackie Earle Haley). So now we have our superhero story. And what I liked about it is that compared to a lot of other modern superhero stories, it isn’t concerned with being gritty or grounded or overly serious. Instead we have a more tongue-in-cheek superhero story that aims more to entertain and inspire. It’s almost like a parody of superheroes, while still indulging in a good amount of classic superhero clichés. And I found this plot to be pretty damn great.

The characters here are layered, unique, interesting, and endlessly entertaining. Peter Serafinowicz plays The Tick, the titular blue hero. He is a bit lost in life, because he has no memory of his life before meeting Arthur. All he really knows is that he’s a superhero and he’s called The Tick, and I think it works for his character, you don’t always need a definitive origin. He’s also a very fun hero, he’s a very aloof and optimistic man who always looks on the bright side of life. Inspiring with a side order of silly is how I’d describe it. And Serafinowicz is fantastic in the role. Griffin Newman plays Arthur, the neurotic young man at the center of this story. Due to something that happened to him during his childhood, he’s a very nervous person and a little bit of a conspiracy nut. But we see him go through an interesting arc in the show after he meets The Tick and starts investigating The Terror with him. And Newman is great in the role. Then we have Valorie Curry as Dot, Arthur’s sister. She’s may look small and frail, but she’s actually quite tough and is doing everything to help her brother lead a normal life. And Curry is really good in the role. Then we have Scott Speiser as Overkill, a very grim and violent mercenary that Tick and Arthur run into during their adventure. He makes for an interesting contrast within this generally silly story, making for some very enjoyable scenes. And Speiser is really good in the role. Then we have Jackie Earle Haley as The Terror, the main villain of this story. The best way I could describe him is that he’s a little bit like Aku from “Samurai Jack”. A menacing and capable villain that also has a fun and enjoyable personality, making him stand out among all the villains in movies and TV. And Haley is great in the role. The final person I’m going mildly in-depth with is Yara Martinez as Ms. Lint, the henchwoman of The Terror. She’s got lightning powers, and that’s all I’m gonna say because her story and other personality traits are better left experienced. And Martinez is really good in the role. We also get some supporting work from people like Devin Ratray, Alan Tudyk, Brendan Hines, François Chau, Townsend Coleman, Michael Cerveris, John Pirkis, and many more. All doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the season was composed by Chris Bacon, and it was damn good. It’s fun and jazzy at times, but at other times it’s fairly serious and sounds more like something you’d hear in a typical superhero action movie. But I feel like all the music works quite well here, as it often elevates the show in certain ways. There are also a few licensed tracks used throughout and they work quite well too.

Based on a comic series by Ben Edlund, this show was created by… Ben Edlund? Yeah, he made a show out of his own comic… not gonna lie, I think that’s kinda cool. Anyway, he also got help with writing and directing from a whole bunch of people. And I have to say that it all works out marvelously. The direction is fun and fast-paced, which means there’s never a dull moment, even when they slow down for character stuff. And the action scenes are fun too. Sure, they’re not the most epic or overly choreographed things, but they’re pretty fun to watch. Admittedly there are some visual effects in this show that look a bit corny, but I think it kind of works for this since they’re not taking it as seriously as a lot of other superhero things. And since this is a comedy, let’s talk about the humor. It’s fucking hilarious, I laughed quite a lot throughout this. And I’m not just talking about simple chuckles, there were a lot of loud laughs coming from me throughout the season, which is rare for me to find these days.

This show/season has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“The Tick” is a ton of fun and is also one of the best superhero shows available right now. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, good music, and great directing/action/comedy. Time for my final score. *SPOON!*. My final score for “The Tick” season 1 is a 9,88/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

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

This show is so refreshing.

Movie Review: Mr. Right (2016)

Love is hard. Some find the one, some find assholes, and some find a person who just isn’t a perfect match. Really, love as a concept is a fucking mess.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mr. Right”.

Martha (Anna Kendrick) recently went through a really bad breakup and it has sort of messed with her head quite a bit. That’s when she meets Francis (Sam Rockwell), a kind of eccentric guy who just seems like he’s the perfect guy for her. What she doesn’t know is that Francis is a world-known hitman. So we follow their relationship evolve as Francis tries to avoid local gangsters and a ruthless agent (Tim Roth) who seems to have a connection of sorts to Francis. And look, I’m not gonna sit here and pretend like this thing is the most well written or most original plot ever… but I also don’t care, because it’s just a fun and entertaining plot. It’s just a fun and fast-paced romantic comedy/action-thriller plot. And in that way I think it works quite well.

The characters here are all interesting and entertaining. Anna Kendrick plays Martha, a young woman who’s become a bit weird after a really bad breakup. And through the movie we see her evolve a bit as a character, while still being overall fun throughout. And Kendrick is really good in the role. Sam Rockwell plays Francis, the strange man/hitman that Martha forms a relationship with. He’s charming, he’s funny, he’s badass, and just overall a really interesting character that we learn a couple things about throughout, deepening him a bit. And Rockwell is just awesome in the role. And I have to say that Kendrick and Rockwell share some really solid chemistry here, making the scenes they have together much more entertaining. Then we have Tim Roth as Hopper, a sort of agent on the hunt for Francis. We learn pretty early on that he has a connection of some kind to Francis, making his chase a bit more intriguing. And Roth is great in the role. Then we get some really solid supporting work from people like James Ransone, Anson Mount, Michael Eklund, RZA, Katie Nehra, and more. ’tis a well acted movie with fun characters.

The score for the movie was composed by Aaron Zigman and I thought it was good. It’s not mindblowing in any way, but it’s fun and exciting enough to help the movie in elevating certain moments throughout. There were also multiple licensed tracks used throughout, and they too worked quite well in their respective scenes.

This movie was directed by Paco Cabezas, and I think he did a really good job with that. While the direction in quieter moments never reaches above average, it’s in the action scenes that Cabezas direction truly comes alive. His direction for the action is fast, stylish, and just overall has a great sense of fun about it. Whether it’s a melee fight or a shootout, the action here never failed to keep me entertained. Sure, I would’ve liked the amount of cuts within certain action bits to be reduced, but it wasn’t too bad. And let’s talk about the humor in this movie, since it’s a comedy. It’s funny, I laughed. Sure, it’s not the funniest comedy ever, but it got a fairly consistent amount of chuckles and laughs from me.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 43% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 52/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,3/10.

Is “Mr. Right” one of the best movies ever? No. But it’s a highly enjoyable romantic comedy/action-thriller. It has a good plot, really good characters, great performances, good music, and really good directing/action/comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mr. Right” is a 9,53/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Mr. Right” is now completed.

Now you got something to watch for valentine’s next week… other than “Black Panther”.

Series Review: Stranger Things – Season 2 (2017)

The Month of Spooks, still going strong! And on the plate today we have the second season of last year’s smash hit Netflix series. So let’s get into it.

Ladies and gents… “Stranger Things” season 2.

It’s 1984, one year has passed since the horrifying events that transpired in Hawkins, Indiana. And ever since he’d been rescued from the Upside Down, Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) ihas been experiencing a series of terrifying visions. And we soon find out that a new threat in looming over the sleepy little town, ready to take over. And that’s just the main plot here, we do get several sub-plots as well. This is an ambitious narrative, both in making the monstrous threat feel bigger, and in just expanding this world that we’ve gotten to know. And while that is a risky move for any show, since the multiple sub-plots aspect can tangle itself up and become convoluted, I feel like “Stranger Things” pulls it off nicely. You have the tension of the monster plot, you have the drama of finding out more about Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), you have the kids meeting this new girl (Sadie Sink) that comes to town, you have the struggles of Nancy, Jonathan, and Steve (Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery)… what I’m trying to say is that there’s a metric buttload of threads here, and they never feel like they tangle into a mess. It’s a solid plot filled with good drama, mystery, and charm.

The characters in “Stranger Things” are likable, layered, and endlessly interesting. Let’s start with Will Byers, played by Noah Schnapp, because he is more or less the focus of this season. Sure, he’s safe(ish) from the Upside Down, but he’s experiencing these horrifying/traumatic visions, putting him in a more vulnerable position. And Schnapp is great in the role. Then we have Finn Wolfhard as Mike Wheeler, the pseudo-leader of this group of friends. Seeing him trying to cope after his friend/love Eleven has been out of his life is actually a bit heartbreaking, but he’s not some mopey idiot about it, keeping him interesting. And Wolfhard is great in the role. Then let’s go with David Harbour who once again plays police chief Jim Hopper. He’s still a stern man with his heart in the right place. Hopper was my fave last season and he still might be. So yeah, Harbour is great in the role. Gaten Matarazzo returns as Dustin, the funny and slightly naive little man with the colorful hat. Like I said, he’s a bit naive, but he’s not stupid. He’s also the funniest of the four main kids. And Matarazzo is great in the role. Caleb McLaughlin returns as Lucas, the slightly more serious one in the group. And McLaughlin is great in the role. Then we have Winona Ryder once again as Joyce, mother of Will, and slightly neurotic person. However, her being a bit nervous like that is understandable after everything that happened last season. But she seems to have found a decent system for her life… until shit starts getting real again, that is. And Ryder is great in the role. Natalia Dyer returns as Nancy and she’s really good. Charlie Heaton returns as Jonathan, and he’s great in the role. Joe Keery is back as Steve, and he’s great in the role. Millie Bobby Brown returns as Eleven, and she’s great in the role. Right, returning faces done, now for some newbies. We get Sean Astin as Bob, Joyce’s new boyfriend. He’s a bit of a dork, but he’s a good person and he does everything to try to be a good pseudo-father for the Byers boys. And Astin is really good in the role. Sadie Sink plays Max, the new girl in town with a seemingly troubled home life. She meets the boys and more or less starts befriending them. And Sink is great in the role. Then we have Dacre Montgomery as Billy, a new guy in town who is a big asshole bully. And while he doesn’t have much of an arc, Montgomery is really in the role. And finally, we have Paul Reiser as a doctor who is likable and kind, but seems to have some shady shit going on. And Reiser is great in the role. Overall, this has great characters and the performances are great.

Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein returned to do the score for this season, and once again they killed it. The synth-heavy sounds perfectly capture the era and tone, and does even manage to create some decent tension at times. Really, it’s more of the good synth-y stuff, not much else I can say. And since this is set in the 80s, we of course get some really awesome licensed songs throughout from not only the 80s, but also 60s and 70s… it’s really just an awesome soundtrack that made me very happy. Overall, great music.

The show was created by the Duffer brothers, and written/directed by a whole bunch of people. And it’s just overall very well handled. The directing is tense, fun, and filled with energy. And Tod Campbell’s cinematography is of course absolutely stunning. And the visual effects in the show look great too. There’s also plenty of comedy in this show, and I thought it was all really funny. I also enjoy that it never overshadows the drama/Lovecraftian sci-fi, but just is another part of the world that comes into play every now and then.

This show/season just came out but has already been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 78/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,9/10 and is ranked #37 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

“Stranger Things” season 2 is pretty awesome. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, fantastic music, and great directing/cinematography/writing. Time for my final score. *Rawr*. My review of “Stranger Things” season 2 is a 9,86/10. So it of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Stranger Things” season 2 is now completed.

Awesome.

Series Review: Hap and Leonard – Season 2 (2017)

About a month ago I reviewed the first season of this show, and I thought it was quite good. Not perfect, but definitely a good season of television. And now I am finally reviewing season 2 (which aired in the spring on this year). So here we go.

Ladies and gents… “Hap and Leonard” season 2.

Hap (James Purefoy) and Leonard (Michael Kenneth Williams) are back, though this time they are not looking for money. This time they instead find the remains of a dead child underneath Leonard’s floorboards. The two then report this find to the police (as you should) only to find themselves under investigation for committing the crime, despite them being innocent. But hope is not completely gone as Florida Grange (Tiffany Mack), a lawyer, comes in to try to help ’em out. So then the plot follows our heroes as they try to find the actual culprit while also dealing with corrupt lawmen. And immediately we can see that this season goes for a more serious and less cartoonish plot compared to the first season. And the season we have here is more quiet and serious. It brilliantly manages to tackle dramatic topics like racism, corruption, and child murder without sacrificing the offbeat and unique feel that the first season set up. It perfectly manages to balance a serious drama with an entertaining and pulpy world. And the pacing is much better compared to the first season, moving at a much more steady and focused pace. So yeah, the plot here is pretty great.

The characters are unique, entertaining, colorful, and just really interesting. James Purefoy of course returns as Hap Collins, the well-meaning worker who sometimes takes a wrong step (which makes him a flawed and interesting character). And Purefoy is great in the role, getting to show a somewhat wider range of emotions this season… his southern accent is also a bit more consistent here, so that’s nice. Michael Kenneth Williams returns as Leonard Pine, the black, gay, Vietnam veteran. He’s a troubled man who gets to endure a whole bunch of various problems throughout the season. And Williams is of course great in the role. And the chemistry between our two leads? It’s great, it’s very entertaining and feels genuine. Tiffany Mack plays Florida Grange, the lawyer who comes to Hap and Leonard’s aid and becomes their most important ally this season. She’s tough, smart, sexy, and fun, making for a refreshing presence in this show. We also get Cranston Johnson as a police detective that is investigating this case that our dynamic duo have gotten themselves involved in, and he’s great in the role. I also have to mention Irma P. Hall as MeMaw, the elderly woman that Hap and Leonard find themselves with every now and then throughout the season. She’s so much fun and one of the best things about the season. Overall the season is filled with good performances.

Like the first season, the score here was composed by Jeff Grace, and it’s once again great. It often manages to add a lot of emotion, excitement, or tension to a scene, really showing Grace’s talent/versatility as a composer. It’s great and works very well for the season/show. There are also a couple of licensed tracks used throughout and they work quite well.

If you forgot or just didn’t read my season 1 review, “Hap and Leonard” was created by Jim Mickle & Nick Damici and is based on a series of novels by Joe R. Lansdale. And it was written/directed by a whole bunch of people (including Mickle/Damici/Lansdale). And in season 1 they made such a well defined world that felt lived in. And with this season they improved on it, deepening the stories of the area they’re in as well as the backstories/relationships of everyone there. The shots look good and the direction in this season just has a really nice flow to it, having some nice energy to it while still keeping it feel real and lived in. And even though there are some heavy dramatic moments this season, they don’t skimp on the black humor. There’s quite a bit of humor here and it made me laugh.

This show/season has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it exists but has no score. On Metacritic it has a score of 86/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“Hap and Leonard” season 2 takes everything that was good about the first season and improving on it quite a bit. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Y’all*. My final score for “Hap and Leonard” season 2 is a 9,82/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Hap and Leonard” season 2 is now completed.

Mucho mojo.

Movie Review: The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

“The Lego Movie” is one of the most surprising movies ever. The idea of having a feature length movie about Lego just sounds like the most blatant piece of product placement ever… which it still technically was. But it actually had great writing, direction, and acting, so it turned out to be kind of awesome. So let’s see if the second movie in the (not officially titled) Lego Cinematic Universe is any good.

Ladies and gents… “The Lego Batman Movie”.

The many villains of Gotham are out to once again wreak havoc, and it’s up to Batman (Will Arnett) to stop them! But it’s not just another “Bats stopping bad guys” story, as we also follow him as he goes through some family issues after he accidentally adopts Dick Grayson (Michael Cera). So now we have our family-friendly adventure. And the plot here wasn’t just a silly and fun adventure, as it shows a surprising emotional core in the Batman family issues side of things. Because of what happened to Bruce in the past, he is afraid to get attached to anyone in case of him potentially losing them, but he’s too proud to show it. So you get a fun and fast-paced Batventure combined with a surprisingly investing family story, filled with lots of heart.

The characters in this are fun, entertaining, and relaly interesting. Will Arnett reprises his role as Batman/Bruce Wayne from “The Lego Movie” and he just kills it! This version of Batman is very self-centered, with an ego the size of Norta Dakota. He always talks about how awesome he is, but he also goes through a pretty surprising character arc. And really, I just can’t stress enough how awesome Will Arnett is as Batman. Michael Cera plays Robin in this movie, and from the trailers he almsot seemed like he could get a little too much based on how energetic and excitable he was. But he was actually a really fun and endearing character that I found myself caring about, and Cera was great in the role. Ralph Fiennes plays Alfred in this, and he jsut nails it as the character. There’s nothing unique about him compared to other Alfred’s we’ve seen before, but the lines he’s given and his deadpan delivery is just great. Rosario Dawson plays Barbara Gordon and what is there to say, really? She’s tough, she’s smart, she’s Rosario Awesome. Zach Galifianakis plays Joker in this and I think he’s good in the role. The character has a fun and important role in the story, and he was overall fun, but it’s mainly his voice that didn’t sit that well with me. I like Galifianakis, and I get that there’s only one Mark Hamill, but I feel like the voice here was a bit too… normal to work for the Joker. Again, Galifianakis was overall good in the role. And then there’s… I don’t exactly want to spoil it, and I can’t sit here and list every character that pops up, so I’m just gonna list some of the people doing voices here, because there are plenty of great names here. Though I will mention, Two-Face is played by Billy Dee Williams, and if you don’t get the significance of that… then you should go back and watch the 1989 “Batman” movie. Anyway, here’s the cast list: Zoë Kravitz, Conan O’Brien, Jenny Slate, Jason Mantzoukas, Eddie Izzard, Doug Benson, Kate Micucci, Riki Lindholme, Seth Green, Jemaine Clement, Ellie Kemper, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Adam Devine, Hector Elizondo… and more.

The score for the movie was composed by Lorne Balfe and it was great. It was big, bombastic, epic, and just badass. It’s the perfect type of music for a “Batman” movie as it takes elements of the scores from various “Batman” movies. And I liked that. There’s also some new songs created for this movie that were quite fun. None as catchy as “Everything is Awesome”, but I feel like none of them would get on my nerves as easily as that one. Then there’s also a bunch of licensed tracks that are used very well throughout.

This movie, unlike “The Lego Movie”, was not directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Instead it was directed by Chris McKay who is currently slated to direct the live action “Nightwing” movie. And I think McKay did an excellent job with the direction. This movie is so fast-paced and filled with energy that I never felt bored or out of it at any point. There was something interesting happening every second, and that kept me invested and energized. And the animation, mother of god, it is fucking amazing. It is of course done in the same stop motion-esque style that “The Lego Movie” was done in, and it is just so fun to look at. The animation especially shines in the action scenes, something there’s plenty of, keeping any kiddos watching interested. And seeing as this is a comedy, let’s talk about the humor. I laughed a lot in this movie, there’s joke after joke after joke here, rarely giving you time to breathe between them. For the most part it uses the humor to oke fun at Batman’s history, but not in a “HA, this is dumb!” kind of way. It’s a sort of loving tribute to the Caped Crusader and his many iterations, done in the way of satire/spoof. And it’s all funny, at various levels of laughter. There are also references to other pieces of pop culture, and those are really fun too.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 90% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 75/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“The Lego Batman” movie is an incredibly fun animated movie with loads of heart. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, fantastic directing/animation, and great humor. Time for my final score. *I’M BATMAN!*. My final score for “The Lego Batman Movie” is a 9,78/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Lego Batman Movie” is now completed.

DARKNESS, NO PARENTS, CONTINUED DARKNESS.

Movie Review: Shoot ‘Em Up (2007)

Something something, action movies. Honestly, I’m too sick to think of a clever intro somehow relating back to this movie. So let’s just get into it.

Ladies and gents… “Shoot ‘Em Up”.

After having delivered a baby, a homeless man named Smith (Clive Owen) has to protect the newly born baby from a crazy hitman named Hertz (Paul Giamatti). I know it sounds like I’m making some weird shit up, but that’s the actual plot of the movie… and I’m okay with that, because it’s handled in such a way that makes it work. Some movies would try to make it a serious movie where the baby would have a dramatic point, which I feel wouldn’t entirely work. Instead this is handled as a fast-paced/fucking insane action plot that never takes itself too seriously. It’s quite a self-aware plot that gleefully embraces the ridiculousness of the situation, and that’s what I love about it.

The characters aren’t necessarily that deep and compelling, but they’re still quite interesting and incredibly fun to watch. Clive Owen plays Smith as a combination of Clint Eastwood in “A Fistful of Dollars” and Bugs Bunny. That’s right, he’s a pretty much nameless badass that chomps carrots, and Owen is great in the role. Paul Giamatti plays the head hitman who’s going after Smith and the baby. He’s kind of a crazy asshole and Giamatti is terrific in the role. We also get Monica Bellucci as a lactating hooker (yes, you read that right) that reluctantly helps Smith take care of the baby. And Bellucci is really good in the role. We also get Stephen McHattie as a gun manufacturer named Hammerson, and he’s really good in the role. It’s overall a very well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Paul Haslinger and it is awesome. It’s heavily based in rock with traces of electronica, and it perfectly fits the non-stop action pace perfectly. They also used a bunch of licensed rock/metal tracks throughout and they too fit the movie perfectly. Then it’s also a treat for me because, as you probably know by now, I mainly listen to rock and metal. But seriously, AC/DC, Motörhead, Wolfmother… so much good music here! Really, the music in this movie is overall great and it fits the movie perfectly.

This movie was directed by Michael Davis and I think he did a great job here. There’s a lot of frenetic energy in his directing, which keeps the movie from getting boring. There’s very little time between action scenes, which is fun to see. Speaking of the action scenes, fuck me, it’s rare to find action this fun in a modern action movie. For one, YOU CAN SEE IT! No shaky-cam bullshit, everything can be seen. What’s also interesting is that most of the action (about 95%) is gun-centric. And I don’t mean just *pop out of cover, shoot* *pop out of cover, shoot*. They do a lot of creative things with the gunplay here which makes it all feel fresh and fun. Also, this is a really violent movie. So if you hate blood and gore, then you’ve been warned. There’s also a good amount of comedy throughout the movie and I thought it was quite funny.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 67% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 49/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“Shoot ‘Em Up” isn’t a particularly deep movie, but that doesn’t matter because it’s an incredibly entertaining action flick! It has a good plot, great characters, great performances, fantastic music, great directing, and really good comedy. Time for my final score. *Bang*. My final score for “Shoot ‘Em Up” is a 9,87/10. Which of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Shoot ‘Em Up” is now completed.

This is one of the most video game-y movies I’ve ever seen.