Movie Review: From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)

And the Month of Spooks continues. This time with a strange hybrid. So here we fucking go.

Ladies and gents… “From Dusk Till Dawn”.

A pair of criminals (George Clooney & Quentin Tarantino, yes really) are on the run for some horrible crimes they committed. To stay away from the law, they take refuge in a titty bar somewhere in Mexico. They are however in for a horrible surprise, when they find out that the people at the bar aren’t exactly what they appear to b- vampires, they’re vampires. So now we have our profane crime-thriller/vampire movie. And the story here is fine. Straightforward, but clashing in tones. One moment it’s this Tarantinian crime story, then it’s a family drama, then it’s horror, then it’s a dark comedy. While there are a lot of solid moments here, they don’t necessarily flow that well into each other, creating these tonal clashes. Like I said, there’s a lot of fun moments, and it does entertain in that sense, but the lack of good transitions does distract at times.

The characters in this are decently interesting, if a bit poorly defined at times. George Clooney plays Seth Gecko, one of the two brothers on the run from the law. He’s assertive, strict, bit of a dick, but does at times show a more human side (even if his exterior still screams asshole). He’s clearly the leader of the two, and he’s an interesting character to follow, even if he’s not very likable (which might put some people off). And Clooney is great in the role. Next we have Harvey Keitel as Jacob Fuller, a family man that’s been kidnapped by the Geckos. He’s a former preacher just trying to enjoy a nice trip with his kids, but that of course goes a bit awry. He’s a decently interesting guy, and Keitel is great in the role. Next we have Quentin Tarantino (yes, really) as Richie Gecko, Clooney’s younger brother. He’s a creepy psychopath. That’s all I’ll say, as I don’t wanna get into too much detail. And I honestly think Tarantino is good in this role, it’s probably the best performance I’ve seen from him. We also get supporting work from people like Juliette Lewis, Ernest Liu, Tom Savini, Danny Trejo, Salma Hayek, Fred Williamson, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Graeme Revell, and it’s good. It’s not too prominent, but when it can be heard, it’s pretty good, creating some decent ambiance. The movie also has a fair bit of licensed tracks used throughout, a lot of them within the blues-rock genre, which not only fits the movie surprisingly well, but also is right up my alley. So yeah, this movie has good music.

“From Dusk Till Dawn” was written by Quentin Tarantino, and directed by Robert Rodriguez (not the last collaboration between the two). And Jesus heart-staking Christ, it’s obvious form a mile away. Tarantino’s dirty dialogue, Rodriguez’ energetic and oft campy direction, it’s all here in spades, and it gives the movie a nice sense of energy that keeps it from getting boring. It also does add a bit to the action scenes that exist in the movie, which are fun to watch, partly due to the stuff I just mentioned, and partly due to the really solid visual effects that are on display here.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 64% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 48/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

So while “From Dusk Till Dawn” has a fair bit of flaws, I still enjoyed watching it. It has an okay story, okay characters, great performances, really good music, and really good writing/directing/effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “From Dusk Till Dawn” is a 7,56/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it’s worth renting.

My review of “From Dusk Till Dawn” is now completed.

Daaaark Night. It’s a Daaaark Night. What? It’s a good song. Even the movie knows it.

Movie Review: Out of Sight (1998)

Hey. Sorry for the lack of blog posts lately. Had a bad case of the lazy. But now I’m back. And hopefully we’ll get some consistency in post frequency from it. Anyway, first review of the year, here we go!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Out of Sight”.

After he escapes from prison, career criminal Jack Foley (George Clooney) has to go on the run and try to avoid a U.S. Marshal (Jennifer Lopez) that he shares a connection with. So now we have our crime-caper plot. And it’s a good one. It doesn’t rely that much on shocking twists and turns for its narrative, instead just relying on a fast pace and a sort of sex appeal that gives it a unique vibe that I can’t say I’ve seen much of in crime-capers. But yeah, the plot here is just generally fun, fast, and quite entertaining.

The characters in this are colorful, interesting, and overall quite entertaining. George Clooney plays Jack Foley, the crook at the center of this story. I’d say he’s like a less cool-headed version of Danny Ocean, but you can definitely recognize some elements of that character in this one. Though Foley does stand out as his own entity and I find him to be quite an entertaining protagonist. And Clooney is great in the role. Next we have Jennifer Lopez as U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens… no, wait… sorry, wrong Elmore Leonard franchise… U.S. Marhsal Karen Sisco, that’s her name. She’s a tough, sexy, and capable woman who is on the hunt for our main protagonist. She’s pretty fun and has an enjoyable dynamic with Foley. And Lopez is really good in the role. We also get supporting turns from people like Ving Rhames, Don Cheadle, Steve Zahn, Catherine Keener, Dennis Farina, Luis Guzmán, Albert Brooks, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by David Holmes, and it’s awesome. It’s funky, it’s jazzy, and it captures the sort of sly sex appeal that the plot is going for, which adds to the overall fun factor of the entire thing. My favorite aspect of it is how many slick basslines there are throughout, I love the inclusion of them. There are also a few licensed tracks used throughout, and they work well in their respective scenes. So yeah, this movie has great music.

Based on a novel by Elmore Leonard (hence the joke from earlier), this movie was written by Scott Frank, and directed by Steven Soderbergh. And as a fan of “Justified” (another Elmore Leonard adaptation), the writings and overall style of this movie appeals to me. It has a similar kind of energy and snappiness to “Justified”, and that just makes it incredibly watchable for me. But even discounting my love for the aforementioned tv show, the movie just has this sort of infectious energy that I find quite fun. And even through the fun, it manages to have a decent bit of suspense throughout, giving it a bit of a welcome edge.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 85/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10. The movie was nominated for two Oscars in the categories of Best adapted screenplay, and Best film editing.

“Out of Sight” really surprised me, it’s one hell of an enjoyable movie. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Out of Sight” is a 9,65/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Out of Sight” is now completed.

Despite having seen multiple Elmore Leonard adaptations, I haven’t read any of his books. Might need to fix that soon.

 

Movie Review: Ocean’s Thirteen (2007)

It is time. The final part in my little “Ocean’s” trilogy review series. I’ve had fun revisiting this series… for the most part, “Ocean’s Twelve” was a bit rough. But other than that I’ve enjoyed doing this series. So let’s get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Ocean’s Thirteen”.

After one of their own gets screwed over by notorious hotel owner Willy Bank (Al Pacino), Danny (George Clooney), Rusty (Brad Pitt), and the rest of the gang has to pull off another heist as revenge against Bank. So now we have our plot. And it’s pretty refreshing, going back to a focused heist formula like the first movie, making it feel less disjointed than the second one. Here we do get a fun and well paced heist plot. Sure, it lacks the tension-filled thrillride of the first movie, but it never feels boring, and it does have a few decent switcharoos. Overall this plot is good. Not as great as the first, but still a fun time.

I’m not gonna linger too much on the characters here since I covered them all before. But the entire gang, AKA George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Qin Shaobo, Bernie Mac (R.I.P), Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Carl Reiner, Elliott Gould, Eddie Jemison… they’re all still really good in their respective roles, and they work really well together. Now let’s talk about Al Pacino as new antagonist Willy Bank. He’s a charming jerk who cares more for his ego than anything else. He’s an interesting foe for the gang to go up against. While not quite as intimidating as Terry Benedict, he’s still a fun addition to the cast. And Pacino is really good in the role. Speaking of Terry Benedict, he makes a return in this. Not saying to what capacity, but I found his role in this to be enjoyable, and Andy Garcia once again did a really good job in the role. We do also get a pretty good supporting performance from Ellen Barkin as Bank’s right-hand-woman. Really, it’s a very well acted movie.

David Holmes of course returned to do the music for this, and once again he killed it. His score here is jumpy, energetic, mysterious, and just really fun. It fits the movie perfectly and sometimes even improves upon the experience. There’s also like one or two licensed tracks used throughout, and they work well in their respective scenes.

As with the first two movies, “Ocean’s Thirteen” was shot and directed by Steven Soderbergh. And he once again brought his A-game. His direction is fast and snappy, giving the movie a great sense of energy that keeps it feeling fun. And his cinematography is really good as well. Not much else I can say on that front that I didn’t already cover in a previous review. What I can say is that there’s some really good humor throughout the movie, it got me laughing quite a bit.

This movie has been decently received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 70% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 62/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

While not on par with the first movie, “Ocean’s Thirteen” is still a very enjoyable return to form for the crew. It has a good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, really good directing/cinematography, and funny humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Ocean’s Thirteen” is an 8,67/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Ocean’s Thirteen” is now completed.

Aaaaand done. The “Ocean’s” review series is now finished.

Movie Review: Ocean’s Twelve (2004)

As I promised last week, I am still going through with reviewing the “Ocean’s” trilogy. So let’s jump into the second part in the series.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Ocean’s Twelve”.

After successfully stealing 160 million dollars, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) decided to settle down and life an easy life with his wife Tess (Julia Roberts). But that relaxing life gets halted when Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), the man they stole from, threatens to kill Ocean and his friends unless they can give back those 160 million (plus interest). So Danny has to team up with his gang once again to pull some heists in Europe in hopes of paying back their debt. All while a Europol agent (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is on the hunt for them. So now we have our heist sequel plot. And it’s not great. It lacks the tightness and suspense of the first movie’s plot, often feeling a bit disjointed. It’s also pretty boring in a lot of parts. Admittedly this isn’t the worst plot ever, since there are some fun moments throughout to keep it from becoming absolute shit. It’s… meh.

The characters in this don’t really get any significant development, but what I can say is the returning cast are all still a lot of fun to watch as they share some damn fine chemistry. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Elliott Gould, Bernie Mac (R.I.P), Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Qin Shaobo, Carl Reiner, Eddie Jemison, Julia Roberts, they’re all fun. Even Andy Garcia who, despite a relatively small role, still gives a quietly intimidating and charming performance. Catherine Zeta-Jones is pretty good as the agent that the guys have to avoid throughout the movie. Again, not a lot of interesting character development here, but I did enjoy the cast.

David Holmes returned to do the score for this, and once again it is really good. It’s fun, energetic, and just helps bring something to the movie to keep it a little more interesting. The licensed tracks used throughout are also pretty good. Not the most catchy or memorable, but they still work pretty good within the movie.

As with the first movie, “Ocean’s Twelve” was shot and directed by Steven Soderbergh, and his direction is kind of what stands out here. While his direction can’t bring suspense to the heist like in the first one, I do admit that no shots he had were uninteresting. As a matter of fact, there are some shots in here that I thought were really good. Again, no real suspense is built here, but his directing is solid enough to keep me interested.

This movie hasn’t been the most well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 54% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,5/10.

“Ocean’s Twelve” isn’t great, but there is some fun to be had throughout. It has a meh plot, good characters, really good performances, really good music, and good directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Ocean’s Twelve” is a 6,12/10. While not great, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “Ocean’s Twelve” is now completed.

“Ocean’s Thirteen” next week.

Movie Review: Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

With the release of “Ocean’s 8” being upon us (June 27th here in Sweden), I thought it was time for me to finally talk about the movies that preceded it. So today it’s “Ocean’s Eleven”. And over the next two weeks you can look forward to reviews of “Ocean’s Twelve” and “Ocean’s Thirteen”. Will I cover the 60s original? Probably not. With that out of the way, let’s get into the review.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Ocean’s Eleven”.

After being released from prison, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) plans to pull a heist at a big casino owned by a man named Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia). But he can’t do this alone. So with the help of his friend Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) he gathers up a crew of specialists to help pull this heist. It’s a basic heist movie formula that we’ve seen so many times at this point… but this movie is one of the better examples of how it should be done. Yes, we know the story beats (since they are repeated in so many movies), but “Ocean’s Eleven” does it in a way that makes it feel fresh. The twists and turns in here still catch me off guard despite me having seen the movie before. And this due to a brisk pace, genuine suspense, and a believably executed plan.

The characters in this are colorful, unique, and really entertaining. George Clooney plays Danny Ocean, the man with the plan who the movie is named after. He’s a charismatic and intelligent con artist with a troubled past. He may be cooler than ice, but he still feels fairly realistic (Clooney handsomeness aside). And Clooney is great in the role. Then we have Brad Pitt as Rusty, Ocean’s closest confidant and old time ally. Clever, cool, and with a devil-may-care attitude, it’s basically the heist movie version of Brad Pitt… and I’m okay with that. So yeah, Pitt is really good in the role. Next up we have Andy Garcia as Terry Benedict, the film’s antagonist and target of the heist. There’s a quiet intensity about him that makes him a somewhat intimidating guy whenever we’re in a scene with him. And Garcia is really good in the role. I will also not go in-depth with every character, because that would make this part too long. But I will say that the rest of the crew consists of Bernie Mac (R.I.P), Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Elliott Gould, Matt Damon, Carl Reiner, Eddie Jemison, and Qin Shaobo. Then we have Julia Roberts as Ocean’s ex-wife. So yeah, this movie is filled with cool people, and all of them do really well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by David Holmes, and I think he did a really good job. The score is very jazzy and bouncy, giving a very fun and energetic vibe to the movie. But it still never takes away from the suspenseful moments. There are also a few licensed tracks used throughout and they work well in their respective scenes.

This movie was shot and directed by Steven Soderbergh and I think he did a great job with it. His direction here has a very fast and fun style that keeps it from ever feeling boring or slow. He also manages to build a lot of suspense here, with one sequence in particular almost making me curl up in my chair due to the level of suspense in that moment. And I usually never talk about this, but the editing here is as slick as it gets, often adding to the suspense or just overall fun of a scene. Speaking of fun, there’s some comedy sprinkled throughout this movie, and I found it to be genuinely funny.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 82% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

“Ocean’s Eleven” is a fast-paced and fun crime caper with a very fun cast. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, great directing/editing, and great humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Ocean’s Eleven” is a 9,86/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Ocean’s Eleven” is now completed.

Remember, “Ocean’s Twelve” next week!

Movie Review: Money Monster (2016)

Money. An essential part of modern society. Without money we could never really do… anything.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Money Monster”.

Lee Gates (George Clooney) is the energetic host of a finance show called “Money Monster” (roll credits). One day in the middle of his show a young man (Jack O’Connell) comes in and starts waving a gun around and then forces Gates to put on a bomb vest. So now we have a hostage thriller which is linked in some ways to financial issues. And overall I thought the plot was great. The hostage stuff was tense and it made everything a lot of interesting. And while the financial aspects of the movie could get a little preachy at times, I thought it was for the most part fairly well handled. So overall the plot is good. The hostage drama is great and the commentary on finances and the stock market is pretty good.

The characters in this movie are actually pretty interesting and surprisingly fleshed out… or at least the central three are. George Clooney is great as Lee Gates, playing  him with a good amount of energy while still keeping him serious and grounded. Julia Roberts plays Patty, the director of Gates’ show and she’s basically the one who’s trying to make sure everything going as smoothly as possible. And Roberts is great in the role. Then we have Jack O’Connell as Kyle, the young man who crashes the show and demands airtime and tries to get his will through. Not only is he the most compelling character in the movie (for reasons I will not get into because spoilers), but I would say that this is the best performance in the movie. O’Connell is fantastic as this troubled young man who isn’t just doing this to be an asshole, he has reasons that you find out throughout the movie, and I honestly understood where he was coming from with it all. We also get Giancarlo Esposito as a police captain who’s trying to stop this hostage bullshit and he’s really good in the movie. Caitriona Balfe is also really good in the movie. And Dominic West also does a really solid job in the movie. So even though the central three characters are the only ones who are interesting, the entire cast gives some really solid performances.

The score for the movie was composed by Dominic Lewis and I think it’s really good. It’s overall a tense and audibly interesting score that worked very well within the movie. While it leans very heavily on electronic stuff, it still sounds really good.

This movie was directed by Jodie Foster (Yes, THAT Jodie Foster) and I have to say that she did a pretty damn good job. She has a lot of flair in her directing and she makes scenes flow very well thanks to that. And the shots overall look pretty great.

This movie hasn’t been the most well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 57% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 55/100 And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,5/10.

“Money Monster” is a surprisingly solid thriller. It has a good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing. The only real problem is that the financial aspects of the plot aren’t always the most well handled, but it doesn’t detract from the movie too much. Time for my final score. *Some jingle plays*. My final score for “Money Monster” is a 9,23/10. So even though it is flawed, I’d still say that it’s definitely worth buying!

My review of “Money Monster” is now completed.

If you’re interested in watching this, try to avoid watching the trailer.

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)

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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: Up in the Air (2009)

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Flying, something that we humans can’t naturally do, but for some reason really want to be able to do. So that’s why we place ourselves and other people in giant hunks of metal that can miraculously get into the air.

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s fly… “Up in the Air”.

Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is man who works as a corporate downsizing expert, which really is just a fancy way of saying that he fires people for the bosses at their places of employment so that they themselves don’t have to get their hands dirty. And with this comes a good amount of perks, including getting to fly for free(ish) all over the country. He really loves the lifestyle of not really having a home and having to give too much of a damn. However, all of this takes a bit of a turn when he meets Alex (Vera Farmiga), a woman whom he starts a bit of a “casual” relationship with, but it might possibly be going a little further than “casual”. Ryan’s world also gets a little shaken up when he has to take a young, new co-worker (Anna Kendrick) under his wing (plane pun, ladies and gents). Let me tell you this: The marketing for the movie makes it look like your typical romantic comedy, but it really isn’t. I would really describe the movie as a character study of a man who loves to be free, not having to be settled down. And if you go into the movie knowing that, then I think you might enjoy it. And I think that is something that makes the plot of the movie so much better. I was invested in the plot, I really wanted to see what was gonan happen next in Ryan’s life. It was funny, dramatic, heartfelt, and actually a little bittersweet. Yes, there’s romance in the movie… but that’s not techincally the main focus of it all.

The characters in this movie are all pretty great. They are all pretty damn flawed and that really helps make them compelling. George Clooney honestly knocks it out of the park as Ryan Bingham, perfectly playing this man who really doesn’t want anything to do with love or marriage or anything like that. Keep in mind, he isn’t an asshole… he just does his job… while also being a little bit of a jerk. Vera Farmiga is great in her role, playing this woman who comes into Bingham’s life and adds a little something to it. Anna Kendrick as the young woman who works with Bingham to learn the job, she’s really good. I haven’t really seen her in anything that made me go “Fuck yes, Anna Kendrick!”. She’s never been bad, but she’s also never really impressed me in any way. But I gotta say that she did a really good job here. As for the rest of the supporting cast… Yeah, it was great. There are a lot of pretty big names within the supporting cast, but none of them get a particularly big role. Biggest of them might be Jason Bateman who plays Bingham’s boss/co-worker, but even then he has a relatively small role. Most actors in this movie only get like one pretty small scene each… but god damn, are those scenes well acted!

The score for the movie was composed by Rolfe Kent and while it wasn’t used too much in the movie, it was really good. It helped elevate the few scenes it was used in. What happened though was that a lot of scenes had licensed tracks by various artists. But that’s okay because the music choices in the movie were pretty great and perfectly worked within the scenes they were used in.

This movie was directed by Jason Reitman, who also made “Juno” and “Thank You For Smoking”, the latter of which being one of my favorie comedies ever. With that said, this movie isn’t a straight-up comedy. This is a drama with comedic bits every now and then. The jokes that are in the movie are really funny, especially a few early on that are pretty dark. But as you probably know by now, I love dark humor. But as for the directing itself, which I should have mentioned first before the genre stuff… yeah, it’s really good. It’s a very well directed movie even if it doesn’t do anything too special in that area. The writing on the other hand… fucking great stuff, I tell ya.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 83/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10. The movie was also nominated for 6 Oscars in the categories of Best Picture, Best Actor (Clooney), Best Supporting Actress (Farmiga), Best Supporting Actress (Kendrick), Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

“Up in the Air” is quite a surprisingly great movie. It has an interesting story, great characters, great acting, great music, really good directing, and great writing. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “Up in the Air” is a 9,87/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Up in the Air” is now completed.

And we’re flying through the night away
Far far away
And we’ll fing a place we’d like to stay
Far far away

 

Movie Review: Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)

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Biographical pictures (Or Bio-pics for you lazy folks) is one of the touchiest subjects within movies. People always complain “Ugh, that shit didn’t actually happen!” or “He wasn’t like that, you portrayed him wrong!”. I can see why people have a tendency to complain about things like that. So that is why I have chosen to look at movies from the standpoint of seeing it as a movie and judging it as a movie rather than judge it based on how exact it is to the actual events portrayed. So let’s look at a bio-pic that seems like it couldn’t have been real in any way. But in some aspects it apparently was…

Ladies and gentlemen… “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”.

This movie is about ascent and eventual decline of game show host and alleged CIA hitman Chuck Barris (Sam Rockwell). We get to see his life from his point of view as he tries to become a big and respected guy within the media industry while also being a hitman hired by Jim Byrd (George Clooney). We also get a look into his personal life with his girlfriend/future wife Penny (Drew Barrymore). The way this story is shown is through a mix of seeing the actors do what they are paid and then at a few points we get to see interviews with some people who have actually met Chuck. And all this help conjure up a very interesting and unconventional plot. I was very entertained by the plot of this movie and I loved seeing how it unfolded in this very unconventional style.

The characters are all very colorful, realistic and amazingly written. They all feel like real people in this big web of deception and entertainment. And I am so happy to say (like most times) that Sam Rockwell gives a terrific performance in this movie. He really brings Barris to life with a lot of energy, style and humanity. I mean, he shines in the scenes where he gets to show a lot of emotion in one way or another. And I can safely say that all actors in the movie were great.

The odd thing about this movie is that there is no original score for the movie. Usually you can find at least a few tracks that a composer has created, but there is no real “original score”. On the otehr hand there are a lot of licensed tracks from the era(s) that the movie is set in (Sidenote: The movie is set during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s). And the music used in the movie fits every scene perfectly and just helps set the mood throughout the movie. I loved listening to the music throughout.

This movie was directed by George Clooney and holy shit is it well-directed. I find it difficult to comprehend the fact that this was Clooney’s directorial debut. It is stylish and got a lot of falir and energy in it’s direction.  One example I can give where the direction combined with music and acting just shined and resonated deeply with me was a scene in the movie where Chuck was looking at his life a bit while “Can’t help falling in love with you) by Elvis was played in the background. That scene was just great. And after a little bit of research I found out one interesting thing about the real life story; Barris may or may not have made up the fact that he killed people for CIA… but I don’t care. He wrote it in his book, it made it into the movie and it made the plot a whole lot more interesting. Like I said, I judge the movie as a movie rather than judging it as a real life story. Just thought the fact could be fun to mention.

This movie was pretty well-received even if it didn’t do great at the box office. On Rotten Tomatoes the movie has a 79% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 67/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie a score of 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

“Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” has an unconventional and interesting plot with great writing, great acting, great use of music, splendid direction from George Clooney. Time for my final score. And the winner is… this one. My final score for “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” is a 9,84/10. It of course receives the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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“Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” is finally reviewed.

I am usually not a guy who tries to push my opinion onto people, but I feel like my thoughts on bio-pics are the way to go. Don’t believe it’s a good idea? Go watch John Flickster explain it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6rI8HFD_YVw