Series Review: Fortitude – Season 2 (2017)

And so we’re here, the final post for the Month of Spooks. And it’s a follow-up to a post I did last year, where I talked about the first season of this show. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Fortitude” season 2.

Set some time after the events of season 1, we return to the remote Scandinavian town of Fortitude. And once again, strange things start happening after a body is discovered. So now we have our Arctic antics. And I like the plot here, probably more than the first season. It’s a slow burn mystery-thriller that dips its toe into some macabre themes and scenarios, while still taking the time to make me care about most of the characters, really adding layers to it all that maybe weren’t as strong the first time around. Though while it is an overall stronger story for me with a bit more intrigue and experimentation, it does still have some flaws. While I do love a slow burn, there are some moments here where the pacing outright drags, which of course makes it a little more of a pain to watch. And the ending is a bit… flaccid. Yes, I know there’s a third season, but I feel like the ending here is a bit too sequel-baity, for lack of a better word. But despite these flaws, I still found the story here to be pretty damn solid.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, and overall quite engaging. Most of the cast from season 1, including Richard Dormer, Sienna Guillory, Luke Treadaway, Björn Hlynur Haraldsson, , Mia Jexen, Sofie Gråbøl, Alexandra Moen, and more, with their characters getting extra depth, will all those actors firing on all cylinders. Now, for newcomer we have Dennis Quaid (pictured at the top), who plays Michael Lennox, a fisherman who gets involved in the strange shit going on in and around Fortitude. The character is given decent depth, as we learn some interesting stuff about his home life, at the same time as he evolves from the events in the story. And Quaid is pretty good in the role. ’tis a solid cast.

Ben Frost, who did the score for season, returned to do the music this time around too, and I think he really outdid himself. His score here is fucking spectacular, managing to perfectly capture every emotion possible, while still being an overall fitting score for the frozen shithole that is Fortitude. Yes, there are moments where the score lowers itself to some generic horror stings. But when it’s not doing that, it is absolutely fantastic. And the occasional licensed tracks used throughout work pretty well too.

The show was created by Simon Donald, who along with a bunch of other people, wrote the episodes this season, with some other cool people directing. And the craft behind this season is fucking emaculate. The direction manages to create an interesting sense of unease throughout that really makes it a bit more unsettling. And my god, the cinematography this season is absolutely amazing. And I don’t just mean the shots of the frozen vistas around Fortitude, but even a lot of shots indoors look great too. And the effects here are great too, featuring some really impressive practical gore effects, which kinda got under my skin.

This show/season has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating. On Metacritic it exists without a score. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

Season 2 of “Fortitude” takes what was good about the first season and takes it up to 11, though it is brought down by some pacing issues and a less than satisfying ending. It has a really good plot, good characters, fantastic performances, fantastic music, and fantastic directing/cinematography/effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 2 of “Fortitude” is an 8,96/10. So while flawed, it’s definitely still worth a watch.

My review of “Fortitude” season 2 is now completed.

So this is it, huh? Well, it’s been a blast doing Month of Spooks.

Movie Review: Hellboy (2019)

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

Ladies and gents… “Hellboy”… the rebootification.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You make me sad, movie.

Movie Review: Green Room (2016)

green-room-movie

Usually I try to come up with some clever opening to my reviews that somehow relates back to the movie that I’ve watched… but this time I couldn’t think of anything. Well, at least something that sounds good. So let’s just get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the… “Green Room”.

Pat (Anton Yelchin, R.I.P.) is part of a punk rock band. And one day the band gets a gig at a neo-nazi bar. At first it looks like everything’s going fine… but then they become witnesses to a horrible crime in there, which means that the nazis lock them in a room to be able to deal with them later. So now our “heroes” have to try to escape the nazis and their cold, calculating leader (Patrick Stewart). The idea of this plot alone intrigued me to no end, I found it to be a really interesting premise. And the execution of the plot itself, it was really good. As the film went along I was constantly on edge, never knowing what type of turn the plot was gonna take next. From the moment the band came to the nazi bar to the final shot, I was hooked and on edge, it was so great.

Oh boy, how do I put this… the main characters of this movie weren’t the most intelligent bunch in cinema history. Seriously, they get dumb ideas and make stupid decisions like a lot of horror movie characters. The director has joked about this before, saying that this is the final part in his unofficial “inept protagonist trilogy”. Still, that doesn’t really justify the characters being kind of stupid to the point of lesser annoyance. Oh well, I can at least appreciate that the nazis weren’t stereotypically cartoony villains, instead feeling very grounded and surprisingly realistic. I can also say that the performances were really good. Anton Yelchin (god rest his soul) is very likable in the lead role and to give credit where credit is due, his performance was very good. Imogen Poots did a great job in here role as well. Then we also have Patrick Stewart who like I said, played the leader of the nazis, a role that feels really weird for a man like him. Seriously, he’s one of the least nazi people on the face of the earth. Anyway, his performance was terrific, very understated, truly nailed it. And every other supporting actor in the movie did really well for themselves too.

The score for the movie was composed by Brooke Blair and it was really good even if I rarely noticed it. The score is surprisingly quiet and never pulls attention away from anything. But listening to it afterwards, I have to say that it was really good. Then there were of course some punk/metal song in the soundtrack that I think worked for the movie, even if I’m not the biggest fan of the tracks in general. Except for one track that started right at the end, msotly because it’s a totally different genre and it was just great.

This film was directed by Jeremy Saulnier who I think did a terrific job with the directing of this movie. The directing is very tension-filled and never let’s you feel relaxed. Yes, it’s not a straight-up action thrill ride, but it’s a very intense thriller that really got under my skin. Speaking of getting under skin, this film is really brutal and gory. I’m not talking like there being blood that shoots out everywhere all the time. I mean it more like there being several moments featuring blood and gore that was very realistic and brutal and actually made me a bit queasy, which is something that very rarely happens. Also, the cinematograpy is absolutely beautiful. Dark and icky… but beautiful.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 79/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“Green Room” may have some annoyingly stupid characters, but overall I found it really good. The plot is great, the acting is great, the music is good, the directing is terrific, and the film had me on the edge of my seat the entire time. Also, it made me feel queasy from the gore, somethign that very rarely happens, so I applaud it for succeeding with that. Time for my final score. ANARCHY IN THE UK! My final score for “Green Room” is a 9,01/10. It’s definitely worth buying.
Worth buying

My review of “Green Room” is now completed.

Never do anything near nazis, kiddos.