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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That was… BATshit insane.

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Movie Review: Blaze (2018)

Biopics are fascinating. They give us a glimpse into a real life individual’s personal life, while also trying to provide a couple hours of entertainment. And striking the right balance between fact and compelling drama can be tough. But some people manage it.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Blaze”.

The story follows the life and times of Blaze Foley (Ben Dickey), a raggedy man with a talent for music. From his humble beginnings, and through the highs and lows, including his marriage to Sybil Rosen (Alia Shawkat), we get a good glimpse into Foley’s life. And I think that the plot here is really good. There are elements that we recognize from other biopics, but the way they’re used throughout “Blaze” feels fresh, due to the gentle and nuanced writing. It creates a fascinating tale that can be as heartbreaking as it is warmly nostalgic. The deliberately slow pace might prove a bit frustrating for some, but I thought it worked very well for the story here.

The characters here are flawed, nuanced, charming, and overall feel very real. Ben Dickey plays the titular musician. A likable man with a lot of tragic flaws. Seeing his journey as a character here is really fascinating, and I really grew to care about him. And Dickey is great in the role. Alia Shawkat plays Sybil Rosen, a woman and aspiring actress/writer that Blaze has a committed relationship with. The journey she has here, which really are the ups and downs of being with Blaze, is really interesting, and makes her an interesting and sympathetic character. And Shawkat is really good in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Charlie Sexton, Josh Hamilton, Wyatt Russell, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As this is a biopic about a musician, it should be expected that one would hear a lot of songs from said artist throughout. You’d be correct in that assumption, you do hear a lot of Foley’s music here… and I love it. Not only because the music is incredibly well written, but also because the way it’s implemented in the storytelling is absolutely wonderful. So yeah, the music here is great.

Based on “Living in the Woods in a Tree: Remembering Blaze Foley” (bit of a mouthful) by Sybil Rosen, this movie was written by Ethan Hawke & Sybil Rosen, with Hawke also handling directing. And the craft here is wonderful. It has a warmness to it, and a willingness to just sit down and really get to know these characters, not always feeling the need to get to the next “big event”. Like I said in the story bit, the pacing is deliberately slow, and the direction embraces that and turns it into some truly compelling stuff. And the cinematography by Steve Cosens helps kind of give it all a nostalgic storybook feeling that really adds to the experience.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 75/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“Blaze” is a wonderful movie about a very interesting man. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great writing/directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “Blaze” is a 9,77/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Blaze” is now completed.

That was a nice experience.

Series Review: Chernobyl (2019)

Usually I make some kind of cute remarks in these intros that relate to the thing I’m reviewing. But in this case I just can’t. There’s nothing clever I can say. So I guess we should just get into the review itself.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Chernobyl”.

The Chernobyl power plant, Ukraine, April 1986. It’s in the middle of the night. The people working the plant notice something going awry. The core has exploded. So we follow in the aftermath of that, showing how it affects the people either working the plant or trying to stop it from getting worse. We also get to see how scientist Valery Legasov (Jared Harris) tries to figure out ways to fix it, while dealing with all the red tape of the Soviet government. So now we have our historical drama. And man, this is a fucking masterclass in storytelling. Sure, it doesn’t give you any major twists or turns, but it instead takes the relatively straightforward events and tells them in a very nuanced, respectful, and anxiety-inducing way. There isn’t a scene in this show that didn’t have me on the edge of my seat. It may not technically be listed as horror, but it sure as hell felt like it at times.

The characters in this all feel layered, flawed, nuanced, realistic, and overall very interesting. Jared Harris plays Valery Legasov, the scientist put in charge of trying to fix the whole conundrum of the Chernobyl explosion. He’s one of those people who tries to make sense of everything, but also gets frustrated when people won’t listen to him. And it’s interesting to see him go through the various issues he has to deal with in the series. And Harris is fantastic in the role. We also get performances from people like Stellan Skarsgård, Emily Watson, Jessie Buckley, Barry Keoghan, Con O’Neill, Paul Ritter, David Dencik, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for “Chernobyl” was composed by Hildur Guðnadóttir, and it was fantastic. It’s dark, it’s eerie, it’s emotional, it’s anxiety-inducing… it’s exactly the kind of score that is befitting of the storytelling. So yeah, it fits quite well.

Based on the horrifying nuclear disaster in 1986, the show was created and written by Craig Mazin, with Johan Renck directing. And the craft behind this is stellar. The direction is always eerie, never letting up any of the suspense. It’s claustrophobic, but also intimate with its characters, really bringing you into their personal struggles. And the cinematography by Jakob Ihre is quite eerie too.

This show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 83/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 9,7/10 and is ranked #1 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

“Chernobyl” isn’t a fun show… but it is quite fantastic. It has a great plot, really good characters, fantastic performances, great music, and great writing/directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Chernobyl” is a 9,94/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Chernobyl” is now completed.

You know what’s interesting? The guy who wrote this show also wrote the “Hangover” sequels and some of the later “Scary Movie” entries.

Movie Review: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019)

Keanu fucking Reeves. Started out promisingly in comedies, dramas, and various action flicks. Then around 2008 he kind of dropped off the mainstream map after a few… less than critically well received movies. Then in 2014 he starred in “John Wick”, which gave his career the adrenaline boost it needed. And now he seems to be back on top. And I say, good for him. So let’s talk about his latest flick. Oh, and spoilers for the end of “John Wick: Chapter 2”, because that ties into this… sorry.

Ladies and gentlemen… “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum”.

After killing a member of the High Table, the ever tenacious John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is rendered excommunicado, with a 14 million dollar bounty on his head, and must fight for survival as he encounters trouble at every corner. So now we have our constantly moving action story. From a storytelling perspective, these movies aren’t what you’d call “high art”. But I don’t need that. It’s just our hero being relentlessly pursued in an interesting, very comic book-esque world. And that makes for a fun bit of garnish in-between all the shooty-bang-bangs and fisticuffs. The story is present enough that it adds something to the experience, but not so up its own ass that it distracts from everything else. It’s fun.

The characters in this are colorful and pretty interesting. Just like I mentioned with the plot, they feel very much like they’re ripped right out of a comic book. Keanu Reeves of course returns as title character John Wick. A man who lost everything, then is given a new chance, and then shit hits the fan again. He’s endured a lot, and I find him to be a strong and engaging action protagonist that I care about a fair bit. He even gets some decent development here too. And Reeves is really good in the role. And the supporting cast, which includes people like Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Halle Berry, Anjelica Huston, Asia Kate Dillon, and many more, is pretty fucking good.

As with the previous two movies, the score for “Parabellum” was composed by Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard. And like the previous two movies, this score is awesome. It once again takes the approach of mixing very electronic stuff with some sick rock beats and occasional guitar screeching to make a sound that is distinctly “John Wick”. And it’s just as tense, exciting, badass, and pleasing to my ears as the last two times.

Chad Stahelski returned to direct this third entry in the franchise he helped create. And dude’s direction just gets better with each iteration. A clear focus, wonderful long takes, and a great sense of energy. The cinematography by Dan Laustsen is absolutely breathtaking, with some beautiful use of colors. And let’s talk about the thing we all watch these movies for: The action. Fuck me, it is amazing. It’s real, it’s visceral, it’s fun, it’s violent, it’s clear… it just comes together beautifully. You can see everything that happens, which also let’s you see just how much work has gone into the fucking choreography. There are also some rather creative kills throughout the movie too, and they add even more to it. It’s very well crafted, this movie.

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 73/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,0/10.

“John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” is one of the most impressive action movies of this decade, and I absolutely loved it. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography/action. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” is now completed.

You’d think the people constantly coming after John would take a hint that you don’t fuck with the Baba Yaga.

Series Review: What We Do in the Shadows – Season 1 (2019)

Once upon a time, some very creative and funny people from New Zealand made a gut-bustingly hilarious movie called “What We Do in the Shadows”. Several years later, they take the opportunity to adapt it for television. And now that the first season of said show has come to an end, we can talk about it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “What We Do in the Shadows” season 1!

The story follows a group of vampires (Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, Mark Proksch) who all live together in a house on Staten Island, as they get into various misadventures while they’re just trying to live their lives. And I have to say, I really enjoyed following the stuff that happened here. It retains the overall tone of the movie, without feeling like a rehash of the kind of stuff that happened there. The show takes the general idea of the movie, but carves its own, silly path. And It’s a ton of fun to follow.

The characters in this are colorful, unique, charming, and really entertaining. The four people playing the vampires, Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, and Mark Proksch all bring something really fun with their performances. Combine that with the stellar writing for each and every one of them, and you get some absolutely delightful characters that I couldn’t get enough of. Then we also have Harvey Guillén as Guillermo, the familiar (fancy word for servant) of one of the vampires. It’s kind of fun to see his dynamic with the crew, as he’s the only human of the group, which makes for some really fun times. And Guillén does a good job in the role. There are other actors showing up throughout the show as well, and they all do well in their respective roles too.

There isn’t a whole lot of music in the show, but when there is, it’s pretty good. The score itself was composed by Mark Mothersbaugh, and when it shows up, it’s alright. Not exactly memorable, but it works. The occasional licensed track exists too, and they work fine.

Based on the 2014 movie of the same name by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, the show was created by Clement, and written/directed by him, Waititi, and various other cool people. And their work on that front is really solid. The show of course keeps the documentary-style direction of the movie, and it just adds to the surrealness of it all. The writing in itself is fucking hilarious, but I feel like the mockumentary style adds another dimension to it that somehow makes it even funnier. So yeah, I laughed, a lot. This is one of the funniest show I’ve watched in recent years.

This show/season has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 80/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,4/10 and is ranked #247 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

Season 1 of “What We Do in the Shadows” took my already positive expectation and somehow blew them out of the water. It has a fun plot, great characters, great performances, okay music, great directing, and hilarious comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “What We Do in the Shadows” season 1 a 9,89/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “What We Do in the Shadows” season 1 is now completed.

BAT.

The Great Villain Blogathon 2019: Wafner from Overlord

Well hello there, people. Hope you’re doing well. Today I will be going out of my regular review wheelhouse a bit. When it was announced that the lovely ladies of Speakeasy, Silver Screenings, and Shadows & Satin were hosting a blogathon about movie villains, I of course had to sign up. I actually took part in another one of these about two years ago, so I’m happy to join another one! So let’s stop it with the introductions and get into my pick for The Great Villain Blogathon 2019!

Last time I took part in a villainous blogathon, I went back a handful of years and talked about the T-1000 from “Terminator 2”. So this time I went for a more recent thing. And to give you a fair warning: There will be spoilers for the entire movie. So if you haven’t seen this movie and want to remain unspoiled, maybe go and give it a rental, watch it, and then come back.

Meine Damen und Herren… This is Wafner from 2018’s “Overlord”.

“Overlord” is a 2018 world war 2 action-horror film directed by Julius Avery and starring Jovan Adepo, Wyatt Russell, and Pilou Asbæk. It’s about a group of American soldiers who crash behind enemy lines on the night of D-day to take out a nazi communications tower so that the landing on Normandy beach can happen. But as they make their way further into the compound, they find more than just nazi punks in there. To be exact, they find that the nazis are experimenting on the local population to try to create super zombie soldiers. Simple plot with a fun twist to it. Not revolutionary, but highly enjoyable. So how does Wafner (played by Pilou Asbæk) fit into this? Well, he’s a nazi captain that serves as the primary antagonist of the story. What’s interesting is that it takes about 20 minutes for us to even catch a glimpse of him, and even then it’s shrouded in darkness and at a distance. It’s not until the 33 minute mark that we finally get properly introduced to him, when he invades the private space of a French woman that helps to hide our heroes.

Wafner: “Do you hear zat?”. Chloe: “What?”. Wafner: “Sounds like our movie is failing at ze box office”.

Right in the first minute of his introduction he just gets under my skin. No, not because he’s a nazi, though that is certainly a turn-off. No, there’s just a certain creepiness to him. He’s not the over-the-top villain one might expect (yet), instead going for a more subtle and slimy creepiness, which is just perfectly delivered by Asbæk. And even though he does seem calm and composed, you can still sense that there’s a ruthlessness to him, which makes you not want to mess with him. Even when he’s captured later in the movie by our heroes, he has a way of getting under one’s skin.

Wafner: “Dood, you should totes inject me with zat”. Ford: “No nazi steroids for you”. Wafner: “Oh nein”.

What I like about Wafner is that he’s just a villain. So many movies these days try to give their villains actual depth, maybe even give them some qualities that we can sympathize with. And while I enjoy that to some extent, I prefer that they didn’t try that with Wafner here. He’s just a ruthless, smirking, villainous villain. He wants to create a super zombie army so the nazis can take over the world. As Wafner puts it “A thousand year reich requires a thousand year army”.

Eventually he manages to escape capture through cunning and deception. So he’s not just a ruthless nazi commander, but he’s also intelligent, which makes him an even more dangerous villain. But he doesn’t get away completely scot-free.

Gotta admire it when a guy can crack a smile even though half his fucking face has been blown off.

If he wasn’t dangerous enough already, he injects himself with the experimental super soldier serum, turning him borderline invincible. So you have an angry, ruthless, cunning, and creepy nazi captain that can’t be killed by conventional means. Makes for quite an intense finale. All boosted by Pilou Asbæk’s over-the-top yet excellent performance.

When asked what he likes to do during his spare time, an unusually reserved Wafner told us about his recent infatuation with making stop-motion films using the corpses of his enemies.

So that was a bit about Wafner from Overlord. He’s not particularly deep, but he’s quite intimidating and works incredibly well as a primary antagonist for this crazy genre hybrid. He’s an old school villain for the sake of having an old school villain, and I god damn salute that.
Once again I have to give a huge thanks to Speakeasy, Silver Screenings, and Shadows & Satin for letting me take part in this. I had fun. Plus, it gave me an excuse to rewatch one of my favorite movies of last year.
Have a good one.

Series Review: Barry – Season 2 (2019)

Reviewed season 1 a few weeks back (ahem ahem). So it’s reasonable to think that I should tackle the second season now that it too has come to a close. Well, here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Barry” season 2.

Set a few weeks after the events of the first season, we follow Barry (Bill Hader) as he tries to get on with his life as an aspiring actor, while the consequences of his previous actions start creeping up to haunt him. Season 1 took a concept that I wasn’t entirely sure about and managed to make something great out of it. So how would they follow that up? By upping their game tenfold. That’s right, the second season of “Barry” manages to take the dark, yet somewhat quirky ideas of the first season and elevate them in ways I didn’t think possible. It manages to be fun, heartbreaking, suspenseful, exciting, and just overall a damn concise season of television. Great stuff.

The characters in this are layered, flawed, colorful, fun, and overall just really interesting. Bill Hader of course returns as the titular hitman-turned-actor. In this season we get to see a lot of his old demons come up. Combined with a lot of his more current issues, and it gives him a lot of really engaging character development. And Hader is fantastic in the role. Sarah Goldberg returns as Sally, Barry’s girlfriend and acting partner. She goes through a bit of personal conflict throughout the season, and it’s quite engaging. And Goldberg is great in the role. And we get supporting work from people like Henry Winkler, Stephen Root, Anthony Carrigan, John Pirrucello, Michael Irby, Patricia Fa’asua, Daniel Bernhardt, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As with season 1, the music was composed by David Wingo, and it’s great. Suspense-building, emotional, dramatic, and just overall well composed, working well for the various scenes it’s found in. There’s also the occasional licensed track here and there, and they work alright in their respective scenes.

The show was created by Alec Berg and Bill Hader, with those two writing most of the episodes. And the craft here is pretty spectacular. Not only did they up their game in terms of storytelling, but they also went all in when it came to direction and cinematography as well. The first season wasn’t bad in that regard, but there’s a notable leap here, created a visually arresting show that also keeps the viewer on edge throughout most of the runtime.

This show/season has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 87/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10.

Season 1 of “Barry” was great. And somehow, season 2 is even better. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, and great writing/directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 2 of “Barry” is a 9,94/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

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

Crazy motherfuckers somehow did it.

Movie Review: There Will Be Blood (2007)

Whenever I find myself watching a critically acclaimed movie, I get a bit nervous. Because of the acclaim and the hype around it, I get scared that I might be the one asshole that doesn’t like it. I mean, everyone has opinions and we should respect that, sure. But I like liking things. And if I don’t like the thing that I hope to like, it’s both disappointing and disheartening. This movie was one of those hyped up movies… so what did I think? Well, let’s get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen, might wanna call a medic, because… “There Will Be Blood”.

Set during the early 20th century, the story follows prospector Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) as he deals with trying to drill up oil, raise his son (Dillon Freasier), and try to handle his less than friendly relationship with a local preacher (Paul Dano). It’s a movie about family and legacy and greed and what this kind of rough life does to a man. And damn, this plot was electrifying. I mean, it’s a slow burn, but I was never bored throughout any of it. They weave a narrative that is complex and layered, but still very easy to comprehend. Great stuff.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, nuanced, and very interesting. Daniel Day-Lewis plays Daniel Plainview, the prospector with the oil and the son and the troubles, oh my. While he at first can seem like a very calm, polite, and reasonable man, we get to see throughout that there are some darker sides too him, especially after certain things happen to him. And Day-Lewis is absolutely amazing in the role. Paul Dano plays Eli, a preacher that Plainview strikes up a bit of a friendship with, even if it’s not always portrayed as the friendliest of friendships. Eli is also one of those who kind of sees himself in a somewhat high regard, as the emissary of god, which is quite an interesting contrast to Plainview. And Dano is great in the role. We also of course get supporting work from people like Dillon Freasier, Ciarán Hinds, David Willis, Kevin J. O’Connor, David Warshofsky, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Jonny Greenwood, and it was really good. It takes a lot of cues from old school scores in the way it builds grandeur and emotion, which works incredibly well for the movie’s pretty unique tone. It also just sounds great, with plenty of strings leading the charge. Good stuff.

Based on a novel by Upton Sinclair, “There Will Be Blood” was written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, and I think he did a great job. The direction had a way of keeping me on edge the entire time, even when there wasn’t anything really suspenseful going on. Damn fine direction. And the cinematography by Robert Elswit is pretty damn good too.

This movie (as you probably got from the intro) has been incredibly well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 93/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10 and is ranked #158 on the “Top 250” list. The movie won 2 Oscars in the categories of Best Actor (Day-Lewis) and Best Cinematography. It also got an additional 6 nominations in the categories of Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction, and Best Sound Editing.

I am so glad to say that I agree with the hype for “There Will Be Blood”. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, and great writing/directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “There Will Be Blood” is a 9,90/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “There Will Be Blood” is now completed.

All of a sudden I want a milkshake.

Series Review: Yellowstone – Season 1 (2018)

Kevin Costner. What an interesting career this man has had. From being one of the biggest stars of the late 80s/early 90s, to kinda going into obscurity for a while, and then kinda making a comeback in the 2010s. And now he stars on a tv show. So let’s talk about it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Yellowstone” season 1.

The story follows John Dutton (Kevin Costner), an aging rancher, as he tries to keep his family in check while also dealing with various parties trying to encroach on his land. So now we have our neo-western-drama-thingamabob. And while it does dip a bit much into melodrama at times, I find the story here to be quite interesting, taking some really colorful characters and having them scheming around for the sake of their own or someone else’s success. The pacing does suffer a bit at times, and like I said, there’s a strong stench of melodrama at times. But overall it’s still a highly entertaining plot with some solid drama sprinkled throughout.

The characters in this are flawed, entertaining, surprisingly layered, and overall interesting. Kevin Costner plays John Dutton, the aging patriarch of the Dutton family and owner of the Yellowstone cattle ranch. He has demons of his past he has to deal with while also trying to keep his entire livelihood going with everything going against him at once, making him pretty interesting even though he can be a bit of an ass at times. And Costner is great in the role. Next we have Kelly Reilly as Beth, John’s daughter. She has a lot of issues that she at the start of the series hasn’t gone through, making her kind of a fucking mess. But she also has one of the best arcs in the series. And Reilly is great in the role. Next we have Luke Grimes as Kayce (Kay-see), one of John’s sons. A former Marine, he tries to balance being a Dutton with trying to be a good father and husband, which is quite complicated. And Grimes is really good in the role. Wes Bentley plays Jamie, John’s other son, who also happens to his lawyer. Yes, he’s a little smarmy, but mostly he’s probably the outlier of the family in a sense. And Bentley is good in the role. We also have Cole Hauser as Rip, John’s second hand man, who has to keep the ranch going in the events when John is unavailable. And while I won’t say too much more about Rip, I’ll just say that he’s my favorite character on the show. And Hauser is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Danny Huston, Gil Birmingham, Kelsey Absille, Jefferson White, Ian Bohen, Brecken Merrill, Ryan Bingham, Josh Lucas, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the season was composed by Brian Tyler, and I think he did a great job with it. Obviously taking influence from various westerns, he creates an ambient score that works very well within the show to create a certain mood. The theme he composed for the show is also pretty damn solid. There’s also some licensed tracks used throughout, and they work pretty well in their respective scenes.

Created by John Linson and Taylor Sheridan, all episodes this season were written and directed by Sheridan. And the craft here is really solid. Well shot, at times tense, Sheridan does a damn fine job in keeping my eyes stuck to the screen. Ben Richardson’s cinematography is also good.

This show/season has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 51% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 54/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,3/10.

While season 1 of “Yellowstone” misses the shot in some parts, it’s still a really solid season of television. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and really good writing/directing/cinematography. Where it falters (as previously mentioned) is in its occasionally dodgy pacing and unnecessarily frequent dips into melodrama. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Yellowstone” is an 8,61/10. So while flawed, I’d still say that it’s definitely worth watching.

My review of “Yellowstone” season 1 is now completed.

Movie megastar Kevin Costner doing long-form tv. Still blows my mind.

Movie Review: Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

I was gonna do a joke about a priest walking into a bar, but I couldn’t come up with a good punchline. So let’s just get into the review.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Bad Times at the El Royale”.

The late 1960s. On the border between California and Nevada lies the El Royale, a snazzy-looking motel. And on one fateful day, a group of strangers all decide to book rooms there, all of them carrying some secret. And we follow them as they get tangled up in the most insane night of their lives. The plot here jumps around a lot, partly in showing how all the characters got to the El Royale, and partly to show all the different perspectives on certain events that go down at the motel. And this could get messy and convoluted if put in the wrong hands. But I think that it was handled very well here. I like that they really took their time to tell this story. It’s intriguing, suspenseful, fun, pulpy, and just overall entertaining.

The characters here are colorful, unique, layered, flawed, and just overall really interesting. And that’s all you’ll get out of me. I won’t go any more in-depth on any of them, as that would be really tough without accidentally spoiling stuff. So let’s just list the cast. Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Lewis Pullman, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Chris Hemsworth, Cailee Spaeny, all great in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Michael Giacchino, and it was really good. It does lean into the pulp angle I mentioned earlier, which really helps sell the movie’s vibe while still adding to the sense of tension and drama. There’s also a fair bit of licensed tracks used throughout, and not only are they really good on their own, but they also work incredibly well within their respective scenes.

“Bad Times at the El Royale” was written and directed by Drew Goddard, who I think did a great job with it. He gives the movie a very slick style that makes it feel somewhat unique, without sacrificing any of the pulpy suspense that is built up through the story, characters, and music. And the cinematography by Seamus McGarvey is pretty stellar, giving us some really great looking shots throughout the movie.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 75% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 60/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

“Bad Times at the El Royale” is something that I can easily tell will polarize audiences. But I thought it was great. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great writing/directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Bad Times at the El Royale” is a 9,71/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Bad Times at the El Royale” is now completed.

Good times, bad times, you know I had my share…