Great Music #31

Well hello there, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome back to Great Music, the series where I just talk about music I like. Last time we did this was back in April. I’m not good at keeping up a consistent release pace for these posts. Oh well. Here we go.

So what’s on the menu this time? Bit of old school rock? Something from a famous movie? Nah, neither. This is a bit more… revolutionary (you’ll know why in a bit). Let’s first get something god damn straight: I don’t like nazis, they’re the fucking worst, get them the hell out. But since those sons of bitches don’t seem to go away any time soon, at least I can imagine it and get some catharsis from it… thanks to “Wolfenstein”. First released in 1981, “Castle Wolfenstein” was a stealth game with some shooting elements. Then in 1992 it saw a reboot of sorts with “Wolfenstein 3D”, a revolutionary (no, that’s not the part I meant earlier) game that really brought the first person shooter to the mainstream. Cut to 22 years and god knows how many games later, and we get “Wolfenstein: The New Order”, another reboot of sorts that shared some stylistic and thematic elements with “The Man in the High Castle” and “Inglourious Basterds”. That game was a huge hit among fans and critics (yours truly included). Then three years later, in 2017 we get the sequel, “Wolfenstein: The New Colossus”, a not quite as good, but still fairly enjoyable action game with some standout moments and characters. Now, the music of “The New Order” was good, but you can still tell that it played it a little bit safe, with composer Mick Gordon testing the waters a bit. After then making the acclaimed music for the 2016 reboot of “Doom”, you could tell that he had found his style and wouldn’t shy away from exploiting it like a motherfucker. Cut to “New Colossus”, where he (along with co-composer Martin Stig Andersen) brought his fucking A-game and gave us some of the best video game music of all time. I could’ve talked about any track from the OST and been just as happy, but I felt like I needed to pick one of the more unique tracks from it to truly justify this post. And that’s why I chose “Horton Hears a Revolution” (THERE IT IS!).

In the game, you play as American resistance fighter William Joseph “B.J.” Blazkowicz (voiced by Brian Bloom) as he tries to fight back against the nazi regime which had taken over the world in 1946, and still rules with an iron cross 14 years later. But he can’t do this alone, he has to gather allies. And at a point in the game he travels to New Orleans to try to recruit a resistance group led by southern preacher Horton Boone (voiced by Christopher Heyerdahl). And as he comes to their base, they start discussing the situation they’re in, which is accompanied by a bit of nice clarinet jazz… and Mick Gordon’s heavier-than-metal guitars and drums. You see, Mick likes to approach his compositions a bit differently compared to your John Williams or Michael Giacchinos of the world. Instead of the typical orchestrations of brass and woodwind, this crazy son of a bitch uses instruments typically found in heavy metal bands (and the occasional synth for good measure). It creates a heavy sound that fits the often satirical but still brutal style of the story and writing. And the way it is used to coincide with the jazzy clarinet is absolutely frickin’ wonderful, creating a mesmerizing chaos that honestly just takes my breath away every time I hear it, while also making me want to start a revolution against some nazi assholes.

Have a good one and enjoy.

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Series Review: Doom Patrol – Season 1 (2019)

We’re getting a lot of superhero stuff these days. But what I do like about it is that we’re at a point where we’re getting more experimental things, not just typical “Colorful hero saves day” thing. Don’t get me wrong, I like those… but I appreciate the lean towards a lot more weird things. So let’s discuss such a thing.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Doom Patrol” season 1!

The story follows a group of outcasts who have been brought together by a scientist (Timothy Dalton) as they have to reluctantly band together to stop the villainous Mr. Nobody (Alan Tudyk)… at least that’s the initial setup. It sets itself up with a bit of a typical superhero idea, but then decides to shove that to the side a bit to explore the stranger side of the DC universe. While there are overarching themes and ideas, each episode is generally a self-contained adventure where the team encounter a new strange thing and have to deal with that while also having to try to handle their personal demons. So the show balances a lot of ideas and tones, which can often be a movie or show’s downfall. But “Doom Patrol” balances it all wonderfully to create a unique superhero show that for the most part just subverts most superhero tropes, all while giving us some of the most surprisingly compelling character drama that I have seen in quite a while. It’s a strange, fun, emotional, and overall well-realized story that I loved following from start to end.

The characters are flawed, layered, colorful, and just overall really interesting. They’re all damaged in some way, which makes them quite dysfunctional, leading to a lot of interesting character dynamics. And with the core cast of Diane Guerrero, Brendan Fraser, April Bowlby, Matt Bomer, Joivan Wade, and Timothy Dalton, you get some truly great performances to go along with these vividly written characters.

The score for the show was composed by Clint Mansell and Kevin Kiner. And man, it is pretty great. A lot of synth is used throughout, which gives the show an almost otherworldly feeling that helps sell the unique vibe of the show. It’s suspense-building, it’s emotionally charged, it’s exciting, it’s fun… it’s just a perfect match for the show. There are also a handful of licensed tracks used throughout the season, and they work quite well in their respective scenes. So yeah, this show has great music.

Based on the comic books from DC, the show was created by Jeremy Carver, and written/directed by a whole bunch of cool people. And as mentioned in some of the previous sections, the writing is some of the most uniquely compelling stuff I’ve experienced in quite some time. And the directing is pretty stellar too, featuring some really fun camerawork that adds a lot to the show in terms of visual storytelling. I should probably also mention that the show in large part is a comedy. So is it funny? Yes, very, it’s one of the funniest shows I’ve watched in a while. The humor can often be quite crude and weird, but I do think it works to the show’s advantage in giving it a distinct feel.

This show/season 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 70/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10.

“Doom Patrol” is one of the weirdest shows I’ve seen in quite a while… but it’s also absolutely fantastic. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, great writing/directing, and hilarious comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Doom Patrol” season 1 is a 9,92/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Doom Patrol” season 1 is now completed.

That was a bit insane.

Movie Review: Captain Marvel (2019)

Missed this in the cinema, so catching up now. Also, apologies that I haven’t written any posts in over a week, just haven’t been feeling up to it due to the hot weather. But here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Captain Marvel”.

The story follows Carol Danvers (Brie Larson), a former fighter pilot who gets caught in an intergalactic war between two alien races. So now we have another Marvel origin movie. And I think that’s the one issue I have with it, it’s another Marvel origin. Not saying I disliked it, au contraire, I enjoyed it quite a bit. But it does still follow a lot of those familiar beats we recognize, and rarely does much to stand out. It does have a few enjoyable turns, and the overall narrative is still a fun, superhero adventure with a good message. So yeah, it’s pretty good.

The characters in this are fun, flawed, and interesting. Brie Larson plays Carol Danvers, a cocky, snide woman who has to go through a journey to become a hero. And I enjoy her arc, which weirdly enough reminds me of Ratchet’s arc in “Ratchet & Clank” (the original game, not the movie), starting out as a little bit of a cocky jerk, but goes through a good personal arc thanks to the events of the movie, and it makes her quite the enjoyable character. And Larson is really good in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Jude Law, Annette Bening, Lashana Lynch, Djimon Hounsou, and more, all doing really well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Pinar Toprak, and I think she did a good job with it. Admittedly it does play it a bit safe sometimes with some of the orchestral action pieces, but then there are also tracks that play around with synthesizers to great an interesting, space-ish sound that kinda reminds me of “Mass Effect” (why am I making so many video game comparisons today?). And overall it works for the movie. Then there are some licensed tracks used throughout certain scenes, and some work better than others. There’s one in particular, which is a song I love, but was caught off guard by. So overall the music here is good.

Of course based on the popular Marvel Comics character, “Captain Marvel” was directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, and I think they did a really good job with it. They really brought a unique sort of energy to it, which made for some fun and interesting stuff during the action scenes. And I think it goes without saying at this point that the visual effects are fucking great.

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 64/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

“Captain Marvel” isn’t one of the MCU’s best movies, but it’s still one hell of an entertaining movie. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, good music, and great directing/action/effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Captain Marvel” is an 8,78/10. So while not perfect, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Captain Marvel” is now completed.

SHAZA- wait, that’s the wrong one.

Movie Review: About a Boy (2002)

Having kids. Not everyone’s cup of tea. There, I said it. So many think everyone should have kids and that there’s something wrong with you if you don’t. But that’s such a narrow view of stuff. Be open to other people’s life choices. And those who don’t wanna have kids, don’t look down at those who have kids. Let’s all be friends.

Ladies and gentlemen… “About a Boy”.

Will (Hugh Grant) is an immature, cynical bachelor that has chosen single mothers as his new dating targets, and he’s willing to put up any lie to get inside their pants. This however backfires when a 12-year old boy (Nicholas Hoult) starts seeing through his lie, and becomes a central part of Will’s life. And maybe these two will learn some stuff from each other. So now we have our rom-rom/coming-of-age story. And it honestly subverted a lot of expectations I had. With these two genres, one expects a lot of tropes, and we do get a few of them here, which end up being some of the weaker elements of the story. But with that said, there’s still enough nuance and subversion here to make it an intriguing and surprisingly engaging take on these two familiar genres, while still giving you some of the heartwarming bits you’d expect.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, colorful, and overall quite interesting. Hugh Grant plays Will, the cynical man-child at the center of this story. Never one to commit himself to a single person for long, he drifts around various women like a lying asshole. He isn’t the typical charming, Hugh Grant rom-com character, and it makes him quite an intriguing and refreshing character to watch as he evolves. And Grant is great in the role. Next we have a young Nicholas Hoult as Marcus, the little kid that Will begrudgingly “befriends”. He’s a bit weird, but he’s also clever, charming, and quite an endearing kid. And Hoult is really good in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Toni Collette, Natalia Tena, Rachel Weisz, Victoria Smurfit, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score was composed by the musician known as Badly Drawn Boy, and it was good. They’re basically indie pop songs, which I’d assume is the genre that Badly Drawn Boy might be associated with usually. There are even a few instrumentals that could fit that description used throughout. And this music works alright within the story. The tunes themselves are pretty good, it’s just that when used within a movie context, it creates a bit of a bland vibe. So overall… pretty good.

Based on a novel by Nick Hornby, this movie was directed by Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz, and I think they did a good job with it. There’s certainly a warmth their direction brings that makes it feel nice to watch (if that makes any sense). What really surprised me though was the shot composition. So many romantic comedies out there have what I like to call a “start the camera” look, in which it just looks like they started the camera, with no real thought of giving the movie an interesting style or any fun camerawork. But here, there’s plenty of both, this is a really well shot movie. And since it’s a comedy, we should talk about the humor… it’s funny. Some light slapstick, some surprisingly dark jokes, some clever digs at things. I laughed throughout.

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 75/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10. The movie was nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best Adapted Screenplay.

While it still dips into cliches at times, “About a Boy” still subverts enough to impress. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, good music, great directing, and funny comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “About a Boy” is an 8,97/10. So while a little flawed, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “About a Boy” is now completed.

Hughbert Grantchester is a lot better when he gets to do these slightly more offbeat characters.

Movie Review: Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)

It is here. The movie that made me revisit the Raimi trilogy. It’s finally here. And it’s time to talk about it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Spider-Man: Far From Home”.

As Peter Parker (Tom Holland) gears up to go on a European vacation with his classmates, he’s contacted by some familiar faces to help take care of some strong new enemies that have revealed themselves. But to be able to stop them, Peter has to team up with a mysterious guy named Quentin Beck (Jake Gyllenhaal). So now we have our Spidey-sequel. It’s part teen rom-com and part superhero story, and I feel like the two are blended quite well, which makes for a really enjoyable and breezy plot, which is kind of what we needed after the heavy shit in “Avengers: Endgame”. With how it jumps around Europe a lot it can feel a little jumpy, but I don’t think it ever ruined it in any way. There are some fun twists and turns in the plot that add a fair bit of nuance to the generally light and breezy proceedings (breezeedings?).

The characters are layered, flawed, colorful, fun, and overall interesting. Tom Holland returns as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, and in this movie he has to deal with the awkwardness of being a high school kid with a crush, while also having to step up as a hero in a world affected by the events of the last two “Avengers” films. He gets a fair bit of development here, making him even more interesting than he already was. And Holland is once again fantastic in the role. Next we have Jake Gyllenhaal as Quentin Beck/Mysterio. He’s a charismatic, interesting, and mysterious man who gets a fair bit of interesting motivation throughout. And Gyllenhaal is great in the role (can’t go wrong with a bit of Gyllenhaal, you know). We also get supporting work from people like Zendaya, Samuel L. Motherfu- I mean Jackson, Marisa Tomei, Jon Favreau, Jacob Batalon, Martin Starr, Angourie Rice, Tony Revolori, J.B. Smoove, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Michael Giacchino, and it was really good. Sweeping, intimate, epic, emotional, it’s what one would look for in a “Spider-Man” score. It’s not the most original score out there, but it’s certainly enjoyable, and it works quite well within the movie itself. There are also a whole bunch of licensed tracks used throughout, and they all work quite well in their respective scenes.

As with “Spider-Man: Homecoming”, “Far From Home” was directed by Jon Watts. And I think he did a really good job with it. He certainly has a good sense of motion and energy in his directing, something shown in “Homecoming”, and explored further here. This lends to a lot of fun action scenes. Most of them are these, big, brash superhero things that one expects, but there’s also one or two that do some clever little things that I didn’t fully expect. There’s also a lot of comedy in this movie (which shouldn’t be much of a surprise if you’ve followed this movie universe for a while). And it’s funny, I laughed and chuckled.

This movie just came out, but has already been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 69/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10. Keep in mind, all these scores are at the time of writing, and will most likely change as time goes by and I’m too lazy to constantly edit this.

While I prefer its predecessor, “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is still a damn fine Spidey-movie, and another great entry within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, great directing/action, and funny humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is a 9,50/10. So while it’s just on the edge, it’s still deserving of the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Spider-Man: Far From Home” is now completed.

This has two of my favorite scenes of the year, and both for VERY different reasons.

Movie Review: Spider-Man 2 (2004)

And so my series of reviews of Raimi-directed “Spider-Man” movies continues!

Ladies and gents… “Spider-Man 2”.

As Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) tries to balance college, work, and being the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, he runs into even more trouble when scientist Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) becomes the villainous Doc Ock. So now we have our sequel. It’s bigger, but does that make it better? Yes, very much so. It has a lot of themes to balance, and it manages to do that beautifully. At times it’s fun, at times it breaks the viewer’s heart, at times it’s uplifting. It takes all its various themes and creates a web (HA!) that is a perfect representation of Spider-Man and his adventures.

The characters are colorful, flawed, layered, fun, and overall just really interesting. Tobey Maguire reprises his role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Seeing his development throughout here is fascinating. Yes, you do get a lot of the charming awkwardness seen in the first movie, but you also get to see a lot of new sides to him that came forward after the events of the first movie, and from things that happen here. And Maguire is great in the role. Alfred Molina plays Otto Octavius, the brilliant scientist who becomes the villain of the story. He’s under constant conflict with himself throughout, making him quite a compelling character. And Molina is great in the role. Kirsten Dunst returns as Mary-Jane Watson, and she gets some decent development throughout. And Dunst is good in the role. James Franco returns as Harry Osborne, who also has some interesting character drama going on, with Franco giving a great performance. We also get supporting work from people like Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons (still the best), Bill Nunn, Dylan Baker, Daniel Gillies, Donna Murphy, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As with the first movie, the score was composed by Danny Elfman, and he somehow managed to one-up himself. The score here of course brings back a lot of the sweeping heroics of the first, while also adding in a lot of nice little touches that makes it stand out. Really, it’s amazing, one of the best scores of the time. And there’s the odd licensed track used throughout that works quite well too.

As with the first movie (and as mentioned in the opening of this review), this movie was directed by Sam Raimi, who (like Elfman) upped his game. His camptastic sense of energy makes a triumphant return, which makes it electrifying to watch, even in the “slower” scenes. It also adds a lot to the action scenes, which are a blast to watch, thanks to the energetic, visceral feel that Raimi gives to them. There’s one scene in particular that really encapsulates that, and if you’ve seen this movie, then you probably know which one I’m talking about. And to bring up something I mentioned in my previous “Spider-Man” review, the effects in this still hold up. The last one had a lot of rough stuff, but the ones in this one… still so good.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 83/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best Visual Effects. It also got an additional 2 nominations in the categories of Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing.

“Spider-Man 2” is a sequel that takes everything that was good about the first one, and improves on it significantly. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/action/effects. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “Spider-Man 2” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Spider-Man 2” is now completed.

Here’s a fun anecdote: As I was (re)watching this, I realized that I actually hadn’t seen this one before. My mind had tricked me into thinking that I had seen it before, when I hadn’t. It’s quite interesting.

Movie Review: Spider-Man (2002)

With “Spider-Man: Far From Home” getting released in July, I thought I would give the Raimi-directed “Spider-Man” movies a little rewatch/review. I mean, it’s been years since the last time I saw them, so now is a good a time as any to see if they hold up. So here we go with part 1.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Spider-Man”.

After he gets bitten by a genetically modified spider, high school student Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) starts developing spider-like powers. And he soon has to put them to good use when a crazed villain (Willem Dafoe) starts terrorizing New York. We had gotten a few superhero origins before this, but this really set the standard for how it’s done. Even in movies later on, let’s say “Iron Man” as an example, trace amounts of this movie can be found in the way the origin is done there. So yeah, the plot here is handled well. Not saying it’s perfect. It does have a few minor pacing issues at points, but there’s nothing that completely ruins the experience for me. It is still mostly well paced, with plenty of nuance and a decent exploration of the “Great power, great responsibility” theme. It’s fun, it’s clever, it’s emotional, it’s a good “Spider-Man” origin.

The characters in this are colorful, charming, layered, and overall interesting. Tobey Maguire plays Peter Parker/Spider-Man. He’s a little shy, a little awkward, but also clever, good-hearted, and a fairly relatable character. Seeing his journey from that dork that everyone picks on to a hero is quite fascinating. And Maguire is really good in the role. Kirsten Dunst plays Mary-Jane Watson, Peter’s neighbor and crush. A beautiful young woman with a bad home life, but a good heart. Seeing her and how she is affected by Peter’s life/she affects him is an interesting part of the whole story. And Dunst is really good in the role. Next we have Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin. He’s something of a scientist and tries to develop tech that can help the military… but things go a little… awry. Seeing his duality throughout the movie is endlessly entertaining, and Dafoe is the perfect blend of intimidating, emotionally investing, and hammy in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Rosemary Harris, Cliff Robertson, James Franco, J.K. Simmons (the best), and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Danny Elfman, and I have nothing bad to say about it. It’s epic, emotional, sweeping, and balances heroics with smaller stuff, making for one of the most iconic and enjoyable scores in the last 20 years. Seriously still great.

As mentioned in the opening of this review, “Spider-Man” (based on the Marvel character created by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko) was directed by Sam Raimi, and I think he did a great job with it. He has a unique sort of energy that makes the movie a whole lot of fun to watch. He also uses a lot of fun camera movements to give the movie a unique look that feels very much in line with the character of Spider-Man. This also translates to the action scenes, which are a lot of fun and are even surprisingly brutal at times. However, to add a negative into all this positivity, there are a lot of effects that don’t hold up. Those are CGI stuff that very much haven’t aged well. It’s not a total deal-breaker, but it is distracting enough to bring the score down a little bit.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 90% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10. It got 2 Oscar nominations in the categories of Best Sound and Best Visual Effects.

While there are aspects of it that has aged a fair bit, “Spider-Man” is still a damn fine superhero movie. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/action. What brings it down a bit for me are the occasional pacing issues and often wonky CGI effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Spider-Man” is an 8,89/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Spider-Man” is now completed.

Two more to go. *thwip*.

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.

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.