Series Review: A Christmas Carol (2019)

I guess we gotta cover something christmas-related since the holidays are upon us. And lucky for me, we just got a new christmas mini-series to talk about. Yay.

Ladies and gentlemen… “A Christmas Carol”.

Ebenezer Scrooge (Guy Pearce) is an anti-social, greedy businessman who’s made his success on the misery of others for years. But one night right before christmas day, three spirits come to visit him to try to make him realize the fault of his ways. Everybody knows the setup for this story, question with each adaptation tends to instead come down to execution. And the execution in this series is not great. It’s a really dark, bleak, and edgy take on the classic story that is honestly stretched way too long. Sure, three episodes don’t sound like much. But when each episode is just under 60 minutes long and tries to then stretch a 110 page book out to that runtime, it just feels like it drags its ass. Plus, while the darker take sounds interesting on paper, it just doesn’t work, often taking me out of it. Even the supposedly heartwarming bits leave me feeling cold. The story’s just off for me.

The characters in this you know the basic dynamics of. But they also get given a somewhat darker edge to them that just makes things feel a little off at times. Guy Pearce of course plays the ultimate douchebag that is Ebenezer Scrooge. Anti-social, greedy, douchey… he’s just the worst. And Pearce is great in the role. You get Stephen Graham as Jacob Marley, and he’s of course great. Joe Alwyn does an admirable job as Bob Cratchit. Lenny Rush who plays Tiny Tim does a really good job. Andy Serkis as the ghost of christmas past rides the line between intimidating and hammy wonderfully. Really, all actors here brought their A-game, even if the material isn’t always up to snuff.

The score for the series was composed by Volker Bertelmann and Dustin O’Halloran. It was okay. Nothing too memorable, nothing that ruined the series, but also didn’t improve it. It’s just kinda there. Moving on.

Based on the classic book by Charles Dickens, “A Christmas Carol” was brought to us by Steven Knight, with Nick Murphy serving as director. And while the show felt a bit lackluster in the story and character departments, it excels in the production parts. The sets are immaculate, the costumes neat, and the cinematography by Si Bell was gorgeous. You can tell that so much love and care was put into how the world was crafted.

This show hasn’t been too well received so far. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 60% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 39/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

Despite having some things strewn throughout, 2019’s “A Christmas Carol” is ultimately not a great adaptation. The story isn’t very good, the characters are meh, the performances are great, the music is meh, and the directing, cinematography, and sets are great. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “A Christmas Carol” is a 4,65/10. So despite some good stuff, I’d still recommend skipping it.

My review of “A Christmas Carol” is now completed.

If someone disagrees with me, they better use “humbug”.

Movie Review: The Road (2009)

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On the road again
Just can’t wait to get on the road again…

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Road”.

The world has gone to shit. Everything has turned into a fucking wasteland. And in this horrible place we follow a man (Viggo Mortensen) and his son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) as they wander around, trying to survive as well as make it to the coast. And that’s it. No bigger conspiracy, no trying to figure out a way to fix the country, no zombies… just a man and his son trying to survive. That said, it’s still a very layered and interesting plot. Sure, the basic premise is very simple, but there’s still a lot of suspense and drama throughout the runtime that makes for an absolutely enthralling plot.

The characters in this movie are flawed, damaged, and really interesting. Viggo Mortensen is fantastic as the father, playing him as this stubborn and suspecting man that is very protective of his son. Kodi Smit-McPhee was great as the son, perfectly playing this vulnerable, curious, and kind of naïve little boy. We also get Charlize Theron in a bunch of flashbacks throughout the movie, and she is great in those scenes. Also, don’t be fooled by the big name actors whose names appear on the posters, they all appear in the movie very briefly. Sure, they all do a great job in the movie, but none of them are in it particularly long. That said, it was pretty cool seeing people like Robert Duvall, Garret Dillahunt, Guy Pearce, and Michael Kenneth Williams in here.

The score for the movie was composed by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis and fuck me, it is fantastic! There was never any doubt about to be honest, but it’s always fun to be right. It’s dramatic, haunting, emotional, tense, and just overall very well composed. It really fit this movie perfectly.

This movie was directed by John Hillcoat and I think that he did a great job with it. His directing is deliberately slow-paced and perfectly captures the feeling of the source material. That’s right, for those that didn’t already know… this is an adaptation of a book. It’s based on “The Road” (surprising, I know), which was written by American author Cormac McCarthy. And as someone that has read the book, I can safely say that the world I got in my head when reading the book got perfectly translated to the screen. The directing, cinematography, the feeling of unease… all of those things are present in this movie. I also want to mention that there is some slightly disturbing imagery in this movie… just so you know.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 75% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 64/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“The Road” is not only a great adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel, but it’s also an overall terrific movie. It features a great plot, good characters, great performances, fantastic music, great directing, and great cinematography. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “The Road” is a 9,88/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
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My review of “The Road” is now completed.

Yep, this movie is as depressing as the book… greeeaaat.

 

Movie Review: The King’s Speech (2010)

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No one is perfect. Not you, not me, not even royalty. Everyone got some flaw about them. I for one am a loud guy who laughs at his own terrible puns. And a lot of times thes imperfections can be very embarrassing. Today we are taking a look at a movie about a man with such an imperfection… only on a bigger scale.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The King’s Speech”.

This movie is about King George VI (Colin Firth). Well to be more precise the movie is for the most part set before he became George. He is supposed to be able to give these great speeches to the people, problem is he has a stammer. He tries everything to get better, but nothing works. Then one day his wife (Helena Bonham Carter) gets a tip about a rathe unconventional speech therapist named Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). So George starts going to Lionel to get better and try to get rid of his stammer. And so begins a long and different friendship. I have to admit, the story is a bit predictable. However, it is presented in such a way where you don’t mind it. The story is both well-written and interesting with a good dose of emotion in it. You want to see this guy succeed in giving a good speech because of how great the story is presented.

The characters are well-written, realsitic and superbly acted. Colin Firth gives the performance of a lifetime. There are so many little nuances in his body language when he plays this troubled man. And of course Geoffrey Rush is great too, I mean… he’s Geoffret frickin’ Rush. But I did enjoy all the people in the movie as they were all really well-written and really well acted.

The score for the movie was done by the amazing Alexandre Desplat. What I like about the score in this movie is that it doesn’t need to be overly dramatic and bombastic but rather is pretty quiet with mainly strings and piano being used to create this beautiful score. Sure, there are a few other instruments throughout, but the score mainly consists of strings and piano. And I love it!

Director Tom Hooper did an excellent job directing this movie with a lot of professional work behind the camera. The movie looks really good even though some people might complain that it is rather dark in visuals (Sidenote: I’m not such a person, but I acknowledge that some people will). What I also really liked anout this movie was one scene… it was fantastic. While I am not gonna spoil here what it is I can mention that it is from one of George’s and Lionel’s sessions. Those of you who have seen the movie might know what the hell I am talking about!

This movie was incredibly well-received by audiences and critics alike. On Rotten Tomatoes it got a 94% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 88/100. Roger Ebert really seemed to like the movie as he gave it 4/4 stars. And of course finally on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10 and is ranked #220 on the “Top 250” list. The movie also won 4 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best Actor (Firth), Best Director and Best original screenplay. The movie as also nominated for an additional 4 Oscars in the categories of Best supporting Actor (Rush), Best Supporting Actress (Carter), Best cinematography and Best Film Editing. 

“The King’s Speech”, while predictable has a terrific and emotional story with great peformances, a great score, great camera work/cinematography. Time for my final score. My final score for “The King’s Speech” is a 9,81/10 and of course gets the one and only “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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Review of “The King’s Speech” is now done.

Question of the day, do you know or have known anyone with a stammer?