Movie Review: Live by Night (2016)

I’m gonna be very frank with y’all: I love Dennis Lehane’s “Live by Night”, it’s a fantastic book. So I was both skeptical and excited when I found out that Ben Affleck was directing a movie adaptation of it. Then the trailer was released and it was great, but I still held back any hype because of my love for the source material. Then the reviews started coming out and they were not merciful. So my reservations weren’t exactly lightened by that. And here we are… let’s see if the critics are right.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Live by Night”.

1920s Boston. As the son of a popular and beloved police chief, Joe Coughlin (Ben Affleck) has had a lot to live up to. However, Joe has found himself operating on the other side of the law. So we follow him as he rises from petty robbery to taking on the rum trade in Tampa, Florida. We also see him as he struggles with this life, trying to balance running his business with taking on competitors and other factions who want to do him harm. So now we have our gangster story. And the basic setup is interesting enough, with a few parts in the story giving us some pretty good drama and suspense. But for the most part this plot lacks a lot of the nuance needed to make it great. Especially during the middle when it starts meandering quite a bit. And while I shouldn’t compare this to the book, I do have to mention that the plot here in the movie lacks some of the flair and nuance that it had. So overall the plot here is… fine.

The characters in this are for the most part pretty interesting. While not a physical match to Joe, Ben Affleck is great in the role. He’s a smart, even-tempered, and interesting individual, and Affleck does give a great performance. Chris Messina plays Joe’s friend/partner in crime Dion Bartolo, and he’s a fun and cool guy that I thought was prety interesting. And Messina is great in the role. Sienna Miller plays Emma Gould, a woman that Joe gets involved with, and while her Irish accent if a bit off, her overall performance is pretty good. Chris Cooper plays Irving Figgis, a police chief that Joe has some interactions with throughout the movie. And Cooper is great in the role, getting some of the best dramatic moments in the movie. Elle Fanning plays Cooper’s daugher, Loretta, and she’s great in the role. Brendan Gleeson shows up for a bit in the movie, playing Joe’s father Thomas. And he’s really good in the role. Robert Glenister plays gangster Albert White, and he’s great in the role, giving quite a menacing performance. We also have Zoe Saldana as Graciela Suarez, a Cuban woman that Joe gets involved with down in Tampa, and she’s really good in the movie. Shit, this movie’s filled with solid performances.

The score for the movie was composed by Harry Gregson-Williams and it was really good. It really doesn’t do anything unique, and isn’t overall something I’d find myself listening to at any time in the future. But it is overall dramatic, tense, and well composed, fitting the movie very well.

This movie was written and directed by Batman, I mean Ben Affleck. And I think he did a really good job with it. He manages to bring tension and a lot of flair to it which I really enjoyed. And the action scenes in this movie are tense, exciting, and just overall great. I also feel like I have to mention Robert Richardson’s cinematography, holy fuck it is gorgeous. Really, this movie is a visual treat. From a purely technical standpoint this movie is quite great… it’s a few other factors that slightly brings it down (you read them earlier).

This movie hasn’t been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 34% (ouch) positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 49/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,4/10.

“Live by Night” is a bit of a disappointment, but it’s still a competently put together gangster flick. It has an okay plot, pretty good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. But it (like I made clear) has some flaws. the plot gets quite meander-y near the second act, and with the plot overall feeling slightly dull. Also, Sienna Miller’s distractingly off Irish accent bugged me. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Live by Night” is an 8,21/10. So while it is quite flawed, I’d say that it’s worth a rental.

My review of “Live by Night” is now completed.

The movie kept the book’s best dialog exchange at least… kudos for that.

Movie Review: The Equalizer (2014)

An action movie starring Denzel? Where do I sign?

Ladies and gents… “The Equalizer”.

Robert McCall (Denzel Washington) is a man with a dark and mysterious past that he has put behind himself. When we meet him he lives a quiet and happy life working at a hardware store. However, when a local girl (Chloë Grace Moretz) gets the shit beaten out of her by some Russian gangsters, McCall gets back into action to try to stop the assholes. And now we have a tale of an older man kicking the asses of bad dudes because of a young girl and holy shit, this is “Taken”. Okay fine, it’s not exactly like “Taken”, but you can’t deny the similarities. With that said, the plot here is not great. It’s not bad, but it’s also not the most compelling or interesting. There’s also a bunch of side stories to it. You have the main one which is McCall in trouble with the Russians, but then you also have various side plots featuring him helping people out. Combine all these side things with a main plot that is really average and you get a little bit of a mess. Again, not bad. It’s just… fine.

The characters in this movie are all pretty entertaining and surprisingly interesting. Robert McCall is a character that we don’t know a lot about in the movie, but he’s still interesting. You can tell that those eyes have seen some shit. And Denzel Washington is awesome in the role,but you knew that already… IT’S DENZEL! Chloë Grace Moretz isn’t in the movie for too long, but she does give a really good performance as this young and troubled woman. Marton Csokas (How the fuck do you pronounce his last name, send help) plays the main bad guy of the movie and this is a character that you can tell knows what the hell he’s doing. And Csokas (seriously, help) is great in the role even though he always seems like he’s two seconds away from letting out an evil cackle. David Harbour plays one of Csokas’ (please) helpers/allies, and he’s really good. We also get Haley Bennett as a prostitute and she gives a really good performance. Overall it’s a very well acted movie.

The score was composed by Harry Gregson-Williams and it was really good. It was dramatic, tense, exciting, and overall fit the movie very well. There were also a bunch of licensed tracks troughout the movie and they were used very well too.

This movie was directed by Antoine Fuqua and I think he did a really good job. Overall it is a really good looking movie that perfectly captures the uneasy and grimy feel of Boston’s underworld. And the action scenes in the movie are quite fun. What I especially like about them is that McCall doesn’t just a grab a gun and start some simple shooty-bang-bang against the bad guys, but he more often than not will figure out some creative/brutal way to dispatch of the assholes. He’s basically a more violent version of Kevin McCallister from “Home Alone”. By the way, the brutal thing I mentioned isn’t just a simple “oh, there’s a little bit of violence here”, oh no. This movie is really violent, which means there’s a good amount of blood being spilled in this movie. Just saying that if anyone out there is really squeamish. Me on the other hand… yeah, I had fun.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 60% postive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 57/10. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“The Equalizer” is a flawed but still really solid action-thriller. It has an okay plot, pretty good characters, great performances, great music, and really good directing. My main problem with the movie stems from the plot thing I mentioned earlier in the review. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “The Equalizer” is an 8,99/10. So even though it’s flawed I’d say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “The Equalizer” is now completed.

Based on an old TV-show… okay.

We now have a trailer for “Live by Night”

Hello there, ladies and gentlemen of the internet. I am back once again to talk about a trailer. I know, it happens quite a bit nowadays, but that’s just because so many interesting trailers are coming out. So let’s talk about this one.

As the title of this post tells you, we now have a trailer for “Live by Night”, a movie based on the novel of the same name written by Dennis Lehane. Now, before we get into what this movie is about, let me tell you my specific reasons as to why I decided to talk about this one today. First off, it is a pretty cool trailer. And secondly, it’s based on a book that I have read and absolutely love. Also, that book was written by my favorite author, so I’m of course instantly interested. So I guess you could say that this is a pretty personal thing for me. Now, with all that said… what is this about. “Live by Night” is about Joe Coughlin (Ben Affleck), a man who gets into some shit with mobsters and then himself starts truly becoming one. And that’s as vague as I’m gonna keep it, because the story that plays out is pretty phenomenal… in the book at least. Now, do I think this movie looks good? Yes! Ben Affleck is a great actor and director, so I am glad that he’s the one handling this movie. This looks intense, badass, dramatic, and overall good. I would also say that the cast looks pretty great. Though it is kind of weird to have Scott Eastwood as Danny Coughlin, the older brother of Joe Coughlin who’s played by Ben Affleck, who’s about 14 years older than Eastwood. Oh well, whatever. I’m not gonna lie to you guys, I am really excited about this movie. Ben Affleck did a great job directing “Gone Baby Gone”, which was also based on a Dennis Lehane novel. And he’s become better and better as both a director and an actor, so I don’t think I have much to worry about. “Live by Night” is set for a limited US release in December, and then a wide release in January.

So what are you thoughts? Are you looking forward to Ben Affleck’s “Live by Night”? And are you a fan of the original novel? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer!

Movie Review: The Martian (2015)

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With the amount of sci-fi movies being released every year, there aren’t always that many that stay more grounded and realistic. Sure, sci-fi/action movies are great, but sometimes you need something more realistic to balance everything out. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen, this man is… “The Martian”.

Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is an astronaut/botanist. And as we meet him, he wakes up on Mars after his team left him during a storm. So now he have to try to survive all alone, using only his wits and his smarts and a very limited supply of resources. All this while the people over at NASA try to find a way to get him back. And based on the plot there is only one conclusion that we all can draw; this is “Apollo 13” meets “Cast Away”. And I’m not the only one who have said this, a lot of people have come to the same conclusion. Now here is the important question: Is the plot of “The Martian” any good? Yeah… it is. First off, you care for this guy so much and you really want him to make it back home. Secondly, it is just intriguing to see what he will do next to try to survive on this big-ass desert. And the side-plot on planet earth with NASA trying to get him back is really good as well, surprisingly so. All of it was in fact really good.

The character of Mark Watney is one of the most likable bastards I have ever gotten to know in a movie. Most people in this type of situation would be sad, down and all like “I’m gonna die!”. So instead of Watney being like that, he is one of the most optimistic people ever. And Matt Damon gives a fantastic performance as this man stuck on Mars. Chiwetel Ejiofor plays the man who’s pretty much in charge on earth with the hole “Get him back” plot, and he is pretty damn great in the role. And the people who were part of Watney’s team who we get to know are all great too. Also, Jeff Daniels, how great it is to see you in a great role! Then we have a bunch of other actors as well and they are all great in their respective roles.

The original score of “The Martian” was composed by Harry Gregson-Williams who I personally am a big fan of. And once again he delivered a great original score. A lot of it is typical sci-fi stuff, but it’s at the same time big, emotional and surprisingly thought-provoking. And all those tracks were used very well. There were also a good amount of licensed tracks in the movie and they all fit well into the spots where they were used. I was especially happy when they used “Starman” by David Bowie because not only do I think it’s a great song, but it also worked for the tone of this movie.

This movie was directed by Ridley Scott and that was one of the things I really had high hopes for going into this movie. Because even if the movies he makes aren’t that great, they are all very well directed. And “The Martian” is not exception, it is a terrifically directed movie with some beautiful and steady shots. And the visual effects are all fantastic, all of them looking very real. What I was surprised by however was that this movie was pretty hilarious with a lot of great jokes in there. Now don’t get me wrong, this movie isn’t all shits and giggles, because there this is generally speaking a very serious movie. For example: early on in the movie we get to see Matt Damon pulling some shrapnel out of himself without any anesthesia and also fix the wound… that is pure suspense and drama and it’s one of the reasons why this movie is as good as it is.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 80/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10 and is ranked #169 on the “Top 250” list.

“The Martian” is a sci-fi movie with a great plot, great hcaracters & acting, a fantastic soundtrack, great directing, great suspense and some surprisingly good comedy. Time for my final score. SPAAAAACE! My final score for “The Martian” is a 9,84/10. It most definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “The Martian” is now completed.

I’m gonna have to science the shit out of this

My Favorite Scenes: Gone Baby Gone – Opening Monologue

Guten abend, good evening, buonasera, buenas tardes, god kväll everyone! What? You mean you have never tried on more linguistic approaches to your posts? Fuck it, anyway, welcome back to “My Favorite Scenes” where I share my favorite scenes in movies/TV. Today we are taking a look at the opening scene from the movie that made us go “Woaw… Ben Affleck CAN make a good movie”. In this scene we get several gorgeous shots of a suburban area in Boston in combination with a beautiful piece of music by Harry Gregson-Williams. We also get a fantastic and beautiful monologue about life and family from Casey Affleck. I love this scene and it was a great set up for a great movie.
Enjoy!

Movie Review: Gone Baby Gone (2007)

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Stories of disappearances and kidnappings are things that I absolutely hate hearing about, but unfortunately they will always find a way to surface. Sure, there are cases where the missing people have been found and everything is happy-go-lucky again and that is always great to hear. But then unfortunately we have the stories of those who are never found or when they are found they are dead. And with that depressing start, let’s talk about a movie!

Guys and gals… “Gone Baby Gone”.

“Gone Baby Gone” is based on the novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane and is about private detectives Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan). One day they get hired by the McCreadys (Amy Ryan, Amy Madigan, Titus Welliver) to find their missing/abducted daughter/niece. But as this is based on a Dennis Lehane novel you can of course the plot to go a lot deeper than that with a lot of complexity and twists. And the movie follows on with that splendidly! Whenever there was a twist in this movie, it worked and i never saw them coming. The plot was also really well done and well presented. It is also pretty realistic and very grounded for a Hollywood thriller.

The characters all felt real, I felt like this is a person I could probably meet in the real world. The writing feels very real and not at all cheesy or silly. I am also happy to say that the performances in this movie are phenomenal! Casey Affleck was perfect as this troubled and almost broken young man. Monaghan was also terrific. And I don’t think I have to mention Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris and how great they were because… they are Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris. All the performances in this movie were fantastic and it really helped elevate the already great story.

The score by Harry Gregson-Williams was fantastic. Not only because I have been a fan of him for a long time, but also because it was legitimately great. For the most part the score was based around piano and a little bit of stringed intruments (Mainly violin). It helped build a lot of atmosphere, suspense and beauty in every scene. There were also a few licensed tracks used throughout, but they only helped in some way whenever they were used. So overall, the music in this movie was great.

This movie is directed by Ben Affleck and I have to say, I am having a really fucking hard time believing this is his feature film debut. It is so professionally directed and shot that you think he has made a bunch of movies before. But this is only his first (Holy shit). Also, a small (and unnecessary) thing I have picked up is that this is one of two movies Affleck has been involved with that has the word “Gone” in the title (The other being “Gone Girl”). Don’t know why I picked up on that, I just did. Like I said, this movie is based on the Dennis Lehane novel. The funny thing is that I own the book… but I haven’t read it yet. And that is a bit of a shame because I am a fan of Lehane and his work. This is also one of four movies (that I know of) that currently exists based on Lehane novels. The other ones are “Mystic River”, “Shutter Island” and “The Drop”. So far he got some pretty fucking great adaptations.

This movie was pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. Roger Ebert really seemed to like this movie as he gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10. The movie was also nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best Supporting Actress (Amy Ryan).

“Gone Baby Gone” is a complex, well written, superbly acted, reall well directed movie with a terrific score. Time for my final score. *Clears throat* My final score for “Gone Baby Gone” is a 9,77/10 which of course gives it the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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I have now reviewed “Gone Baby Gone”.

Markus, where are my socks? Gone, baby… Gone.

Movie Review: The Rock (1996)

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Michael Bay is one of those few directors that I don’t know what to say about. On one hand he made some decent movies like “Armageddon” and even the first “Transformers” movie. But on the other hand we have the “Transformers” sequels and “Pain & Gain”. His track record for me is something that have split me when it comes to my opinion on the guy. So now I am checking out one of his more well-received and popular ones. Yeah, people actually seemed to like this. But what does this guy think? Do I like it? Well I’m not telling you, you’re gonna have to read.

Men and women… “The Rock”.

“The Rock” is about an angry (and possibly crazy) marine general by the name of Francis X. Hummel (Ed Harris). He has with the help of a rogue squad of military men taken over Alcatraz island and imprisoned the tourists there. He also threatens to send a bunch of missiles filled with incredibly lethal gas towards San Francisco unless he and his troops get 100 million dollars. Of course you would want to take care of that situation if you were part of the FBI, right? But how would you do it? Well in the movie they decide to use a chemical weapons specialist (Nicolas Cage) and a 60-year old ex-con (Sean Connery) together with a team of people to take care of the situation. Why an ex-con? Because at one point he apparently escaped Alcatraz. To be honest… this plot is genius. It is simple in what it is but adds a few more details to it. Let me show you. Basic: Man takes over Alcatraz and threatents to send missiles on San Francisco if he doesn’t get money. Team of people have to stop him. Then they add some more layers to it with for example the fact that the missiles contain lethal gas and that one of the team members once escaped Alcatraz. I find it genius… even though there isn’t too much brain to be found here. I liked it though.

The characters are all interesting in one way or another. Our chemical weapons expert is played by Nicolas Cage, so you know he might act a little nuts every now and then. But by far the most interesting one is John Mason (Connery). Like I said before, ex-con, but he also has some of the best lines in the entire movie. He is also a badass who does badass stuff. Yeah. Overall the characters in the movie are all great and all actors did a great job.

The music was done by several composers. The main ones were Nick Glennie-Smith (Home Alone 3, Lion King 2), Hans Zimmer (Inception, Batman Begins) and Harry Gregson-Williams (Metal Gear Solid 2, 3, 4). The soundtrack consists of epic orchestra and some guitar (yeah!). It really works for the movie and fits perfectly. There was also a little help from Don Harper (Twister) and Steven Stern (The Asassination of Richard Nixon).

The action in this movie is fucking awesome! Yes, a Michael Bay movie with awesome and actually visible action! It does exist! It was fun to watch and the good thing is that there is plenty of it in this movie. The camera work overall was really good. Remember, this was before shaky-cam really existed. Also on a sidenote, this is the second review I’ve done this month featuring “The Rock” (A.K.A Alcatraz, also roll credits).

Like I said in the beginning of the review, this movie was well-received. Might even be Michael Bay’s best received movie. Anyway, time to look at the scores from different sites. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a score of 66%. On Metacritic it has a 59/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars in his review. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10. The movie was also nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best sound.

“The Rock” is a cool, slick and visceral action movie with good acting, good music, a good story and some great action. Time for my final score. My final score for “The Rock” is a 9,73/10 which as you may know gives it the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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Review of “The Rock” is now completed.

Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and fuck the prom queen.