12 Films of Christmas 2019 (Part 3)

Good evening, ladies and gents. Christmas is almost upon us, and we are counting down towards that. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to read today’s post and hopefully tolerate the contrivance I give for choosing to talk about this movie today. This message would self destruct in five seconds, but we couldn’t figure out how to burn out your device, so when you’re done, just exit the post really abruptly like it’s destroying itself.

“Mission Impossible: Fallout”. The sixth entry in the film franchise based on the old tv show, was written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie, and once again starring stunt-performing madman Tom Cruise as he and his team has to stop some nuclear devices from being unleashed upon the world. It was released in the summer of 2018, to critical and commercial acclaim. You all probably think that I’m using the same excuse as with “Sunshine” yesterday, where it’s all about “If the world isn’t saved, then there’ll be no more christmas”. And you’d be partially right… but I’m not just rehashing old explanations/contrivances. I got something new too.

In this movie, Tom Cruise has to go across the world to stop this nuclear threat from an evil shadow organization. So it’s a globetrotting adventure. And at a point in the movie, we also see good ol’ Tommy boy run across some rooftops. So he sprints across rooftops, while traveling the world. You know who else does that? Santa Claus. Or should I say… SANTA CRUISE!?

So there, Tom Cruise, much like Santa Claus, hops around rooftops all over the world. And even if we discount this clear holiday implication, “Mission Impossible: Fallout” is still an absolutely fantastic action movie that, in my opinion, gets better with every watch. Great chases, great fights, some great shooty-bang-bang, some great acting… it’s just great.

Have a good one.

Movie Review: Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018)

I know, I know, you’re probably sick of me talking about “Mission Impossible” at this point after all the previous reviews. But like I promised you in my “Rogue Nation” review, that would be my last “Mission Impossible” post until “Fallout” came out. And now it’s out. And after this post, no more “Mission Impossible” stuff… unless they come out with a new one, but we’ll cross that bridge if and when we get to it. So let’s go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mission Impossible: Fallout”!

When a group of terrorists get hold of some items that could cause a nuclear holocaust, it’s up to Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team to find these items and stop the terrorists. Right, there are elements of this plot that certainly are recycled from other movies, but they’re all mixed together in such a way that it feels fresh and interesting. What I also like is that the plot doesn’t really hold your hand, it respects its audience enough to not spoonfeed them everything, trusting us to pay attention to what’s going on. Combine that with the usual “MI” twists and turns, genuinely engaging drama, as well as some real suspense, and you get what could be the best and most intriguing plot in the franchise so far.

The characters in this are layered, unique, and quite interesting. After all the previous reviews, I don’t need to go into Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, I already did in my previous reviews, and not much has changed in that regard, but I don’t mind since Ethan is such a well realized action protagonist. And yes, Cruise is still great in the role. Same with Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg. Rebecca Ferguson reprises her role from the previous movie, and she’s still great. Same with Alec Baldwin and Sean Harris. So let’s talk about the newbie that is Henry Cavill as August Walker, a CIA agent who’s been tasked to help Ethan and the gang out with this operation. He’s an intense bruiser who is constantly at odds with Ethan and his ways, which creates an interesting character dynamic. And Cavill is great in the role. Then we get supporting performances from people like Vanessa Kirby, Angela Bassett, Kristoffer Joner, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles. Sorry if I’m being a bit vague with this, but I do it to either not repeat stuff from previous reviews or to not spoil some character stuff that’s better left experienced.

The score for the movie was composed by Lorne Balfe, and I think the score here is great. It really does help improve on an already well crafted movie by adding to the intensity or overall fun-factor of a scene. Not much else I can say, it’s a badass orchestral score that works very well for the movie.

Returning as director we have Christopher McQuarrie. That’s right, first “Mission Impossible” movie where the director hasn’t been switched out. And I’m glad, because McQuarrie is one of the best action directors working today. I loved his work on “Rogue Nation”, and also really liked his work on “Jack Reacher”, so I was actually happy to see him return for “Fallout”. And he fucking outdid himself here, giving us fast-paced, suspenseful, and badass direction. Both in the quieter scenes and the action. And yes, the action is spectacular. From fights, to shootouts, to chases, to insane Tom Cruise stunts, this movie has all the action… and all of it is amazing. Not only because we know it’s Tom Cruise actually doing stunts, but because of how visible it is. Not shaky shit here, this is sleek and brutal action that is shown beautifully through McQuarrie’s direction and Rob Hardy’s cinematography.

This movie came out fairly recently, but it’s been very well received so far. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 97% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 86/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,3/10 and is ranked #133 on the “Top 250” list.

“Mission Impossible: Fallout” is an action lover’s wet dream and it’s absolutely my favorite of the franchise. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and fantastic directing/action/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mission Impossible: Fallout” is a 9,90/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Mission Impossible: Fallout” is now completed.

This is how you do action.

Movie Review: Justice League (2017)

Cinematic universes. Something every studio is trying to pull off after Marvel’s success with it. Most notably we’ve had DC/Warner Bros trying to catch up with their own DC Extended Universe. And it’s been a bit hit and miss for critics and general audiences alike. So let’s see if their big team-up movie is any good.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Justice League”.

When our world is threatened by the evil alien Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds), Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) have to create a team of superpowered individuals to try to stop this dangerous new enemy. And that’s really all this is about. Okay, there’s a bit more to it, but I prefer to keep plot details relatively vague. Now is this a good plot? For the most part I’d say so. It’s a very straight-forward plot compared to some of the earlier outings in this franchise. I think my only problem with it is that it feels a bit choppy during the first act, like it’s been cut down to fit in a two hour runtime (which it most likely has). But that choppy start aside, this is a fun, fast-paced, and highly enjoyable comic book adventure plot.

The characters in this vary a bit in their depth, but I found most of them to at least be quite enjoyable. Ben Affleck reprises his role as Batman/Bruce Wayne, and we can tell that he has changed a bit since “BvS”. After what happened at the end of that movie, he has become a somewhat more light-hearted, less homicidal hero. And I liked seeing him as he worked to getting the team together to stop the end of the world. And Affleck is once again great in the role. Next we once again have Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. She’s once again a fiercely inspiring, fun, and warm character that I’d follow to hell and back. Seeing her working to get the team together and all that is really interesting, and she’s once again a really cool character. And Gadot is once again great in the role. Next up we have Ezra Miller as Barry Allen/The Flash. He gets some decent character development, but for the most part he’s there to be the comic relief, and he works really well for that while still getting some badass moments. And I thought Miller was great in the role. Next we have Ray Fisher as Cyborg, the genius, yet damaged mechanical member of the gang. He gets a decent amount of character development here and I thought he was a really cool character. And Fisher was really good in the role. Next we have Jason Momoa as Aquaman, the half man/half Atlantean warrior. He is very much a superpowered version of Jason Momoa, and I think it kind of works because I find that persona quite enjoyable. So yeah, Momoa was really good in the role. Henry Cavill returns as Superman, and the little we see of him here is my favorite appearance of the character in this franchise. And Cavill was really good in the role. Now, let’s talk Steppenwolf (no, not the band). As a villain he’s… fine, I guess. He’s a big CGI monster with some lines hinting at some deeper stuff, but ultimately ends up becoming kind of generic. Thought Ciarán Hinds did a really good job voicing him though, suitably menacing. We also get supporting performances from people like Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Billy Crudup, Connie Nielsen, J.K. Simmons, Amber Heard, Joe Morton, and more… all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Danny Elfman, and it was pretty good. Nothing special, heroic big brass tunes with some strings thrown in for added effect. It’s far from bad, and the various tracks work well within their respective scenes. And for those wondering about that “Danny Elfman to use Batman and Superman themes in the score”, it does occur, but it’s more snuck in rather than just overtly used as their own tracks… and I think it works surprisingly well.

The movie was directed by Zack Snyder… and Joss Whedon. As most people probably know, this movie had a very troubled production, with Snyder having to leave the project due to a personal tragedy, so Joss Whedon had to come in and do some reshoots. These things considered, the direction here is quite consistent. When a new director comes in to do reshoots, it could feel like a different movie in parts, but it’s remarkable how consistent it feels here. So is the direction in general any good? Yeah. It’s good, it flows pretty nicely, there’s some good shots here. And the action I quite liked. Now, it didn’t leave the same impact as the action in “Wonder Woman”, but it was easy to follow and I had quite a lot of fun with it. What I liked most about it was seeing the various heroes show off their abilities, with The Flash and his speedforce being the standout. And the visual effects here are for the most part damn good. Some things look a little off at times, from some backgrounds, to closeups of Steppenwolf (BORN TO BE WIIIIIILD!), to even Cyborg at times. But like I said, for the most part the effects look great (again, The Flash having some of the best ones).

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 40% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 45/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

Despite a few flaws (that probably stem from production issues), I had a lot of fun with “Justice League”. It has a good plot, good characters, good music, and good directing/action/visual effects/humor. As previously mentioned, the plot is a bit choppy at the start, the villain is a bit bland, and the effects could be less than stellar at times. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Justice League” is an 8,52/10. So while flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Justice League” is now completed.

Come Together…

Movie Review: The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)

Remakes and reboots. Attempting to make such a thing of a beloved movie/show is qutie a gambit. Often they are hated by people because people don’t like things changing. Reboots and remakes will happen, we have to accept that. That said, you can still silently curse the people making them.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”!

Welcome to the 1960s. American CIA agent Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) and Soviet KGB agent Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer) are forced to team up to stop a mysterious and villainous organization from proliferating nuclear weapons. So now we have our cold war spy plot. The idea in itself works fine, problem is that this plot in itself is executed pretty mediocrely. I was never really invested in the plot. Look, I don’t need a spy-action movie to have a deep and symbolic plot, but if it aims to have a plot, then maybe try to make it engaging on some level. And I never felt fully engaged here. Overall it is an entertaining and well paced journey that I would just call… fine.

What this movie lacks in plot, it makes up for in characters. The characters in this movie are pretty interesting and really entertaining. Napoleon Solo as a character is supposed to be this lovable rogue with a snarky attitude and tons of charm, and Henry Cavill portrays these things very well. Basically he’s James Bond if James Bond was American and more likable. Illya Kuryakin is the more serious of the two, he’s a big dude with a twitch and a fairly serious attitude. And while his accent can be a little on and off at times, I think Armie Hammer overall worked really well in the role. I also have to mention that these two main guys work very well together, they got great chemistry. Alicia Vikander plays a woman that our two heroes work with to find and stop the bad guys, and she was really good in the role. Elizabeth Debicki plays the villain of the movie and she’s good in the role. Yeah, this movie is filled with good/entertaining performances.

The score for the movie was composed by Daniel Pemberton and it was quite good. It was energetic, fun, exciting, and just overall worked very well for the movie. It even includes the classic “Guy Ritchie movie flute” as I call it. I first heard it making a very notable appearance in the score/soundtrack from “Snatch”. And it made a very triumphant return in this movie. Not complaining, just thought it would be worth pointing out. Ritchie seems to love his crazy flute.

As you probably understood from the previous paragraph, this movie was directed by Guy Ritchie, and I think he did a good job here. Like with most of his movies, he brings a lot of energy which makes scenes a lot more fun and interesting to watch. And the action scenes in this movie, they’re good. Not great, but definitely entertaining. There’s of course also a good amount of humor in this movie, and I thought it was funny… for the most part. There was one or two jokes that didn’t really entertain me here, but for the most part I thought the comedy in this movie was funny.

This movie has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 67% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 56/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” is a really fun spy-action-comedy movie. It has an okay plot, good characters, really good performances, great music, really good directing, and good comedy. The only thing that brings it down was the plot not being that great. Time for my final score. *Bang*. My final score for “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” is an 8,88/10. While flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” is now completed.

This was fun.

Movie Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

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In the world of movies, there is a common trend of setting up cinematic universes that cross over several different films. Most noticeably we have Marvel who, let’s face it, fucking nailed it with their cinematic universe. Well, let’s see how DC handles the start of their universe with this thing.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”!

So after the events in “Man of of Steel”, Superman (Henry Cavill) is in a lot of hot water. Is he a hero, is he a dangerous alien, is he good, is he bad? These questions are constantly asked by people. Well after all of that trouble, the eyes of one Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) are on Superman. So Wayne decides to suit up again to try to stop Superman, while Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) hatches his very convoluted plot in the background. Meanwhile, we also have Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) being up to her own little thing too in the middle of all of this. Also, the plot of this movie is trying to set up the rest of the Justice League and WHY ARE THERE SO MANY THINGS GOING ON!? *Deep breath*. Okay, this isn’t a good sign. There is a bit too much stuff going on for me to fully enjoy the plot. The Batman going after Superman stuff, that’s good. Lex Luthor’s plan, very convoluted and actually kinda dumb. The plot of this movie is a fucking mess! Did I enjoy it? I guess. But it’s so messy, I can’t appreciate it. Too much stuff going on in this movie.

Okay, the plot is a mess. But how are the characters? Well, they’re not bad. Henry Cavill plays Superman, just like in “Man of Steel”. And he’s not bad. A bit too brooding and dark for the character, but his performance overall is pretty good. Amy Adams returns as Lois Lane and she was really good. Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman… absolutely fantastic. I cared about Bruce Wayne, I cared about Batman, Affleck perfectly captured the feel of the character. Sure, he kills people and I don’t know why, but overall his performance is fantastic. Jeremy Irons as Alfred, he’s great. Then we also have Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor… oh boy. I don’t know what to say. There were parts where he was somewhat interesting and he did a decent job, but most of the time he was twitchy and eccentric and crazy and not Lex Luthor. And finally, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. While her character was very tacked on, she was still very awesome. Seriously, her performance was good and her action-based entrance is so amazingly badass. So the acting overall in this movie is good and I find the characters interesting and entertaining.

The original score was composed by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL and it’s fine. Not great, but fine. It’s not a soundtrack that I’m gonna go out of my way to listen to. But it worked for the movie and it sounds overall fine. Not bad, not great.

This movie was directed by Zack Snyder and let’s face it, he has trouble balancing story… but holy shit, this movie looks amazing! The visuals are terrific, I could look at shots from this movie all day and be happy with that. And that is something Zack Snyder does well, he knows how to make a really good looking movie. It’s a wonderfully directed movie. The action scenes are brilliantly handled. Sure, a lot of them are very big and bloated, but I can also say that they were a lot of fun. Out of all the action scenes in the movie, my favorite might be the warehouse scene that everybody knows about. Seriously, it’s like something right out of one of the “Arkham” games. And the main one between Bats and Supes… it’s good. It’s brutal, it’s badass, and it’s only like 8 minutes long. In a 2,5 hour movie, you’d think that the scene the movie is named after would be a bit longer. But what you see in it is pretty great. The reason why they stop fighting, pretty bullshit… but the fight before that end is really good. There are a ton of CGI in this movie, and at one point I felt like there might’ve been a little too much, but I guess that’s jsut what I have to handle when they decide to put *SPOILER* in the movie even though it made little to no sense. At least the visual effects in the movie are very well done.
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This movie has not been too well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 27% positive rating (ouch). On Metacritic it has a score of 44/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is a really mixeed bag for me. The plot is convoluted and filled with too many things and Jesse Eisenberg is a little too over-the-top as Lex Luthor. But then we also have a whole bunch of other great performances/characters, pretty good music, beautiful camera work, and terrific action scenes. Time for my final score. Tell me… do you review? You will. My final score for “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is a 7,03/10. While not as great as one could hope for, it’s still worth a rental.
Rent it

My review of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is now completed.

Hey, at least Batfleck proved all the naysayers wrong!