Movie Review: Man on a Ledge (2012)

I am not very fond of heights. Sure, it could lead to a pretty awesome view or two, but overall I don’t see the purpose of being high up. Especially if shit gets fucked and you fall off that height. Just increases the chance of your death. So I’m gonna stay on the ground, thank you very much.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Man on a Ledge”.

Nick Cassidy (Sam Worthington) is a man on a ledge (hehe). And as people gather to witness this man’s apparent suicide attempt, police psychologist Lydia Mercer (Elizabeth Banks) gets brought in to try to talk him down. All while a heist is happening in the building across the street. So now we have our plot. And I’m just gonna say it, the idea behind this movie is actually really good. However the execution on the other hand is not that great. While not the worst execution of a plot ever, it is still really bland and convoluted, not making a lot of sense. It also lacks the tension that so clearly could be achieved from this premise. And the twists throughout are… not great. They often add to the convoluted aspect of the plot that I mentioned earlier, not making too much sense. So overall the plot is… meh.

The characters here are meh… there’s no other way to put it. None of them are particularly interesting. At least I didn’t want to hit them for sucking (so that’s something). Sam Worthington as an actor is the very definition of hit and miss… more often miss than hit. But to give credit where it’s due, his performance here isn’t bad, it’s fine. One of the better performances I’ve seen from him. Elizabeth Banks plays the police psychologist brought in to talk Worthington off the ledge (presumably through the window, rather than off the ledge towards the street). And she’s fine in the role. Jamie Bell plays Worthington’s brother, and he was fine in the role. Genesis Rodriguez plays Jamie Bell’s girlfriend in this and she isn’t very good in the role. Sure, the material she’s given isn’t great, but her delivery isn’t very good either. Edward Burns plays a cop who is on this case, and he’s fine in the role. Anthony Mackie plays a cop who also happens to be an old friend of Worthington’s, and he’s good in the role. Titus Welliver plays another cop who’s a douchebag, and he’s fine in the role. We also get Ed Harris as a businessman that is important to the plot, and while he isn’t in the movie too much, he’s great… he’s Ed fucking Harris… presumably collecting a paycheck. So overall the acting here is… fine.

The score for the movie was composed by Henry Jackman and it was fine (using that word a lot in this review). I am usually a big fan of Jackman’s work, he’s composed a whole bunch of scores that I’ve liked. But the stuff he did here was generic action-thriller stuff that you won’t remember in an hour. It’s just there and it’s… fine.

This movie was directed by Asger Leth who did a fine job. And by fine I don’t mean like a fine wine, but just… fine. His directing here doesn’t build a lot of tension, and it doesn’t give us any awesome shots, but it’s also not offensively bad. It’s just fine, passable directing that works for a bland action-thriller like this. The action scenes too, they’re okay, nothing memorable, but nothing awful.

This movie hasn’t been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 31% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 40/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

“Man on a Ledge” is an okay thriller. It has a meh plot, meh characters, okay performances, okay music, and okay directing. The main flaws with this movie is that nothing stands out in this movie… all of it is just passable. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Man on a Ledge” is a 6,12. While not great, it is maybe worth a rental.

My review of “Man on a Ledge” is now completed.

Meh…

Movie Review: Captain Phillips (2013)

Yo-ho yo-ho, a pirate’s life is not for me, that shit sounds fucking dangerous. Think I’ll stick to land… or at least stick to waters that don’t have pirates.

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… “Captain Phillips”.

Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks) is the captain of an American freighter ship going outside the coast of Africa. During one such trip the ship gets boarded and taken over by a group of Somali pirates. So now Phillips and his crew has to do everything they can to survive this horrible situation. So now we have our hostage-drama-thriller. And I must say that the plot here is pretty great. This is an incredibly tense plot. From the moment that Phillips sets his foot on the ship, a feeling of unease started to set in. Then when the pirates are put into the mix, getting close to the boat, that’s where the plot starts getting truly intense. And that tension never really lets up throughout the plot. It’s also handled pretty realistically, very little about this feels Hollywood-y. It brings the tension, it brings the drama, it’s just a damn good plot.

While the characters here aren’t the deepest out there, they’re still really interesting and I found myself caring about them. I think it’s safe to say that Tom Hanks is good in everything he does, and this is no exception. As a matter of fact, this might be one of his best (though “Philadelphia” is still his best in my opinion) performances ever. The character is likable, but he is also brave and clearly terrified for what might happen. And Hanks just portrays all that flawlessly. The men playing the pirates here are all terrific, which makes it extra interesting when you find out that none of them had really acted before. They really nailed the ruthless and intense pirate roles perfectly, with Barkhad Abdi being an absolute standout among them. Then you get various other actors in the movie all doing well for themselves, including Michael Chernus, David Warshofsky, Corey Johnson, Max Martini, Chris Mulkey, and a few more. So yeah, it’s a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Henry Jackman and it was great. His score is intense, dramatic, and just overall well composed. It often helped raise the tension throughout. It really added a lot to the movie.

The movie was directed by Paul Greengrass, and he brings his signature handheld style to this movie. And while handheld shaky-cam tends to be really annoying and awful, he knows how to do it right (though “Bourne Supremacy” had some problems with that). His directing here is intense, with the handheld shakiness actually adding to the overall intensity of the movie, really making me feel like I was there with them. And again, nothing about the directing here felt Hollywood-y, it felt pretty realistic.

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 8,3/10. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10. The movie was also nominated for 6 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best supporting actor (Abdi), Best film editing, Best sound editing, Best sound mixing, and Best adapted screenplay. 

“Captain Phillips” is a great drama-thriller. It has a great plot, really good characters, fantastic performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Captain Phillips” is a 9,88/10. Which of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Captain Phillips” is now completed.

Look at me… I’m the captain now.

Series Review: The Man In the High Castle – Season 1 (2015)

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So here we are, back in the realm of Amazon’s Original Programming. Yeah, the very same Amazon that you can order shirts, soap and all kinds of stuff from. For the… one of you that didn’t know, Amazon is making original programming. Possibly one of my followers might remember that I did a review for season 1 of Amazon’s show “Bosch” last year. So yeah… they make shows… so let’s review one of them!

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to… “The Man in the High Castle”.

The world has gone to shit (God, I’ve missed that phrase so much!). It’s the 1960’s and Nazis are in control. That’s right, in 1946 they took over the United States and also allied with Japan to rule over everything. We follow a young woman named Juliana (Alexa Davalos) as she is more or less pulled into a plot set up by the resistance to try to get a hold of some films that could change everything. And these films are produced by the mysterious… “Man in the High Castle” (Roll credits). We also get to follow a whole bunch of other characters, including Juliana’s boyfriend Frank (Rupert Evans), who are part of this world and have some part in the grand scheme of things. I know what you’re thinking, this plot sounds interesting, but complicated and maybe a little dumb. But trust me, I am just trying to give you the basics of the plot without spoiling it for you. So trust me when I should say that the story is fantastic and is worth experiencing. It is filled with gripping drama, engrossing situations and several clever twists. Also, the ending of the season (no spoilers) just fucked with my mind so hard. Yeah… it’s great plot.

The characters in this show quickly develop and you start caring about them pretty fast. Alexa Davalos (an actress I knew jack shit about before this show) was fantastic as Juliana. She was determined, strong but also the right level of vulnerable. Rupert Evans (you know, the guy from “Hellboy”) is fantastic as Frank, a man who is pulled into all of this trouble in a very violent fashion (figuratively speaking… ish). Then we have Luke Kleintank as Joe Blake, a young man that Juliana meets on her “adventure” and quickly befriends. Then we also of course have Rufus Sewell (remember when he was a thing?) as Obergruppenführer John Smith, AKA the American Nazi-man. And holy fucking shit, he was amazing in this show. Not only is his overall performance great, but the writer’s made me actually feel sympathy for him… a Nazi. It’s crazy, but true. He’s a great character. There are a whole bunch of other great actors in this show, both in big and small roles. So I’m not gonna go through ’em all as you will most likely notice them too while watching. Seriously, this show is filled with great people.

The score for the show was composed by Henry Jackman and Dominic Lewis and it is (surprise, surprise) pretty stellar. Henry Jackman of course is the man responsible for the music of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and it’s sequel “Civil War”, two movies with great music. So of course when I saw Jackman’s name in the opening credits I was pleased. Speaking of the opening credits, the decision to have “Edelweiss” from “Sound of Music” as the opening theme… fucking brilliant. Anyway, back to the original score; it’s great. Dramatic, tense, awesome.

Fun fact: This show is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick, the man who also wrote the book behind “Blade Runner”. Okay, fun fact over. This show is very well directed, perfectly capturing the feel of this bleak world that is set up. Sure, it isn’t really a show that has fast-paced direction, as it is more of a slow burn, but it’s still really good. Also, Ridley Scott is an executive producer on this show, which makes this his second Philip K. Dick adaptation… hmm. Oh well, it’s a very well done show, so those curiosities can be put aside for later.

This show 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 77/100. And on imdb.com the show overall has a score of 8,1/10 (imdb doesn’t have season-based averages).

This show is unlike anything else I have ever seen, it’s so different and unique. With a fantastic plot, great characters/acting, fantastic music and great directing, it’s definitely something. Time for my final score. ACHTUNG! My final score for “The Man in the High Castle” is a 9,91/10. It is great and gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “The Man in the High Castle” season 1 is now completed.

Season 2 is confirmed, but it isn’t here… I need it NOW.

Movie Review: Captain America: Civil War (2016)

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While I am typically a guy who likes to play nice and not antagonize anyone I still feel like I have to gloat over the fact that I got to see this movie one week before the people in the US(C)A. BAHAHAHAHA!!! I win, rednecks!!!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Captain America: Civil War”.

After everything that happened by the end of “Age of Ultron”, “The Winter Soldier” and “The Avengers” (also because of something that happened early in this film), the team has been presented with something. This certain something is a sort of contract that will be signed by the U.N. (and “hopefully” by the heroes) that would prevent from taking on superhero jobs on their own. They would basically be under the control of governments and would only be used if deemed necessary. This creates a bit of a divide between the teammates with Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) being very positive to this, thinking it’s a great idea because of all the damage they have done. But on the other end of the spectrum we have Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) who’s all like “Hell no, that’s a bad idea”. And while this political (and evnetually physical) confrontation goes on, there are also some more personal problems going on for Cap when his old friend Bucky (Sebastian Stan) is seemingly framed for committing one of the biggest acts of terrorism in recent (MCU) history. So there are a bunch of stories going on, even a good amount more than I mentioned, but most of them are so small that I don’t deem the worthy of a mention. With so many stories at play, with so many characters being part of it, one would assume that it would just turn out messy and pretty terrible. But guys… you can’t believe how happy I am to say that it all turned out pretty well. And by pretty well I mean FUCKING AWESOME! There are a lot of things at play here, yes, but none of it feels shoehorned in but instead works perfectly. In lesser hands this plot would not have worked AT ALL, but thanks to the directors at hand and the writers we got a surprisingly dramatic and well written story that both entertained and intrigued me from start to finish. It’s both an action movie and a bit of a tought provoking political drama where you see both sides of the argument to a level of understanding they both come from. Yeah… it was a pretty great story in both idea and execution.

I think we can all agree that we know how great the main cast are in their respective roles considering we’ve seen ’em all so many times. I will jsut say however though that they are running on all cylinders here and have never been better. So let’s talk about the newever ones who haven’t really had interplay with the old characters. Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) had a seamless transition from solo to team player and was as hilarious (if not even more so) than in his own movie. Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) was a pretty good character who got a good introduction into the universe, with Boseman giving a great performance as him. But guys… the best has been (pretty much) saved for last… Tom Holland as Spider-Man. Mother of god, he is absolutely amazing! I am honestly not lying when saying that I think he might be the best Spider-Man/Peter Parker ever put to screen. He is funny, he is geeky, he is clever… HE’S SPIDER-MAN!!! I also wanna say that even though the main villain (not revealing who it is in case ya don’t know) isn’t that great, he still works for the story, at least I thought so by the end of it all. Yeah… we got a pretty great ensemble here. Oh yeah, we also got Mustach- I mean William Hurt back, making “The Incredible Hulk” canon again.

Like in the previous “Cap” film, the music was composed by Henry Jackman (No relation to Wolverine, I swear). And it was really good. The big, orchestral pieces for the big action scenes were there (and were great). The smaller, more dramatic tunes were there (and were great). And then there were other tracks I can’t pinpoint what they could be called (but was still great).

Like with “The Winter Soldier”, this movie was directed by Joe and Anthony Russo. And once again they did a fantastic job directing it. Shots look great and they seem to have perfect control over the entire situation. The action is just like in “Winter Soldier” really great, with there being a lot of gritty and honestly, brutal, CQC fights. Sure, there is a bit of cmaera shake in there, but I see this more as Paul Greengrass shake rather than Rob Cohen *Deep sigh* shake. And that big airport fight that has been teased in trailers and otehr types of advertisements? Yeah, I loved it and think it is one of the absolute best action scenes in any superhero movie EVER. It’s tense, exciting, badass and even funny. Seriously, there is some pretty hilarious stuff in that fight. And I mean GENUINELY hilarious, not “That was shit, let’s laugh at it” hilarious. Speaking of which, for such a dramatic movie there is a surprising amount of humor… all of it actually landing very well for me. Plenty of snappy/funny dialogue, gags and overall lines that are all just great. Also, stay in your seats, people… there are two things after the film’s finished; one mid-credits and one after-credits scene.

Keep in mind that these scores may alter a lot considering it hasn’t come out everywhere yet, this is just as it is right now (as of this review). On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 81/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,7/10 and is ranked #86 on the “Top 250” list.

“Captain America: Civil War” is the latest MCU movie and I honestly might think it’s one of the absolute best. Like… Top 2 or 3 best. IT has a really great story, great characters/acting, great music, great directing, great action and great humor. Time for my final score. UNDEROOS!!! *Spider-Man tosses envelope to Markus*. My final score for “Captain America: Civil War” is a 9,90/10. It does get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Captain America: Civil War” is now completed.

I can’t take my mind off of how great this Spider-Man was…

 

Movie Review: Captain America – The Winter Soldier (2014)

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I have noticed in recent years how Marvel is really stepping up their game when it comes to their movies. Not only are they making a whole bunch of them, but people also seem to really love them. I am a guy who really likes a good Marvel movie. You might remember that I did a review of “Guardians of the Galaxy” around september of 2014 and gave it a really good score. But that isn’t the only Marvel movie I like a lot, I love a bunch other ones as well such as “Iron Man” and “The incredible Hulk”. And those are only some of the Marvel/Disney studio movies, there are also the Sony/Fox movies. But that isn’t relevant in this case. Today we are taking a look at the 2014 film set within Marvel’s “Phase 2”. So what did I think of it? Let’s find out!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”.

This movie as you may know is the sequel to 2011’s “Captain America: The First Avenger” but also follows 2012’s “The Avengers” (Sidenote: If you want me to review those two movies, you just tell me). We see Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) living in our modern times. But one day the organization S.H.I.E.L.D (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforment and Logistic Division) whom he works for starts chasing him down. And at the same time he has to keep his eye out for this mysterious new threat “The Winter Soldier” (Not saying who it is if you don’t actually know sice the twist is kinda cool, also roll credits). I am not going to say more about this plot because it is filled with twist after twist after twist… and it works. The Plot of this movie is excellent with some really clever writing and really cool twists like I mentioned earlier. Rarely have I seen a superhero movie with a plot this clever, suspenseful and politically aware. I loved seeing it unfold.

The characters in this movie are all great. They really showed that these people are more than characters, they are really people. Steve Rogers/Captain America is a surprisingly relatable character with some great dialogue and is portrayed excellently by Chris Evans. Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is a really well-written, badass and infinitely sexy character. She really worked and I liked how she was portrayed in this movie. She has gone from sexy badass to sexy badass person. And yes, Johansson portrayes her perfectly. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is also really great. The biggest reason I liked him in previous movies is becuase of Samuel L. Jackson’s charisma and talent. But here he actually gets some depth to the character and he actually gets some stuff to do. Do I even have to mention that Jackson’s performance is good? I mean, come on… it’s Samuel L. Jackson. But by far, my favorite character in this movie has to be the one of Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie). Not only did he provide some great comic relief, but he was also pretty deep and you could really believe him as a character. Plus, I love his wingsuit… it’s badass. It was also nice seeing Robert Redford in this movie. His character was really good and fit the movie. The performance was of course great since you know, it is Robert Redford.

The score by Henry Jackman reminds me a lot of two things. Firstly there are tracks which are typical superhero movie songs. Not bad ones at all, but you recognize the style… big and epic. Then we have the tracks which reminds me of the “Metal Gear Solid” games. I don’t know why they do that, but I don’t mind! Which is fitting considering that this movie (never mentioned it before which I actually should’ve… oops) is not only a badass action movie, but also a sort of spy-espionage-thriller. But I don’t mind getting a little “Metal Gear” in my Marvel. It just hightens it. But the soundtrack was great.

This movie is very well-directed. The shots are great and the camera work in general is great. I also have ot mention that the action in this movie is pretty fucking great. Not only is there pretty minimal CGI within the action, but you can also notice a lot of great stunt work and close quarters combat in this movie. Sure there is a bit of shaky-cam in this movie, but it doesn’t ruin it. It gives the movie a pretty stylish feeling, kind of like the “Bourne” trilogy which likes this movie happens to be an action franchise with some espionage stuff in it. I also found the political things in this movie really intriguing and really gave the movie an edge over most superhero movies. Another thing I liked about this movie gives off the feeling of Captain America actually being able to die. This movie puts the characters in peril and makes it so much more suspenseful… they might die. And that makes the action so much better since you know they really are in danger. Good job, writers!

This movie was really well-received when it came out. It has an 89% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. On Metacritic it has a score of 70/100. And on imdb it has a 7,8/10.

“Captain America: The Winter Solder” got a great plot with some great twists, great characters, great music, political intrigue, spy-thriller elements and some of the best action in recent years from a Hollywood movie. So now it is time for my final score. *Gets thrown envelope* Woaw, thanks Cap! My final score for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is a 9,76/10 which as you should know by know gets it (say it with me)… the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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Review of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is completed.

Since this movie was so good I am really curious to see how the Russo brothers handles “Captain America: Civil War”.