Movie Review: Shattered Glass (2003)

Fake news. A topic often brought up in our current environment, especially by a certain cheeto-colored individual. Sometimes what is referred to as “fake news” is just a certain asshole not agreeing with the truth. Other times the call is warranted.

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… “Shattered Glass”.

Stephen Glass (Hayden Christensen) is a young man who’s made quite a name for himself by writing very successful articles for various magazines, with his main base being the New Republic. But his life will soon get unraveled, when some other journalists start looking into one of Glass’ articles, finding clues to it potentially being fabricated. So now we have our fake news drama. And I was completely riveted by it. The plot here keeps a fairly brisk pace, but never do the degree where it skims over important details, which makes it both a dramatic, in-depth look at this situation and a generally enjoyable watch.

The characters in this are layered, interesting, and fairly realistic. First up we have Hayden Christensen as Stephen Glass, the man at the center of this story. He’s smart, charming, and excellent at bullshitting people in conversation. But when the pressure starts coming down on him, you start seeing the cracks in the glass. And Hayden Christensen is REALLY GOOD in the role. The reason why I emphasized that was because he’s caught so much shit for his acting in the “Star Wars” prequels, that I have to really be clear that he can be a really good actor. Next up we have Peter Sarsgaard as Chuck Lane, one of Glass’ co-workers. He is one of those that kind of partakes in unraveling some of the clashing aspects of Glass’ articles, and he’s just really interesting. And Sarsgaard is great in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Chloë Sevigny, Steve Zahn, Hank Azaria, Rosario Dawson, Cas Anvar, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score was composed by Mychael Danna, and it was good. I wouldn’t call it that much of a standout, but it worked well enough within the movie, focusing more in smaller piano pieces than anything else, which I think just fits the various scenes well enough.

This movie was written and directed by Billy Ray, and I think he did a great job with it. What I like about his style here is that it often feels less like some small personal drama, as it often feels a bit more like a political thriller in execution. And that helps keep the movie feel a bit more exciting, it adds a bit of tension to it, which is nice as it makes it stand out a bit. But when it needs to slow down and focus more on the character drama, then Billy Ray’s direction delivers beautifully on that too.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“Shatterd Glass” is a fascinating and engaging look into a very interesting situation/person. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Shattered Glass” is a 9,78/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Shattered Glass”.

Need a movie relevant to today’s society? Here you go.

Movie Review: Batman Ninja (2018)

I like Batman. I like anime. I like DC animated features (if you didn’t already know that from all the DC animation reviews I’ve done). So hopefully this’ll be something pretty good. Let’s get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Batman Ninja”.

After he tries to stop an experiment by the villainous Gorilla Grodd (Fred Tatasciore), Batman (Roger Craig Smith) finds himself transported to feudal Japan. He soon finds also finds out that multiple of his allies and enemies have been transported there too. So we follow him as he tries to find a way back home, while also having to deal with the villains who infest Japan. So this plot is batshit (pun intended) insane. I’m okay with doing different things with established characters, it can lead to some really cool stuff. And at first I thought the ninja Batman thing sounded kind neat. And at times it is. But the plot has a really weird pace, often feeling very start-stop in it’s approach. When a part of it gains momentum, we cut into the next part, with no natural transition. It’s not a bad plot, as it has some fun ideas to it, but overall it’s kinda messy.

The characters in this I will not rally go into, as they are all just as you know them. There’s established Batman heroes/villains here, and only like one new character. And the already established ones act as you would expect ’em too. Roger Craig Smith plays the caped crusader. It’s his second time in the role after the underrated “Arkham Origins” video game, and I think he’s a great Batman. He does sound a bit like a younger version of Kevin Conroy, and that is just awesome. And the fact that he still makes the role his own is even cooler. So yeah, he’s great. Next up we have Tony Hale as the Joker… yes, really. At first I was unsure about him, as he just sounded like some high-pitched goofball. But as the movie went on something happened. I started enjoying his performance, which starting sounding a bit more sinister and more like the god damn Joker. So yeah… he’s pretty good. Then we have Grey Griffin as Catwoman, doing the same sexy and confident performance she has given the character in other things. And she’s great. Then in other roles we get people like Eric Bauza, Adam Croasdell, Will Friedle, Fred Tatasciore, Tara Strong, Yuri Lowenthal, and Matthew Yang King, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Yugo Kanno and it was good. I like how it blends the typical superhero brass with some more Japanese sounds to create something that gives the movie a more unique feel. Not gonna say that it’s one of the best scores I’ve ever heard, and it’s not one of the most memorable, but it certainly works well for the movie.

The movie was directed by Junpei Mizusaki and I have mixed feelings. The movie takes on a cel-shaded 3D animation style, and I don’t like that style. It looked bad in “Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters”, it looked bad in the trailer for this, and in this finished product it’s a mixed bag. When it’s mostly talking or slow walking or just generally “calm”, it doesn’t look great. It’s a weird style that doesn’t quite work, especially since it is quite jittery. But when we get to the action scenes, it looks kinda cool. Fast-paced fights between characters in this look interesting and they are are fairly enjoyable. Then there’s a scene with a sudden and weird shift in art style that I didn’t like too much. So I’m not sure what to say… Good action, meh everything else? Sure, let’s go with that.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception (based on the limited data I go by). On Rotten Tomatoes it has no critic rating, but the audience score is at 55%. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist at all. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,9/10.

“Batman Ninja” is a fucking weird movie that has a few good things going for it. It has a meh plot, okay characters, really good performances, good music, mixed direction/animation, and good action. Flaws (as previously mentioned) come in the form of a messy plot and the animation being weird. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Batman Ninja” is a 6,45/10. So while very flawed, I’d say that it’s worth renting.

My review of “Batman Ninja” is now completed.

Why do they keep insisting that they should use cel-shaded CGI? Stop it.

My Star Wars Story

Hello there, ladies and gentlemen and potential space aliens. Today I wanted to do something a little bit different. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a while, and with today (the 4th of May) being Star Wars day, I thought now would be as good a time as any to do it. I’m about to share with you my Star Wars Story. No, not my pitch for a spinoff movie for the franchise, but just my experience(s) with “Star Wars”. Where it began, where it went, and where it is. So let’s just jump into it.

For the cave dwellers who just found out about the outside world, “Star Wars” is a franchise started in 1977 by American director George Lucas with it’s first installment… “Star Wars” (I refuse to call it “A New Hope”). The movie was a smash hit, making all the money, and becoming one of if not the biggest franchise in all of history with sequels, prequels, spinoffs, novels, video games, toys, tabletop games, sex toys (yes really), and so much more. “Star Wars” has pretty much taken over the cultural world, and it’s influence can be felt throughout most media. With that out of the way, time for the bit I originally promised.

The year was 2003. Or 2004, I am a bit unsure on the exact year. But I was six years old. I went to the store with my dad to get some groceries. When we were getting close to the register I had a look at the magazine shelves, which of course both had magazines and a few comic books. I noticed a “Donald Duck” comic there with a weird and interesting cover, and with some odd toy following along with it. I (like the greedy little shit I was) asked dad if we could buy the comic, and he said yes. So it came along with us, and when we got home I asked what this weird stuff with the cover and the toy was. He explained that it was “Star Wars”, and the toy was a small, plastic lightsaber. I, not having seen “Star Wars”, asked what “Star Wars” was. He said it was a movie, and then he went to a shelf and picked up a VHS tape. That tape of course being “Star Wars” (recorded from a TV airing). He sat my butt down, put the movie in the VHS player, and I say for two hours and was in awe of everything I saw. I was engrossed by the music, the characters, the visuals, the visual effects… it was absolutely amazing. It was like having an epiphany. Then of course “Star Wars” became a big thing for me. Luckily for me, we had “Empire Strikes Back”, “Return of the Jedi”, and “The Phantom Menace” (shut up, I was a kid) recorded as well, so I had more movies to watch afterwards.

Few years later, and thanks to the TV and also my friend, I got to see “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith” as well (shut up, I was a kid). “Star Wars” was a huge part of my life. I watched all the movies that I could and I played several of the video games. This was more than just some silly sci-fi franchise to me… it was a huge fucking part of my life. As I got slightly older I began seeing the ups and downs of certain parts of the franchise. Most notably was when my friend showed me the animated “The Clone Wars” movie at his place once. I could tell that it wasn’t great. But I also didn’t care fully, because I was simply in love with this franchise.

Another few years go by and I am in high school (around 17 years old). Something has happened. While I haven’t fallen out of love with “Star Wars”, I just haven’t had the same kind of obsessions about it as when I was younger. Admittedly I also didn’t exactly watch the movies much around that age, making my love fade a bit into the background. It’s more or less just gathering dust at this point. Then November 2014 comes around and we get our first trailer for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”. Now, regardless of your opinion of that movie, you can’t deny that the hype was massive when it was first officially unleashed upon the world with that trailer.

This was big. The first new “Star Wars” movie in nearly ten years (“Clone Wars” doesn’t count). And that’s when something in my head kinda clicked. This franchise that I had grown up with was coming back. A new movie to look froward to… something that I almost never had the privilege of as a kid. It was such a huge thing. My love started reigniting. But there was still something missing…

Skip ahead to late 2015, and “Force Awakens” is finally coming out. I watch it opening night with several friends. That’s when it truly clicked into place for me. The first was the lighter being used. But this was the lighter igniting the candle. It was a great experience. And of course it was made clear that we were getting even more movies in the series. We got the franchise back (and helped it in making all the money), and we were gonna get more movies. It was quite an exciting time to be a fan of this franchise.

So now we go into the present. What are my current thoughts on it all? I still love “Star Wars”. Are we getting close to over-saturation in terms of movies? Maybe a little, but I still look forward to seeing what this franchise will give us. New movies, new games (admittedly from the wrong publisher), new novels, new comics, new shows… so much “Star Wars”. It’s even more stuff for us older fans, and some new, introductory stuff for newer fans who came in through “Force Awakens” and such. It’s really the perfect time to be a “Star Wars” fan. You got your old stuff, and you’re getting some new stuff.

Speaking of “Star Wars”, here’s a link to an episode from last year of the We Have a Hulk podcast (friends of mine) where I, together with some other cool people, take a “Star Wars” quiz. You get to here arguing, voices, noises, and just a bunch of people having fun. I had a lot of fun doing it.

https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/wehaveahulk/episodes/2017-05-04T16_49_05-07_00

And that’s about it. I really just wanted to give you my story on how I got acquainted with this amazing franchise, as well as just gush about “Star Wars” in general. So yeah… May the fourth be with you.

Movie Review: Where Eagles Dare (1968)

Time to jump in the wayback-machine and review a “classic”. I only put quotations there to throw people off as to what my opinion could be, you’re gonna have to read it to find out what I think about it, you lazy bastards.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Where Eagles Dare”.

Set during the second world war, we follow a squad of British (and one American) soldiers as they make an attempt to infiltrate a nazi-filled castle and save an American general. So now we have our rescue operation. And is the plot any good? Yeah, I’d say so. What I like about it is that as they early during the movie get behind enemy lines, which helps give the movie an extra layer of suspense, since they have no real allies where they are, it’s all on their shoulders. There are also a few clever little twists and turns throughout, giving the plot a little extra unpredictability, which is something I really enjoyed. So yeah, the plot here is really good.

The characters here aren’t necessarily the deepest, but the few that we do have as our main leads I found to be quite entertaining. Richard Burton (R.I.P) plays Smith, a British army major with a few tricks up his sleeve. As we go through the movie we learn that he’s a tricky bastard who always seem to be one step ahead of everyone else. And Burton is great in the role. Then we have Clint Eastwood as Schaffer, an American lieutenant that has been assigned to Smith’s rescue squad. He’s basically an Eastwoodian stoic badass… which I have no problem with, as it creates an interesting contrast with the conniving Smith. And Eastwood is really good in the role. Then we have Mary Ure (R.I.P) as… Mary. She’s a British agent that the guys team up with during their mission. And she’s both intelligent and a badass. And Ure is really godo in the role. As for the other characters, they’re not really worth talking about, because they don’t quite have the same focus as the three I just talked about. But I can at least say that the supporting cast, containing people like Michael Hordern, Robert Beatty, Neil McCarthy, and Brook Williams, is great. ’tis a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Ron Goodwin and it’s pretty fucking great. It’s quite big and loud, opting for a more exciting a triumphant sound with no real subtlety in it. And it makes for some real ear candy as it helps add a lot of excitement throughout the movie.

This movie was directed by Brian G. Hutton (R.I.P) and I think he did a really good job here. I mentioned that the plot has a good amount of tension to it, but a lot of tension in this movie comes from Hutton’s direction, which really helps sell the frantic situation that our heroes have found themselves in. He also handled the action scenes very well, they’re really exciting.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 90% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10.

“Where Eagles Dare” is an exciting and very well crafted war movie. IT has a really good plot, okay characters, really good performances, great music, and really good direction. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Where Eagles Dare” is a 9,62/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Where Eagles Dare” is now completed.

Attacking a nazi castle? Is this Wolfenstein?

Movie Review: Suffragette (2015)

Women. Half the world’s population. The main reason that any of us exist. Without women, the world would be completely fucked. So when I look back on history, I find it quite disheartening that these essential and amazing beings have had to go through so much hardship… and that they still kind of do these days. Hopefully we can better ourselves soon.

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… “Suffragette”.

London, 1912. Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) is a laundry worker. She soon finds herself getting acquainted with the suffragette movement, and eventually joins them in their quest for voting rights. So now we have our historical drama. And is this plot any good? Yeah, it’s really good. It’s an engaging and at times even disturbing narrative, showing what kind of hardships and horrors these women had to go through, just because they wanted to be able to vote. At times it almost slips into pander-y Oscar bait, but it never falls into that trap, succesfully keeping a good balance of historical and emotional storytelling.

While I don’t think any of the characters are necessarily bad, I just didn’t find myself fully interested in all of them… found several of them a little undercooked. Carey Mulligan plays Maud Watts, a young mother and laundry worker who gets involved with the suffragettes. She’s determined and smart, but she does also show a more vulnerable side of herself, giving her a bit more depth as a character, and I actually cared about her quite a bit. And Mulligan is of course fantastic in the role. Helena Bonham Carter plays Edith Ellyn, a pharmacist and suffragette. She’s tough as hell and is always willing to stand up for her rights. And while I applaud those traits, I never found the character to be the most well realized. But I can say that Carter is great in the role. Ben Whishaw plays Sonny, Maud’s husband. While he is supportive of his wife, he is quite torn about her getting involved with the suffragettes’ protests. And while that could be interesting, they don’t go the full length with that and it becomes okay at best. Whishaw is really good at least. And I’m just gonna say it, what I said about Whishaw’s and Carter’s characters kind of goes for all the other ones as well… not bad, just slightly undercooked. At least we get some damn solid performances throughout the movie from people like Brendan Gleeson, Anne-Marie Duff, Meryl Streep, Geoff Bell, Romola Garai, Finbar Lynch, and many more.

The score for the movie was composed by Alexandre Desplat, and I think he did a great job with it. What I liked most about it is that whether a track goes for sweeping and dramatic, or smaller and more personal, it always has a solid emotional core that makes the score some real ear candy. Seriously, it’s fucking beautiful.

This movie was directed by Sarah Gavron and I think she did a really good job with it. What I like about directing is that it’s versatile. When things are a bit more calm and contemplative, the camera is steady. But when things get more intense and (for lack of a better word) action-packed, it gets a bit more shaky, but never so much as to be a pain. I saw one guy describing it as a bit Paul Greengrass-ish, and I think that’s a pretty good description of it. And I think it really adds to the movie.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 72% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 67/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

While flawed, I still think “Suffragette” is a really good and important movie. It has a great plot, some okay characters, great performances, great music, and really good directing. As previously mentioned, I found some of the character work here to be a bit lackluster, but that’s about it for flaws. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Suffragette” is an 8,87/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Suffragette” is now completed.

Nice to see Helena Bonham Carter going for a more “normal” role for once.

Movie Review: Mudbound (2017)

This movie is a fairly unique case. Mainly because it’s a Netflix original movie that somehow has gotten multiple Oscar nominations. Not saying that it shouldn’t have gotten the nominations, just saying that it’s very interesting. Anyway, let’s just get into the review.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mudbound”.

Mississippi, the 1940s. We follow the McAllans and the Jacksons, two families who live in close proximity to each other in a farmland. And throughout the movie’s runtime we see them have to deal with everything from the struggle of farming, to racism, to adjusting to life after being in a war. What we have here is a very rich and layered plot. Yes, it’s a fairly lengthy movie, and it does move at a fairly slow pace. But there’s enough payoffs and beautiful nuances to the plot here to make it all feel rewarding. The plot here is emotional, engaging, layered, and at times even disturbing. It’s absolutely fantastic.

The characters here are kind of like the plot in that they are quite layered and interesting. I will however not go too in-depth with each and every character as I feel that they’re best left experienced rather than explained… also, I don’t want to make this post too long and rambly. So here’s just quick overviews of the two central families and their most essential members (essential for the plot, that is). First we have the McAllans, featuring the likes of Carey Mulligan, Jason Clarke, Garrett Hedlund, and Jonathan Banks. They’re a white family who’s lived a relatively easy life until they move out to the Mississippi delta, where they have to start their new farm life. And they all get some really interesting development/moments throughout. Then we have the Jacksons, featuring Mary J. Blige, Jason Mitchell, and Rob Morgan. They’re a black family that kind of has to live with the McAllans, which of course leads to some solid drama throughout. And the Jacksons are an interesting bunch of characters. I will now also say that all the actors in this movie are running on all cylinders, there’s no weak link within the cast, they are all absolutely fantastic in the movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Tamar-Kali, and had I not done that research I would’ve just assumed that the score was composed by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis. The score here is at times reminiscent of the score from “The Assassination of Jesse James” in that it takes a dark, emotionally charged, and even kind of eerie. But it still has a very unique sound and it’s just overall great. And before you ask, the song “Mighty River” by Mary J. Blige is fucking great.

Based on a novel by Hillary Jordan, “Mudbound” was directed by Dee Rees who I think did a great job. Her direction is sweeping and confident, at times feeling like a lot of old school dramas while still feeling new and unique. I also want to talk about Rachel Morrison’s cinematography for a second, because it is fucking amazing. There were a good amount of shots in this movie that made my jaw drop. What’s also cool about it is that none of the shots felt like a “just there to be pretty” type of shot, all of the shots had a purpose while also being pure eye candy. Speaking of images, there’s some disturbing imagery at a couple points in this movie… just thought I’d give you that warning in case you’re a bit sensitive… I don’t judge.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 85/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10. As previously mentioned, this movie has been nominated for multiple Oscars. Four of them actually, in the categories of Best supporting actress (Blige), Best adapted screenplay, Best cinematography, and Best original song.

“Mudbound” is a big and sweeping drama that shows that Netflix isn’t playing around. It has a fantastic plot, great characters, fantastic performances, great music, and fantastic direction/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mudbound” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Mudbound” is now completed.

I got nothing to put here. This isn’t the kind of movie you joke about afterwards.

Movie Review: American Made (2017)

Don’t do drugs, kids. Also, don’t sell drugs. Or be near drugs. Basically just… to hell with drugs.

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 gents… “American Made”.

The story follows Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), an American pilot who gets hired by the CIA to run guns for them, which eventually also leads him running cocaine for the Medellín cartel. And we follow his insane life as he tries to balance these jobs while also trying to not get arrested. And it’s actually a really interesting plot with some flaw to it. It’s interesting seeing the ins and outs of Barry’s job, the routes he takes as well as how he just runs his operations. It’s overall a really fun and well-paced plot that is really enjoyable. My flaw with the plot is that it does slow down at a point in the movie. Not in the “let’s take some time to develop the characters a lot” (though there’s a little bit of that in there), but more just starts dragging a bit. It’s not too draggy, and it doesn’t go for too long, but it’s definitely worth pointing out as it is quite noticeable.

The characters in this are enjoyable. Some get a bit more development than others, but none of them feel out of place or anything like that. Tom Cruise plays Barry Seal, the pilot who gets dragged into all this crazy shit. He’s a charismatic, funny, and cool guy who not only happens to be a damn good pilot, but also a pretty good family man. And Tom Cruise is really firing on all cylinders here, this is probably the best performance I’ve seen from him since “Tropic Thunder”. Domhnall Gleeson plays Schafer, the CIA agent that recruits Seal for this dangerous mission. He has some charm, and he does share some good chemistry with Cruise throughout. And Gleeson is really good in the role. Then we have Sarah Wright as Barry’s wife Lucy. She’s a somewhat more reasonable person than Barry and does have outbursts when the strange stuff starts seeping into their home life. And Wright is great in the role. Then we have Alejandro Edda, Fredy Yate Escobar, and Mauricio Mejía as the founders of the Medellín cartel (Jorge Ochoa, Carlos Ledher, Pablo Escobar). And I’m lumping them into the same slot because this is my review and I can do whatever I want. But they are all great in their roles… charming yet intimidating. And throughout the movie you get some really solid supporting performances from people like Jesse Plemons, Jayma Mays, Caleb Landry Jones, E. Roger Mitchell, and more. Yeah, this is a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Christophe Beck and it was really good. It was tense, fun, energized, and had a healthy dose of guitar in it to give it a cool sound that worked really well for the movie. Then there were a whole bunch of licensed tracks used throughout, some from the era, and even one or two from around 2012. But they all fit incredibly well with the era the film was set in while also helping to give the movie it’s fun mood. So yeah, this has great music.

This movie was directed by Doug Liman and he did a great job. He gives this movie and interesting style by keeping it mostly handheld and also throwing in a lot of crash-zooms, which is very reminiscent of a documentary. And that makes this movie even more interesting since it now has a somewhat unique style. Liman (together with the production crew) also gives it a very retro vibe, which really helps sell the late 70s/early 80s era. There are also some really tense scenes here, which I didn’t really expect. The movie is also funny. Not “BWAHAHAHAHAHA!” funny, but it still got consistent chuckles/laughter out of me.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 87% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 65/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“American Made” isn’t perfect, but it’s a highly enjoyable crime movie. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/editing/cinematography. As previously mentioned, I thought it had some slight flaws, including some pacing issues at one point, and some characters not always being the most interesting. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “American Made” is an 8,98/10. While flawed, it’s definitely worth buying!

My review of “American Made” is now completed.

Tumm Croos.

Movie Review: Born to Be Blue (2016)

Jazz. Some like it, some don’t. Me? I like some jazz. so let’s talk about some jazzy stuff.

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… “Born to Be Blue”.

The story here is about jazz musician Chet Baker (Ethan Hawke) as he has fallen from grace due to his drug addiction. And we follow his journey as he tries to find love, redemption, and maybe one day make a comeback. So now we have our musician story. And while the basic setup shows some familiar ideas, ultimately it has a slightly different vibe than most biopics. Most biopics do everything to make the characters and his/her story seem big and romanticized in some way, but this doesn’t do that. It feels smaller and more personal, flaws of the people intact. It’s kind of refreshing to see a biopic plot that isn’t so hagiographic.

What I like about the characters here is that they feel real. They have flaws and layers to them, making them a bit more interesting. Ethan Hawke plays Chet Baker, the troubled musician. He’s a former addict who wants to find love and redemption. He has a lot of determination which is something I respect about him, but they also show that he is far from flawless, making him a bit more believable as a character. And Hawke is fantastic in the role. His performance is less about the big, explosive moments (though he gets one or two in the movie), but more about the subtle nuances in his faical expressions and gestures. Carmen Ejogo plays Jane, an actress that Chet meets and forms a bit of a relationship with. She wants to see Chet do well and get better, but she also wants to do her own things, making her slightly conflicted. And Ejogo is great in the role. Then we have Callum Keith Rennie as Dick, a friend/producer of Chet’s. He wants to see Chet do well, but he can also see that Chet is a troubled man. And he’s decently interesting. And Rennie is really good in the role. Those were the ones worth going more in-depth with, but let it be known that every actor does a good job in this movie.

The score for the movie was composed by David Braid (with some help from Todor Kobakov & Steve London) and I think he did a great job. What we have here is a score that is rooted in jazz (which is fitting since this is about jazz). And I found that the score here often helps to elevate the emotion or overall drama of a scene. So yeah, it’s very well composed and fit the movie perfectly. The few licensed tracks used throughout are also well implemented.

This movie was written and directed by Robert Budreau and I think he did a great job. His directing is pretty chill, complementing the smooth jazz of the movie quite well. And his directing combined with Steve Cosens’ cinematography creates this great mood for the movie that I really liked experiencing. It also looks great, it’s a visually striking movie.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 64/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

“Born to Be Blue” is a damn good biopic. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Toots the trumpet*. My final score for “Born to Be Blue” is a 9,83/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Born to Be Blue” is now completed.

Holy chet, that was good.

Movie Review: The Lost City of Z (2017)

Exploration can lead to many things. From the discovery of lost civilizations to a crazy Italian man killing natives around the Caribbean in the name of Spain. So yeah, it has both upsides and downsides.

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… “The Lost City of Z”.

Percival Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam) is a former military man who has decided to embark on a quest to the Amazonian jungles to try to find a lost city that he calls Z. And quickly this expedition turns into an obsession that puts a strain on his family life and his reputation. So now we have our story… and it’ a good one. It’s not a fast-paced and fun adventure like “Indiana Jones”, but more of a slowly burning exploration of a determined man’s journey. And I think that’s quite refreshing, seeing as most jungle/treasure hunts in movies/TV/games these days tend to be fast action things. Though I will admit that the pacing feels a bit too meander-y at a couple points, bordering on getting boring. But for the most part it’s an interesting and dramatic plot that mostly kept my interest.

The characters here are quite interesting and for the most part got a good amount of development. Charlie Hunnam (aside from being a handsome man) plays Percy Fawcett, our protagonist and obsessed explorer. Seeing his exploring turn from something he gets to simply do to an obsession is fascinating and it makes him quite a layered character. And Hunnam is really good in the role, this is probably his best performance since “Sons of Anarchy”. Robert Pattinson plays Henry Costin, Fawcett’s assistant during this exploration. He can seem like doesn’t exactly want to be there, but he does learn to appreciate the journey, and he’s just overall fairly entertaining. And Pattinson is great in the role. Sienna Miller plays Nina, Fawcett’s wife. And we get to see her as she goes through her husband’s obsession and her development in hte plot is fairly emotional. And Miller is great in the role. Then we have Ian McDiarmid (that’s right, Emperor Palpatine is in the house!) as one of the men funding and encouraging Fawcett’s expedition. And McDiarmid is really good in the role. Then we have some really solid supporting performance throughout from Angus Macfadyen, Edward Ashley, Tom Holland, Clive Francis, and more.

The score for the movie was composed by Christopher Spelman, and it was great. What we have is an emotional, sweeping, tense, inspiring, and just overall great score that fits the movie very well and often elevated scenes throughout.

This movie was written and directed by James Gray and I think he did a great job. His direction is very confident and sweeping, feeling very old school in that way. It also brings out a decent sense of tension whenever it needs to, making you feat for the characters’ well-being. And I have to talk about Darius Khondji’s cinematography… because it’s fucking gorgeous. Lighting looks natural and he really makes the jungle look both eerie and beautiful. Seriously, this is gorgeous.

This movie has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 87% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 78/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

“The Lost City of Z” isn’t perfect, but it’s still a damn good movie. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. As previously mentioned, the pace can get a bit too meander-y at times, which is a bit of a problem. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Lost City of Z” is an 8,87/10. While flawed, I’d say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “The Lost City of Z” is now completed.

“Zed” makes more sense than “Zee”, silly Americans.

“Peaky Blinders” season 4 trailer!

Helllo there, ladies and gents. Time for another trailer talk. So let’s just jump into it.

So we finally have a trailer for the fourth season of “Peaky Blinders”, BBC’s depression era gangster-drama. And let’s just make it clear, I fucking love this show, it is one of my favorites. I’ve reviewed season 1 – 3 on this blog before, so go check those out if you want more in-depth thoughts on each season. But yeah, I love the show. Anyhow, here’s the trailer for season 4. So what the fuck is going on? Well, shit’s getting real as Tommy (Cillian Murphy) and his family have to deal with some new individuals causing them trouble, which seems to include Adrien Brody. And it looks like shit will get real. So do I think this looks good? Yes, god yes, it looks fantastic. “Peaky Blinders” has had three great seasons so far, and I have high hopes for season 4. It looks like it will be tense and dramatic and awesome. I am hyped. While there’s no specific date for season 4, it will probably air at some point later this year.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for “Peaky Blinders” season 4? And what’s your favorite gangster-drama? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer!