Series Review: The Beech Boys – Season 1 (2019)

So to get the legality out of the way, this is technically a sponsored post. The other day I was checking my phone, and I noticed I’d gotten an email from Matt Tory, the director of a movie I reviewed a while back called “We Make Movies”. And he offered me a copy of his new show, for free, in exchange for reviewing it. So here we are… thanks for the free review copy, Matt, I really appreciate it! Now that we’ve cleared the formalities, on with the review!

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Beech Boys” season 1!

Beechwood Estates, a quiet little community. This community is filled with pools. And it’s up to Trey (J.J. Carroll) and Ethan (Zach Castle) to keep them clean, for they are… The Beech Boys. So we follow them as they chat, hang around pools, and interact with the various people living in Beechwood. I enjoyed the little stories here, they were fun. They’re the kind of light entertainment one might need on a summer day. I do however have a bit of a gripe with it. The episodes are a bit on the short side. Now, briefness isn’t a problem in itself, but when your show has actual continuity and you go for that five-to-six minute runtime, it can make the pacing feel a little rushed and abrupt at times. It doesn’t ruin the entire experience for me, but an added two-to-three minutes might’ve helped some scenes breathe a bit more, making it feel less stop-start-stop-start. Overall though, the plots themselves are quite a bit of fun.

The characters in this are colorful, charming, flawed, and fun. J.J. Carroll plays Trey, the almost self-appointed head of the Beech Boys. He’s a bit of an egomaniac, but he’s given enough redeeming qualities to not just make him an annoying douchebag. That said, I wouldn’t befriend him. But he’s a fun character, and Carroll is really good in the role. Zach Castle plays Ethan, Trey’s friend and fellow Beech Boy. He’s not the brightest bulb in the house, but he’s a good dude who wants the best for the pools of Beechwood. And Castle is good in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Courtney Coker, Joshua James, Matt Tory, Becky Brown, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The music in the show was made by Flash Fluharty (great name), and it’s pretty good. At certainly does have a bit of a summer-y vibe, at times even emulating the surf rock of yesteryear. It’s enjoyable and works well enough for the show as a whole.

“The Beech Boys” was created and written by Matt Tory & J.J. Carroll, with Tory handling directing duties. And the craft here is pretty good. It’s decently shot, and the overall directing has a nice flow to it. And let’s talk about the humor, because if I don’t talk about the humor in a comedy review, then I’m gonna look like a clown. It’s pretty funny. I don’t think there was ever any gut-busting laughter for me, but there were a good amount of chuckles throughout.

“The Beech Boys” is an entertaining little series that is perfect for those dull summer nights. It has decent plots, good characters, good performances, good music, good directing, and funny comedy. However, as previously mentioned, due to the short runtime of the episodes, the pacing gets a bit weird at times. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “The Beech Boys” season 1 is an 8,90/10. So while a little flawed, I’d say it’s still worth watching.

My review of “The Beech Boys” season 1 is now completed.

Once again, huge thanks to Matt Tory for the free copy, I really appreciate it. If any of you guys want to support this show, it will be available on Amazon Prime tomorrow, July 1st.

Movie Review: Prevenge (2017)

Pregnancy. Amazing, fascinating, terrifying, weird. Many words can describe this natural part of human life. But I never thought one of them would be “murderous”.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Prevenge”.

Ruth (Alice Lowe) is a widow. She’s also seven months pregnant and about to go on a killing spree. And that’s the premise for this movie. So how’s the plot here? I actually thought it was good. Weird, but good. When I say weird I don’t mean that it does anything overly ambitious and strange with the narrative, as it does follow a pretty regular structure. But what I mean by weird is that some strange shit happens throughout, and I found all of that quite interesting. The plot also has a darkly comedic tone that gives it a unique and off-kilter vibe that for the most part works. There are times where the tone somewhat clashes with moments in the narrative, but it was never enough to ruin the plot for me, it just brings it down a notch. So overall this plot is pretty good.

I’m only gonna talk about one character here since we only really follow one, and she’s the only one we really get to know. Here we have Alice Lowe as Ruth, the pregnant widow going on a killing spree. She’s a damaged and quite unstable individual that is quite interesting to follow, as she’s quite a unique and intriguing. And Rowe does a great job in the role. And all the supporting players in this are all godo in their respective roles.

The score was composed by Toydrum, and it was good. It’s an eerie electronic score with plenty of droning notes to give an ethereal and uneasy vibe that I really liked. Took scenes that would’ve been kind of bland and turned them into something unique and intriguing. It’s amazing how much music can affect something.

“Prevenge” was written and directed by its star, Alice Lowe. So she’s wrote, directed, and starred in a movie while also being pregnant? That is pretty fucking impressive. And I have to say that she did a damn good job with her directing duties here. She gives the movie a very weird, almost dreamlike feel with her directing, complementing the off-kilter story quite well. I don’t think I’ve ever watched a movie that feels like this one does, so that’s pretty cool.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,9/10.

“Prevenge” is a weird and off-kilter character study that won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I enjoyed it. It has a good plot, a really good character, really good performances, really good music, and great directing. Though as I previously mentioned, there are moments throughout where the tone clashes with narrative. Not a deal breaker, just brings it down a notch. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Prevenge” is an 8,88/10. So while not perfect, I still think it’s worth buying.

My review of “Prevenge” is now completed.

Well, that was… weird.

Movie Review: Brick (2006)

With the recent commercial success of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”, I thought it was time for me to go back and have a look at Rian Johnson’s directorial debut. Before lightsabers, before time travel, before cooking meth with Walter White… it’s the very beginning of his film career.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Brick”.

After his ex-girlfriend disappears, Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) pushes himself into an underworld high school crime ring, so he can investigate and find out what the hell actually happened to her. So now we have our movie. And the plot here is pretty good. It pays a lot of homage to classic noir, having a densely written plot that has a good amount of twists and turns. And I was for the most part intrigued by it all. My flaw with it is that there were parts where the pacing maybe dragged a little. I get that noir movies do that, but there’s a difference between intriguingly slow-paced and just slowly slow-paced. There are honestly moments where it got a little boring. But for the most part I found the plot to be an interesting mystery. It’s pretty good.

To be quite honest, I didn’t fully engage with all of the characters here. I only really felt like I was engaged with one character, and the other ones just were there, being part of the story. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Brendan, the young man at the center of this story. He is a bit of a loner, but he’s also clever and a bit of a smart-ass. And I found his character to be quite interesting. And Gordon-Levitt was great in the role. As for the other characters, I didn’t find them engaging (as I mentioned before). But I didn’t dislike them either, as I still found them entertaining in some way. And all the performances from people like Lukas Haas, Nora Zehetner, Noah Fleiss, Matt O’Leary, Richard Roundtree, and Meagan Good were all solid.

The score for the movie was composed by Nathan Johnson and it was really good. It’s weird and often hearkens back to classic film noir scores, without totally ripping off those older scores. It has a unique sound that elevates the movie and often adds a weird sense of unease to the movie.

As I alluded to in the beginning of this review, “Brick” was written and directed by Rian Johnson. And for a low budget directorial debut, I think he did a damn fine job here. It’s nicely framed and everything has a nice flow to it. his direction also has a bit of a dreamlike quality to it, making the situations portrayed on screen feel a bit more tense and uneasy. This was an early sign of Johnson’s talent as a director. Steve Yedlin’s cinematography is also quite good.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 79% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

Rian Johnson’s “Brick” is a really good movie and showed audiences that this man is talented. It has a pretty good plot, okay-ish characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. But as previously mentioned, there are some pacing issues, and I didn’t feel engaged with several of the characters. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Brick” is an 8,60/10. So while it is flawed, I’d still say that it is worth buying.

My review of “Brick” is now completed.

Do you reckon we could build a house using this movie?

Movie Review: Blue Ruin (2013)

Revenge is a dish best served cold… wait, that’s “Star Trek”, not indie-thriller… shit.

Ladies and gents… “Blue Ruin”.

Dwight (Macon Blair) has been trying to live a quiet life away from people. But when he hears that a man who had wronged him in the past is about to be released from jail, Dwight intends to get revenge. So now we have our revenge-thriller plot. However, it’s not just about Dwight trying to get revenge on this one person as there’s a lot more that happens throughout, but I don’t wanna say too much about that. What I can say however is that this plot is pretty damn good. It’s tense, it’s dramatic, and it was just really interesting to follow. It takes a couple of interesting turns and I was genuinely invested in this dark journey. It also gives off a feeling of unease from the first few moments and keeps that feeling throughout. So yeah, the plot here is really good.

Most of the characters here aren’t very interesting as they’re not given a lot of development, but I think that’s okay in this case as this focuses on Dwight, who is a very interesting character. Macon Blair is excellent in the role, giving an understated and layered performance. He doesn’t talk a lot in the movie, but you still get a good idea of what is going on in his head thanks to his eyes. He really acts more with his eyes than anything else, and that is pretty cool. And like I said, Blair is excellent here. Amy Hargreaves plays Dwight’s sister, Sam, and she’s really good in the role. Devin Ratray, you know… Buzz from “Home Alone”, plays one of Dwight’s old friends that we meet at one point in the movie, and he’s good in the role. And that’s about all that I’m gonna say about the cast, because I don’t wanna say too much. But let me just put it like this: all actors in the movie do really well in their roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Brooke Blair & Will Blair and it is great. It’s dark, eerie, and suspenseful and really helped build a lot of tension in the movie. There were also a bunch of licensed tracks that were used throughout the movie and they worked quite well in their respective scenes. Really, this movie has some great music.

“Blue Ruin” was written, directed, and shot by Jeremy Saulnier and I think he did a great job with all of that. His direction is very tight, keeping everything steady and making you feel like you’re there with Dwight, feeling every second of tension that Saulnier wants you to feel. Because when this movie feels like building up a lot of tension, it fucking delivers. Don’t think a movie has made me feel this tensed up in a while. And the cinematography here is gorgeous, making for some absolutely stunning shots. This movie is also violent. And by violent I mean that there are a couple moments throughout the movie that feature really graphic violence. There aren’t a lot of violent moments in the movie, but when it’s shown it is quite graphic/disturbing. I guess the relatively small amount of violence has a bigger impact than if they’d had a lot of violence throughout. Good on ya, Saulnier and crew.

This movie has been quite well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 77/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

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

My review of “Blue Ruin” is now completed.

Yeah, I got nothing clever to say here. The movie’s just awesome.

Movie Review: We Make Movies (2016)

Full disclosure: The people who made this film offered me a free copy of it in exchange for me reviewing it. And since I’m a greedy sucker that doesn’t say no to a free movie, accepted. I just wanted to let you know that. I’m not letting the kindness/generosity of the filmmakers cloud my judgment of the film, but I still felt like it would be best for you to know about this sponsorship (for lack of a better word). Alright, let’s review this thing.

Ladies and gentlemen… “We Make Movies”.

Stevphen (Matt Tory) is a young, ambitious, and kind of arrogant filmmaker who wants to make a movie that he can show at the local film festival. So he gathers a bunch of friends to make this “masterpiece”. And we then follow them through the ups and downs of this process. And this plot was handled quite well. I found it quite fun to follow these people go through all the steps of making an ambitious movie on a ham sandwich budget, with all the problems that comes with it. It’s quite entertaining following the “behind the scenes” antics of this crew. It even manages to be a bit inspiring with how they never give up despite clearly running into more problems than Wile E. Coyote. The plot here is simple, but good.

The characters here are all distinct, interesting, and quite entertaining. Matt Tory plays Stevphen (no, I didn’t have a stroke, that’s how it’s spelled), the determined yet arrogant and selfish director of this “masterpiece”. He’s a fun character even if he is a bit of a dick. And Tory is good in the role. Jordan Hopewell plays Donny, Stevphen’s nerdy friend that is helping him out on this movie, and while he is portrayed as the typical nerd character, they don’t overdo it and he never feels annoying… as a matter of fact, he’s quite fun. And Hopewell is good in the role. Jonathan Holmes plays Garth, another friend of Stevphen’s, a slightly more serious and logical man. And Holmes is good in the role. Zack Slort plays Leonard, a “method actor” that the crew brings in to play the main role in their film. He’s kind of pretentious, but that’s what makes him fun. And Slort is good in the role. Anne Crockett plays Jessica, a young woman that joins the production to be their film’s female lead. And Crockett is good in the role. We also have Matt Silver as Curtis, a dude that shows up every now and then throughout the movie. he’s very chill and Stevphen just doesn’t like him. And Silver is good in the role. Really, all actors in the movie do well for themselves.

When it comes to the music in the movie, there is no real original score, but they instead used music from various artists throughout. But there’s not too much music in the movie, it’s used pretty sparingly. And that is fine, too much music might not have worked with the movie’s overall style. But when music was used it was used well.

The movie was written and directed by the star, Matt Tory. And I think he did a really good job here. The movie is shot documentary style, with fake interviews and everything. I think this style really helps the movie out as a “normal” directing style wouldn’t have worked that well with the story they wanted to tell. And since this is a comedy we should talk about the jokes… and they’re funny. And while I admittedly never had a laugh out loud moment at any point, I still found myself laughing at most of the jokes. And the ones that didn’t get a laugh at least got a smile out of me. The humor (to me at least) was never boring or cringey, it was genuinely funny. It’s also a sense of humor that actually gets elevated by the mockumentary style.

This movie barely exists on the sites I usually refer to in this little “critical reception” section. At least it exists on imdb.com where it (as of writing this) has a score of 8,3/10.

“We Make Movies” is a fun little indie comedy that I really enjoyed. It has a good plot, good characters, good performances, good music, good directing, and really good comedy. Time for my final score. *ACTION!*. My final score for “We Make Movies” is a 9,57/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “We Make Movies” is now completed.

Once again, huge thanks to the filmmakers for giving me a free copy of the movie! Really appreciate it! Now, if any of you reading this wants to check it out, you can find it on Amazon.

Movie Review: Stake Land (2011)

Vampires. Creatures that have been used in fiction more times than I can count. Sometimes they’re scary, sometimes they’re sexy, sometimes they suck (Looking at you “Twilight”, also, pun intended). What I’m trying to say is that vampires are very versatile things that you can utilize all kinds of ways in movies/TV/books/games.

Ladies and gents, welcome to… “Stake Land”.

After his family gets killed by a vicious vampire, Martin (Connor Paolo) finds himself teamed up with a mysterious man called Mister (Nick Damici). And these two set out to travel through the vampire infested United States to get to a potentially safe place called New Eden. I have to say that I was a bit surprised by the plot of this movie. While at first it just seems like a straightforward road trip movie featuring vampires, it soon shows it’s true colors. Seeing our main two work together trying to survive is really interesting, and I found myself really invested in their journey. This concept could’ve turned out really lazy and bad, but it was handled really well.

The characters in this movie are all very well fleshed out and I found them really interesting. Nick Damici was really good as Mister, playing him as the mostly silent badass. Connor Paolo was great as Martin, perfectly playing this damaged yet still somewhat hopeful young man. Kelly McGillis plays a nun that our heroes meets along the way and she was really good. Danielle Harrisplays a woman that Mister and Martin meets on their journey and she was really good in her role. Michael Cerveris plays a crazy cultist in the movie and he was really good. We also got Sean Nelson as another guy that our heroes meets in the movie and he was really good. All the performances were really good.

The score was composed by Jeff Grace and holy shit it was fantastic! It was haunting, it was dramatic, and it was quite eerie. Sure, at a few points it did sound like Nick Cave’s and Warren Ellis’ score for “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford”, but I didn’t actually mind too much… probably because I fucking love the score for that movie. But those parts did still sounds different enough to not bother me too much. And the bits that didn’t sound like the score from that other movie, they were quite awesome.

This movie was directed by Jim Mickle and he did a pretty damn good job. The shots look great and his direction overall feels very tense and uneasy, which helps add to the already eerie atmosphere. It’s also quite impressive considering the small budget they had. Now, I can’t find any exact numbers, but considering it’s an independent horror movie made by a then pretty much unknown director I can only assume that the budget wasn’t that big. But despite that it manages to have some pretty badass makeup effects, props, and various other effects.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 75% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 66/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,5/10.

“Stake Land” is an extremely impressive indie vampire film. It has a great plot, good characters, really good performances, great music, great directing, and great effects. Time for my final score. *Stabs vampire in it’s heart*. My final score for “Stake Land” is a 9,56/10. This of course means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Stake Land” is now completed.

You could say that for the characters there was a lot… at stake…