Movie Review: Gattaca (1997)

Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. There’s no “destiny”, you make up your own story. You have control over your own path.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Gattaca”.

Ever since he was a kid, Vincent (Ethan Hawke) has wanted to go to space. But due to his inferior genes he has been ineligible for the longest time to even take part in the program. But he finds a way to potentially achieve his dream when he gets to assume the identity of a genetically superior man (Jude Law) to get into the program. So now we have our sci-fi plot. And it is honestly pretty damn great. It explores the themes of humanity and ethics. It’s an engaging drama with a slight science fiction twist. The type of sci-fi here feels fairly believable, as if it could possibly happen in the future. But it’s mainly an inspiring drama about a man trying to achieve his dreams despite what some have told him, and I have huge respect for that. It’s a truly great plot.

The characters are fleshed out and quite interesting. Vincent has, despite his shortcomings, always hoped that his dreams of space travel will come true. And seeing his determination to make his dream a reality is kind of inspiring. And Ethan Hawke is great in the role. Uma Thurman plays one of Vincent’s co-workers that we get to know a bit throughout the movie. And Thurman is great in the role. Jude Law plays the “genetically superior” man whose identity Vincent assumes to make it into the space program. He’s a charming and fun guy with some okay dramatic stuff going for him throughout. And Law is great in the role. Then the cast is rounded out by actors like Ernest Borgnine, Xander Berkeley, Gore Vidal, Alan Arkin, Loren Dean, Tony Shalhoub, Jayne Brook, and Elias Koteas (and more), all doing very well here.

The score for the movie was composed by Michael Nyman and it was fantastic. It strikes a perfect balance of tense, inspiring, and emotional. It’s mainly based around strings which gives it a very beautiful sound. And it all works very well for the movie, elevating the already great scenes.

The movie was written and directed by Andrew Niccol (who also made the great “Lord of War”) and I think he did a fantastic job here. The way he manages to create a world that is familiar yet different is excellent, and he manages to keep a surprising amount of tension going throughout. I don’t mean edge-of-your-seat type of tension, but rather a tense feel of unease as Vincent tries to keep his real identity a secret throughout. The movie is also very well shot, it’s definitely what I would call visually arresting. And there are a couple of clever little details in certain shots throughout that I thought were nice touches.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 64/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

“Gattaca” is pretty fucking great. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Gattaca” is a 9,86/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Gattaca” is now completed.

I’m gonna say it once again… Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. Write your own story.

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: La La Land (2016)

Confession time: I am not a big fan of musicals. At least not live action musicals, Disney animated musicals I have no real problem with. It’s easy for me to believe that a cartoon would burst into song and dance. A real person, not so much. So even when a musical has a lot of buzz around it, I go into them mildly skeptical. I’m not saying that I’m against musicals, just that they’re my least favorite kind of movie.

Ladies and gentlemen… “La La Land”.

Mia (Emma Stone) is an aspiring actress, struggling to get parts in movies. Sebastian (Ryan Gosling) is a jazz pianist not getting a lot of great gigs. Both live in Los Angeles, and after they run into each other a couple times they start dating. And we follow them as they through the ups and downs of their relationship and respective careers. And I thought the plot here was quite good. It follows a lot of familiar beats that we’ve seen in other romance movies, but it does it in such a charming and well written way that I don’t mind the familiar aspects of the story. It also has a very inspiring message about going for what you want and achieving your dreams. It really is a love letter to the dreamers out there in the world. And I liked that. It is overall a good plot.

The characters here are likable, charming, and fairly interesting. Mia, like I said, is an aspriring actress who wants to get her big break, but struggles to even get any part in various movies she’s auditioning for. But she keeps going even if she sometimes doubts herself. And Emma stone is great in the role. Sebastian is man who’s passionate about jazz, wanting to play it to people even though he isn’t always allowed. And Ryan Gosling is great in the role. I also want to mention that Stone and Gosling share some really good chemistry, they were really likable together. We also get musician John Legend in a supporting role here, and he actually did a good job. J.K. Simmons also shows up briefly in the movie, and while he doesn’t do a lot I’d still say that he’s great… come on, he’s J.K. fucking Simmons, he’s always great. And yeah, it’s an overall well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Justin Hurwitz, and the stuff he made here was great. It’s charming, it’s fun, it’s dramatic, it’s beautiful, and it just overall fits the movie very well. And I guess we should talk about the sung songs since this is a musical. They are incredibly catchy, and compared to a lot of other musicals, are very well inserted into the movie. In a lot of musicals there’s no good flow between normal scene and song/dance number, the stuff just happens suddenly. But “La La Land” is one of those rare cases that has good flow between scenes and songs, which I really appreciate. It also helps that the songs are great and just fun to listen to. So yeah, the music here is great.

This movie was written and directed by Damien Chazelle, the man behind the excellently excellent “Whiplash”. And he really shows what a talented director he is here. Everything has a lot of energy to it and it flows very nicely, making for an interesting watch. I do also think Linus Sandgren’s cinematography helps it out. Also, WOW look at all the colors! If you think about it, a lot of popular movies these days have a pretty drab color palette. But “La La Land” puts in a lot of color, making for one of the most pleasant viewing experiences in recent years. I also love the retro vibe that this movie has, despite it being set in modern day. The opening titles, retro. The clothing, retro. The overall style of the movie, retro. The movie is such a delight in terms of style.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 92% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 93/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10 and is ranked #134 on the “Top 250” list. The movie won 6 Oscars in the categories of Best actress (Stone), Best director, Best cinematography, Best original score, Best original song, and Best production design. It was also nominated for an additional 8 (wow!) Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best actor (Gosling), Best original screenplay, Best film editing, Best costume design, Best sound mixing, Best sound editing, and Best original song. 

“La La Land” is a really solid musical dramedy. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *La La LAAAAAAAA*. My final score for “La La Land” is a 9,77/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “La La Land” is now completed.

That was delightful… which is the exact opposite of “Whiplash”.

Movie Review: Eddie the Eagle (2016)

I would give you a clever intro that somehow relates to the movie in some way, probably something about sports. But I can’t think of anything good for it… that tagline on the picture is pretty awesome though.

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, he is… “Eddie the Eagle”.

Eddie Edwards (Taron Egerton) is a young man who’s been determined his entire life to become an olympic athlete, despite constantly messing up. And his latest olympic obesession is ski jumping, which he is determined to learn and also compete in during the winter olympics. However, he faces a bunch of obstacles as he tries his hands at it. But then he meets former ski jumping champion Bronson Peary (Hugh Jackman) who more or less starts taking Eddie under his drunken wing. And now we have our underdog story. And while the story treads a lot of familiar ground and plays it very safe, it still manages to be a fun and really inspiring. Like I said, Eddie’s athletic life has so far been a series of fuckups, but he is determined to keep on going, not caring about the overall outcome, as long as he makes it to the winter olympics… and I respect that. It’s a heartwarming and inspiring plot that had me rooting for Eddie the entire way. But like I said, this plot plays it very safe, using most of the clichés that were familiar with from other sports movies, and these are very noticeable, so I can’t give the plot a perfect score. But it’s still heartwarming, fun, and inspiring enough to get a really good score from me.

The characters in this are all entertaining and interesting. Taron Egerton plays Eddie, the young man determined to get into the olympics, damn it! Despite constant failures and people telling him he can’t do it, he powers through. And Egerton is great in the role, giving a really likable performance. Hugh Jackman plays Eddie’s coach, Bronson, a former ski jumper who is now a drunken loser. And Jackman is great in the role. We got Keith Allen as Eddie’s dad who always judges Eddie for his olympic ambitions, and while his character is a dick, Allen is great in the role. We also got Jo Hartley playing Eddie’s mom (or mum for you British people), and her character is the parent that always believes in Eddie. And Hartley is great in the role. Plenty of solid performances in this movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Matthew Margeson and it was really good. It was about as fun and inspiring as the character of Eddie, giving us a solid mix of fun tracks for lighter moments and dramatic tracks for the more dramatic moments. It also perfectly fits the 1980s setting of the movie, giving us a good amount of synth. There are also a bunch of 80s songs in here, and they all fit perfectly.

This movie was directed by Dexter Fletcher and I think he did a really good job. The shots look really good and there’s a nice, joyous energy to his directing. And I don’t mean energy in a Guy Ritchie kind of way, but that this just has some energy to it making it interesting and not dull. I don’t know how to properly explain it, you just have to try to take my word for it. Anyway, there’s also a lot of humor in this movie and it’s quite funny, I found myself laughing a good amount here.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 80% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 54/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“Eddie the Eagle” doesn’t really do anything terribly original, but it’s still a fun and inspiring movie that left a huge grin on my face. It has a good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and really good directing. The only problem I have with it is that it plays it very safe, going through a lot of the motions of a lot of sports movies. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Eddie the Eagle” is a 9,23/10. While not perfect, I’d still say that it’s worth buying!

My review of “Eddie the Eagle” is now completed.

That was a nice movie. Fun and easy to get through.

Movie Review: 127 Hours (2010)

127_hours_hd_68511-1280x720

Being stuck, something that no one likes to be. Whether it is at work or in a dark room… not very fun. Even worse if you’re stuck all by yourself… yeah.

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… “127 Hours”.

Aron Ralston (James Franco) is a young, adventurous man. He loves being outdoors, hiking and climbing. But during one of his hikes he falls into a canyon and gets his arm stuck under a boulder. So now he has to survive while also trying to find a way to get the fuck out of there. And from that we get a tense and surprisingly entertaining plot. Yes… entertaining. When watching a movie about a guy trying to survive while being stuck in a claustrophobic location, I don’t expect to be entertianed… but I was. The way this was constructed made it both tense and surprisingly fun. Keep in mind, fun… not funny. We see Ralston being stuck, documenting parts of his ordeal while also reminiscing about his life and family. Yeah, the plot of the movie was very well presented and executed.

The character of Aron Ralston is a pretty interesting one. He’s never made out to be any kind of hero in the movie, despite his impressive survivalist tactics and interesting decisions. He is more of a cocky, yet clever guy who ends up in this shitty situation and has to endure it. So he’s definitely interesting to watch. And James Frnaco was absolutely terrific in the role, perfectly capturing the likable and misforunate Aron. And while there are some supporting performances throughout the movie, none of them really stand out. But they don’t need to stand out since this movie is meant to focus on Aron. And Franco manages to hold our attention very well.

The music in the movie is really good, having a good mix of licensed stuff and original stuff. The original score was composed by A.R. Rahman and has a pretty big focus on acoustic guitar, which actually fits very well with the drama and canyon environment. It’s used very well throughout the movie and sounds pretty great overall.

The movie was directed by Danny Boyle and he did a pretty great job. The directing is very tense and very tight, which works perfectly within the claustrophobic environment that Aron is stuck in. The editing is also really good and the use of different cinematographers for different shots gives the movie a very unique feel, especially since the different styles reflect the few different perspectives we get to experience Aron’s (in lack of a better word) journey. The movie also gives us one of the most difficult to watch scenes I have ever experienced. Thsoe who have seen the movie know what I’m talking about.

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 82/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10. The movie was also nominated for 6 Oscars in the categories of Best Picture, Best Actor (Franco), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, and Best Original Song.

“127 Hours” is a harrowing but also inspiring movie with a great plot, great acting, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. AAAHHHHH! My final score for “127 Hours” is a 9,88/10. This of course means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “127 Hours” is now completed.

Franco is a very talented and likable actor, but it still feels weird saying “Academy Award nominee James Franco”.

Movie Review: Into the Wild (2007)

into_the_wild_by_e_pa3

Have you ever felt like going out on an adventure? And I don’t simply mean going for a walk in the woods, but a real adventure where you travel far, beat obstacles, and just kind of “find yourself”. I know I have. Not often since I’m a very lazy individual, but the thought has definitely crossed my mind.

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, will you please journey with me… “Into the Wild”!

Everything seems to look bright for young Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch). He has a loving family, he has a decent amount of money to his name, and he just graduated from Emory University. His future sure looks bright and full of opportunities. But then he decides to give most of his money to charity and then leave his life behind to go and live in the Alaskan wilderness. The plot jumps back and forth between his life in the Alaskan wilderness and his journey to get there. And how is the plot in the movie holding up? Pretty damn well. It’s an interesting tale, told in a very serious and honest way that just makes it all feel so real. As I was watching the movie, I got really sucked into it and almost  forgot that I was watching a movie. Yeah, I was impressed.

The people in this movie are all infiinitely interesting even though most of them get pretty limited screen time. Of course we have the character of Christopher who gets a lot of screen time, because it’s his movie. We really get to see how he evolves as a character, how he learns from his traveling. And Emile Hirsch knocks it out of the fucking park in his role. He is absolutely fantastic in this movie, perfectly capturing every emotion that would be needed for this type of character. The supporting cast is pretty great too, with impressive supporting performances from people like Mustach- I mean William Hurt, Marcia Gay harden, Vince Vaughn, and Hal Holbrook. Even Kristen Stewart is in this movie for a short while, and she was fine in her role. I don’t think any of the actors did a bad job in this movie… I’d say most of them were pretty great.

The music in the movie is an interesting thing. Some parts of the original score was composed by Michael Brook and Kaki King. But then we also have a whole bunch of tracks written and performed by Eddie Vedder, singer of the band Pearl Jam. Then we also have a few other random tracks throughout from various artists/bands. But the ones we should keep attention to are Brook/King/Vedder. And what do I have to say about it? I fuckin’ love it, that’s what I have to say. It’s such an interesting choice of music for a movie, but it somehow still works pretty damn well. Honestly, this is one of the best soundtracks for a movie that I have ever heard. Sure, I had heard parts of it prior to seeing the film, but I didn’t give it a full shot until I saw it. As music overall, it is fantastic. And as film music it is just as great.

This movie was directed by Sean Penn (Yeah, THAT Sean Penn). And he does a fantastic job with the direction of the film. He makes it all seem so real, almost like a documentary in some ways. He never shies away from showing some of the less… clean parts of the journey. It never feels fake or Hollywoodized. Also, the choice to jump back and forth between Alaska and Not-Alaska never felt forced or poorly done, Penn did a great job with the direction too. Also, the writing is really good too, with a lot of thought-provoking quotes and genuinely funny lines every now-and-then. Also, we get some absolutely stunning shots of the wilderness in this movie.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 82% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10 and is ranked #167 on the “Top 250” list. It was also nominated for 2 Oscars in the categories of Best Supporting Actor (Holbrook) and Best Film Editing.

“Into the Wild” is a very inspiring film. Yes, our main character goes through a lot of tough situations throughout his journey, but somehow he always manages to inspire by getting through ’em in one way or another. The story is very well told, the characters are interesting and very well acted, the music is fantastic, and the directing is great. Time for my final score. OWOOOOO! My final score for “Into the Wild” is a 9,90/10 which of course means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Into the Wild” has now come to an end.

Society, you’re a crazy breed
I hope you’re not lonely without me
Society, crazy indeed
I hope you’re not lonely without me