Movie Review: Eden Lake (2008)

Time for another Month of Spooks review, and this one is of an actual horror movie, I swear. So what’s on the table today? Backwoods stuff? Great…

Ladies and gentlemen… “Eden Lake”.

A nursery school teacher (Kelly Reilly) and her boyfriend (Michael Fassbender) decide to just get away for a bit, and decide to go on a romantic weekend at the remote area known as Eden Lake. But after they confront som loud teenagers, their romantic weekend away soon turns into hell on earth. So now we have our backwoods horror-thriller. And fucking hell, this shit is unrelenting. I mean, it’s utterly compelling and it had me in its grip from start to finish, but it was also quite an uncomfortable watch, which isn’t really a detriment to the movie, but it doesn’t make it very quote, unquote “enjoyable”. I do like that there’s a natural and believable buildup/escalation from the youths just being a simple nuisance, to shit really hitting the fan, adds some nice layering to it, perfectly building up the threat of the movie. The story is dark, bleak, unrelenting, unforgiving, and uncomfortable, and that’s what makes it as solid as it is.

The characters in this… I honestly don’t know what to say. The two mains are fairly likable, they’re not terrible, they’re decently well developed. Kelly Reilly plays Jenny, a teacher who just wanted a nice weekend with her boyfriend. She’s charming, likable, and when push comes to shove, she’s surprisingly tough and clever, but in a realistic and interesting way. And Reilly is absolutely fantastic in the role. Next we have Michael Fassbender as Steve, Jenny’s boyfriend. He’s the kind of guy who loves joking around with his girlfriend, but he’s not a dick. And I found him to be an interesting character to follow in this. And Fassbender is great in the role. And then we have a young Jack O’Connell as Brett, the leader of this gang of miscreants (to put it lightly). He’s a horrible individual, taking pleasure in the suffering of others, being an absolutely unrelenting threat to our two leads. And I found him to be a solid antagonist for the movie. And O’Connell is great in the role. The rest of the cast is rounded out by people like Finn Atkins, Thomas Turgoose, Jumayn Hunter, James Burrows, and Tom Gill, among others, and there is no such thing as a weak performance here, they’re all good.

The score for the movie was composed by David Julyan, and I barely noticed it. I mean, there were moments where I heard it, and in those moments it was good and worked well enough for the scene. But for the most part I never picked up on it… maybe I couldn’t hear it over the racing of my heart. But Julyan usually makes great stuff, and the little I did hear in this was good, so I’ll say that it was good.

“Eden Lake” was written and directed by James Watkins, and I think he did a great job. The level of intensity is impressive, and it had me on the edge of my seat for pretty much all of the runtime. It’s fucking unrelenting, just when you think you’re getting a minute to breathe, it comes right back and fucks with you some more. And that kind of intensity I think works excellently for the movie, and I’d say that it makes it quite scary in that regard. And Christopher Ross’ cinematography is really solid too, creating some pretty damn good looking shots.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 81% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 65/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

“Eden Lake” is not for everyone. But if you want an intense, uncomfortable, and brutal backwoods thriller, then I highly recommend the movie. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, good music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Eden Lake” is a 9,56/10. So it does get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Eden Lake” is now completed.

Jesus fucking Christ.

Series Review: Godless (2017)

A Netflix western miniseries? Yeah, I didn’t need any convincing to watch this. So here we go.

Ladies and gents… “Godless”.

Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell) used to be part of an infamous gang up until he betrayed them. And the gang’s leader, Frank (Jeff Daniels), wants Roy dead for that. So now Roy is hiding out in a town called La Belle, a town run entirely by women. So now we have our western plot. And with this plot they embrace pretty much every western cliché known to man… but they also put some interesting new perspectives on them to make them feel a bit more fresh. There’s a lot of good drama here that I found myself quite invested in while they still gave me some of the classic western plot points. If I had to make a comparison in plot style I’d say that this is part “The Beguiled” and part “Red Dead Redemption”. There’s the women-majority cast of the first, and the violent gang betrayal stuff of the latter. And I think it makes for an interesting mix in this show. Hell, I’d say that it’s great.

The characters here are given a good amount of time to develop and I think they’re interesting. Jack O’Connell plays Roy Goode, the former outlaw hiding out in La Belle. He has the kill-skills from his gang-days, but you can tell that he’s also a good guy who prefers to live quietly and help out. He’s a tragic character and O’Connell is great in the role. Michelle Dockery plays Alice Fletcher, the woman who is responsible for helping/hiding Goode. She’s tough, but she also shows a more vulnerable side during the show, giving her a good amount of layers. And Dockery is great in the role. Then we have Merritt Wever as Mary Agnes, one of the many women of Le Belle. She’s tough as hell, but you can tell that she’s also a sad and damaged character. And Wever is great in the role. Then we have Scott McNairy as Bill McNue, the Sheriff of La Belle and one of very few men there. He’s aging, but he’s still determined to get the job done. And McNairy is great in the role. Then we have Jeff Daniels as Frank Griffin, the outlaw in charge that Roy Goode betrayed. What I like about him is that he isn’t just a ruthless asshole kind of outlaw, but he’s given a lot of interesting sides to him. He’s damaged, he’s charismatic, he has a kind heart, but he is also an intimidating outlaw that will shoot you dead if you cross him. And Daniels is absolutely great in the role. The final one I want to go slightly more in-depth with is Whitey Winn, played by Thomas Brodie-Sangster. He’s a slightly over-confident young deputy. But they don’t go the route of making his over-confidence turning him into an unlikable idiot (which so many shows/movies do), but they show that it’s a flaw of his. But generally he is a good guy that is worth liking. And Brodie-Sangster is great in the role. And then you can expect some great performances from people like Kim Coates, Samuel Marty, Tantoo Cardinal, Sam Waterston, Christiane Seidel, Erik LaRay Harvey, Jessica Sula, and many more. Seriously, this is an incredibly well acted series.

The score for the show was composed by Carlos Rafael Rivera and it was pretty fucking great. Trumpets, strings, piano, other types of brass… seriously, this is a full-on western score emulating a lot of classic ones and it makes me so happy. And overall it is just fantastic, perfectly fitting the show and often elevating scenes throughout the show.

This show was created by Scott Frank and Steven Soderbergh, with Frank having written and directed all of the episodes. And I think he did a fantastic job with that. His direction here is sweeping, but also tight and focused when it needs to. It has a good sense of flow and style to it, while also managing to create a good amount of tension to it whenever it needs to. And let’s talk about the shooty-bang-bangs (I know they’re called shootouts, but I prefer my phrase for them). They’re badass, fun, exciting, and quite violent. There’s even a decent amount of tension in them, making them even more interesting.

This show just came out but has already been quite well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 76/100. And on imdb.com it (as of writing this) has a score of 8,5/10.

“Godless” is another win for Netflix. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/action. Time for my final score. *Bang*. My final score for “Godless” is a 9,85/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Godless” is now completed.

Part of me wants more. But part of me feels like it should stay a miniseries.

Movie Review: Money Monster (2016)

Money. An essential part of modern society. Without money we could never really do… anything.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Money Monster”.

Lee Gates (George Clooney) is the energetic host of a finance show called “Money Monster” (roll credits). One day in the middle of his show a young man (Jack O’Connell) comes in and starts waving a gun around and then forces Gates to put on a bomb vest. So now we have a hostage thriller which is linked in some ways to financial issues. And overall I thought the plot was great. The hostage stuff was tense and it made everything a lot of interesting. And while the financial aspects of the movie could get a little preachy at times, I thought it was for the most part fairly well handled. So overall the plot is good. The hostage drama is great and the commentary on finances and the stock market is pretty good.

The characters in this movie are actually pretty interesting and surprisingly fleshed out… or at least the central three are. George Clooney is great as Lee Gates, playing  him with a good amount of energy while still keeping him serious and grounded. Julia Roberts plays Patty, the director of Gates’ show and she’s basically the one who’s trying to make sure everything going as smoothly as possible. And Roberts is great in the role. Then we have Jack O’Connell as Kyle, the young man who crashes the show and demands airtime and tries to get his will through. Not only is he the most compelling character in the movie (for reasons I will not get into because spoilers), but I would say that this is the best performance in the movie. O’Connell is fantastic as this troubled young man who isn’t just doing this to be an asshole, he has reasons that you find out throughout the movie, and I honestly understood where he was coming from with it all. We also get Giancarlo Esposito as a police captain who’s trying to stop this hostage bullshit and he’s really good in the movie. Caitriona Balfe is also really good in the movie. And Dominic West also does a really solid job in the movie. So even though the central three characters are the only ones who are interesting, the entire cast gives some really solid performances.

The score for the movie was composed by Dominic Lewis and I think it’s really good. It’s overall a tense and audibly interesting score that worked very well within the movie. While it leans very heavily on electronic stuff, it still sounds really good.

This movie was directed by Jodie Foster (Yes, THAT Jodie Foster) and I have to say that she did a pretty damn good job. She has a lot of flair in her directing and she makes scenes flow very well thanks to that. And the shots overall look pretty great.

This movie hasn’t been the most well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 57% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 55/100 And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,5/10.

“Money Monster” is a surprisingly solid thriller. It has a good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing. The only real problem is that the financial aspects of the plot aren’t always the most well handled, but it doesn’t detract from the movie too much. Time for my final score. *Some jingle plays*. My final score for “Money Monster” is a 9,23/10. So even though it is flawed, I’d still say that it’s definitely worth buying!

My review of “Money Monster” is now completed.

If you’re interested in watching this, try to avoid watching the trailer.