12 Films of Christmas (Final Part)

We’re finally here, guys. The final part of this silly series of mine. We’ve talked about all kinds of christmas cheer. From the obnoxiously sweet “Elf”, to the not very cheerful “Bad Santa”, to the commercialism-critiquing “A Charlie Brown Christmas”, to the explosive and and violent “Die Hard”. It’s really been fun doing this.

This whole thing started with “The Grinch”, so it will end with “The Grinch”. It’s christmastime in Whoville, and everyone in town is overly excited for the holiday. Except for little Cindy Lou Who (Taylor Momsen) who just doesn’t get what the point of it all is. Oh, and the Grinch (Jim Carrey) hates it too. So he cooks up a vile plan to steal christmas from the people of Whoville. And is this any good? It’s… okay. I’m not gonna sit here and pretend like it’s one of the greatest christmas movies of all time, but I don’t think it’s one of the worst either. The biggest problem is that it takes a classic 25-minute long story and extend the runtime while also “modernizing” it. From 25, to 140. From simple humor about stealing christmas, to weird, early 2000s humor. Ron Howard directed this, but that’s quite difficult to tell. You could’ve told me that this was directed by Jerry Generic, and I would’ve believed you. It’s more concerned with weird late 90s/early 2000s filmmaking tricks rather than being interesting or making sense. Anyway, is there anything I like about this. Jim Carrey as the Grinch. Not only is the makeup/costume amazing, but his shtick works surprisingly well… even though it’s just Jim Carrey being Jim Carrey while wearing a Grinch costume. But he’s still enjoyable in the role. Taylor Momsen as Cindy Lou Who is adorable, and her performance is good… so that’s a plus. And there are some jokes here that land. Also, I like Anthony Hopkins’ narration. Not because it’s “inspiring” or “entertaining”, but more because I imagine it being Hannibal Lecter reading the story to one of his victims, and that makes this entire ordeal a bit more fun. So yeah, “The Grinch”… it’s average.

What are your thoughts on “The Grinch”? And what’s your favorite Jim Carrey movie? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Merry christmas, happy holidays, and have a good one.

Movie Review: The Magnificent Seven (2016)

mag7

Do I really need to say something? My love of westerns has been proclaimed on this blog so many times that it should be burnt into your brains by now. So yeah… let’s review a western.

Ladies and gents… “The Magnificent Seven”!

The town of Rose Creek is being held under the boot of the villainous Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard). So it’s up to a band of badasses led by Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington) to get over there to save the town and stop Bogue. It’s a tale that’s been told a million times. The plot in this movie does nothing new in terms of drama, but I didn’t really mind. You can tell that the plot here wasn’t meant to be an epic masterpiece that would grip us with it’s impressive dramatic heft. It’s just aiming to retell a classic plot for a newer generation without pandering to a certain demographic. And I thought the plot here was realy fun and pretty well realized.

The characters in this movie are all so fun and entertaining. Denzel once again knocked it out of the park, but there was never any doubt about that… it’s Denzel, he’s awesome! Chris Pratt was very likable and fun in his role as this gunslinger who likes card tricks and also being a little bit of a jerk. Ethan Hawke was great as troubled sharpshooter Goodnight Robicheaux (actual name, I love it). Byung-hun Lee played Ethan Hawke’s sidekick/friend and he was really cool in the movie. Manuel Garcia-Rulfo played the outlaw of the gang, Vazquez, and he was really fun. Martin Sensmeier played the native American man Red Harvest, and he was a badass. Then we have Vincent D’Onofrio as the human bear, Jack Horne… how do I put it? He was really over the top… and I fucking loved it. D’Onofrio is an actor who knows how to be over the top in a role in just the right way, and that is exactly what was shown here… and he was awesome. Peter Sarsgaard was just the right amount of slimeball as Bogue, and he did it very well. And Haley Bennett was great as this determined young woman that hires Chisolm to help the town out. Overall, the cast was really good.

The music in this movie went through some interesting developments. It was originally set to be composed by James Horner, who had begun working on it before filming even began. However he sadly passed away before it could be officially finished, so the task was given to Simon Franglen to finish it. And the score for this movie is great. Tense, exciting, fun… perfectly fitting for the movie, really elevating a lot of the scenes. What was also kind of fun was that they played the theme from the original “Magnificent Seven” during the end credits. So you could say that the music in this movie was quite… magnificent (*crickets*). Jokes aside, rest in peace Mr. Horner… you did great and you are missed.

This movie was directed by Antoine Fuqua, a director I’m a bit of a fan of. And he proved once again that he is a really good director. This movie looks terrific, some of the shots actually made me go “Wow!”. Also, the action here is pretty badass. When action is happening in this movie, it is fast-paced, intense, fun, and awesome! There are a few standout moments in this movie, and those moments are two pretty badass shootouts. This movie was also surprisingly violent for PG-13. I’m not saying that there was a ton of blood and gore, but it gets pretty violent for a PG-13 movie. I’m not saying it gets quite as brutal as “Casino Royale”, but it is still pretty violent.

This movie has gotten some pretty good reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 63% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 54/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

“The Magnificent Seven” is an incredibly fun western movie. Is it a mindblowing and dramatically impressive film? No, but that was never the point of this film. It has a fun plot, great characters, great performances, great music, great directing, and great action. Time for my final score. *Quick draws envelope*. My final score for “The Magnificent Seven” is a 9,54/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “The Magnificent Seven” is now completed.

More movies like this, please.

Movie Review: Southpaw (2015)

southpaw

It’s the eye of the tiger
It’s the thrill of the fight
Risin’ up to the challenge
Of our rival
And the last known survivor
Stalks his prey in the night
And he’s watching us all with the
Eye of the tiger

Ladies and gentlemen… “Southpaw”.

Billy Hope (Jake Gyllenhaal) is boxer, and a damn good one at that. I mean the guy is the junior middleweight world champion. Well, he is that until something happens. Something that makes him lose everything. So now he has to find a way to work his as back up in life, and for that he takes help/training from Tick Wills (Forest Whitaker). And I have to say that rarely have the plot of a movie depressed me as much as “Southpaw”. Without spoiling anything, let me just say that Billy’s life goes from fine, to bad, to shit, to lowest low. And with his life falling down, so goes your emotional dominoes. That’s right, the plot made me feel like shit and I think that is a bit of a plus. I even have to admit that there were a few points where I almost teared up a bit. Sure, the story is cliché in a lot of ways, but the movie uses those clichés to it’s advantage and that is a good reason for me to like it.

I think it goes without saying that Jake Gyllenhaal is fucking phenomenal in the movie as boxer Billy Hope. Te guy has proven himself time and time again that he is one of the best actors working today and this is jsut another example of his talents. He commits to the role both physically and mentally and is perfect in the role. Forest Whitaker gives one of, if not the best performance of his in recent years. Rahcel McAdams is also really good as Gyllenhaal’s wife. 50 Cent is also in this movie, basically playing Jake Gyllenhaal’s manager and he is actually realld good in the role. In the movie we also have relative newcomer Oona Laurence playing Gyllenhaal’s daughter and I would say she gives a damn fine performance. I rarely like child performances, but she was really good in the movie. Everybody did a great job in the movie.

The score for the movie was provided by the late (and great) James Horner. It is emotional, it is a little thought-provoking and it is pretty damn good. And the use of all the licensed rap songs is perfect. Sure, if you’re not a fan of rap music then you might not enjoy them, but I liked the songs and I thought they fit perfectly.

This movie was directed by Antoine Fuqua and you notice that he was very passionate about this project. You can see how much effort he put down to make sure this movie was as well directed as possible. The overall direction is great, but where it excels is in the boxing scenes which are intense, fierce and brutal. I especially kind of love the first-person shots they sometimes do where you see the actor throw punches at the camera and you see it weave away and dodge, those shots were really cool. Here is a little fun fact for you: This movie was intended as a follow-up to “8 Mile”, this movie was even set to star Eminem. But since there were some scheduling conflicts, Eminem had to drop out and the part went to Gyllenhaal, which may or may not have been for the better.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 59% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 57/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“Southpaw” is a movie that features a pretty cliché story that actually uses the clichés to it’s advantage while also having great emotion, great acting, great music and great directing. Time for my final score. AAAAAAAHHHHHH! My final score for “Southpaw” is a 9,84/10. It gets the “SEAL OF APPOVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

Review of “Southpaw” is now completed.

Did you see how much Gyllenhaal beefed up for this? Jesus Christ.

Movie Review: A Beautiful Mind (2001)

film-a-beautiful-mind
Biographical movies are not easy to make. You have to not only have a good director, but you also need a good cast (and of course a lot of other people who know what the hell they’re doing). I am one who likes to watch a good biography every now and then. Last time I watched such a film was when I watched “Dead Man Walking”. Today we are taking a look at a biographical movie that tackles something else than a guy on death row or a gangster…this movie is about a teacher.

Ladies and gentlemen…”A Beautiful Mind”.

The movie follows the real life (with a few slightly more fictional aspects) story of mathematician John Nash (Russell Crowe). While he is a genius mathematician, he is also incredibly asocial. He is not one of those you see interacting and having fun with a bunch of friends a friday night. His only real friend is a man named Charles (Paul Bettany). But soon Nash will be pulled into some top secret cryptography work with the government. He at that point works for/with agent William Parcher (Ed Harris). This job is so top secret that he will have to keep it secret from his wife Alicia (Jennifer Connelly). Thing is…this job will turn his life around in some very strange ways. And that is all I am gonna say, becuase this movie and it’s story is magnificent. It is both dramatic, complex and somewhat tragic…which is something I adore. If I was a teacher and the story was my student, I’d give it an A+!

The characters are complex. For example, John like I said is an asocial genius…which makes him a lot more interesting. But honestly, even though he and most characters are interesting and fantastically acted, Paul Bettany steals the show. He is one who just oozes charisma and is highly entertaining to watch. He is a little bit like Sam Rockwell in “Seven Psychopaths”. But in general to the entire situation, every character is complex, interesting and…realistic. Also, the actors are doing an amazing job in this movie…especially Russell Crowe.

The music in this movie is amazing. Sure, a lot of it is the type of music you’d expect from a drama…but that is not a bad thing. The soundtrack by James Horner is beautiful (mind). And what I mean by my first statement about it being what you’d expect is that there are a lot of orchestral tracks, but also a few relaxing, calm tracks that use the piano a fair amount. There is also a little voice…thingy (can’t really call it singing, because singing requires lyrics) in a good amount of the tracks…and that is one of the things that makes it beautiful. I love it.

While the camera work offers nothing new or innovative, it still looks really good. Ron Howard knows how to make a great looking movie (Even though I already knew that thanks to “Apollo 13”, “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels & Demons”). And again…Paul Bettany stole the show…I’m sorry I repeat myself, but the truth needs to get out there. Also, this movie almost made me cry a little bit during the second half (not saying how, just saying that it happened).

The reception for “A Beautiful Mind” was good. Rotten Tomatoes has a 76% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. Metacritic has 72/100 as score. Roger Ebert gave this movie a perfect 4/4 stars. imdb.com has the score of 8,2/10 and has the movie ranked #161 on the Top 250 list.
This movie was also nominated for a total of 8 Oscars (Holy shit). And it won on 4 of them (Best Picture, Best supporting actress, Best director, best screenplay based on previously published material). The other 4 nominations were for Best Leading Actor, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup, Best original score.

The acting is fantastic, the story is complex and fantastic, music is fantastic and…FUCK IT! This entire movie is fantastic. My final score is a 9,71/10 and a recommendation to buy it…and also the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
49920178

Review of “A Beautiful Mind” is finished.

Why didn’t Russell Crowe win the Oscar for this movie!? HE SHOULD’VE WON IT!