Movie Review: The Shallows (2016)

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Shark movies! Just… shark movies! Fucking shark movies! Love ’em, hate ’em… shark movies!

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Shallows”!

Nancy (Blake Lively) has traveled to a secluded beach to gt away from some shit. But her little vacation kind of goes to shit when she is attacked by a huge god damn shark and gets stranded on a rock about 200 yards from shore. So now she’s trying to survive while the shark is swimming around in the waters around her. And now we have a confined thriller with a shark… that is a pretty great premise. And it is for the most part a tense and very entertaining plot. I say “for the most part” because the first twenty(ish) minutes drag a little bit. I came here for a shark thriller, not an MTV music video. But after those opening minutes have passed and the shark has attacked, the movie truly starts adn I thougth that stuff was really good. Not Oscar worthy, but definitely entertaining and tense.

So there isn’t really much to say regarding characters here, considering how little time they get throughout. Really, the only one we can talk about is Nancy… so let’s do that. I thought Blake Lively did a really good job in the role, she really carried the movie very well. What I also liked about the character is that she wasn’t a “Mary Sue”, but she was also not your typical damsel in distress. The stuff she did throughout this tough situation, it all felt pretty realistic (given that the situation is exaggerated for the sake of our entertainment). And I kind of lied when I said that Blake Lively was the only character worth talking about. On the rock that Black Lively is stuck on, there is a seagull keeping her company, and I honestly think it’s the best character in the movie… just had to get that out there.

The score for the movie was composed by Marco Beltrami and I thought it was really good. Beltrami tends to compose scores that I like, and this is no different. It can at times help elevate tension and it’s overall very well composed. There are also some modern, licensed tracks in the soundtrack, none of them really my cup of tea. Good thing that they’re all pretty much in the beginning during the “MTV Music Video” bit. It didn’t ruin anything for me, but I had to mention it.

This movie was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, a man whom I am a fan of. And I think he did a really good job here. The shots look terrific for the most part, and the scenes when Blake Lively is on and around the rock are all tensely directed. Not “Jaws” levels tension, but there’s still a good amount of tension throughout. And the shark is very well realized. The CG looks really good… for the most part. There are a few parts where I looked at the shark and said to myself “Wow, that looks kind of bad”. But those moments are like when we get a really close and lengthy look at the shark. But the moments when the camera was in the air and we saw the shark cruising around under the water… that stuff looked great, gave us a real sense of scale.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 77% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 59/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,4/10.

“The Shallows” is a really entertaining shark movie. It has a good plot, two good characters, a really good performance from Blake Lively, really good music, and great directing. However it is slightly brought down by those first 20(ish) minutes and a few bad CG shots. Time for my final score. *Duuuuun dun*. My final score for “The Shallows” is an 8,89/10. So I’d say that it’s worth buying!
worth-buying

My review of “The Shallows” is now completed.

Seriously, I loved that seagull.

Movie Review: Run All Night (2015)

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Liam Neeson has become quite the action star in recent years. I mean, who ever thought “God… It would be so awesome to see that guy from “Schindler’s List” do an action movie”. But ever since “Taken” in 2009, he has become one of the biggest action stars of the modern age. So let’s review another one of his action movies.

Ladies and gentlemen, I suggest you… “Run All Night”.

So in this movie we follow ex-hitman Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson) who one night kills the son of his old boss/friend Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris) to protect his own son (Joel Kinnaman). Now Jimmy and his son have one night to try to set everything straight while being chased by Sean’s mobsters, a police officer (Vincent D’Onofrio) and a hitman (Common). The idea is pretty great because it constantly keeps our heroes on the move, they can’t get any rest, they have to keep going to not die. What the plot also does pretty great is make you feel “I’m not sure if they will succeed or not”, it constantly keeps your attention with it’s suspense and and surprisingly good storytelling. Problem however is that there is at least one point in the movie where they have a few too many irons in the fire and everything becomes convoluted. But I was never bored, I was entertained by the plot through the entire thing.

You know what I was surprised by with this movie? The depth of the characters. I’m not kidding, these are some pretty deep characters. Liam Neeson doesn’t play your typical “I have a very particular set of skills” action star that you see in every movie these days, in this he is a very broken man, a drunk who’s haunted by all the deaths he have caused. Sure, he kicks a ton of ass in the movie, but he isn’t the superhero he’s been in everything else he’s starred in recently. Joel Kinnaman was also pretty great in the movie. This is probably the best I have seen him in anything (Sidenote: Keep in mind that I haven’t seen the TV-show “The Killing). He was fine in “RoboCop”, nothing else. Ed Harris was pretty great as always, I mean he is Ed Harris… he’s always great! And Common was pretty great as this professional hitman going after Liam Neeson and his son. Every actor did a great job and all the characters were interesting.

The score for the movie was done by Tom Holkenborg (Sidenote: Also known as “Junkie Xl”). And the score was pretty great, fitting perfectly in every scene it was used in and help keep the suspense/tension of the situations our heroes endured. It was also surprisingly emotional at times without feeling forced. The score overall was great.

This movie was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, the same guy who directed “Non-Stop”, also starring Liam Neeson. And this movie is very well-directed. The shots look fantastic, the movie has tons of energy & style and it is just an overall great looking movie. And the action scenes in this movie are pretty great too. They are fierce, they are brutal and they are Rated-R (YEEEEES!!!). The only action scene I had problems with was (minor spoiler) a car chase, and that was mainly because the editing was a little too choppy for me to really get invested in it. If it hadn’t had as many cuts as it had, I would probably enjoy it more than I did. All othe actions scenes are pretty great though.

This movie has been pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 60% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 59/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

Guys, I had a great time with “Run All Night” despite the plot being convoluted at times and the car chase being choppy. But I otherwise thought the plot was pretty solid, the acting/characters great, the music great, the direction terrific and the action badass and awesome. Time for my final score. Jeff, give me the envelope. Jeff, give it to me! Jeff, I have a very particular set of skills, skills that I have aquired over a very long career. Thank you! My final score for “Run All Night” is a 9,21/10. It really is worth buying.
Worth buying

Review of “Run All Night” is completed.

I don’t know if I can Run All Night.

 

Movie Review: Non-Stop (2014)

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Liam Neeson, one of the greatest actors we got (at least I think so). He truly gained fame back in 1993 with his movie “Schindler’s List” (which I have not seen yet). But a few years back he made a small turn in his career with the movie “Taken” which puts him (for the most part) these days in action movies. And now in 2014, he made another one…set on a plane.

Men and women, boys and girls…”Non-Stop”.

Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) is a drunken(ish) air marshal who’s going on a transatlantic flight. On that he meets a woman named Jen Summers (Julianne Moore) whom he befriends. But while on the flight, something weird happens. He starts receiving these mysterious text messages from an unknown (Liam Neeson pun, haha) person. This person says he/she will kill one passenger on the plane every 20 minutes if Bill fails to transfer 150 million dollars to a certain bank account. So it’s a race against the time to find this mysterious person until every passenger on the plane is dead. But there seems to be more going on than that. And now we have our movie. And I have to say that I really enjoyed the story aspect of this movie. Not only was it well-written, but it was also very suspenseful. And to be honest, this movie is not straight-out action, but it is a bit like “Jack Reacher” in the sense of it being a suspenseful mystery with action parts every now and then. And in that sense…I really liked the story.

The characters…not the best in the universe. Not calling them bad/horribly written…just not too interesting. But it is also difficult to give different characters interesting personalities when they are so many. Sure, a few get a little development, but not enough to keep them that interesting. But we are not here to see people, we’er here to see Liam Neeson…and he delivers. Sure, he stays very similar throughout the movie with little to no change…but I don’t mind. Neeson gives a good enough performance to stay interesting.

The soundtrack by John Ottman is honestly pretty great. It is one of those soundtracks that fit it’s movie so well that it doesn’t matter what I say. It really helps build the suspense of the scenes in the movie. It is also not a too bombastic soundtrack like most modern action movies want to make their soundtracks, but it is a lot mroe subtle than a big ol’ “BWAAAAAAAAAH”. So yeah…I really liked it.

The camera work in this movie is honestly some of the best I’ve seen in a modern movie. Sure, a few parts are hurt by shaky-cam, but it doesn’t ruin the entire movie. Sure, the camera work is not really on par with any David Fincher movies, but it manages to hold it’s own against most other movies. Also, this movie kept me on edge. The claustrophobic feeling it gave really helped build the suspense and really did keep it fresh and interesting. Seriously… try to find a modern action movie that can keep me on edge… that is difficult. Also, this movie was produced by Joel Silver who also helped produce the “Matrix” films and “Die Hard”.

Reception for “Non-Stop” was mixed but for the most part pretty good. It has a 60% score on Rotten Tomatoes at the moment. On Metacritic it has the lovely score of 56/100 (Did you see the sarcasm, or did it just fly by). And on imdb.com it has a 7,1/10. So like I said…mixed, but overall good.

“Non-Stop” is a movie with good action scenes, good acting, great camera work and a good soundtrack but is dragged down a bit by lack of characterization and a little bit of unnecessary shaky-cam. So now it is time for my final score. The final score for “Non-Stop” is an 8,92/10 and a recommendation to buy it. It is not worthy the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!” but it is somethign that is good enough to pick up.

“Non-Stop” is now reviewed.

Where’s Leslie Nielsen when you need him? (Bonus points if you get the reference).