Movie Review: Wonder Woman: Bloodlines (2019)

Sorry for the lack of posts so far this month. Been hit with a weird case of apathy. But hopefully will get back on track soon enough. So to try to get things back into gear, let’s go into one of my most talked about subjects here on the blog: DC animated movies.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Wonder Woman: Bloodlines”.

Wonder Woman (Rosario Dawson) has to face her toughest challenge yet when several of her villains team up to pull off an evil, potentially world-threatening scheme. All the while a young woman she saw grow up (Marie Avgeropoulos) starts turning towards the dark side. So now we have our big, sweeping tale of heroism and family drama and I’m being totally facetious, this plot holds together like wet cardboard and paper glue. There are decent ideas here that could make for a solid superhero plot… but the way it’s stitched together doesn’t quite work. Allegedly emotional moments get a disinterested/sarcastic “Oh no, not that person” from me. So yeah, unfortunately I didn’t find the plot that engaging, which is sad, because there are decent ideas presented throughout.

The characters in this, like with the plot, have good ideas to them, but in execution just end up… meh. The one that I probably cared about most was the titular princess of Themyscira. She’s kind, she’s tough, she’s… Wonder Woman. And Rosario Dawson gives it her all in voicing her. Then we have Jeffrey Donovan playing Steve Trevor, sidekick and love interest. He’s all quips, all the time. I like quips… but it doesn’t quite work here, because there’s nothing else there, no other trait than “Spew quip”. Which means Donovan doesn’t have much to work with. The other actors in the movie, including Marie Avgeropoulos, Kimberly Brooks, Michael Dorn, Courtenay Taylor, Adrienne C. Moore, and a bunch of other people, they all give good performances… even if the writing leaves a bit to be desired.

As with a lot of other DC animated movies, the score for “Wonder Woman: Bloodlines” was composed by Frederik Wiedmann, and as per usual, it is great. Big and epic, somber and emotional, mysterious and intriguing, his score captures all the emotions and such one would require from a big superhero adventure… however, a great score does not a great movie make.

Based on the iconic DC Comics character created by William Moulton Marston, “Wonder Woman: Bloodlines” was directed by Sam Liu and Justin Copeland. And this teamup isn’t great. Look, the animation itself is really frickin’ good, highly detailed and really fluid. But as with the plot and characters, something feels a bit off. The action isn’t as well crafted as some other DC animated efforts, and there’s something weirdly bland about shot composition in most scenes. Such a mixed bag in this department.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,8/10.

I wanted to love this… but unfortunately I didn’t. It has a not good plot, meh characters, good performances, great music, and meh direction. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Wonder Woman: Bloodlines” is a 4,50/10. So unfortunately I have to say that I’d recommend skipping this.

My review of “Wonder Woman: Bloodlines” is now completed.

When I envisioned my return to the blog, I thought it’d be something grand and joyous… but now I’m just sad.

“Sicario 2: Soldado” trailer.

Hello there, ladies and gents. Time for some trailer talk. So here we go.

So we have our first trailer for “Soldado”, the sequel to 2015 thriller “Sicario”. So in this one we see Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) once again bringing in his contact Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro) to take care of business. But it seems like it’s less about cartel people this time, and more focusing on terrorism. And it looks like it’s much bigger than the first movie, going for a more explosive route. I loved “Sicario”, it’s my favorite movie of 2015, mainly due to the direction from Denis Villeneuve. I guess the actors were great too, and the cinematography and music were great, but it was Villeneuve who clearly brought the most to it. But instead of Villeneuve, this movie was directed by Stefano Sollima, an Italian director whose work I am not familiar with. But do I think this movie looks good? Kind of. It seems to lack the subtlety and dread of “Sicario”, but it still looks like it could be interesting. I’m hoping that Taylor Sheridan’s writing is good enough to shine through and make it a good movie. “Sicario 2: Soldado” is set to be released in June of 2018.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for “Soldado”? And what did you think of “Sicario”? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer.

Movie Review: Shot Caller (2017)

Don’t commit crimes, kids. It’s bad for you.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Shot Caller”.

Jacob (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) used to be a successful businessman, but that started changing after getting thrown in jail because of a DUI. And he soon starts getting involved with the gangs inside of the prison, turning him from a successful business person and loving father, to a stoic and ruthless gangster. And I thought the plot here was pretty good. It’s told in a semi-non-linear way, in that it jumps between past (ending up in jail) and present (out of jail) and shows how Jacob changes over that time, and I thought that was quite interesting. And overall there is some decent tension throughout the plot, as well as some pretty good dramatic moments spread throughout. My problem with it is that I felt like the pacing dragged at times. I’m fine with a movie that can move at a somewhat slower pace, but this at times just decided to drag it’s feet rather than move at a decently steady pace. It’s not a constant ass-drag, but it is noticeable in parts. So overall the plot here is pretty good.

The characters here are pretty good. Some more interesting than others. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays the main character Jacob (or Money as he’ll be known as later). Seeing his progression from good-natured businessman and loving father to this cold and ruthless gangster is endlessly fascinating. And you can tell that even when he’s become this cold gangster, he’s a bit conflicted, like there’s still good in him. And Coster-Waldau is great in the role. Then we have Jon Bernthal as a guy called Shotgun, one of the gang members that Jacob gets to know. As the movie goes on we get to know some interesting things about him that makes him feel a bit deeper than a lot of other ones in the movie. And Bernthal is great here. Then we get Emory Cohen as Howie, a young man who’s part of Jacob’s gang. And he gets some interesting development here. And Cohen is really good in the role. Then you get some really solid supporting performances from people like Omari Hardwick, Evan Jones, Benjamin Bratt, Lake Bell, Jeffrey Donovan, Holt McCallany, and many more. ’tis a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Antonio Pinto and I have mixed feelings about it. There are some great tracks here that are very well composed and work to elevate the scenes that they’re used in. But then there are some tracks that aren’t particularly well composed and feel distractingly out of place in certain moments. So at best I guess the score could be summarized as okay.

This movie was written and directed by Ric Roman Waugh and I think he did a pretty good (there’s that phrase again) job with it. Scenes have a decent flow and have a decent amount of tension to them. And while this isn’t an action movie, when the shit does hit the fan it is badass, exciting, and violent as fuck. And the cinematography from Dana Gonzales looks good.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 67% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 59/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“Shot Caller” has flaws, but it’s still a good movie. It has a pretty good plot, pretty good characters, great performances, okay music, and good directing/cinematography. My flaws are that the pacing drags at times, and some of the music is kind of distracting in how it doesn’t always work. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Shot Caller” is an 8,51/10. While flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Shot Caller” is now completed.

They might as well rename it to “Cops, Crooks, and Facial Hair”.

Series Review: Fargo – Season 2 (2015)

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Some of you people might remember that I had seen and reviewed the first season of this show a while back. If you remember that you probably also remember that I absolutely loved it. So of course I was excited about seeing season 2… and here we are, finally reviewing it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the second season of… “Fargo”.

The year is 1979, that’s right, this season is more or less a prequel to season 1. Like I said in my review of the first season, this is an anthology show. Now that we got that part cleared let’s move on to this season. And in it we follows Minnesota state trooper Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) as he is drawn into an investigation involving a local crime gang, the mafia and a local couple (Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst). And it all of course is a huge mystery filled murder, deception and most other things you’d expect from this show if you’ve seen the first season. And there is no reason to either lie about it or postpone it anymore… I think the plot of the second season is great, as good as the first season even. I would even say that I might’ve enjoyed this season even more than the first one. The mystery is bigger and even more bizarre. It’s intriguing, entertaining and really well told.

While the plot is great on it’s own, it would be nothing without the characters, that is a fact that works for most pieces of media. With that said, holy shit the characters are amazing! They are all very interesting, colorful and all get time to shine. Patrick Wilson knocks it out of the park as Lou, which I didn’t have much of a doubt about since I love him as an actor. Ted Danson plays a sheriff and Lou’s father-in-law and he’s as great as ever. Jesse Plemons, you have shown me once again what a terrific actor you are. First “Breaking Bad”, now “Fargo”… I can’t wait to see what awesome thing you’ll do next. Kirsten Dunst, holy shit, this is the best she’s been in years. Jeffrey Donovan plays an unlikable asshole in this show, but that’s okay because his performance overall is terrific. And there are a whole bunch of otehr great actors/performances/characters in this show that I will not get into because I would be here all day. But yeah… it’s all great.

Just like in the first season we got Jeff Russo to do the score for the show. And once again it is great. It manages to create a lot of tension, a lot of suspense, a lot of drama and it is just awesome to listen to. There is also a lot of otehr tunes here that are not composed by Russo. What I mean by that is that there are a lot of licensed tracks and not only do they fit the scenes they are used in, but they are songs that I really enjoyed listening to. As someone who listens to a lot of 70’s/80’s music, this soundtrack was pretty much made for me. Especially in the last few episodes, those had some of the best tunes in show in my opinion. Yeah… this season had great music.

Season 2 takes the directing of season 1 and ramps it up to fuckin’ eleven. It’s quicker, it’s snappier, it’s even more stylish than the first season. It’s also even more violent, good grief. Yes, season 1 was pretty damn violent, but wasn’t this violent. It also didn’t have as much violence and brutality and blood/gore as this season. Not that the extra violence takes away from the show, I would amost say that it is one of the things keeping the show as interesting as it is in combination with the story and characters ‘n’ shit. The pitch black humor also makes a triumphant return in this season and as someone who loves pitch black humor to no end I actually laughed at some pretty dark stuff. No wonder I never get invited to parties…

This season of the show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% (holy shit) positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 96/100. And while imdb doesn’t have season-based averages, the show does have a score of 9,0/10 and is ranked #23 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

The second season of “Fargo” took what season 1 did right and improved upon it. I thought the story was even better, the characters more entertaining/great (though I miss Billy Bob Thornton), the soundtrack absolutely fantastic, teh directing/action fantastic and the violence/humor great. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Fargo” season 2 is a 9,90/10. I love it and it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Fargo” season 2 is now completed.

So… Ewan McGregor next season then!

Movie Review: Sicario (2015)

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The war on drugs is one that I would dare call a neverending story. Take one distributor down, another will pick up the torch. And that is how it’s gonna go forever until the world gets swallowed by the sun. Although I have to admit, it is fun hearing about law enforcement actually succeeding in taking down big drug lords.

Ladies and gents… “Sicario”.

Kate Macer (Emily Blunt) is an FBI agent who have been hired by the government to work with a special task force to try to find ways to take down some big Mexican drug cartels. And at the forfront of this task force we find it’s leader Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) and the mysterious Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro). So now we get to see Kate work with these men to find a way to take down these cartels while also experiencing some intense shit. And I absolutely loved the plot of this movie. Sure, it’s quite a simple and not too original idea, but the execution of it is absolutely outstanding. The plot has a lot of suspense which makes for an interesting watch, but it also presents a few pretty great plot twists along the way that I didn’t see coming. I really loved every part of the plot of this movie.

The characters all have several layers to them and they’re all very interesting. Emily Blunt is absolutely fantastic in the movie. The longer her career goes on, the better she seems to get. There are so many little nuances to her performance that just make it all the more impressive. Josh Brolin plays what I would call the team leader of this task force and he’s excellent in the movie. What is so interesting too is that he brings a bit of levity to the movie without it feeling forced and terrible, his humor works in the movie. And then we have Benicio Del Toro…. Del Toro is fucking fantastic in this movie. Throughout the movie you don’t know much about him as a character, and that is what makes him so interesting. And Benicio’s performance just makes it so much better because of how great he is in this movie. We also get some really good supporting performances from actors like Victor Garber, Jeffrey Donovan, Jon Bernthal and Daniel Kaluuya. There is no such thing as a bad performance in this movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Jóhann Jóhannsson and I would say that it’s pretty amazing. It’s heavy, intense and dark. A lot of times throughout the movie it helps to build tension and even make the scenes a bit disturbing because of the style of the score. But that’s jsut a great thing because it then evokes some kind of emotional response from the viewer.

The movie was directed by Denis Villneuve who also made the movies “Prisoners” and “Enemy”, two movies I really loved. So you can see how I had pretty high hopes for this movie in terms of directing. And my expectations were met because this is one of the most well directed movies of the year. And thank you so much, Mr. Vileneuve for bringing back Roger Deakins to do the cinematography because the movie looks absolutely amazing. A good example I can give that doesn’t spoil anything are the nighttime scenes which actually look like it’s nighttime. You know how in movies people’s faces are all lit up in an unnatural manner as if there were studio lights there? Well there is none of that bullshit here, this shit looks real. Remember that extreme tension I mentioned early on in the review? Yeah, that also translates into the action scenes in the movie and that makes the scenes as terrific as they are. And the gunshots all sound pretty real too, kind of like in a Michael Mann movie. I also have to mention that “Sicario” is a lot like “Se7en” in a few scenes. And what I mean by that is that you get to see some fucked up shit that will make you sick to your stomach if you’re a normal person. So yeah… don’t eat anything when watching this movie.

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 81/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10.

“Sicario” is a drug bust movie with a great plot with some unexpected twists, interesting characters & fantastic acting, a fantastic score, excellent directing, gorgeous cinematography and some fantastic “edge of your seat” tension. TIme for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Sicario” is a 9,90/10. It most certainly gets the one and only “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Sicario” is now completed.

Well… I guess Benicio is cool again.