Movie Review: Unhinged (2020)

On the Crowe again, just can’t wait to watch Russ Crowe agai- Oh hi, didn’t see you there. Uuuuuhhhhh… let’s talk about Russell Crowe road movie.

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “Unhinged”.

After she has an altercation with a man (Russell Crowe) while in traffic, Rachel’s (Caren Pistorius) day turns into a living nightmare as the man begins stalking and terrorizing her. What I like about the story in “Unhinged” is that there’s no pretense of greatness here. At first glance it’s a popcorn thriller, and upon further inspection, still a popcorn thriller. And that is sort of the story’s biggest strength, as it’s just 80 minutes of relentless tension, Crowe chasing Pistorius around, wreaking havoc. It makes it a bit of  a breeze to watch.

The characters in this are fine. Rachel, our leading lady hasn’t really been given much in terms of personality, but what little there is works well enough to make me root for her, and I think Caren Pistorius does a really good job with the material. Now, let’s talk about the man… that’s how he’s listed in the credits, so don’t blame me for the vagueness. Anyhow, Russell Crowe is fucking terrifying in this. Just an unhinged, surprisingly calculating psychopath that I never really knew what to make of. He’s just a mysterious agent of chaos, and Crowe’s performance is absolutely fantastic. Anytime he was on screen, he was electrifying. Supporting cast’s solid too, limited though their screentime may be. Gabriel Bateman, Jimmi Simpson, Austin P. McKenzie, Juliene Joyner, they’re all good.

Score for the movie was composed by David Buckley, and I really liked it. Nice mix of electronic sounds with a few regular instruments every now and then, helps to add nicely to the tension throughout. Sure, it’s not the most groundbreaking of scores, but it worked well for this movie. So yeah… good stuff.

“Unhinged” was directed by Derrick Borte, and I think he did a really good job behind the camera. Action scenes are well shot and feature some really gnarly stunts and even grisly violence at times that really add to the intensity of the movie, making the danger of the situation and Crowe’s character feel all the more visceral. Borte really knew how to make the most out of the premise and out of Carl Ellsworth’s script, crafting some really suspenseful scenes that never really let up until the credits.

This movie’s been pretty mixed in its reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 48% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 40/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.0/10.

Is “Unhinged” one of the greatest movies ever? No. But if you’re like me and you like brisk, tense, pulpy thrillers right out of the 90s, then I can easily recommend it for a rainy afternoon. It has a fun story, okay-ish characters, great performances, really good music, and really good directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Unhinged” is a 7.88/10. So I’d say it’s worth a rental.

My review of “Unhinged” is now completed.

Vroomssel Crowe

Series Review: Hap and Leonard – Season 1 (2016)

Adapting books to screen is really difficult. Doesn’t matter if it’s movies, TV, or video games… there’s nothing easy about adapting books. So I have some respect for the people atempting it even if it seems like something that would be impossible to translate to screen.

Ladies and gents… “Hap and Leonard” season 1.

Texas, late 1980s. We follow Hap (James Purefoy) and Leonard (Michael Kenneth Williams), two best friends. One day a woman named Trudy (Christina Hendricks), who turns out to be Hap’s old flame, shows up. The main reason why she’s there is because she wants their help (or at least Hap’s) to find some money that have been more or less lost for years. So now we have our caper. And it’s quite a good one. It has a very offbeat feel which makes it stand out compared to a lot of other crime shows of a similar nature. It’s also fairly unpredictable, suspenseful, and overall enjoyable. The only flaw I have is that the pacing in the first few episodes wavers a bit. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it’s definitely worth pointing out. So overall I’d say that the plot here is really good, with a few pacing issues mildly hurting it.

The characters here are fun, interesting, and very entertaining. Hap is this ex-con trying to live a quiet life, but his plans takes a bit of a turn when Trudy comes to town(?). And James Purefoy is really good in the role. Leonard is a black, openly gay, Vietnam vet, trying to life a quiet enough life, working, and hanging out with his best friend. And Michael Kenneth Williams is great in the role. Purefoy and Williams share a very likable chemistry, their banter and general dialog feels natural. Trudy, as previously mentioned, is an old girlfriend of Hap and it basically the reason for the plot happening. She’s sexy, smart, and pretty tough. And Christina Hendricks is really good in the role. Bill Sage plays a man named Howard, this hippie-esque character that is involved in finding this lost money. And Sage is really good in the role. We also have Jimmi Simpson and Pollyanna McIntosh as this crazy couple that shows up in town(?) and starts causing trouble. They’re a total wild card in this and they’re quite fun. Jimmi Simpson especialy, he totally stole every scene he was in. But both he and McIntosh were great in their roles. Really, this is overall a very well acted season of TV.

The score for the series was composed by Jeff Grace, and I think he did a great job here. This is another example of his versatility as a composer. He’s done the music for a couple movies that I’ve covered on this blog before, so I already knew that he could tackle several genres, making something that totally fits the piece of media he composes it for. And “Hap and Leonard” is no exception, he made a score that in some tracks works well for the rural Texas setting, and some tracks that fit the crime-drama side of things. And it all sounds great. There are also some licensed tracks use throughout the seaosn, and they’re used quite well. So yeah, this season has some great music.

This show is based on a series of novels by author Joe R. Lansdale, and was created by Jim Mickle & Nick Damici. Now, if those two names sound familiar, then you’ve been on my blog before. I’ve talked about movies they’ve been involved in (“Stake Land”, “Cold in July”, “Late Phases”) on this blog. Anyway, they also wrote the episodes, and Mickle directed a couple of episodes. And overall it is a very well directed show. The direction is tight and really helps make it feel fresh and tense. It’s also a good looking show. The show also has an element of dark humor to it that I think really helped it out quite a bit. Also, beware of bloody violence… just thought I’d mention that in case any reader out there is squeamish.

This show/season ha been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 87% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“Hap and Leonard” season 1 is a fun bit of crime television. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. My only flaws with the season are those previously mentioned pacing issues, but even they aren’t too bad. Time for my final score. *Y’all*. My final score for “Hap and Leonard” season 1 is a 9,11/10. So while slightly flawed, I’d say that you should watch it!

My review of “Hap and Leonard” season 1 is now completed.

If you’re looking for a binge-worthy show, this is it. Not only is it good, but it’s only six episodes, so it’s easy to binge through!

Series Review: Westworld – Season 1 (2016)

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It is no secret at this point that I love westerns, I’ve stated it a few too many times on this blog… and on twitter… and in real life. So I always get a bit excited when a new western gets announced. Movie, TV show… doesn’t matter, just give me a western.

Sirs and ma’ams, welcome to… “Westworld”.

Welcome to “Westworld” (roll credits), a giant theme park made to resemble the old west. This park is filled artificial beings called “hosts”, and if you’re in the park you can practically do whatever you want to them. Kill, beat up, fuck… any of it. And everything it seems to be going pretty well here. However, things soon seem to be going a little bit haywire. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that because there’s a lot of things going on here and I don’t really wana spoil any of it. But I will say that the plot is intriguing, dramatic, and overall really entertaining. And it gets even deeper and more mind-blowing as the season goes on. And I fucking loved it.

The characters in this show are all very interesting and get more and more layers as the season went on. And the actors they got for the show portrayed it all very well. To try to stay as spoiler-free as possible I’m just gonna list some of the main players in the show because they were all great and talking more in depth about them might acidentally spoil some stuff. But we did get some great acting from Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris, Anthony Hopkins, Jimmi Simpson, Ben Barnes, Luke Hemsworth, Rodrigo Santoro, and Angela Sarafyan… among a fuckload of other actors that did great work here!

The music in the show was composed by Ramin Djawadi and he gave us some pretty damn great tracks, The main theme is of course a standout for me, it is absolutely fantastic. And the rest of his original tunes were pretty damn great too. Exciting, hanting, and dramatic are just a few of the words I’d use to describe it. What I also kind of enjoyed is that there were some musical covers in the show that I didn’t expect. I’m not gonna say what they are, but you will most likely go “Hey, I know that song!” when you hear it. I know I did.

This show was brought to us by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy (Nolan’s wife), and was co-produced by J.J. Abrams. And what they have given us here is pretty great. The writing is superb and the directing is just as great. The shots look fantastic and scenes flow very well. And whenever there’s a bit of action it is exciting and badass. I also wanna add that this is an HBO series, so expect lots of violence and nudity. If you have a problem with those things then you might not have a great time with this show. Though I’m sure most people that read my blog aren’t really wimps like that. Also, fun fact: This show is based on an old movie that was written and directed by Michael Crichton (the brain behind “Jurassic Park”).

This show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100.  And on imdb.com it has a score of 9,2/10 and is ranked #16 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

All I can say is that “Westworld” is a fucking amazing show. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, great writing, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Bang!* My final score for “Westworld” is a 9,90/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Westworld” season 1 is now completed.

Wait… HOW LONG UNTIL SEASON 2!? 2018!?