Movie Review: Room (2015)

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Kidnapping… it’s wrong, don’t fucking do it. I really tried to come up with a clever intro, but I couldn’t. So this is what you get… “Oh hai, Mark”.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Room”.

Jack (Jacob Tremblay) is a young boy being raised by his mom (Brie Larson) in a small shed that he has lived within his entire (albeit short) life. And soon he will get to know a bit more about the world that he has never seen. And from this we get one of the most depressing yet uplifting plots that I have ever experienced in a movie. Really, it is a depressing situation that our main characters are in, but there’s some level of hope throughout the plot which gives this plot a good amount of layers to it. And I think that the plot here is very well told, even though it can be hard to get through.

The characters all have layers to them, and they all feel very real. Brie Larson was absolutely fantastic in the movie, she really gave it her all. The amount of emotions she had to portray in the movie can be difficult for a lot of actors to do convincingly, but she fucking nailed it. Jacob Tremblay… that kid is something special. I have stated a good amount of times how I am skeptical about kids acting in movies, but even I have to admit defeat sometimes. Tremblay was terrific in the movie, he really nailed the whole “Kid who’s known very little and gets introduced to so much more” thing very well. That’s really the best way I could put it. We also get some really good supporting performances through the movie from people like Joan Allen and Sean Bridgers.

The score for the movie was composed by Stephen Rennicks and it was kind of beautiful. It was one of those scores that often loomed in the background to help create a lot of emotion for certain scenes, and I think it worked very well. I also appreciate the inclusion of “The Mighty Rio Grande” by This Will Destroy You (actual band name) in a certain scene. Not only because it’s a song that I already liked, but because it was perfectly placed and actually enhanced the scene quite a bit.

The movie was directed by Lenny Abrahamson and I think that he did a great job. What I found interesting about his direction was his use of lower angles, as if he wanted the camera to be from a child’s point of view. The camera is also rarely perfectly still, there’s a good amount of movement and jitteriness (in lack of a better word) in scenes, as if the camera was a child. I think Abrahamson really wanted to capture the feel of a child’s point of view in this situation, which is something I truly appreciate about it.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 86/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10 and is ranked #134 on the “Top 250” list. The movie also won 1 Oscar in the category of Best Actress (Larson). It was also nominated for an additional 3 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best director, and Best adapted screenplay.

“Room” is one of the most emotionally draining, but also rewarding, movies I have ever seen. It has a great plot, interesting characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Room” is a 9,84/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Room” is now completed.

Yeah… Brie Larson will be great as Captain Marvel.

 

Movie Review: The Bourne Legacy (2012)

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We are now here, at the fourth part in my series of reviews leading up to “Jason Bourne” this July. For anybody new here: Over the past few months I have been watching and reviewing all of the “Bourne” movies. And at long last we have gotten to the fourth one. So let’s just get into it and see what happens!

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Bourne Legacy”.

So in this film we don’t follow the character of Jason Bourne (Matt Damon), oh no. Instead we have a new guy named Aaron Cross (Jeremy Renner) who is on the run because of reasons triggered by the previous three films. And he teams up with a female doctor (Rachel Weisz) because there needs to be a female lead. Look, I had trouble following the plot because it makes no damn sense and it’s not even really there. I’m being one-hundred percent serious guys… the plot is not good or compelling or memorable and let’s just move this shit along so I don’t start rambling too much.

Where the story happens to be lacking (a lot!), the actors kind of make up for it. Jeremy Renner does a really good job in his role as Not-Bourne. Rachel Weisz is good in her role too. Then we also get some really good supporting performances from people like Stacy Keach, Edward Norton, Joan Allen and Oscar Isaac. Sure, the characters aren’t that interesting overall, but the acting I think makes up for that pretty well.

The music for the movie was composed by James Newton Howard, who is a composer that I’m a fan of. And how was his score in this movie? Meh. It was fine for what it was trying to do, which was to be music for an action movie. But there’s no piece here that I would even dare call memorable. In the previous three films I could listen to the music and go “Ooo, that was a great tune! Oo, THAT was a great tune!”, but I never had any such moment here. It wasn’t bad, just not that great. And how was this film’s version of Moby’s “Extreme Ways”? Meh. It isn’t a bad version, but it’s not that great either.

So this movie wasn’t directed by Paul Greengrass… or Doug Liman for that matter. No, for this one they got Tony Gilroy, the screenwriter for the previous three films. And did he do a god job directing the movie? Yeah, I’d say so. It’s a pretty smooth movie, filled with a lot of really good shots. Sure, it doesn’t have the shaky intensity of Greengrass’ “Bourne” films, but it at least looks good. And the action in the movie was actually pretty good. Sure, there was never any tension in the action taking place in front of our eyes, but it was entertaining to look at. I can’t say that I found it boring at all. The word I would use though is… toothless. Like I said, there was no tension in it at all. But it was pretty fun. Don’t expect too much action though, because there isn’t too much. This is a more dialogue-driven film… although, the dialogue is pretty mediocre if you ask me… so I’m conflicted.

This movie hasn’t been that well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 55% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 61/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“The Bourne Legacy” is a bit of a mixed bag for me. While the story isn’t that compeliing or interesting, there is still some good stuff, including good acting, decent music, and good directing/action, even if it lacks tension. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Bourne Legacy” is a 7,25/10. While not that great of a movie, it’s still worth a rental.
Rent it

My review of “The Bourne Legacy” is now completed.

“Jason Bourne” is finally out in a month… what will I do until then?

Movie Review: The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

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The third part in my series of reviews leading up to “Jason Bourne”… damn, time sure has gone by quickly. I can swear that it was March like a week ago. Oh well, let’s just move on to the review.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Bourne Ultimatum”.

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) is on the run again… but this time it’s still from the CIA because he is apparently still considered a threat. But now he’s not trying so much to figure out who is trying to kill him, but he’s instead opting to figure out who he is and what he was before Treadstone. And from that we get a relatively straightforward plot with some pretty interesting turns and revelations. While there isn’t much of a “traditional” plot in this movie (much like the previous two films), the drama and suspense that is built up through Jason’s journey in the movie makes it all feel like there still is some kind of plot, and a damn good one at that.

The characters are all very shady but also very interesting. At this point I think it’s safe to say that Matt Damon is terrific as Jason Bourne, giving better performances for each movie he’s in. Julia Stiles once again plays Nicky in the movie and she’s pretty great, getting a much more physical role than in the previous movies.  Joan Allen also makes her return, once again playing Pamela Landy… yeah, she’s great. Then we get some new additions to the cast that are all very welcome thanks to the great performances we get. This includes the likes of David Strathairn, Scott Glenn, Edgar Ramirez, Paddy Considine and Albert Finney… such a great cast (that actually works) is hard to find.

John Powell once again did the music for the movie and as the first two times it’s just great. Tense, big, action-y, dramatic… just great. There isn’t much to say really considering it hasn’t been updated that much since “Bourne Identity”… still great though. Also, “Extreme Ways”… still awesome to hear it even though this is my least favorite version of the song.

Thank you, Paul Greengrass. Thank you for directing this movie because this is one of the most well made action films of the past ten years. The action is tense, it’s suspenseful, it’s quick, it’s badass, it’s exactly what one would want from a modern action flick. Sure, the action is “shaky”, but I feel like Greengrass is one of the few people who knows how t ouse shaky-cam to actually make the movie be good. Here is the example I wanna bring up: Watch the movie “Alex Cross”, then come back and watch this, that way you know how to do/not do shaky-cam. Moving on, is there anything else in the movie that works that isn’t action-related? Yeah, there is a lot. Some things were mentioned early on, so I’m not gonna talk about that shit. But I will say that there is a scene early in the movie that tells you everything you need to know without explicitly telling you what it is. The scene gives you the details you need to easily puzzle it all together and I just love that so much. It’s simple, but not in a way that doesn’t blatantly tell us that were dumb and need everything spoon-fed to us. I love it, it’s great.

This movie has gotten a lot of good reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a  93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 85/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10 and is ranked #205 on the “Top 250” list. The movie also won 3 Oscars in the categories of Best film editing, Best sound mixing and Best sound editing. 

“The Bourne Ultimatum” is another welcome addition into the franchise, featuring an interesting plot, great acting, great music, great directing and great action. It also has a relatively ambiguous ending that I like. Time for my final score. *Sings “Extreme Ways” to pass the time*. My final score for “The Bourne Ultimatum” is a 9,90/10. This as you may expect of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “The Bourne Ultimatum” is now completed.

After rewatching the movie in preparation for this review I discovered that this might be my favorite movie in the series… also, get hyped for “Bourne Legacy” next month!

 

Movie Review: The Bourne Supremacy (2004)

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Hello and welcome to the second part in my series of reviews leading up to “Jason Bourne” this July. For those who might be wondering, I have seen all of these movies before, this review series is just more of a recap of all the movies leading up to the new one. Alright… onwards!

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Bourne Supremacy”.

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) has been in hiding for a while with his love, Marie (Franka Potente). But then he gets pulled into the world of murdersassinating after a CIA operation led by Pamela Landy (Joan Allen) goes to shit. And now Bourne has to figure out what the hell is going on while trying to survive both being hunted by the CIA and a mysterious assassin (Karl Urban) who has something to do with all of this. Not gonna lie, the plot in the movie was actually very investing and very well done… but that was more in spades rather than being a consistently great plot. There were times where I felt that it maybe wasn’t that interesting, that it felt like the few middle episodes of a TV-show. You know those episodes that end up near the middle of a season, those episodes that kind of aren’t as great as the previous/later episodes. The “filler”. Don’t get me wrong, this movie has some well thought out story stuff and even a few really good dramatic bits, but I never felt as interested as when I saw “Bourne Identity”. I don’t know, I guess I’m just weird like that… not being as interested in the plot as some others, wasn’t that great I suppose.

The characters are all intriguing, interesting and fit into the movie very well. Matt Damon was once again great as Jason Bourne, maybe even giving a slightly better performance in this movie than in the first. Franka Potente (despite limited screentime) is really good. Brian Cox returns as Ward Abbott and he is great in his role. Then we also have the return of Julia Stiles as Nicky, a relatively minor character from the first movie. She does a good job. Then we have some new additions too. Let’s start with Joan Allen who plays this sort of CIA big-shot who is going after Bourne. And I will say that she is great in her role, not much else to say there. Finally we have Karl Urban as the mysterious hitman who goes after Bourne… holy shit, he is badass. Let me remind you that this is five years before “Star Trek” and eight years before “Dredd”, so this is an early example of him existing and being badass. Yeah, he’s great.

Just like in the first movie, the score was composed by John Powell. And once again he nailed it. But it isn’t just the same spy-movie stuff as in the first, there are a lot of dramatic and even tense tracks that helps elevate the movie a lot. Seriously, the score is great. And of course, the inclusion of Moby’s “Extreme Ways” is always appreciated.

This movie was directed by Paul Greengrass instead of Doug Liman who did the first movie. And while Greengrass has a much shakier style than Liman, I still don’t hate it. In fact, I kind of really like it, I feel like it really works to the movie’s benefit. While I usually want to hang myself when watching something with shaky-cam, this is a movie where it works. I feel like it makes everything a bit more intense. Speaking of intensity, the action in the movie is really intense and also really badass. There are some good fights, some good shootin’, some good chases… the action is really good.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 81% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

“The Bourne Supremacy” is a good movie. It has a good (not great, maybe a little unfocused) plot, really good acting, great music, really good directing and great action. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “The Bourne Supremacy” is a 9,35/10. While flawed, I still think that it’s worth buying.
Worth buying

My review of “The Bourne Supremacy” is now done.

Look forward to the third part in the review series, coming this May.