Series Review: Altered Carbon – Season 1 (2018)

So it’s a new sci-fi series? From Netflix? Sign me up!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Altered Carbon” season 1.

In the future people have found a way to sort of cheat death by transferring their consciousness from one body to another. Takeshi Kovacs (Joel Kinnaman) is a man who gets to experience this as he’s brought back to life in a new body. And soon he’s hired to solve the murder of a very wealthy businessman (James Purefoy). And as Kovacs begins investigating this murder he soon notices just how deep and twisty this whole thing gets. So now we have our cyberpunk story. And is it any good? Yeah, it really is. Not only is it a complex whodunnit with plenty of twists and turns, but it’s also a journey of identity and life. I mean, with people more or less being able to cheat death, it’s got to lead to some interesting questions. And these explorations are quite interesting, and meshes quite well with this cerebral murder mystery. The only flaw I have with it is that it can get a little bit meander-y at times. For the most part it has a good focus on what the hell it’s doing, but there are times where the pacing meandered a bit too much. Luckily these meander-y bits aren’t too frequent, so it doesn’t kill it to much for me. So overall this is a really solid plot.

The characters here are layered, flawed, damaged, and just overall quite interesting. Joel Kinnaman plays Takeshi Kovacs, the cool guy at the center of this story. We learn quite a lot about Kovacs and his backstory throughout the season, and we see him get some decent development as it moves forward. And Kinnaman is great in the role. Martha Higareda plays Kristin Ortega, a cop that Kovacs runs into throughout the season. She’s a tough, take-no-nonsense kind of character that still shows a fair bit of vulnerability throughout, adding to her layers. And Higareda is really good in the role. Then we have James Purefoy as Laurens Bancroft, the very wealthy businessman whose murder Kovacs has to solve. And I hear you asking “How could Purefoy get any acting/character development if he’s dead?”. Simple: His consciousness got put in a new body. He is the one that hired Kovacs to solve his murder. This isn’t a spoiler, it’s something you learn very early in the first episode. Either way, his character is slightly weird and seems a bit shady and is just an interesting addition to the cast. And Purefoy is good in the role. Then we have Ato Essandoh as Vernon Elliot, a man that Kovacs runs into throughout the plot (and kind of starts working with). He’s damaged and has some things in his past that clearly trouble him, but he isn’t some broody and overly serious character, he feels fairly realistic. And Essandoh is great in the role. And the final one I want to go slightly in-depth with is Chris Conner as Poe. Poe is the manager of the hotel that Kovacs stays at throughout the season. While he is intended as a slightly less serious character than the others (often having a lot of funny moments), he still works well dramatically speaking. And Conner is really good in the role. As for the other characters in the show, they are interesting in some way, but I don’t wanna ruin it for you. But I can say that we get some really good supporting work from people like Kristin Lehman, Hiro Kanagawa, Antonio Marziale, Tamara Taylor, Adam Busch, Matt Frewer, Cliff Chamberlain, Will Yun Lee, and many more.

The score for “Altered Carbon” was composed by Jeff Russo, the man who also did the music for “Fargo” and “Legion” (two awesome shows). And once again he has killed it with the music. Sure, it clearly takes inspiration from “Blade Runner” (which we’ll get back to in a bit), but it still does enough differently to feel fresh. It’s tense, emotional, and just overall great. There are also a bunch of licensed tracks used throughout the season and they work quite well within their scenes, improving said scenes quite a bit. So yeah… this show has good music.

Based on a novel by Richard K. Morgan, this show was created by Laeta Kalogridis and written/directed by a whole bunch of people. And in terms of direction this show is excellent. The direction here is stylish and sweeping, but still tight and tense. And now we get to the bit that I alluded to before… visually speaking this has a lot of similarities to “Blade Runner”. At least when we see the skyline or follow the characters on the streets, it all looks a lot like Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic. That said, I’m not bothered by it since that seems to be the general aesthetic of cyberpunk fiction. And I just generally like it… it shows that a lot of time and love went into crafting this show. That and an obvious fuckload of money. You can really tell that Netflix went balls out with the budget, wanting to make this as extravagant as possible. The props, sets, and CGI are all absolutely fantastic. My breath was taken away at a lot of the visuals here. And the action scenes in this are all really good. They’re tense, badass, and really well choreographed. From shootouts, to melee combat, to a chase or two… the action here is really good. Oh, and violent… really violent… many gallons of blood. So if you’re squeamish you might have have a hard time watching this. There’s also a lot of nudity. So if you hate naked people, don’t watch this. But yeah, this show has some good production value.

The show just came out, but it has already pretty good reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 65% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 65/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,9/10.

“Altered Carbon” isn’t for everyone, but I sure as shit liked it. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography/action/effects. Sure, the pace meanders a little bit at times, but it’s not too bad. Time for my final score. *Pew*. My final score for “Altered Carbon” season 1 is a 9,52/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Altered Carbon” season 1 is now completed.

“Blade Runner? Never heard of it!”

Movie Review: Suicide Squad (2016)

I guess now was a good a time as any to watch this movie and review it as I didn’t last year when it came out. And I mean, I could technically use this as a sort of lead-up to “Justice League” later this month. Fuck it, moving onto the review.

Ladies and gents, what are we, some kind of… “Suicide Squad”.

When a supernatural entity threatens to wipe a lot of stuff out, Amanda Waller (Viola Davis) decides to put together a team of criminals to try to stop the evil shit. So now we have our action movie plot. So is it any good? Difficult to give a hard answer. On the one hand, unlike “BvS”, it doesn’t have a thousand plot threads that get all tangled up, making it feel a bit more streamlined. And there are some decent ideas throughout the plot, but the overall execution feels a bit weak. I was interested enough to keep watching, but I never felt truly invested in the plot in any way. The stakes were high(ish), but it never felt like that. The plot here was… eh.

The characters in this range from interesting to duller than dishwater. Will Smith plays Deadshot, the most accurate marksman in the DC universe. Out of all the characters in this, he’s given the most development, and I found myself actually kind of caring about him. And Will Smith is really good in the role. Margot Robbie plays Harley Quinn, psychiatrist turned crazy person. She’s given some decent development, and she’s pretty enjoyable. And Robbie is really good in the role. Viola Davis plays Amanda Waller, the take-no-shit-from-no-one woman who puts together this squad. And like her comic/cartoon counterparts, she’s tougher than tough and kind of badass even if some things involving her in the movie are kinda dumb. But David was great in the role. Then we have Joel Kinnaman as Colonel Rick Flag, the non-criminal member of the squad. And while they try to give him some emotional weight in this, he is quite bland and I didn’t care about him. And Kinnaman is just… fine here. Jared Leto as the god damn Joker… I see the potential in him, there are bright spots in his performance, showing that he could be a good Joker. But his rather brief appearance and less than stellar writing doesn’t exactly help him out. But overall I guess he’s fine… could’a cut him out of the movie. Jay Hernandez (who should return to “The Expanse”, please and thank you) plays Diablo, a troubled man with fire powers. He is given a decent emotional core and I thought his character was pretty interesting. And Hernandez was good in the role. Then we have Jai Courtney as Captain Boomerang. One of my least favorite actors as a character I have a hard time taking seriously. And somehow, against all odds, I actually enjoyed his appearance in this movie. He was a less serious character than some of the others, and I thought he was entertaining. So yeah, Courtney is surprisingly good in this (who’da thought?). Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje plays Killer Croc, and he gets sidelined for most of the movie… he does almost nothing here. And he’s… meh in the role, mainly due to writing/sidelining. Cara Delevingne plays Enchantress, the villain of the movie (there, I said it). She is clearly supposed to be a somewhat complex and interesting villain, but she just comes off as a dancing idiot. And Delevingne is… okay in the role. Then we have Karen Fukuhara as Katana, she’s got my back, I would advice not getting killed by her, her sword traps the souls of it’s victims. That is an actual exposition dump from this movie. And while she sounds kind of badass, she’s sidelined here. Does jack fucking shit in the grand scheme of things. So I can’t exactly comment on Fukuhara’s performance here other than saying that I think she was fine… I guess. Also, this movie waste’s a couple good actors. David Harbour, Common, Scott Eastwood, Kenneth Choi… wasted. But overall the movie is pretty well acted.

The score for the movie was composed by Steven Price and it was fine. Typical orchestral stuff with some mild electronic sounds thrown in every now and then. Not bad, not great… good. Worked decently well in some scenes, didn’t do much for others. They also used a whole bunch of licensed tracks throughout the movie, from The Animals to Skrillex. Some tracks were used pretty well throughout, actually kind of fitting the scene. Other times it feels like they chose some random tracks to throw in… strangely enough it is the tracks pertaining to my music tastes that mainly felt out of place. So overall this movie has some good music.

This movie was written and directed by David Ayer, but edited by Warner Bros. I say this because I can tell that David Ayer directed a tight(ish) and interesting action movie, and then some WB people came in and edited a lot of it. Parts feel like they’ve been cut to pieces, missing key parts. And then during certain scenes there are these weird edits thrown in that the execs probably thought were “cool”, but just came off as obnoxious and annoying. As for the action in this action movie, it’s not bad… mostly. The battle(s) in the streets aren’t mind-blowing, but they’re still pretty entertaining. The action in dark, close quarters offices were… okay, I guess. The final encounter… not very good, could barely see what was going on. So the action here ranges from good to… shit. As for humor (since they wanted to attempt that here), it is okay. Some jokes land, some don’t. The CGI in this movie is also like that. Some of it looks awesome, and some wasn’t good.

This movie hasn’t been the most well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 25% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 40/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,2/10. The movie won 1 Oscar (wut?) in the category of Best makeup and hair. 

“Suicide Squad” is… fine. It has a meh plot, okay characters, good performances, good music, good(ish) directing, weird editing, and okay humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Suicide Squad” is a 6,22/10. While heavily flawed, I’d say that it might be worth a rental.

My review of “Suicide Squad” is now completed.

Since I’m in the middle, will both sides of the argument hate me now?

Movie Review: Child 44 (2015)

Adapting a book to a film is a very serious gamble. Sometimes you can  succeed very well and get something as great as Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, or you get something as mediocre as “The Hunger Games” (That’s right, I said it). So for you aspiring filmmakers out there want to adapt something into a movie… be careful.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Child 44”.

The Soviet Union, 1953. Leo Demidov (Tom Hardy) is a member of the Russian Military police that takes on the the task of investigating a series child murders. And what follows is a tale of betrayal, redemption, and other fancy words. The basic story of this movie is actually really good and could be incredibly compelling… however, the execution of said story in this movie is not that good. I wouldn’t say that it was bad, but you can tell that the movie’s reach exceeds it’s grasp. The people who made this film clearly wanted to make the plot compelling and suspenseful, but in the end it was just kind of… meh. Which is kind of sad, because the ideas they set up here are actually good. The execution on the other hand is not that great. It’s kind of boring. I can appreciate a slowly paced movie, but the pacing in this movie is kind of shit.

The characters in this movie are decently interesting. I wouldn’t say that I was too invested in them, but they weren’t bad. Tom Hardy plays the main character Leo Demidov and actually gave a great performance. I actually did kind of care about his character, but that’s mainly because of Hardy’s great performance. Noomi Rapace played Hardy’s wife in this movie and she was good. Joel Kinnaman plays one of Hardy’s colleague in the movie and he did a really good job. His character was a bit psycho, and Kinnaman portrayed that very well. Gary Oldman is also really good in the movie, even though he doesn’t get to do too much in this. Jason Clarke pops up very briefly in this movie, and he does a really good job even though, like I said, his appearance is rather brief. We also get Fares Fares as another one of Hardy’s colleagues and he gives a really good performance. So yeah… there are a bunch of really solid performances in this movie.

The original score for the movie was composed by Jon Ekstrand and it was pretty good. While it never did anything overly unique/original, it was still well composed and fit the movie fairly well.

This movie was directed by Daniel Espinosa and he did an okay job. The shots for the most part look really good, but I think that’s more thanks to the cinematographer, Oliver Wood. There are a few action scenes in this movie and they are… okay. The main problem with them is that they are too shaky. I know that it works in “Bourne Ultimatum” (also shot by Oliver Wood), but here it just looks bad. Basically when there is no action and people are simply talking or there is some establishing shot, this movie looks great. But when action comes it turns into a shaky, quickly cut mess. Also, remember when I talked about adapting books at the beginning of the review? Yeah, this movie is based on the book of the same name written by Tom Rob Smith.

This movie has not been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 26% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 41/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,5/10.

“Child 44” is a movie that has glimpses of greatness throughout it’s entire runtime, but ultimately falls flat. It has a meh story, okay characters, great performances, good music, okay directing, and good cinematography. The things that bring it down is an uncompelling plot, characters not being the most compelling, and action scenes being shaky as shit. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Child 44” is a 6,22/10.
So it might be worth a rental.

My review of “Child 44” is now completed.

In Soviet Russia, movie watch you.

 

The new “Suicide Squad” trailer is here

Hi there, ladies and gents. As you read in the title of this post, we have got a new trailer for DC’s upcoming movie “Suicide Squad” and it is absolutely bonkers. Let’s talk about it.

Like I said, this trailer is petty fucking crazy. The first thing that everyone has/will pick up on is the fact that the trailer is set to Queen’s legendary song “Bohemian Rhapsody”. And not only is it a great song, but it is also perfectly used in the trailer with a lot of the action being set to the beat of the song. The trailer also perfectly shows off the characters while also blending in a good amount of action and a surprising amount of humor. I always assumed that the movie would have a little bit of humor to it, but I never thought we could get a movie with so much funny shit. The action looks great and I do believe that everyone will be great in their roles… yes even Jared Leto as the Joker, I think he’s gonna nail it. Everything in this trailer looks promising and I am really looking forward to it. “Suicide Squad” comes out in August of this year.
Enjoy!

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: Robocop (2014)

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Remakes are happening all the time. Some good like “3:10 To Yuma” and Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy. Then there are shit ones like the 2013 version of “The Lone Ranger”. Then we have remakes that get reviews so mixed, that they wake the interest of people even more. That recently happened for this reviewer fairly recently with a remake of one of the most undreground hits of all time…”Robocop”. So what did this reviewer think of the remake that has gotten a PG-13 rating instead of the M rating the original had.

Ladies and Gentlerobots…”Robocop”!…The remake.

In 2028, company Omnicorp has the leading grasp on robotic technology. Mostly for military needs overseas. But they want to expand it to have for police based needs in the US. But the people are not too happy about it. The guy who want to put it in the hands of cops, Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) really wants to push the idea forward. He looks for valid candidates to put this technolgy on. Mainly people who have lost limbs and been in the army and shit. But they find no good one. Enter police officer Alex James Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) who after coming home from a regular day of work and checking why his car alarm is going off an hour or so later…gets blown up. So naturally he gets picked out, his wife (Abbie Cornish) signs the papers that basically say “Yes I allow scientists to do weird robot shit with my husband” and he gets rebuïlt by Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman). So after he wakes up and stuff, he goes on a smaller rampage just because he is scared and don’t know what the hell is going on or where the hell he is. But after getting shut down and getting everything explained to him by the good Dr. Norton, he will be tasked to become the first ever…Robocop (Roll the credits…oh wait). So yeah, they did some changes to the origin story a little bit and drags the whole transformation into Robocop out until circa the 30 minute mark. Then he becomes Robocop. But changes aren’t always so bad (Except if Michael Bay makes them), they might actually help. And I feel that the dragging out until the transformation thing was kinda smart, considering it gives it a little more buildup. But they try to make the entire story thing a shit-ton more complicated which kinda takes away from the charm a little bit. And since they make it more complicated…it kinda loses its edge a little bit. Also…it’s PG-13…so no ultra violence to make it more entertaining…damn. Also, they reversed the character of Robocop a little bit. In the original, he had to learn to become more human. In this one he need to learn to be more robotic. So yeah…changes!

The characters, I’m gonna be honest are kinda jsut there to be characters and fill out space. They are not here for anything else. The only one I even remotely cared for was Alex (Robocop) since he was the main protagonist with any development. Oh wait…Dr. Norton had some too…but not as much. So the characters are not the strong suit of this movie.

The music is something I liked in this. It is exactly what you’d expect from this type of movie…techno-esque things and a few rock tracks. And I really enjpyed that. Also, minor spoiler (but still not) for the end credits. They played the song “I fought The Law” by The Clash on the end credits…and that gets some major points from me.

The special effects in this…they are honestly really good. Those are one of the few things driving this movie forward. Also the action scenes, while brief, are surprisingly well done and actually enjoyable…even if they are few and far between. And this movie looks really, really good. Good job director-guy.

Reception for “Robocop” has been very mixed. For example: Rotten Tomatoes gave this movie a 49% rating. Metacritic gave it a 52/100 rating. The things in this movie that has gotten most praise were the performances and the looks of it. But getting criticism for the lack of violence and social satire in it. And to top this off, imdb.com has given this movie a score of 6,5/10.

So I have given my opinions on the movie and is ready to throw it a score. The score for “Robocop”…the remake, is a 6,89/10 and a recommendation rent it. This movie is not bad…it’s quite good. But it is not as fun as the original.

Review is now completed.

Your move, creep!