Movie Review: Solo – A Star Wars Story (2018)

Hey, finally a non-christmas movie. Nice to have a bit of variation. Anyway, let’s go on a space adventure, you scruffy looking nerf herders.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Solo – A Star Wars Story”.

The story follows Han (Alden Ehrenreich), a young and determined guy who wants nothing but to get out of the shitty slum life he’s been part of his entire life. And such an opportunity presents itself when he joins a crew of space scoundrels who have been tasked with delivering a very valuable fuel resource to a notorious gangster. So now we have our “Star Wars” prequel. And while the plot here isn’t anything special, I found it to be a bit of fun. As a big fan of “Firefly” and “Cowboy Bebop”, I have a soft spot for these kind of ragtag space misfit stories. In it’s entirety, the plot is just fine, not something I’d put among the all-time greats. But it’s a fun and fast-paced space adventure, and I don’t mind that.

The characters in this are likable, somewhat interesting, and quite entertaining. Alden Ehrenreich plays the young version of Han Solo. In this, Han isn’t quite the jaded smuggler that we know him as in the older movies, but we see hints of that here as he enters the scoundrel life. He’s quite a fun protagonist. And I thought Ehrenreich was really good in the role, he definitely had a lot of that sly charm one would expect from the character. Next we have Woody Harrelson as Beckett, the guy that Han starts working with who sort of becomes his mentor. A hardened badass with a lot of charisma, he’s quite an enjoyable character. And Harrelson is great in the role. Next we have Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra, childhood friend and love interest of Han. And that’s all I’m gonna say, because any further details would technically be spoilers. But she’s an okay character. And Clarke is pretty good in the role. Donald Glover plays the young version of Lando Calrissian, the smoothest son of a bitch in the galaxy. Not much else to say, he’s a smooth-talking, tricky, and clever guy who could charm his way into the heart of a mountain. And Glover is really good in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Joonas Suotamo, Thandie Newton, Paul Bettany, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Jon Favreau, and more, all doing well in their respective roles (even if one or two of the characters is less than well-realized).

The score for this movie was not composed by the one and only John Williams. Instead it was done by John Powell. And while there are some familiar themes used throughout, he still brought a lot of his own stuff to it to create one of the best scores of the year. I’m not just saying that because of my love for any piece of “Star Wars” music, he brought his fucking A-game on a fair bit of the tracks here. Yeah, the music here is great.

This movie was directed by Ron Howard, and I think he did a really good job with it. He manages to work with a lot of the typical “Star Wars” visual stylings, while also bringing in some stuff of his own, and even a little bit of old school western. The movie is just well shot and has a nice overall flow here that makes it a joy to watch. And the action here too is a lot of fun. Some good shootouts, a nice fight or two… there’s just a lot of fun to be had with the action here. And I don’t think I need to say anything about the visual effects at this point… it’s fuckin’ “Star Wars”, y’all know that stuff is gonna look great.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 70% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 62/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

While not anything special, “Solo – A Star Wars Story” is a damn fine space adventure full of charisma and fun. It has a pretty good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and really good directing/action/visual effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Solo – A Star Wars Story” is an 8,86/10. So I’d definitely say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Solo – A Star Wars Story” is now completed.

You know what another title for this movie could be? Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. *Ba-dum-tss*.

Movie Review: Green Zone (2010)

*Ron Perlman voice activated* War… War never changes. *Ron Perlman voice deactivated*.

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to enter the… “Green Zone”.

Baghdad, 2003. Roy Miller (Matt Damon) is a US soldier that has been sent to find weapons of mass destruction within the unstable and war-torn city. However, the information he’s been given seems to lead him to jack shit every time. And soon Miller finds himself more or less uncovering a bit of a conspiracy regarding why they are actually in Iraq. Sounds like a really cool plot, kind of “Bourne” meets “Black Hawk Down”. And how is the plot here? Eh. I wouldn’t call it bad, I never sat there going “This is shit”. But it’s easy to see that they are trying to be really deep and have this be an incredibly engaging plot, but I honestly think they missed a bit. Like I said, it’s not bad, but I think that it isn’t as great as it tries to be.

The characters in this movie are bland and not too interesting. Sure, they try to give a few of them some backstory, but I never thought “Wow, this is a great character!”. Matt Damon is great as Miller. He is a somewhat likable badass. And by likable I mean that he’s not a total asshole. And Matt Damon clearly gives it his all. Greg Kinnear plays intelligence agent Clark Poundstone (actual name) and he was really good in the role. Brendan Gleeson plays CIA agent Martin Brown and he’s great in the role. Amy Ryan plays a Wall Street Journal reporter in the movie and she was really good. We also get Jason Isaacs (sporting a bitchin’ mustache) as a soldier and he’s really good. The entire cast is really good even though their characters aren’t the most interesting.

The score for the movie was composed by John Powell and it was really good. It’s very tense and exciting and helps elevate a lot of the scenes in the movie. It’s basically styled in a similar way to Powell’s “Bourne” scores, minus some of the more spy-ish elements. And it’s really good.

This movie was directed by Paul Greengrass and he did a pretty solid job. His signature intense handheld style is alive and well in this movie and it really brings something to certain scenes in the movie… mainly the action scenes. Because even though some of the moer talk-y scenes in the movie ar emore on the meh side of thigns, the action scenes are badass. When the bullets start flying, this movie is really exciting. The action is really intense and badass.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 53% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 63/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

“Green Zone” is a pretty good action-thriller. It has an okay story, meh characters, really good performances, really good music, and really good directing. But since it’s story isn’t the most engaging and the characters not the most interesting, it is brought down a bit. Time for my final score. *Bang*. My final score for “Green Zone” is a 7,89/10. So even though it’s flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth renting.

My review of “Green Zone” is now completed.

*Insert clever outro here.*. 

Movie Review: Jason Bourne (2016)

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People… we’re finally here! The long awaited release/review of the fifth “Bourne” movie. As some if not most of you may know, this has been my most antipcipated movie of the year. And with that I reviewed every movie in this franchise (I highly recommend you checking them out #ShamelessPlug) over the past few months, had a lot of fun doing that. But now it’s time… the main act, the reason we are here, the other synonymous phrase that could be put here!

Ladies and gentlemen, you know his name… “Jason Bourne”!

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) has been in hiding since the end of “Bourne Ultimatum”. But now he has to come out of hiding to be able to find out more about his past. While all of this is going on, there is a plot by CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) to use a new social media platform to monitor people in the name of “national security”. So there’s kind of a debate going on throughout the movie on freedom vs. safety. And while the whole social media thing felt a bit weird and slightly out of place at first, I eventually bought into it and thought it kind of worked for the movie. There’s also another assassin (Vincent Cassel) going after Bourne. Yeah, this guy seems to have a bit of a grudge towards our hero. And that bit was really interesting. As for the rest of the plot, it’s really good, it’s always interesting seeing Jason trying to figure out more about who he is and why he is the way he is. It’s tense, interesting, and dramatic. I really enjoyed it.

This movie proves to us that Matt Damon still got it. He kicks so much ass in this movie and his performance overall is fantastic even though he doesn’t say too much (which is fine). Tommy Lee Jones may be and old man in a suit… but he’s my old man in a suit. Yeah, his performance was fine. Alicia Vikander plays a sort of computer tech working for the CIA, and she was really good in the movie. Julia Stiles returns as Nicky and she’s good in the movie, not much to really say there. Vincent Cassel as the CIA assassin, or “Asset” as they call him (New game: Take a shot anytime anyone in any of these movies say the word “asset”, you’ll be drunk before the movie is over). Yeah, he was badass, pretty intimidating, and his performance was good. Riz Ahmed did a fine job with his performance, and so did Ato Essandoh.

The music was once again composed by John Powell (Sidenote: This time with some help from David Buckley). And there’s really nothing to complain about, I thought it was really good and really worked in the movie. And since this is a “Bourne” movie, let’s talk about this movie’s version of Moby’s “Extreme Ways”. While not my favorite version of the song, I still thought it was very good.

“Jason Bourne” was directed by none other than the great Paul Greengrass, the man who directed “Supremacy” and “Ultimatum”. And once again he brought his shaky, but still visually interesting style. So you know that when action happens, it’s badass. And yeah, the action in the movie is really badass and really awesome. There are two scenes in particular that are great. One is at the end (don’t worry, no spoilers), and is so amazing. The other one is a really tense and awesome chase set during a riot, as seen in all the trailers. Yeah, I really enjoyed how this movie was directed.

Keep in mind that this movie just came out, so any scores on these sites might change. Anyhow… On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 56% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

While not my favorite in the series, I still really enjoyed “Jason Bourne”. I found the plot investing, the characters interesting, the acting really good, the music great, teh directing really good, and the action so awesome. Time for my final score. BOURNE TO BE WILD! My final score for “Jason Bourne” is a 9,75/10. So yeah… it of course gets the one and only “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Jason Bourne” is now completed.

Extreme ways are back again
Extreme places I didn’t know
I broke everything new again
Everything that I’d owned
I threw it out the windows, came along
Extreme ways I know move apart
The colors of my sea
Perfect color me

 

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.

Movie Review: The Bourne Idenity (2002)

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Hello there, my friends to the first in my series of reviews on the “Bourne” movies leading up to “Jason Bourne” this July. I will review one of the movies every month, so for this month (March) it is “Bourne Identity”, for April it’s “Bourne Supremacy”, May is “Bourne Ultimatum” and June is “Bourne Legacy”. All of this will then wrap up in July with the upcoming “Jason Bourne”. Hell, if I’m in a good mood I might just throw in a surprise “Bourne” thing at some point too… But let’s move on to the review that you all came here to read.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Bourne Identity”.

A mysterious man (Matt Damon) is picked up by a fishing boat in the ocean outside of Marseille, France. Despite having been in the ocean for some time and also haivng bullets in him, he’s still alive and eventually wakes up… with no memory of what the hell happened or who he is. Soon after that he is chased all over Europe by different assassins and authorities while he also tries to find out what happened. But he isn’t doing this alone. With him is a young woman named Marie (Franka Potente) who he somehow dragged into this. The plot isn’t always very clear, sometimes invisible, but when you know what it is and when it really shows itself it is really good. It’s an interesting and different kind of spy story. It’s exciting, interesting and even pretty suspenseful… I kinda love it.

The characters all have a purpose within the story and they are all pretty interesting. Matt Damon is terrific as Jason Bourne, giving a surprisingly nuanced performance that is both vulnerable and totally fuckin’ badass. Franka Potente is great as Marie, playing a scared yet confident woman who has been thrust into this journey with Jason. Chris Cooper plays the character of Alexander Conklin, a man who seems to have some connection to Jason and is basically the one who sends all the assassins after Jason. And I think that he plays that role very well. We also get some great supporting performances from Brian Cox, Clive Owen, Julia Stiles, Walton Goggins and Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje.

The score for the movie was composed by John Powell and it was good. Not great, but good. I’m not gonna say that it felt out of place for the movie, because it didn’t. I am just saying that the overall style of it feels a little bit dated, but it never really took away from the movie for me because it was overall good and it did work for the movie. It’s very action-y and it’s well composed.

“Bourne Identity” was directed by Doug Liman who you probably know as the director of 2014’s surprisingly good “Edge of Tomorrow”. This was his first action movie and for a first timer I would say that he did a terrific job with the directing. The shots all look great and the action is very well handled. From the fist fights, to the shootouts and to the car chase (yes, there is one of those in this movie). My favorite action scene is probably the bit with The Professor (which I will not spoil here). The people who have seen this film knows which part of the film I am talking about. But for the two of you who haven’t seen the movie, I’m just gonna say that it’s suspenseful, well filmed and pretty badass.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 83% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 68/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10.

“The Bourne Identity” is an interesting spy-thriller with a really good plot, great acting, a good score, great directing and great action. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “The Bourne Identity” is a 9,89/10. It gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

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

For those of you who have been wondering throughout the review: Yes, I have seen all of these movies before, it’s just that I felt like a series of reviews would be appropriate with the release of the new one later this year.