Movie Review: The Color of Money (1986)

Pool. Also known as billiards. Something I’m not particularly good at, but I still enjoy playing it with friends. Now let’s see how well that sport can translate into a movie.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Color of Money”.

The story follows former pool hustler Eddie Felson (Paul Newman, R.I.P) as he starts delving back into that world when he takes young Vincent (Tom Cruise) under his wing. So now we have a road movie/comeback story/passing a torch kind of story, and it’s a good one. While it tries to have several kinds of story at the same time, it never feels cluttered or messy, as it blends these elements quite well. Now, it does feel a bit uneven in parts, but it doesn’t break the movie for me, more like bring it down a notch. But overall it’s still an enjoyable and pretty interesting story.

The characters here are colorful, layered, interesting, and overall entertaining. First up we have Paul Newman (may he rest in peace) playing “Fast” Eddie Felson, a former pool hustler who now seems to be making a living selling whisky. But he finds a new purpose when he discovers this young man he can teach. He’s a complex man who goes through quite a bit of development throughout the movie. And Newman is of course fantastic in the role. Next we have a young Tom Cruise as Vincent, the new protegé of Felson. He’s an energetic, fast-talking, and skilled pool player that at first seems reluctant to be taken under Felson’s wing, but soon warms up to it. He too gets a fair bit of development throughout the movie. And Cruise is good in the role. And then we have Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Carmen, Vincent’s girlfriend. She’s tough, she’s independent, and quite clever, she’s really a good foil for Vincent’s energetic and fun nature. And Mastrantonio is really good in the role. We also get some supporting performances from people like John Turturro, Helen Shaver, Bill Cobbs, and more, all doing quite well in their respective roles. So yeah, it’s a well acted movie.

The score was composed by Robbie Robertson was good, had a fun, slightly blues-y feel to it that worked well for the movie. Then there were a whole bunch of licensed tracks used throughout, and not only were they pleasing to my music tastes, but they worked incredibly well within their respective scenes, elevating them a fair bit. So yeah, this movie has some damn good music.

Based on a novel by Walter Tevis, this movie was directed by Martin Scorsese who I think did a really good job. He really managed to catch the fun but also somewhat unpredictable nature of bars/pool halls, and even managed to keep a good bit of energy going through it all. I also have to mention the cinematography by Michael Ballhaus, because it’s fucking excellent. Not only are there a good amount of stunning shots, but the camera work here is really playful and makes for quite a fun watch.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 77/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best Actor (Newman). It was also nominated for an additional 3 Oscars in the categories of Best Supporting Actress (Mastrantonio), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Set Decoration. 

“The Color of Money” is an enjoyable little sports drama. It has a good story, good characters, really good performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. Though as previously mentioned, it is brought down a bit by the plot feeling a little uneven in parts. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Color of Money” is an 8,82/10. While flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “The Color of Money” is now completed.

Guess I should check out “The Hustler” at some point.

Movie Review: State of Grace (1990)

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Don’t get involved with mobsters… EVER! It just brings trouble. Understood? Good.

Ladies and gentlemen… “State of Grace”.

Terry Noonan (Sean Penn) is an undercover cop who has returned to his old home of Hell’s Kitchen, New York, after being away for a certain amount of years. And soon he gets in touch with his old friend Jackie (Gary Oldman) who gets Terry involved with the Irish mob, led by Jackie’s brother, Frankie (Ed Harris). And soon Terry gets involved in some pretyt intense stuff. From this we get a surprisingly investing and very well told mob story. There are a few surprises strewn throughout the plot that really helped keep my interest. I’m not saying that they’re mindblowing twists, but they were most defiiinitely a little surprising. So yeah, the plot here is really solid.

I admit, the characters in thsi movie aren’t the most original when it comes to what type of character they all are. But I was definitely interested in all of them. Sean Penn is great as Terry, he perfectly plays this conflicted undercover cop. Ed Harris is great as the mob boss, but you knew that already… it’s Ed fucking Harris. Gary Oldman in this movie is fantastic, playing this very unhinged man. Really, he’s a blast to watch. Robin Wright plays the sister of Harris/Oldman that gets romantically involved with Terry, and she’s great in the role. Then we also get some really good supporting performances from people like John Turturro and John C. Reilly. A solid cast giving great performances… me likey.

The score for the movie was composed by the legendary Ennio Morricone, and he delivered some pretty great tunes, like he always does. The music is dramatic, tense, and it worked very well for the movie. And it just overall sounds great, because Ennio Morricone can do no wrong.

The movie was directed by Phil Joanou and Michael Lee Baron and they did a really solid job. Scenes flow smoothly and everything is just overall well handled. I of course also have to mention that the cinematography by Jordan Cronenweth looks great. But what else should one expect from the man who did the cinematography for “Blade Runner”. One final thing I also want to mention is that this movie contains one of the coolest shootouts that I have ever seen. It’s very late in the movie, but the wait is so worth it. The mix of visuals and sound is really great. It’s also really violent, so if you are squeamish you might not be the biggest fan.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“State of Grace” is a really solid gangster movie. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, great directing, and great cinematography. Time for my final score. *Bang*. My final score for “State of Grace” is a 9,79/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
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My review of “State of Grace” is now completed.

Early 90s Gary Oldman would make a great Deadpool… just a thought.

Movie Review: Fearless (1993)

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We all have fears, there is no denying that. I myself am afraid of a few things; mainly heights and snakes. The point I am trying to make is that we are all afraid of something and we want to find ways to overcome our fears. It isn’t easy, but it’s possible. With that said, let’s review a movie about being afraid… sort of.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Fearless”.

In this movie we follow Max Klein (Jeff Bridges) who just survived an airplane crash. And after this crash something strange happens. His personality changes, he starts seeking thrills to try to wake up from this weird state he has entered. And from that we get a philosophical, thoughtful and emotionally gut-punching plot. I loved the plot of “Fearless”, seeing Max go through the world, getting more and more emotionally distant from his family. If you are looking for an action packed plot, this isn’t the movie for you. This is a plot that takes it’s time with everything, making sure you get good time to think over everything in this movie. And I loved that!

The characters are interesting, realistic and very well-written. None of them feel like they don’t belong, they all feel natural in this movie. And Jeff Brdiges gives a fantastic performance in this movie. You can say what you want about him in “The Big Lebowski”, he may be great in that movie, but this might actually be his best performance. He really makes Max feel like a real person with his fantastic performance. And the other actors in the movie are great too.

The music in this movie is slow, atmospheric and pretty emotional. The original song were composed by Maurice Jarre but most tracks were a mix of a bunch of orchestral pieces. And they all fit perfectly into this movie and all tracks helps convey some kind of emotion. While I can’t mention all for sure I can at least say that all the tracks are terrific.

This movie is directed by Peter Weir and I have to say he did a pretty fucking great job with it. And to get the truth out there, I have never seen a Peter Weir movie before so I had no expectations at all. But I was pleased to see that this was a well-directed movie. Also, fun fact: this movie is based on a novel by Rafael Yglesias who also wrote the screenplay for the movie.

This movie has been well-received but has also been called under-rated. It is also a movie that not too many people saw. But still, time for critic scores. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10. The movie was also nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best Supporting Actress (Rosie Perez). 

Guys, “Fearless” is a fantastic movie with a deep and thoughtful plot with a lot of emotion and is held up by a fantastic lead performance from Jeff Bridges, great writing, great music and great direction/camera work. Time for my final score. *Ahem* My final score for “Fearless” is a 9,88/10. It definitely deserves the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
Seal of Approval

“Fearless” is now reviewed.

More people need to see this amazing thing.

Movie Review: Rounders (1998)

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Poker is something that has fascinated me for quite some time. There are so many little things that can affect a round and not just luck like most people assume. Of course there is a little luck involved when it comes to what cards you get, but there is also a lot of strategy involved, mainly to know when to raise, fold or go all-in. Then you also need to be able to read a person to find out if they got a great hand that will win them the game or a hand that makes them nervous, gotta know a little about human psychology. But that isn’t important now since we are not playing as much as watching people play.

Ladies and gents… “Rounders”.

Our story follows young poker genius Mike McDermott (Matt Damon). He is retired from poker and gambling after something that happened during a game against Russian poker player Teddy KGB (John Malkovich). But now he lives a quiet life with his girlfriend Jo (Gretchen Mol), he studies law and he generally seems to have it pretty decent. Then when his old friend Lester “Worm” Murphy (Edward Norton) gets released from prison he has to get back into the world of poker to help his friend pay off some brutal loan sharks. And the plot is intriguing in that sense. It is a nice plot to see how these two work everything to try to get the money together to pay off these loan sharks. The problem however is that it would be even better if there was any genuine suspense in the plot. Believe me, I think the plot is great but I feel that it needed a bit more suspense. But it was pretty good overall.

The characters in this movie are all varied, colorful and really well-acted. But shouldn’t come as a surprise considering some of the main stars of the movie are Matt Damon, Edward Norton and John Malkovich. But htye all have personalities and they all fill their seats perfectly. I think my favorite character in the movie however might be Worm (Surprise, Surprise). Not only because he is played by my favorite actor (Edward Norton) but also because of his dry wit, quick mouth and overall “loveable asshole” style. And Edward Norton plays him perfectly! But I do in general think all characters are great.

The score was done by Christopher Young and really fits the style of the movie. A lot of piano in a sort of jazzy style was used to great effect to get the dry wit style of our two main characters and the poker. There were a few tracks that were also a bit more slow and calm but they were great too. There was also a good mix of licensed tracks in there that really worked for everything.

This movie was shot pretty well. I mean, John Dahl has never been known as a visionary director (Sidenote: I had never heard of him until this movie) but he knew how to make the movie look pretty good. Also, remember all that rambling I did in the beginning about how poker worked? Yeah, Matt Damon explained that in the movie in a similar way and I thought it might fit here. And just to make sure and not confuse you, this isn’t a comedy even if the promotional material make it look like that, this is a drama with a lot of dry wit and clever dialogue. Sound good? Great!

This movie was pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes the movie got a 65% positive rating. On Metacritic the movie has a score 0f 54/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3/4 stars. And imdb.com has a score of 7,4/10 for “Rounders”.

“Rounders” is a movie with a good plot that could use a little more suspense, colorful characters powered by great performances, a really good score, good direction/camera work and some great dialogue. Time for my final score. Where the hell is it… oh there, under the poker chips. Oops. My final score for “Rounders” is a 8,99/10. It is a really good movie that is definitely worth buying.
betala-kassa-butik

Review of “Rounders” is completed.

I told you I might’ve been able to squeeze a review in before I traveled to Rome!

Movie Review: O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)

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The Coen brothers…I don’t know what to say. They make weird, funny, cool movies. If you didn’t know, I am a big fan of their 1998 classic “The Big Lebowski”. I also really liked their version of “True Grit” that came out in 2010. But none of those movies are the film of this review. Today we are talking about one popular, but not as much talked about shift-of-the-millenium movie.

Brothers and sisters…”O Brother, Where Art Thou?”

“O brother, Where Art Thou?” follows a group of escaped criminals. This group is made of the smooth, hair-gel obsessed Ulysses Everett Mcgill (George Clooney), the short-fused, impulsive Pete Hogwallop (John Turturro) and the not too bright but still good-hearted Delmar O’Donnell (Tim Blake Nelson). These men have escaped the law to go find a large treasure that Ulysses (usually called Everett in the movie) have talked about. So naturally they run, find a person who can get their chains off and then run off to find said treasure. And that is “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” in a nutshell. Sounds simple enough huh? Well that is what it is…simple. But in execution it does so much more and adds more meat to the bone than you’d imagine. Our “heroes” get put into different situations throughout the story that are just amazingly fun to watch. This story in it’s execution is really well done and just so funny. The story is simple, yet perfectly executed.

The characters are so colorful and hilariously original. Okay, original maybe isn’t the right word, but you get what I mean. Like in any Coen brothers movie they are unique and just so likeable. And the acting is really good in this movie. And that is something that is kind of difficult for me to say when it comes to comedies considering comedies aren’t ment to impress, just entertain. But when it comes to comedies from the Coens, they are usually well acted. But when it comes to characters in general I really enjoyed the hell out of them all. I especially enjoyed Tim Blake Nelson’s character. He was just this guy who wasn’t really too clever, so he was olways kind of oblivious to everything but never dumb enough to just be annoying. So yeah, I really liked the characters in this movie.

The music is in my opinion so damn good. And the fun thing is, there is not only music that’s been edited in, there is also a lot of times the actors just singing and playing it in the middle of a scene. But in general I really loved the soundtrack, it really worked for the overall feel of the movie. I will leave a link to the best song in the soundtrack…sung by the main three actors of the movie.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HH8AqsiF_rs

This movie is so well filmed that I just wanna appreciate every second of screen time…which I do. This movie looks beautiful. Also, this movie was ALWAYS on, it was never boring. It always had something happening which never got dull. Funny thing is, this is loosely based on the classic/epic poem “The Odyssey” by Homer. For example, main protagonist of “The Odyssey” was named Ulysses and the main protagonist of this movie is also named Ulysses. There a lot more similarities which the Coens masterfully parody and I think they are kinda fun to look for.

Now for the reception for “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”. Rotten Tomatoes has a 77% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. Metacritic’s score for the movie is a 69/100. Roger Ebert gave this 2,5/4 stars and said this:

“wonderful in their different ways, and yet I left the movie uncertain and unsatisfied.”

imdb.com scored this with a 7,8/10. This movie was also nominated for 2 Oscars. Best screenplay based on previously published material and Best Cinematography.

I have thrown out some opinions on a few aspects of the movie and I am ready to hand out a score. My final score for “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” is a 9,69/10 which not only makes me recommend you to buy it but also makes me give this funny, well directed, well acted movie with great music the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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“O Brother, Where Art Thou?” is at last reviewed.

Yo bro! Where are ya!?