12 Films of Christmas 2019 (Part 9)

As mentioned in my previous post, you’ll be getting two 12 Films of Christmas entries today. The previous one was technically yesterday’s the I missed. So this here is officially speaking the entry for today. So I hope you enjoy getting two pieces about contrivances today.

So for this one we’ll be talking about “Bad Times at the El Royale”, a 2018 pulp thriller written and directed by Drew Goddard. The movie is about a group of strangers who all converge at the El Royale motel for the night, and how all their pasts come to a head, creating one hell of a tumultuous experience. So what does this have to do with christmas? Well, let me learn ya somethin’.

This movie is a metaphor for family christmas dinners. Think about it. A bunch of differing people coming together and clashing? That’s very much christmas. A kindly grandpa with some skeletons in his closet (Jeff Bridges), a smug sales type who is probably your aunt’s new shitty husband (Jon Hamm), your mom who is ready to defend herself from any bullshit (Cynthia Erivo), your conniving sister (Dakota Johnson), and then there’s the cult leader (Chris Hemsworth). What, your christmas dinners don’t have charismatic yet ruthless cult leaders attending? Oh man, you should give it a try, it’s a blast… except for the one time my cousin got set on fire by said cult leader… that was a bit awkward. So yeah, “Bad Times at the El Royale” can be seen as a metaphor for insane family christmas dinners.

And even without the holiday implications, “Bad Times at the El Royale” is still a damn fine thriller filled with fantastic actors and tense moments.

Have a good one.

Movie Review: Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

I was gonna do a joke about a priest walking into a bar, but I couldn’t come up with a good punchline. So let’s just get into the review.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Bad Times at the El Royale”.

The late 1960s. On the border between California and Nevada lies the El Royale, a snazzy-looking motel. And on one fateful day, a group of strangers all decide to book rooms there, all of them carrying some secret. And we follow them as they get tangled up in the most insane night of their lives. The plot here jumps around a lot, partly in showing how all the characters got to the El Royale, and partly to show all the different perspectives on certain events that go down at the motel. And this could get messy and convoluted if put in the wrong hands. But I think that it was handled very well here. I like that they really took their time to tell this story. It’s intriguing, suspenseful, fun, pulpy, and just overall entertaining.

The characters here are colorful, unique, layered, flawed, and just overall really interesting. And that’s all you’ll get out of me. I won’t go any more in-depth on any of them, as that would be really tough without accidentally spoiling stuff. So let’s just list the cast. Jeff Bridges, Cynthia Erivo, Lewis Pullman, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson, Chris Hemsworth, Cailee Spaeny, all great in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Michael Giacchino, and it was really good. It does lean into the pulp angle I mentioned earlier, which really helps sell the movie’s vibe while still adding to the sense of tension and drama. There’s also a fair bit of licensed tracks used throughout, and not only are they really good on their own, but they also work incredibly well within their respective scenes.

“Bad Times at the El Royale” was written and directed by Drew Goddard, who I think did a great job with it. He gives the movie a very slick style that makes it feel somewhat unique, without sacrificing any of the pulpy suspense that is built up through the story, characters, and music. And the cinematography by Seamus McGarvey is pretty stellar, giving us some really great looking shots throughout the movie.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 75% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 60/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

“Bad Times at the El Royale” is something that I can easily tell will polarize audiences. But I thought it was great. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great writing/directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Bad Times at the El Royale” is a 9,71/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Bad Times at the El Royale” is now completed.

Good times, bad times, you know I had my share…

Series Review: Legion – Season 2 (2018)

Another year(ish) has passed, the season has wrapped up (in the US and here in Sweden at least), so now I can finally talk about the insanity that is “Legion” once again. If you haven’t seen the show or know nothing about it, go read my season 1 review, then go watch the show. This is not the jumping-on point.

Ladies and gents… “Legion” season 2.

Set a year after the first season, David (Dan Stevens) finds himself having to work with both his friends and an old foe to stop Farouk (Navid Negahban) from finding his old body, which would give him a lot of power. So the basic idea this season is a bit more straightforward compared to the first, since we know what the general goal of the characters is. Of course, “Legion” being “Legion”, its approach to telling this story isn’t as straightforward and normal as most shows. It’s still filled with weird, trippy shit that may just leave you confused at first, but will make a little bit more sense down the line. But through this strange journey we do get some solid drama, suspense, and intriguing storytelling. Is the narrative as strong as the first season? Not quite. It’s still damn good, but it’s not quite as tight as the first season since it’s trying to branch out into something bigger. The plot here is still damn good though.

The characters in this are weird, unique, colorful, and endlessly interesting. Dan Stevens returns as David, the trouble yet powerful young man at the center of the story. He already got some solid development over the first season’s run, and I’m happy to see that being a thing here as well. The journey we see David go through as a character is really fascinating and it really makes him such a deep and interesting character. And Stevens is once again fantastic in the role. Next we have Rachel Keller back as David’s girlfriend, Syd Barrett (*Insert Pink Floyd song here*). She has an interesting arc here that is based around David’s arc, with his affecting hers (keeping it vague is hard). And it’s interesting. We do also get some good backstory on her. And Keller is great in the role. Next we have Aubrey Plaza once again as Lenny, the mysterious old friend of David’s. Not gonna say anything else about her arc because it’s best left experienced. But it’s great. And Plaza is great. We also of course see the return of Bill Irwin, Amber Midthunder, Jean Smart, Jemaine Clement, Jeremie Harris, and Hamish Linklater, and all are still great in their respective roles. And newcomer Navid Negahban also holds his own as the smooth yet powerful and somewhat intimidating Farouk. Really, it’s a damn great cast.

Jeff Russo returned to do the score for this season, and he once again knocked it out of the park. His score is tense, trippy, surreal, emotional, and just overall works perfectly for the show. There’s also a ton of licensed music used throughout, and all the song work excellently in their respective scenes. The use of music in this show is just phenomenal.

Based on some Marvel comics from Bill Sienkiewicz and Chris Claremont, the show was created by Noah Hawley (who’s still the showrunner). And once again, the creative minds behind this show has crafted something truly unique. Let’s start with the visuals, because that’s what a lot of people will pick up on first. The way the show uses lighting, colors, creative camera angles, effects, and even aspect ratio to create a unique style helps make this show one of the most visually interesting I’ve ever seen. I thought season 1 had some great visuals, but this season brought that stuff to the next level. And the editing (which I almost never talk about) is also sublime. This show just has such a unique style that I’ve never really seen anywhere else.

This show/season has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 85/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,4/10 and is ranked #225 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

While not quite as amazing as the first season, “Legion” season 2 is still a great season of television. It has a great plot, really good characters, fantastic performances, fantastic music, and great directing/cinematography/effects/other technical things. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Legion” season 2 is a 9,54/10. So it is still worthy of the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Legion” season 2 is now completed.

Even if “Legion” would drop a bit in quality, I’d rather take it and its strange and unique kind of storytelling over most shows.

Movie Review: Baby Driver (2017)

VROOM! VROOM VROOM! What? That’s what cars sound like… don’t fucking judge.

Thank you very much, ladies and gentlemen, right now I got to tell you about the fabulous, most groovy… “Baby Driver”!

Baby (Ansel Elgort) is a young man who also happens to be one hell of a getaway driver. And after being brought in by his boss (Kevin Spacey) he finds himself having to take part in a heist that is seemingly doomed to fail. So now we have our heist plot. And I thought it was pretty great. Now, it’s not just about this guy pulling heists with a couple other people. It’s really about this guy and how he deals with falling in love, while dealing with this dangerous situation. And it’s so well handled, because it’s presented both as a fun, fast-paced action flick and a tense thriller. There’s also a surprising amount of drama in here that works very well. And it’s just an incredibly well handled plot.

The characters here are fun, unique, and really interesting. Baby, like I said, is a young and highly skilled getaway driver. What I didn’t mention though is that he uses his personal playlists to keep him moving in life. He also has a lot of layers to him, with us getting to see most sides of him. The cold and calculating driver, the traumatized young man, the music loving fun dude… he’s just a really interesting character. And Ansel Elgort is great in the role. Lily James plays Debbie, a waitress that Baby meets and falls in love with. And Lily James is really good in the role. I also have to mention that I actually bought into their romance. It was cute. Kevin spacey plays Baby’s boss, Doc, and he’s great in the role… it’s Kevin fucking Spacey, what else did you expect? Jon Hamm (aside from being unnecessarily handsome) plays Buddy, one of Baby’s colleagues (for lack of a better word), and he’s a tough and charming man. And Hamm was great in the role. Eiza Gonzáles plays Darling, Buddy’s wife and partner in crime (HA!). A tough, fun, and sexy lady. And Gonzáles was really good in the role. Jamie Foxx plays Bats, another one of Baby’s colleagues. He’s kind of a psychotic asshole, and he was quite a cool character. And Jamie Foxx was great in the role. We also got to see Jon Bernthal, CJ Jones, Lanny Joon, and Flea in supporting roles in the movie, and they were all great. It’s overall a really well acted movie.

The score for the movie (yes, there was a score) was composed by Steven Price. It wasn’t too prominent in the movie (as we’ll talk about in a second), but when it was used it was used very well to build up tension and such. Now, onto the real meat of the music. And by that I mean, let’s talk about the soundtrack. ’cause this movie uses a lot of licensed tracks used throughout. Not only are most of those songs fucking great, but they also play very integral parts in the filmmaking itself. Really, they are used absolutely perfectly in the movie.

This movie was written and directed by Edgar Wright and I think he did a fantastic job here. His directing is slick, fast-paced, and really tense, perfectly suiting the plot he wanted to tell. Which brings us to the music. The directing and editing perfectly matches the music. It’s almost like a musical in how the music is used in combination with the directing and editing. I mean, the action scenes here are absolutely fantastic. Not only because they are like 99% practical, but because they are timed to the beats of the songs, which is really fun to see. Gunshots, cars drifting around, jumps, everything is choreographed to match the music. But the quieter moments too are often done to work with the music. The amount of love and care that went into the craft of this is astonishing and gives me hope for the movie industry. Must’ve been a pain if an actor or stunt person missed a beat and had to redo 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 #183 on the “Top 250” list.

“Baby Driver” is one of the coolest and most exciting action movies to come out in recent years. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, fantastic music, and fantastic directing/choreography/editing. Time for my final score. *Vroom*. My final score for “Baby Driver” is a 9,90/10. So it of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Baby Driver” is now completed.

Your move, action movies.

We finally have a trailer for “Baby Driver”!

How’s it going guys? Hope you’re weekend’s been nice. So we have a new trailer to talk about… let’s go!

So we finally have a trailer for “Baby Driver”, the newest movie from writer/director Edgar Wright! So what’s this all about then? Well, apparently it’s about a young getaway driver called Baby (Ansel Elgort) who gets pulled into some big heist. And the kid apparently uses the rhythm of the music he listens to in a way that makes him a great driver. I know, it sounds a little silly… but that’s also kind of what Edgar Wright is good at. He makes energetic and fun movies that take their respective genres and flip them on their heads. And what do I think of this trailer? It’s so much fun! The action looks really fun, the cast is great, the way that it’s edited to the music is awesome… yeah, this is a great fuckin’ trailer. Also, if this trailer is an indication of anything, it’s that this movie will have an awesome soundtrack! I’ve been excited for this movie for quite a while, because I love Edgar Wright, and now this trailer has gotten me even more excited. “Baby Driver” is set to come out in August of this year.

So what are your thoughts? Are you excited about “Baby Driver”? And what’s your favorite Edgar Wright movie? Leave any and all answers in the comments!
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer!