Movie Review: Brick (2006)

With the recent commercial success of “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”, I thought it was time for me to go back and have a look at Rian Johnson’s directorial debut. Before lightsabers, before time travel, before cooking meth with Walter White… it’s the very beginning of his film career.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Brick”.

After his ex-girlfriend disappears, Brendan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) pushes himself into an underworld high school crime ring, so he can investigate and find out what the hell actually happened to her. So now we have our movie. And the plot here is pretty good. It pays a lot of homage to classic noir, having a densely written plot that has a good amount of twists and turns. And I was for the most part intrigued by it all. My flaw with it is that there were parts where the pacing maybe dragged a little. I get that noir movies do that, but there’s a difference between intriguingly slow-paced and just slowly slow-paced. There are honestly moments where it got a little boring. But for the most part I found the plot to be an interesting mystery. It’s pretty good.

To be quite honest, I didn’t fully engage with all of the characters here. I only really felt like I was engaged with one character, and the other ones just were there, being part of the story. Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays Brendan, the young man at the center of this story. He is a bit of a loner, but he’s also clever and a bit of a smart-ass. And I found his character to be quite interesting. And Gordon-Levitt was great in the role. As for the other characters, I didn’t find them engaging (as I mentioned before). But I didn’t dislike them either, as I still found them entertaining in some way. And all the performances from people like Lukas Haas, Nora Zehetner, Noah Fleiss, Matt O’Leary, Richard Roundtree, and Meagan Good were all solid.

The score for the movie was composed by Nathan Johnson and it was really good. It’s weird and often hearkens back to classic film noir scores, without totally ripping off those older scores. It has a unique sound that elevates the movie and often adds a weird sense of unease to the movie.

As I alluded to in the beginning of this review, “Brick” was written and directed by Rian Johnson. And for a low budget directorial debut, I think he did a damn fine job here. It’s nicely framed and everything has a nice flow to it. his direction also has a bit of a dreamlike quality to it, making the situations portrayed on screen feel a bit more tense and uneasy. This was an early sign of Johnson’s talent as a director. Steve Yedlin’s cinematography is also quite good.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 79% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

Rian Johnson’s “Brick” is a really good movie and showed audiences that this man is talented. It has a pretty good plot, okay-ish characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. But as previously mentioned, there are some pacing issues, and I didn’t feel engaged with several of the characters. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Brick” is an 8,60/10. So while it is flawed, I’d still say that it is worth buying.

My review of “Brick” is now completed.

Do you reckon we could build a house using this movie?

12 Films of Christmas (Part 7)

’twas the night before christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, except for that asshole mouse. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes they would have presents and not an angry bear. It was the seventh part of this silly thing, so let’s get into it before our heads start aching.

A christmas. A time for family, fun, and friends. These are some of the central themes of “The Night Before”. Three friends (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anthony Mackie) decide to have one last hurrah before hanging up their crazy old christmas tradition for good. And we follow them as they sing karaoke, do drugs, drink alcohol, and go on crazy misadventures. And this is a fun movie. While it can feel a bit inconsistent at times, it’s a highly enjoyable movie with a good amount of funny humor throughout. Sure, a lot of it is the typical stoner/dick humor that one can expect from Seth Rogen movies. And while that can be hit and miss for some, I did laugh at it here. Not at every joke, but at most jokes. Some were chuckles, and some were gut-busting laughs. The three main actors all give good performances, and they have awesome chemistry with each other. All the other actors too are really funny. There’s also a surprisingly sweet message about friendship here that I did not expect at all. So while not perfect, this is a fun christmas movie that I do recommend.

What do you think about “The Night Before”? And what’s your favorite stoner movie? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments!
Have a good one.

Series Review: Comrade Detective – Season 1 (2017)

I don’t know what kind of intro to make for this. Just the idea and existence of this is a riddle to me. So let’s just get into the review and see if this is any good.

Comrades… “Comrade Detective” season 1.

“Comrade Detective” is set in 1983 and is about Romanian police detective Gregor Anghel (Channing Tatum/Florin Piersic Jr.), a man sworn to stop crime and uphold the communist way of life. But tragedy strikes as his partner one day gets killed during an operation to catch some bad dudes. So Anghel, together with a new partner named Iosif Bacio (Joseph Gordon-Levitt/Corneliu Ulici), starts investigating the case of his former partner’s murder. And as they keep investigating they stumble upon a conspiracy that could endanger not only them, but also their communist way of life. So now we have this weird thing. But it’s not just a cop show randomly set in 1980s Romania, as it’s actually kind of a metanarrative. The show is presented as this really old communist propaganda show that had seemingly been lost forever, until it was found and then dubbed by Americans. So we’re working with a metanarrative cop drama that is also a satire of society and capitalism/communism. Yeah, it’s weird. That said, I found it to quite an interesting narrative. The cop side of things, while not always the most engaging, is actually fairly solid, filled with twists and turns. Then you have the satirical elements of it which adds a bit of a fun edge to it. Then you also have the dubbed aspect of it which is just a fun idea to add to it. So yeah, the plot here is… good.

What is interesting about this whole thing is that on the screen we see some actors, but the voices that come out of their mouths are clearly dubbed over, like in ye olde foreign films. Poorly dubbed with no sync between voice and mouth, which is clearly deliberate and also quite fun. So when you have Florin Piersic Jr. moving around and “talking”, you hear the voice of Channing Tatum come out of him. It’s a little weird at first, but I quickly got used to it and thought it was fun. And Tatum delivered his lines very well, and Piersic Jr. did well with the physical parts. Joseph Gordon-Levitt voiced the partner, Baciu, and he did very well. And Corneliu Ulici was good in the physical role. I don’t have the patience to write down every pairing and giving comments here, so I will just list some of the voice actors you hear in the show, but I will list the physical actors in the tags so I don’t get shit on too much. *Inhale* Nick Offerman, Jenny Slate, Jason Mantzoukas, Chloë Sevigny, Jake Johnson, John DiMaggio, Bobby Cannavale, Beck Bennett, Daniel Craig. There are more, but again… I don’t have the time or patience to write every single one. That said, it’s a well acted show.

The score for the show was composed by Joe Kraemer and he did a pretty good job. Some of it is the typical cop drama stuff, which is fine because it works well within the show. There is also some synth pop in here too, because of course there will be synth pop in a show set in the 80s. And alls the music in this show works very well for it.

This show was created by Brian Gatewood & Alessandro Tanaka, with the directing being done by Rhys Thomas, who I think did a good job. Nothing feels overly flashy or too current (for lack of a better word). It feels like an 80s cop show, only shot with better cameras. The period detail and directing style is what makes it feels genuinely 1980s. It is a well directed show that flows pretty well. The action scenes especially, they’re quite fun.

This show has been pretty well received (based on few reviews). On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 73% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 65/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

Amazon’s “Comrade Detective” is fucking weird, and I’m okay with that. It has a good plot, pretty good characters, really good performances, really good music, and really good directing. The only flaw I have with it is that the plot wasn’t always the most engaging. Time for my final score. *Comrades*. My final score for “Comrade Detective” is an 8,88/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it is worth watching.

My review of “Comrade Detective” is now completed.

I have questions… I don’t know what questions, but I have them.

Movie Review: Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)

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Time to return to the world of comic books! Or to be more precise, graphic novels… but you get my point. You might remember that last year I reviewed the original “Sin City” and really liked it a lot. So now it is time to review the sequel. Will I like it as much as the original? Let’s have a look.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For”.

On a quick sidenote, there will be some minor spoilers from the original “Sin City” in here, so tread carefully if you haven’t seen it.

Once again we have three separate storylines featuring some characters. Let’s start with the main one, the one that the movie is named after (A.K.A. “A Dame to Kill For”). This story is a prequel to the first movie and follows Dwight (Josh Brolin). He has tried to put his violent past behind him and now works as a private detective. But his past comes haunting him as he gets involved with his old lover/girlfriend Ava Lord (Eva Green). And I’m not gonna say more about it because that would be jumping into spoilers. The sad part is that despite this being the main story, it is the least interesting. I felt like it dragged on longer than it had too and it was overall not very interesting, especially since it had a few weird side-plots that were a little unnecessary.
Next up is the plot called “Nancy’s Last Dance” which follows the character of Nancy Callahan (Jessica Alba). Also, this is where we got some minor spoilers for the first movie so… stop reading if you haven’t seen it. Anyway, this is set after the first movie and follows Nancy a longer while after John Hartigan’s (Bruce Willis) death. So now Nancy is a drunken stripper planning revenge against the man who caused Hartigans’ death. And that man is none other than Senator Roark (Powers Boothe). And this segment I thought was really good. So it is a little sad that this is the shortest segment out of all. But in this Nancy is a broken mess with some psychological issues and that makes for some interesting watching.
The final one is “The Long Bad Night” that is about newcomer Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), a really lucky/skilled poker player who gets in over his head when he wins a game against… Senator Roark. Apparently Roark is everybody’s favorite target. Anyway, this segment might be my favorite one out of all three. It is suspenseful, it is funny and it is just really well executed. Interesting how the segment about a new character is the one I enjoyed most.
And if you’re wondering… yes, Marv (Mickey Rourke) has a segment too. A really short one in the beginning of the movie. But for the most part he plays a big(ish) part of all other segments.

All characters are interesting in some way. And all performances were really good… except for one, but I’ll get to that. Josh Brolin as Dwight was great, Jessica Alba as Nancy was great too which is really cool because she wasn’t that interesting in the first movie. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was also great as Johnny. And it was awesome seeing Mickey Rourke once again kick tons of ass as Marv. And Powers Boothe as Senator Roark was one of the most badass villains ever, I loved him in this movie. However, the one performance which was the worst, not bad, just not as good as all other ones was theo ne of Eva Green. And that is weird because she was one of the actors I had the most faith in, but here she just didn’t really fit too well as her character.

The soundtrack for the movie was done by Robert Rodriguez (Sidenote: Also the director of the movie) and Carl Thiel. And once again the music was really good and fit perfectly in the movie. It was badass, it was cool and it was just overall great.

This movie is as visually spectacular as the first one with it’s unique style of “black and white with some occasional color”. It looks great and it still helps hold the movie up a bit. The direction overall was great. And the action was just as brutal and violent as it was in the first movie. And that also means that the action was just as fun as in the first movie… especially when Mickey Rourke is involved. I can’t help it, he is awesome!

This movie was not very well-received, it was even a bit of a box office flop. Anyway, on Rotten Tomatoes it has a 43% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 46/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

Despite having a main plot that is not very interesting and a weak(ish) performance from Eva Green, I can’t deny the fun I had with “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For”. Most stories were great, most performances were really good, teh music was great and the gritty, brutal and unique visuals are as awesome as ever. Time for my final score. *Grunt* My final score for “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” is an 8,95/10. I do think it is worth buying.
Worth buying

Review of “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” is done.

I don’t know what else to say.