Movie Review: Blaze (2018)

Biopics are fascinating. They give us a glimpse into a real life individual’s personal life, while also trying to provide a couple hours of entertainment. And striking the right balance between fact and compelling drama can be tough. But some people manage it.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Blaze”.

The story follows the life and times of Blaze Foley (Ben Dickey), a raggedy man with a talent for music. From his humble beginnings, and through the highs and lows, including his marriage to Sybil Rosen (Alia Shawkat), we get a good glimpse into Foley’s life. And I think that the plot here is really good. There are elements that we recognize from other biopics, but the way they’re used throughout “Blaze” feels fresh, due to the gentle and nuanced writing. It creates a fascinating tale that can be as heartbreaking as it is warmly nostalgic. The deliberately slow pace might prove a bit frustrating for some, but I thought it worked very well for the story here.

The characters here are flawed, nuanced, charming, and overall feel very real. Ben Dickey plays the titular musician. A likable man with a lot of tragic flaws. Seeing his journey as a character here is really fascinating, and I really grew to care about him. And Dickey is great in the role. Alia Shawkat plays Sybil Rosen, a woman and aspiring actress/writer that Blaze has a committed relationship with. The journey she has here, which really are the ups and downs of being with Blaze, is really interesting, and makes her an interesting and sympathetic character. And Shawkat is really good in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Charlie Sexton, Josh Hamilton, Wyatt Russell, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As this is a biopic about a musician, it should be expected that one would hear a lot of songs from said artist throughout. You’d be correct in that assumption, you do hear a lot of Foley’s music here… and I love it. Not only because the music is incredibly well written, but also because the way it’s implemented in the storytelling is absolutely wonderful. So yeah, the music here is great.

Based on “Living in the Woods in a Tree: Remembering Blaze Foley” (bit of a mouthful) by Sybil Rosen, this movie was written by Ethan Hawke & Sybil Rosen, with Hawke also handling directing. And the craft here is wonderful. It has a warmness to it, and a willingness to just sit down and really get to know these characters, not always feeling the need to get to the next “big event”. Like I said in the story bit, the pacing is deliberately slow, and the direction embraces that and turns it into some truly compelling stuff. And the cinematography by Steve Cosens helps kind of give it all a nostalgic storybook feeling that really adds to the experience.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 75/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“Blaze” is a wonderful movie about a very interesting man. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great writing/directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “Blaze” is a 9,77/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Blaze” is now completed.

That was a nice experience.

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.