Movie Review: We Are What We Are (2013)

And the Month of Spooks continues with another review! So let’s get into it!

Ladies and gentlemen… “We Are What We Are”.

The Parkers are a reclusive family who follow some ye olde customs. However, when the mother in the family dies the daughters (Ambyr Childers, Julia Garner) have to start taking more responsibilities at home, and they soon find their lives taking a turn for the worse It’s difficult talking about the plot of this without accidentally spoiling stuff, so I’m not gonna say anything more about the plot itself. I will however say that I thought it was great. It’s a slow burn, which might put some people off. But the movie rewards patient viewers with an engrossing, tense, and disturbing plot filled with twists and turns. It’s a very well handled plot and I thought it was great.

The characters in this are all flawed, damaged, and interesting. Ambyr Childers plays Iris, the older of the two Parker sisters. And while she is a fairly soft-spoken character that doesn’t speak too much, you can still tell a lot about her by just looking at her eyes. You can see the sadness and pain behind them, you can see that she wants something more out of life than what she has. And Childers is great in the role. Julia Garner (AKA Ruth Langmore from “Ozark”) plays Rose, the younger of the Parker sisters. As with Childers she acts a lot with her eyes, and you can tell that she isn’t as comfortable with their situation as her sister. And Garner is great in the role. Bill Sage plays Frank, the father of the Parker family. He is more often than not a very soft-spoken man, but can explode when things don’t go as planned. And like with the two ladies playing his daughters, he acts with his eyes quite a bit. And there are several other subtleties in his performance that I won’t get into here, but they do add layers to the performance. And Sage is great in the role. We also get Wyatt Russell as a police deputy that has some history with one of the Parker sisters, and he’s really good in the role. We also have Jack Gore as Rory, the youngest child in the Parker family. And while it isn’t one of the best child performances ever, I’d still say that it’s good (which is great to see). We also have Michael Parks (may he rest in peace) as a coroner that looks into the dead Parker mom. And he’s great in the role. We also have Nick Damici in a small role as a Sheriff. And he’s good… not much else to say for such a limited role. And we have Kelly McGillis as the Parkers’ neighbor, and she’s good in the role. Overall it’s a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Jeff Grace, Philip Mossman, and Darren Morris. And it was fantastic. It is tense, dramatic, eerie, and even emotional. It really helped elevate a lot of the scenes, adding so many layers to those scenes. Then there were also a couple of licensed tracks used throughout and they were used well in their respective scenes.

This movie was directed by Jim Mickle (a man who has popped up on this blog several times before), and written by Nick Damici & Jim Mickle. And I have to say that he did a terrific job with his directing here. It is slow and methodical, with no shots feeling out of place or dull. He manages to build a lot of tension throughout the movie and even had me feeling uneasy from start to finish thanks to the eerie atmosphere of it. And I have to mention that Ryan Samul’s cinematography is fantastic. There’s also some gore in this, so if you’re slightly squeamish… you have now been warned. And as a final little mention here, this is apparently a remake of a Mexican film of the same name. I haven’t seen it… just thought I’d mention it’s existence.

This movie has gotten some slightly mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,9/10.

“We Are What We Are” is a damn good little horror-drama. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “We Are What We Are” is a 9,86/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “We Are What We Are” is now completed.

Another win for Mr. Mickle.

Series Review: Ozark – Season 1 (2017)

Netflix seems to be taking over the entertainment world. Sure, Amazon and Hulu aren’t doing too poorly either, and HBO gets all the viewers thanks to “Game of Thrones”, but it really feels like Netflix is the ruler of the watchable media.

Ladies and gents, welcome to… “Ozark”.

Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) seems like your average man. He has a wife (Laura Linney), two kids (Sofia Hublitz & Skylar Gaertner), and a steady job as a financial advisor. However, he has secretly been laundering money for a Mexican drug cartel. And when his dealings with them goes to hell, Marty decides to quickly move him and his family out to the Missouri Ozarks to try to try to sort this shit out. So now we have our crime-drama plot. And is it any good? Yeah, I’d say so. It’s very serious and surprisingly deep. Not deep in a mindfuck kind of way, but it just has layers to it. My only problem with it is that the pacing at times can get a little too slow. I have no problem with a slow burn, and for the most part this show’s slow burn is just fine, but there are times where it drags it’s feet a little bit too much. Mainly in a couple of episodes near the middle of the season. But like I said, for the most part it’s fine. And the overall plot is solid enough that the occasional pacing problem doesn’t hurt it too much.

The characters here are all troubled, layered, and just overall interesting. Jason Bateman is great as Marty Byrde, this highly intelligent and cunning man who just wants to protect his family (and his life). He can at times seem like a dick, but then I remember “Oh yeah, Mexican gangsters might kill him and his family”, so it can be accepted. And like I said, Bateman is great in the role. Laura Linney plays Marty’s wife, Wendy, a woman who has secrets of her own as she’s trying to accept this situations with Marty and moving and all that. And Linney is great in the role. Sofia Hublitz and Skylar Gaertner as Marty’s kids are really good in the roles, going through some interesting situations/arcs of their own throughout the season. Julia Garner plays Ruth Langmore, a local girl who is clever and constantly conniving, and she was probably my favorite character in the show. And Garner was great in the role. We also get Jason Butler Harner as Roy Petty, an FBI agent investigating Marty’s activities. He’s quite the interesting dude, and Harner is great in the role. I also want to mention Esai Morales who shows up at a few points in the season as Del, the main gangster that wants Marty’s money. The dude is a great mix of charming and intimidating, with Morales giving a great performance. Every actor in this show does a good job.

The score for the show was composed by Danny Bensi & Saunder Jurriaans amd it was great. Dark, chilling, eerie, and overall well composed, it often helps elevate the suspense in a lot of scenes. There’s also a good amount of licensed tracks used throughout the show that help set certain moods too, which I liked.

This show was created by Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams (not the Mr. Weasley one, totally different Mark Williams). And it was directed by a whole bunch of other people, including Jason Bateman who did a few. And the show is tightly directed, with as muc hsuspense as possible being squeezed out of a lot of scenes. It’s also a good looking show, with an often cool blue hue that gives the show a cold and eerie feel. There’s also a little bit of dark humor to it which I thought added a little bit to it.

This show came out fairly recently, but it has still been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 65% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 68/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,8/10 and is ranked #166 on the “Top 250 TV” list (as of writing this, as I refuse to update this in case of change).

“Ozark” is another solid show from Netflix. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. The only problem is the previously mentioned pacing issues. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Ozark” season 1 is a 9,21/10. So while it has a few flaws, I’d say that you should still watch it!

Season 1 of “Ozark” is now completed.

If you’re still in denial about Jason Bateman’s dramatic talents, go watch “The Gift”. He’s great in that.