Movie Review: Army of the Dead (2021)

Hello there, my friends, I hope you’re doing well. So now we’re moving onto the final stretch of the Month of Spooks. Only seven days left. So how are we kicking off this last week then? More zombies? Okie doke, let’s go!

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “Army of the Dead”.

The world has gone to shi- actually, most of the world’s fine for once. Really, Las Vegas is the only place that’s gotten fucked by a zombie outbreak. Anyhow, an enigmatic businessman (Hiroyuki Sanada) has decided to hire a group of mercenaries from all walks of life to bust into the outbreak zone and pull off a daring heist. So yeah, part heist flick, part zombie flick… and I had quite a bit of fun with it. The narrative doesn’t ever really do anything we haven’t seen in either of those sub-genres, but it instead just chooses to do them in a gleeful, bombastic, and sometimes insane way that I had a lot of fun with. Now, I’m not saying that the enjoyment was absolute, because there were a few things holding it back a little. First off, this movie is two and a half hours long, and while it for the most part moves at a clip, there are times where it drags a little. And that dragging comes from the second issue, and that’s some of the more serious drama spread throughout. I don’t mind having serious character drama in my goofy action movies, that can be surprisingly effective, but I just didn’t think it quite worked here. Had they given the script another pass and tried to iron it out more, then maybe. But as it stands, the drama just bogs it down for me a bit. Otherwise, I had fun with this apocalyptic heist story.

The characters in this are… fine? I didn’t necessarily mind them, and a few I did actually kinda like. But on the whole they all feel a little underdeveloped and like they could’ve been a little more fleshed out. But what I can happily say is that the cast itself is great. Dave Bautista is great as the tough yet kind leader, Matthias Schweighöfer is great as the comic relief safe expert, and Hiroyuki Sanada (despite very limited screen time) is as cool as always. The rest of the cast, containing people like Ella Purnell, Omari Hardwicke, Nora Arnezeder, Garret Dillahunt, Raúl Castillo, Tig Notaro, Athena Perample, and more are all great too.

The score for the movie was composed by Tom Holkenborg (AKA Junkie XL), and I enjoyed it. Nice mix of brass and electronics to create a score that hearkens back to more old school films, while still feeling quite contemporary. It’s solid stuff. There’s also a handful of licensed songs used throughout, and I have slightly mixed feelings. Some work well enough and can add a nice bit of fun, but one or two didn’t fully click for me, with one specific track eliciting the biggest eyebrow raise I’ve given in a while. So yeah, the music in this is mostly good.

“Army of the Dead” was shot, directed, produced and co-written by Zack Snyder for Netflix. Aaaaand I think he did a really solid job here. The dude knows how to craft some bombastic, fun action set pieces, and he delivered on that front here. When zombie carnage is going down, Snyder cranks it up to 11. It’s generally well shot, insane, intense, and insanely gory. Speaking of which, I love the gore in this movie, as it’s not only well crafted, but also plentiful and quite creative, making for one hell of a fun time. The only thing I didn’t necessarily enjoy about Snyder’s ways here is his frequent use of shallow focus. I don’t mind shallow focus at all, and there were times where it helped create a nice shot in this movie. But he uses it a bit more than maybe needs to be done, which can be a little distracting at times. For the most part I like what Snyder does with his directing and such here, but that part was a little iffy at times.

This movie’s gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 67% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 57/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5.8/10.

While it does have its fair share of flaws, I still had a really fun time with “Army of the Dead”. It has a fun plot, okay characters, great performances, good music, and great directing/action/effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Army of the Dead” is a 7.99/10. So while flawed, it’s still certainly worth watching.

My review of “Army of the Dead” is now completed.

Viva Las Veg- AH, IT’S BITING MY LEG!!!

Movie Review: The Dark Tower (2017)

Right up front, I adore Stephen King’s “Dark Tower” books. They’re epic, unique, engaging, and just awesome. So I was worried about the series being adapted to film. Then the trailer came out and it looked like shit. But now we’re here, reviewing it. Comparisons to the novels are inevitable, but I will do my best to not rely on that stuff. Try to judge this on it’s own. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Dark Tower”.

Jake Chambers (Tom Taylor) has been having dreams/visions of a strange land filled with strange stuff. And one day he finds an actual portal to that world. There he meets Roland Deschain (Idris Elba), AKA the gunslinger. And they meet up to try to find and stop the evil wizard known as the Man in Black (Matthew McConaughey) from destroying the one thing holding all the universes together… The Dark Tower. So now we have our adaptation. And it’s not a direct adaptation of any of the books, but rather mixes the stories of all of them into one thing. And it feels quite messy. Cramming a ton of stuff into a 90-minute runtime. So you get a rushed mess that has stuff from all the books, but only feels very surface-level. And even if you take the books aside for a second, it still feels rushed and messy. And not very interesting. At best the plot is meh. But for the most part it is not good.

The characters here show potential to be interesting, but never reach that full potential for me (at least I didn’t dislike them, I guess). Idris Elba plays Roland, a gunslinger. Quick lesson: A gunslinger is a sort of guardian who has sworn to protect Mid-World and the Dark Tower. And Roland is the last of the gunslingers because someone (the Man in Black) was a dick. But you can see some history with him and that there’s some pain behind those eyes. But they never go and fully develop him. But Elba is really good in the role. Tom Taylor play Jake Chambers, the young man who gets visions of Mid-World and Roland and all the shit going on with the Dark Tower. He gets some backstory, and you get a decently clear idea of who he is as a character. And I didn’t hate him, he was probably the most well developed character here (even if it’s not full-on development). And Taylor was really good in the role. Matthew McConaughey (alright, alright, alright) plays the Man in Black, the big threat to Mid-World, our world, and all worlds that are connected by the Dark Tower. He’s a wizard of sorts who can tell you something and you do it. He’s like a less interesting version of Kilgrave from “Jessica Jones”. And while McConaughey is clearly having a lot of fun in the role, his performance isn’t great. It’s average-ish. The rest of the actors in this movie range from fine to good. Serious waste of Jackie Earle Haley in this.

The score was composed by Tom Holkenborg (AKA Junkie XL) and it was okay. Bit generic, often reminded me of “The Da Vinci Code”. It’s not bad, but nothing stuck out to me as great or memorable. Most of it is just fairly typical stuff. Takes cues from action, horror, emotional drama, and more in the various tracks. It’s overall… fine.

This movie was directed by Nikolaj Arcel, and I think he did an average job. It’s clear that this movie was rushed into production, so a lot of the less than stellar stuff in direction and such might not be his fault. There is almost no tension here, and the movie looks really generic. For one of the most unique and interesting fantasy franchises, the adaptation sure looks bland. Admittedly there are moments in this movie where I had fun with some of the action. Mainly in parts where action gunslinging was happening, I kind of enjoyed those bits. But there’s also some action here that leaves no impact and just comes off as… meh. Let’s also talk about the visual effects. Some of them look good, and some were kind of bad… distractingly so. It’s kind of like what I said about the plot… messy.

This movie hasn’t been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 16% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 34/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,7/10.

As an adaptation of Stephen King’s books, “The Dark Tower” isn’t good. As a movie on it’s own, it’s slightly better but still not that good. Good things include a couple of performances, the character of Jake Chambers, and a couple of action moments. But the plot, most other characters, the music, and directing/cinematography/action range from meh to bad. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Dark Tower” is a 4,65/10. I didn’t want to dislike it… but I kind of did. I’d recommend skipping it.

My review of “The Dark Tower” is now completed.

I didn’t wanna dislike it. I wanted it to be good. *sigh*. At least I can still read the books.

Movie Review: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)

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In the world of movies, there is a common trend of setting up cinematic universes that cross over several different films. Most noticeably we have Marvel who, let’s face it, fucking nailed it with their cinematic universe. Well, let’s see how DC handles the start of their universe with this thing.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”!

So after the events in “Man of of Steel”, Superman (Henry Cavill) is in a lot of hot water. Is he a hero, is he a dangerous alien, is he good, is he bad? These questions are constantly asked by people. Well after all of that trouble, the eyes of one Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) are on Superman. So Wayne decides to suit up again to try to stop Superman, while Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) hatches his very convoluted plot in the background. Meanwhile, we also have Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) being up to her own little thing too in the middle of all of this. Also, the plot of this movie is trying to set up the rest of the Justice League and WHY ARE THERE SO MANY THINGS GOING ON!? *Deep breath*. Okay, this isn’t a good sign. There is a bit too much stuff going on for me to fully enjoy the plot. The Batman going after Superman stuff, that’s good. Lex Luthor’s plan, very convoluted and actually kinda dumb. The plot of this movie is a fucking mess! Did I enjoy it? I guess. But it’s so messy, I can’t appreciate it. Too much stuff going on in this movie.

Okay, the plot is a mess. But how are the characters? Well, they’re not bad. Henry Cavill plays Superman, just like in “Man of Steel”. And he’s not bad. A bit too brooding and dark for the character, but his performance overall is pretty good. Amy Adams returns as Lois Lane and she was really good. Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman… absolutely fantastic. I cared about Bruce Wayne, I cared about Batman, Affleck perfectly captured the feel of the character. Sure, he kills people and I don’t know why, but overall his performance is fantastic. Jeremy Irons as Alfred, he’s great. Then we also have Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor… oh boy. I don’t know what to say. There were parts where he was somewhat interesting and he did a decent job, but most of the time he was twitchy and eccentric and crazy and not Lex Luthor. And finally, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. While her character was very tacked on, she was still very awesome. Seriously, her performance was good and her action-based entrance is so amazingly badass. So the acting overall in this movie is good and I find the characters interesting and entertaining.

The original score was composed by Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL and it’s fine. Not great, but fine. It’s not a soundtrack that I’m gonna go out of my way to listen to. But it worked for the movie and it sounds overall fine. Not bad, not great.

This movie was directed by Zack Snyder and let’s face it, he has trouble balancing story… but holy shit, this movie looks amazing! The visuals are terrific, I could look at shots from this movie all day and be happy with that. And that is something Zack Snyder does well, he knows how to make a really good looking movie. It’s a wonderfully directed movie. The action scenes are brilliantly handled. Sure, a lot of them are very big and bloated, but I can also say that they were a lot of fun. Out of all the action scenes in the movie, my favorite might be the warehouse scene that everybody knows about. Seriously, it’s like something right out of one of the “Arkham” games. And the main one between Bats and Supes… it’s good. It’s brutal, it’s badass, and it’s only like 8 minutes long. In a 2,5 hour movie, you’d think that the scene the movie is named after would be a bit longer. But what you see in it is pretty great. The reason why they stop fighting, pretty bullshit… but the fight before that end is really good. There are a ton of CGI in this movie, and at one point I felt like there might’ve been a little too much, but I guess that’s jsut what I have to handle when they decide to put *SPOILER* in the movie even though it made little to no sense. At least the visual effects in the movie are very well done.
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This movie has not been too well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 27% positive rating (ouch). On Metacritic it has a score of 44/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is a really mixeed bag for me. The plot is convoluted and filled with too many things and Jesse Eisenberg is a little too over-the-top as Lex Luthor. But then we also have a whole bunch of other great performances/characters, pretty good music, beautiful camera work, and terrific action scenes. Time for my final score. Tell me… do you review? You will. My final score for “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is a 7,03/10. While not as great as one could hope for, it’s still worth a rental.
Rent it

My review of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is now completed.

Hey, at least Batfleck proved all the naysayers wrong!

 

Movie Review: Deadpool (2016)

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Yeah, yeah, talk shit about how I am a month late with seeing this movie… cause I don’t fucking care. I just haven’t been able to find anyone to go see it with until now. And at long last I have seen it so I can review it for you guys. So let’s get into this shit.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Deadpool”.

Once upon a time, Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) was a Special Forces Operative. But then he became a mercenary who later took part in an experiment which fucked up his skin, but it also gave him super powers. Now he is a super soldier called Deadpool, looking for revenge against the man (Ed Skrein) who messed him up so badly. It’s a simple plot with so much more beneath the surface. I gotta say that I was surprisingly invested in the plot of the movie. Because when I heard they were making a “Deadpool” movie, I was interested in the project, but I did still have my reservations about it. But after seeing some of the trailers and then seeing the movie, I can safely say that this story is a perfect representation of what “Deadpool” is. Yes, the plot isn’t particularly deep. But what else did you expect from fuckin’ “Deadpool”? It’s an action comedy about a fourth-wall breaking mercenary in a red suit, not “Memento”. But really, this is a really good plot that displays what the character is all about, a sort of “day in the life” scenario. But a lot of elements of the plot really works, like the revenge story and the love story… all of that works. The plot’s great for what it set out to do.

The characters in this movie all add something to the (dead)pool. They all have something interesting to say and/or do within the story. Ryan Reynolds once upon a time played the character of Wade Wilson in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” but that movie wasn’t really any good and it completely buthcered the character. But I can safely say that Reynolds perfectly nailed the character in this movie, showing that he doesn’t just know how to play the character… but that he IS the character. Ed Skrein might not have been the most compelling villain ever, but he was perfect for the type of movie this was. Besides, after that apparently terrible movie “Transporter: Refueled”, I think he needed this. Morena Baccarin was great as the love interest, Vanessa. And every other actor in the movie were great too. Good job, everyone.

It seems like Tom Holkenborg/Junkie XL is taking over the movie soundtrack industry these days. Yes, he did the original score for this movie and I have to say that it was really good. Not the best ever made in the history of cinema, but it really did work for whenever it was used. There was also a big focus on hip-hop/rap music in this movie that I felt worked very well for the movie and the character. It was especially awesome for me to hear TeamHeadKick’s “Deadpool Rap” in this movie, only with some slight changes to fit the movie a little better.

This movie was directed by Tim Miller, a first time director, which is another thing I was kind of skeptic about at first. But that doubt disappeared pretty early on in the movie because this is a really well directed movie. Yes, a lot of shots look really damn standard, but I wouldn’t say that I found any shots to look bad at all. The action is remarkably in-camera and ooo boy… it is violent. And I don’t mean violent as in a few small blood quirts, this is as violent as it goes. Brains flying out of holes in heads, limbs getting chopped off… other kinds of violent violence. There is also a shit-ton of god damn motherfucking cursing. And some graphic nudity… so don’t take your kids to see this movie. If you take your kids to see this, you are a terrible parent… that goes for you trying to take your little siblings who are too young for the R rating. Seriously, at times I would almost say this movie borders on NC-17 with everything that happens… which is exactly what “Deadpool” is all about. Oh yeah, the writing is really crude and hilarious and fourth-wall breaking and the opening credits are some of the best ever. And the visual effects all look really great, despite the relatively low budget.

This movie has been really well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 65/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,5/10 and is ranked #80 on the “Top 250” list.

“Deadpool” is exactly what you would want in a movie about this character… but with a little more to it. The plot is surprisingly good, the characters are entertaining, the acting is great, the soundtrack is awesome, the directing is good, the action is great and the comedy is absolutely hilarious. Time for my final score. Chimi-fucking-chongas. My final score for “Deadpool” is a 9,89/10. It certainly gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

“Deadpool” is at long last reviewed.

I definitely wore the appropriate colors for this movie.
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Movie Review: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

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Can ayone believe that it’s been 30 years since the last “Mad Max” movie came out? It’s kind of incredible if you think about it. Now as you also may remember, I recently did a series of reviews on the original “Mad Max” trilogy. And that is the reason why it’s taken me so long to watch (and review) this one. I wanted to see the originals first. But now that those are done and this movie is out on all video platforms, I could sit down and review it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mad Max: Fury Road”.

The world has gone to shit… oh wait, it had already done that in “Road Warrior”. Anyway, everything is a wasteland and once again we follow Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy). In this movie he has to help a group of women led by someone called Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) get to safety from the new bad guy simply known as Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). And Max has to do this while being mentally haunted by his past. What I was surprised by with “Fury Road” is the dramatic heft, it is actually really good. This movie presented it’s simple plot with a surprising amount of narrative skill and dramatic heft which really imporved a lot. This movie is a straight up road trip in a wasteland filled with crazy people, yet they managed to put in a lot of great storytelling without it feeling forced or terrible and that is something I absolutely loved.

The characters in this movie are just as colorful and unique as in the previous three movies. Tom Hardy is excellent as Max, really playing this broken and even a bit cynical man. And to still your minds on the question of who I liked more as Max out of Hardy and Gibson… I liked Mel Gibson more. Don’t get me wrong, Hardy was great but I still prefer Gibson a bit more. Anyway, moving on. Charlize Theron as Furiosa… holy shit. Her performance is incredible. There is so much emotion behind her that she really disappears into her performance. Nicholas Hoult is also in the movie, playing a crazy guy named Nux. And he was also pretty great. Then we have Hugh Keays-Byrne (Sidenote: Also played main villain Toecutter in the original “Mad Max”) who plays the villain Immortan Joe. And he was pretty great as well. Nothing much to say other than that he was kind of badass. Unfortunately there was no Bruce Spence in the movie, but I guess we’ll have to live with that. Anyway, every performance was great and every character was entertaining.

The score for the movie was done by Tom Holkenborg (A.K.A. Junkie XL) who also did the score for the movie “Run All Night”. And I’m not gonna lie, the score for the movie was pretty fucking fantastic. It’s big, it’s loud, it’s bombastic and at times it is even beautiful. It is for the most part consistent of a normal orchestra with the occasional electronic sound. But then there are times where the score decides to say “Fuck it” and throw in some electric guitar and be badass. What I am trying to say is that the score is about as crazy, unpredictable and badass as the movie it is used in and I fucking love it.

Once again, George Miller is here to direct a “Mad Max” movie and wow, he has really out-done himself. This movie is perfectly directed and the shots look fantastic. This might be the best looking movie I’ve seen so far that came out this year. Also, thank the lord for the action scenes! I’m almost sick of action movies from recent years. Too much CGI, too much shaky-cam, too much green screen. But then comes “Mad Max: Fury Road” and decides to fix everything again. Everything is practical, there is minimal CGI, no green screen and there is no shaky-cam. The action in this movie is fast, visceral, brutal and the best in recent years. I would put it like this: It’s “The Road Warrior” times 500. It is crazy, bonkers and as amazing as action can be! GAAAAAAH!

This movie released to pretty much universal acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 97% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 89/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,3/10 and is ranked #112 on the “Top 250” list.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” is a breath of fresh, sandy air. It has a surprisingly dramatic & great story, great characters/acting, fantastic music, excellent direction and some of the best action ever. Time for my final score. Hey look, an envelope. WHAT A LOVELY DAY!!! My final score for “Mad Max: Fury Road” is 9,87/10. It definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

Review of “Mad Max: Fury Road” is completed.

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Movie Review: Run All Night (2015)

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Liam Neeson has become quite the action star in recent years. I mean, who ever thought “God… It would be so awesome to see that guy from “Schindler’s List” do an action movie”. But ever since “Taken” in 2009, he has become one of the biggest action stars of the modern age. So let’s review another one of his action movies.

Ladies and gentlemen, I suggest you… “Run All Night”.

So in this movie we follow ex-hitman Jimmy Conlon (Liam Neeson) who one night kills the son of his old boss/friend Shawn Maguire (Ed Harris) to protect his own son (Joel Kinnaman). Now Jimmy and his son have one night to try to set everything straight while being chased by Sean’s mobsters, a police officer (Vincent D’Onofrio) and a hitman (Common). The idea is pretty great because it constantly keeps our heroes on the move, they can’t get any rest, they have to keep going to not die. What the plot also does pretty great is make you feel “I’m not sure if they will succeed or not”, it constantly keeps your attention with it’s suspense and and surprisingly good storytelling. Problem however is that there is at least one point in the movie where they have a few too many irons in the fire and everything becomes convoluted. But I was never bored, I was entertained by the plot through the entire thing.

You know what I was surprised by with this movie? The depth of the characters. I’m not kidding, these are some pretty deep characters. Liam Neeson doesn’t play your typical “I have a very particular set of skills” action star that you see in every movie these days, in this he is a very broken man, a drunk who’s haunted by all the deaths he have caused. Sure, he kicks a ton of ass in the movie, but he isn’t the superhero he’s been in everything else he’s starred in recently. Joel Kinnaman was also pretty great in the movie. This is probably the best I have seen him in anything (Sidenote: Keep in mind that I haven’t seen the TV-show “The Killing). He was fine in “RoboCop”, nothing else. Ed Harris was pretty great as always, I mean he is Ed Harris… he’s always great! And Common was pretty great as this professional hitman going after Liam Neeson and his son. Every actor did a great job and all the characters were interesting.

The score for the movie was done by Tom Holkenborg (Sidenote: Also known as “Junkie Xl”). And the score was pretty great, fitting perfectly in every scene it was used in and help keep the suspense/tension of the situations our heroes endured. It was also surprisingly emotional at times without feeling forced. The score overall was great.

This movie was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, the same guy who directed “Non-Stop”, also starring Liam Neeson. And this movie is very well-directed. The shots look fantastic, the movie has tons of energy & style and it is just an overall great looking movie. And the action scenes in this movie are pretty great too. They are fierce, they are brutal and they are Rated-R (YEEEEES!!!). The only action scene I had problems with was (minor spoiler) a car chase, and that was mainly because the editing was a little too choppy for me to really get invested in it. If it hadn’t had as many cuts as it had, I would probably enjoy it more than I did. All othe actions scenes are pretty great though.

This movie has been pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 60% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 59/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

Guys, I had a great time with “Run All Night” despite the plot being convoluted at times and the car chase being choppy. But I otherwise thought the plot was pretty solid, the acting/characters great, the music great, the direction terrific and the action badass and awesome. Time for my final score. Jeff, give me the envelope. Jeff, give it to me! Jeff, I have a very particular set of skills, skills that I have aquired over a very long career. Thank you! My final score for “Run All Night” is a 9,21/10. It really is worth buying.
Worth buying

Review of “Run All Night” is completed.

I don’t know if I can Run All Night.