Series Review: Yellowstone – Season 2 (2019)

Earlier this year, I reviewed the first season of this show. And now the second one has come to an end over here. So I guess that means I should talk about it. So here we go.

Ladies and gents… “Yellowstone” season 2.

We once again follow rancher John Dutton (Kevin Costner) as he tries to protect his land from opposing forces, new and old. All the while his three kids (Luke Grimes, Kelly Reilly, Wes Bentley) deal with a lot of personal issues of their own, while there’s also stuff going on with the people working for John. So now we have a more “Yellowstone”… in all the ways that entails. On one hand you do get a lot of that epic crime-drama that the show mostly sells itself on, and that shit is insanely compelling, always riding a line of grey morality perfectly, giving us some truly great tv at times. Buuuuuut then it also wallows a bit in family melodrama. At times that stuff doesn’t bother me, as there are points when it’s decently well handled. But then there are times when it sort of just drags the show down, and makes it kinda boring at times. I don’t need the crime-drama stuff all the time, but the family drama here isn’t always that great. So overall the story is pretty good. Flawed, but solid.

The characters here are flawed, layered, and quite interesting. Kevin Costner returns as John Dutton, the aging patriarch of this family. He has to come to terms with his own age a bit this season, at the same time as all this crazy shit happens around him, and it’s pretty interesting. And Costner is once again really good in the role. Luke Grimes returns as John’s son Kayce, a father who has to deal with some issues with his wife and son, while also having to manage his new role at his father’s ranch. And while I had slightly mixed feelings about him last season, he kinda grew to become my favorite this time around. And Grimes is really good in the role. Kelly Reilly returns as Beth, John’s take-no-nonsense daughter who often acts as a bit of a wild card, even if she is a bit more restrained this time around due to development from last season. And once again, she’s an interesting character, with Reilly giving a great performance. Wes Bentley plays Jamie, John’s lawyer son, and holy shit, he gets some actual development this season. They made Jamie interesting! And Bentley is great in the role, even if he still constantly scowls like someone shat in his backyard. Cole Hauser returns as Rip, the ranch hand/resident tough guy, and he’s once again great in the role. The stuff with returning antagonists Danny Huston and Gil Birminham is still solid. And new antagonist Neal McDonough, he’s pretty good. We of course also get supporting performances from people like Kelsey Asbille, Brecken Merrill, Jefferson White, Forrie J. Smith, Hugh Dillon, Ryan Bingham, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As with season 1, the score for season 2 of “Yellowstone” was composed by Brian Tyler. And it was once again good. Tense, emotional, and fitting of the semi-western tone that the show goes for. It’s solid stuff that fits the various scenes it’s used in.  There’s of course also a lot of licensed music used throughout (especially from the band Whiskey Myers). And that music works well enough for the respective scenes they get used in.

The show was created by Taylor Sheridan and John Linson, with Sheridan staying on as writer for all the episodes, but let a bunch of other cool people handle directing. And the craft on display here is generally good. A lot of nice looking shots of the sweeping vistas, some decent looking shots for smaller moments. The directing often elevates the material here, which is what makes some of those melodramatic scenes I mentioned earlier a bit more tolerable. And the direction also helps make some scenes quite suspenseful when needed. ’tis a solidly crafted show.

This show/season has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating. On Metacritic it exists, but has no overall score. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,4/10.

Season 2 of “Yellowstone” reaches some great heights, but wallows enough in some melodramatic lows to still bring it down overall. It has a pretty good plot, really good characters, great performances, good music, and really good writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 2 of “Yellowstone” is an 8,52/10. So while not perfect, it’s still certainly worth a watch.

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

Cooooooostneeeeeer.

Series Review: Yellowstone – Season 1 (2018)

Kevin Costner. What an interesting career this man has had. From being one of the biggest stars of the late 80s/early 90s, to kinda going into obscurity for a while, and then kinda making a comeback in the 2010s. And now he stars on a tv show. So let’s talk about it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Yellowstone” season 1.

The story follows John Dutton (Kevin Costner), an aging rancher, as he tries to keep his family in check while also dealing with various parties trying to encroach on his land. So now we have our neo-western-drama-thingamabob. And while it does dip a bit much into melodrama at times, I find the story here to be quite interesting, taking some really colorful characters and having them scheming around for the sake of their own or someone else’s success. The pacing does suffer a bit at times, and like I said, there’s a strong stench of melodrama at times. But overall it’s still a highly entertaining plot with some solid drama sprinkled throughout.

The characters in this are flawed, entertaining, surprisingly layered, and overall interesting. Kevin Costner plays John Dutton, the aging patriarch of the Dutton family and owner of the Yellowstone cattle ranch. He has demons of his past he has to deal with while also trying to keep his entire livelihood going with everything going against him at once, making him pretty interesting even though he can be a bit of an ass at times. And Costner is great in the role. Next we have Kelly Reilly as Beth, John’s daughter. She has a lot of issues that she at the start of the series hasn’t gone through, making her kind of a fucking mess. But she also has one of the best arcs in the series. And Reilly is great in the role. Next we have Luke Grimes as Kayce (Kay-see), one of John’s sons. A former Marine, he tries to balance being a Dutton with trying to be a good father and husband, which is quite complicated. And Grimes is really good in the role. Wes Bentley plays Jamie, John’s other son, who also happens to his lawyer. Yes, he’s a little smarmy, but mostly he’s probably the outlier of the family in a sense. And Bentley is good in the role. We also have Cole Hauser as Rip, John’s second hand man, who has to keep the ranch going in the events when John is unavailable. And while I won’t say too much more about Rip, I’ll just say that he’s my favorite character on the show. And Hauser is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Danny Huston, Gil Birmingham, Kelsey Absille, Jefferson White, Ian Bohen, Brecken Merrill, Ryan Bingham, Josh Lucas, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the season was composed by Brian Tyler, and I think he did a great job with it. Obviously taking influence from various westerns, he creates an ambient score that works very well within the show to create a certain mood. The theme he composed for the show is also pretty damn solid. There’s also some licensed tracks used throughout, and they work pretty well in their respective scenes.

Created by John Linson and Taylor Sheridan, all episodes this season were written and directed by Sheridan. And the craft here is really solid. Well shot, at times tense, Sheridan does a damn fine job in keeping my eyes stuck to the screen. Ben Richardson’s cinematography is also good.

This show/season has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 51% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 54/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,3/10.

While season 1 of “Yellowstone” misses the shot in some parts, it’s still a really solid season of television. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and really good writing/directing/cinematography. Where it falters (as previously mentioned) is in its occasionally dodgy pacing and unnecessarily frequent dips into melodrama. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Yellowstone” is an 8,61/10. So while flawed, I’d still say that it’s definitely worth watching.

My review of “Yellowstone” season 1 is now completed.

Movie megastar Kevin Costner doing long-form tv. Still blows my mind.

Movie Review: A Perfect World (1993)

Don’t commit crimes. It’ll only lead to bad stuff. Like prison. But if you do commit a crime (or two) and go to prison, don’t try to escape. You did the crime, so you should do the time. Don’t commit crimes.

Ladies and gents… “A Perfect World”.

After he escapes from prison, Butch Haynes (Kevin Costner) takes a boy (T.J. Lowther) hostage. And during their journey through the back roads of Texas, the two form a bit of a bond. All while a Texas Ranger (Clint Eastwood) heads the search for Haynes. So now we have our little crime-drama. And I found the plot here to be quite engaging. Admittedly it does fall into a couple of cliches throughout, but it’s not enough to ruin it for me. The journey of Haynes and the kid is endearing and it’s one I found myself really caring about. It’s a lot more slow-paced and concerned with the emotional journey than chases and shootouts. And it makes it feel a bit deeper than other movies with similar premises.

The characters here are layered, interesting, and overall entertaining. Kevin Costner plays Robert Haynes, the recently escaped prisoner. The movie makes it clear that he’s done some bad stuff, but he still feels like he’s a good person when he needs to. He’s charismatic and seems like he really cares about the kid. He feels a bit more real than other movie criminals. And this might be the best performance I’ve ever seen from Costner, he’s great here. T.J. Lowther plays Phillip, the kid that Haynes kidnaps. He’s a young and naive kid that sort of quickly accepts this journey he’s been put on, but it’s still interesting seeing him interact with Haynes and what happens during their journey. And Lowther is good in the role. Not saying it’s the greatest child performance ever, but he’s definitely good. Costner and Lowther also share a very likable chemistry that was enjoyable to watch. Then we have Clint Eastwood as Texas Ranger Red Garnett. It’s basically Clint Eastwood, but slightly less gruff than usual. And he’s so good at that type of role that I can’t help but enjoy it. Then we have Laura Dern as Sally, Garnett’s new assistant. And she’s tough and determined without turning unlikable. It’s fun seeing her more or less own the other guys in the room, showing that women can be badasses too. And yeah, Dern is great in the role. Then we get some solid supporting performances from people like Bradley Whitford (who’s a total dick in this), Keith Szarabajka, Ray McKinnon, Jennifer Griffin, and more! ’tis a very well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Lennie Niehaus and it was good. It was sued relatively sparingly, but it worked well for the movie, elevating certain moments throughout. There were also a whole bunch of licensed tracks used throughout and they worked quite well in their respective scenes.

The movie was directed by Clint Eastwood and I think he did a great job. His direction here is a bit more understated than in some of his other movies, but it works so damn well to make this movie stand out and have a unique feel. He also manages to build some really good suspense in certain scenes, properly showing how to make a scene tense. And the cinematography by Jack N. Green is pretty fucking good. There were times where it actually made me go “Wow”, which doesn’t happen too often.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 81% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“A Perfect World” is a really great movie. It has a great plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “A Perfect World” is a 9,63/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “A Perfect World” is now completed.

Definitely an underrated gem in Eastwood’s filmography.

Movie Review: Open Range (2003)

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If you’ve followed my blog for some time then you are probably aware that I love westerns. It’s probably my favorite movie genre. So whenever I get the chance to watch a western, I get excited. I get even more excited when I get to talk about said westerns here on the blog.

Ladies and gents… “Open Range”.

Boss Spearman (Robert Duvall) and Charley Waite (Kevin Costner) are two men who run a crew that makes sure their cattle gets to graze in the nice, open fields. But at one point they happen to get into trouble with a corrupt Sheriff (James Russo) and the local rancher (Michael Gambon) who happens to be a bit of a kingpin. So to keep this shit short and sweet, they get into trouble with these guys and have to try to stop them/take them out. Pretty standard western stuff, but I have to say that I was surprised at the depth that the plot had. It’s not just some cattle men who also happen to be gunslingers who have to take out some corrupt people, but there are so many more layers to it that I can’t get into because this review is supposed to be spoiler free. There are tons of little elements to the plot of “Open Range” that make it such an engaging watch. Yeah, it’s really good.

The characters in this movie are layered, interesting, and simply entertaining. Robert Duvall is (as we all know) a great actor, and it shows here too. He gives a terrific performance in this movie while also being pretty badass. Kevin Costner also gives a really good performance in this movie. And these two central actors have really good chemistry too, perfectly building off of each other. I’m not saying that you should expect there to be a whole bunch of really funny banter like Riggs and Murtaugh from “Lethal Weapon” or Harry and Gay Perry from “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang”. I’m simply saying that they work very well together. We also get some really good performances from people like Annette Bening, Diego Luna, Abraham Benrubi, Michael Gambon, and Michael Jeter (R.I.P).

The film’s original score was composed by Michael Kamen (R.I.P) who of course made the music to movies like “Die Hard” and the previously mentioned “Lethal Weapon”. And the music he did for this movie is pretty damn good. Sure, a lot of it sounds like typical western stuff… but that isn’t a bad thing. It sounds great and it really makes the movie feel a lot bigger while also sounding great overall. Also, the song that plays during the end credits, “Holding All My Love For You” by Julianna Raye, is pretty damn good too.

This movie was directed by none other than… *drumroll* Kevin Costner! Yup, one of the stars of this movie also directed it. Not that it’s the first time that it has been done (not even the first for Costner), and it sure as hell isn’t the last either. But to call this movie well directed would be an understatement. Yes, I am saying that this movie looks fucking phenomenal and I was in awe at several shots in the movie. And while there aren’t that many shootouts in this movie, in fact there’s actually only one, really… near the end. And I honestly think that it is absolutely awesome. It goes on for some time too, which is great for me, because western shootouts are fun to witness. And since this goes on for a while and also features a good amount of dudes being gunned down, it will please those who love a good ol’ fashioned shooty-bang-bang session.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 79% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 67/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“Open Range” is a movie that surprised me a pretty good amount. It has a great plot, great characters, great acting, great music, great directing, and an awesome shootout. Time for my final score. *Bang*. My final score for “Open Range” is a 9,87/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Open Range” is now done.

Duvall shotgun

Movie Review: The Untouchables (1987)

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I don’t know why, but modern American history is incredibly interesting to me. And by modern American history I basically mean everything within the 1900’s. What mainly interests me are all the crime stories, especially the gangster-related ones. I have no idea why they interest me as much as they do, they just happen to do so I guess. And that is what I think fuels my love for gangster movies. So let’s review a gangster movie, shall we?

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Untouchables”.

So in this movie we follow Federal Agent Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) as he puts together a team of non-corrupt cops to find a way to legally take down gangster boss Al Capone (Robert De Niro) during the prohibition era. Simple premise, excellent execution. The plot lends itself to show some genuinely great drama and surprisingly good storytelling thanks to the premise being as simple as it is. What is also great about the plot is the pace, this movie moves at a pretty great pace. I never experienced it to be slow at all, I would even dare to say that it was pretty fast. And I liked it!

The characters in this movie all feel like real people… probably because a bunch of them are real people portrayed by actors. Examples: Eliot Ness was a real man who formed a real team called “The Untouchables”. And as you all know, Al Capone existed and was a ruthless gangster. Most other characters are fictional but still based on some men who existed back then. Anyway, how were the performances in this movie? Top notch, I tell you! Kevin Costner was great as Ness, Sean Connery stole the show (just like in “The Rock”) as old and wise police officer Jim Malone, Charles Martin Smith was great as his character, Andy Garcia was great as his character and Robert De Niro was fantastic (as always) as Al Capone. Everybody was great.

I don’t even have to mention how great the music is. You should know that I loved it. Why should you know such a thing? Because the score was done by none other than Maestro Ennio Morricone who might be my favorite composer of all time. But yes, he did the score and it is amazing. Next topic!

The shots in this movie look great, the camera work is great, it is a great looking movie. Thank you for doing that Brian De Palma! Now if you oculd direct a good movie again, that would be great! Now, instead of ripping on poor Mr. De Palma, let’s talk about something good from this movie: The action. The action in the movie is visceral, brutal and awesome. Whenever an action scene happened in the movie I cheered because the action scenes are just straight up awesome. Also, if you hate violence then you don’t want to see this movie. In fact, stay away from anything that Brian De Palma has directed if you don’t like violence in movies.

This movie has been very well-received over the years. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 80% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 79/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,0/10. The movie also won 1 Oscar in the category of Best Supporting Actor (Connery). It was also nominated for 3 Oscars in the categories of Best set decoration, Best costume design and Best Original Score. 

“The Untouchables” is a very touchable movie that I think everyone should touch. I know, that sounded weird but trust me, it makes sense soon enough. The story is great, the acting is great, the music is great, the direction is great and the addition of the action is something I really liked a lot. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “The Untouchables” is a 9,89/10. It definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

“The Untouchables” is now reviewed.

Can’t touch this…