Movie Review: The Guilty (2018)

I don’t envy those doing police work. I salute them for doing it, but I don’t envy them.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Guilty”.

Asger (Jakob Cedergren) is a police officer who’s been assigned to alarm dispatch duty. However, things get a bit extra complicated when he gets a call from a woman who has been kidnapped. So it’s up to Asger to try to find a way to save this woman before something bad happens to her (you know, other than being kidnapped). And I can already hear some of you saying “Gee willikers, Mr. Markus, this sure sounds an awful lot like a Halle Berry movie from a few years back”. And to that I say, that is a fair comparison on a surface level. But digging deeper, this is a different kind of flick. This is a thriller that builds its suspense from its limitations. All we get is Asger in his office, talking on the phone, and occasionally reacting to them. It has kind of a Hitchcockian vibe to it. And I think it’s all handled wonderfully.

Jakob Cedergren plays Asger Holm, the policeman at the center of the story who’s been assigned alarm dispatch duty. He has kind of a working class man kinda vibe that instantly made me somewhat feel for him, as he didn’t feel like the typical movie protagonist. And seeing him go through the troubles of trying to help this woman, without being able to really leave his desk, it is absolutely riveting. And Cedergren is fantastic in the role. The people he talks to on the phone too does very well in their roles.

What is interesting about the music in this movie is that there is pretty much none. There is a bit of a droning track at the credits, but throughout the movie, there is nothing. And I commend the filmmakers for showing such restraint. You guys know me, I love me a good musical score in a movie. But here I felt like it wouldn’t work as well. It would’ve taken something away from the situation if you had suspenseful brass and jumpy strings playing the background. But yeah, the lack of music here I think worked wonderfully.

This movie was written by Gustav Möller and Emil Nygaard Albertsen, with Möller also serving as director. And holy fucking shit, did they knock it out of the park. As I mentioned, the plot in itself is handled in a really solid way, so there’s the writing aspect dealt with. But Möller’s direction here i tight as all hell, increasing the unease and tension with every scene, without resorting to stupid cliches. We’re always stuck in the room with Asger, so building the suspense wasn’t an easy task… but god damn, did they pull it off. And Jasper Spanning’s cinematography was suitably claustrophobic, adding to the experience.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 99% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 83/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

You’d think someone sitting at a desk for 80 minutes wouldn’t make for a compelling movie… but “The Guilty” proves that wrong. It has a great plot, a really good character, some great performances, and some fantastic writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Guilty” is a 9,90/10. Which of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Guilty” is now completed.

Sometimes less is more.

Movie Review: Game Night (2018)

What’s your favorite game? Not counting video games here, just things that you can easily play with friends on a game night. Charades, Yahtzee, Uno… doesn’t matter. Let me know your favorites.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Game Night”.

Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) have a weekly tradition of inviting their friends to a game night. One such weekend the group gets invited to a game night by Max’s brother (Kyle Chandler). They find out that he’s planned a bit of a murder mystery themed game night. But soon what should just be a fun evening with friends turns into something a bit crazier than originally expected. So now we have our twisty-turny comedy. And the plot here is pretty good. I appreciate that it tries to do something a bit different than a lot of modern comedies. It takes a really clever idea and has a lot of fun with it. Now, while I’m all for a twisty-turny web, this one twists around a bit much, turning it into a bit of a mess at times. Twist upon twist is fine, but the way it’s done in “Game Night” doesn’t always work, turning it from a clever mystery into a bit of a messtery (see what I did there?). It’s not so bad that it made me angry, but it does take me out of it a little at times. But it’s still a fairly refreshing entry in the world of Hollywood comedies. Good stuff.

The characters in this are all a ton of fun to follow, and they share some solid chemistry. First up we have Jason Bateman as Max, who is a very Jason Bateman-esque type. I can’t put it any other way, if you’ve seen Jason Bateman in a comedy, you know what to expect from him. But it still works, and Bateman does a good job. Next we have Rachel McAdams as Annie, Max’s wife and fellow game night entusiast. She’s not always the brightest bulb in the shed, but she’s always full of glee and is just a ton of fun to follow. And McAdams is fantastic in the role, absolutely the scene stealer. We also get supporting work from people like Kyle Chandler, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Jesse Plemons, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Cliff Martinez, and it was really good. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a fan of some of Martinez’s older work, but I think it’s genuinely a great score that works really well in adding a surprising amount of suspense and intrigue to the movie. There’s also a few licensed tracks used throughout, and they work pretty well in their respective scenes.

“Game Night” was written by Mark Perez, and directed by John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein, and this trio really outdid themselves here. In terms of the overall craft of the movie, I didn’t expect much. So imagine my surprise when I notice all the clever and engaging camerawork used throughout the movie, especially during one sequence that I will not spoil, but let’s just say that my eyebrows were raised and my jaw was on the floor. And since this is a comedy, you might wanna know if I laughed. So did I? Like a fucking idiot. I didn’t expect this movie to crack me up as much as it did. Some jokes were chuckles, some were loud gut-busters. Yeah, I had a blast with the humor here.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 66/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

“Game Night” is one of the biggest surprises of the year. It has a pretty good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, great directing, and hilarious comedy. Though as previously mentioned, my score gets brought down a bit by the plot being a bit convoluted. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Game Night” is an 8,88/10. So while flawed, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Game Night” is now completed.

I think Uno might be my favorite, purely because of how fun it is to fuck people over.

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: Room (2015)

brie_larson_in_room-1366x768

Kidnapping… it’s wrong, don’t fucking do it. I really tried to come up with a clever intro, but I couldn’t. So this is what you get… “Oh hai, Mark”.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Room”.

Jack (Jacob Tremblay) is a young boy being raised by his mom (Brie Larson) in a small shed that he has lived within his entire (albeit short) life. And soon he will get to know a bit more about the world that he has never seen. And from this we get one of the most depressing yet uplifting plots that I have ever experienced in a movie. Really, it is a depressing situation that our main characters are in, but there’s some level of hope throughout the plot which gives this plot a good amount of layers to it. And I think that the plot here is very well told, even though it can be hard to get through.

The characters all have layers to them, and they all feel very real. Brie Larson was absolutely fantastic in the movie, she really gave it her all. The amount of emotions she had to portray in the movie can be difficult for a lot of actors to do convincingly, but she fucking nailed it. Jacob Tremblay… that kid is something special. I have stated a good amount of times how I am skeptical about kids acting in movies, but even I have to admit defeat sometimes. Tremblay was terrific in the movie, he really nailed the whole “Kid who’s known very little and gets introduced to so much more” thing very well. That’s really the best way I could put it. We also get some really good supporting performances through the movie from people like Joan Allen and Sean Bridgers.

The score for the movie was composed by Stephen Rennicks and it was kind of beautiful. It was one of those scores that often loomed in the background to help create a lot of emotion for certain scenes, and I think it worked very well. I also appreciate the inclusion of “The Mighty Rio Grande” by This Will Destroy You (actual band name) in a certain scene. Not only because it’s a song that I already liked, but because it was perfectly placed and actually enhanced the scene quite a bit.

The movie was directed by Lenny Abrahamson and I think that he did a great job. What I found interesting about his direction was his use of lower angles, as if he wanted the camera to be from a child’s point of view. The camera is also rarely perfectly still, there’s a good amount of movement and jitteriness (in lack of a better word) in scenes, as if the camera was a child. I think Abrahamson really wanted to capture the feel of a child’s point of view in this situation, which is something I truly appreciate about it.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 86/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10 and is ranked #134 on the “Top 250” list. The movie also won 1 Oscar in the category of Best Actress (Larson). It was also nominated for an additional 3 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best director, and Best adapted screenplay.

“Room” is one of the most emotionally draining, but also rewarding, movies I have ever seen. It has a great plot, interesting characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Room” is a 9,84/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Room” is now completed.

Yeah… Brie Larson will be great as Captain Marvel.