Movie Review: Spider-Man 3 (2007)

And so we come to the end of this review series on the Raimi-directed “Spider-Man” movies. It’s been fun revisiting this franchise. So let’s talk about the final part!

Ladies and gents… “Spider-Man 3”.

Peter (Tobey Maguire) seems to finally have his life under control. But that soon takes a dark turn when a mysterious space goop enters his life and changes his for the worse. All the while a super-powered petty criminal (Thomas Haden Church) roams the city after having escaped from prison. ALL THE WHILE Peter finds himself in some love triangle drama with Mary-Jane (Kirsten Dunst) and Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard). ALL THE WHILE his- fuck this. Just… fuck it. There are elements in the plot that are good. But overall, it’s a god damn mess. It has more threads than a spider web, and they are all (for the most part) paper thin. Like I said, there are some nice parts here too, some finely handled dramatic/emotionally charged bits. But they all find themselves tangled up in this scatterbrained web.

The characters here are mixed. Some are nuanced and interesting, and some are Topher Grace as Eddie Brock. The returning core cast of Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and James Franco are all great in their roles, and do wonders with the material they’re given (which sometimes isn’t great). Rosemary Harris as Aunt May is still the warm, comforting presence she’s always been. J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson is still an absolute blast to watch. As for new blood, there’s Thomas Haden Church as Flint Marko/Sandman. He’s given a surprising amount of development, and gives a really solid performance. And then we have the aforementioned Topher Grace as Eddie Brock. Look, Grace is not a bad actor, and he actually does a good job playing an absolute slimeball here… but he feels miscast for the character of Eddie Brock. And the stuff they do with the character here… just, no. Overall, decent cast.

Unlike the first two movies, the score in this one wasn’t composed by Danny Elfman. Instead, musical duties were handed over to Christopher Young, who I think did a great job. He incorporates Elfman’s iconic theme wonderfully, while still bringing his own flair to a lot of the other tracks. There are some emotionally charged pieces here that really work well within the movie.

As we’ve pointed out already, “Spider-Man 3” was, like its predecessors directed by Sam Raimi, who I think mostly did a great job here. I say mostly, because compared to the other two, there’s a lot more leaning on CGI for various things in this one. Which also makes some bits look a bit wonky, especially a chase scene early on in the movie. There is cool stuff to it, but overall the green screen effect looks kinda unfinished. And there are a few CGI humans in this movie, and they were a bit distracting. But with all that said, whenever it doesn’t use shit effects, it looks good. The action scenes in this are generally great, with one fight scene some ways into the movie being one of my favorite parts of it.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 63% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 59/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,2/10.

So while “Spider-Man 3” is a bit of a let-down compared to the first two, it’s still an enjoyable superhero movie. It has a messy plot with good moments, mostly good characters, really good performances, great music, and good directing/action with only a few wonky effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Spider-Man 3” is a 6,95/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “Spider-Man 3” is now completed.

Bit a downer to end this series on. C’est la vie, je suppose.

Movie Review: Spider-Man 2 (2004)

And so my series of reviews of Raimi-directed “Spider-Man” movies continues!

Ladies and gents… “Spider-Man 2”.

As Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) tries to balance college, work, and being the friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, he runs into even more trouble when scientist Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) becomes the villainous Doc Ock. So now we have our sequel. It’s bigger, but does that make it better? Yes, very much so. It has a lot of themes to balance, and it manages to do that beautifully. At times it’s fun, at times it breaks the viewer’s heart, at times it’s uplifting. It takes all its various themes and creates a web (HA!) that is a perfect representation of Spider-Man and his adventures.

The characters are colorful, flawed, layered, fun, and overall just really interesting. Tobey Maguire reprises his role as Peter Parker/Spider-Man. Seeing his development throughout here is fascinating. Yes, you do get a lot of the charming awkwardness seen in the first movie, but you also get to see a lot of new sides to him that came forward after the events of the first movie, and from things that happen here. And Maguire is great in the role. Alfred Molina plays Otto Octavius, the brilliant scientist who becomes the villain of the story. He’s under constant conflict with himself throughout, making him quite a compelling character. And Molina is great in the role. Kirsten Dunst returns as Mary-Jane Watson, and she gets some decent development throughout. And Dunst is good in the role. James Franco returns as Harry Osborne, who also has some interesting character drama going on, with Franco giving a great performance. We also get supporting work from people like Rosemary Harris, J.K. Simmons (still the best), Bill Nunn, Dylan Baker, Daniel Gillies, Donna Murphy, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As with the first movie, the score was composed by Danny Elfman, and he somehow managed to one-up himself. The score here of course brings back a lot of the sweeping heroics of the first, while also adding in a lot of nice little touches that makes it stand out. Really, it’s amazing, one of the best scores of the time. And there’s the odd licensed track used throughout that works quite well too.

As with the first movie (and as mentioned in the opening of this review), this movie was directed by Sam Raimi, who (like Elfman) upped his game. His camptastic sense of energy makes a triumphant return, which makes it electrifying to watch, even in the “slower” scenes. It also adds a lot to the action scenes, which are a blast to watch, thanks to the energetic, visceral feel that Raimi gives to them. There’s one scene in particular that really encapsulates that, and if you’ve seen this movie, then you probably know which one I’m talking about. And to bring up something I mentioned in my previous “Spider-Man” review, the effects in this still hold up. The last one had a lot of rough stuff, but the ones in this one… still so good.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 83/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best Visual Effects. It also got an additional 2 nominations in the categories of Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing.

“Spider-Man 2” is a sequel that takes everything that was good about the first one, and improves on it significantly. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/action/effects. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “Spider-Man 2” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Spider-Man 2” is now completed.

Here’s a fun anecdote: As I was (re)watching this, I realized that I actually hadn’t seen this one before. My mind had tricked me into thinking that I had seen it before, when I hadn’t. It’s quite interesting.

Movie Review: Spider-Man (2002)

With “Spider-Man: Far From Home” getting released in July, I thought I would give the Raimi-directed “Spider-Man” movies a little rewatch/review. I mean, it’s been years since the last time I saw them, so now is a good a time as any to see if they hold up. So here we go with part 1.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Spider-Man”.

After he gets bitten by a genetically modified spider, high school student Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) starts developing spider-like powers. And he soon has to put them to good use when a crazed villain (Willem Dafoe) starts terrorizing New York. We had gotten a few superhero origins before this, but this really set the standard for how it’s done. Even in movies later on, let’s say “Iron Man” as an example, trace amounts of this movie can be found in the way the origin is done there. So yeah, the plot here is handled well. Not saying it’s perfect. It does have a few minor pacing issues at points, but there’s nothing that completely ruins the experience for me. It is still mostly well paced, with plenty of nuance and a decent exploration of the “Great power, great responsibility” theme. It’s fun, it’s clever, it’s emotional, it’s a good “Spider-Man” origin.

The characters in this are colorful, charming, layered, and overall interesting. Tobey Maguire plays Peter Parker/Spider-Man. He’s a little shy, a little awkward, but also clever, good-hearted, and a fairly relatable character. Seeing his journey from that dork that everyone picks on to a hero is quite fascinating. And Maguire is really good in the role. Kirsten Dunst plays Mary-Jane Watson, Peter’s neighbor and crush. A beautiful young woman with a bad home life, but a good heart. Seeing her and how she is affected by Peter’s life/she affects him is an interesting part of the whole story. And Dunst is really good in the role. Next we have Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn/The Green Goblin. He’s something of a scientist and tries to develop tech that can help the military… but things go a little… awry. Seeing his duality throughout the movie is endlessly entertaining, and Dafoe is the perfect blend of intimidating, emotionally investing, and hammy in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Rosemary Harris, Cliff Robertson, James Franco, J.K. Simmons (the best), and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Danny Elfman, and I have nothing bad to say about it. It’s epic, emotional, sweeping, and balances heroics with smaller stuff, making for one of the most iconic and enjoyable scores in the last 20 years. Seriously still great.

As mentioned in the opening of this review, “Spider-Man” (based on the Marvel character created by Stan Lee & Steve Ditko) was directed by Sam Raimi, and I think he did a great job with it. He has a unique sort of energy that makes the movie a whole lot of fun to watch. He also uses a lot of fun camera movements to give the movie a unique look that feels very much in line with the character of Spider-Man. This also translates to the action scenes, which are a lot of fun and are even surprisingly brutal at times. However, to add a negative into all this positivity, there are a lot of effects that don’t hold up. Those are CGI stuff that very much haven’t aged well. It’s not a total deal-breaker, but it is distracting enough to bring the score down a little bit.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 90% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10. It got 2 Oscar nominations in the categories of Best Sound and Best Visual Effects.

While there are aspects of it that has aged a fair bit, “Spider-Man” is still a damn fine superhero movie. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/action. What brings it down a bit for me are the occasional pacing issues and often wonky CGI effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Spider-Man” is an 8,89/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Spider-Man” is now completed.

Two more to go. *thwip*.

Movie Review: Midnight Special (2016)

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Big budgeted action movies are great and all, but sometimes we need to take it down a notch and give some attention to the smaller guys. You know, the movies with small(er) budgets. And that’s what we’re doing today.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Midnight Special”.

Roy (Michael Shannon) is on the run together with his friend (Joel Edgerton) and his son (Jaeden Lieberher) from the government and also a cult. Why? Because Roy’s son apparently has superpowers. And from this basic idea we get a surprisingly deep, emotional, and tense plot that has a decent amount of layers to it. It’s not just a suspense thriller/road movie, but also an intriguing mystery surrounding this boy and his powers. And the ending (no spoilers), I thought it was a solid ending for the movie. I mention this because there are people who don’t really like how this movie concludes, and that’s fine… I’m just saying that I thought it worked. I thought the entire plot worked very well, it was great.

The characters in this movie are all really interesting. Michael Shannon is great in the main role as the father who just wants to do anything to find his super-son’s purpose, whatever that may be. Joel Edgerton plays his best friend in the movie, and he gives a really good performance too. Jaeden Lieberher who plays the superpowered kid, Alton, is actually really good in the movie. I am usually someone who is a bit against child actors, but I do have to admit that this kid was genuinely good. We also got Adam Driver as one of the government agents and he was really good in the movie. I’d say that most if not all actors did a really good job.

The score for the movie was composed by David Wingo and it was pretty fuckin’ good. It is a beautifully haunting score that perfectly manages to create a lot of emotion that perfectly fits the movie. Seriously, it’s some awesome stuff.

This movie was directed by Jeff Nichols who also made the movie “Mud”, which I really liked. And here he did a great job with the direction. The movie is magnificently shot, it looks beautiful. What I also enjoyed about it is how well the CGI in the movie blended with everything else. None of it felt out of place or looked bad, it all worked very well in the movie. There’s also a good amount of suspense in the movie, which I really liked.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 76/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“Midnight Special” is a pretty different movie. It’s more of a slow burn than most modern sci-fi movies, but that’s also kind of why I like it. But also because it has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. I WILL FIND HIM! My final score for “Midnight Special” is a 9,87/10. So it of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Midnight Special” is now completed.

This apparently bombed at the box office. Shame on you, world.

 

Series Review: Fargo – Season 2 (2015)

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Some of you people might remember that I had seen and reviewed the first season of this show a while back. If you remember that you probably also remember that I absolutely loved it. So of course I was excited about seeing season 2… and here we are, finally reviewing it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the second season of… “Fargo”.

The year is 1979, that’s right, this season is more or less a prequel to season 1. Like I said in my review of the first season, this is an anthology show. Now that we got that part cleared let’s move on to this season. And in it we follows Minnesota state trooper Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) as he is drawn into an investigation involving a local crime gang, the mafia and a local couple (Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst). And it all of course is a huge mystery filled murder, deception and most other things you’d expect from this show if you’ve seen the first season. And there is no reason to either lie about it or postpone it anymore… I think the plot of the second season is great, as good as the first season even. I would even say that I might’ve enjoyed this season even more than the first one. The mystery is bigger and even more bizarre. It’s intriguing, entertaining and really well told.

While the plot is great on it’s own, it would be nothing without the characters, that is a fact that works for most pieces of media. With that said, holy shit the characters are amazing! They are all very interesting, colorful and all get time to shine. Patrick Wilson knocks it out of the park as Lou, which I didn’t have much of a doubt about since I love him as an actor. Ted Danson plays a sheriff and Lou’s father-in-law and he’s as great as ever. Jesse Plemons, you have shown me once again what a terrific actor you are. First “Breaking Bad”, now “Fargo”… I can’t wait to see what awesome thing you’ll do next. Kirsten Dunst, holy shit, this is the best she’s been in years. Jeffrey Donovan plays an unlikable asshole in this show, but that’s okay because his performance overall is terrific. And there are a whole bunch of otehr great actors/performances/characters in this show that I will not get into because I would be here all day. But yeah… it’s all great.

Just like in the first season we got Jeff Russo to do the score for the show. And once again it is great. It manages to create a lot of tension, a lot of suspense, a lot of drama and it is just awesome to listen to. There is also a lot of otehr tunes here that are not composed by Russo. What I mean by that is that there are a lot of licensed tracks and not only do they fit the scenes they are used in, but they are songs that I really enjoyed listening to. As someone who listens to a lot of 70’s/80’s music, this soundtrack was pretty much made for me. Especially in the last few episodes, those had some of the best tunes in show in my opinion. Yeah… this season had great music.

Season 2 takes the directing of season 1 and ramps it up to fuckin’ eleven. It’s quicker, it’s snappier, it’s even more stylish than the first season. It’s also even more violent, good grief. Yes, season 1 was pretty damn violent, but wasn’t this violent. It also didn’t have as much violence and brutality and blood/gore as this season. Not that the extra violence takes away from the show, I would amost say that it is one of the things keeping the show as interesting as it is in combination with the story and characters ‘n’ shit. The pitch black humor also makes a triumphant return in this season and as someone who loves pitch black humor to no end I actually laughed at some pretty dark stuff. No wonder I never get invited to parties…

This season of the show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% (holy shit) positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 96/100. And while imdb doesn’t have season-based averages, the show does have a score of 9,0/10 and is ranked #23 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

The second season of “Fargo” took what season 1 did right and improved upon it. I thought the story was even better, the characters more entertaining/great (though I miss Billy Bob Thornton), the soundtrack absolutely fantastic, teh directing/action fantastic and the violence/humor great. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Fargo” season 2 is a 9,90/10. I love it and it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

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

So… Ewan McGregor next season then!

My Favorite Scenes: Spider-Man 3 – Birth of Sandman

What’s going on, guys? So today I felt like bringing this fossil back to life. That’s right, I’m not good at updating the “My Favorite Scenes” series, but finally I am doing it. And todya we are talking about a scene from a movie that people really seem to hate. Before we dive into the scene, let me tell you my quick thoughts on the movie; It’s fine. There is a lot wrong with the movie, but I do still enjoy it a pretty good amount. There, I said it, now let’s talk about this scene. Where the movie was not very good at parts, this scene suddenly comes out of nowhere and goes “I am giving you the feels!” (By the way, I personally hate the term “The feels”). In this scene we see Flint Marko (Thomas Haden Church), after some kind of accident, becoming Sandman. And when you watch this you will most likely believe that he’s not really a bad guy, but a good guy who did something bad. And that is portrayed perfectly through the directing, the visual effects and the beautiful song by composer Christopher Young. I love this scene so much.
Enjoy!

Movie Review: Interview With the Vampire (1994)

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Vampires! You either love them or hate them. I am more on the love side to be honest. But it has kind of started to change with all these shitty teenage vampire movies (Unfortunately looking at you Twilight!). I have for a pretty long time been a fa nof vampires thanks to things like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel”. But those shows didn’t really focus on the vampires themselves, but rather on the people trying to put down the vampires. But today we will take a look at a movie that actually focuses on the vampires themselves.

Ladies and Gentlemen…”Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles” (What a mouthful).

The story follows Louis de Pointe du Lac (Brad Pitt). He is a vampire. And the story here is that Louis is being interviewed by reporter Daniel Malloy (Christian Slater). Louis tells Daniel about his life as a vampire. From the moment Lestat de Lioncourt (Tom Cruise) turned him into a vampire and onwards. And that is your story in a nutshell. I will not really spoil the entire story for two main reasons. 1. I would be sitting here all day and this review would be too long. 2. Why would I spoil the entire story of a movie? That would be incredibly dumb. But as I always say: It does not matter if the idea for your movie is simple and not very original, as long as the execution is done well. And in this movie I can say that the execution is well done. This movie is one of the few that is perfectly paced. It never feels too slow or too fast, it is excellent in pacing. I was intrigued by the execution of this movie and I never got bored. Well done, people of this movie! Also, the ending of this movie was really surprising…not kidding. I was genuinely surprised with what they did…good job, people!

The characters are complex and interesting to watch. A lot of that is because of the excellent writing, but also because of the really good performances from the actors. I think this is one of Brad Pitt’s best performances…seriously. Mainly because he captures the feeling of this calm guy with a tortured soul. Great job, Pitt! Tom Crusie was also great in this movie. Still, he is good in everything. I was also happily surprised by (the very young) Kirsten Dunst in this movie. She killed it (Vampire pun not intended). So in general, characters and acting in this movie is great.

The music is fucking amazing. It is just what you’d expect…orchestral stuff! But that is never a bad thing (Unless it is used in a really bad movie). Here it is amazing and really sets the mood of the scenes. Composer Elliot Goldenthal did an amzing job with the soundtrack and I suggest you check him out. Want even more proof the soundtrack is great? Okay. It was nominated for an Oscar…that is how great it is.

The camera work in this movie is some of the best I have seen in quite a while (Even rivaling Jack Reacher). Sure, it is not as great as anything done by David Fincher, but it still worth a mention for it’s quality. Also the makeup in this movie is really well done. Not only to make the vampires look pale and half dead…but even when showing decaying corpses it is amazing. Almost, just almost rivaling “The Walking Dead”.

Reception for “Interview With the Vampire” was something that was overall pretty good. Rotten Tomatoes has a score of 61% positive reviews. Metacritic gave it a 59/100. Roger Ebert gave this movie 3/4 stars and said:

Although one of the characters in “Interview with the Vampire” begs to be transformed into a vampire, and eagerly awaits the doom of immortality, the movie never makes vampirism look like anything but an endless sadness. That is its greatest strength. Vampires throughout movie history have often chortled as if they’d gotten away with something. But the first great vampire movie, “Nosferatu” (1922), knew better, and so does this one.

This movie has a 7,7/10 on imdb.com. It was also nominated for 2 Oscars. Best art decoration-set decoration and Best Original Score. However it did not win on any of them.

“Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles” (Still a mouthful) is an intriguing, well filmed, well acted movie with a great soundtrack. I am ready to give it my final score now. My final score for “Interview With the Vampire” is an 9,10/10 and with that, a recommendation to buy it. It is a great movie.

“Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles” is now reviewed.

I wonder what it would be like to see Lestat fight with Buffy…