Movie Review: Constantine (2005)

So what’s on the Month of Spooks meny today? Spooky comic book adaptation? Neat.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Constantine”.

The story follows John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), a private detective handling cases of the supernatural kind, as he helps an LAPD detective (Rachel Weisz) try to prove that her sister’s death wasn’t a normal suicide, but something more sinister. All while John is dealing with the recent news that he has a really severe case of lung cancer. So now we have our spooky detective story. And it’s good. Not perfect, but good. Overall it’s a very well paced story that never feels like it drags, but there is kind of a weird disconnect between the plots of the movie. It’s clear that they used the “Dangerous Habits” story arc from the comics as basis, but then added the cop with the dead sister plot onto it because I guess they needed a more movie-esque aspect in the plot. And the two sometimes tie into each other okay, but a lot of the time they don’t fully gel. Both plots on their own are really good, but putting them together like that doesn’t fully work. But overall, pretty good stuff.

The characters in this get some decent development and are all pretty interesting. First up we have Keanu Reeves (whoa) as the titular hellblazer. He’s a sarcastic jerk who doesn’t let anyone get close, for reasons we shall not disclose, but it’s some good stuff. He’s quite a departure from the comics, but I still found him to be an entertaining and interesting character. And Reeves is really good in the role. Next we have Rachel Weisz as Angela Dodson, the detective that Constantine decides to help. She’s tough as hell without it coming off as forced or unrealistic. She feels a bit more real. And Weisz is great in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Tilda Swinton, Shia LaBeouf, Djimon Hounsou, Max Baker, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gavin Rossdale, Peter Stormare, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Brian Tyler (with some additions by Klaus Badelt) and I think he did a great job with it. The score takes influences from a couple cultures as well as taking inspiration from a couple different genres such as horror and action. And it creates a really interesting sound that elevates the various scenes where music can be heard.

Based on the “Hellblazer” comics by DC/Vertigo, this movie was directed by Francis Lawrence, and I think he did a really good job with that. While elements of the story and character have trouble capturing the vibe of the comic, his direction gets closer to capturing that feel… if it was turned up to 11 that is, but that’s slightly besides the point. But I do like the slightly gothic vibe this thing has, which often manages to add some creep factor to it all. And the cinematography by Philippe Rousselot is pretty great too, giving us some damn fine looking shots throughout.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 46% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 50/100. Roger Ebert gave it 1,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

While not necessarily a great representation of its source material, “Constantine” is still a damn good supernatural action thriller. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. As previously mentioned, it is brought down a bit by elements in the story feeling somewhat disjointed. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Constantine” is an 8,94/10. So while flawed, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Constantine” is now completed.

Whoa.

Movie Review: Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)

Hello there, ladies and gentlemen! Recently I put up a poll on my twitter (@TheMarckoguy, if you’re not already following me there) asking if you wanted me to review the first four “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies since the new one is coming out very soon. After 24 hours the poll was over and a majority voted “Yes” on it, so I’m gonna bring you reviews of all the “Pirates” movies leading up to the new one. So here we go with the first part in this new review series.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl”.

When his long time friend and love interest Elizabeth (Keira Knightley) gets kidnapped by a gang of seemingly undead pirates, blacksmith Will Turner (Orlando Bloom) has to team up with the very eccentric pirate captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) to find the bad guys and stop them. That’s it, a simple swashbuckler plot with a supernatural twist… and it doesn’t really need more than that. It’s a fun plot featuring pirates and some supernatural bullshit. And to be honest, while the supernatural stuff isn’t necessary to make a good movie, I feel like it really added something to the plot here, deepening it without going (pun intended) overboard. It’s an interesting world they set up and they make a fun adventure happen in it.

The characters in this movie are all interesting and really entertaining. Jack Sparrow is a selfish jerk who also happens to have his heart in the right place, and Johnny Depp is great in the role, playing him with a lot of fun energy. Elizabeth Swann can seem like a bit of a damsel in distress at first, being kidnapped by the undead pirates and all, but she’s actually a tough and stubborn young woman that I enjoy following, and Keira Knightley is really good in the role. Will Turner is the generic handsome hero guy who you see in a lot of these adventure movies, so while he is a very generic character, I still think Orlando Bloom does a really good job. Captain Barbossa is the leader of teh undead pirates and he’s a vile and menacing man, and Geoffrey Rush is fantastic in the role. Then we have commodore Norrington, a man determined to catch/stop any and all pirates out there, and Jack Davenport is great in the role. Tons of great actors/performances in this movie… too many to mention.

The score for the movie was composed by Klaus Badelt and it is really good. It’s fun, energetic, bombastic, inspiring, and perfectly fits the swashbuckler vibe that this movie is going for. Really, it’s just great.

The movie was directed by Gore Verbinski and I think he did a great job. The shots look great and there’s a lot of energy in his directing. Especially the action scenes, they’re a lot of fun to watch, especially if you have a soft spot for swashbucklers like I do. Also, the visual effects in this movie look great, in particular the look of the undead pirates. Sure, some of the CG hasn’t aged the best, but for the time combined with the overall design of them, it looks awesome. I just love the look of them.

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 63/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,0/10 and is ranked #249 on the “Top 250” list. The movie was also nominated for 5 Oscars in the categories of Best actor (Depp), Best makeup, Best sound mixing, Best sound editing, and Best visual effects.

“Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” is an incredibly fun swashbuckler adventure. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, great directing, and great visual effects. Time for my final score. *Yarr*. My final score for “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” is a 9,86/10. This means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl” is now completed.

One down, three to go… ahoy, me mateys!

Movie Review: 16 Blocks (2006)

Cops. Men and women who have sworn to uphold the law. While they have gotten some shit for bad actions by certain individuals within the profession, I feel like we shouldn’t blame the police force in it’s entirety. While there are some bad apples out there, I’d argue that most cops are good. They exist to keep us safe.

Ladies and gentlemen… “16 Blocks”.

Alcoholic cop Jack Mosley (Bruce Willis) has bee ntasked with escorting a man named Eddie Bunker (Yasiin Bey, also known as Mos Def) to a court hearing so he can testify as a witness. However that won’t be as easy as Jack would hope because of some people who don’t want Eddie to testify at the hearing. And from this we get a surprisingly solid plot that I found pretty interesting. Now, the execution isn’t necessarily the best. I was never fully engaged in the story, and there were a couple moments that didn’t really make sense to me. Now, I’m not saying that everything has to make 100% sense, but this was one of those situations where the movie expected me to suspend my disbelief. Sure, I could do it at a few points in the movie, but most times it wasn’t too bad. But there’s a moment/scene in particular that just made no sense at all. So overall the plot is good, but it’s still not great. It doesn’t do anything particularly original and that weird moment I talked about briefly did bug me, but it’s still a better plot than I thought it would be.

The characters in this movie, while not the most fleshed out, are still interesting and pretty entertaining to watch. Bruce Willis is really good as our hero, giving a surprisingly vulnerable performance. That’s right, Bruce Willis is actually ACTING in this movie… something we don’t see too much these days. Yasiin Bey (known at the time as Mos Def) plays Eddie the witness, and he does a surprisingly solid job. Putting a rapper in an acting role can go horribly bad, but this turned out really well. David Morse plays a cop/old friend of Willis’ character, and he is great (like he is in most things). David Zayas is also really good. So yeah, all the actors in this movie did really well.

The music was composed by Klaus Badelt and he did a really good job with it. It’s really well composed, dramatic, and emotional. It’s also tense at times and really helps elevate certain scenes.

This movie was directed by Richard Donner and I think he did a great job. It’s very well shot and the action scenes in this movie are really well handled. But they aren’t the typical big/explosive action scenes, but smaller and a bit more realistic, which I liked. There’s also a fair amount of handheld camerawork in the movie. For the most part it is just fine, but there is one moment pretty early on where it’s just awful. That said, it’s just that one moment and it’s over really quickly. But I did think it was worth noting.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 56% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 63/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

“16 Blocks” is a surprisingly good action-drama. It has a good plot, okay characters, really good performances, really good music, and really good directing. However it is quite flawed since there are moments in the plot that do not make any sense, and also a little because of that quick shaky-cam moment. Time for my final score. *Bang*. My final score for “16 Blocks” is an 8,62/10. So while it’s quite flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “16 Blocks” is now completed.

Bruce Willis actually acting… wow. Dreams do come true.