Movie Review: Blaze (2018)

Biopics are fascinating. They give us a glimpse into a real life individual’s personal life, while also trying to provide a couple hours of entertainment. And striking the right balance between fact and compelling drama can be tough. But some people manage it.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Blaze”.

The story follows the life and times of Blaze Foley (Ben Dickey), a raggedy man with a talent for music. From his humble beginnings, and through the highs and lows, including his marriage to Sybil Rosen (Alia Shawkat), we get a good glimpse into Foley’s life. And I think that the plot here is really good. There are elements that we recognize from other biopics, but the way they’re used throughout “Blaze” feels fresh, due to the gentle and nuanced writing. It creates a fascinating tale that can be as heartbreaking as it is warmly nostalgic. The deliberately slow pace might prove a bit frustrating for some, but I thought it worked very well for the story here.

The characters here are flawed, nuanced, charming, and overall feel very real. Ben Dickey plays the titular musician. A likable man with a lot of tragic flaws. Seeing his journey as a character here is really fascinating, and I really grew to care about him. And Dickey is great in the role. Alia Shawkat plays Sybil Rosen, a woman and aspiring actress/writer that Blaze has a committed relationship with. The journey she has here, which really are the ups and downs of being with Blaze, is really interesting, and makes her an interesting and sympathetic character. And Shawkat is really good in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Charlie Sexton, Josh Hamilton, Wyatt Russell, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As this is a biopic about a musician, it should be expected that one would hear a lot of songs from said artist throughout. You’d be correct in that assumption, you do hear a lot of Foley’s music here… and I love it. Not only because the music is incredibly well written, but also because the way it’s implemented in the storytelling is absolutely wonderful. So yeah, the music here is great.

Based on “Living in the Woods in a Tree: Remembering Blaze Foley” (bit of a mouthful) by Sybil Rosen, this movie was written by Ethan Hawke & Sybil Rosen, with Hawke also handling directing. And the craft here is wonderful. It has a warmness to it, and a willingness to just sit down and really get to know these characters, not always feeling the need to get to the next “big event”. Like I said in the story bit, the pacing is deliberately slow, and the direction embraces that and turns it into some truly compelling stuff. And the cinematography by Steve Cosens helps kind of give it all a nostalgic storybook feeling that really adds to the experience.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 75/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“Blaze” is a wonderful movie about a very interesting man. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great writing/directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “Blaze” is a 9,77/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Blaze” is now completed.

That was a nice experience.

Movie Review: Blade: Trinity (2004)

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You know what is funny about today’s review? It is one that takes part of two different “series” of things at once here on my blog. First off, it of course takes part in “The Month of Spooks”. Secondly, it finishes off my series of “Blade” reviews. So basically I am taking out two birds with one stone… How MARVELous.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Blade: Trinity”.

So after being suspected of murder, Blade (Wesley Snipes) is now wanted by the FBI. And at the same time he has joined forces with a group called “The Nightstalkers” to take care of the other problem that Blade currently has in his life. What is that problem? Dracula (Dominic Purcell) has awoken and has to be defeated. Now this actually sounds like it could make for a pretty cool movie. However it basically turns into self-parody and it isn’t very good. Look, I’ve seen far worse executions of plots in movies before, but this is still far worse than the previous movies in the series. It is plain mediocre, even on the edge of becoming bad.

Wesley Snipes is as great as ever as the titular main character. Kris Kristofferson is great as usual. Then we have the new additions that we should talk about. First off I will take Ryan Ryenolds as Hannibal King… he’s fine. He could have been much worse, what makes him less than he could’ve been is the mediocre writing and most of the jokes they give to this quipping son of a bitch. But I guess his performance overall is fine. Next is Jessica Biel as Whistler’s daughter, Abigail. And she is… meh. I’ve never seen her as a great actress and this movie doesn’t really help her case. I have seen worse, but she isn’t that great in the movie. And the final one I wanna talk about is Dominic Purcell as Dracula, or “Drake” as they call him in the movie. I wanna say first off that I found it weird that they cast Purcell as the Lord of the Vampires in this movie. Don’t get me wrong, I think he’s a pretty good actor (“Prison Break”, anyone?). But here I jsut think he was miscast. I guess he does a fine job with the material he has been given, but I really don’t feel him as the right casting choice in this movie. The acting overall in the movie I would say is fine.

The music for the movie was provided by composer Ramin Djawadi and Wu-Tang Clan member RZA. Now this actually sounds like a cool matchup: The guy who gave us the music to “Prison Break” and “Pacific Rim” together with the guy who did the music for the “Kill Bill” movies. And I have to say that it is really good. As in the first two movies the music is a mix of hip-hop, electronica and aggressive rave music. But they also added in a few orchestral tracks to the mix and it’s actually really good. It fits the movie’s stylish ways and cool action while just being overall great.

This is the second time we switch directors in this franchise and for this one they got David S. Goyer who wrote the first two movies. And while the movie looks great with a lot of cool directing, this is a case of vision gone meh. What I mean is that this movie has the “Style over substance” problem where they focus more on stylish action scenes and badassery rather than a coherent and good plot. But like I said, the action in the movie is really good and entertaining and the visual effects are great as well. So there are a few redeeming features in this movie.

This movie has not been very well received. In fact, people (and critics) did not seem to like this at all. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 25% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 38/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 1,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,9/10.

“Blade: Trinity” is not a very good movie. The plot is borderline bad, the acting is fine, the music is really good, the directing is good, the action is awesome and the visual effects are great. Time for my final score. Fucking Vampire Pomeranian. My final score for “Blade: Trinity” is a 6,90/10. While not good, it’s still worth renting.
Rent it

My review of “Blade: Trinity” is now completed.

I am now finally done with these movies.

Movie Review: Blade II (2002)

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I guess you could call this the second part of a review series, although I never really planned it like that. But since I now brought it up, let’s just call it a review series. A series of reviews on the “Blade” movies. And now we’re at part 2… so let’s go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Blade II”.

Once again we get to meet vampire hunter/Daywalker Blade (Wesley Snipes). Also, for those of you who missed the first “Blade”, I will tell you what a Daywalker is. A Daywalker is a term used to describe someone with all the strenghts of a vampire… but none of the weaknesses of a vampire. So he can walk around when the sun is out and nothing will happen to him. Now that we got that shit out of the way, let’s move on. Anyway, now Blade and his mentor/companion Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) has to team up with the vampire council to take down some kind of mutated breed of vampire called Reapers. And then the hunt is on and holy shit it’s actually kind of great. The plot doesn’t try to burden itself with a convoluted plot that tries to be more than it actually is. Instead we have a relatively straight-forward plot with a few decent twists near the end. And just because it’s simple doesn’t mean it’s completely braindead, oh no. It actually has a good sense of storytelling and it builds onto the world the first movie set up. So yeah, the plot is definitely much better than in the first movie.

The characters are all a bucket fun to watch. Wesley Snipes once again plays Blade and once again he is fucking great in the role. I really couldn’t see anyone else in the role of the Daywalker. Kris Kristofferson as Whistler is just as entertaining as in the first movie. I mean, he might be the most badass old guy since Clint Eastwood. We also get a few new additions to the roster and hot damn, this movie got a great cast. First off we have Norman Reedus (Yeah, Daryl from “The Walking Dead”) playing a young man who Blade teamed up with between the two movies. And he’s really good. Next we have Ron Perlman who plays the vampire named Reinhardt. Okay, we already know Ron Perlman is a badass, but giving him a badass name like Reinhardt is really the frosting on the cake. The entire cast is really fucking great, so let’s round ’em up. Leonor Varela, Thomas Kretschmann, Luke Goss, Matt Schulze, Danny John-Jules and Donnie Yen. Great, great cast!

Just like in “Blade” the score for this movie is heavily based in techno music which I suppose was a thing of the late 90’s to early 00’s. Not that I think it’s a bad thing as long as it’s handled well which “Blade II” does splendidly! The score is fierce, cool and overall fits the style of the movie perfectly. And all thanks to composer Marco Beltrami! Interesting also how the movie chose to add hip-hop to the mix of music as well. To be honest, I did love the inclusion of “Name of the Game” by The Crystal Method, that was awesome! So yeah, the music fits perfectly.

This is a sequel that did not have director as it’s original. The first one was directed by Stephen Norrington, while “Blade II” was directed by Guillermo Del Toro. And he did a fantastic job with how he filmed it and kept everything in check. And the action is jsut as good as in the first movie, if not even better… fuck it, the action’s better here. It is fierce, brutal and intense. And most of it is practical with the actors actually taking part in it. Sure, there was a little bit of CGI in some parts, but it wasn’t bad. Let’s talk the visual effects for a second, much better than in the first movie. First off, the makeup effects are fantastic, some of the best I’ve seen. And the CGI in the movie is a lot better than the CG in the first “Blade” which was pretty awful. The CG here on the other hand is really good which is a relief.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 57% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 52/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“Blade II” is a movie that (in my opinion) takes what was good about the first movie and improves on it significantly. The plot is much better & more enjoyable, the characters are much better & they are very well acted, the music is terrific, the directing is great, the action is fantastic and the visual effects are terrific. Time for my final score. *Slays vampire, takes envelope*. My final score for “Blade II” is a 9,85/10. It most definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

Review of “Blade II” is completed.

You’re human.
Barely, I’m a lawyer.

 

Movie Review: Blade (1998)

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How come we never see any R-rated Marvel movies these days? Sure, PG-13 is generally more profitable, but there are a lot of properties that could benefit from being rated R. The closest we’ve gotten to an R-rated Marvel movie in recent years was “Daredevil” and that wasn’t even a movie, it was a TV-show. I’m just saying, give an R-rated movie a try Marvel. If you do, I will give you all the money.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Blade”.

The titular character Blade (Wesley Snipes) is a peculiar man. Not only does he dress like someone who has seen “The Matrix” a few too many times, but he is also half-human half-vampire. And with the help of an old man named Abraham Whistler (Kris Kristofferson) he hunts and kills vampires. At the time of the movie he is specifically looking for a vampire named Deacon Frost (Stephen Dorff), while also having to keep a young doctor (N’Bushe Wright) safe. The premise is simple, but the execution of it could definitely be better. Would I call the story interesting? Not really. While I was entertained the whole way through, I never felt invested in the story itself which is a bit of a shame.

Where the story was meh at best, the characters make up for it (sort of). First off, Wesley Snipes as Blade is pretty much as badass as you can get. He also gives a really good performance. I’ve never been a big fan of Stephen Dorff, not that I hate him, I jsut haven’t been a big fan of him as an actor before. But I thought he was really good as this vampire, villain, man. N’Bushe Wright, never heard of her before, but she was great. Then we have Kris Kristofferson who in my opinion stole the show. Sure, I was a fan of him before I saw “Blade”, but he was still great in this movie. He also has the best line out of everyone. I’m not gonna say what it is, but I think you might know what I mean if you’ve seen the movie.

The score for “Blade” was composed by Mark Isham and it is actually pretty great. It is one of those scores that can work for two types of things. Number one is for an action movie, like this one. The second thing is at big, loud parties. Okay, only parts of the score works for parties, but what I mean is that it for the most part if fast-paced and energetic. Perfect for this movie.

This movie was directed by Stephen Norrington who also made “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”… I see that we are good hands (sarcasm). Jokes aside, he did a really good job directing this movie, the shots look great and he managed to pace it perfectly. What else can I talk about here… oh yeah, the action! It is fierce, brutal and fucking awesome. You can see what’s happening, you see people do real stunts and oh my god Wesley Snipes can move! Yeah, Wesley Snipes did all of his own stuff in this movie which is awesome! What I have to complain a little about though is the CGI in this movie. Now to be fair, there isn’t as much CGI as one might think, but when it is there you sure as hell notice it. And it’s not good that you notice it, because it is awful. I mean, we got “Jurassic Park” five years before this came out and that CGI is still amazing. So how come the CG in this movie is this god awful? *Sigh*.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 54% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 45/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

“Blade” is a movie that really is more style over substance. While the story is meh, the characters are entertaining and well-acted, the music is great, the directing is really good and the action is amazing. However it also has shitty CGI. Time for my final score. *Vampire hissing* *Markus kills vampire, takes envelope*. My final score for “Blade” is an 8,97/10. I think it’s worth buying.
Worth buying

“Blade” is now reviewed.

“Blade” vs “Twilight”, make it fucking happen!