Movie Review: The Invitation (2016)

Every year for the past few years, as we get closer to October (AKA the Month of Spooks), people keep recommending this fucking movie. So there, I finally got around to it. YOU HAPPY NOW?

Ladies and gentlemen, thanks for accepting… “The Invitation”.

On a night like any other, Will (Logan Marshall-Green) gets invited to a nice dinner at his ex-wife’s home. And as the night goes on, old memories keep coming back, all the while Will suspects that something might be going on. So now we have our story, and I think it’s an interesting one. What we have here is partly a character-driven drama, and partly a bit of a psychological thriller, and the blend makes for an utterly compelling and unpredictable experience that kept me on the edge of my seat from scene one. It is quite a slow burn, which might turn some viewers off, but for me it just added to the overall experience.

The characters in this are flawed, nuanced, and overall interesting. And I won’t go through them all, as that might ruin some of the reveals or interesting moments with them in case you’ll watch it. But the cast features people like Logan Marshall-Green, Tammy Blanchard, Emayatzy Corinealdi, Michelle Krusiec, Mike Doyle, Jordi Vilasuso, Michiel Huisman, John Carroll Lynch, and they all are great in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Theodore Shapiro, and I thought it was good. It is this low, almost droning score that creates a bit of an uncomfortable tension in some scenes, and adds emotional weight to others. It isn’t one I’m gonna find myself listening to in my spare time, but I thought it worked quite well for this movie.

“The Invitation” was directed by Karyn Kusama, and I think she did a fantastic job with it. She has a way of staying intimate to the main character while still encompassing everything going on around. To call the direction tight and focused would be underselling it. This is complemented by the outright stunning cinematography by Bobby Shore, which gives the movie an almost dreamlike vibe at times.

This movie has been generally well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

I can see now why people kept recommending me to watch “The Invitation”, because it’s fucking great. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Invitation” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Invitation” is now completed.

Maybe it’s a good thing that I don’t get invited to a lot of stuff.

Movie Review: Upgrade (2018)

Can I just take a second out of this review to talk about release schedules? Because everyone got this movie in the cinemas at some point in 2018… but I didn’t, and then I had to wait until today to be able to see it at home? It’s not the first time I’ve gotten screwed liked this. I wanted to watch it, but my local cinema was like “Nope, sorry, not showing it… you dick”… okay, they didn’t directly say that, but that’s what it felt like with “Upgrade” and various other movies. Seriously, screw release schedules some times.

Ladies and gents… “Upgrade”.

After his wife is killed and he gets paralyzed, Grey (Logan Marshall-Green) accepts an offer to get an experimental surgery that would let him walk again. But soon he finds out that he’s able to do more than that, which he will use to find the people responsible for his misery. So now we have our cyberpunk revenge thriller. And it’s good. I mean, the opening isn’t the most inspired, in a lot of ways it’s just kind of bland. But after that generic opening, the plot just gets better and better and I think it becomes quite unique for a revenge thriller. It’s not one of the greatest plots ever, but it’s certainly a lot of fun and has enough little twists and turns to keep it fresh. So yeah, it’s a good plot.

The characters in this are… fine? Most of them are kind of underdeveloped. For some of the bad guys, I can accept that, as it gives them a sort of video game boss battle quality, which I enjoyed about them. But others that the movie expects me to care about… nope. Anyway, Logan Marshall-Green plays Grey, the average Joe who receives the title to become a badass. And he’s honestly quite a fleshed out character, as he’s given quite a bit of development throughout. And Marshall-Green is great in the role… mostly. At the start he’s bland and average, but like the plot, when shit gets going, he becomes great in the role. Next we have Betty Gabriel as the detective working the case of Grey’s dead wife. And where the movie expects us to give a damn about her… I didn’t, her character isn’t interesting enough in her writing for me to care. But Gabriel is pretty good in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Simon Maiden, Harrison Gilbertson, Melanie Vallejo, Benedict Hardie, Christopher Kirby, and more, all doing pretty well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Jed Palmer and I thought it was really good. It somehow sounds like a mix between typical cyberpunk stuff (“Blade Runner”, “Deux Ex”, etc.) and a couple different horror scores. And the mix, while familiar, feels unique and gives the most an eerie and interesting vibe that I liked quite a bit.

Based on nothing at all, this movie was written by Leigh Whannell, and I think he did a great job here. While the opening (as previously stated) is a bit boring, his direction gives the movie a certain energy that makes it kind of a joy to watch. He finds ways of really engaging the viewer with little details. But it’s in the action scenes where the directing and cinematography truly shines, because holy fucking shit, the action scenes in this movie are fantastic. They’re fast, energetic, and have some of the most clever and unique camera movements I’ve ever seen. There are a couple fights in this movie that honestly kinda blew my mind. There’s also a surprising amount of humor throughout the movie, and none of it feels intrusive, rather just adding to the movie’s fun factor.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 87% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 67/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“Upgrade” is a really good revenge action-thriller. It has a good plot, meh characters, really good performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Though as previously stated, the start of the movie isn’t great, and I don’t really care about most of the characters. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Upgrade” is an 8,72/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Upgrade” is now completed.

That was fun.

Movie Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Spider-Man, Spider-Man, rebooted often like no one can. Now with Marvel, he tries again. And have to fight the Batman. Look out… here comes the Reboot-Man.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Spider-Man: Homecoming”.

Set two months after “Civil War”, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is back in New York, just trying to live his double life as a high school student and as Spider-Man. He also wants to prove himself to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) to show that he too can be an Avenger. And as Peter is dealing with school, romance, and helping the community out as Spidey, a villain not called The Vulture (Michael Keaton) starts making a lot of trouble. And Peter sees this as the opportunity to really prove himself to Tony. So now we have our coming-of-age superhero movie. And I thought the plot here was great. You not only have the fast-paced parts of Spidey trying to figure who this Birdman (HA!) is and how he could stop him, but you also have slower moments developing the story of Peter Parker and how he deals with everything in his life. And I thought this was all really well handled. I felt invested in the plot, it really managed to have a good blend of superhero adventure and a John Hughes-ish coming-of-age dramedy. It was great.

The characters in this are fun, entertaining, and really interesting. Tom Holland showed in “Civil War” that he could be a really good Spidey (and Peter Parker), but his screen time was limited. Now that he has a full movie he really got the opportunity to show what he could do, and it paid off. Holland is fantastic as both Peter Parker and Spider-Man, showing both the relatable and dorky side known as Peter Parker, and the fun/cool hero that is Spider-Man. He does the one thing the two previous actors couldn’t: Perfectly portray both sides of the character. Michael Keaton as The Vulture was great. Usually the MCU has villains that are passable at best, but they really managed to make him interesting. They give him a backstory and some understandable motivation which just makes him so much more interesting than most of teh generic MCU villains. And Michael Keaton is fantastic in the role. Jacob Batalon plays Peter’s best friend Ned in this movie and he’s funny and charming. And Batalon is really good in the role, sharing some great chemistry with Holland. Marisa Tomei as Aunt May was great, she was fun and I really believed her as a mother figure to Peter. Robert Downey Jr. isn’t in the movie much, and when he is there he doesn’t steal the spotlight. He acts as a sort of mentor to Peter and gave us both some funny lines and some okay drama at times. And I don’t think I have to mention that he was great here… dude’s been doing this since 2008. Tony Revolori as Flash Thompson… yeah, he was great. I never thought he could play an asshole, based on his performance and overall appearance in “Grand Budapest Hotel”, but he played an asshole very well in this. Also, welcome back Happy Hogan! That’s right, Jon Favreau returned to play Tony’s assistant, this time acting more as Peter’s supervisor, and he was great. Alright, quickfire round of this movie’s great actors: Donald Glover, Bokeem Woodbine, Laura Harrier, Zendaya, Angourie Rice, Michael Chernus, Logan Marshall-Green, Martin Starr. Wow, that’s a lot of names. And there are more, but I don’t want to spoil them here in case you don’t already know about them.

The score for the movie was composed by Michael Giacchino, and can we just take a second to talk about this man… or machine as I’m inclined to believe that he is. He puts out like 50 billion scores a year… Jesus fucking Christ, man, take a break! Anyhow, his score for this movie was really good. It’s the usual big/fun superhero action stuff, but there are also tracks for smaller scenes throughout and that too sounds really good. There are also a bunch of licensed tracks used throughout this movie. And not only are they overall really good, but they are used very well in their respective scenes.

This movie was directed by Jon Watts, the man behind the very small but still really good “Cop Car”. And I think he did a great job directing this movie. His directing here has a lot of energy and charm to it, making for a pretty fast-paced and fun watch. And the shots do look really good. And the action scenes are pretty clever and really fun, and even a little more violent than I thought they’d be. And I don’t mean violent in the Marvel/Netflix way, but it packed a bit more punch than I was expecting. There’s also a lot of comedy in this movie and I laughed a lot. From simple chuckles to full on belly laughter, this movie brought the laughs. It’s also filled with fun easter eggs and references, both to the MCU and other properties, so have fun discovering them all.

This movie just came out, but it has so far been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10.

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is the best “Spider-Man” movie we’ve gotten since 2004. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, great directing, and hilarious comedy. Time for my final score. *Thwip!*. My final score for “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

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

Spidey is good again… I’m so happy!