Movie Review: Mystic River (2003)

I had no real reason to review this movie. It was on tv last night, and that rewatch made me wanna talk about it. So no proper reason. I mean, I could tie it into Eastwood’s new movie “The Mule”, but… nah.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mystic River”.

After one of them suffers a horrific family tragedy, three childhood friends (Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon) find their lives change in some dark, shattering ways. So now we have our crime-drama. And I loved the story here. It’s a slowly burning, somber, and contemplative drama, focusing more on showing what happens within people’s minds after they experience something horrific, rather than a typical murder mystery. This is what I meant with the somber and contemplative. Yes, you do have the murder investigation, but it’s really more of a character drama than a police procedural. And I find it all extremely engaging, gut-wrenching, and incredibly well done.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, damaged, and just overall really interesting. First up we have Sean Penn as Jimmy Markum, a former criminal turned legit businessman. He’s the man who suffered the family tragedy that kicks the plot into gear, and to see him try to deal with it, especially as a former criminal, is quite an interesting journey. And Penn is fantastic in the role. Next we have Tim Robbins as Dave Boyle, the second of the main trio. As a boy, something happened to him that changed his life forever. And recent events put some of those memories back into his mind, which really gives him some interesting character development. And Robbins is fantastic in the role. And then we have Kevin Bacon as Sean Devine, a cop and the third of the childhood friends. He’s the one investigating the death of Markum’s family member, while also kind of dealing with a personal thing in the background. He probably has the least interesting arc of all the characters, but I still find him to be quite interesting. And Bacon is great in the role. We also get supporting turns from people like Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, Laura Linney, Kevin Chapman, Spencer Treat Clark, John Doman, Tom Guiry, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by… Clint Eastwood. And I think he did a good job with it. It’s emotional, it’s a little eerie, and it just works very well within the various scenes that it can be heard. Yeah, it’s good.

Based on a novel by Dennis Lehane (AKA my favorite author), this movie was directed by Clint Eastwood. And I think he did a fantastic job on that front, directing it with an emotional intimacy that brings us close to the characters, while still allowing for a sense of scale to capture every element of this sweeping tale of personal tragedy. He also brings a decent bit of suspense to it, especially at a certain point in the movie which had me fully locked to the screen.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 84/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,0/10. The movie won two Oscars in the categories of Best actor (Penn) and best supporting actor (Robbins). It also got an additional four nominations in the categories of Best picture, best director, best supporting actress (Harden), and best adapted screenplay.

“Mystic River” is a fantastic crime-drama. It has a great plot, really good characters, fantastic performances, really good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mystic River” is a 9,89/10. Which of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Mystic River” is now completed.

Tragedy hits us all in different ways. Hug your loved ones while you can.

Movie Review: Into the Wild (2007)

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Have you ever felt like going out on an adventure? And I don’t simply mean going for a walk in the woods, but a real adventure where you travel far, beat obstacles, and just kind of “find yourself”. I know I have. Not often since I’m a very lazy individual, but the thought has definitely crossed my mind.

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, will you please journey with me… “Into the Wild”!

Everything seems to look bright for young Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch). He has a loving family, he has a decent amount of money to his name, and he just graduated from Emory University. His future sure looks bright and full of opportunities. But then he decides to give most of his money to charity and then leave his life behind to go and live in the Alaskan wilderness. The plot jumps back and forth between his life in the Alaskan wilderness and his journey to get there. And how is the plot in the movie holding up? Pretty damn well. It’s an interesting tale, told in a very serious and honest way that just makes it all feel so real. As I was watching the movie, I got really sucked into it and almost  forgot that I was watching a movie. Yeah, I was impressed.

The people in this movie are all infiinitely interesting even though most of them get pretty limited screen time. Of course we have the character of Christopher who gets a lot of screen time, because it’s his movie. We really get to see how he evolves as a character, how he learns from his traveling. And Emile Hirsch knocks it out of the fucking park in his role. He is absolutely fantastic in this movie, perfectly capturing every emotion that would be needed for this type of character. The supporting cast is pretty great too, with impressive supporting performances from people like Mustach- I mean William Hurt, Marcia Gay harden, Vince Vaughn, and Hal Holbrook. Even Kristen Stewart is in this movie for a short while, and she was fine in her role. I don’t think any of the actors did a bad job in this movie… I’d say most of them were pretty great.

The music in the movie is an interesting thing. Some parts of the original score was composed by Michael Brook and Kaki King. But then we also have a whole bunch of tracks written and performed by Eddie Vedder, singer of the band Pearl Jam. Then we also have a few other random tracks throughout from various artists/bands. But the ones we should keep attention to are Brook/King/Vedder. And what do I have to say about it? I fuckin’ love it, that’s what I have to say. It’s such an interesting choice of music for a movie, but it somehow still works pretty damn well. Honestly, this is one of the best soundtracks for a movie that I have ever heard. Sure, I had heard parts of it prior to seeing the film, but I didn’t give it a full shot until I saw it. As music overall, it is fantastic. And as film music it is just as great.

This movie was directed by Sean Penn (Yeah, THAT Sean Penn). And he does a fantastic job with the direction of the film. He makes it all seem so real, almost like a documentary in some ways. He never shies away from showing some of the less… clean parts of the journey. It never feels fake or Hollywoodized. Also, the choice to jump back and forth between Alaska and Not-Alaska never felt forced or poorly done, Penn did a great job with the direction too. Also, the writing is really good too, with a lot of thought-provoking quotes and genuinely funny lines every now-and-then. Also, we get some absolutely stunning shots of the wilderness in this movie.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 82% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10 and is ranked #167 on the “Top 250” list. It was also nominated for 2 Oscars in the categories of Best Supporting Actor (Holbrook) and Best Film Editing.

“Into the Wild” is a very inspiring film. Yes, our main character goes through a lot of tough situations throughout his journey, but somehow he always manages to inspire by getting through ’em in one way or another. The story is very well told, the characters are interesting and very well acted, the music is fantastic, and the directing is great. Time for my final score. OWOOOOO! My final score for “Into the Wild” is a 9,90/10 which of course means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Into the Wild” has now come to an end.

Society, you’re a crazy breed
I hope you’re not lonely without me
Society, crazy indeed
I hope you’re not lonely without me

Movie Review: The Mist (2007)

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What’s up, people? Time to continue “The Month of Spooks” with another frightening movie review. And it is the second time we are taking a look at a movie based on a story by author Stephen King. Now let’s not stand around and make fools of ourselves, let us move on to the review!

Ladies and gentlemen, do not enter… “The Mist”.

This movie follows artist David Drayton (Thomas Jane) as he and a bunch of other people get stuck in a supermarket because of a mysterious mist that brings out a lot of blood-thirsty creatures. So now they have to try to defend themselves inside of the supermarket. They have no idea what’s causing the mist and they have no idea where the creatures come from, all they know is that they have to survive. And was this survival story well executed? Yeah, I’d say so. Once again it is one of those situations of the idea not being original, but maybe the execution is done well enough. And I thought it was good. Not great, but good. I don’t know what to say really. I guess I can say that I thought it was pretty tense and suspenseful at times and I have to say that the ending is pretty tragic and maybe the best aspect of the plot. So yeah, good plot.

The characters in the movie are pretty much cookie cutter Stephen King characters. You have the main character dad who does art of some kind, you have the child, you have the elderly black guy, the religious nut and feel free to check off this list on your own. But how is the acting? It’s… good, I guess. Thomas Jane plays the main character of the movie and he does a fine job as the guy… except when he has to do somethign emeotional, then he kind of sucks. But I didn’t expect too much from him since I’ve never considered him that great of an actor. Andre Braugher plays the elderly black guy in the movie and he does a good job. The child actor who plays Jane’s son does a fine job, I have seen both worse and better child performances before, so I don’t feel that this kid adds or detracts anything from the movie. What was kind of fun though with the actors in this movie was how I saw a good amount of people who would later be in “The Walking Dead” which director Frank Darabont had a hand in. Jeffrey DeMunn, Laurie Holden, Melissa McBride and Sam Witwer all appear in this movie at some point and that was fun seeing since i like “The Walking Dead”. Anyway, that derailed a little bit. Uhm… acting was fine and the characters were meh.

The score for the movie was provided by Mark Isham and I have to say that so far it is the best part of the movie. It isn’t something I can see myself listening to again, but it’s definitely a good score that really fit the movie. And to be honest, there wasn’t really anything sticking out except for one track called “The Host of Seraphim” which appeared near the end of the movie. Every other tracks in the score was fine, but that track is, no joke, fucking amazing. Held up by an eerie & slowly building backing note and the gorgeous vocals of Lisa Gerrard, it is one of the reasons why the score for the movie holds the movie up so well. That track is just amazing and the score overall is pretty good.

Okay, so far the plot has been fine, the acting fine and the score good, but is there something great about the movie? Yes there is… the camerawork is pretty damn great. It perfectly fits the eerie and a little creepy mood this movie conveys and actually manages to capture some pretty great shots. And I have to say that some of the writing in the movie was pretty great, and I am mainly talking about certain pieces of dialogue. And something I noticed early on in the movie which is kind of cool is that we see Thomas Jane working on a painting/poster which appears to be Roland from Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” books. As a fan of those books I just kind of thought that was a cool little easter egg.

This movie has gotten pretty good reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 73% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 2/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“The Mist” is a real mixed bag of a movie. It has a decent story, decent acting, good music and fantastic camera work/directing. Time for my final score. Woaw, look at all that mist. What’s that in the mist? Wait, is that… Jeff? Oh my god, Jeff. Where have you been, asshole? Screw it! Do you have something for me? *Jeff gives envelope and disappears into the mist*. My final score for “The Mist” is a 7,99/10. I think it’s worth a rental.
Rent it

My review of “The Mist” is now completed.

Hearing Toby Jones tell someone to shut the fuck up is just magical.