Movie Review: Mimic (1997)

That’s right, more Month of Spooks content. And today it’s from one of my favorite directors. So let’s go!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mimic”.

A few years ago, a special insect was created to eradicate disease-carrying cockroaches. Now, that action is carrying dark, violent consequences. So now we have our horror story. And I am so mixed about it. I can see the strong vision in it, there’s a lot of clever shit going on with it here. But man, there’s something about it, the way it’s put together that just feels off. And I know exactly what that is, which we will get into later. Again, there’s good stuff going on in the background, but the way it’s cut together… it doesn’t really work.

The characters in this, like the story, have some decent ideas to them, but end up suffering due to how this is cut. You have a stellar cast consisting of people like Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam, Josh Brolin, and Charles S. Dutton… but I didn’t really care so much about their characters on a level other than “Oh hey, that’s an actor I like!”. I can see the foundations for the characters peeking through, and it’s not bad… but again, the final execution fucks with this a bit. So I guess I’ll just say, the performances are very good, but the characters unfortunately suffer.

The score for “Mimic” was composed by Marco Beltrami, and it’s alright. Sometimes it can be slightly overbearing in how it tries be loud and startling. And at other times it’s this low-key and haunting score that adds a very welcome amount of emotional weight to proceedings.

Based on a short story by Donald Wollheim, the movie was written by Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins, directed by del Toro… and cut to shit by the Weinstein brothers (I told you I’d get around to explaining). Some of del Toro’s vision does shine through at times, which in combination with Dan Laustsen’s cinematography can make for some stunning shots and moments. But if you do a bit of sleuthing on the production of this movie, you’ll find out that there were frequent clashes between del Toro and the producing brothers. While del Toro got to shoot the movie he wanted, thanks to interventions form Mira Sorvino, he had no control of the final cut, which was in the hands of the dumbnamic duo, which is why it feels so weirdly chopped up at times, why it doesn’t quite reach that strong vision that can be spotted in certain moments. Which is a shame, because the little quality that can be gleaned… it’s strong. Fucked over, but strong.

On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 61% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 55/10. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,9/10.

I don’t wanna say negative stuff about movies, especially not ones with one of my favorite directors attached to them… but the producers butchered it too much to give a positive review. It has an okay-ish plot, not great characters, really good performances, pretty good music, and really solid directing/cinematography. However, it all gets undone by a poor final cut. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mimic” (the theatrical cut) is a 4,87/10. Saddens me to say that I’d recommend skipping it.

My review of “Mimic” (the theatrical cut) is now completed.

Apparently there’s a director’s cut that del Toro released a few years back. Might need to get around to that some day.

Movie Review: The Homesman (2014)

Something something, Markus likes westerns.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Homesman”.

After three women goes mad from living very tough lives they have to be transported to Iowa. So a woman named Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank) volunteers to take on this daunting task. However, she soon realizes that she might not be able to do this alone, so she employs a low-life drifter named George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) to help her out. So now we have our western-drama. And I’d say that it’s an interesting plot. It’s very serious and and at times even a bit disturbing, and overall it is very well told. My main issue with it is the first half which meanders quite a bit. I get that this is a simple road movie set during the old west, but even I feel like it doesn’t get very far plot-wise during that first half (a little less than half to be a bit more fair, but shut up). But when we get into the second half the plot picks up a bit more and I found myself really invested in the journey. And just to be clear: The first half isn’t bad… just a little bit too slow… a little bit.

The characters in this are layered and interesting. Hilary Swank is great as Mary Bee Cuddy, giving a vulnerable yet determined performance. Tommy Lee Jones is great as George Briggs, playing him as a kind of pathetic but still tough and semi-honorable man. Then we have the three crazy ladies (that is what they are, shut up), played by Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, and Sonja Richter. And they’re all great in their respective roles. They don’t say a lot, but they give great performances nonetheless. Then there are a bunch of good supporting performances throughout from people like Evan Jones, William Fichtner, John Lithgow, James Spader (his Irish accent isn’t very good), Jesse Plemons, Tim Blake Nelson, and Meryl Streep. Most of these actors aren’t in the movie for very long, but when they are… they’re good.

The score for the movie was composed by Marco Beltrami and it was really good. It was very dramatic and emotional, often adding to the quality of the various scenes in here. Sure, a lot of the music sound like stuff we’ve heard in other western-dramas, but that doesn’t make the music any worse… ’cause it’s really good.

This movie was directed by Tommy Lee Jones and I think that he did a really good job. The movie is directed with a lot of confidence which makes for an investing watch. It’s also a really good looking movie, having a bleak style that doesn’t feel too depressing and sad. I also feel like I should mention that this isn’t an action packed western. It’s a slow drama, with very few shots being fired. Just thought I’d mention that.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 81% positive rating and a “Fresh” ceritifcation. On Metacritic it has a score of 68/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

“The Homesman” is a really solid western-drama. It has a good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and really good directing. My main problem with the movie is that first half which meanders a bit too much. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Homesman” is an 8,84/10. So while it is flawed I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “The Homesman” is now completed.

Sloooooow burn.

Movie Review: Logan (2017)

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Guys… it is here. The end of an era. Hugh Jackman’s final movie in the “X-Men” franchise. For 17 years we’ve seen this big Australian man put on the adamnatium claws for the sake of our entertainment. And now he is hanging up said claws for good. Well… let’s see if his final outing does him and the character justice.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Logan”.

It’s the near future and we follow an old and broken Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) as he is hiding by the Mexican border together with Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart). And when they meet a young girl (Dafne Keen) their simple lives change, and they have to face some of the toughest challenges of their lives. And that is all I’m gonna say when it comes to any plot synopsis. And with that said, the plot here is one of self-discovery and redemption. It’s not one of those “Let’s stop the end of the world” movies that we’ve been presented with before. This is a personal movie about Wolverine, about Charles, about this girl… and I fucking loved it. Sure, previous “X-Movies” have dealt with interesting themes and have even ahd some solid drama to them, but none of them have been this personal or even this emotional. And without giving too much away, I cried at a few bits in this movie. So plot-wise I would say that this is a send-off for Hughverine. Tense, exciting, haunting, and emotional.

What I like about the characters here is that they’ve been brought down quute a bit. Sure, I love the badasses in spandex and how mighty they are… but the characters on display here feel very human. You can tell that these people are very flawed and broken, and that makes them so much more engaging to watch. Hugh Jackman has always been great as Logan/Wolverine… but I think this might be his best outing as the character. His performance here is very nuanced and layered, and it’s at tiems even a bit heartbreaking. Yeah, Jackman is fucking fantastic in this. Patrick Stewart was absolutely terrific as Charles Xavier in this. The character is broken and much weaker than he’s ever been, and Stewart really knocks it out of the park here. Dafne Keen plays the little girl, Laura, and she was great. This girl really came out of nowhere, no previous acting experience as far as I know, and she was really great in this movie. She was badass, fierce, and just awesome. Boyd Holbrook (aside from being really handsome) plays Donald Pierce, the antagonist of the movie, and he was great. He was menacing but he was also cool and he worked very well in the movie. We also get Stephen Merchant as Caliban. And he was kind of great. Sure, he never really gets “that big scene”, but I still think he did a really good job here. I’m basing that statement on how putting someone who’s only known for comedy in a drama like this could be end up real bad… but he did a really good job. All the actors did very well in this movie.

The score for this movie was composed by Marco Beltrami and it was pretty fucking good. His score was exciting, haunting, and emotional. It was overall very well composed and it fit the movie very well.

This movie was directed by James Mangold (hence the “Mangoldathon” leading up to it) and he did a phenomenal job. This is a gorgeously shot movie, featuring some really good eye candy. His directing is also pretty intense which leads me into the action and HOLY SHIT this movie is violent. Now, I knew that this movie was rated R, and the trailers showed some violence… but Jesus fucking Christ, I didn’t exactly expect it to be this brutal. But the violence isn’t just there for the sake of violence, it’s here to serve the story. I really don’t think you could have done this movie PG-13, the violence on display in “Logan” is justified for the story they are telling. You have an old and grumpy Logan who just doesn’t give a shit anymore… the R-rating is totally justified. So if you’re a very squeamish person who doesn’t like pools of blood and limbs getting chopped off… you’ve been warned.

This movie has (so far) been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 77/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,8/10 and is ranked #61 on the “Top 250” list. (Keep in mind, this movie just came out, so any of these scores/rankings might change quite a bit and I’m not editing this stuff as time goes on).

“Logan” is a fantastic action-drama that gives Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart the goodbye that they deserve. It has a great plot, fantastic characters, terrific performances, great music, fantastic directing, and great (& brutal) action. Time for my final score. *Snikt!*. My final score for “Logan” is a 9,90/10. Which means that it of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Logan” is now completed.

Mr. Jackman, Mr. Stewart, if you’re reading this… thank you so much for all these years of Wolverine/Professor X. I’m gonna miss seeing you as these characters, but I also wish you luck with all your future endeavors. *Sniff*. What? I can cry, I’m not made of stone!

Movie Review: The Wolverine (2013)

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Here we are people. The final movie in my “Mangoldathon” series of reviews leading up to the release of “Logan” this coming week. I’ve had fun going through this director’s movies, and I hope you enjoyed reading the reviews that came out of it all. But now we’re here… the last one. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Wolverine”.

After the events of “X-Men: The Last Stand” we find Logan (Hugh Jackman) at his lowest low, hiding out in the middle of nowhere. But one day he gets summoned to Japan by a man (Hal Yamanouchi) he once knew. And soon Logan gets dragged into a conflict which will test him both physically and mentally. And I honestly thought the plot here was really solid. It’s a pretty serious action-drama that touches upon a lot of interesting things regarding the character of Logan, including the themes of mortality and love. And I thought it was pretty damn great… except the last 20-ish minutes of the movie. I mean, that part was entertaining, but it’s such a weird shift in tone from the rest of the movie. Again, the majority of the plot is great, and that final bit of the movie is… fine.

The characters are interesting and entertaining to watch. I think it’s safe to say at this point that Hugh Jackman is awesome as Logan/Wolverine. I mean, the dude’s always been great in the role, but I feel like this might be his best outing as the character (Keep in mind that at the time of writing, I have not seen “Logan”). Here he gets to stretch some of his acting muscles a bit more, getting to show more emotions while also being more of a vulnerable/troubled character. Rila Fukushima plays Logan’s new ally Yukio, and she’s really good in the movie. Tao Okamoto plays Mariko, a young woman that Logan seems to be forming a bit of a romance with, and she’s really good in the movie. Svetlana Khodchenkova plays the character of Viper and while the character might feel a tiny bit out of place, Kodchenkova still did a really good job. And then we also get some great performances from people like Hiroyuki Sanada, Brian Tee, Hal Yamanouchi, Will Yun Lee, and Famke Janssen.

The score for the movie was composed by Marco Beltrami and it was pretty great. It was exciting, it was badass, and fit the location very well. The movie is set in Japan and to help with that, the score did feature some Japanese instruments, and I thought that was pretty cool. And overall the score just fits the movie very well overall.

As stated in the intro of the review, this movie was directed by James Mangold and he really did a great job. He directs the movie with a certain intensity that the other “X-Men” movies kind of lack. Especially the action scenes, which are all really badass and also fairly realistic. Or well, at least compared to other “X-Movies”. And the movie is just gorgeous, there were seriously shots in the movie that made me go “Wow”. Also, this is pretty violent for PG-13… yeah, it’s definitely one of the more violent PG-13 movies I’ve seen.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 69% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 60/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“The Wolverine” is a really solid action movie with some great character stuff for Logan/Wolverine. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. However, I am deducting some points because of that weird shift in tone near the end of the film. Time for my final score. *Snikt*. My final score for “The Wolverine” is a 9,01/10. I’d say that it’s worth buying.
worth-buying

My review of “The Wolverine” is now completed.

And that’s it for the “Mangoldathon”… Hope “Logan” is good.

Movie Review: The Shallows (2016)

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Shark movies! Just… shark movies! Fucking shark movies! Love ’em, hate ’em… shark movies!

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Shallows”!

Nancy (Blake Lively) has traveled to a secluded beach to gt away from some shit. But her little vacation kind of goes to shit when she is attacked by a huge god damn shark and gets stranded on a rock about 200 yards from shore. So now she’s trying to survive while the shark is swimming around in the waters around her. And now we have a confined thriller with a shark… that is a pretty great premise. And it is for the most part a tense and very entertaining plot. I say “for the most part” because the first twenty(ish) minutes drag a little bit. I came here for a shark thriller, not an MTV music video. But after those opening minutes have passed and the shark has attacked, the movie truly starts adn I thougth that stuff was really good. Not Oscar worthy, but definitely entertaining and tense.

So there isn’t really much to say regarding characters here, considering how little time they get throughout. Really, the only one we can talk about is Nancy… so let’s do that. I thought Blake Lively did a really good job in the role, she really carried the movie very well. What I also liked about the character is that she wasn’t a “Mary Sue”, but she was also not your typical damsel in distress. The stuff she did throughout this tough situation, it all felt pretty realistic (given that the situation is exaggerated for the sake of our entertainment). And I kind of lied when I said that Blake Lively was the only character worth talking about. On the rock that Black Lively is stuck on, there is a seagull keeping her company, and I honestly think it’s the best character in the movie… just had to get that out there.

The score for the movie was composed by Marco Beltrami and I thought it was really good. Beltrami tends to compose scores that I like, and this is no different. It can at times help elevate tension and it’s overall very well composed. There are also some modern, licensed tracks in the soundtrack, none of them really my cup of tea. Good thing that they’re all pretty much in the beginning during the “MTV Music Video” bit. It didn’t ruin anything for me, but I had to mention it.

This movie was directed by Jaume Collet-Serra, a man whom I am a fan of. And I think he did a really good job here. The shots look terrific for the most part, and the scenes when Blake Lively is on and around the rock are all tensely directed. Not “Jaws” levels tension, but there’s still a good amount of tension throughout. And the shark is very well realized. The CG looks really good… for the most part. There are a few parts where I looked at the shark and said to myself “Wow, that looks kind of bad”. But those moments are like when we get a really close and lengthy look at the shark. But the moments when the camera was in the air and we saw the shark cruising around under the water… that stuff looked great, gave us a real sense of scale.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 77% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 59/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,4/10.

“The Shallows” is a really entertaining shark movie. It has a good plot, two good characters, a really good performance from Blake Lively, really good music, and great directing. However it is slightly brought down by those first 20(ish) minutes and a few bad CG shots. Time for my final score. *Duuuuun dun*. My final score for “The Shallows” is an 8,89/10. So I’d say that it’s worth buying!
worth-buying

My review of “The Shallows” is now completed.

Seriously, I loved that seagull.

Movie Review: Snowpiercer (2014)

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Post apocalyptic stories are really fascinating. It is interesting to see how different authors/directors portray their post apocalyptic world. Some of my favorite post apocalyptic stories include the TV show “The Walking Dead” and the excellent novel “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy. What I am trying to say is that I enjoy post apocalyptic stuff and I was therefore intereted in this movie.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Snowpiercer”.

The world has gone to shit. Everything is frozen because of something humans discovered once. And because of that there aren’t many humans left (thank you, people!). Now the few remaining humans all live on this train that circles the world during the course of one year. But this train isn’t like the happiest place ever, oh no. It has basically become a very tragic society. In the front we have the good parts of the train where people live happily and richly and asshole-y. And in the back we have the essential shithole. But soon we will have a revolution led by Curtis (Chris Evans) and old man Gilliam (John Hurt). And while that sounds like typical “the little people standing up for themselves” story, you’d be right an wrong. It looks like that at first but the story is much more well-written than that. It contains twists, excellent plot progression and some genuinely good storytelling. I loved the plot to the movie. It was interesting to see Chris Evans with all these other people trying to take this train, because it wasn’t just an action movie, it also had a lot of dramatic strength too and it managed to surprise me with everything that it did. And that is why I kind of loved the plot.

The characters in this movie all have serious arcs which makes them so interesting. And that is great because there are a lot of characters in this movie and that is something they could have fucked up, but didn’t. Chris Evans is pretty fantastic in this movie. He shows all emotions possible in this movie and he captures them all perfectly. He is also excellent in the action scenes. John Hurt is also pretty great, but you all knew that. I mean, it’s John frickin’ Hurt! Octavia Spencer was also great in this movie as this mother who loses her child pretty early on. She also showed a lot of emotion and gave a great performance. To be honest, everybody in this movie was great! All characters and all performances were great.

The original score by Marco Beltrami was another thing in this movie that was great. It fit the mood of this dark and at times disturbing movie. His score really helped bring the intensity to an entirely different level. There were also some emotional songs in the soundtrack as well that were pretty great too. Like I basically said at first, the entire score is great.

Don’t go into this movie expecting a generic American action movie which is kind of ironic because of Chris Evans who also plays Captain America in the Marvel movies. Anyway. this is as far from your typical American action movie as you can get. So if you want a generic American action movie then this isn’t for you. The action in “Snowpiercer” is intense, brutal and visceral. And for those of you who have seen the movie, yes there is shaky-cam in the movie, but they use it in a good way compared to everyone else who decides to use it. The camera work in general is pretty great too. This was directed by Korean director Joon-ho Bong who I have not seen anything else from. But now that I’ve seen how great of a director he is with “Snowpiercer” I kind of want to see something else by him. Because he was great.

This movie has been really well-received by critics and a fair amount of people alike. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 84/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

“Snowpiercer” is a very original and different movie that I loved. The story was great, the acting was great, the music was great and everything from the camera work/director was also great. Time for my final score. The hell? *Opens up bullet*. The score was rolledi nto a bullet… weird. My final score for “Snowpiercer” is a 9,83/10. It definitely deserves the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
Seal of Approval

Review of “Snowpiercer” is completed.

Wait… This isn’t the Hogwarts express!