Movie Review: Ready or Not (2019)

ReadyOrSpooks

Mawwiage. Mawwiage is what bwings us togevah today. Alright, enough of that. Time for Month of Spooks content.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Ready or Not”!

Grace (Samara Weaving) is a lovely young woman who’s going through the happiest day of her life, finally getting married to her beloved Alex (Mark O’Brien). And after the main wedding it is time to take part in Alex’s family’s wedding tradition of playing a game. The game chosen is hide or seek. What Grace doesn’t know however as she goes to hide is that the family will hunt her down using lethal weapons… ain’t that fuckin’ lovely? And I’ll just come right out and say it, I fucking loved the story in this movie. It may not be that deep or heartwrenching, but it’s insanely entertaining. It’s a fast-paced thriller with a dark sense of humor, never leaving me bored at any point. And even though it has a lot of humor to it, the story still manages to create a suspenseful and sinister vibe that keeps it from just feeling silly. It rides the line between thriller and pitch black comedy beautifully. And it’s a complete blast to follow.

The characters in this are colorful, fun, entertaining, and pretty interesting. Samara Weaving is excellent as Grace, a kind, sassy woman whose life gets flipped turned upside down. Seeing her development over the runtime is interesting, and Weaving’s performance really sells it all amazingly. Mark O’Brien plays Alex, Grace’s new husband, a man in conflict with his two sides. One side just wants to save his wife, and the other understands that this is some sick, fucked up tradition that has to happen, and that conflict is pretty cool, with O’Brien giving a great performance. The last one we’ll go slightly in depth with is Adam Brody as Daniel, Alex’s brother. He’s taking part in this weird tradition, but you can always tell that he’d so jaded because of it. He’s not enthusiastic, but he’s also not strictly for it… it has just worn him down, which makes him an interesting wild card in the story. And Brody is fantastic in that role. We also get some supporting work from Andie MacDowell, Henry Czerny, Nicky Guadagni, John Ralston, and more, all doing great in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Brian Tyler, and I think he did a damn good job with it. It’s not exactly the most original score I’ve heard, but it is a solid enough thriller score with enough bombast and subtle creepiness to make it an enjoyable addition to this movie.

“Ready or Not” was directed by Matt Bettinelli-Olpin and Tyler Gillett, and I must say that I’m really impressed by their work here. They know how to keep ratcheting up the intensity in scenes, always keeping me on edge with what was going on. Sometimes they succeed with this through fast-paced chases, and sometimes it’s achieved through slower points that focus more on a creeping suspense. And holy fuck, some of the violence in this is really nasty. I know horror has a penchant for brutality, but it’s worth noting that it’s rare for it to get to me like it did here. It’s brutal in a way that makes me squirm, without completely sacrificing the overall fun factor of the entire thing. Still… yikes.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 64/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.8/10.

I absolutely fucking loved “Ready or Not”, it’s one hell of a good time. It has a great story, great characters fantastic performances, good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Ready or Not” is a 9,90/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Ready or Not” is now completed.

Can someone please make a video game out of this? Like, can we task Creative Assembly to do that?

Series Review: City on a Hill – Season 1 (2019)

Crime. Don’t do it. It’s bad. I was gonna do a more clever intro, but couldn’t come up with one. So I guess we should just jump into the review.

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s discuss the first season of… “City on a Hill”.

Boston, the 1990s. A group of criminals commit a big robbery. So an attorney (Aldis Hodge) has to team up with a crooked FBI agent (Kevin Bacon) to try to solve this case, which leads them down a spiral that shows us the depths of Boston’s corruption. So now we have our crime-drama. And it’s a good one. The core plot is interesting, even if the writing can be a tiny bit sloppy at times. There are also a few plot threads that, while somewhat interesting, don’t serve a bigger purpose in the story than to fill out the runtime. But when it focuses on the main story, “City on a Hill” is a compelling crime drama that entertains and intrigues.

The characters here are layered, flawed, and overall pretty interesting. Kevin Bacon plays Jackie Rohr, a crooked FBI agent that works to solve the case at the center of the story, while also trying to serve his own ego. He’s an absolute scumbag, but you can also tell that there’s some goodness left in him, somewhere, hidden beneath the booze, coke, and jackassery.  And Kevin Bacon chews the scenery quite hard, which makes for a really enjoyable performance. Aldis Hodge plays Decourcy Ward, the assistant district attorney that Rohr works with to try to solve the core case. Unlike Rohr, Decourcy is straight as an arrow, wanting to do things by the book… but starts showing cracks the more he works with Rohr. So it’s interesting to see him work the case. And while Hodge sometimes seems like he’s half asleep, Hodge generally does a good job in the role. Next we have Jonathan Tucker as Frankie Ryan, one of the people involved in the robbery that helps spark the main plot. He’s a family man, trying to steer clear of trouble, but often gets dragged into shit partly due to previous action or because of his fuck-up of a brother (Mark O’Brien). And he’s certainly one of the more compelling characters in the main cast. And Tucker is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Mark O’Brien, Lauren E. Banks, Amanda Clayton, Jill Hennessy, Jere Shea, Kevin Chapman, Kevin Dunn, Sarah Shahi, Rory Culkin, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the series was composed by Kevin Kiner, and I think he did an okay job with it. It’s a bit bland, fitting snuggly in with most crime dramas, but with enough little Celtic elements to make it fit into the Boston setting a bit more. It’s not bad, and it works well enough in the various scenes it can be heard. There are also a fair bit of licensed songs used throughout the season, and they work decently in their respective scenes.

The show was created by Chuck MacLean, with writing by a whole bunch of different people (MacLean included) and direction by other people. And overall I’d say the show is well crafted, creating some decent tension throughout, while also keeping the viewer engaged with some pretty good camerawork. And I rarely mention this, but I have to kind of mention the dialogue, because it sometimes sounds like someone on the crew read a bunch of Dennis Lehane novels and thought “I’ll make my own version of this… ON TV!”. Not complaining, it’s just something I picked up on.

This show/season has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 74% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 64/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

While not perfect, the first season of “City on a Hill” is still a really solid crime-drama. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, okay music, and really good directing/writing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “City on a Hill” season 1 is an 8,66/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth watching.

My review of “City on a Hill” season 1 is now completed.

Boston might have one of the funniest accents around.

Movie Review: Arrival (2016)

The universe. An infinite space that has been fascinating us puny humans since the damn of man. What kind of worlds are out there? How far does it actually reach? And are we alone in the universe? We may never find out the answers to any of these questions, but they sure as shit are interesting to think about and discuss.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Arrival”.

Giant banana-shaped vessels have come down to earth. The military and government do not know what these alien things want. So language expert Louise Banks (Amy Adams) gets brought in to try to communicate with the aliens and find out what they’re doing here. And now we have an intelligent drama with aliens in it. Firstly, a plot about trying to communicate with aliens is actually quite refreshing. Most “aliens coming to earth” movies are about aggressive invasions, but this isn’t really that. It’s a clever spin on the “aliens coming to earth” genre of movies. The plot overall is also really suspenseful because for most of the movie you don’t know what these aliens want. The plot also has a surprising amount of emotion that really got to me. I should also mention that this is quite slow-paced, which might put some people off. But I appreciate it, gives me time to really soak in everything that’s going on. Really, it’s quite a fascinating science fiction-drama plot that I think was pretty fucking great.

The characters in this movie are all interesting in some way. Amy Adams was fantastic as Louise Banks. She’s a deep and complex character and I was really invested in arc in the movie as she was trying to find ways to communicate with these aliens. Jeremy Renner is great as Ian, a scientist that is helping Louise with the alien communication. Forest Whitaker plays a soldier that is part of this operation and he was great in his role. We also got Michael Stuhlbarg as a CIA agent that is part of the operation and he was really good in the role. Yeah, there were no bad performances in this movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Jóhann Jóhansson and it was absolutely fantastic. His score was eerie, tense, thought provoking, and just fit the scenes incredibly well. They also used Max Richter’s “On the nature of Daylight” in the movie. Not gonna say how if you haven’t seen the movie, but let’s just say that it was pretty damn good how it was used.

This movie was directed by Denis Villeneuve (one of my favorite directors) and once again he knocked ith out of the fucking park with the directing. He makes scenes flow very well and his directing really helps to improve on the storytelling. I also have to comment on Bradford Young’s cinematography which is stunning, it is an absolutely gorgeous movie. And while the visual effects aren’t necessarily the main focus in this movie, they are there and they look fantastic. Most big sci-fi movies will have the visual effects there for the sake of looking flashy and cool, but here they exist to serve the story.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 81/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,0/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best sound editing. It was also nominated for an additional 7 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best director, Best adapted screenplay, Best cinematography, Best film editing, Best sound mixing, and Best production design. 

“Arrival” is a fantastic science fiction-drama. It has a fantastic plot, really good characters, fantastic performances, fantastic music, fantastic directing/cinematography, and great visual effects. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Arrival” is a 9,90/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Arrival” is now completed.

It’s official… I am excited for “Blade Runner 2049”. Villeneuve will succeed!