Movie Review: Jacob’s Ladder (1990)

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Good evening, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the continuation of “The Month of Spooks”. Time to review another horror movie… something that is the basic plan of this little “month” of mine. Thinking about it, maybe I should start it a little earlier and plan it out a little better for next year. Anyhow, time for a horror movie… yeah.

Ladies and gents, be ready to climb… “Jacob’s Ladder”.

Jacob Singer (Tim Robbins) has an okay life working as a postman and living with his girlfriend Jezzie (Elizabeth Peña). However he is not a perfect everyday man. First off, he is in grief over his young son (Macaulay Culkin) who died and he is also beginning to have terrible flashbacks about his time in Vietnam. Also, he bgins seeing terrible and terrifying creatures and other things. So Jacob has to try to figure out what the hell is going on, why this is happening and also find a way to get out of it. And not only was the plot very well told, but it was also pretty scary. To be honest, the movie isn’t a straight-up horror movie, but it is also a drama/psychological thriller. And I do think that those aspects helps improve upon the movie. I also love the deep symbolism in the movie, it’s all really cool. Also, if a movie can mentally mess me up, that is pretty great. I guess I would say that this movie left the same type of psychological impact on me as “Enemy” did, and you guys probably know I loved that movie.

The characters are all flawed in some manner of speaking and they are all very interesting. Sure, not many of them get a lot of screen time, but that is still compensated for by great writing and excellent acting. Tim Robbins is fantastic as our broken and haunted protagonist. This is definitely one of the best performances I have seen him give. Sure, I haven’t seen too many Tim Robbins performances, but it’s still fuckin’ great. And Elizabeth Peña was great as his girlfriend. Everybody was great. No weak performances.

The score for “Jacob’s Ladder” was provided by composer Maurice Jarre. And you guys should know by now that I love Maurice Jarre. Every score I have heard from that man is somewhere between great and amazing in my opinion. And the score for this movie was not different at all, it is another welcome addition into Jarre’s discography. It is thought-provoking, it is beautiful and it is quite eerie. It really did fit the a horror movie/psychological thriller so it’s great that this movie is such a movie. Again, it’s by Maurice Jarre and I love basically everything by him.

The shots in this movie look pretty damn great. It was directed by Adrian Lyne who also made “Flashdance”. And he did a fantastic job with it. Also, he achieved some pretty fucking creepy and even scary things in the movie. One example is how he managed to create that scary “Shaking head” effect. Seriously, the way he achieved that without resorting to computers is simply amazing because that effect is some of the scariest shit I have ever seen in a movie.

This movie has been pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 69% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 62/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“Jacob’s Ladder” is a horror movie with a very deep and symbolic plot, fantastic acting, terrific music, great directing and it is actually really scary. Time for my final score. *Cough cough*. My final score for “Jacob’s Ladder” is a 9,85/10. It most definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

“Jacob’s Ladder” is now reviewed.

I need more Tim Robbins in my life.

Movie Review: Mad Max – Beyond Thunderdome (1985)

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We are finally here, the final part of my series of “Mad Max” reviews (“Fury Road” not included). It has been a… strange journey to say the least. From the revenge story of “Mad Max” to the vehicular insanity of “The Road Warrior” and now we have the finalé left.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you… “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome”.

Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson) is back to be scruffy-looking and badass. This time he stumbles upon a place called Bartertown where he meets the town’s leader called Aunty Entity (Tina Turner). But after some shit hits the fan, he gets exiled into the wasteland and left to die. But then he is taken in with some children who live in a forest/jungle/how-did-that-end-up-there-in-the-sandy-wasteland whom he then teams up with to rebel against Aunty Entity. While I was entertained through the entirety of the movie, I feel like the plot got a little… stupid. I love the first half where he is in Bartertown/Thunderdome, fighting for his life, but when he ends up with the kids it feels like an entirely different movie… and not really in a good way. It started to feel less like a “Mad Max” movie and more like a Steven Spielberg movie. And I was not the biggest fan of how the plot developed, even though it was enjoyable to watch.

I think it’s safe to say that Mel Gibson is fantastic as Max. He nailed it the first two times, and he nailed it here too. I would even say that he got some great character development in this movie, with Max evolving a fair amount as a character which is great to see. I was however worried about the casting of Tina Turner in the movie. Don’t get me wrong, I love her, I think she is a fantastic musician… but since I have never seen her act before I was worried that she would suck. Did she suck? Not really. While she wasn’t as terrible as I thought she might’ve been, she was still not great. Her performance was at a lot of times over-the-top and a little campy, but she was still fine. All other performances on the other hand were pretty great. And since this is a “Mad Max” movie you can expect that everyone have lost their fucking minds and are all very colorful, which is always fun.

The music was done by composer Maurice Jarre. And as per usual it was great, with Jarre showing that he can create pieces of music for all moods a movie wants to show. There were also one or two tracks done/sung by Tina Turner and those were pretty great which is to be expected. All of the music was in fact very well composed and really enjoyable to listen to.

George Miller returns as director, but is this time also joined by George Ogilvie who I have never fuckin’ heard of. No offense to the man, I’m sure he’s a nice guy, I just haven’t heard of him before. Anyway, holy shit this movie looks amazing. Out of all the movies so far, this might be the best looking one out of them all. The cinematography is beautiful and the pans and zooms and overall directing is simply great. It also has some pretty great action scenes. Mainly two of them; The first one is the fight in Thunderdome between Max and a huge, muscular man named Blaster. The second one is the big chase at the end which is typical “Mad Max” badassery. What is a little weird about the movie is that it is the only one in the series (“Fury Road” included) that is rated PG-13. Why the sudden change of age rating, Miller? It doesn’t really take away from the movie, I just find it weird. Answer me, damn it!

This movie has gotten some mixed reception to say the least. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 81% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 80/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,2/10.

“Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome” is a strange movie. It has an entertaining plot that still derails itself halfway through, but it also has really fun characters/great performances, and excellent soundtrack, terrific directing/cinematography and awesome action. Time for my final score. MAAAAAAAAAAAD MAAAAAAAAAAX! My final score for “Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome” is an 8,78/10. I’d still say that it’s worth buying.
Worth buying

I have finally reviewed the final part in the “Mad Max” trilogy (A.K.A. “Beyond Thunderdome”).

Who runs Bartertown?

Movie Review: Ghost (1990)

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Does love transcend all? That is a question many people ask themselves. Can love for someone be the solitary reason for one’s survival/struggle? Intrepret the situation however the hell you want. Me? I don’t know, haven’t felt true love yet.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Ghost”.

Sam Wheat (Patrick Swayze, R.I.P) is a young man with a lot of things going for him. He’s doing well at his job as a banker, he lives with his true love Molly (Demi Moore) and they have a pretty big apartment. Unfortunately he gets murdered one evening. But he also comes back as a ghost and takes the help of a psychic (Whoopi Goldberg) to keep in touch with the world and help Molly from a terrible fate. I know my description sounds a bit off, but I am simply trying to explain it without really spoiling it. Anyway, I really liked the plot. I was a bit skeptic since it seemed like it might become a very melodramatic and sappy plot, but I actually enjoyed it a lot. It had a lot more depth than I thought it would. It also made me tear up at a spot. Let me put it like this, on the outside I shed a tear… but on the inside I cried like a little baby. Good job, “Ghost”.

The characters are interesting and entertaining, that’s the best way I can put it. Patrick Swayze was pretty great in this movie. As a big fan of him I have still been able to see that he hasn’t been that great of an actor, but here he was genuinely good. Demi Moore was pretty great in the movie as well, showing a lot of emotion and simply giving a great performance. Whoopi Goldberg was also really good, she actually gave a great performance in the movie (holy shit). Tony Goldwyn was also great, but I guess you can safely assume such a thing when Tarzan is in the house (Obscure references, ho!). Every actor was in fact great in the movie.

Leave it to Maurice Jarre to create a truly great score for a movie. If you don’t remember, he is the man who was the main composer for the movie “Fearless” which I love. And here he knocked it out of the park again. This score has a lot of emotion behind it, but it also manages to create tension whenever it needs to. It managed to capture all kind of musical feelings it could. He did a great job. I also like how they included the song “Unchained Melody” by The Righteous Brothers, it was really well done.

This movie was directed by Jerry Zucker who, HOLY SHIT HE DIRECTED “AIRPLANE”! That is a funny jump, from a hilarious and strange comedy to a love story featuring ghosts. Anyway, he did a great job directing this movie, nothing else to really say here. What I also enjoyed is the fact that this movie manage to capture pretty much every genre without it all feeling totally mish-mashed and terrible. It captures drama, comedy, fantasy, thriller, action… you name it. And I’m genuinely impressed by how well it actually managed to do it.

This movie has been pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 74% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 52/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10. The movie also won 2 Oscars in the categories of Best Supporting Actress (Whoopi Goldberg) and Best Original Screenplay. The movie was also nominated for an additional  3 Oscars in the categories of Best Picture, Best Film Editing and Best Original Score. 

“Ghost” is a movie that surprised me on so many levels. Not only did I actually like the story, but I was even touched deeply by it. I also really enjoyed all the performances (which were great), the score was terrific with the inclusion of “Unchained Melody”, and the directing was good. I also enjoy how it actually made me laugh because of real humor. Time for my final score. BOO! My final score for “Ghost” is a 9,88/10. It gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

“Ghost” is now reviewed.

I guess love does transcend all…

Movie Review: Fearless (1993)

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We all have fears, there is no denying that. I myself am afraid of a few things; mainly heights and snakes. The point I am trying to make is that we are all afraid of something and we want to find ways to overcome our fears. It isn’t easy, but it’s possible. With that said, let’s review a movie about being afraid… sort of.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Fearless”.

In this movie we follow Max Klein (Jeff Bridges) who just survived an airplane crash. And after this crash something strange happens. His personality changes, he starts seeking thrills to try to wake up from this weird state he has entered. And from that we get a philosophical, thoughtful and emotionally gut-punching plot. I loved the plot of “Fearless”, seeing Max go through the world, getting more and more emotionally distant from his family. If you are looking for an action packed plot, this isn’t the movie for you. This is a plot that takes it’s time with everything, making sure you get good time to think over everything in this movie. And I loved that!

The characters are interesting, realistic and very well-written. None of them feel like they don’t belong, they all feel natural in this movie. And Jeff Brdiges gives a fantastic performance in this movie. You can say what you want about him in “The Big Lebowski”, he may be great in that movie, but this might actually be his best performance. He really makes Max feel like a real person with his fantastic performance. And the other actors in the movie are great too.

The music in this movie is slow, atmospheric and pretty emotional. The original song were composed by Maurice Jarre but most tracks were a mix of a bunch of orchestral pieces. And they all fit perfectly into this movie and all tracks helps convey some kind of emotion. While I can’t mention all for sure I can at least say that all the tracks are terrific.

This movie is directed by Peter Weir and I have to say he did a pretty fucking great job with it. And to get the truth out there, I have never seen a Peter Weir movie before so I had no expectations at all. But I was pleased to see that this was a well-directed movie. Also, fun fact: this movie is based on a novel by Rafael Yglesias who also wrote the screenplay for the movie.

This movie has been well-received but has also been called under-rated. It is also a movie that not too many people saw. But still, time for critic scores. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10. The movie was also nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best Supporting Actress (Rosie Perez). 

Guys, “Fearless” is a fantastic movie with a deep and thoughtful plot with a lot of emotion and is held up by a fantastic lead performance from Jeff Bridges, great writing, great music and great direction/camera work. Time for my final score. *Ahem* My final score for “Fearless” is a 9,88/10. It definitely deserves the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
Seal of Approval

“Fearless” is now reviewed.

More people need to see this amazing thing.