Movie Review: White Boy Rick (2018)

Don’t do crimes.

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 gents… “White Boy Rick”.

Detroit, the 1980s. Teenager Richard Wershe Jr. (Richie Merritt) comes from a broken home. But soon he finds himself on quite an interesting rise, as he starts getting involved both as an FBI informant and a drug trafficker. So now we have our crime-drama. The premise of it all I find highly intriguing, and there are some decent moments and ideas going on throughout the movie. But looking at the package as a whole, it feels quite underwhelming, with the script, while not bad, feels severely underwritten. The writer’s should’ve probably done another draft or two to truly flesh out a lot of the storytelling, because as it stands, it doesn’t quite reach the dramatic heights it sets out for. And this makes it often feel a lot more boring and uninteresting than one would want a fascinating premise like this to be.

Much like the story, the characters in this story suffer due to the undercooked script. I can see what the team were going for with all of them, but they never quite get far enough to make ’em that compelling. Richie Merritt plays Richard Wershe Jr, the young man at the center of the story. He’s the closest we get to a compelling character, as he gets the biggest arc of the bunch (probably due to his status as “protagonist”). And Merritt is okay in the role. Next we have Matthew McConaughey as Richard Wershe Senior, the father of our main character. He’s a bit of a hick, while also trying to be a decent dad. As said before about other things: Good idea, mediocre execution. At least McConaughey gives a really good performance. We also get supporting work from people like Bel Powley, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brian Tyree Henry, Rory Cochrane, RJ Cyler, Jonathan Majors, Eddie Marsan, and more, all doing pretty well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Max Richter, and it was really good. Richter’s a talented composer, and he managed to bring some really compelling synth/piano goodness to the soundscape of this movie. It manages to take scenes that are mediocre at best, and manages to make them alright. There’s also a few licensed songs used throughout, and they work fine I guess.

“White Boy Rick” was directed by Yann Demange, and I think he did an okay job with it. There are scenes in the movie that I think are really well directed, but then there are also scenes that I feel are a bit drab in execution. Again, it’s kind of a mixed bag in execution, which unfortunately really brings me out of the experience. There are scenes where Demange’s directing truly shines, and I applaud those moments. But there are times where it dips too, which is a shame.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 59% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 59/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,4/10.

“White Boy Rick” has some decent elements to it, but in the end is a disappointment. It has an undercooked story, less than compelling characters, good performances, really good music, and okay directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “White Boy Rick” is a 4,78/10. So despite some bright spots, I’d recommend skipping it.

My review of “White Boy Rick” is now completed.

Mustache McConaughey.

Movie Review: Ad Astra (2019)

Space, the final frontie- Hold on, this isn’t “Star Trek”. This is something else… so let’s talk about it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Ad Astra”.

Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) must go on a potentially dangerous mission across the stars to try to uncover the truth behind what happened to his space-traveling father many years ago. And before you get too many assumptions, I have to tell you that this isn’t really that kind of space adventure. Don’t expect “Star Wars”. This is a slowly burning character study that will test the patience of some viewers. That’s not to say that there aren’t exciting bits in this movie, there are. But the more action-packed stuff is less of a priority here, making way for the slow burn drama. And I found it quite engaging. It’s not my favorite space drama, that crown still goes to “Moon”, but I still thought the plot of “Ad Astra” was very good.

There’s really only one character worth talking about here, and that is Roy McBride, played by Brad Pitt. He’s shut off his emotional as a response of something that happened in his past. Which makes him a very reserved individual, not letting a lot of people in. And he goes through quite an interesting arc in this movie, making him quite a nuanced character. And Pitt is fantastic in the role. Yes, it’s a very subdued performance, but you can read so much just from eyes. And there are some damn solid supporting players here too.

The score for the movie was composed by Max Richter, and my god, it was fantastic. It often has a very dreamlike quality that perfectly complements Roy’s personal solitude, in combination with the desolation that we call space. Synths, strings, some piano, these are just some of the elements that get blended quite wonderfully to create the mesmerizing score.

“Ad Astra” was written by James Gray and Ethan Gross, with Gray handling direction. Gray’s direction manages to be both sweeping and intimate, really giving us some impressive vistas in combination with the tightness to Pitt’s McBride. His direction manages to generate a decent bit of emotion, making me care. Then it also builds some pretty good suspense in parts. And let’s talk about Hoyte van Hoytema’s cinematography, which is some of the most stunning I have ever seen, taking my breath away at many points. Seriously, the craft in this movie is meticulous.

This movie just came out, so scores may change. But so far it has been quite well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 81% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 80/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“Ad Astra” isn’t for everyone… but I thought it was great. It has a really good plot, a really good central character, great performances, fantastic music, and great writing/directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “Ad Astra” is a 9,62/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Ad Astra” is now completed.

Ad Astra is about Brad Astra seeking his Dad Astra. The movie’s not Bad Astra, in fact it’s quite Rad Astra, which makes me very Glad Astra. 

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!