12 Films of Christmas (Part 11)

We are at the penultimate part of this silly series of mine. Have you enjoyed reading these? Because I’ve enjoyed writing them and would like to hear from you what you think. Anyhow, let’s get into the main event here.

Some say it’s not a christmas movie. And to those I say stop arguing against the truth… “Die Hard” is a christmas movie! John McClane (Bruce Willis) is a New York cop who has traveled to Los Angeles to see his wife (Bonnie Bedelia) and kids for christmas. However his visit gets a bit more troublesome when a group of terrorists led by the charismatic Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) attack the christmas party that John has found himself at. So now John has to take out these terrorists with nothing but a gun and his wits. And yeah, I fucking love “Die Hard”. Directed by John McTiernan, this 1988 movie is a masterpiece of action filmmaking. It’s exciting and tense, while still having a sense of fun to it. The movie has an almost claustrophobic feeling with John sneaking around in vents and elevator shafts around the Nakatomi building, trying to find a way to stop these terrorists. It’s also nice to watch a movie where Bruce Willis actually gives a shit about acting. His performance here is great as the beat and somewhat bitter New York cop who gets dragged into such a tense and scary situation, making for some really entertaining scenes. And rest in peace Alan Rickman, you were great as Hans Gruber, sir. One of the best movie villains of all time. Blood, cursing, guns, explosions, fun and interesting characters… “Die Hard” is an action classic and one of the greatest christmas movies ever.

What are your thoughts about “Die Hard”? And what’s your favorite of the sequels? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Yippe-ki-yay, motherfucker… I mean, have a good one!

Movie Review: Open Range (2003)

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If you’ve followed my blog for some time then you are probably aware that I love westerns. It’s probably my favorite movie genre. So whenever I get the chance to watch a western, I get excited. I get even more excited when I get to talk about said westerns here on the blog.

Ladies and gents… “Open Range”.

Boss Spearman (Robert Duvall) and Charley Waite (Kevin Costner) are two men who run a crew that makes sure their cattle gets to graze in the nice, open fields. But at one point they happen to get into trouble with a corrupt Sheriff (James Russo) and the local rancher (Michael Gambon) who happens to be a bit of a kingpin. So to keep this shit short and sweet, they get into trouble with these guys and have to try to stop them/take them out. Pretty standard western stuff, but I have to say that I was surprised at the depth that the plot had. It’s not just some cattle men who also happen to be gunslingers who have to take out some corrupt people, but there are so many more layers to it that I can’t get into because this review is supposed to be spoiler free. There are tons of little elements to the plot of “Open Range” that make it such an engaging watch. Yeah, it’s really good.

The characters in this movie are layered, interesting, and simply entertaining. Robert Duvall is (as we all know) a great actor, and it shows here too. He gives a terrific performance in this movie while also being pretty badass. Kevin Costner also gives a really good performance in this movie. And these two central actors have really good chemistry too, perfectly building off of each other. I’m not saying that you should expect there to be a whole bunch of really funny banter like Riggs and Murtaugh from “Lethal Weapon” or Harry and Gay Perry from “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang”. I’m simply saying that they work very well together. We also get some really good performances from people like Annette Bening, Diego Luna, Abraham Benrubi, Michael Gambon, and Michael Jeter (R.I.P).

The film’s original score was composed by Michael Kamen (R.I.P) who of course made the music to movies like “Die Hard” and the previously mentioned “Lethal Weapon”. And the music he did for this movie is pretty damn good. Sure, a lot of it sounds like typical western stuff… but that isn’t a bad thing. It sounds great and it really makes the movie feel a lot bigger while also sounding great overall. Also, the song that plays during the end credits, “Holding All My Love For You” by Julianna Raye, is pretty damn good too.

This movie was directed by none other than… *drumroll* Kevin Costner! Yup, one of the stars of this movie also directed it. Not that it’s the first time that it has been done (not even the first for Costner), and it sure as hell isn’t the last either. But to call this movie well directed would be an understatement. Yes, I am saying that this movie looks fucking phenomenal and I was in awe at several shots in the movie. And while there aren’t that many shootouts in this movie, in fact there’s actually only one, really… near the end. And I honestly think that it is absolutely awesome. It goes on for some time too, which is great for me, because western shootouts are fun to witness. And since this goes on for a while and also features a good amount of dudes being gunned down, it will please those who love a good ol’ fashioned shooty-bang-bang session.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 79% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 67/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“Open Range” is a movie that surprised me a pretty good amount. It has a great plot, great characters, great acting, great music, great directing, and an awesome shootout. Time for my final score. *Bang*. My final score for “Open Range” is a 9,87/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Open Range” is now done.

Duvall shotgun

Movie Review: Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)

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Finally, we are here. The fourth and final part in this action movie franchise. Not that I had any planned reviewes for these. I really saw the first one pretty much on accident (a happy accident) and then the sequels have been sprinkled into my life at pure random. But now we are at last here, the last movie in this awesome franchise.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Lethal Weapon 4”.

Once again we get to follow the craziness of LAPD detectives Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Murtaugh (Danny Glover). And in this one they have to try to stop a deadly Chinese crime lord that is related in one way or another to immigrant smuggling and counterfeiting. Just like all the other movies, the premise is simple. And just like the sequels it is also executed in a pretty simple way. The first movie had surprising depth to it, but all sequels (including this one) stay really simple in style and execution. And while I don’t mind too much because of the fast pace and entertainment factor of the plot, it is sad that it didn’t feel a little more… deep. The only thing put in here that sort of raises the stakes is the fact that Lorna (Rene Russo) is pregnant in this movie, but that isn’t too prominent in the movie. But to sum it up, the plot is entertaining, but not really that great.

The chemistry between our two leads is just as great as ever. You know, despite it being six years since the third movie came out. So yeah, their chemistry is still great. And their performances are still great nothing else to say there. Also, I’m glad to see that newcomer Jet Li fits into teh plot perfectly and also gives a great performance as a really badass guy. We also get another newcomer in the form of Chris Rock who I can say was servicable at best. Look, I got nothing against him, I think he is overall a really funny guy, but he didn’t fit that perfectly in this movie. It is also a shame that Rene Russo isn’t the badass woman she was in “Lethal Weapon 3”, instead she is thrown to the side and pops up every now and then. Oh well, she at least gives a good performance whenever she’s in front of the camera. But I swear, if I ever have to listen to Joe Pesci (as Leo Getz) say “Okay” one more time, I will hurt something. Overall he was fine in the movie, but he was also annoying. This movie lost a little in character compared to the other ones, but it is still not bad.

Once again, the score was done by Michael Kamen, Eric Clapton and David Sanborn. And once again it is pretty fucking great. Perfectly creating tension for the action scenes, perfectly lighting the mood when the we need to chill out and jsut perfectly capturing every feeling/style it needs to capture. It is really a terrific score that we got here, but that is something that has stayed consistent throughout all of the movies.

I think it’s safe to say that if you give Richard Donner (R.I.P) a camera and a pretty big budget, he’s gonna make something great. “Lethal Waepon 4” from a technical standpoint is pretty amazing. The shots look great and everything is steady and nice. Which segues me perfectly into what I wanted to mention next which is the action. Yeah, it is as awesome as ever. Like I said, it is all very steady which is great because we actually get to see what’s going on. The action gets a lot better thanks to the inclusion of some martial arts in this one. The action is one of the aspects which bumps up “Lethal Weapon 4” quite the bit as a movie. Also, the comedy in the movie worked really well, I really did laugh at it a lot.

This movie has gotten some pretty mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 52% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 37/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 2/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

“Lethal Weapon 4” is pretty much everything I expected and wanted from a “Lethal Weapon” movie. A decent story, fun characters, great music, great directing & action. While two of the actors might be slightly annoying (Rock and Pesci), everyone else did a great job. I also can’t deny the fun I had with this movie. Time for my final score. I’m still too old for this shit. My final score for “Lethal Weapon 4” is an 8,54/10. I do think it’s worth buying.
Worth buying

My review of “Lethal Weapon 4” is now completed.

Despite this being a good movie, I still found a serious lack of Gibson-mullet.
tAjEJHH

Movie Review: Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)

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You might remember that I reviewed the first two “Lethal Weapon” movies a while back, you might also remember that I liked them quite a bit. Well now after several months, it is time to review the third one in the franchise! So… here we go!

Sirs and madams please stand back, because this is… “Lethal Weapon 3”.

Once again we follow LAPD sergeants Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Murtaugh (Danny Glover). Murtaugh only has a week until retirement, but that doesn’t stop him from getting dragged into aonther giant case, this time he and Riggs together with an internal affairs officer (Rene Russo) have to try to take down an arms dealer (Stuart Wilson) who used used to be an LAPD officer. And from that… chaos ensues. While the plot is really fun to follow I feel like it isn’t as interesting as the previous two movies. In this movie they focus less on character development and focus more on chases and explosions and extreme action. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of that shit, but it just isn’t as interesting as the previous movies since they had really good character development. Also, for some reason they decided to shoehorn in Leo Getz (Joe Pesci) into this movie. In the previous movie he was a fun character that was integrated into the plot in aa good way, but here he just feels forced.

I think it is pretty fucking obvious at this point that Mel Gibson and Danny Glover have excellent chemistry. In the first “Lethal Weapon” they were great together, in “Lethal Weapon 2” they were even better and in this it has reached it’s peak. Their chemistry in this movie is fantastic, you notice that these two actors have a lot of fun working together. Newcomer Rene Russo is also really good in the movie and have really good chemistry with our two heroes, especially Mel Gibson who she banters with excellently. And Joe Pesci as Leo Getz is fine, he just feels so shoehorned into this movie. And I swear to fucking god, if I have to hear him say “Okay” again, I will snap! But overall the characters in this movie are all good. Sure, the villain is not that great, but everyone else makes up for that.

Once again the soundtrack was done by Michael Kamen, Eric Clapton and David Sanborn. And once again it is great wit ha great mix of typical action movie songs, smooth jazz and some rock n roll. There were also two tracks made for the movie. One is called “It’s Probably Me” which was done by Eric Clapton and Sting, the second one was “Runaway Train” by Eric Clapton and Elton John. And both were great songs that fit the movie in different ways.

Okay, my research now gives my feelings about Leo Getz feeling shoehorned in some much needed evidence. Apparently he wasn’t even in the original script. All scenes he were in were written in after the script was completed. Why they had to put him in the movie, I do not know. But now I at least know why he felt forced. Moving on! Once again Richard Donner steps up as director after the two first ones. And once again he is triumphant at making the movie fast, fierce and really well-directed. The camera work is great and the action scenes are awesome as always.

This movie was received decently. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 56% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 36/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“Lethal Weapon” has a plot that isn’t too interesting, a meh villain and a forced in Leo Getz. But it makes up for a fair amount of that with fun action, great characters, great music and great direction/camera work. Time for my final score. Jeff! Where’s the freaking envelope!? *Envelope flies into face* Ouch! I’m too old for this shit! My final score for “Lethal Weapon 3” is an 8,54/10. It is definitely worth buying.
Worth buying

“Lethal Weapon 3” is now reviewed.

You have the right to remain unconscious. Anything you say ain’t gonna be much.

 

Movie Review: Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)

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Sequels. Love them, hate them, don’t give a shit about them. There are many sides to how it can go for a sequel. Most times sequels can never live up to the original. But then we have a few gems that actually surpass the original like “Terminator 2” or “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”. Today we are taking a look at a sequel for a movie I review a few weeks back. Is it as good as the first or will it fall flat? Let’s have a look!

Cops and robbers… “Lethal Weapon 2”.

Riggs (Mel Gibson) and Murtaugh (Danny Glover) are back! Set one year(ish) after the first movie it follows our heroes as they have to protect someone who has been involved with some South African diplomats who are up to shady shit. This man they to protect is the eccentric and kinda rich Leo Getz (Joe Pesci). At the same time they have to find a way to stop these South African diplomats who use their diplomatic immunity as cover to carry on with their shady shit. Now while this story works for the movie I feel that it somehow is less inspired than the original one. It might be my skepticism against sequels in general, but it doesn’t have the same time of *boom* as the first one had. Although I did find this plot functional and entertaining.

To compensate for the not overly inspired story we have some great characters. The chemistry between Riggs and Murtaugh is just as good as last time, if not even better. The supporting characters are also great and fill their roles well. I can however see how some people would maybe get a little annoyed by the character of Leo Getz, but I didn’t mind him, he worked in my opinion. Sure, the villains aren’t as interesting as Gary Busey & friends from the first movie, but they do well for this movie.

Once again the soundtrack was done by composers Michael Kamen, Eric Clapton and David Sanborn. And once again it was good and fit the different parts of the movie. There was a good use of general orchestra like most action movies with great guitar work by Clapton and great saxophone pieces by Sanborn. I really have nothing special to say, the music was pretty much the same as the first movie (in style). And I like that music!

Richard Donner was back to direct this movie and once again he shows that he is a good director with good camera work and overall direction. The action was also just as good as in the first movie. It was fast-paced, visceral, thrilling and badass. And there is a part late in the movie (no spoilers) that I swear they made a reference to in “Grand Theft Auto Five”. There were jsut too many similarities that I couldn’t let it slip, it was too similar to not think about. You who have both seen the movie and played the game know what I am talking about.

This movie was pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 83% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 70/100 (Sidenote: That is higher than what the first one got). Roger Ebert gave this movie 3,5/4 stars saying this;

“Lethal Weapon 2” is that rarity – a sequel with most of the same qualities as the original.

And on imdb.com it has a 7,2/10. The movie was also nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best sound effects editing. 

“Lethal Weapon 2” is entertaining, I will not deny that. I feel however though that the story was slightly less inspired (even if it worked) and that the villains weren’t as intertesting as in the first one. However the action is still great, thechemistry between the leads I would call even better than the first one and the music is still good. So time for my final score. *Explosion* My final score for “Lethal Weapon 2” is an 8,76/10. It is worth buying.
betala-kassa-butik

“Lethal Weapon 2” is now reviewed.

Whatever you need, Leo gets!

 

Movie Review: Lethal Weapon (1987)

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Every once in a while I like to mix things up when it comes to my movie watching. For the most part I watch dramas or sci-fi with a pretty good amount of brain. But sometimes I just have to sit down and watch something with little brain and much awesome. And for that I go to 80’s and 90’s action movies. They usually have the right amount of awesome (and perhaps some cheese) that it just keeps me entertained. Today we are taking a look at one such movie… although it does have moe substance than you’d expect.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Lethal Weapon”.

This movie is set in Los Angeles and follows Detective Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) who just turned 50 (Sidenote: He is too old for this shit). He gets forced to work together with suicidal cop Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) to find out who murdered the daughter of a friend of Murtaugh’s. They also have to go stop a gang of drug smugglers led by a man named Joshua (Gary Busey). Simple premise… I love it. Action movies don’t need a lot of story since they pad it out with a bunch of cool and badass situations. “Lethal Weapon” is such a movie. I do like however that they add layers to the story with backstories to the characters which we’ll get to in 3… 2… 1…

The characters! They are all pretty great. They all have motivations for what they’re doing. Okay, fine the villain (Busey) simply does his shit to be the bad guy of the movie. But he does it so well because he is Gary Frickin’ Busey. Murtaugh is basically just a family man/cop who does his job (and is too old for this shit). But he works because he acts like a normal human being should(ish). But Riggs… Martin Fucking Riggs is awesome. First off, Gibson got great chemistry with Danny Glover and fits the character perfectly. After the death of his wife he is on the verge of suicide (but never commits said suicide). He is also awesome in a lot of scenes because he is pretty much out of his mind. He is crazy and I love that, it gives great contrast to Glover’s straight up family man. Overall the characters in the movie are great.

The soundtack is done by a nice mix of people. The score was done by Michael Kamen (Highlander, Die Hard). The saxophone part of Murtaugh’s theme was done by David Sanborn. But the most interesting part (for me at least) was who did the guitar playing for Riggs’ theme. It was none other than the one and only Eric Clapton. It all comes together for a nice action movie score.

The shots in this movie are truly great (for the time at least) and the cinematography is great. Sure, it isn’t as good as something by Roger Deakins, but it sure as hell looks great. A fun fact about this movie is that it was written by Shane Black (Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, Iron Man 3). I don’t know why it’s fun, I just do. Also, this is technically a christmas movie since it’s set around christmas… so that’s fun. The action in the movie is also good. Good ol’ classic 80’s action.

This is a movie that has been really well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a 67/100. Roger Ebert also seemed to like it since he gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a 7,6/10. “Lethal Weapon” was also nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best Sound.

“Lethal Weapon” is an action classic. It got a good story, good characters with perfect chemistry between Gibson and Glover, the score is great and the action is really good as well. Now for the final score. Where’s the envelope? No, Riggs… you can’t kill yourself with that… give it here! My final score for “Lethal Weapon” is a 9,65/10 which of course gives it the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
49920178

Review of “Lethal Weapon” is completed.

I’m too old for this shit…

Movie Review: Die Hard (1988)

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Christmas is just around the corner, waiting for the perfect time to jump out and steal your wallet. So I guess it’s time to start reviewing some christmas (or at least winter) related movies. And we are starting off with a bang… a big, loud bang. This is especially a good pick since I have never seen it before (I know, hate me all you want).

Ladies and gentlemen… “Die Hard”

John McClane (Bruce Willis) is a New-York cop who goes to the Nakatome Plaza in Los Angeles to see his wife holly (Bonnie Bedelia) and celebrate christmas with her and their kids. But while he is at the Nakatomi Plaza it gets taken over by a German terrorist group led by a man named Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman). So it’s John’s job to stop them… without his shoes. Now the premise is simple but great. And the execution is pretty great too. It was entertaining to see McClane get through the different situations the screen writers put him in. The story had some nice twists every now and then. Not as in “mindfuck” twists, but twists that threw me off a little bit… and I liked that.

The character of John McClane is probably the most relatable action hero ever. Yes he got all the badass of the majority of action heroes, but he also feels like a regular dude-cop-man. He gets his ass handed to him a lot but still comes out on top afterwards, that is pretty realistic. He also cracks some great lines through the movie which just improves on him a lot. I also think Bruce Willis gave a good performance in this movie. Nothing Oscar-worthy, but it was good for what it was supposed to be. The supporting cast was pretty damn good too. First off we have his wife who who good… even though she didn’t do too much. Then we have Reginald VelJohnson who talks with John over the Walkie-Talkie through the movie getting info on the Terrorists. Next is the scumbag reporter played amusingly enough by Walter Peck from Ghostbusters. And finally, the big man himself… Hans Gruber, played by Alan Fucking Rickman. He not only gives a great performance but he is honestly one of the best movie villains ever. He is right up there with the T-1000 and The Joker in how great of a villain he is. So the characters are interesting and the acting is good.

The score by Michael Kamen is pretty great. I am not saying it is too original since I heard a lot of things in it that I could recognize in the style from different soundtracks as well. But overall the original material was great. I also liked the few different versions of different christmas songs they used in the movie. But by god, the best track in this movie just might be Beethoven’s 9th symphony (Ode to joy). Not only is it in general a great song, but it was used in a few great ways, not gonna spoil how for you.

John McTiernan did an excellent job with the directing in this movie. Not only were the shots looking really good, but you could also see all the action (Halle-fucking-lujah!). The movie looked great in terms of camera work and action direction. Speaking of the action; It was pretty awesome. It looked great and was well-choreographed and was very fast-paced and visceral. This movie also had some pretty great lines in it, both in regular lines and cool one liners such as the always well-known Yippee Ki-yay Motherfucker. Or one of my personal favorites from the movie, I don’t know why it is but it amused me a lot; Now I have a Machine Gun Ho-Ho-Ho. I just loved that one.

This movie in it’s reception has become quite the classic. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 92% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic this movie has a 70/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 2/4 stars, which is not a terribly high score. On imdb.com this movie has an 8,3/10 and is ranked #119 on the “Top 250” list.. The movie was also nominated for 4 Oscars in the categories of Best sound, Best Film Editing, Best sound effects editing, Best Visual Effects.

“Die Hard” got great action, a good story, good characters, good music, good camera work and Alan Fucking Rickman. So it’s time for The Final Score. And for “Die Hard” my final score is a 9,52/10 which grants it the *drumroll* “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
49920178

 

“Die Hard” is now reviewed.

Yippee Ki-yay motherfucker! Er, I mean… It’s the most wonderful time of the year!