Series Review: Hap and Leonard – Season 3 (2018)

Some of you may or may not remember that I started watching/reviewing this show in the second half of last year. And I quite liked those first two seasons. So now we’re here, season 3 all wrapped up. So let’s get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Hap and Leonard: The Two Bear Mambo”.

When their friend/lawyer Florida (Tiffany Mack) goes missing, Hap (James Purefoy) and Leonard (Michael K. Williams) get sent to investigate what happened to her. Only problem is that to do this they have to travel to Grovetown, a tightly knit community that doesn’t take too kindly to people of color (and their sympathizers). So now we have our plot. And I think that it’s pretty damn good. What I like about “Hap and Leonard” as a show in general is that it can discuss serious and difficult subject matter, while still being able to have a fun and pulpy tone throughout, and this season is no exception. “The Two Bear Mambo” (this season’s subtitle) deals with a lot of heavy themes like racism and corruption, while still giving us the fun buddy crime-drama that one expects from the show. It’s a tense and layered plot that I really enjoyed following.

The characters in this are layered, unique, and quite interesting. James Purefoy returns as Hap Collins, the east Texas worker with a penchant for southern ladies. He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he’s a good man and quite an entertaining character. I also like how they explores his psyche throughout the season, with a lot of it dealing with his fear over maybe losing Florida. And Purefoy is great in the role. Then we have Michael K. Williams as Leonard Pine, the black, gay, Vietnam vet best friend of Hap. He’s tough, but he’s also charming, and has some demons of his own to battle, and I really like him as a character. And Williams is of course great in the role. I also feel like I once again have to compliment the chemistry between Purefoy and Williams, because it’s fantastic. Then we have Tiffany Mack as Florida Grange, lawyer and former love interest of Hap. While we get less of her this season than in the previous one, we do still get some solid stuff with her. She’s a badass. And Mack is really good in the role. Then we get supporting turns from people like Cranston Johnson, Andrew Dice Clay, Evan Gamble, Corbin Bernsen, Laura Allen, Jesse C. Boyd, Douglas M. Griffin, Sydney Wease, Louis Gossett Jr, Pat Healy, and more. All doing very well in their respective roles. ’tis a well acted season.

As with the previous two seasons, the score was composed by Jeff Grace, and once again he knocked it out of the park. His score helps build a lot of suspense, while also letting some tracks capture the fun, swamp-noir style of the show (thanks to some good guitar tracks). There’s also a good amount of licensed tracks used throughout, and they all work very well within their respective scenes. A lot of good music here.

Based on a series of novels by Joe R. Lansdale, the show was created by Jim Mickle & Nick Damici (and written/directed by them and a bunch of other cool people). And while I haven’t read the books, I still feel like this is a very well realized world that they’ve created here. And the directing is really good, with a lot of tightly directed scenes that build a decent amount of tension. There’s also a few action throughout the season, and they’re quite entertaining. The show’s signature dark humor also makes a welcome return, and it made me laugh.

This show/season has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 79/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“Hap and Leonard: The Two Bear Mambo” is another solid season of this quirky little show. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/writing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Hap and Leonard: The Two Bear Mambo” is a 9,80/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Hap and Leonard: The Two Bear Mambo” is now completed.

Ass needs some kickin’.

Series Review: Hap and Leonard – Season 2 (2017)

About a month ago I reviewed the first season of this show, and I thought it was quite good. Not perfect, but definitely a good season of television. And now I am finally reviewing season 2 (which aired in the spring on this year). So here we go.

Ladies and gents… “Hap and Leonard” season 2.

Hap (James Purefoy) and Leonard (Michael Kenneth Williams) are back, though this time they are not looking for money. This time they instead find the remains of a dead child underneath Leonard’s floorboards. The two then report this find to the police (as you should) only to find themselves under investigation for committing the crime, despite them being innocent. But hope is not completely gone as Florida Grange (Tiffany Mack), a lawyer, comes in to try to help ’em out. So then the plot follows our heroes as they try to find the actual culprit while also dealing with corrupt lawmen. And immediately we can see that this season goes for a more serious and less cartoonish plot compared to the first season. And the season we have here is more quiet and serious. It brilliantly manages to tackle dramatic topics like racism, corruption, and child murder without sacrificing the offbeat and unique feel that the first season set up. It perfectly manages to balance a serious drama with an entertaining and pulpy world. And the pacing is much better compared to the first season, moving at a much more steady and focused pace. So yeah, the plot here is pretty great.

The characters are unique, entertaining, colorful, and just really interesting. James Purefoy of course returns as Hap Collins, the well-meaning worker who sometimes takes a wrong step (which makes him a flawed and interesting character). And Purefoy is great in the role, getting to show a somewhat wider range of emotions this season… his southern accent is also a bit more consistent here, so that’s nice. Michael Kenneth Williams returns as Leonard Pine, the black, gay, Vietnam veteran. He’s a troubled man who gets to endure a whole bunch of various problems throughout the season. And Williams is of course great in the role. And the chemistry between our two leads? It’s great, it’s very entertaining and feels genuine. Tiffany Mack plays Florida Grange, the lawyer who comes to Hap and Leonard’s aid and becomes their most important ally this season. She’s tough, smart, sexy, and fun, making for a refreshing presence in this show. We also get Cranston Johnson as a police detective that is investigating this case that our dynamic duo have gotten themselves involved in, and he’s great in the role. I also have to mention Irma P. Hall as MeMaw, the elderly woman that Hap and Leonard find themselves with every now and then throughout the season. She’s so much fun and one of the best things about the season. Overall the season is filled with good performances.

Like the first season, the score here was composed by Jeff Grace, and it’s once again great. It often manages to add a lot of emotion, excitement, or tension to a scene, really showing Grace’s talent/versatility as a composer. It’s great and works very well for the season/show. There are also a couple of licensed tracks used throughout and they work quite well.

If you forgot or just didn’t read my season 1 review, “Hap and Leonard” was created by Jim Mickle & Nick Damici and is based on a series of novels by Joe R. Lansdale. And it was written/directed by a whole bunch of people (including Mickle/Damici/Lansdale). And in season 1 they made such a well defined world that felt lived in. And with this season they improved on it, deepening the stories of the area they’re in as well as the backstories/relationships of everyone there. The shots look good and the direction in this season just has a really nice flow to it, having some nice energy to it while still keeping it feel real and lived in. And even though there are some heavy dramatic moments this season, they don’t skimp on the black humor. There’s quite a bit of humor here and it made me laugh.

This show/season has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it exists but has no score. On Metacritic it has a score of 86/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“Hap and Leonard” season 2 takes everything that was good about the first season and improving on it quite a bit. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Y’all*. My final score for “Hap and Leonard” season 2 is a 9,82/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Hap and Leonard” season 2 is now completed.

Mucho mojo.

Series Review: Hap and Leonard – Season 1 (2016)

Adapting books to screen is really difficult. Doesn’t matter if it’s movies, TV, or video games… there’s nothing easy about adapting books. So I have some respect for the people atempting it even if it seems like something that would be impossible to translate to screen.

Ladies and gents… “Hap and Leonard” season 1.

Texas, late 1980s. We follow Hap (James Purefoy) and Leonard (Michael Kenneth Williams), two best friends. One day a woman named Trudy (Christina Hendricks), who turns out to be Hap’s old flame, shows up. The main reason why she’s there is because she wants their help (or at least Hap’s) to find some money that have been more or less lost for years. So now we have our caper. And it’s quite a good one. It has a very offbeat feel which makes it stand out compared to a lot of other crime shows of a similar nature. It’s also fairly unpredictable, suspenseful, and overall enjoyable. The only flaw I have is that the pacing in the first few episodes wavers a bit. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it’s definitely worth pointing out. So overall I’d say that the plot here is really good, with a few pacing issues mildly hurting it.

The characters here are fun, interesting, and very entertaining. Hap is this ex-con trying to live a quiet life, but his plans takes a bit of a turn when Trudy comes to town(?). And James Purefoy is really good in the role. Leonard is a black, openly gay, Vietnam vet, trying to life a quiet enough life, working, and hanging out with his best friend. And Michael Kenneth Williams is great in the role. Purefoy and Williams share a very likable chemistry, their banter and general dialog feels natural. Trudy, as previously mentioned, is an old girlfriend of Hap and it basically the reason for the plot happening. She’s sexy, smart, and pretty tough. And Christina Hendricks is really good in the role. Bill Sage plays a man named Howard, this hippie-esque character that is involved in finding this lost money. And Sage is really good in the role. We also have Jimmi Simpson and Pollyanna McIntosh as this crazy couple that shows up in town(?) and starts causing trouble. They’re a total wild card in this and they’re quite fun. Jimmi Simpson especialy, he totally stole every scene he was in. But both he and McIntosh were great in their roles. Really, this is overall a very well acted season of TV.

The score for the series was composed by Jeff Grace, and I think he did a great job here. This is another example of his versatility as a composer. He’s done the music for a couple movies that I’ve covered on this blog before, so I already knew that he could tackle several genres, making something that totally fits the piece of media he composes it for. And “Hap and Leonard” is no exception, he made a score that in some tracks works well for the rural Texas setting, and some tracks that fit the crime-drama side of things. And it all sounds great. There are also some licensed tracks use throughout the seaosn, and they’re used quite well. So yeah, this season has some great music.

This show is based on a series of novels by author Joe R. Lansdale, and was created by Jim Mickle & Nick Damici. Now, if those two names sound familiar, then you’ve been on my blog before. I’ve talked about movies they’ve been involved in (“Stake Land”, “Cold in July”, “Late Phases”) on this blog. Anyway, they also wrote the episodes, and Mickle directed a couple of episodes. And overall it is a very well directed show. The direction is tight and really helps make it feel fresh and tense. It’s also a good looking show. The show also has an element of dark humor to it that I think really helped it out quite a bit. Also, beware of bloody violence… just thought I’d mention that in case any reader out there is squeamish.

This show/season ha been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 87% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“Hap and Leonard” season 1 is a fun bit of crime television. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. My only flaws with the season are those previously mentioned pacing issues, but even they aren’t too bad. Time for my final score. *Y’all*. My final score for “Hap and Leonard” season 1 is a 9,11/10. So while slightly flawed, I’d say that you should watch it!

My review of “Hap and Leonard” season 1 is now completed.

If you’re looking for a binge-worthy show, this is it. Not only is it good, but it’s only six episodes, so it’s easy to binge through!

Movie Review: The Road (2009)

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On the road again
Just can’t wait to get on the road again…

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Road”.

The world has gone to shit. Everything has turned into a fucking wasteland. And in this horrible place we follow a man (Viggo Mortensen) and his son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) as they wander around, trying to survive as well as make it to the coast. And that’s it. No bigger conspiracy, no trying to figure out a way to fix the country, no zombies… just a man and his son trying to survive. That said, it’s still a very layered and interesting plot. Sure, the basic premise is very simple, but there’s still a lot of suspense and drama throughout the runtime that makes for an absolutely enthralling plot.

The characters in this movie are flawed, damaged, and really interesting. Viggo Mortensen is fantastic as the father, playing him as this stubborn and suspecting man that is very protective of his son. Kodi Smit-McPhee was great as the son, perfectly playing this vulnerable, curious, and kind of naïve little boy. We also get Charlize Theron in a bunch of flashbacks throughout the movie, and she is great in those scenes. Also, don’t be fooled by the big name actors whose names appear on the posters, they all appear in the movie very briefly. Sure, they all do a great job in the movie, but none of them are in it particularly long. That said, it was pretty cool seeing people like Robert Duvall, Garret Dillahunt, Guy Pearce, and Michael Kenneth Williams in here.

The score for the movie was composed by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis and fuck me, it is fantastic! There was never any doubt about to be honest, but it’s always fun to be right. It’s dramatic, haunting, emotional, tense, and just overall very well composed. It really fit this movie perfectly.

This movie was directed by John Hillcoat and I think that he did a great job with it. His directing is deliberately slow-paced and perfectly captures the feeling of the source material. That’s right, for those that didn’t already know… this is an adaptation of a book. It’s based on “The Road” (surprising, I know), which was written by American author Cormac McCarthy. And as someone that has read the book, I can safely say that the world I got in my head when reading the book got perfectly translated to the screen. The directing, cinematography, the feeling of unease… all of those things are present in this movie. I also want to mention that there is some slightly disturbing imagery in this movie… just so you know.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 75% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 64/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“The Road” is not only a great adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s novel, but it’s also an overall terrific movie. It features a great plot, good characters, great performances, fantastic music, great directing, and great cinematography. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “The Road” is a 9,88/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “The Road” is now completed.

Yep, this movie is as depressing as the book… greeeaaat.

 

New “Assassin’s Creed” movie trailer

“Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition” – Monty Python.

That’s right, ladies and gents of all ages and looks, we have a new trailer for the upcoming “Assassin’s Creed” movie, which for those who’ve lived under a rock for the past ten years, is a movie based on a series of video games. And it’s honestly one of my favorite game franchises of all time, with the second game probably being my favorite. One or two of you might remember that I did a post when the first trailer came out and I thought it was okay. Not mindblowing, but also not the worst. Still, with all the Hollywood fuck ups within the video game adaptation world, I have always been a skeptic when it comes to this. So let’s talk about this new trailer.

So it starts wit- HOLD ON… it’s PG-13!? Oh come on! PG-13… for a movie based on a series of games that happen to be very violent. Not “Gears of War” levels of violent, but still very violent. *Sigh*. Moving on from that crime against the title, we get more shots of our main character, Callum Lynch (Michael Fassbender), sitting in prison, working with scientists using the Animus, and accessing the genetic memory of his ancestor Aguilar. And that’s about it. We get some action and drama and sci-fi stuff… stuff we kind of already knew. So what do I like about this trailer? Well first off, there is no shitty Kanye in here… so that’s a step in the right direction. I also like the action presented, it looks kind of badass. And Fassy looks as great as ever in this. So what don’t I like about it? Well there’s a modern pop song in this movie that is supposed to be futuristic sci-fi mixed with historical fiction. It’s a trend that is being used too much these days, since it modernizes stuff that doesn’t need to be modernizes. I also don’t like GOD DAMN IT, WHY IS THIS PG-13!? It makes no sense…. at all! *Deep breath* Calm down, Markus… at least this trailer is better than the first one. *Deep breath*. “Assassin’s Creed” is set to come out around Christmas this year.

So what are your thoughts? Are you looking forward to “Assassin’s Creed”? And are you a fan of the games? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer.

Movie Review: The Purge: Anarchy (2014)

Frank-Grillo

So now it’s time to review the second part in this franchise. Because I reviewed the first one a few days ago and I thought “Fuck it, let’s not postpone this damn thing too much”. So let’s just get into it and see what kind of quality this one has.

Ladies and gents… “The Purge: Anarchy”.

So this time we don’t follow Ethan Hawke and his family, oh no. This time we follow some other people. To be more specific, a mother (Carmen Ejogo) and her daughter (Zoë Soul), a man (Zach Gilford) and his wife (Kiele Sanchez), and then we have a lone wolf badass (Frank Grillo). And these people accidentally come together in the middle of the shitstorm that is “The Purge” and then have to try to survive together through the twelve hour hell that the United States government has issued. Not gonna lie, this is kind of what I wanted to see. This is closer to what I wanted from the whole “ALL crime is legal for one day” premise that the first movie set up but wasted by making a home-invasion thriller. Not to say that the plot here is that great, because it’s not. But I would say that I enjoyed it a little bit more to see where it all went even though there wasn’t too much of a plot to hand on to.

The characters are dull and I didn’t really care for any of them… except for one. And yes, your first guess was correct, it’s Frank Grillo I cared about… mostly because I like Frank Grillo. He’s a  likable badass who is also kind of a jerk… sort of like his character in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”. His performance was good and he was really badass. All other actors, they were fine in their roles, nothing to write home about. But the characters, like I said, are pretty dull. If they died, I probably wouldn’t care so much. But I will say this, Michael K. Williams has a smaller role in this movie, and whenever he was on screen it was really enjoyable.

The score for the movie was composed by Nathan Whitehead, the same dude who composed the music for the first one. And while this score isn’t that great, it’s actually kind of an improvement over the first… yeah, go figure. But I just thought it was a bit more well composed and actually had a few tracks that made me go “Huh… that wasn’t too bad”. It also worked well for the movie in itself, even though nothing here is mind blowing or fantastic or even great. It’s fine, what else can I say?

This movie was written and directed by the same guy as the first movie, James DeMonaco. And while the writing is still pretty meh and pretty dumb, his directing was pretty good. The shots look pretty good and I never wanted to slam my head in a wall because of poor direction. The movie also has some action scenes and I’m not gonna lie, I thought they were pretty fun. There was never any real suspense in the movie, I was never worried for anyone, but the action bits were fun and entertaining. There is one scene near the end that I thought was pretty cool that I think would be pretty great in a video game. I’d say that this movie is more of an action-thriller rather than a horror movie. Sure, there are a few jumpscares, but I would never consider this a horror movie. The first “Purge” is a horror movie, “The Purge: Anarchy” is an action-thriller. But yeah… it was pretty fun.

This movie hasn’t been too well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 56% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 50/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,5/10.

“The Purge: Anarchy” is really, really dumb. But it’s also kind of fun. The plot is more enjoyable, Frank Grillo is really good in it, the music is fine, the directing is pretty decent and the action is entertaining/pretty good. Yeah, I’d say that this is a slight improvement over the first movie. Time for my final score. ANARCHY! My final score for “The Purge: Anarchy” is a 6,55/10. So I’d say it’s worth a rental.
Rent it

My review of “The Purge: Anarchy” is now completed.

Can we please get #FrankGrilloForDeathstroke trending?

Movie Review: Gone Baby Gone (2007)

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Stories of disappearances and kidnappings are things that I absolutely hate hearing about, but unfortunately they will always find a way to surface. Sure, there are cases where the missing people have been found and everything is happy-go-lucky again and that is always great to hear. But then unfortunately we have the stories of those who are never found or when they are found they are dead. And with that depressing start, let’s talk about a movie!

Guys and gals… “Gone Baby Gone”.

“Gone Baby Gone” is based on the novel of the same name by Dennis Lehane and is about private detectives Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) and Angie Gennaro (Michelle Monaghan). One day they get hired by the McCreadys (Amy Ryan, Amy Madigan, Titus Welliver) to find their missing/abducted daughter/niece. But as this is based on a Dennis Lehane novel you can of course the plot to go a lot deeper than that with a lot of complexity and twists. And the movie follows on with that splendidly! Whenever there was a twist in this movie, it worked and i never saw them coming. The plot was also really well done and well presented. It is also pretty realistic and very grounded for a Hollywood thriller.

The characters all felt real, I felt like this is a person I could probably meet in the real world. The writing feels very real and not at all cheesy or silly. I am also happy to say that the performances in this movie are phenomenal! Casey Affleck was perfect as this troubled and almost broken young man. Monaghan was also terrific. And I don’t think I have to mention Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris and how great they were because… they are Morgan Freeman and Ed Harris. All the performances in this movie were fantastic and it really helped elevate the already great story.

The score by Harry Gregson-Williams was fantastic. Not only because I have been a fan of him for a long time, but also because it was legitimately great. For the most part the score was based around piano and a little bit of stringed intruments (Mainly violin). It helped build a lot of atmosphere, suspense and beauty in every scene. There were also a few licensed tracks used throughout, but they only helped in some way whenever they were used. So overall, the music in this movie was great.

This movie is directed by Ben Affleck and I have to say, I am having a really fucking hard time believing this is his feature film debut. It is so professionally directed and shot that you think he has made a bunch of movies before. But this is only his first (Holy shit). Also, a small (and unnecessary) thing I have picked up is that this is one of two movies Affleck has been involved with that has the word “Gone” in the title (The other being “Gone Girl”). Don’t know why I picked up on that, I just did. Like I said, this movie is based on the Dennis Lehane novel. The funny thing is that I own the book… but I haven’t read it yet. And that is a bit of a shame because I am a fan of Lehane and his work. This is also one of four movies (that I know of) that currently exists based on Lehane novels. The other ones are “Mystic River”, “Shutter Island” and “The Drop”. So far he got some pretty fucking great adaptations.

This movie was pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. Roger Ebert really seemed to like this movie as he gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10. The movie was also nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best Supporting Actress (Amy Ryan).

“Gone Baby Gone” is a complex, well written, superbly acted, reall well directed movie with a terrific score. Time for my final score. *Clears throat* My final score for “Gone Baby Gone” is a 9,77/10 which of course gives it the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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I have now reviewed “Gone Baby Gone”.

Markus, where are my socks? Gone, baby… Gone.