12 Films of Christmas 2018 (Part 11)

Part 11. The penultimate part. Man, time sure has flown by. It feels like barely any time has gone by, yet we’re already right at the end of this. Anyway, less sentimentality, more profanity.

Can you really talk about christmas movies without ever mentioning Shane Black? He makes movies that aren’t strictly about the holiday, but are set around it. And “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” is no different. Released in 2005, the movie follows Harry (Robert Downey Jr.), a no-good shyster pretending to be an actor to evade the law. As he does this he gets to work with a detective (Val Kilmer) to prepare for a role. But soon they find themselves having to solve the complicated murder of a young woman. So now we have our murder mystery that is also a satire of murder mysteries while also being a buddy cop movie of sorts… hmm. And I still think it’s one hell of a fun movie. I saw it for the first time a few years back and loved it… and I still do. The mystery (while a bit convoluted) is quite fascinating, and Downey and Kilmer make for one hell of a double act. They have an infectious chemistry that I loved following from start to finish. All the performances here are great, and Shane Black’s dialog is as razor sharp as ever. “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang” is a total blast.

On the eleventh day of christmas, Markus he did laugh, at Val Kilmer asking “Who taught you math!?”.

Movie Review: Mission Impossible: Fallout (2018)

I know, I know, you’re probably sick of me talking about “Mission Impossible” at this point after all the previous reviews. But like I promised you in my “Rogue Nation” review, that would be my last “Mission Impossible” post until “Fallout” came out. And now it’s out. And after this post, no more “Mission Impossible” stuff… unless they come out with a new one, but we’ll cross that bridge if and when we get to it. So let’s go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mission Impossible: Fallout”!

When a group of terrorists get hold of some items that could cause a nuclear holocaust, it’s up to Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team to find these items and stop the terrorists. Right, there are elements of this plot that certainly are recycled from other movies, but they’re all mixed together in such a way that it feels fresh and interesting. What I also like is that the plot doesn’t really hold your hand, it respects its audience enough to not spoonfeed them everything, trusting us to pay attention to what’s going on. Combine that with the usual “MI” twists and turns, genuinely engaging drama, as well as some real suspense, and you get what could be the best and most intriguing plot in the franchise so far.

The characters in this are layered, unique, and quite interesting. After all the previous reviews, I don’t need to go into Tom Cruise as Ethan Hunt, I already did in my previous reviews, and not much has changed in that regard, but I don’t mind since Ethan is such a well realized action protagonist. And yes, Cruise is still great in the role. Same with Ving Rhames and Simon Pegg. Rebecca Ferguson reprises her role from the previous movie, and she’s still great. Same with Alec Baldwin and Sean Harris. So let’s talk about the newbie that is Henry Cavill as August Walker, a CIA agent who’s been tasked to help Ethan and the gang out with this operation. He’s an intense bruiser who is constantly at odds with Ethan and his ways, which creates an interesting character dynamic. And Cavill is great in the role. Then we get supporting performances from people like Vanessa Kirby, Angela Bassett, Kristoffer Joner, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles. Sorry if I’m being a bit vague with this, but I do it to either not repeat stuff from previous reviews or to not spoil some character stuff that’s better left experienced.

The score for the movie was composed by Lorne Balfe, and I think the score here is great. It really does help improve on an already well crafted movie by adding to the intensity or overall fun-factor of a scene. Not much else I can say, it’s a badass orchestral score that works very well for the movie.

Returning as director we have Christopher McQuarrie. That’s right, first “Mission Impossible” movie where the director hasn’t been switched out. And I’m glad, because McQuarrie is one of the best action directors working today. I loved his work on “Rogue Nation”, and also really liked his work on “Jack Reacher”, so I was actually happy to see him return for “Fallout”. And he fucking outdid himself here, giving us fast-paced, suspenseful, and badass direction. Both in the quieter scenes and the action. And yes, the action is spectacular. From fights, to shootouts, to chases, to insane Tom Cruise stunts, this movie has all the action… and all of it is amazing. Not only because we know it’s Tom Cruise actually doing stunts, but because of how visible it is. Not shaky shit here, this is sleek and brutal action that is shown beautifully through McQuarrie’s direction and Rob Hardy’s cinematography.

This movie came out fairly recently, but it’s been very well received so far. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 97% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 86/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,3/10 and is ranked #133 on the “Top 250” list.

“Mission Impossible: Fallout” is an action lover’s wet dream and it’s absolutely my favorite of the franchise. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and fantastic directing/action/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mission Impossible: Fallout” is a 9,90/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Mission Impossible: Fallout” is now completed.

This is how you do action.

Movie Review: Mission Impossible 3 (2006)

Holy shit, we’re already at the third part in my “Mission Impossible” review series. Time sure flies. Well, I guess we should jump into it like a Tom Cruise stunt.

Ladies and gents… “Mission Impossible 3”.

We once again follow IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) as he gets dragged into another mission. And this time his mission is to find and capture a very elusive and dangerous arms dealer (Philip Seymour Hoffman, R.I.P). So now we have our twisty-turny spy thriller plot. What’s fun is that it takes the MacGuffin, single villain plot of the second movie and mixes it with some of the deeper conspiracy/twist-based stuff of the first. It’s a good, fast-paced, and entertaining spy thriller plot. But there is also where we find the main flaw/draw of the plot: It’s fast-paced. Like, “almost give you whiplash with how fast-paced it is” fast. It’s good because it keeps stuff from getting boring or too slow (a la the first half of “MI2”), but it also makes some scenes feel a bit too rushed. So overall this plot is really good, if a little too fast at times.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, and quite interesting. Tom Cruise of course returns as IMF agent Ethan Hunt, and I really mean it. This is not the wannabe James Bond from “MI2”, this is the Ethan of the first movie, but with some added details. He’s trying to settle down, but he’s also active in operations, trying to keep that side of his life secret. And Cruise is great in the role. Next we have Philip Seymour Hoffman (may he rest in peace) a Davian, the villainous arms dealer antagonist of this film. He’s a sinister, matter-of-fact, menacing motherfucker who proves a truly formidable foe for Ethan and his team. And Hoffman is fantastic in the role, taking lines that would be shit in lesser hands, and turning them into some of the most menacing things I’ve heard in movies. Next we have Michelle Monaghan as Julia, Ethan’s fiancée. Not gonna say too much as her development and such is kind of spoiler territory, but let’s just say that she’s a more interesting character than one would assume at first. And Monaghan is really good in the role. Then we get supporting work from Ving Rhames, Laurence Fishburne, Keri Russell, Jonathan Meyers, Maggie Q, Billy Crudup, Eddie Marsan, Simon Pegg, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Michael Giacchino and it was pretty damn good. What he did here is that he gave us an orchestral score that featured both big, bombastic action tracks and smaller, tension-building tracks for some of the smaller scenes. It’s really a damn solid score that works very well for this movie.

This movie was the feature film debut of J.J. Abrams, and I think he did a really good job with it. As some of you might know, he has a penchant for making his movies very fast-paced, and while that can be a little bit of a detriment to the plot here (as mentioned in a previous section), it does nothing but help the action scenes here. The action here is fucking great, giving us fighting, shooting, swinging, running (so much running), and more, blending it into some damn entertaining stuff.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 70& positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 66/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

“Mission Impossible 3” is a return to form after the disappointing second installment. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and really good direction. As I mentioned earlier, the relentless pace of this movie makes a few moments throughout feel a little bit rushed (but not enough to ruin the movie). Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mission Impossible 3” is an 8,87/10. So while flawed, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Mission Impossible 3” is now completed.

Only one more to go.

Cartoon/Movie Review: Justice League: War (2014)

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I love superhero movies. Both live action and animation. I mean, one of my favorite superhero movies is the animated movie “Batman: Under the Red Hood”. So when a new animated superhero movie gets released I immediately get a little excited. Especially if it’s DC… because they have a good track record when it comes to animated movies. So now I finally got to watch one of their latest animated movies. Plus, I needed a small break in the whole “F&F” thing.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Justice League: War”.

So this is basically a reboot of the entire franchise. The Justice League hasn’t been founded yet. But in the movie we see Batman (Jason O’Mara), Superman (Alan Tudyk), The Flash (Christopher Gorham), Green Lantern (Justin Kirk), Wonder Woman (Michelle Monaghan), Cyborg (Shemar Moore) and Shazam (Sean Astin) teaming up to take out the evil Darkseid (Steve Blum) who is invading planet earth with his army of whatever the hell they are. And seeing that was really entertaining. I just like seeing all these characters come together and kick ass. One of the biggest flaws however is that the movie is only 80 minutes long and therefore couldn’t evolve a great narrative. Believe me when I say that the story was fun, but it felt really rushed when they tried to cram it into an 80 minute movie.

The characters were all pretty fun. They were all pretty well-written and got decent time split between them. Except for Flash, I wish he had gotten a bit more time (Sidenote: That is mostly because I love the character of The Flash). There isn’t much more I can say here when it comes to the characters in general. They were enjoyable, that’s it.

The score for the movie by composer Kevin Kliesch was really good. It really helped sell the action scenes and it helped set the fast-paced and exhilarating mood. It was fast, big and cool. Not much more to say here. And the voice cast of the movie was pretty stellar as usual. Every time a new DC animated movie comes out I’m always curious to hear how different actors portray different characters. And the cast was pretty great in this movie. Jason O’Mara has voiced Batman in other projects before and he nails it. Alan Tudyk as Superman is also great. You know to be fair, every cast member was great in the movie. No one was weak. Sure, it wasn’t exactly as great as maybe some earlier animated DC movies, but it was still really good.

The animation in the movie was really good, but that is something I have come to expect from these movies. They all look good when it comes to the animation. The only problem I had with it was a few facial animations/details on Flash and occasionally on Shazam. Sometimes it looked kinda like a not very good drawing. But most times the animation was as great as other previous movies.

I was surprsied at how much humor there was in this movie and also how good it actually was. Not that it was like the best humor ever, but it was still really funny and really well-written. I got nothing else here.

I couldn’t find much about reception for this movie on my usual sites. I could only really find on imdb.com  where it has a 7,2/10.

“Justice League: War” is a pretty enjoyable action movie and a welcome addition to the DC animated movie library. Even though the story feels rushed because of the short runtime, it still had a decent story, really good animation, a really score, great action, really good humor and a great voice cast. Time for my final score. SHAZAM! My final score for “Justice League: War” is an 8,84/10. It is definitely worth buying.
Worth buying

Review of “Justice League: War” is completed.

SHAZAM!

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.

Movie Review: Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang (2005)

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Christmas movies doesn’t always have to revolve around chistmas in a direct way. All the movie have to do is be set around christmas time and maybe mention the damn thing once or twice. We also have christmas movies that take it in an entirely different direction than you regular “feelgood everybody is happy yay” scenario. Like for example how I talked about “Bad Santa” recently. That movie was a lot different than you typical christmas movie formula. Or how about “The Nightmare Before Christmas” which doesn’t truly use the christmas stuff until at least 20-30 minutes in. I am going off track a little bit here… sorry. But what if you took the two themes of being set around christmas time but have it barely be mentioned and having a different type of story/formula and combined? Well that is what we are taking a look at today!

My friends, I give you… “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang”!

This story is kind of odd, but I’ll try my best to sum it up. You have three people; A thief posing as an actor (Robert Downey Jr.), a private detective (Val Kilmer) and a struggling actress (Michelle Monaghan) who over the course of about 5 days (around christmas time) get involved in a complex murder mystery. And that is really all I can say about the story without giving away too much. I can however say that the story was really entertaining to see how it unfolded. Not only to see how the intriguing mystery worked but also because some of the things that happen are a little bizzarre and often really hilarious. The story was really well-paced and even a bit intriguing and I found that really awesome.

The characters are some of the best characters I have been witness to in any movie ever. Not only are they well performed, but they also have some really awesome writing to them. One thing about the characters I have to mention is the chemistry between Robert Downey Jr. and Val Kilmer… it is some of the best chemistry I have seen between a pair of characters in anything. The dialogue they have is hilarious and you can see that they liked working off of each other. And for the love of god, I knew Val Kilmer was a really good actor after seeing him in “Tombstone” and “Heat”… but here he truly stole the show. He just rocked the scene and just became my favorite character out of all the really great characters this movie has to offer.

The original score by John Ottmas was pretty cool. There was a lot of stuff that worked for a crime movie. You know, these noir-esque tracks with a really smooth and stealthy (in lack of better words) tracks. And a lot of the soundtrack in general was sort of smooth Jazz which is a type of music I really enjoy listening to. The other tracks (licensed tracks) in the soundtrack were also pretty good and fit the scenes they were used in. Come to think of it, all of the music in the movie fit the scenes it was used in and just felt right. It helped set the mood of the scenes perfectly.

Looking at how this movie looks and how it was directed I was very surprised to learn that this was the first movie for director Shane Black. Sure he had worked on movies such as “Lethal Weapon” before, but only as a screenwriter. In other words, this movie was very well-directed. It was also one of the most well-written movies I have ever seen. The dialogue between the characters in this movie was not only really well-written but also really fucking hilarious. I seriously burst out laughing several times throughout the movie. I am gonna finish off this segment by giving you a bit of the dialogue from the movie. Just one small part… enjoy!

If you looked up idiot in the dictionary, you know what you would find?”
“A picture of me??
“No, the definition of idiot which you fucking are!”

This movie was pretty well-received by critics and audience members alike. On Rotten Tomatoes it got an 85% rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it got a score of 72/100. It looks liked Roger Ebert thought the movie was “eh” and gave it 2,5/4 stars. And finally on imdb.com it got a 7,7/10.

This movie got hilarious dialogue, an intriguing story, great characters and performances, good music and some of the best comedy in any movie ever. So now I can give it my final score. Now… my final score for “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” is a 9,80/10 which of course gives it the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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Review of “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” is done.

I don’t know about you, but I wish I would have seen this movie last christmas.