Movie Review: The Last Castle (2001)

I don’t have much to say here. Not because the movie flabbergasted me or broke my soul in two. I just don’t have anything clever to say. So I guess we should just get into the review.

Ladies and gents… “The Last Castle”.

Eugene Irwin (Robert Redford) is an army general who has been court-martialed and sent to a military prison. But it doesn’t take long for him to notice how corrupt the entire place is. So he decides to rally the other inmates to rise up against the prison and its crooked warden (James Gandolfini). I like stories of revolutions. And setting one of those within a corrupt prison is an idea that I find pretty fucking clever. However, they only do the bare minimum with that idea, going for surface level ideas instead of giving us the kind of nuanced story one could expect from this kind of idea. That said, it’s not bad. Surface level isn’t exactly what I’d call a bad thing here. The story does entertain throughout the two hour runtime. I just wish it had a little bit more nuance to it.

The characters in this are… fine. Often they boil down to stereotypes we’ve seen before. Asshole, big dude, young/underestimated guy, etcetera. Robert Redford plays General Eugene Irwin, the highly regarded army man at the center of the story. He’s a good man, never bent, always doing what’s best for him and his men. He may not be the deepest character ever, but Redford’s performance really makes it feel a bit deeper than the writing would have you believe. James Gandolfini plays Winter, the colonel who’s in charge of the prison. He seems a half decent fellow at first glance, but it doesn’t take long for his crookedness to be clear. He’s a decent matchup for Irwin, and Gandolfini is really good in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Mark Ruffalo, Clifton Collins Jr, Delroy Lindo, Steve Burton, Brian Goodman, Michael Irby, Robin Wright, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The music was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, and it was good. Plenty of military-style trumpets, some emotional strings, and some heavy and dramatic percussion. It is a little bit generic at times, but overall it’s well composed and works quite well for the movie. There’s also one or two licensed tracks used in the movie, and that works pretty well too.

The movie was directed by Rod Lurie, who I think did a pretty good job here. There’s a surprising amount of fun camerawork throughout, and he does have a decent sense of dramatic flair. Whenever the writing is a little bland and uninspired, his direction sort of helps out in making it a bit more interesting.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 52% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 43/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

While not a perfect movie, “The Last Castle” is still a pretty entertaining prison drama. It has an okay plot, meh characters, really good performances, really good music, and really good directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Last Castle” is a 7,23/10. So while flawed, I’d say it’s still worth renting.

My review of “The Last Castle” is now completed.

Do you think Ruffalo played a former pilot because helicopter blades go “Ruffa ruffa ruffa ruffa”?

Series Review: The Punisher – Season 1 (2017)

I don’t really think I need to make an introduction for this. I’ve talked about this show several times on this blog before, every time reminding you of my excitement for the show. So let’s just get into the review and see if this show is any good.

Ladies and gentlemen, this is season 1 of… “The Punisher”!

After he has seemingly killed the people responsible for the death of his family, Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) soon uncovers a deep and complex conspiracy that somehow relates back to his past as a soldier. So now Frank has to find out what the hell is going on while a Homeland Security agent (Amber Rose Revah) gets a whiff of him being back in town. So now we have our comic book thriller. And is this plot any good? Yeah, it is. It’s not a fast-paced action/revenge plot, but it’s a slightly slower conspiracy thriller that features Punisher, and I think the plot here is very intriguing. My only gripe with it is in one of the early episodes. It’s not bad, but the pacing at one point dragged a little bit. But overall here we have a surprisingly deep plot that isn’t afraid to tackle dark and socially relevant themes regarding guns, violence, vigilantism, PTSD, black ops, family, and it is all incredibly engaging and intriguing. ’tis a great plot.

The characters here are flawed, damaged, layered, and just really interesting. Jon Bernthal (like in season 2 of “Daredevil”) plays Frank Castle/The Punisher, former soldier turned violent vigilante. Already in “Daredevil” he got a fair amount of development as a character, and they somehow managed to cram in a bit more here. As we follow him through the season we see how the war, death of his family, and the vigilantism has taken a toll on him and how it messes with his mind a bit. And it is all incredibly engaging. He’s of course also a motherfucking badass, but that didn’t need to be mentioned. And Bernthal is once again fantastic in the role. Amber Rose Revah plays Dinah Madani, the Homeland Security agent on Frank’s trail. She’s a tough and determined woman who wants to find Frank and possibly get justice. But she’s not just some brash and unstoppable idiot, as she at times is shown as vulnerable, but in a good way. And Revah is great in the role. Ebon Moss-Bachrach plays David Lieberman (AKA Micro), a skilled hacker and whistleblower that Frank teams up with to try to solve this conspiracy. And he brings a much needed levity to the dark and grim tale of “The Punisher” without coming off as forced or out of place. He is funny, but he is also a serious character with a good dramatic arc. And Moss-Bachrach is great in the role. Then we have Ben Barnes as Billy Russo, Frank old best friend that I will not talk too much about since it’s too easy to get a bit spoiler-y with him. But he has somewhat of an arc and Barnes is great in the role. And then (to not ramble or give too many character details here) in various supporting performances we have people like Jamie Ray Newman, Kobi Frumer, Deborah Ann Woll, Paul Schulze, Michael Nathanson, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Jason R. Moore, Daniel Webber, Kelli Barrett, C. Thomas Howell, and they all are great in this. Really, it’s a great cast.

The score for the show was composed by Tyler Bates, and it was great. What we have here is a tense, exciting, dramatic, emotional, badass, and just overall interesting score that takes heavy influence from rock and blues to create a fairly unique sound for a show like this. It’s not straight-up rock or blues, but there are traces of it in the score and I like that, makes it sound almost a bit western-y at times. And it all works very well for the show. There are also a couple of licensed tracks used throughout and they all work well in their respective scenes.

The show was created by Steve Lightfoot and written/directed by a whole bunch of different people (with Lightfoot having written a couple of episodes). And I think they did a good job here. While it’s not as action-packed as the trailer made it out to be, there is still action here. And when action happens it is exciting, badass, and brutal. Not just brutal as in a lot of blood being spilled, but brutal as in the violence having a real impact here. And it’s not just gunshots penetrating bodies, there’s also close quarters fighting, and knives, and various other things used throughout to create the memorable and brutal as fuck violence. And the directing and such in the less action-based scenes is good too… got a little sidetracked there, I usually save action for after overall directing… oh well, c’est la vie.

This show just came out, but it has already gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 67% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 54/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 9,6/10 (though this is very likely to change).

Season 1 of “The Punisher” is pretty damn great. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/action. My only flaw was the slight pacing problem in one episode, but it doesn’t really bring it down too much for me. Time for my final score. *One batch, two batch, penny and dime*. My final score for “The Punisher” season 1 is a 9,52/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Punisher” season 1 is now completed.

I really want to get into the comics.

New “The Punisher” trailer!

Hello there, ladies and gents of the internet! Another interesting trailer has dropped, so let’s talk about it!

So we have a new trailer for “The Punisher”, the next Marvel/Netflix show. When “The Defenders” was released, we got a small teaser for this series, giving us a slight hint at what might occur. But now we have our first full-blown look at the show and holy shit… holy shit. We get a good glimpse at what caused Frank Castle (Jon Bernthal) to become what he was, as well as some of the people involved in this conspiracy. We also get a good look at the carnage that will ensue and mother of god, it looks brutally glorious. Blood, bullets, shouting, badassery. This trailer also features the best use of Metallica’s “One” ever. And it’s fitting too, since it’s about a soldier who gets everything taken from him. Really, this trailer is amazing and I am so excited for the show! “The Punisher” is set to be released later this year. No specific date, those cheeky fuckers are keeping that on lockdown.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for “The Punisher”? And what’s your favorite Metallica song? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments!
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer!

“The Punisher” Teaser Trailer!

Hello there, ladies and gentlemen of the internet! A trailer has dropped and I want to talk about it… so let’s talk about it.

So we finally have our first look at the upcoming Marvel/Netflix series “The Punisher”. For those who don’t know, “The Punisher” is based on a Marvel Comics character created by Gerry Conway, and making his first appearance in “The Amazing Spider-Man” #129 in 1974. Then he’s gotten his own comics and various movies (and even a video game). Then he made his MCU debut last year in season 2 of Netflix’s “Daredevil”, where he was played by Jon Bernthal. And shortly after that it was announced that he would be getting his own Netflix series. Skip forward to earlier today when we got our first teaser trailer for his show. All caught up? Great. Now, while we don’t get too many details from this teaser, we can tell that it will be an intense show featuring a lot of military-based action/drama. Also, Frank/Punisher (Jon Bernthal) is smashing his logo (a skull) into some concrete. And yeah, I’m excited. Sure, I was excited for this series as soon as it was announced, but I’m even more excited now that we have a little bit of actual footage. So I am pretty hyped. “The Punisher” has no official release date, but will most likely premiere around November of this year.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for “The Punisher”? And what’s your favorite out of all the MCU/Netflix shows so far (not counting “Defenders” which just came out)? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy the trailer!

Movie Review: Eye in the Sky (2016)

As time goes on humans are continuing to look for new and interesting ways to kill each other. One of the most interesting toys that humans have come up with is the drone. A machine flying high in the sky to fire missiles so you die. Okay, they can be used for non-lethal surveillance as well, but we all know that those things are capable of highly destructive killing.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Eye in the Sky”.

Katherine Powell (Helen Mirren) is a colonel within the UK military and she’s been tasked with leading a drone operation to take out a group of terrorists located in Kenya. However the operation runs into quite a problem when a little girl is in the so-called kill zone. This triggers a tough discussion about what should be done. Should they strike, should they not? Can they somehow minimize collateral damage? This plot was pretty fucking great. There’s a lot of layers to the plot, with the political aspects of politicians/military making a drone strike and it potentially killing a girl plus other people who might be unlucky enough to be near. But there’s not only the political angle to it, but also an overall moral dilemma for the people piloting the drone. What I also appreciated was the fact that it didn’t just go for the typical “military are heroes stopping the bad terrorists” approach, but it’s actually being more grey in it’s approach. It’s also in general really suspenseful, with the tension rising more and more throughout the entire thing. At one point it also got me a bit emotional… just thought I’d mention that. So yeah, this plot is pretty fucking great.

The characters in this were all fleshed out enough that I would not only find them pretty interesting, but I also cared about them. Helen Mirren is great, playing this woman who has to try to stay calm while also calling the shots in this difficult operation. Aaron Paul is terrific as the drone pilot, starting as just your average guy controlling a big metal thing in the sky to at one point giving us some of that emotion that he’s known for. Phoebe Fox plays Aaron Paul’s co-pilot and she’s great in the role. Alan Rickman (may he rest in peace) is great as a general that is involved in this whole ordeal. We also got Barkhad Abdi as one of the military’s allies located in Kenya, and he was really great in the role. All teh actors did really well in this movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Paul Hepker & Mark Kilian and it was great. The score was intense, dramatic, and fit the movie very well, perfectly adding to the tension/excitement of certain scenes.

This movie was directed by Gavin Hood (who also has a small role in the movie) and I would say that he did a pretty damn good job. The shots do look great, but what I love most about his direction is how taut it is. Even in moments where nothing really happens, he finds some way to make it really tense. In lesser hands this would’ve had a bunch of unnecessary action scenes so the audience won’t get “bored”, but Hood managed to hold my attention with very little. There are barely any gunshots in this war movie, but it’s still incredibly tense.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“Eye in the Sky” is a fantastic political war thriller. It has a great plot, really good characters, fantastic performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Eye in the Sky” is a 9,89/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Eye in the Sky” is now completed.

Great job, mr. Hood… now I know that “X-Men Origins” being bad wasn’t your fault!

Movie Review: Soldier (1998)

Space… The final frontier. And that’s it, no more “Star Trek” for you. You’re instead getting a different type of space thing!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Soldier”.

In the not too distant a future, an aging soldier (Kurt Russell) finds himself abandoned by his superiors, now having to live in a colony on a distant planet. And soon he finds himself having to defend his new home when genetically engineered super soldiers attack. So yeah, this plot isn’t original or very engaging. It has a lot of familiar elements. Bit of “Shane”, bit of “Universal Soldier”, bit of other things I can’t think of right now. So yeah, not very original, but it’s executed decently enough to be considered passable.

The characters in the movie, while not the most layered, are entertaining and interesting enough to watch. Kurt Russell plays the character of Todd 3465 very stoically, but not 100% uninterested/dead, For pretty much the entire movie he has a blank facial expression, but if you look into his eyes you can see that there’s rage and fear in there. And by fear I mean fear of failing his superiors. Blank expression but his eyes say everything… that’s some great fuckin’ acting! Jason Scott Lee played one of the next-gen super soldiers and he was really badass. Sean Pertwee played one of the men that Todd gets to know on this strange planet, and he is really good in the role. Connie Nielsen plays Pertwee’s wife in the movie and she’s really good. Jason Isaacs plays the obvious dickbag in the movie and he’s great… he’s just great at playing villainous characters. We also got Gary Busey as one of the superior officers in the movie and unlike most of his other performances, he is not playing a crazy and over-the-top character… he’s playing it very straight and he does a really good job. Yeah, this movie has some really solid performances.

The score for the movie was composed by Joel McNeely and it was really good. His score was fun, exciting, and just fun. I really can’t say much else. It doesn’t do any unique things and it doesn’t make me feel various emotions… it’s just a simple action movie score that sounds good and works for the movie.

This movie was directed by Paul W.S. Anderson and I think he actually did a solid job here. The shots look really good and the action scenes are very well handled. My biggest gripe with his directing comes with something that occurs in pretty much all of his films… slow motion. I do think it has a place in movies, but the use of it here is not really that good. For one, it is used at some really baffling moments, and it also looks kind of bad. And like I kind of said, the action here is really good. It’s badass. Speaking of visual things, the effects (for the most part) look great! The sets that they built look awesome and the mix of practical/CGI looks good for the most part. A few of the effects in the movie look a little wonky, but overall the effects in this look really good. There are also quite a lot of references to “Blade Runner” in this movie… just thought I’d mention it.

 

This movie has not been too well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 10% (ouch) positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,0/10.

“Soldier” is a surprisingly solid action movie. It features an okay plot, pretty good characters, really good performances, really good music, and really good directing. However it loses a few points with the plot being quite bland and the slow motion in this movie being pretty bad. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Soldier” is an 8,65/10. So while it is flawed, I’d say it’s worth buying!

My review of “Soldier” is now completed.

*Looks at box officer numbers* OUCH! That is kind of sad.

Movie Review : Godzilla (2014)

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Monster movies…they are…usually a hit-or-miss type of movie. It’s kind of like Russian Roulette, if you understand how I mean. Either it clicks and survives, or it will go bang and die. That is what happened back in 1998 when Roland Emmerich tried his hands at making his own “Godzilla” movie. The revolver went bang. But 16 years later we get a new “Godzilla” movie. And how is it? Will it be as shit as its 1998 counterpart or will it be the “Godzilla” movie we have all been waiting for? Let’s find out.

Monsters and monserettes…”Godzilla”!

Joe Brody (Bryan Cranston) works at a nuclear plant in Japan. He lives in Japan with his wife Sandra (Juliette Binoche) and his son Ford (CJ Adams). One day when he goes to work they get some unusual readings. His wife goes down with a team of science-y people to take a closer look. Suddenly there is a bit of an earthquake (which it had been earllier as well). But Joe doesn’t really think it are earthquakes mentioning that earthquakes are “random” and these were not. But something goes wrong and a toxic gas thing leaks out, almost even chasing Sandra and her team. Before she and her team arrive at the big heavy metal door, the gas almost reaches the door and Joe has to close it…with his wife still inside that tunnel. Then after he had closed it on time…she arrives at the door. Her suit can’t keep her from the gas and she will die. And she does. Joe of course cries about it. Then the entire plant crumbles together. Sure, Joe gets out…but his wife fucking died in front of him…ON HIS BIRTHDAY! His son, with the rest of his class gets away from school since a nuclear plant crumbling together will cause a new Chernobyl-ish.
Cut to 15 years later. Ford (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) is coming home to his family (Elizabeth Olsen & Carson Bolde) after serving in the army. But his happiness doesn’t last too long since he gets a phone call regarding his dad Joe getting his ass arrested for going somewhere he should not have. So of course Ford goes to Japan to help bail his poor old man out of jail. After that situation they go and do the same thing again because…why not? And of course they get captured, but this time taken to a military base. Where the people there tries to kill off a…thing in a cocoon. But they only wake it up and will come to KILL US ALL. And it feasts on radiation. So the story is very well set up. And it goes on and it never gets me bored. Something is always going on! Even if it’s something as small/simple as two people talking to eachother, this movie makes that interesting. Maybe it’s because Ken Watanabe does a good amount of talking in this movie…who knows. The only complaint I have with the plot was that there was not enough Godzilla. When Godzilla had any story stuff in the movie it was very interesting and entertaining, but it was not enough. But still, very good story.

The characters…they are very good for a monster movie. Ususally when I watch a monster movie I don’t give a shit about the characters. Seriously. But here I actually kinda felt for them…especially Godzilla. Call me a fanboy if you want, I don’t give a shit. But if we count away Godzilla for a second…major prasie to Bryan Fucking Cranston as Joe Brody…so much emotion and just good ol’ great acting coming from his way. Too bad he doesn’t get nearly enough screen time. He was fantastic in it. The only character complaint I have is for teh character of Ford. They could have fleshed him out a little more. Otherwise, good characters and fantastic acting in this movie. And Godzilla is the best character no matter what all people consider “characters”.

The music is just…perfect. The score by Alexandre Desplat is just fucking magnificent! It is perfectly orchestrated and just fits the movie so damn well! It just shows how epic everything is! Not kidding, just listen if you watch the movie.

This movie looks…fucking amazing. It is so well filmed. This movie looks beautiful. Not just in its CGI, but how it is filmed. Gareth Edward knows what the hell he does behind a camera! Also, if you look closely/pay attention, you will notice many easter eggs that refer to old “Godzilla” movies. This movie is full of them. Go look for ’em. Here is a clue for ya…glass cage with a type of bug.

Reception for “Godzilla” was overall pretty good. Rotten Tomatoes holds the rating of 73% on it and have certified it fresh. Metacritic has given it a 61/100 score. And no Roger Ebert thing (since he passed away over a year ago).
imdb.com currently holds the rating of 7,9 on the movie.

So I have given some fairly good opinions on different aspects. Here is my score: 9,76/10. This movie is worth watching on the cinema…and the 3D isn’t actually that bad. Also, when this movie comes out on DVD/Blu-Ray, it is a must buy for not only monster film fans, but also people who just like movies. This movie gets the “Seal of Approval”.Image

 

Review of “Godzilla” is now done. And for once I reviewed something that just came out.

Oh no, they say he’s got to go, Go Go Godzilla!