Movie Review: All the Money in the World (2017)

I’m back! To clarify: I took a little break from writing for a little over two weeks because I just didn’t have much energy, but now I’m here again! And hopefully I’ll be able to keep this shit up semi-regularly again. So yeah, let’s goooooo!

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “All the Money in the World”.

Italy, 1973. Gail Harris (Michelle Williams) finds herself in a precarious situation after her son (Charlie Plummer) gets kidnapped one night. And we follow her as she tries anything to save her son, which includes trying to get help from her son’s billionaire grandfather (Christopher Plummer). So what we have here is part kidnapping thriller and part domestic drama, and for the most part I think it holds up well. The movie jumps between Gail’s struggle with her former father-in-law, and her son being stuck with the kidnappers. And both stories are pretty solid, with one half being a really fascinating character drama, and the other being a tense as hell thriller. The only issue I do have is that the pacing does suffer a little bit towards the middle. It doesn’t break the movie in half, but it does bring it down a little bit.

The characters in this are all pretty interesting and all bounce off of each other quite well. First up is Gail, played by Michelle Williams. A tough, yet also vulnerable woman trying her damndest to just get her son home safe and sound. She is a pretty interesting protagonist to follow, and Williams is great in the role. Next we have Christopher Plummer (R.I.P) as J. Paul Getty, the billionaire whose money the kidnappers want. He’s a stubborn old man who can often come off as a real son of a bitch, which makes him a wonderful counterpoint to Williams’ Gail, making for some interesting drama and character dynamics. And Plummer is just terrific in the role. Then we have Fletcher Chace, Getty’s number one guy. While not the most fleshed out character in the movie, he does make for a nice addition to the cast as a way of briding the gap between characters. And Wahlberg is really good in the role. And Charlie Plummer is an absolute standout as J. Paul Getty III, he is so god damn good in his role. We also get supporting work from people like Romain Duris, Andrew Buchan, Marco Leonardi, Giuseppe Bonifati, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Daniel Permberton, and I thought it was pretty good. It’s not exactly groundbreaking in any way, and I don’t I’m gonna remember it in a week, but overall it did work well within the movie itself, and I think it helped out the various scenes where it could be heard. There’s also a few licensed tracks used throughout, and those work pretty well too.

Based on a book by John Pearson, “All the Money in the World” was directed by Ridley Scott, and I think he did a damn good job with it. He clearly still has such a grip on how to really pull the viewer into a scene. From a basic enough wide shot to bits of action, the man has a masterful grasp of the film. And I don’t think I can go on without mentioning the mad lad’s reshoots. For any cave dwellers that might be unaware, this movie originally starred Kevin Spacey as J. Paul Getty, but after all the sexual assault/harassment allegations against him came out, the studio pulled the movie from a festival. Ridley Scott, being the marvelous jackass that he is just said “Delay the movie a few days and give me some money for reshoots”, after which he pulled in Plummer (and any of the non-predatory actors left) and reshot all the Getty stuff. And the mad son of a bitch pulled it off. So yeah, Scott is a god damn pro.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 79% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 7.2/10. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.8/10.

While not within the upper echelon of Ridley Scott’s filmography, “All the Money in the World” is still a damn good biographical thriller. It has a really good story, good characters, great performances, pretty good music, and great direction. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “All the Money in the World” is an 8.42/10. So while flawed, I’d still say it’s worth buying.

My review of “All the Money in the World” is now completed.

Ridley Scott, you glorious madman.

Movie Review: Logan Lucky (2017)

Heist movies! I love ’em. Well, I love ’em when they’re good at least. Which begs the question: Is this movie any good? Well, how about we get into the review to find out.

Ladies and gents… “Logan Lucky”.

The story follows two down on their luck brothers named Jimmy and Clyde (Channing Tatum and Adam Driver) as they decide to pull off a heist while a huge NASCAR race is going on. Basically it’s “Ocean’s Eleven”, but with hints of “Dukes of Hazzard” and even “Beverly Hillbillies”. And I highly enjoyed the story being told here. Sure, we’ve seen these beats told time and time again over the years, and even the format is very familiar to the director, but I just can’t deny how fresh and fun this take feels. It just has a pace and energy that I love. It also has plenty of heart, which is shown through many moments throughout. So yeah, it’s not an original narrative… but it’s a hell of an enjoyable one.

The characters in this are all very colorful and entertaining, but for the most part are all also quite interesting and at times even surprisingly nuanced. First up is Jimmy Logan, a blue collar worker/ex-sportsman who finds himself in quite a bad spot after he’s laid off. This is of course what drives him to wanna pull the heist, so he can live and also provide for his daughter. He’s a compelling lead, and Channing Tatum is really good in the role. Next we have Clyde, Jimmy’s brother. He’s a former soldier and current bar owner. His dynamic with his brother is pretty interesting, and I think he makes for a pretty interesting character in general. And Adam Driver is great in the role. And the final one we’ll go into detail on is Joe Bang, a legendary explosives expert that the brothers have to bust out of prison to pull off the heist successfully. He’s an enigmatic motherfucker who I loved watching, mostly because he’s played by Daniel Craig. And not just Daniel Craig… but Daniel Craig chewing all the scenery. He is amazing in the role, a ton of fun. The rest of the supporting cast is great too, featuring people like Riley Keough, Jack Quaid, Brian Gleeson, Katie Holmes, David Denman, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by David Holmes, and it was good. His score has a fairly lighthearted, funk rock inspired vibe that perfectly melds the heist premise with the southern setting wonderfully, working very well in those moments when it’s used. There are also quite a few licensed tracks used throughout, and they work insanely well in their respective scenes. There’s good music here, yo.

“Logan Lucky” was directed by Steven Soderbergh, and he of course brought his A-game. His directing is slick and energetic in a way that of course hearkens back to his “Ocean’s” movies, but while still having its own flavor to it. And that flavor can probably best be described as beer and cheap chicken wings. I’m just kidding, though I do think that the sort of bumpkin feel Soderbergh’s going for is captured marvelously and adds such a unique and fresh feel to the heisting procedures. The movie also has a charming sense of humor that I found my self laughing quite hard at at times. And as with a lot of Soderbergh’s work, the editing is of course terrific. It’s a very well crafted movie.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 92% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 78/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7.0/10.

While a lot of its story beats can feel very familiar, I still found “Logan Lucky” to be a highly enjoyable and charming heist dramedy. It has a really good story, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/editing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Logan Lucky” is a 9.76/10. Which does mean that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Logan Lucky” is now completed.

Cauliflower

Movie Review: Goodfellas (1990)

Yes, you got that right. I only now got to this “must watch” piece of cinema. Shut up.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gents… “Goodfellas”.

As far back as he could remember, Henry Hill (Ray Liotta) always wanted to be a gangster *brass music plays*. And throughout the movie we follow his rise within the mob, giving us all the ups and downs. And yes, we’ve seen this kind of shit in a bunch of movies before. But I don’t think I’ve seen it done this well before. The movie is two hours and twenty minutes long, but you never feel that runtime thanks to writing that is equal parts dramatically compelling and pure entertainment value. It crackles along at a good pace, while still presenting us with situations that last with the viewers, even after the credits have rolled. It doesn’t do the slow, methodical approach that “The Godfather” used, instead opting for a more popcorn-friendly style still rises above most basic gangster stories.

The characters in this are flawed, nuanced, colorful, entertaining, and just overall really interesting. Ray Liotta plays Henry Hill, the man at the center of the story with dreams of being the next big gangster. His journey from small time crook to where he eventually ends up is quite fascinating, and he’s one of the most compelling protagonists I’ve had the pleasure of following in anything I’ve watched recently. And Liotta is great in the role. Next we have Lorraine Bracco as Karen, Henry’s wife. Seeing her journey alongside Henry is quite interesting, especially since she becomes a bit of a conflicted character that has a really interesting rapport with Henry and his story. And Bracco is great in the role. Next we have Joe Pesci as Tommy, Henry’s friend and a fellow gangster. He’s a very short-tempered guy who makes for a lot of unpredictable scenes, which is all I’ll say about him. And Pesci is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Robert De Niro, Paul Sorvino, Frank Sivero, Tony Darrow, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

What’s interesting about the music in “Goodfellas” is that there is no typical score. No composer, no orchestra… jack shit. Instead there’s a lot of licensed music, mostly period accurate rock songs, that get used throughout to help set the mood and tell the story. And god damn it, the use of said songs here is fucking spectacular, partly because there’s a lot of music in there I genuinely like in general, but also because the director (and possibly editor) has a good fucking grasp of how to utilize a song throughout a scene.

Based on a book called “Wiseguy” by Nicholas Pileggi, the movie was co-written by Pileggi and Martin Scorsese, with Scorsese of course handling direction. And really, what else can I say that hasn’t been said before? This shit is immaculate. The blend of the writing and directing here creates a crackling energy that makes it an absolute blast to watch. Never does it feel dull. There are a few moments where it risks slipping into it, but then it picks up again, like a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating and a “Fresh” ceritifcation. On Metacritic it has a score of 89/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,7/10 and is ranked #18 on the “Top 250” list. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best supporting actor (Pesci). It was also nominated for an additional 5 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best supporting actress (Bracco), Best director, Best adapted screenplay, and Best film editing.

I don’t think I’m bringing anything new to the table when I say that “Goodfellas” is fucking rad. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Goodfellas” is a 9,88/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Goodfellas” is now completed.

I see why people like this so much.

Movie Review: Jackie Brown (1997)

I don’t have any clever thing to put here as the intro. I just felt like watching this movie as it’s been sitting on my shelf for quite some time. So now I’m finally getting to it.

Ladies and gents… “Jackie Brown”.

The story follows Jackie Brown (Pam Grier), a stewardess who gets caught with smuggling money for an arms dealer (Samuel L. Jackson). And shortly after that she finds herself involved in a complex plot featuring said arms dealer, the ATF, a bail bonds agent (Robert Forster), and half a million dollars. So now we have our crazy crime story. And it’s good. While the plot in itself is interesting and even quite a bit of fun at times, I feel like it is a bit overstuffed sometimes. I’m not against a movie having more than one thread, I welcome that kinds of shit, but in this case it doesn’t always fully work. Again, it’s a good plot, but the threads here get a little tangled and create something that is, like I said, a bit overstuffed. It’s simple enough to follow, but it is also quite cluttered. But with that said, it’s far from bad, it’s still a highly enjoyable crime plot.

The characters in this are layered, colorful, and overall really entertaining. First up we have the titular character of Jackie Brown, played by Pam Grier. She’s a tough lady who takes no shit from anyone, but she’s not some impossible badass as she does show a more vulnerable side from time to time, giving her some extra layers. And Grier is great in the role. Next we have Samuel L. Jackson as arms dealer Ordell Robbie. He’s basically the Samuel L. Jackson archetype, easy to anger, charming when he needs to, says motherfucker at a good rate. But that character never fails to entertain. And Jackson is of course damn good in the role. Next we have Robert Forster as Max Cherry, the aforementioned bail bonds agent that gets entangled in the entire plot. He’s probably the closest we get to a good guy in this story, as most characters in this are kind of dicks. But he’s still a layered and interesting character. And Forster is great in the role. Then we have Michael Keaton as Ray Nicolette, an ATF agent that Jackie interacts with throughout the story. And I’m not gonna say too much as his entertaining self is better left experienced. And Keaton is damn good in the role. Then we get some solid supporting work from people like Robert De Niro, Bridget Fonda, Chris Tucker, Michael Bowen, and more. Sorry that I’m keeping it vague, but this section is already getting a little too long, and I don’t wanna keep you stuck here for too long. But I do think this is a well acted movie.

There were some tracks composed for this by James Newton Howard and they worked well I guess, though it’s hard to find info on which specific ones he did. Then there were a ton of licensed music throughout from a load of different artists. And all of the music here is used very well in their respective scenes, helping sell the very unique mood that the movie and director is going for. The soundtrack is in general also catchy as all hell.

Based on a novel by Elmore Leonard, this movie was written and directed by Quentin Tarantino. And of course he did a damn good job here. His dialogue is snappy, fun, and as interesting as it ever was. And his direction was really good too, always keeping me on edge with a good flow, a decent sprinkling of suspense, and all the fun Tarantinian shots that you can expect from his movies.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and a “Fresh” ceritifcation. On Metacritic it has a score of 64/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10. The movie was nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best Supporting Actor (Forster).

While not Tarantino’s best, “Jackie Brown” is still a damn good crime movie. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great direction. As previously mentioned, it is brought down a bit by the plot feeling a bit overstuffed. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Jackie Brown” is an 8,84/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Jackie Brown” is now completed.

Pam Grier really knows how to rock a suit.

Movie Review: Ocean’s Thirteen (2007)

It is time. The final part in my little “Ocean’s” trilogy review series. I’ve had fun revisiting this series… for the most part, “Ocean’s Twelve” was a bit rough. But other than that I’ve enjoyed doing this series. So let’s get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Ocean’s Thirteen”.

After one of their own gets screwed over by notorious hotel owner Willy Bank (Al Pacino), Danny (George Clooney), Rusty (Brad Pitt), and the rest of the gang has to pull off another heist as revenge against Bank. So now we have our plot. And it’s pretty refreshing, going back to a focused heist formula like the first movie, making it feel less disjointed than the second one. Here we do get a fun and well paced heist plot. Sure, it lacks the tension-filled thrillride of the first movie, but it never feels boring, and it does have a few decent switcharoos. Overall this plot is good. Not as great as the first, but still a fun time.

I’m not gonna linger too much on the characters here since I covered them all before. But the entire gang, AKA George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Qin Shaobo, Bernie Mac (R.I.P), Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Carl Reiner, Elliott Gould, Eddie Jemison… they’re all still really good in their respective roles, and they work really well together. Now let’s talk about Al Pacino as new antagonist Willy Bank. He’s a charming jerk who cares more for his ego than anything else. He’s an interesting foe for the gang to go up against. While not quite as intimidating as Terry Benedict, he’s still a fun addition to the cast. And Pacino is really good in the role. Speaking of Terry Benedict, he makes a return in this. Not saying to what capacity, but I found his role in this to be enjoyable, and Andy Garcia once again did a really good job in the role. We do also get a pretty good supporting performance from Ellen Barkin as Bank’s right-hand-woman. Really, it’s a very well acted movie.

David Holmes of course returned to do the music for this, and once again he killed it. His score here is jumpy, energetic, mysterious, and just really fun. It fits the movie perfectly and sometimes even improves upon the experience. There’s also like one or two licensed tracks used throughout, and they work well in their respective scenes.

As with the first two movies, “Ocean’s Thirteen” was shot and directed by Steven Soderbergh. And he once again brought his A-game. His direction is fast and snappy, giving the movie a great sense of energy that keeps it feeling fun. And his cinematography is really good as well. Not much else I can say on that front that I didn’t already cover in a previous review. What I can say is that there’s some really good humor throughout the movie, it got me laughing quite a bit.

This movie has been decently received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 70% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 62/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

While not on par with the first movie, “Ocean’s Thirteen” is still a very enjoyable return to form for the crew. It has a good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, really good directing/cinematography, and funny humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Ocean’s Thirteen” is an 8,67/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Ocean’s Thirteen” is now completed.

Aaaaand done. The “Ocean’s” review series is now finished.

Movie Review: Ocean’s Twelve (2004)

As I promised last week, I am still going through with reviewing the “Ocean’s” trilogy. So let’s jump into the second part in the series.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Ocean’s Twelve”.

After successfully stealing 160 million dollars, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) decided to settle down and life an easy life with his wife Tess (Julia Roberts). But that relaxing life gets halted when Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia), the man they stole from, threatens to kill Ocean and his friends unless they can give back those 160 million (plus interest). So Danny has to team up with his gang once again to pull some heists in Europe in hopes of paying back their debt. All while a Europol agent (Catherine Zeta-Jones) is on the hunt for them. So now we have our heist sequel plot. And it’s not great. It lacks the tightness and suspense of the first movie’s plot, often feeling a bit disjointed. It’s also pretty boring in a lot of parts. Admittedly this isn’t the worst plot ever, since there are some fun moments throughout to keep it from becoming absolute shit. It’s… meh.

The characters in this don’t really get any significant development, but what I can say is the returning cast are all still a lot of fun to watch as they share some damn fine chemistry. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle, Elliott Gould, Bernie Mac (R.I.P), Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Qin Shaobo, Carl Reiner, Eddie Jemison, Julia Roberts, they’re all fun. Even Andy Garcia who, despite a relatively small role, still gives a quietly intimidating and charming performance. Catherine Zeta-Jones is pretty good as the agent that the guys have to avoid throughout the movie. Again, not a lot of interesting character development here, but I did enjoy the cast.

David Holmes returned to do the score for this, and once again it is really good. It’s fun, energetic, and just helps bring something to the movie to keep it a little more interesting. The licensed tracks used throughout are also pretty good. Not the most catchy or memorable, but they still work pretty good within the movie.

As with the first movie, “Ocean’s Twelve” was shot and directed by Steven Soderbergh, and his direction is kind of what stands out here. While his direction can’t bring suspense to the heist like in the first one, I do admit that no shots he had were uninteresting. As a matter of fact, there are some shots in here that I thought were really good. Again, no real suspense is built here, but his directing is solid enough to keep me interested.

This movie hasn’t been the most well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 54% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,5/10.

“Ocean’s Twelve” isn’t great, but there is some fun to be had throughout. It has a meh plot, good characters, really good performances, really good music, and good directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Ocean’s Twelve” is a 6,12/10. While not great, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “Ocean’s Twelve” is now completed.

“Ocean’s Thirteen” next week.

Movie Review: Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

With the release of “Ocean’s 8” being upon us (June 27th here in Sweden), I thought it was time for me to finally talk about the movies that preceded it. So today it’s “Ocean’s Eleven”. And over the next two weeks you can look forward to reviews of “Ocean’s Twelve” and “Ocean’s Thirteen”. Will I cover the 60s original? Probably not. With that out of the way, let’s get into the review.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Ocean’s Eleven”.

After being released from prison, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) plans to pull a heist at a big casino owned by a man named Terry Benedict (Andy Garcia). But he can’t do this alone. So with the help of his friend Rusty Ryan (Brad Pitt) he gathers up a crew of specialists to help pull this heist. It’s a basic heist movie formula that we’ve seen so many times at this point… but this movie is one of the better examples of how it should be done. Yes, we know the story beats (since they are repeated in so many movies), but “Ocean’s Eleven” does it in a way that makes it feel fresh. The twists and turns in here still catch me off guard despite me having seen the movie before. And this due to a brisk pace, genuine suspense, and a believably executed plan.

The characters in this are colorful, unique, and really entertaining. George Clooney plays Danny Ocean, the man with the plan who the movie is named after. He’s a charismatic and intelligent con artist with a troubled past. He may be cooler than ice, but he still feels fairly realistic (Clooney handsomeness aside). And Clooney is great in the role. Then we have Brad Pitt as Rusty, Ocean’s closest confidant and old time ally. Clever, cool, and with a devil-may-care attitude, it’s basically the heist movie version of Brad Pitt… and I’m okay with that. So yeah, Pitt is really good in the role. Next up we have Andy Garcia as Terry Benedict, the film’s antagonist and target of the heist. There’s a quiet intensity about him that makes him a somewhat intimidating guy whenever we’re in a scene with him. And Garcia is really good in the role. I will also not go in-depth with every character, because that would make this part too long. But I will say that the rest of the crew consists of Bernie Mac (R.I.P), Don Cheadle, Casey Affleck, Scott Caan, Elliott Gould, Matt Damon, Carl Reiner, Eddie Jemison, and Qin Shaobo. Then we have Julia Roberts as Ocean’s ex-wife. So yeah, this movie is filled with cool people, and all of them do really well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by David Holmes, and I think he did a really good job. The score is very jazzy and bouncy, giving a very fun and energetic vibe to the movie. But it still never takes away from the suspenseful moments. There are also a few licensed tracks used throughout and they work well in their respective scenes.

This movie was shot and directed by Steven Soderbergh and I think he did a great job with it. His direction here has a very fast and fun style that keeps it from ever feeling boring or slow. He also manages to build a lot of suspense here, with one sequence in particular almost making me curl up in my chair due to the level of suspense in that moment. And I usually never talk about this, but the editing here is as slick as it gets, often adding to the suspense or just overall fun of a scene. Speaking of fun, there’s some comedy sprinkled throughout this movie, and I found it to be genuinely funny.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 82% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

“Ocean’s Eleven” is a fast-paced and fun crime caper with a very fun cast. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, great directing/editing, and great humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Ocean’s Eleven” is a 9,86/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Ocean’s Eleven” is now completed.

Remember, “Ocean’s Twelve” next week!

Series Review: Sneaky Pete – Season 2 (2018)

In early 2017 we saw the premiere of “Sneaky Pete”, a new Amazon series. I watched it, and I gave it a very positive review. So now season 2 has been out for a few days and I’ve watched it all. So let’s talk about it and see if it’s any good.

Ladies and gents… “Sneaky Pete”.

When we last saw Marius (Giovanni Ribisi), he found himself in a bit of a pickle. Two intimidating enforcers (Desmond Harrington & Joseph Lyle Taylor) thinking he was another man asked where “his” mother was. Why would they care about someone’s mother? Because she had gotten hold of eleven million dollars that their boss wanted. So we follow Marius as he tries to find this woman and her supposed eleven million. But we also follow the family that he’s snuck his way into as their lives start spiraling out of control as well. So now we have our plot. And while I think the first season had a somewhat more engaging plot, I still think that this season has a really interesting, suspenseful, and fun plot. It has a lot of twists and turns, and they all work quite well for the plot, keeping it all fun, fresh, and fairly unpredictable.

The characters in this are all quite colorful, unique, and interesting. Giovanni Ribisi is back as Marius/Pete, the con man posing as his former cellmate to get in with the cellmate’s estranged family. He’s an incredibly clever, quick-thinking, man who always tries to be one step ahead of everyone. In season 1 he was more of a no-good shyster who was only out for himself, but here in season 2 we see that he’s evolved a bit, like he actually cares for this family. He’s quite an engaging character, and he has a really solid arc this season. And Ribisi is great in the role. Marin Ireland plays Julia, the “cousin” of our main character. She works in a bail bonds office, and has (much due to Marius) gotten herself into some shit. And it’s interesting to see her go through that stuff and see what she does about it. Ireland is damn good in the role. Then we have Margo Martindale as Audrey, the “grandmother” of our main character, and the matriarch of the Bernhardt family. She’s tough, but she’s also a nice old grandmother. And she has one of the most interesting character arcs this season. And Martindale is of course fantastic in the role. Then we have Peter Gerety, Libe Barer, and Shane McRae as three more members of the family. They’ve all great characters with good arcs, but I’m lumping them together because I don’t wanna make this part too long. But I can at least say that they’re all great in the role. We also get a lot more of Ethan Embry as the real Pete this season, and he’s a fun and interesting character to follow. And yeah, Embry is really good in the role. Then you get supporting performances from people like Jacob Pitts, Jay O. Sanders, Justine Cotsonas, Alison Wright, Jennifer Ferrin, Jospeh Lyle Taylor, Desmond Harrington, Jasmine Carmichael, Jane Adams, and many more. And they’re all great.

The score for the show was composed by Nathan Barr, and I think he did a good job. His score isn’t the most standout thing ever, but it gets the job done. It helps create tension, it adds a little extra emotion, and it’s just overall well composed. There are also a whole bunch of licensed tracks used throughout the season, and thye work very well within their respective scenes. And I just wanna add that the show’s theme song, “Harder Out Here” by The Bight Light Social Hour, is such an awesome song.

The show was created by David Shore & Bryan Cranston, but Graham Yost stands as the showrunner. And it was written/directed by a whole bunch of different people. And this is a very well directed show. The direction here is fast-paced and fun, but never to the point of losing and seriousness/tension, because when a scene has to be serious and suspenseful, it fucking nails it. And at times it also has some fun humor in it. It’s not a comedy, but it does implement humor at various points throughout, and it works quite well.

This season/show has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 83% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,3/10.

While I still prefer the first season, season 2 of “Sneaky Pete” is still a great season of crime television. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 2 of “Sneaky Pete” is a 9,75/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Sneaky Pete” season 2 is now completed.

Trust in me…

Movie Review: Sweet Virginia (2017)

Not sure what to say here really. I can usually come up with some pseudo-clever intro for these relating back to the movie. But right now I got jack shi- Hey look, it’s Punisher!

Ladies and gents… “Sweet Virginia”.

Sam (Jon Bernthal) is a former rodeo star who now runs a motel. One day a young man (Christopher Abbott) checks in and the two strike up a friendship. But what Sam doesn’t know is that this young man is a drifter who recently committed a triple homicide. So now we have our little thriller movie. And while it seems like I might’ve spoiled the movie, I only told you what happened in the beginning. I gave you what you needed to know. And is this plot any good? Yes and no. Let’s start with negatives… the pacing in this movie is weird. And by weird I mean that it drags at times, which is weird because it’s a 90-minute movie. And while I have no problem with a slower pace, it really dragged at times and wasn’t necessarily the most interesting in those parts. Now for the positives. In the parts where the pacing isn’t weird, the plot is tense and has some quite interesting aspects to it. And in those parts it does embrace the more thriller-y sides of this thriller, and it makes those parts suspenseful and pretty entertaining. Overall the plot here is… fine.

The characters her range from really interesting to… just being there. Jon Bernthal plays Sam, our protagonist. While he’s moved on from his old life, you can tell that he’s still slightly troubled by those times, making him a bit more of an interesting character. And Bernthal is of course great in the role. Christopher Abbott plays Elwood, the young and troubled man that Sam befriends. He can seem like an okay dude at first, but has a propensity for violence, and I found his character to be quite interesting in that way. And Abbott really impressed me here, I thought he was great. Then we have Imogen Poots as a woman named Lila, and while Poots gave a really good performance, the character wasn’t great. You can tell that the seed for her character was planted, but it had not fully grown yet. Then you have Rosemarie DeWitt as a character named Bernadetta. Same as with Poots, her performance is really solid, but the character could’ve used a bit more work. So in summary, the characters here are inconsistent in quality, but at least the performances are great.

The score for the movie was composed by Brooke & Will Blair, and they did a good job with it. Sure, the score doesn’t do anything unique, as it has similarities to other thriller scores, but it’s still really good and it does help to elevate some of the scenes throughout the movie.

The movie was directed by Jamie M. Dagg and I think he did a good job with it. It’s tightly directed, and shots have a nice flow to them. He also manages to get a lot of good tension out of multiple scenes. The dude really impressed me in that sense. And the cinematography by Jessica Lee Gagné was really good.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 78% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/10. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,2/10.

While flawed, I still think “Sweet Virginia” is a really good movie. It has a fine plot, mixed characters, great performances, really good music, and really good directing/cinematography. My flaws, as previously mentioned, are that the plot drags quite a bit at times, and that a good amount of the characters are kind of uninteresting. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Sweet Virginia” is an 8,45/10. While flawed, I still think that it’s definitely worth a rental.

My review of “Sweet Virginia” is now completed.

Country roads, take me home
To the place I belong
Sweet Virginia…

Movie Review: Mean Dreams (2017)

Some people are bad. Some are good. Some are in a grey area between the two. Overall, there are many shades of human. Very few are all good or all bad.

Ladies and gents… “Mean Dreams”.

After he steals a bag of drug money, Jonas (Josh Wiggins) grabs the girl he loves (Sophie Nélisse) and goes on the run. This causes a corrupt cop (Bill Paxton, R.I.P) to pursue them. So now we have our coming of age drama. And it’s actually pretty damn good. Yes, there are some familiar as hell elements to it, and there are moments where it kind of drags, but neither of those are bad enough to take away from this otherwise tense and dramatic plot. It takes it’s time really exploring it’s themes of first love and desperation of life on the run, and it’s quite engaging. It’s a solid plot.

The characters here are layered, fleshed out, and really interesting. Josh Wiggins plays Jonas, the farm boy who steals the drug money, which causes the plot to happen. He’s courageous and driven, never hesitating to step up to protect the one he loves. But they also show how hesitant he can be and do everything to make him feel real. And Wiggins is great in the role. Sophie Nélisse plays Casey, the young woman that Jonas goes on the run with. She’s a tough and determined young woman who also does show her more vulnerable sides at times, making her feel a bit more human. And Nélisse is really good in the role. Then we have the incomparable Bill Paxton (may he rest in peace) as Wayne, the corrupt cop out on the hunt for our young lovers. He is a dirty, crooked, and bad cop, but he does show a more human side at certain points in the movie, making him feel less one-dimensional and more realistic. And Paxton is of course fantastic in the role. Then we have Colm Feore as a police chief that we run into throughout the movie. And I don’t want to say much more about him since I think his stuff is more interesting learning about. But I can at least say that Feore is really good in the role. Really, every actor in this movie does a solid job.

The score for the movie was composed by Ryan Lott and I think he did a really good job with that. The score is weird, eerie, emotional, and just worked very well for the movie. It really helped create a hopeful yet uneasy feel for the movie. ’tis good.

the movie was directed by Nathan Morlando and I think he did a great job. His directing is smooth and and confident, while still managing to get in a fair amount of tension throughout. It’s tight and makes you feel uneasy, while still keeping you focused and invested in the story of the two lovers. And the cinematography by Steve Cosens is great, there’s plenty of awesome shots throughout this movie.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 80% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 64/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,3/10.

“Mean Dreams” isn’t perfect, but it’s still a damn fine little movie. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mean Dreams” is a 9,59/10. This means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Mean Dreams” is now completed.

I miss Bill Paxton.