Movie Review: Shattered Glass (2003)

Fake news. A topic often brought up in our current environment, especially by a certain cheeto-colored individual. Sometimes what is referred to as “fake news” is just a certain asshole not agreeing with the truth. Other times the call is warranted.

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… “Shattered Glass”.

Stephen Glass (Hayden Christensen) is a young man who’s made quite a name for himself by writing very successful articles for various magazines, with his main base being the New Republic. But his life will soon get unraveled, when some other journalists start looking into one of Glass’ articles, finding clues to it potentially being fabricated. So now we have our fake news drama. And I was completely riveted by it. The plot here keeps a fairly brisk pace, but never do the degree where it skims over important details, which makes it both a dramatic, in-depth look at this situation and a generally enjoyable watch.

The characters in this are layered, interesting, and fairly realistic. First up we have Hayden Christensen as Stephen Glass, the man at the center of this story. He’s smart, charming, and excellent at bullshitting people in conversation. But when the pressure starts coming down on him, you start seeing the cracks in the glass. And Hayden Christensen is REALLY GOOD in the role. The reason why I emphasized that was because he’s caught so much shit for his acting in the “Star Wars” prequels, that I have to really be clear that he can be a really good actor. Next up we have Peter Sarsgaard as Chuck Lane, one of Glass’ co-workers. He is one of those that kind of partakes in unraveling some of the clashing aspects of Glass’ articles, and he’s just really interesting. And Sarsgaard is great in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Chloë Sevigny, Steve Zahn, Hank Azaria, Rosario Dawson, Cas Anvar, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score was composed by Mychael Danna, and it was good. I wouldn’t call it that much of a standout, but it worked well enough within the movie, focusing more in smaller piano pieces than anything else, which I think just fits the various scenes well enough.

This movie was written and directed by Billy Ray, and I think he did a great job with it. What I like about his style here is that it often feels less like some small personal drama, as it often feels a bit more like a political thriller in execution. And that helps keep the movie feel a bit more exciting, it adds a bit of tension to it, which is nice as it makes it stand out a bit. But when it needs to slow down and focus more on the character drama, then Billy Ray’s direction delivers beautifully on that too.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“Shatterd Glass” is a fascinating and engaging look into a very interesting situation/person. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Shattered Glass” is a 9,78/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Shattered Glass”.

Need a movie relevant to today’s society? Here you go.

Movie Review: Girl, Interrupted (1999)

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Hello there, guys! The “Mangoldathon” continues! What, you thought I forgot about it? Pfff… no. Anyhow, let’s get into it!

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… “Girl, Interrupted”.

Susanna Kaysen (Winona Ryder) is a troubled young woman who in the 1960s gets put in a mental hospital. And we follow her as she gets to know her fellow inmates and also maybe learn a bit more about herself. While the plot itself was good, I never found myself fully invested in it. I mean, it wasn’t bad at all, and I was never bored… but I also never felt “Yeah, this is really immersive and investing”. And that’s a bit of a shame, really. Because like I said, the plot in itself isn’t bad, and it is clearly aimed to be dramatically investing… however I was never really invested in it. So it’s overall.. okay.

The characters in this movie are all very interesting. Winona Ryder is great as Susanna Kaysen, perfectly portraying the troubled young woman. Angelina Jolie plays Susanna’s fellow inmate, Lisa, and she is fantastic. Her performance is believable and also a million flavors of fun. Then we also get a whole bunch of great supporting performances from people like Brittany Murphy (R.I.P), Whoopi Goldberg, Jeffrey Tambor, Vanessa Redgrave, Jared Leto, and Elizabeth Moss. It’s a very well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Mychael Danna, and I think it’s really good. It was dramatic, it had some good energy to it, and it overall just fit the movie very well. There was also some really good use of licensed track in the movie, most notably “Downtown” by Petula Clark. The music in this movie is really good… not much else I can say about that.

As you probably picked up on through the intro of the review, this movie was directed by James Mangold. And he did a great job here. His directing is confident and it makes scenes flow very well which helps make the pace much better. It’s also a very good looking movie, with smooth camera movements and such.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 54% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 51/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10. The movie also won 1 Oscar in the category of Best supporting actress (Jolie).

“Girl, Interrupted” is a flawed but still pretty solid drama. It has a pretty good plot, good characters, great acting, really good music, and great directing. However the plot isn’t as engaging as it should be. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Girl, Interrupted” is an 8,88/10. While flawed, it’s still worth buying.
worth-buying

My review of “Girl, Interrupted” is now completed.

I might review one more movie for the “Mangoldathon”. Not entirely sure yet.

 

Movie Review: Moneyball (2011)

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I have never really had any kind of connection to sports movies throughout my entire life. Sure, there was “Space Jam”, but that was when I was a dumb kid, But I am talking about a real and genuine connection of emotion and inspiration, a connection that feels personal. Either it’s because I have never found a sports movie that have had that type of resonance or it’s because I have pushed them out like “No, get out!”.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Moneyball”.

In “Moneyball” we have the true story of Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) who is/was the general manger of the baseball team “The Oakland A’s”. We see how he assembles a team based on computer analysis and numbers rather than the typical physical traits that talent scouts were looking for. And I was invested the whole way through and I think that might come from the really great screenplay. I can also say that I was emotionally invested in the story… yeah. Me, a lazy, sports-disliking jerk was emotionally invested in a sports movie. Now to be fair, this movie is more about what happens behind the scenes of it all rather than on the playing field itself and I like how they did it.

The characters in this movie all feel real, they all feel like they had a life before/outside the movie. Like I mentioned in my “Paranoid Park” review, those are the best kinds of characters. And the acting was really good. Brad Pitt knocked it out of the park (Pun intended) in this movie. I think I am justified in saying that he is one of my favorite actors. Jonah Hill was also great in the movie, playing the guy who helps Brad Pitt apply the math and statistics for finding the players they need. I’m not gonna lie, when I think of Jonah Hill I don’t think “Great actor”, I think “Guy with slightly bigger physique in comedies”. But still, he was great in this movie. Philip Seymour Hoffman didn’t have that much to do in the movie, but when he was on screen he was good. Also, this movie has Chris Pratt in it. I was actually surprsied to see that when I saw the movie. But everybody was great in the movie.

The score for the movie was done by Mychael Danna and I can safely say that he did an excellent job with it. It is big, it is dramatic and it is emotionally powerful. I’m not kidding, just listening to it makes me get all fuzzy and emotional inside. Yeah, it is that great.

The movie was directed by Bennett Miller who I have seen nothing from before this. I know that he directed Philip Seymour Hoffman in the movie “Capote” and I know he made last year’s “Foxcatcher” which also was a sports movie. So I can safely say that I am looking forward to seeing those movies because this movie looks fantastic. The shots look great and it all just comes together nicely. And like I said earlier, the screenplay is fantastic. It was written by Steve Zaillian who wrote “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “American Gangster”, two movies that I liked. But Zaillian wasn’t alone on screenplay duty, he was helped by Aaron Sorkin who wrote “The Social Network” which I enjoyed. In other words, this screenplay is as airtight as it can get.

This movie has been incredibly well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating with a “Fresh” ceritication. On Metacritic it has a score of 87/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10. The movie was also nominated for 6 Oscars in the categories of Best Picture, Best Actor (Pitt), Best Supporting Actor (Hill), Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Adapted Screenplay.

“Moneyball” is a sports movie that i think both fans of baseball and sports haters can enjoy. It has a solid plot, great acting, a great soundtrack, great directing and an airtight screenplay. Time for my final score. *Swings bat* Aaaaaand it’s a homerun! He runs around the field and gets an envelope of some kind! My final score for “Moneyball” is a 9,88/10. It gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

“Moneyball” is now reviewed.

Hey batter batter, swing!