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!?”.

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12 Films of Christmas 2018 (Part 6)

Holy shit, we’re already halfway through this silly thing. Time sure flies.

So, today’s thing is technically a tv episode. But if you know anything about the show, you know the episodes all have a feature length runtime. Also, it’s a holiday special, so I can use it. That’s right ladies and gents, today we are talking about “Sherlock” and its holiday special, “The Abominable Bride”. So in this episode, the characters of Sherlock (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Watson (Martin Freeman) get sent back in time to the late 19th century… which is the century the characters originated in… even though this iteration of the characters is from the 2000s… but now they’re in the 1800s… which is where they started… this shit will loop on forever, so I better move on before my fucking brain melts. Anyway, it’s the “Sherlock” version of the characters solving a mystery in the 19th century… but it also tries to interweave aspects of the modern day. For the most part I enjoyed “The Abominable Bride”, the parts in which we see Cramplescrunch and Bilbo Baggins doing the 19th century crime solving, that is fun. But when it tries to involve the modern day stuff and try to have a sort of meta narrative, it doesn’t quite work, and just comes off as a bit smug. I love “Sherlock”… the first two seasons at least, haven’t really seen anything past that. But despite my love for the show, I have to look objectively at this and say that it’s just fine. Which makes me sad, because “Sherlock” at its best is some of the best tv ever made. But if you want a decent enough romp featuring some great actors in period garb, you could do far worse than “The Abominable Bride”.

On the sixth day of christmas, Markus he took on, a man saying “elementary, my dear Watson”. 

Movie Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

And the 2018 catch-up continues. Admittedly I don’t have a super specific series set up, but catching up on the year’s movies is what one have to do when nearing the end of said year. Enough rambling, let’s shrink.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Ant-Man and the Wasp”.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has to once again don the Ant-Man suit, but instead of using it to steal some shit, he has to use his abilities, as well as the assistance of his ally Hope (Evangeline Lilly), to get hold of some tech to try and pull Janet Van Dyne out of the Quantum Realm. But this quest will prove challenging as opposing forces want this technology for their own purposes. So now we have our “Ant-Man” sequel plot. And it’s good, a fun comic book romp. Has a few decent dramatic moments. Not much I can say, it’s just a fun superhero plot. Doesn’t do much, but doesn’t do little either. It’s fast-paced and easy to follow while expanding on a few of the ideas set up in the first movie. It doesn’t do anything special, but it also doesn’t need to. It’s just an easygoing and fun plot.

The characters in this are colorful, interesting, and really entertaining. Paul Rudd of course returns as Scott Lang, the charming ex-con/superhero with a heart of gold. He’s fun, he’s someone I care about, and he is just generally an enjoyable protagonist. And Paul Rudd is great in the role. Next we have Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne/Wasp. She was just sort of a tough sidekick/teacher in the first movie, but here she gets to do a lot more, especially since she now has her own super suit to play with. And she’s quite an enjoyable character to follow. And Lilly is great in the role. Michael Peña returns as Scott’s best friend, Luis, and he’s just as hilarious as he was the first time around. Michael Douglas returns as Dr. Hank Pym, and he’s once again pretty great. Newcomer time! First up, Hannah John-Kamen as “Ghost”, a mysterious new villain with a pretty compelling arc that I won’t say more about here, but I found it to be pretty cool. And John-Kamen is really good in the role. We also get Walton Goggins as some shady black market dealer, and he’s as Goggins-y as ever, and while his character doesn’t have much to actually do, Goggins is really good in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale, Abby Ryder Fortson, David Dastmalchian, Randall Park, T.I., Laurence Fishburne, Michelle Pfeiffer, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

Like with the first movie, Christophe Beck did the score for this one. And it’s just as fun and enjoyable as the first time around. It’s bouncy, irreverent, and just overall fits the lighthearted tone that the movie generally goes for. The added use of synth and (for lack of a better word) bouncy percussion really helps keep the pace up. It’s just fun. And there are a few licensed tracks used throughout that work well enough in their respective scenes.

As with the first movie, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” was directed by Peyton Reed and I think he did a good job with it. His directing is fun, fast-paced, and just generally has a certain energy that makes it all quite enjoyable to watch. The action scenes too are quite solid, giving us some good close quarters combat, as well as the shrink/grow superhero stuff we came to see. There’s of course also a lot of comedy throughout this movie, and I found most of it to be quite funny. A few jokes weren’t the best, but none of them made me want to tear my brain out. Some mild nose-wrinkling, some chuckles, a few out loud laughs… yeah, it’s funny.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 70/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is a fun movie… not one of the best of the year, but an enjoyable romp nonetheless. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, really good directing, and funny comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is an 8,76/10. So while not perfect, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is now completed.

Baba Yaga…

Movie Review: Game Night (2018)

What’s your favorite game? Not counting video games here, just things that you can easily play with friends on a game night. Charades, Yahtzee, Uno… doesn’t matter. Let me know your favorites.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Game Night”.

Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) have a weekly tradition of inviting their friends to a game night. One such weekend the group gets invited to a game night by Max’s brother (Kyle Chandler). They find out that he’s planned a bit of a murder mystery themed game night. But soon what should just be a fun evening with friends turns into something a bit crazier than originally expected. So now we have our twisty-turny comedy. And the plot here is pretty good. I appreciate that it tries to do something a bit different than a lot of modern comedies. It takes a really clever idea and has a lot of fun with it. Now, while I’m all for a twisty-turny web, this one twists around a bit much, turning it into a bit of a mess at times. Twist upon twist is fine, but the way it’s done in “Game Night” doesn’t always work, turning it from a clever mystery into a bit of a messtery (see what I did there?). It’s not so bad that it made me angry, but it does take me out of it a little at times. But it’s still a fairly refreshing entry in the world of Hollywood comedies. Good stuff.

The characters in this are all a ton of fun to follow, and they share some solid chemistry. First up we have Jason Bateman as Max, who is a very Jason Bateman-esque type. I can’t put it any other way, if you’ve seen Jason Bateman in a comedy, you know what to expect from him. But it still works, and Bateman does a good job. Next we have Rachel McAdams as Annie, Max’s wife and fellow game night entusiast. She’s not always the brightest bulb in the shed, but she’s always full of glee and is just a ton of fun to follow. And McAdams is fantastic in the role, absolutely the scene stealer. We also get supporting work from people like Kyle Chandler, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Jesse Plemons, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Cliff Martinez, and it was really good. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a fan of some of Martinez’s older work, but I think it’s genuinely a great score that works really well in adding a surprising amount of suspense and intrigue to the movie. There’s also a few licensed tracks used throughout, and they work pretty well in their respective scenes.

“Game Night” was written by Mark Perez, and directed by John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein, and this trio really outdid themselves here. In terms of the overall craft of the movie, I didn’t expect much. So imagine my surprise when I notice all the clever and engaging camerawork used throughout the movie, especially during one sequence that I will not spoil, but let’s just say that my eyebrows were raised and my jaw was on the floor. And since this is a comedy, you might wanna know if I laughed. So did I? Like a fucking idiot. I didn’t expect this movie to crack me up as much as it did. Some jokes were chuckles, some were loud gut-busters. Yeah, I had a blast with the humor here.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 66/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

“Game Night” is one of the biggest surprises of the year. It has a pretty good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, great directing, and hilarious comedy. Though as previously mentioned, my score gets brought down a bit by the plot being a bit convoluted. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Game Night” is an 8,88/10. So while flawed, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Game Night” is now completed.

I think Uno might be my favorite, purely because of how fun it is to fuck people over.

Movie Review: Overlord (2018)

*Ron Perlman voice activated* War… war never changes. *Ron Perlman voice deactivated*.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Overlord”.

Set during world war 2, we follow a group of American soldiers as they land behind enemy lines in France to take out a nazi transmitter. But as they delve further into the complex, they discover some horrifying things that are unlike anything they have ever seen before. So now we have our historical action-horror plot. And I have to say that I really enjoyed it. Admittedly it’s a very predictable and straightforward plot that doesn’t do much to increase in depth, but that is also what I like about it. Don’t get me wrong, complex plots with twists and turns are great, but there’s something oddly refreshing about the simplicity of “Overlord”. It does slow down at a couple points to build on the characters, but that is just a plus for this movie as it gives the audience some room to breathe in between all the intense war stuff. So yeah, the plot is simple and predictable, but it’s also tense, badass, engaging, and just fun.

The characters in this are simple, but they’re also interesting and entertaining. First up we have Jovan Adepo as Boyce, who more or less is the rookie in the team.  A good kid who sees the horrors of WW2 and has to step up. But they play around with that pretty well here. And Adepo is great in the role. Next we have Wyatt Russell as Ford, the badass Corporal who takes no shit and is a little stern. Russell is great in the role. Next we have Mathilde Ollivier as Chloe, a French woman that our squad of heroes meet. She’s tough, she’s resourceful, and she’s willing to help the Americans stop ze nazis. And Ollivier is really good in the role. And then we have Pilou Asbæk in the role of evil nazi captain. I know his character has a name, but that doesn’t matter because evil nazi captain is all you need to know. A clear villain, no grey areas here. And Asbæk is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like John Magaro, Iain De Caestecker, Jacob Anderson, Bokeem Woodbine, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Jed Kurzel, and it was really good. It uses a lot of heavy percussion to simulate the intensity of wartime, while also implementing some intense brass stings, trodding bass, some tense string work, and it all comes together to create some music that really helps the suspense and intensity of the movie go above and beyond.

The movie was directed by Julius Avery, and I think he did a great job with it. He captures the uncertainty and suspense of being within this situation. You’d almost think this would be a straight up intense shoot-em-up all the way through, but there’s a surprising amount of sneaking around as well, and I think that adds a lot of tension to the movie. That’s not to discredit the shootouts, because when the bullets start flying, it is some of the most intense and brutal action I’ve seen in quite a while. The violence here will please fans of war films, as well as fans of gory horror stuff. There are also a couple jumpscares here, and I think they work well enough. They may be predictable, but they’re not false, and they did still get to me. Good shit.

This movie very recently came out, but so far it’s been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 82% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“Overlord” isn’t the most original movie, but it’s still one hell of a ride that I liked a lot. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Overlord” is a 9,87/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Overlord” is now completed.

Came because of AC/DC, stayed for the HOLY SHIT, THAT’S BRUTAL.

Movie Review: The Machinist (2004)

Christian Bale, you crazy motherfucker. Lose weight, gain weight, skinny, muscular, skinny, fat… all that change can’t be good for the health. It’s impressive, but it also has me worried.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Machinist”.

Trevor Reznik (Christian Bale) is an industrial worker who hasn’t been able to sleep for an entire year. And his life soon takes a disturbing turn for the worse, when he starts suspecting that someone is trying to fuck with his life. So now we have our thriller. And I thought the plot here was really good. It had a very weird, dreamlike atmosphere that I haven’t experienced many times before. And it gives the plot a decent layer of suspense. And the mystery surrounding Trevor and what’s happening to him is really layered, intriguing, engaging, and at times even disturbing.

The characters in this are layered and interesting. First and foremost we have Christian Bale as Trevor Reznik, insomniac industrial worker. He’s interesting to follow as the paranoia that surrounds him suspecting… well, everything makes him twitchy, and potentially a bit of an unreliable narrator, which I always enjoy seeing in movies. He’s deep, layered, and a fascinating character to study. And Bale is fantastic in the role. Yes, even if you look past the weight loss. And we get some supporting performances from people like Jennifer Jason Leigh, John Sharian, Michael Ironside, Aitana Sánchez-Gijón, Lawrence Gilliard Jr, Reg E. Cathey (R.I.P), and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Roque Baños, and it was great. It has an eerie, dreamlike quality to it that fits very well with the story of the movie. It also helps to just elevate a lot of the drama and suspense here. It also reminds me of “The X-Files” at a couple of points, which is never a bad thing.

The movie was directed by Brad Anderson and I think he did a great job. His direction is very tight and claustrophobic, which adds to the paranoia of the entire situation. It manages to make it feel a bit more tense and unpredictable, which never hurts in a movie like this. What also helps with this is the cinematography by Xavi Giménez, which both captures all those things I mentioned before, and overall looks fucking fantastic.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 77% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 61/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10.

“The Machinist” is an eerie and incredibly well made psychological thriller. It has a great plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Machinist” is a 9,78/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Machinist” is now completed.

Not a lot of movies these days where you can hear the “ominous clarinet”.

Series Review: Fortitude – Season 1 (2015)

I am aware that I’m kind of stretching it a bit here in terms of the Month of Spooks, but there are aspects of this show that kind of work for it. Also, I kind of cheated with “Mindhunter” last year, so I think I’m allowed this one this year.

Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to… “Fortitude”.

On the edge of the arctic circle lies the town of Fortitude, a frozen place with a small population. A town that has been safe for as long as it’s existed. But the peace of Fortitude is disturbed when a violent crime occurs. So now we have our cold as hell thriller. And it’s good. It has an eerie feel to it that makes it stand out from other crime-thrillers out there, and the mysteries it sets up throughout the season are quite intriguing. I was sometimes taken out of the show a bit though. While it is fairly grounded most of the time, there are occasions when it suddenly requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. Now, aside from some of those moments, this is an engaging, chilling (HA!), and overall intriguing story.

The characters in this are layered, flawed, interesting, and mostly all feel pretty realistic. I will however not go in-depth about them because the cast here is so big that we’d be here all god damn day, and none of us want that. But I can say that the cast is pretty impressive. Including people like Richard Dormer, Nicholas Pinnock, Alexandra Moen, Luke Treadaway, Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon, Sofia Gråbøl, Elizabeth Dormer-Phillips, Darren Boyd, Mia Jexen, Christopher Eccleston, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the season was composed by Ben Frost, and I think he did a really good job with it. His music has a way of capturing the feel of this frozen and remote location. It’s eerie, it’s suspense-building, it’s emotional, it just works incredibly well for the show. There are also a few licensed tracks used throughout, and they work pretty well in their respective scenes too.

“Fortitude” was created by Simon Donald, and written/directed by a whole bunch of people, and I think what they created here is really interesting. For one, it’s a pretty unique location for a show. A remote town in one of the coldest parts of the world, perfect setting for this kind of show. And thanks to the directing and some frankly gorgeous cinematography, they really capture the feel of the location perfectly. They also build a lot of suspense with it, and even capture some imagery that is kind of horror-esque in how graphic and disturbing it is.

This show/season has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 75/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

While not perfect, “Fortitude” still serves up a nice, cold mystery. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Though as previously mentioned, the score if brought down a bit by the show expecting you to really bend your suspension of disbelief. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Fortitude” season 1 is an 8,91/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it’s definitely still worth watching.

My review of “Fortitude” season 1 is now completed.

It still kind of works as horror.

Movie Review: Constantine (2005)

So what’s on the Month of Spooks meny today? Spooky comic book adaptation? Neat.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Constantine”.

The story follows John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), a private detective handling cases of the supernatural kind, as he helps an LAPD detective (Rachel Weisz) try to prove that her sister’s death wasn’t a normal suicide, but something more sinister. All while John is dealing with the recent news that he has a really severe case of lung cancer. So now we have our spooky detective story. And it’s good. Not perfect, but good. Overall it’s a very well paced story that never feels like it drags, but there is kind of a weird disconnect between the plots of the movie. It’s clear that they used the “Dangerous Habits” story arc from the comics as basis, but then added the cop with the dead sister plot onto it because I guess they needed a more movie-esque aspect in the plot. And the two sometimes tie into each other okay, but a lot of the time they don’t fully gel. Both plots on their own are really good, but putting them together like that doesn’t fully work. But overall, pretty good stuff.

The characters in this get some decent development and are all pretty interesting. First up we have Keanu Reeves (whoa) as the titular hellblazer. He’s a sarcastic jerk who doesn’t let anyone get close, for reasons we shall not disclose, but it’s some good stuff. He’s quite a departure from the comics, but I still found him to be an entertaining and interesting character. And Reeves is really good in the role. Next we have Rachel Weisz as Angela Dodson, the detective that Constantine decides to help. She’s tough as hell without it coming off as forced or unrealistic. She feels a bit more real. And Weisz is great in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Tilda Swinton, Shia LaBeouf, Djimon Hounsou, Max Baker, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gavin Rossdale, Peter Stormare, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Brian Tyler (with some additions by Klaus Badelt) and I think he did a great job with it. The score takes influences from a couple cultures as well as taking inspiration from a couple different genres such as horror and action. And it creates a really interesting sound that elevates the various scenes where music can be heard.

Based on the “Hellblazer” comics by DC/Vertigo, this movie was directed by Francis Lawrence, and I think he did a really good job with that. While elements of the story and character have trouble capturing the vibe of the comic, his direction gets closer to capturing that feel… if it was turned up to 11 that is, but that’s slightly besides the point. But I do like the slightly gothic vibe this thing has, which often manages to add some creep factor to it all. And the cinematography by Philippe Rousselot is pretty great too, giving us some damn fine looking shots throughout.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 46% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 50/100. Roger Ebert gave it 1,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

While not necessarily a great representation of its source material, “Constantine” is still a damn good supernatural action thriller. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. As previously mentioned, it is brought down a bit by elements in the story feeling somewhat disjointed. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Constantine” is an 8,94/10. So while flawed, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Constantine” is now completed.

Whoa.

Movie Review: The Devil’s Backbone (2001)

Well, this is fun. I was already planning on doing this movie for the Month of Spooks, but then I found out that today was Guillermo del Toro’s birthday, so what better time to do it? So here we go!

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Devil’s Backbone”!

Set during the Spanish Civil War, the story follows a young boy named Carlos (Fernando Tielve) who gets moved into an orphanage for boys. And it doesn’t take long to discover some of the dark secrets that lurk within the place. So now we have our spook drama. And I found it quite engaging. I do like that it’s not just about a child sneaking around a creepy place, as it’s more about exploring the dark side of humanity rather than just jumping out at the audience like any ol’ horror flick. Yes, there is some spooky shit within the plot, and I do think it’s implemented really cleverly into the plot. It manages to blend effective drama with a simple enough ghost plot to create a really compelling and engaging package.

The characters in this are layered, flawed, and quite interesting. Fernando Tielve plays Carlos, the main character in this. He’s a good-hearted kid who gets pulled into some less good stuff, and it makes for an interesting contrast with some of the bad things he gets involved with. And Tielve is great in the role. Next up we have Eduardo Noriega as Jacinto, who is kind of the groundskeeper of this orphanage. And he’s a huge dick, I don’t know what else to say other than it makes him an interesting antagonist in this. Noriega is great in the role. Then we get supporting performances from people like Íñigo Garcés, Federico Luppi, Marisa Paredes, Irene Visedo, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Javier Navarrete, and I thought it was great. It build a good amount of suspense, it adds a lot of emotion, and it just overall sounds fantastic, making scenes where it’s prominent am even better experience. It uses a lot of strings, and I think that works very well here.

As you probably guessed from the intro to this, the movie was written and directed by Guillermo del Toro (with Antonio Trashorras and David Muñoz helping out on the writing side). And of course it’s as well crafted as ever. The way that del Toro captures his scenes/actors manages to feel very real while still having an otherworldly essence to it. And when he wants to creep me out, he really succeeded with that. And the cinematography by Guillermo Navarro is pretty stunning, capturing both the disturbing and the beautiful in this world.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 92% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 78/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“The Devil’s Backbone” is an impressive horror-drama from one of the best director’s around. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Devil’s Backbone” is a 9,67/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Devil’s Backbone” is now completed.

Happy birthday, GDT.

Movie Review: Serenity (2005)

Once upon a time, there was a tv show called “Firefly”. It was this well-written genre-bending sci-fi show about a group of space cowboys and the adventures they went on. It was beloved by many, but was unfortunately canceled after only 14 episodes. Fans were devastated. But two years after it got canceled, fans saw something shiny in the distance. Was it a continuation of the show? Yes it was. And today we’re taking a look at it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Serenity”.

Set after the events of the show, we once again follow the crew of the ship Serenity, led by Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), as they are hunted down by a mysterious assassin (Chiwetel Ejiofor) hellbent on getting to a specific member of the crew. So now we have our space opera featuring cowboys. And I found this to be a really good plot. It feels like an extended episode of the show, giving us the fun space adventure we wanted while also further evolving the universe. And I also think it works the perspective of someone who hasn’t seen the show before. Sure, people might be slightly lost on a few aspects, but it’s not so ingrained in the show’s plotlines that it would alienate general audiences. And I do in think this is a fun, suspenseful, emotional, and overall well told story.

The characters in this are layered, unique, interesting, and overall entertaining. While I’m sure there are those of you here who are unfamiliar with these characters, I will not go in-depth with those returning from the show as it would make this post last far too long. But in that group we have Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Summer Glau, Adam Baldwin, Sean Maher, Morena Baccarin, Jewel Staite, and Ron Glass, all giving great performances throughout, and most getting some good development throughout. Let’s talk about Chiwetel Ejiofor as the film’s villain, simply known as The Operative. He’s a calm, well-spoken, and generally diplomatic guy who is a highly capable killer. And that makes him quite an interesting villain, making him a good foe for our beloved heroes. And Ejiofor is really good in the role. We also get some supporting performances from people like David Krumholtz, Michael Hitchcock, Sarah Paulson, Yan Feldman, Rafael Feldman, Tamara Taylor, and more, all giving solid performances.

The score for the movie was composed by David Newman, and I think he did a really good job with it. As expected from something that is about cowboys, it of course takes a lot of inspiration from western and country, with various string-based instruments used throughout to give off that cowboy-ish vibe. But there are also some tracks implementing the sort of percussion and brass one can expect from a lot of sci-fi. And it all comes together to create a fun, engaging, and emotional score.

As previously mentioned, “Serenity” is a follow-up to the tv show “Firefly”, which was created by Joss Whedon. And this movie is written and directed by Whedon as well, who does a great job bringing the stuff I love about the show to a larger scale. The fast-paced action, the intimate conversations between characters, and the overall fun vibe that the show always had. And yes, the snappy dialogue of course makes a return, and it’s just as funny and enjoyable as it was in the show. And the cinematography by Jack Green was really good, giving us a lot of cool shots. The visual effects can be hit or miss, but I don’t mind too much, especially since I know that this was a lower budget production (compared to a lot of contemporary movies). Overall the technical stuff just comes together nicely.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 83% 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 7,9/10.

“Serenity” is not only a good continuation of the “Firefly” universe, but it’s also an overall enjoyable sci-fi romp. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography/effects/humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Serenity” is a 9,82/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Serenity” is now completed.

Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don’t care, I’m still free
You can’t take the sky from me