Movie Review: Upgrade (2018)

Can I just take a second out of this review to talk about release schedules? Because everyone got this movie in the cinemas at some point in 2018… but I didn’t, and then I had to wait until today to be able to see it at home? It’s not the first time I’ve gotten screwed liked this. I wanted to watch it, but my local cinema was like “Nope, sorry, not showing it… you dick”… okay, they didn’t directly say that, but that’s what it felt like with “Upgrade” and various other movies. Seriously, screw release schedules some times.

Ladies and gents… “Upgrade”.

After his wife is killed and he gets paralyzed, Grey (Logan Marshall-Green) accepts an offer to get an experimental surgery that would let him walk again. But soon he finds out that he’s able to do more than that, which he will use to find the people responsible for his misery. So now we have our cyberpunk revenge thriller. And it’s good. I mean, the opening isn’t the most inspired, in a lot of ways it’s just kind of bland. But after that generic opening, the plot just gets better and better and I think it becomes quite unique for a revenge thriller. It’s not one of the greatest plots ever, but it’s certainly a lot of fun and has enough little twists and turns to keep it fresh. So yeah, it’s a good plot.

The characters in this are… fine? Most of them are kind of underdeveloped. For some of the bad guys, I can accept that, as it gives them a sort of video game boss battle quality, which I enjoyed about them. But others that the movie expects me to care about… nope. Anyway, Logan Marshall-Green plays Grey, the average Joe who receives the title to become a badass. And he’s honestly quite a fleshed out character, as he’s given quite a bit of development throughout. And Marshall-Green is great in the role… mostly. At the start he’s bland and average, but like the plot, when shit gets going, he becomes great in the role. Next we have Betty Gabriel as the detective working the case of Grey’s dead wife. And where the movie expects us to give a damn about her… I didn’t, her character isn’t interesting enough in her writing for me to care. But Gabriel is pretty good in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Simon Maiden, Harrison Gilbertson, Melanie Vallejo, Benedict Hardie, Christopher Kirby, and more, all doing pretty well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Jed Palmer and I thought it was really good. It somehow sounds like a mix between typical cyberpunk stuff (“Blade Runner”, “Deux Ex”, etc.) and a couple different horror scores. And the mix, while familiar, feels unique and gives the most an eerie and interesting vibe that I liked quite a bit.

Based on nothing at all, this movie was written by Leigh Whannell, and I think he did a great job here. While the opening (as previously stated) is a bit boring, his direction gives the movie a certain energy that makes it kind of a joy to watch. He finds ways of really engaging the viewer with little details. But it’s in the action scenes where the directing and cinematography truly shines, because holy fucking shit, the action scenes in this movie are fantastic. They’re fast, energetic, and have some of the most clever and unique camera movements I’ve ever seen. There are a couple fights in this movie that honestly kinda blew my mind. There’s also a surprising amount of humor throughout the movie, and none of it feels intrusive, rather just adding to the movie’s fun factor.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 87% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 67/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“Upgrade” is a really good revenge action-thriller. It has a good plot, meh characters, really good performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Though as previously stated, the start of the movie isn’t great, and I don’t really care about most of the characters. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Upgrade” is an 8,72/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Upgrade” is now completed.

That was fun.

Movie Review: A Scanner Darkly (2006)

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The world of Philip K. Dick adaptations is one that has been explored on my blog for quite some time now. Which is interesting considering the fact that I haven’t read anything by him at all. Oh well, I guess I’ll get to his books at some point. But until then, let’s review this adaptation of one of his books.

Ladies and gentlemen… “A Scanner Darkly”.

The story is about an undercover cop (Keanu Reeves) who gets involved with some people to keep track of where this drug called Substance D comes from. Problem is that he gets a little too involved and he basically starts losing his damn mind and even his own identity. And based on that premise you should expect that this plot gets weird, deep, and pretty interesting. And I’d say you’re correct in assuming such things. The plot gets pretty strange and mindbending as it goes on… and I loved it. Not gonna lie, I had to take a good moment to gather my thoughts about all of this. And when I was done thinking I came to the conclusion that I really loved the plot of the movie. It’s interesting to no end and it’s kind of a mindfuck at times.

The characters in the movie are all kind of a bit… odd, to put it gently. No one in this movie is 100% there, everyone’s a little bit loco. Keanu Reeves has never been that great an actor, but I’m still a big fan of the guy. But I have to say that his performance here is one of his better, he’s actually good in this movie. Robert Downey Jr. is also in the movie, playing one of Reeves’ friends and he does a really good job too, playing a fast-talking, and quick-witted guy who’s like I said… loco. Then we also get some other great supporting performances from people like Rory Cochrane, Woody Harrelson, and Winona Ryder. Yeah, only good acting in here.

The score for the movie was composed by Graham Reynolds and it’s really weird and psychedelic. Yes, I can still classify it as music, I can still hear the instruments being used. It just sounds really weird. And by weird I mean good, it really works for this movie. I’m just saying that it is the definition of psychdelic.

This movie was directed by Richard Linklater, and this is the first of his movies that I have ever seen, but that’s not important. What is important however is that this is one of the most uniquely directed movies that I have ever seen. I think you would say that too if you have seen the movie or by simply looking at the picture I chose to head this review with. This entire movie is rotoscoped. Or rotoshopped, if I’m to believe wikipedia. Basically they filmed the actors doing the scenes, only to animate over each frame to create something really weird, unique, and pretty fucking cool. Seriously, you can look up image comparisons on google regarding some frames in the movie where you see the normal version compared to the animated one. It’s quite fascinating to say the least. Fascinating, creative, cool, impressive, weird… there are plenty of adjectives that can be used to describe it.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 69% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

“A Scanner Darkly” is one of the coolest movies I have ever seen. It has an interesting story, odd yet interesting characters, really good acting, good music, fantastic directing with a unique style and some really good writing. Time for my final score. Woaw. My final score for “A Scanner Darkly” is a 9,86/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “A Scanner Darkly” is now completed.

Stay off drugs, kiddos.