Movie Review: Mimic (1997)

That’s right, more Month of Spooks content. And today it’s from one of my favorite directors. So let’s go!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mimic”.

A few years ago, a special insect was created to eradicate disease-carrying cockroaches. Now, that action is carrying dark, violent consequences. So now we have our horror story. And I am so mixed about it. I can see the strong vision in it, there’s a lot of clever shit going on with it here. But man, there’s something about it, the way it’s put together that just feels off. And I know exactly what that is, which we will get into later. Again, there’s good stuff going on in the background, but the way it’s cut together… it doesn’t really work.

The characters in this, like the story, have some decent ideas to them, but end up suffering due to how this is cut. You have a stellar cast consisting of people like Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Northam, Josh Brolin, and Charles S. Dutton… but I didn’t really care so much about their characters on a level other than “Oh hey, that’s an actor I like!”. I can see the foundations for the characters peeking through, and it’s not bad… but again, the final execution fucks with this a bit. So I guess I’ll just say, the performances are very good, but the characters unfortunately suffer.

The score for “Mimic” was composed by Marco Beltrami, and it’s alright. Sometimes it can be slightly overbearing in how it tries be loud and startling. And at other times it’s this low-key and haunting score that adds a very welcome amount of emotional weight to proceedings.

Based on a short story by Donald Wollheim, the movie was written by Guillermo del Toro and Matthew Robbins, directed by del Toro… and cut to shit by the Weinstein brothers (I told you I’d get around to explaining). Some of del Toro’s vision does shine through at times, which in combination with Dan Laustsen’s cinematography can make for some stunning shots and moments. But if you do a bit of sleuthing on the production of this movie, you’ll find out that there were frequent clashes between del Toro and the producing brothers. While del Toro got to shoot the movie he wanted, thanks to interventions form Mira Sorvino, he had no control of the final cut, which was in the hands of the dumbnamic duo, which is why it feels so weirdly chopped up at times, why it doesn’t quite reach that strong vision that can be spotted in certain moments. Which is a shame, because the little quality that can be gleaned… it’s strong. Fucked over, but strong.

On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 61% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 55/10. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,9/10.

I don’t wanna say negative stuff about movies, especially not ones with one of my favorite directors attached to them… but the producers butchered it too much to give a positive review. It has an okay-ish plot, not great characters, really good performances, pretty good music, and really solid directing/cinematography. However, it all gets undone by a poor final cut. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mimic” (the theatrical cut) is a 4,87/10. Saddens me to say that I’d recommend skipping it.

My review of “Mimic” (the theatrical cut) is now completed.

Apparently there’s a director’s cut that del Toro released a few years back. Might need to get around to that some day.

Movie Review: What Maisie Knew (2013)

It’s really hard to know what’s actually going on within the mind of a child at any given time. It would be interesting to be able to just get a good look inside the noggin of a child and see what is happening in there… especially during strange/traumatic events. Not saying they should be exploited like that, just that it would be interesting to see how their mind might process these things.

Ladies and gentlemen… “What Maisie Knew”.

We follow Maisie (Onata Aprile), a six-year-old girl. Her parents (Julianne Moore & Steve Coogan) are going through an out-drawn and bitter custody battle over Maisie. So we basically follow Maisie journey through this custody battle, and we see how it affects her and her life. What I found interesting about it never leaves Maisie’s perspective. It’s less about the custody battle itself, and more about how Maisie looks at it and tries to sort of cope with all the weird changes that happen in her life. The perspective of the young child is fairly unique in these kinds of stories, and it gives the movie a very interesting and unique feel. It’s a plot that can be quite heavy, but it also doesn’t shy away from showing some of the happier moments in Maisie’s life. It’s good.

What I like about the characters here is that none of them are painted as an antagonist or a perfectly good person, but rather as flawed and fairly realistic human beings. First up we have Onata Aprile as Maisie, the titular girl who’s going through all of this. The best way I can describe her character is that she’s a child. She’s naive, but not stupid. She’s filled with joy, but she’s not happy all the time. She feels very realistic in terms of the situation. And Aprile is really good in the role. Then we have Julianne Moore as Maisie’s mom, Susanna. She’s a hot-headed and somewhat self-destructive musician. She loves her daughter, due to her being a bit hot-headed and egotistical, it creates a bit of a rift between her and the people around her, and it makes her quite a tragic character. And Moore is great in the role. Then we have Steve Coogan as Beale, Maisie’s dad. He’s an art dealer who is away quite a lot and very rarely finds time for his daughter. But he’s not a total ass about it, like some movies would portray him. And Coogan is really good in the role. Then we have Alexander Skarsgård as Lincoln, a man that Maisie’s mom more or less starts dating in the movie. He’s a pretty quiet man with a good heart, and is the closest to a full on “good guy” we have here. And it’s interesting to see his relationship with Maisie grow throughout the movie. And Skarsgård is great in the role. The final one we’re talking about is Joanna Vanderham as Margo, Maisie’s nanny and pseudo-bonus-mom. Kind of like with Lincoln, she is kind of the closest we have to a good person, as she cares more about Maisie rather than her own wants and needs. And Vanderham is really good in the role. Overall it’s a very well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Nick Urata, and it was really good. It’s a relaxing and emotional piece that is clearly trying to capture the childlike innocence of Maisie and her perspective on the entire situation. And it really captures that feeling perfectly, creating a beautiful score that helps bring a lot of extra emotion to the movie.

Based on a very old novel by Henry James, this movie was directed by Scott McGehee & David Siegel, and I think they did a really good job with it. Just like with the plot and music, their direction here is from Maisie’s perspective, aiming to show us what this entire situation looks and feels like from her point of view. The camera work never really strays from Maisie, always keeping it within close proximity of her to sort of keep us close to her. She’s the important one, not the other people. And that perspective is captured very well. And the cinematography by Giles Nuttgens is pretty damn good too.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“What Maisie Knew” is a heartfelt look into a child’s life during a strange time. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and really good directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “What Maisie Knew” is a 9,67/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “What Maisie Knew” is now completed.

I feel quite lucky that I’ve never had to deal with anything like this.

Movie Review: Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)

Spider-Man, Spider-Man, rebooted often like no one can. Now with Marvel, he tries again. And have to fight the Batman. Look out… here comes the Reboot-Man.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Spider-Man: Homecoming”.

Set two months after “Civil War”, Peter Parker (Tom Holland) is back in New York, just trying to live his double life as a high school student and as Spider-Man. He also wants to prove himself to Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) to show that he too can be an Avenger. And as Peter is dealing with school, romance, and helping the community out as Spidey, a villain not called The Vulture (Michael Keaton) starts making a lot of trouble. And Peter sees this as the opportunity to really prove himself to Tony. So now we have our coming-of-age superhero movie. And I thought the plot here was great. You not only have the fast-paced parts of Spidey trying to figure who this Birdman (HA!) is and how he could stop him, but you also have slower moments developing the story of Peter Parker and how he deals with everything in his life. And I thought this was all really well handled. I felt invested in the plot, it really managed to have a good blend of superhero adventure and a John Hughes-ish coming-of-age dramedy. It was great.

The characters in this are fun, entertaining, and really interesting. Tom Holland showed in “Civil War” that he could be a really good Spidey (and Peter Parker), but his screen time was limited. Now that he has a full movie he really got the opportunity to show what he could do, and it paid off. Holland is fantastic as both Peter Parker and Spider-Man, showing both the relatable and dorky side known as Peter Parker, and the fun/cool hero that is Spider-Man. He does the one thing the two previous actors couldn’t: Perfectly portray both sides of the character. Michael Keaton as The Vulture was great. Usually the MCU has villains that are passable at best, but they really managed to make him interesting. They give him a backstory and some understandable motivation which just makes him so much more interesting than most of teh generic MCU villains. And Michael Keaton is fantastic in the role. Jacob Batalon plays Peter’s best friend Ned in this movie and he’s funny and charming. And Batalon is really good in the role, sharing some great chemistry with Holland. Marisa Tomei as Aunt May was great, she was fun and I really believed her as a mother figure to Peter. Robert Downey Jr. isn’t in the movie much, and when he is there he doesn’t steal the spotlight. He acts as a sort of mentor to Peter and gave us both some funny lines and some okay drama at times. And I don’t think I have to mention that he was great here… dude’s been doing this since 2008. Tony Revolori as Flash Thompson… yeah, he was great. I never thought he could play an asshole, based on his performance and overall appearance in “Grand Budapest Hotel”, but he played an asshole very well in this. Also, welcome back Happy Hogan! That’s right, Jon Favreau returned to play Tony’s assistant, this time acting more as Peter’s supervisor, and he was great. Alright, quickfire round of this movie’s great actors: Donald Glover, Bokeem Woodbine, Laura Harrier, Zendaya, Angourie Rice, Michael Chernus, Logan Marshall-Green, Martin Starr. Wow, that’s a lot of names. And there are more, but I don’t want to spoil them here in case you don’t already know about them.

The score for the movie was composed by Michael Giacchino, and can we just take a second to talk about this man… or machine as I’m inclined to believe that he is. He puts out like 50 billion scores a year… Jesus fucking Christ, man, take a break! Anyhow, his score for this movie was really good. It’s the usual big/fun superhero action stuff, but there are also tracks for smaller scenes throughout and that too sounds really good. There are also a bunch of licensed tracks used throughout this movie. And not only are they overall really good, but they are used very well in their respective scenes.

This movie was directed by Jon Watts, the man behind the very small but still really good “Cop Car”. And I think he did a great job directing this movie. His directing here has a lot of energy and charm to it, making for a pretty fast-paced and fun watch. And the shots do look really good. And the action scenes are pretty clever and really fun, and even a little more violent than I thought they’d be. And I don’t mean violent in the Marvel/Netflix way, but it packed a bit more punch than I was expecting. There’s also a lot of comedy in this movie and I laughed a lot. From simple chuckles to full on belly laughter, this movie brought the laughs. It’s also filled with fun easter eggs and references, both to the MCU and other properties, so have fun discovering them all.

This movie just came out, but it has so far been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10.

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” is the best “Spider-Man” movie we’ve gotten since 2004. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, great directing, and hilarious comedy. Time for my final score. *Thwip!*. My final score for “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Spider-Man: Homecoming” is now completed.

Spidey is good again… I’m so happy!

Movie Review: State of Grace (1990)

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Don’t get involved with mobsters… EVER! It just brings trouble. Understood? Good.

Ladies and gentlemen… “State of Grace”.

Terry Noonan (Sean Penn) is an undercover cop who has returned to his old home of Hell’s Kitchen, New York, after being away for a certain amount of years. And soon he gets in touch with his old friend Jackie (Gary Oldman) who gets Terry involved with the Irish mob, led by Jackie’s brother, Frankie (Ed Harris). And soon Terry gets involved in some pretyt intense stuff. From this we get a surprisingly investing and very well told mob story. There are a few surprises strewn throughout the plot that really helped keep my interest. I’m not saying that they’re mindblowing twists, but they were most defiiinitely a little surprising. So yeah, the plot here is really solid.

I admit, the characters in thsi movie aren’t the most original when it comes to what type of character they all are. But I was definitely interested in all of them. Sean Penn is great as Terry, he perfectly plays this conflicted undercover cop. Ed Harris is great as the mob boss, but you knew that already… it’s Ed fucking Harris. Gary Oldman in this movie is fantastic, playing this very unhinged man. Really, he’s a blast to watch. Robin Wright plays the sister of Harris/Oldman that gets romantically involved with Terry, and she’s great in the role. Then we also get some really good supporting performances from people like John Turturro and John C. Reilly. A solid cast giving great performances… me likey.

The score for the movie was composed by the legendary Ennio Morricone, and he delivered some pretty great tunes, like he always does. The music is dramatic, tense, and it worked very well for the movie. And it just overall sounds great, because Ennio Morricone can do no wrong.

The movie was directed by Phil Joanou and Michael Lee Baron and they did a really solid job. Scenes flow smoothly and everything is just overall well handled. I of course also have to mention that the cinematography by Jordan Cronenweth looks great. But what else should one expect from the man who did the cinematography for “Blade Runner”. One final thing I also want to mention is that this movie contains one of the coolest shootouts that I have ever seen. It’s very late in the movie, but the wait is so worth it. The mix of visuals and sound is really great. It’s also really violent, so if you are squeamish you might not be the biggest fan.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“State of Grace” is a really solid gangster movie. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, great directing, and great cinematography. Time for my final score. *Bang*. My final score for “State of Grace” is a 9,79/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “State of Grace” is now completed.

Early 90s Gary Oldman would make a great Deadpool… just a thought.

Movie discussion: When is “X-Men: Apocalypse” set?

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Hello there ladies and gents, and welcome to Movie Discussions, a series I have on this blog that’s been kind of dead since… April 2015, holy shit. But this is where I ramble about theories and such I have regarding movies. And today we will be taking a look at this year’s “X-Men: Apocalypse”. So with that said, if you have not seen the movie then I recommend that you do first, because there will be some spoilers throughout. There, with that cleared up… let’s get into it!

So in this post we will be taking a look at the question… When is “X-Men: Apocalypse” set? Now, I don’t mean what year, because we do get told that it is 1983. What I mean is that I want to be more specific as to when in 1983 it is set… and I think I have managed to get a pretty good idea as to when, since it doesn’t say any specific dates in the movie, only the year. But with help from certain clues I found in the movie, I have narrowed it down a bit. So let’s talk about it.

The first clue as to figuring it out comes in the form of the scene when Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) together with Psylocke (Olivia Munn) and Storm (Alexandra Shipp) goes to recruit Angel (Ben Hardy). In the scene we have a miserable and most likely drunk Angel, moping while listening to Metallica’s “The Four Horsemen”, which in itself is a fun nod toward Apocalypse and his four horsemen. But this actually realle helps narrow down the time quite a bit. You see, “The Four Horsemen” is a part of Metallica’s debut album “Kill ’em All”, which came out in 1983. To be more specific, it was released on July 25th of that year. So this basically eliminiates the entire first half of 1983. And logically speaking, Angel is probably not listening to that on the day the album came out, so we can most definitely eliminate July as well. And for those who are wondering, “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)”, which was featured in the amazing Quicksliver (Evan Peters) rescue scene, was released in ’83, but before “Kill ’em All”.

My next piece of evidence leans a bit more on speculation, but if you think about it I am making some sense. This isn’t necessarily from a specific scene, it’s more a general thing that could be gathered every now and then. In the scenes where we are at the X-mansion we are given a good look at the outside surrounding it. Based on information given to us from the writers of the comics and such, the X-mansion is supposedly located in the very northeast corner of Westchester county, which is part of the state of New York (because Marvel loves New York apparently). And in my research I quickly found out that Westchester county and the state of New York in general have really snowy winters. And looking at the area surrounding the mansion, we can see that there’s no snow, in fact it is quite green in the area. So that immediately eliminates December. And going back to it being green and even sunny, I’d argue tht November and October are out of the question too since that’s when shit starts decaying and becoming grey, AKA not green, AKA not this movie.

So after eliminating the first half of the year and the last three months of the year, we have managed to narrow down that movie is set around August or September of 1983. Would it be possible to narrow it down even more? Probably. At this point I can only really guess. The closest thing we have to a piece of evidence is Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) being in a High School classroom when we first meet him. And I’m pretty sure High School doesn’t begin until late August/early September in the states, but I could be wrong on that, especially since this movie is set in 1983 and not 2016. But if I’m right with that, the movie is most likely set in September of 1983. Again, this is mainly speculation. I won’t really lose any sleep if Bryan Singer or Simon Kinberg refuse to confirm if I’m correct or not with this. I just did this because I started thinking about it this morning and felt like I needed to write about it. And it’s fun to do another Movie Discussion again. But to conclude this: Based on evidence found throughout the movie, I have (probably) come to the conclusion that “X-Men: Apocalypse” is set in August/September of 1983!

What do you guys think? Am I making sense? Am I conjuring up total bullshit? Do you have any other theories? Leave any and all answers in the comments!
Have a good one!