Movie Review: About a Boy (2002)

Having kids. Not everyone’s cup of tea. There, I said it. So many think everyone should have kids and that there’s something wrong with you if you don’t. But that’s such a narrow view of stuff. Be open to other people’s life choices. And those who don’t wanna have kids, don’t look down at those who have kids. Let’s all be friends.

Ladies and gentlemen… “About a Boy”.

Will (Hugh Grant) is an immature, cynical bachelor that has chosen single mothers as his new dating targets, and he’s willing to put up any lie to get inside their pants. This however backfires when a 12-year old boy (Nicholas Hoult) starts seeing through his lie, and becomes a central part of Will’s life. And maybe these two will learn some stuff from each other. So now we have our rom-rom/coming-of-age story. And it honestly subverted a lot of expectations I had. With these two genres, one expects a lot of tropes, and we do get a few of them here, which end up being some of the weaker elements of the story. But with that said, there’s still enough nuance and subversion here to make it an intriguing and surprisingly engaging take on these two familiar genres, while still giving you some of the heartwarming bits you’d expect.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, colorful, and overall quite interesting. Hugh Grant plays Will, the cynical man-child at the center of this story. Never one to commit himself to a single person for long, he drifts around various women like a lying asshole. He isn’t the typical charming, Hugh Grant rom-com character, and it makes him quite an intriguing and refreshing character to watch as he evolves. And Grant is great in the role. Next we have a young Nicholas Hoult as Marcus, the little kid that Will begrudgingly “befriends”. He’s a bit weird, but he’s also clever, charming, and quite an endearing kid. And Hoult is really good in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Toni Collette, Natalia Tena, Rachel Weisz, Victoria Smurfit, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score was composed by the musician known as Badly Drawn Boy, and it was good. They’re basically indie pop songs, which I’d assume is the genre that Badly Drawn Boy might be associated with usually. There are even a few instrumentals that could fit that description used throughout. And this music works alright within the story. The tunes themselves are pretty good, it’s just that when used within a movie context, it creates a bit of a bland vibe. So overall… pretty good.

Based on a novel by Nick Hornby, this movie was directed by Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz, and I think they did a good job with it. There’s certainly a warmth their direction brings that makes it feel nice to watch (if that makes any sense). What really surprised me though was the shot composition. So many romantic comedies out there have what I like to call a “start the camera” look, in which it just looks like they started the camera, with no real thought of giving the movie an interesting style or any fun camerawork. But here, there’s plenty of both, this is a really well shot movie. And since it’s a comedy, we should talk about the humor… it’s funny. Some light slapstick, some surprisingly dark jokes, some clever digs at things. I laughed throughout.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 75/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10. The movie was nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best Adapted Screenplay.

While it still dips into cliches at times, “About a Boy” still subverts enough to impress. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, good music, great directing, and funny comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “About a Boy” is an 8,97/10. So while a little flawed, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “About a Boy” is now completed.

Hughbert Grantchester is a lot better when he gets to do these slightly more offbeat characters.

Movie Review: X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

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I have been a pretty big fan of Marvel’s mutant franchise for most of my life. It all started with the cartoon “X-Men: Evolution”, and then I of course started watching the movies. And the rest is history. So I am of course always excited when a new one of these is about to be released. So let’s see if this was another hit.

Ladies and gentlemen… “X-Men: Apocalypse”!

Ancient mutant En Sabah Nur (Oscar Isaac) has awoken from his really long slumber and is recruiting various mutants to join him in destroying the world and rebuilding it into something different. So it’s up to Professor X (James McAvoy), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), and a bunch of other mutants to stop him before everything goes to shit. Sounds pretty standard from that outlook, but it is far more interesting than that. The only real flaw with the story is that it takes a while to actually grab the viewer and get them invested. But after about 20 – 30 minutes we get a scene involving Magneto (Michael Fassbender) which truly helps kick off the story and increase the drama. And after that I felt that the plot worked very well throughout, featuring some truly great storytelling. Again, it’s those first minutes that take a while to get going as they only act to set up characters and the plot. But after that… shit gets good!

The characters in this movie are really interesting. James McAvoy as Professor X once again knocked it out of the park, he is so great in this movie. Michael Fassbender as Magneto, fucking amazing, especially since he actually gets a few pretty damn emotional moments. And the interplay between these two main characters is just as great as ever. Jennifer Lawrence was good as Mystique, you could tell that she was phoning it in a little bit, but overall her perforamance was good. Nicholas Hoult was great as Beast. Rose Byrne (welcome back), was really good as Moira MacTaggert. Evan Peters as Quicksilver… he was just awesome, like in “Days of Future Past”. I’d even argue that he’s even better in this movie since he gets more to do and has more of a purpose in this story. So now let’s talk about the newcomers. Sophie Turner was really good as Jean Grey, I am glad that she got to shine a bit in this movie with some scenes/moments that requires the actor to be able to portray anger and distress in a movie, and she nailed it. Tye Sheridan played Cyclops in this movie and I thought he was really good. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a fan of Sheridan, but I am saying it because he was genuinely good in the role. And to answer your questions, yes I am really a fan of the guy. Kodi Smit-McPhee played Nightcrawler in the movie, and that is something I was really interested in because Nightcrawler is my favorite mutant. And I am happy to say that the guy was really good in the role. Then finally, let’s talk about Oscar Isaac as En Sabah Nur, or Apocalypse as he’s more known as. Oscar Isaac is one of the best actors of the modern generation, so I was very excited when he was cast in the role. And how was he? At first his performance felt a little odd, not exactly something that I’d say was great. But then as the movie went on I got more used to it and I’d even argue that his performance got a better over time. And as a villain in general I thought Apocalypse was fine, he was suitably intimidating and badass.

Like in the previous movie, the score was composed by John Ottman who also did the editing on the film. But how was his score for the movie? Good. It’s, bombastic… the stuff you’d expect from this type of huge superhero movie. Not to say that it’s bad, I’m just saying that it doesn’t take any big or unique or unexpected turns. But it’s good. And there are a few licensed tracks in the movie as well that caught my attention, mainly because of how cleverly they were put in the movie.

This is the fourth “X-Men” movie to be directed by Bryan Singer. And I think that he once again did a great job. The shots look good and the action is very well directed. Speaking of action, there are two action scenes in this movie that just blew me away. One of them is one I won’t spoil in case you have managed to avoid trailers and/or spoilers and haven’t seen the movie yet. But let me tell you… it’s brutal and badass. The other one… remember Quicksilver’s awesome scene from “Days of Future Past”? Yeah, it’s like that but even better. And the visual effects in the movie look great. Sure, at times there a fuckload of it and you know it… but I never thought it detracted from the movie at all… stuff looked great.

This movie has gotten some truly mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 48% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 52/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

I honestly don’t understand all the hate that “X-Men: Apocalypse” has gotten. Is it the best “X-Men” movie? No. But it’s still a damn fine movie. With a good plot, great characters, great acting, good music, great directing, great action, and some great visual effects. The only drawback is those first 20 – 30 minutes that kind of drag on. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “X-Men: Apocalypse” is a 9,40/10. It’s not perfect, but it’s still definitely worth buying!
Worth buying

My review of “X-Men: Apocalypse” is now completed.

Feel thy name extermination
Desecrating, hail of fire
So we cross that line
Into the crypt
Total eclipse
Suffer unto my apocalypse!

Movie Review: Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

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Can ayone believe that it’s been 30 years since the last “Mad Max” movie came out? It’s kind of incredible if you think about it. Now as you also may remember, I recently did a series of reviews on the original “Mad Max” trilogy. And that is the reason why it’s taken me so long to watch (and review) this one. I wanted to see the originals first. But now that those are done and this movie is out on all video platforms, I could sit down and review it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mad Max: Fury Road”.

The world has gone to shit… oh wait, it had already done that in “Road Warrior”. Anyway, everything is a wasteland and once again we follow Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy). In this movie he has to help a group of women led by someone called Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron) get to safety from the new bad guy simply known as Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne). And Max has to do this while being mentally haunted by his past. What I was surprised by with “Fury Road” is the dramatic heft, it is actually really good. This movie presented it’s simple plot with a surprising amount of narrative skill and dramatic heft which really imporved a lot. This movie is a straight up road trip in a wasteland filled with crazy people, yet they managed to put in a lot of great storytelling without it feeling forced or terrible and that is something I absolutely loved.

The characters in this movie are just as colorful and unique as in the previous three movies. Tom Hardy is excellent as Max, really playing this broken and even a bit cynical man. And to still your minds on the question of who I liked more as Max out of Hardy and Gibson… I liked Mel Gibson more. Don’t get me wrong, Hardy was great but I still prefer Gibson a bit more. Anyway, moving on. Charlize Theron as Furiosa… holy shit. Her performance is incredible. There is so much emotion behind her that she really disappears into her performance. Nicholas Hoult is also in the movie, playing a crazy guy named Nux. And he was also pretty great. Then we have Hugh Keays-Byrne (Sidenote: Also played main villain Toecutter in the original “Mad Max”) who plays the villain Immortan Joe. And he was pretty great as well. Nothing much to say other than that he was kind of badass. Unfortunately there was no Bruce Spence in the movie, but I guess we’ll have to live with that. Anyway, every performance was great and every character was entertaining.

The score for the movie was done by Tom Holkenborg (A.K.A. Junkie XL) who also did the score for the movie “Run All Night”. And I’m not gonna lie, the score for the movie was pretty fucking fantastic. It’s big, it’s loud, it’s bombastic and at times it is even beautiful. It is for the most part consistent of a normal orchestra with the occasional electronic sound. But then there are times where the score decides to say “Fuck it” and throw in some electric guitar and be badass. What I am trying to say is that the score is about as crazy, unpredictable and badass as the movie it is used in and I fucking love it.

Once again, George Miller is here to direct a “Mad Max” movie and wow, he has really out-done himself. This movie is perfectly directed and the shots look fantastic. This might be the best looking movie I’ve seen so far that came out this year. Also, thank the lord for the action scenes! I’m almost sick of action movies from recent years. Too much CGI, too much shaky-cam, too much green screen. But then comes “Mad Max: Fury Road” and decides to fix everything again. Everything is practical, there is minimal CGI, no green screen and there is no shaky-cam. The action in this movie is fast, visceral, brutal and the best in recent years. I would put it like this: It’s “The Road Warrior” times 500. It is crazy, bonkers and as amazing as action can be! GAAAAAAH!

This movie released to pretty much universal acclaim. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 97% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 89/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,3/10 and is ranked #112 on the “Top 250” list.

“Mad Max: Fury Road” is a breath of fresh, sandy air. It has a surprisingly dramatic & great story, great characters/acting, fantastic music, excellent direction and some of the best action ever. Time for my final score. Hey look, an envelope. WHAT A LOVELY DAY!!! My final score for “Mad Max: Fury Road” is 9,87/10. It definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

Review of “Mad Max: Fury Road” is completed.

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Movie Review: X-men – Days of Future Past (2014)

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I love Marvel, you love Marvel, please Marvel give us a super crossover with all franchises and stop bitching about who gets what rights. Sorry, had to get that out of my system. To be completely honest I did grow up on Marvel more than DC. As a kid I watched shows like “Spider-man” or “X-Men: Evolution“. I guess I’ve always been a Marvel guy (But I do still love me some good DC stuff). I think that “X-men” have been a franchise that interested me more than most because of how diverse the characters and their powers are. You have a guy with Metal Claws and super healing and then one with Laser vision and a Demon Smurf who can teleport. Sorry, getting off track (But only a little). I simply love “X-men”. So of course I saw the movies that had their ups and downs. But now we have another one, directed by the guy who did the first two (Sidenote: He also did “The Usual Suspects”). So is this any good? Or should we burn that shit? Let’s have a look!

(X)Men and (X)women… “X-Men: Days of Future Past”.

So what is the plot of this movie? The future is complete shit. The mutants are being hunted down by these giant robots called Sentinels who were originally created by Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage). So what do our Mutant heroes do to try to stop them? They decide to send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back in time to stop the creation of them. Back in time he teams up with young Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) and young Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult) to stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from causing the creation of the sentinels (Trust me, the movie will explain how that works). And while Wolverine is in the past doing his thing the other Mutants have to try to fend off the Sentinels attacking them. This plot might seem like it is all over the damn place but trust me, it is inredibly focused and well-written. I found the story to be engaging, suspenseful and just fantastic. I really loved how they handled it.

The characters in this movie never feel cluttered or underused, they all fit perfectly into this movie. And there are a lot of characters in this movie. They brought in pretty much everyone from the “X-men” franchise into this movie. And like I said, no one felt out of place, they all worked and were very unique an fleshed out. Here, let me mention some of the characters I missed earlier; Storm (Halle Berry), Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Bishop (Omar Sy), Colossus (Daniel Cudmore) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender/Ian McKellen). But by far, the best character in the entire movie (My opinion) has to be Quicksilver (Evan Peters). He was pretty fucking awesome. There was also a risk using him since he could have been annoying… but he wasn’t. He was nothing but pure awesome, definitely my favorite in the movie. And I do not think I have to mention anything about the acting considering the cast. You have seen pretty much everyone in this movie in one way or another in previous insallments of the franchise or in other movies. They all gave great performances.

The score by John Ottman was nothing short of fantastic. Orchestral tracks for all kinds of situations. Need something for a big fight? You got it! Need something for a more subtle and quieter scene? Done! This soundtrack got it all! Besides, I might be slightly biased considering my love for many of John Ottman’s other works. Anyway, the score was awesome.

The way this movie was directed really hightened the experience for me. I already knew Bryan Singer was a great director with movies like the first two “X-men” movies and “The Usual Suspects” that I mentioned before. But this movie is probably his most well-directed one yet. It looks beautiful and never lingers on anything too long. The CGI in this movie was also really impressive. Sure, previous movies have shown great CGI too, but this is where you just Marvel (puns…) at it. It is magnificent. The action in this movie is also really great. It really gets better with the CGI too since it can elevate the scene since that is the only way these characters can really show their powers. I also have to mention how dark this movie gets at a few points. I mean sure, other Sci-fi action movies have been dark before, but this came as a big surprise to me. “X-men” movies haven’t been this dark before. And that really gave this movie a great edge.

People (and critics) really seemed to like this movie. On Rotten Tomatoes this movie has a 91% positive score and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. And finally on imdb.com it has an 8,1/10 and is ranked #204 on the “Top 250” list.

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” got a great story, great characters/acting, a great soundtrack, great visual effects, great action, great emotion, great humor and is delightfully dark. Now for the final score. Hey, Wolverine, will you help me cut this envelope open? Thank you! My final score for “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is a 9,82/10. This movie is great and of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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“X-Men: Days of Future Past” is now reviewed.

How in the hell will “X-Men: Apocalypse” be able to  top this?