Movie Review: Shot Caller (2017)

Don’t commit crimes, kids. It’s bad for you.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Shot Caller”.

Jacob (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) used to be a successful businessman, but that started changing after getting thrown in jail because of a DUI. And he soon starts getting involved with the gangs inside of the prison, turning him from a successful business person and loving father, to a stoic and ruthless gangster. And I thought the plot here was pretty good. It’s told in a semi-non-linear way, in that it jumps between past (ending up in jail) and present (out of jail) and shows how Jacob changes over that time, and I thought that was quite interesting. And overall there is some decent tension throughout the plot, as well as some pretty good dramatic moments spread throughout. My problem with it is that I felt like the pacing dragged at times. I’m fine with a movie that can move at a somewhat slower pace, but this at times just decided to drag it’s feet rather than move at a decently steady pace. It’s not a constant ass-drag, but it is noticeable in parts. So overall the plot here is pretty good.

The characters here are pretty good. Some more interesting than others. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays the main character Jacob (or Money as he’ll be known as later). Seeing his progression from good-natured businessman and loving father to this cold and ruthless gangster is endlessly fascinating. And you can tell that even when he’s become this cold gangster, he’s a bit conflicted, like there’s still good in him. And Coster-Waldau is great in the role. Then we have Jon Bernthal as a guy called Shotgun, one of the gang members that Jacob gets to know. As the movie goes on we get to know some interesting things about him that makes him feel a bit deeper than a lot of other ones in the movie. And Bernthal is great here. Then we get Emory Cohen as Howie, a young man who’s part of Jacob’s gang. And he gets some interesting development here. And Cohen is really good in the role. Then you get some really solid supporting performances from people like Omari Hardwick, Evan Jones, Benjamin Bratt, Lake Bell, Jeffrey Donovan, Holt McCallany, and many more. ’tis a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Antonio Pinto and I have mixed feelings about it. There are some great tracks here that are very well composed and work to elevate the scenes that they’re used in. But then there are some tracks that aren’t particularly well composed and feel distractingly out of place in certain moments. So at best I guess the score could be summarized as okay.

This movie was written and directed by Ric Roman Waugh and I think he did a pretty good (there’s that phrase again) job with it. Scenes have a decent flow and have a decent amount of tension to them. And while this isn’t an action movie, when the shit does hit the fan it is badass, exciting, and violent as fuck. And the cinematography from Dana Gonzales looks good.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 67% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 59/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“Shot Caller” has flaws, but it’s still a good movie. It has a pretty good plot, pretty good characters, great performances, okay music, and good directing/cinematography. My flaws are that the pacing drags at times, and some of the music is kind of distracting in how it doesn’t always work. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Shot Caller” is an 8,51/10. While flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Shot Caller” is now completed.

They might as well rename it to “Cops, Crooks, and Facial Hair”.

Movie Review: Black Hawk Down (2001)

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

Ladies and gentlemen, we got a… “Black Hawk Down”.

In 1993, a band of American troopers were sent in Mogadishu, Somalia to try to take down a local warlord who is the cause of a civil war. However when one of their Black Hawk choppers crash in the city they have to fight for survival against essentially everyone in the city… or at least a lot of heavily-armed Somalis. And while the story doesn’t have a lot of cultural empathy, it’s still one hell of a ride. What we have here is a really intense war story and how it affects different people in this situation. And it was all very riveting. There is rarely a calm moment in this movie, so when there finally is a bit of calm you never really take it for granted. But I have to say that it was really interesting, intriguing and pretty well handled.

The characters in this movie are nothing to write home about. They are all bland and never really develop at any time. And I know that you might be sitting there like “Come on, they’re in a war, there is no time for character development”. Three words: “Saving Private Ryan”, a war movie that is just as intense but takes the time to develop it’s characters and keep them interesting. The only reason you care for the characters in this movie is because the movie makes you root for them but introducing them in the beginning and making sure you don’t completely hate them. The only one I actually still really cared about was Josh Hartnett’s characters, but that’s really only because he gets the most space out of everyone. That and his performance is pretty great. That is something positive I can say: while the characters are bland and such, the acting is still fucking phenomenal, great work by everyone in the movie.

The score for the movie was composed by the ever so masterful Hans Zimmer. It is tense, emotional, big and badass. I would really say that it perfectly fit a war movie of this size and scope while also working very well musically overall. I also like the good mix of licensed tracks in the movie because they all worked really well in my opinion.

“Black Hawk Down” was directed by Ridley Scott who I am a huge fan of and once again, he delivered. First off, the movie is masterfully shot and directed and never really has any of that terrible shaky-cam bullshit. And the action scenes are very well handled too. They are both masterfully crafted and plentiful, so anyone in need of realistic war-action, look no further. I will just say that at one point there was so much intensity going on that I thought I was gonna get a heart attack from this damn movie. Thankfully the movie felt like quieting down for a bit around that time so I could catch my breath.

This movie was well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 76% positive rating and a “Fresh” ceritifcation. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10. The movie also won 2 Oscars in the categories of Best film editing and Best sound. It was also nominated for an additional 2 Oscars in the categories of Best director and Best cinematography. 

“Black Hawk Down” is a really intense war movie with an engaging plot, bland & uninteresting characters, great acting, great music,  great directing and excellent action. Time for my final score. AAAAAAHHHHH. My final score for “Black Hawk Down” is a 9,38/10. I would say that it’s worth buying.
Worth buying

My review of “Black Hawk Down” is now completed.

Only the dead have seen the end of war. 

Movie Review: Headhunters (2011)

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Hello guys. I am sorry that it’s been a while. I wanted to give you a review earlier this weekend but I was away and couldn’t do anything about it. But now that I am home I have watched a movie and sat my butt down to review it. You know what the fun part of it is? It comes from Norway, the country my dad is from, it is also our neighboring country.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Headhunters”.

Roger Brown (Aksel Hennie) is a short man, but he still got a pretty great life. He is an accomplished headhunter and thief. He also got a beautiful wife (Synnøve Macody Lund) and a very expensive house. One day he tries to steal a very valuable painting from former mercenary Clas Greve (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). And then a game of cat and mouse starts where Brown has to go on the run. And I was intrigued the whole way through. This is an action-thriller with an incredibly suspenseful and really well-told plot. While most action-thrillers these days rely on big action set-pieces and bare-bones storytelling, but “Headhunters” manages to create a compelling plot that had me interested through all of it. It also has some pretty good twists to offer.

The characters (despite the strange situation they’re in) all fell like very real people. You feel like they have gone through life in very different ways and they never feel fake. And the acting in the movie is pretty fucking great as well. Aksel Hennie is great as Roger Brown, showing himself as a man terrified for his life yet still maintaining a sense of calm. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was also pretty great in the movie, playing a pretty intimidating man/villain. Really, all the acting was pretty great, but can you expect anything less from a movie that stars Max Manus and Jamie Lannister?

The music for the movie was composed by Trond Bjerknæs and Jeppe Kaas and it was really good. I wouldn’t call it anything unique or new, but I woiuld still say that it’s really good and fits the movie very well. It’s your typical action-thriller style of score, but it’s still good. It doesn’t bring the movie down simply because of it being similar to other scores that we have heard.

This is a great looking movie. The shots look fantastic and you know what? Whenever there is action in the movie, it is all practical, no CGI. Sure, there might have been some CG at some point, but I sure as shit didn’t notice any. That is especially impressive when it comes to one scene in particular that made me go “Is he seriously d- he is seriously doing that… shit”. A lot of praise to the people who made the movie for that. Thank you, Morten Tyldum for directing it as well as you did. Also, if you didn’t know, this movie is based on the book of the same name by Jo Nesbø who my parents have recommended a lot of times so I should probably read one or two or… all of his books. Because now I am very curious about them.

This movie has been well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 92% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“Headhunters” is a very odd thriller… and I love that. The story is intriguing and suspenseful, the acting is great, the music is good, the directing is great, the action is great and I just had an overall great time with it. Time for my final score. FAEN! My final score for “Headhunters” is a 9,88/10. I think it’s worthy of the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

“Headhunters” is now reviewed.

No heads are being hunted, what a disappointment…