Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Hello there, hope you’re having a good weekend. Only a few days until “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is released, which means it’s time for me to cover the second (and final) movie in the previous reboot. So let’s go!

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”.

Peter Parker’s (Andrew Garfield) life is a bit of a hectic one, trying to balance being Spider-Man with being a regular New York teenager. But this is going to get way tougher when a series of new villains emerge and start causing chaos. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is a curious case of occasional good ideas getting absolutely crushed by the overabundance of superfluous plot threads. First is the Peter/Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) romance, fine. Then there’s the introduction of Electro (Jamie Foxx), fine. But then there’s also the backstory involving Peter’s parents. And a plot involving Harry Osborn (Dane Dehaan). And then there’s a few more threads throughout. There’s so much shit going on that it really messes with the pacing. First act is fine, and even has some great shit going on. But as the film goes on, it just becomes an overstuffed, underdeveloped, sluggish mess that is hard to engage with. There are moments of quality in the storytelling, but the overall narrative is just… ugh.

The characters in this are a mixed bag. Our two leads, Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, they’re both charming, fun, engaging, and just overall a great pair, with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone both delivering top notch performances. Next we have Max Dillon/Electro, who is at first set up as our main villain. His characterization is bizarre, and I don’t completely get why they wrote him the way they did. And Jamie Foxx… it’s a mixed bag of a performance. On occasion I do enjoy it, but it often just didn’t click with me. Dane Dehaan as Harry Osborn? Decent performance, undercooked writing. Paul Giamatti as Aleksei Sytsevich? Unnecessary, but very amusing. I’ll at least say that the rest of the supporting cast is solid, featuring people like Sally Field, Colme Feore, Marton Csokas, Felicity Jones, Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz, and more.

The score for the movie was composed by Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, Junkie XL, Johnny Marr, Steve Mazzaro, and Andrew Kawczynski… FUCK, that’s a lot of composers. But they acted as sort of a supergroup to make the music for this, and I think it mostly paid off. It’s an interesting mix of styles and genres, making for a unique and slightly eclectic score that I thoroughly enjoyed hearing throughout the movie. There’s also a handful of licensed songs used throughout, and they are a bit of a mixed bag. Some work pretty well, some less so.

As with the first one, “Amazing Spider-Man 2” was directed by Marc Webb (HA!), and I think he did a solid job. Despite the script being a complete mess, Webb’s direction is sound, flowing beautifully and bringing some nice energy to proceedings. It especially shines in action scenes, which are all generally quite enjoyable. And that’s something I can say, on the technical side of things, this movie is solid.

This movie has gotten some very mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 52% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 53/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.5/10.

Despite a lackluster and overly messy script, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” still has enough bright spots in it to keep it from total failure. It has some good story moments, it has a few good characters, the performances are (mostly) great, the music is really good, and the direction is really solid. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is a 6.23/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is now completed.

*thwip*

Movie Review: The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

Are my eyes deceiving me, or is this another Month of Spooks post? Well it is! And what’s the deal today then? Exorcism? Interesting, let’s go!

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “The Exorcism of Emily Rose”.

When a priest (Tom Wilkinson) is accused of causing the death of a young woman (Jennifer Carpenter), lawyer Erin Bruner (Laura Linney) takes his case, soon finding herself diving into deeper, and more complex waters than she ever could have expected. If you read the title of this movie, you expect a straight up horror flick, right? Well, that’s not quite what we have here. “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” is actually for the most part a courtroom drama, with some flashbacks interspersed throughout that are mor horror-focused. And I personally liked the courtroom stuff quite a bit, as they provided a thematically and dramatically interesting debate on science vs. religion. But then we have the flashbacks to what happened with the character of Emily, and I kind of tuned out of those, because they leaned too much into typical horror tropes, without generating any actual scares. There’s decent atmosphere in those bits, but there’s no actual tension or terror, and I was uninterested in the storytelling in those bits. So yeah, the story here is a bit of a mixed bag.

The characters in this are all pretty interesting, and I like the way they’re used throughout the movie. Even when the storytelling loses me in those flashbacks, the characters are still decently engaging. And a lot of that comes from the spectacular cast, containing people like Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Jennifer Carpenter (who steals the show), Colm Feore, Campbell Scott, Henry Czerny, and many more.

The score for the movie was composed by Christopher Young, and I think he did an alright job with it. Some of the track resonate decently, creating some good emotion. But some just feel a bit overbearing as they just try to create this droning horror-y sound. So the score can feel like a mixed bag at times, even though I can’t blame Young himself.

“The Exorcism of Emily Rose” was directed and co-written by Scott Derrickson, and I think he did a really good job with. Derrickson is a director who’s work I’ve enjoyed before, and this was his cinematic debut, so it was exciting to see where it started for him. And he definitely has a style and skill that was well beyond his years. Even though I didn’t find the horror bits scary in this, Derrickson’s direction still kept it slightly interesting.

This movie has not been super well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 44% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 46/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.7/10.

While it is a bit of a mixed bag, “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” can still be recommend for its courtroom drama and electrifying cast. The story is alright, the characters are okay, the performances are fantastic, the music is okay, and the direction is really good. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” is a 6.97/10. So while it’s very flawed, it’s still certainly worth a rental.

My review of “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” is now completed.

Your honor, I will exorcise my rights to plead the fifth.

Series Review: Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness – Season 1 (2021)

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of the CG-animated “Resident Evil” movies, with “Resident Evil: Damnation” being my favorite of the bunch. So when it was announced that we were getting a new animated series for the franchise, I got excited. And now it’s here, on Netflix, and I watched the entire thing. So let’s talk about it.

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness”.

A few years after the outbreak in Raccoon City, we once again meet up Leon Kennedy (Nick Apostolides) and Claire Redfield (Stephanie Panisello) as they’ve moved on to new positions in the world. And we follow them as they look into strange goings on involving bioweapons and horrific drawings, leading them down a dangerous path of horrors and conspiracies. So yeah, the setup treads familiar ground if you’re a fan of this franchise, which is fine, as long as it’s handled in an interesting and enjoyable way. Sadly, that’s not quite what’s going on here. I’m not saying that it’s outright poor, I didn’t dislike the story here. But it’s done in such a dry way, lacking the personality and unique charisma that makes “Resident Evil” into what it is. There is no real suspense, there’s not much (if any) excitement in how it could pan out, there’s not really any sense of fun, and at no point does it feel like it needed to be a “Resident Evil” story. On the whole, it’s a passable thriller narrative for a rainy Sunday, but sadly I never got truly invested in it.

The characters in this are… fine? Much like the case of the story, they lack a lot of personality. Leon is neither the naive optimist of “Resident Evil 2” or the snarky legend of “Resident Evil 4”, he’s just kind of a quiet tough guy who never shows much sign of any charisma.  Nick Apostolides does a good job with the performance, but it just feels slightly underwhelming when the material he has to work with is so… plain. Claire comes close at times of showing off some of the determined charm that I loved in “Resident Evil 2”, but never quiiiiite gets to go the distance on it. At least I can say that Stephanie Panisello does a good job with her performance. The other charaters… again, very plain, doesn’t get much, if any interesting development. They’re just kinda there. At least I can say that the supporting cast, featuring people like Ray Chase, Jona Xiao, Billy Kametz, Brad Venable, and more, all do very well in the roles.

The score for this series was composed by Yugo Kanno, and I think he did a good job with it. It doesn’t necessarily do much to stand out, but it has enough nice little action, horror, and drama flourishes throughout to at least give the show an enjoyable enough soundscape.

Based on the “Resident Evil” game franchise published by Capcom, “Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness” was created by Hiroyuki Kobayashi, with Eiichiro Hasumi handling direction. And now comes the part where I can finally pile praise upon the show. This show has some spectacular animation. Going for this sort of semi-realistic style can be a gamble, but I think they pulled it off. Character movement is fluid and natural, making me believe each action that happens. And the sheer amount of detail they managed to put in the show is absolutely insane. Individual hairs on characters’ heads, creasing in fabrics, subtle details in metal, there’s just a ridiculous amount of detail in everything throughout this show, which is just mindboggling to me. How can you pull this level of detail off? But yeah, this show is really well animated.

Keep in mind that the show just came out, so these ratings will change over time (not on this blog though, I’m too lazy to edit shit as time goes on). On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 56% positive rating. On Metacritic it currently has no rating. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7.3/10.

So yeah, despite my excitement for it, “Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness” isn’t quite as enjoyable as I had hoped, with its biggest weakness being a lack of personality and identity. It has an okay plot, mediocre characters, good performances, good music, and terrific animation and direction. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness” is a 6.20/10. So while very flawed, it can at least be worth a watch.

My review of “Resident Evil: Infinite Darkness” is now completed.

Well, damn…

Movie Review: The Mummy (1932)

More old school monster content coming your way! Woo!

Ladies and gentlemummies… “The Mummy”.

After some archaeologists manage to dig him out, ancient mummy Imhotep (Boris Karloff) goes searching for the reincarnation of his long lost love. As someone who watched the 1999 Brendan Fraser “Mummy” movie first when I was younger, that setup is familiar. Though this is of course a lot less action-focused, relying more on being an atmospheric procedural of sorts. And I think the story here is fine, it’s okay. At times it feels like a less fun and flamboyant “Dracula”, due to a similar story structure. And you guys know me, I don’t mind a bit of slow pacing, if it feels like it’s adding to a narrative, developing the plot and characters in interesting ways. But that’s not the case here, the pacing here is just slow-slow, with events simply transpiring without feeling that engaging. I’m sure someone out there loves the story here, and that’s great. But for me it’s just okay.

The characters in this are fine, they’re there to make story happen. The most interesting one is most definitely Imhotep, played by Boris Karloff. A well-spoken, conniving gentleman who just wants his love back. There’s something quite interesting going on there in that regard. And Karloff is of course great in that role. The rest of the cast, including Zita Johann, David Manners, Arthur Byron, and Edward Van Sloan (making his third Month of Spooks appearance this year) are all good… it’s just that their characters are a little underdeveloped.

Unlike the previous two Universal monster flicks I’ve talked about, this one actually has a bit of an actual musical score (fucking exciting, I know). It was composed by James Dietrich and shows up at a few key points. And I think it’s pretty good, helping sell the mysticism surrounding the Egyptian mythology used within the movie. So yeah, it’s good.

“The Mummy” is the first Universal monster not based on a specific novel, and it was directed by Karl Freund, who I think did a good job here. He knew how to build good atmosphere and he was good about what to show and what not to. He just did solid work here. And when paired with Charles Stumar’s really good cinematography, you get some really solid craft on display here.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7.1/10.

While definitely my least favorite of the Universal monster movies I’ve seen so far, “The Mummy” is still a decently enjoyable little flick. It has an okay plot, meh characters, good performances, good music, and really good directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Mummy” is a 6.22/10. So while I don’t exactly love it, I still think it’s worth a rental.

My review of “The Mummy” is now completed.

That’s three Edward Van Sloan appearances in a week. Do you think I can get a free sandwich if I get one more?

Series Review: The Comey Rule (2020)

Politics, a clusterfuck of ideologies clashing. I will never find myself truly understanding it, but I’ll do my best. So anyhow, let’s talk about a political drama.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gents… “The Comey Rule”.

The story follows FBI director James Comey (Jeff Daniels) as he and his team investigate allegations of Russia attempting to meddle with U.S. politics leading up to and following the 2016 presidential election. So yeah, we’re dealing with sensitive shit here. And I honestly think the storytelling here isn’t great. And before you accuse me of some political bias, no, stop. The story here feels like it skims over a lot of details, like it only plays the “greatest hits” of those strange times. And even those moments feels rushed, so as to get onto the next one. There are admittedly moments I do like in the series, most relating to Comey’s reaction to certain events, and I was also never bored. But the storytelling feels incomplete and undercooked, making for an unmemorable and hollow experience, despite the potential for a great narrative.

The characters in this are whatever… yeah, that’s it. I don’t think they’re the most uninteresting necessarily, but like the story they feel slightly underdeveloped. Jeff Daniels plays Jeff Comey, a hard-working, kind, well spoken man who also happens to be the director of the FBI. He’s our main focal point throughout the very short series, and we do get to know him decently well, and he’s a pretty interesting character. And Daniels is great in the role. Brendan Gleeson shows up in this too playing Donald Trump (oh dear), and it’s uncomfortable how fucking good his performance is. We also get really solid acting from other people like Holly Hunter, Scott McNairy, Michael Kelly, Steven Pasquale, Shawn Doyle, Amy Seimetz, Oona Chaplin, Jonathan Banks, Brian d’Arcy James, Jennifer Ehle, and many more. So yeah, mediocre characters, great performances.

The score for the show was composed by Henry Jackman, and it was pretty good. It’s overall well composed and could fit in almost any drama… and that’s the issue here. It doesn’t stand out, it doesn’t say “THIS is the Comey Rule score!”. It just says “Drama!”. I love Henry Jackman, but just like any other person, you can’t always hit a homerun.

Based on “A Higher Loyalty” by James Comey, “The Comey Rule” was created, written, and directed by Billy Ray, and I have mixed feelings here. I am a fan of Billy Ray’s previous works, he’s made two movies I’d happily put in “best of the year” lists. I do however feel like this isn’t as strong as those. A lot of scenes are nicely helmed and have this beautiful cinematic quality. But then there are also times where Billy Ray wants to hammer home a point so hard that his imagery is a bit too abrasive. And let’s not talk about the inconsistent color grading. Sometimes it looks somewhat believable, if mildly exaggerated to create a beautiful cinematic image… but then there are times where it looks insanely artificial and bafflingly bad. I want to give them the benefit of the doubt that some of it came from rushed production… but it’s hard to tell.

This show has gotten mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 64% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.8/10.

“The Comey Rule” is a disappointing biopic that at times does entertain. It has a meh story, meh characters, great performances, pretty good music, and mixed directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Comey Rule” is a 5.9/10. So while very flawed, I can still kinda recommend watching it.

My review of “The Comey Rule” is now completed.

*sigh*. So much missed potential.

Movie Review: Adult Behavior (1999)

Hi there friends. Recently on twitter I announced that I would do a little series called “Summer of the Swedes”, in which I would take a good chunk of my summer to cover more movies from my home country of Sweden on here. I’m not the most well versed in my own country’s output, so I think this little series of mine could be a good way to experience more of it. So let’s get into the first review in this series!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Adult Behavior” (Original title: Vuxna Människor).

Frank (Felix Herngren) works for a respected law firm and lives an alright life with his wife (Karin Bjurström). However, he is also very bored with his life, often drifting off into sexually charged fantasies about most women that he sees. This soon leads into Frank cheating on his wife with a young art student (Källa Bie). However, Frank isn’t the only one in a precarious spot, as those around him also have complications of their own to navigate. “Adult Behavior” has an interesting setup, and even has some interesting things to say about its situations and characters at times. But as a whole, the plot does disappoint slightly. At first it really seems like it will explore its themes and characters in-depth, but never quite goes as far as they probably could. They also have a trouble with tone, sometimes it’s more on the lighthearted side of things, and sometimes it’s quite serious, but there’s no natural transition between the two to justify the sudden switches. This isn’t saying that there aren’t things to appreciate in the storytelling, just that it could’ve used a few more tweaks. But as for what we got, it’s okay.

The characters in this are flawed, somewhat layered, and pretty entertaining. Felix Herngren plays Frank, our main character. He’s a somewhat immature, very horny man. I think he’s probably the most interesting one in the cast since we get to see right into his mind as he drifts off at several points throughout. And Herngren is really good in the role. The rest of the cast, consisting of people like Karin Bjurström, Källa Bie, Mikael Persbrandt, Cecilia Ljung, and more, all portray pretty interesting character, and all give good performances.

The music for the movie was composed by Matti Bye, and it was alright. It’s a little different than other film scores I’ve heard, going for a mildly psychedelic pop-rock vibe that adds a weird and unique edge to the movie. The movie also uses the song “Happy Together” by The Turtles, and I think the usage of it is pretty clever.

“Adult Behavior” was written by Fredrik Lindström, with direction by Lindström and Felix Herngren. And I think they generally did a good job with that stuff. They have really good control of camera and blocking, giving us some visually interesting scenes. There’s also some fun editing going on here, mainly in the scenes switching between the real world and Frank’s filthy thoughts. And since the movie’s a comedy, how is the humor in this? It’s alright. There’s some really funny jokes, but there’s also a bunch that don’t really land, because there’s little to no punchline in them. Really, on that fron it’s kind of a mixed bag.

On Rotten Tomatoes it exists, but has no rating. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,1/10.

“Adult Behavior” is a mixed bag of a movie. It has an underdeveloped (but overall okay) plot, good characters, great performances, pretty good music, good directing/editing, and mixed comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Adult Behavior” is a 6,25/10. So while heavily flawed, it can still be worth a rental.

My review of “Adult Behavior” is now completed.

Look forward to more Swedish flicks being discussed this summer.

Movie Review: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006)

If you were to ask me for perfume related advice, then I’d simply tell you that you’d gone to the wrong guy. All I can say “this one makes my nose burn” or “this one doesn’t make my nose burn”. So you better go ask someone else. But if you wonder about a perfume related movie, then I’d be happy to assist.

Mesdames et Messieurs… “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer”.

Jean-Baptiste Grenouille (Ben Whishaw) was born with an insanely powerful sense of smell, putting him on a quest to make perfumes. But as he searches for that ultimate scent, he starts spiraling a dark and sinister path from which there is no return. This setup shows a lot of promise, and even has some moments that could make for excellent drama. And yet I never gave a shit about anything going on throughout the story. That’s not to say I was bored, or that anything was outright bad, because it was all perfectly watchable. It’s just that the storytelling felt quite flat and lifeless. I’m not sure how else to explain it. The tale itself is interesting, but the way that it’s told just never felt like it had any actual purpose or even interest in adding actual depth to proceedings.

The characters, like the story, have interesting enough setups, but in execution falls somewhat flat, only really being elevated by the actors playing them. Ben Whishaw is excellent as Grenouille, giving a mesmerizingly restrained performance that was hard to take my eyes off of. Dustin Hoffman is really good as Grenouille’s cantankerous mentor. Alan Rickman is great in his role. Really, every actor in this kills it. Just wish the material they were given had more life to it.

The score for the movie was composed by Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek, and Tom Tykwer, and I thought it was quite good. It’s quite eerie, but also has an underlying sadness to it, making for a somewhat haunting soundscape that helped in keeping my attention through the movie.

Based on the novel of the same name by Patrick Süskind, “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” was directed by Tom Tykwer, whom I think did a mostly great job. Where the screenplay (which was co-written by Tykwer, Andrew Birkin, and Bernd Eichinger) falters at times, they often make up for it with the production values. Tykwer’s otherworldly direction makes for an almost hypnotic experience, especially when combined with Frank Griebe’s breathtaking cinematography, which often had me going “wow”.

“Perfume” has gotten mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 59% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 56/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” may have a lifeless narrative and slightly underdeveloped characters, but I can kind of recommend it if you want to experience great acting, music, and cinematography on a rainy Sunday. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” is a 6,08/10. So while heavily flawed, I can still say that it could be worth renting.

My review of “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” is now completed.

Meh.

Series Review: Second Chance (2016)

Do you ever think about what happens after we die? I mean, sure, our bodies stop functioning and there’s just a lifeless husk. But if you allow yourself to add the idea of a soul to the human equation, it becomes way more intriguing. Does it stay in the same space, experiencing everlasting darkness, or will it move on to a new host? I’m just intrigued by this kind of stuff.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Second Chance”.

When ex-sheriff Jimmy Pritchard (Philip Baker Hall) gets killed when trying to stop a break-in, he is brought back from death by twins Mary (Dilshad Vadsaria) and Otto (Adhir Kalyan), this time as a much younger and more powerful man (Rob Kazinsky). And Pritchard uses this second chance to try to reconnect with his son (Tim DeKay) and help him solve crimes. That’s right, they have a clever setup for a sci-fi/drama, and they force in a procedural element. And the case each week isn’t even sci-fi related (bar like one), but instead tends to be more regular affairs. And while it could get away with this with clever writing, á la “Lucifer”, it doesn’t really have that going for it. I wouldn’t call the story of this show bad. The individual cases are fine distractions, and the few times they introduce a more overarching plot to it all it is pretty fun. And the occasional bit of family drama works pretty well too. So overall… this stuff is okay.

The characters in this have good setups, and are on occasion pretty interesting. In our leading role we have Rob Kazinsky as the recently resurrected Jimmy Pritchard. A rough-around-the-edges ex-sheriff with a rocky past, trying to do good in his newly given second chance, even if it isn’t always easy. And that makes him a fun character to watch, with Kazisnky bringing a rugged charisma that makes him even more fun to watch. Dilshad Vadsaria and Adhir Kalyan as the two twins have an interesting dynamic since they’re such opposites in various regards, and I thought they both were good in their roles. Tim DeKay as the disgruntled son is a bit of fun, and makes for some good scenes between him and Kazinsky. And I can’t complain about the occasional bits we get with Philip Baker Hall, because he’s just great. Really, it’s a mostly solid cast.

The score for “Second Chance” was composed by John Paesano, and this is the weakest work I’ve ever heard from him. Now, that’s not saying Paesano’s a bad composer, because he’s fantastic. It’s just that his score here is so bland and unmemorable that if I tried remembering and humming it right now, a singularity of blandness would erupt in my room, causing everything in here to turn grey and brown. Again, Peasano is great, but I get the feeling he wasn’t allowed to flex his composing muscles here.

The show was created for the FOX network by Rand Ravich, with writing by him and other cool people, and direction by various people. And the craft here is fine. Most of the time it’s standard single cam setups, with little thought to much else. On occasion we get a decent shot, and sometimes we get some decently enjoyable action. But the overall craft here doesn’t go much further beyond pretty good, probably because of the limitations of the procedural format.

This show has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 30% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 47/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

While it doesn’t do much to stand out from the pack, “Second Chance” is still a decent Sunday afternoon distraction. It has an okay plot, good characters, really good performances, mediocre music, and decent writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Second Chance” is a 6,57/10. So while heavily flawed, it can still be worth a watch.

My review of “Second Chance” is now completed.

It seems FOX isn’t gonna give this show a… second chance.

Movie Review: Spider-Man 3 (2007)

And so we come to the end of this review series on the Raimi-directed “Spider-Man” movies. It’s been fun revisiting this franchise. So let’s talk about the final part!

Ladies and gents… “Spider-Man 3”.

Peter (Tobey Maguire) seems to finally have his life under control. But that soon takes a dark turn when a mysterious space goop enters his life and changes his for the worse. All the while a super-powered petty criminal (Thomas Haden Church) roams the city after having escaped from prison. ALL THE WHILE Peter finds himself in some love triangle drama with Mary-Jane (Kirsten Dunst) and Gwen Stacy (Bryce Dallas Howard). ALL THE WHILE his- fuck this. Just… fuck it. There are elements in the plot that are good. But overall, it’s a god damn mess. It has more threads than a spider web, and they are all (for the most part) paper thin. Like I said, there are some nice parts here too, some finely handled dramatic/emotionally charged bits. But they all find themselves tangled up in this scatterbrained web.

The characters here are mixed. Some are nuanced and interesting, and some are Topher Grace as Eddie Brock. The returning core cast of Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, and James Franco are all great in their roles, and do wonders with the material they’re given (which sometimes isn’t great). Rosemary Harris as Aunt May is still the warm, comforting presence she’s always been. J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson is still an absolute blast to watch. As for new blood, there’s Thomas Haden Church as Flint Marko/Sandman. He’s given a surprising amount of development, and gives a really solid performance. And then we have the aforementioned Topher Grace as Eddie Brock. Look, Grace is not a bad actor, and he actually does a good job playing an absolute slimeball here… but he feels miscast for the character of Eddie Brock. And the stuff they do with the character here… just, no. Overall, decent cast.

Unlike the first two movies, the score in this one wasn’t composed by Danny Elfman. Instead, musical duties were handed over to Christopher Young, who I think did a great job. He incorporates Elfman’s iconic theme wonderfully, while still bringing his own flair to a lot of the other tracks. There are some emotionally charged pieces here that really work well within the movie.

As we’ve pointed out already, “Spider-Man 3” was, like its predecessors directed by Sam Raimi, who I think mostly did a great job here. I say mostly, because compared to the other two, there’s a lot more leaning on CGI for various things in this one. Which also makes some bits look a bit wonky, especially a chase scene early on in the movie. There is cool stuff to it, but overall the green screen effect looks kinda unfinished. And there are a few CGI humans in this movie, and they were a bit distracting. But with all that said, whenever it doesn’t use shit effects, it looks good. The action scenes in this are generally great, with one fight scene some ways into the movie being one of my favorite parts of it.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 63% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 59/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,2/10.

So while “Spider-Man 3” is a bit of a let-down compared to the first two, it’s still an enjoyable superhero movie. It has a messy plot with good moments, mostly good characters, really good performances, great music, and good directing/action with only a few wonky effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Spider-Man 3” is a 6,95/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “Spider-Man 3” is now completed.

Bit a downer to end this series on. C’est la vie, je suppose.

Movie Review: Saturday Night Fever (1977)

Ah the disco trends of the late 70s. Such an interesting era for music and clothing. Not much else that I can say, it’s just fun.

Ladies and gents… “Saturday Night Fever”.

Tony Manero (John Travolta) has a pretty shitty family life, always getting put down by his parents. So to get away from that shitshow, he often goes to a local dance club, where he absolutely dominates. So we follow Tony as he deals with life. And this plot is as mediocre as it gets. It tries to be layered, it tries to be nuanced… but it’s not. It thinks itself clever, but it’s a shallow and uninteresting look at the life of this dude. The tone is also all over the place. Now, I can watch a movie switch between tones without any issue as long as the writing is good enough to make the switch feel natural. But the writing here isn’t good enough to carry the tonal changes that occur throughout the movie. This movie doesn’t always know what it wants to be. Is it a character study or is it a boogie-woogie dramedy? Because either way, the plot here never really goes above a “meh”.

The characters in this sometimes feel like they have personality, but in the end I feel like they are mostly these inconsistent husks. John Travolta plays Tony Manero, the kid with the titular medical condition. Working class jerk by day, boogie-woogie master by night. He is a very inconsistent character. Sometimes he’s a total douchebag, and sometimes he’s a nice dude. This isn’t natural character growth for him even, as it just kinda happens on a dime. At least Travolta gives a good performance. We also get supporting work from people like Karen Lynn Gorney, Barry Miller, Joseph Cali, Paul Pape, Donna Pescow, Martin Shakar, and more. And while most of the characters could’ve used a few rewrites, the performances were good.

There was a score at a few points in this movie, composed by David Shire. And it was fine, it’s not too noticeable. But you know what is noticeable? All the disco music throughout. Bee Gees, The Trammps, KC and the Sunshine Band, there’s a ton of old school stuff here, and it’s awesome. Not just because it’s overall a bunch of fun music, but because it just works so well for the setting, it helps really build a mood and give the movie some extra energy. So yeah, this movie has good music.

This movie was directed by John Badham, and I think he did a good job here. While the story and writing is lacking, Badham’s direction gives it all an energy that makes it so much easier to watch and feel invested in. And let’s get to the elephant in the room, the dance sequences. For what is a disco inferno without someone lighting up the dance floor? Well, I have to admit, the dance sequences in this are fucking incredible. The way that the character movement blends with the cinematography makes for some really mesmerizing sequences.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 85% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 77/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10. The movie was nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best actor (Travolta).

Soooo, a lot of people call “Saturday Night Fever” a classic. But I think it’s just… fine. It has a meh plot, meh characters, good performances, great music, and really good directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Saturday Night Fever” is a 6,11/10. So while very flawed, it can still be worth a rental.

My review of “Saturday Night Fever” is now completed.

Oh dear. Boogie woogies out of the room.