Movie Review: The Mitchells vs. The Machines (2021)

While I miss going to the cinema, it’s nice that I still can experience brand new movies from the safety of my own home. And this one comes to us straight from Netflix.

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “The Mitchells vs. The Machines”.

Going on what is meant to be a family bonding road trip, the dysfunctional Mitchell family find themselves caught in the middle of a robot apocalypse, and must do everything they can to survive and possibly also save the world. So yeah, this movie blends a lot of familiar elements into its story. There’s the whole dysfunctional family angle, the misunderstood teenager, there’s a road trip comedy, there’s robots trying to take over, there’s social commentary on modern tech… yeah, this soup has a lot of ingredients. And they all come together quite well to make for a highly enjoyable narrative. Yes, it really doesn’t do much new, but that’s okay, because it handles its familiar ideas in really fun, easily digestible ways. It also helps that it seldom lets anything outstay its welcome, thanks to a crackling pace. But it does also know to slow down when there needs to be a bit of character drama. It’s basically a good, well paced story that I highly enjoyed.

The characters in this are all charming, colorful, and highly entertaining. They all have some quirk to them that is used in fun ways throughout the movie, and it also at times makes for some interesting character dynamics when needed. I don’t really wanna say too much more, as I feel the characters and their unique charms are best left experienced, so let’s just mention some of the actors in this, all of which are great in their respective roles. You got Abbi Jacobson, Danny McBride, Maya Rudolph, Michael Rianda, Eric André, Olivia Colman, Fred Armisen, Beck Bennett, and many more.

The score for the movie was composed by Mark Mothersbaugh, and I think it’s great. It’s very energetic and fun, fitting the fast pace of the movie. I also think the heavy use of synths add a lot to it, complementing both the robot uprising and the bouncy family adventure. There’s also a few licensed songs used here, and they work fine.

“The Mitchells vs. The Machines” was written and directed by Michael Rianda and Jeff Rowe, and I think they did a terrific job with it. This movie has this really energetic and snappy direction that really helps keep any moment from getting stale, and which makes action scenes an absolute joy to behold. Speaking of beholding, holy crap, this animation in this is spectacular. It is of course 3D/CG in its basis, but it also seems to incorporate elements of cel-shading, some traditional 2D animation, and even a few other styles at a few points that I won’t spoil. But yeah, it makes for animation that really pops off the screen lingers in the viewer’s (AKA my) mind. The movie is also insanely funny, there’s so many jokes here I laughed really hard at. There were also a few I didn’t really enjoy, but thanks to the movie’s fast pace they didn’t really outstay their welcome, so the overall experience remained very positive.

This movie just came out, so ratings might change over time (I will however not change anything, for I am lazy). On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 80/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8.2/10.

“The Mitchells vs. The Machines” is an insanely fun and hilarious family film that I highly enjoyed. It has a really good story, great characters, great performances, great music, fantastic direction/animation, and hilarious comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Mitchells vs. The Machines” is a 9.67/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Mitchells vs. The Machines” is now completed.

It’s been a while since I laughed so much that it made me cough. Good on ya, movie.

Movie Review: Them That Follow (2019)

I hate snakes. They’re the worst. I see a snake on tv or in a movie, I crawl into a ball on the couch. The worst. So let’s talk about a movie featuring them (I’m dumb).

Ladies and gents… “Them That Follow”.

Set within the deep woods of Appalachia, we follow Mara (Alice Englert), a young woman who is the daughter of the local snake-handling preacher (Walton Goggins). She carries a secret with her that, if released into the world, could potentially cause some trouble within her community. So now we have our backwoods story. And while I do have some little niggles with it, I generally thought it was pretty interesting. It’s like a window into this strange, archaic community, presenting them with a surprisingly nuanced view, rather than the typical “These cult-ish people are crazy monsters” angle that often get used within stories featuring similar characters/communities. Yes, we still get shown the angle that these people are ye olde backwoods christians… but it’s never as simple as them just being a cult, there is rarely pure judgment, but rather just observation, which I thought was interesting, especially as the movie went along and more revelations were unleashed. Now, despite this unusually intriguing execution, it’s unfortunately not perfect. It does feel flimsy at times, probably due to the short runtime (circa 95 minutes). Had they had more time, we probably could’ve had it even more fleshed out. But as it stands, it’s still an alright plot that kept me interested throughout.

The characters, while not the deepest in the world, are still pretty engaging. Alice Englert plays Mara, the young woman at the center of the story. She’s probably the deepest one in the story, as she’s highly conflicted about a lot of stuff going on in her life at the time, which makes her a really interesting character to follow. And Englert is really good in the role. Then we have Walton Goggins as her father, preacher Lemuel Childs. He’s a man of god… and nope ropes. He doesn’t get much development as a character, but he’s still quite engaging because Goggins is such an electrifying presence. Then we have Olivia Colman as Hope, a matriarch of sorts within this community. There is some conflict with her later on in the movie, which I won’t spoil in case you wanna watch the movie, but I’ll say that while it’s an okay idea, the overall execution of that is just fine. And while Colman’s southern drawl is somewhat hit-and-miss, her overall performance is great. We also get supporting work from people like Thomas Mann, Kaitlyn Dever, Lewis Pullman, and Jim Gaffigan, all giving good performances.

The score for the movie was composed by Garth Stevenson, and I felt that it was kind of a mixed bag. Sometimes it’s this nice, almost dreamlike thing that fits the southern, spiritual setting, really adding some nice atmosphere to the movie. Buuuut then there are some overbearing horror drones throughout too, and I felt like that took me out of it during those moments. I can tell that Stevenson has a lot of talent, but there are times when they aren’t applied correctly.

“Them That Follow” is the writing/directing debut of duo Britt Poulton and Dan Madison Savage, and I think they did an okay job with it. They have a way of keeping scenes engaging thanks to a unique sense of energy that may have a slow flow, but still makes sure scenes never get boring. And when they need to get a bit suspenseful, they god damn nail it… except when the aforementioned horror score bits come on, then shit clashes a bit.

This movie hasn’t been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 60% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 57/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,2/10.

While far from one of the greatest movies ever, I still thought “Them That Follow” was a really good drama. It has a pretty good plot, okay characters, great performances, okay music, and good directing. As previously mentioned, it is brought down a bit by a sometimes shallow plot and poor musical score. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Them That Follow” is a 7,95/10. So while flawed, it’s absolutely worth renting.

My review of “Them That Follow” is now completed.

Damn snakes.

Movie Review: Locke (2014)

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Sometimes you need something quiet and subtle to help balance out all the explosions in your movie watching. Now don’t get me wrong, I like silly and fun action movies as much as the next guy, but I like a quiet drama every now and then as well. Hell, one of my favorite movies of all time, “Drive”, is for the most part a slow and methodical drama and not an action fest like most people expected. But enough of that, today we are taking a look at a slow moving drama that is set in just one location.

Sirs and madames… “Locke”.

Like I said, this movie is set in just one place, a car to be exact. And in this car we have hard-working family man Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy). Now he is driving somewhere to take care of a problem while a lot of other things come down on him at the same time. I will not spoil what his problem is as I found it more interesting finding out what it was by watching. I also loved seeing this movie unfold and just see how this man tried to handle everything around him despite the fact that it was tearing at him. The plot was really well done and definitely a breath of fresh air.

Despite the fact that the only visible character in the movie was the one of Ivan Locke, I still loved all of the characters in the movie. What I forgot to mention in the plot segment was that constantly throughout the movie he has phone conversations with a bunch of different people. And even though you could never see these people I really thought they were great characters who could be real people thanks to the superb writing and great (vocal) performances by the actors. And Tom Hardy in this movie was fantastic as usual, giving a subtle yet explosive performance. And what I mean by that is that his character was very quiet, but he had a lot on his mind which you could notice through Hardy’s facial expressions and his maneurysms, especially at times that he got big news that would change everything at times. I know my words don’t make any fucking sense, but trust me, I know what I am talking about. What I can clearly say at least is that the acting and characters are superb.

The score by Dickon Hinchliffe (Out of the Furnace) was pretty fucking great. There were a lot of ambient sounds throughout the songs that really helped highten the sense of loneliness and desperation that the movie wanted to convey. And of course there was excellent use of the guitar in the songs. To be honest, with all the guitar in the soundtrack I almost thought this score was done by Gustavo Santaolalla. But now that I know that Dickon Hinchliffe did the score the guitar still makes a lot of sense. And I fucking love it!

This movie looks fantastic, Steven Knight really shows that he is a force to be reckoned with as a director. There are a lot of beautiful shots both outside the car and inside of it. I also heard something about this movie being shot in sequence several times over and then took the different parts of each shoot and splice them together into one movie. Now if that is true or not, I am not sure, someone please tell me if it’s true or not.

This movie has been generally well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it stands strong with a 91% positive rating and it is certified “Fresh”. On Metacritic it has a score of 81/100. And on imdb.com it stands on a 7,1/10.

“Locke” is a riveting, interesting and different movie with a terrific performance from Tom Hardy, a terrific score by Dickon Hinchliffe and some great direction/camera work. Time for my final score. Where the hell is he with that envelope? *Dials phone* Jeff, where are you? In the car? Well why aren’t you here with that god damn envelope? What? You left it here earlier? Yeah? Well, fuck you too. Sorry about that. My final score for “Locke” is a 9,76/10 and then of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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“Locke” is now reviewed.

Did anyone seriously before this movie believe a movie about Tom Hardy driving a car for 90 minutes would be interesting? Because I didn’t.