Movie Review: The Hollow Point (2016)

Guns. Terrifying devices of death. In movies, tv, and video games I guess they’re fine, but in real life they’re some of the scariest things ever… at least they seem like it. I’d prefer to keep my distance.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Hollow Point”.

Wallace (Patrick Wilson) is the newly appointed Sheriff of a small US border town. After a drug cartel deal goes horribly wrong, he has to investigate what happened. And as his investigation moves forward, he runs into all kinds of danger. So now we have our crime drama. And I was admittedly into the plot early on. I sat there thinking “Okay, this could be fun”, and it was kind of fun in a gritty crime drama kind of way, but soon it turned into a messy, overly serious, generically written, and boring plot about death and morality. It showed good promise at first, but soon it failed me.

The characters in this are kind of bland and uninteresting, even if the script would like to think that they’re deep and complex. Patrick Wilson plays Wallace, the newly appointed Sheriff of this small border town. He’s kind of a jerk, but there is a bit of heart somewhere behind there. And the only reason why I even remotely cared about him is because Patrick Wilson is a great actor, and he gave a really good performance here. Ian McShane plays Leland, an old, morally bankrupt cop that Wallace kind of works with throughout the movie. And you know what you get when it’s Ian McShane playing an asshole. The character isn’t as interesting as some of his other, similar roles, but at least McShane’s performance is damn good. Then we have Lynn Collins as Marla, a good friend of Wallace. She cares about her closest ones, and occasionally can show a tough side to her, but she’s not that interesting a character. And Collins is… fine in the role. Then we get some decent supporting performances from people like Jim Belushi and John Leguizamo. Characters, not that great. Acting, good.

The score for the movie was composed by Juan Navazo, and it was a mixed bag. There were a few tracks here that I thought actually sounded pretty good and somehow made their scenes/moments a bit more interesting. But then there are tracks here that think they are really cool, but don’t really work within the movie. There were a few licensed tracks used throughout a well, and they worked… fine.

This movie was directed by Gonzalo López-Gallego, and I think he did an okay-ish job here. It’s decently shot, and his direction never feels fully bad. The action scenes in this too, while not very complex or even great, are decently enjoyable. One problem I do have in terms of this more technical stuff is that there’s some weird editing in places throughout, making cuts that gave it a weird flow and such.

This movie hasn’t been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 31% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 41/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,4/10.

Despite a (mostly) talented cast, “The Hollow Point” isn’t a particularly good movie. The plot is messy and boring and generic, the characters are uninteresting, the music is a mixed bag, and there’s some weird editing here. But the performances are solid, and the direction is okay. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Hollow Point” is a 5,12/10. So despite a few good things, I’d recommend skipping it.

My review of “The Hollow Point” is now completed.

Meh.

 

Movie Review: The Conjuring (2013)

And the Month of Spooks marches on! So what type of horrible horror is on the table tonight? Another haunting? Cool.

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 gentlemen… “The Conjuring”.

Ed (Patrick Wilson) and Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) are a couple who happen to be paranormal investigators. And one day they get called in to try to help a family who claim to be haunted by some dark/evil presence. So now we have our haunted family/house/person/thing story. And I use that quick description of it because there’s a lot of familiar elements to it. A good amount of the beats throughout we know from various other movies, so it doesn’t bring a lot new to the table. That said, it does these things quite well. The plot here is creepy and tense, and I was invested in it from start to finish. Not saying that it’s perfect, but it’s definitely good.

For the most part I found myself invested in the characters here. They were interesting and decently likable. Patrick Wilson plays Ed Warren, one of the two who go to investigate this creepy situation. He’s a bit reluctant to do it based on something that happened in the past, and he’s given a good amount of development in this movie. And Wilson is great in the movie. Vera Farmiga plays Lorraine Warren, wife of Ed, and fellow investigator. She’s a fairly well developed character as well, which includes the same past situation as her husband. I also like her because she’s determined and decently tough without coming off like a thundering dumbass. They make her strong but vulnerable. And Farmiga is great in the role. Lili Taylor plays Carolyn, the mother of the family that is having haunting problems. She goes through some interesting stuff in this movie that makes her a pretty interesting character. And Taylor is great in the role. Then we have Ron Livingston as Roger, the father of the family. And while there’s nothing inherently wrong with Livingston’s performance (it’s actually quite good), I found his character kind of lackluster. He’s supposed to be an important part of this, but his character feels underdeveloped compared to everyone else. And to not drag out this bit too much: All the kids in this movie do a good job. There, this is a well acted movie. Moving on!

The score for the movie was composed by Joseph Bishara and it was great. It was droning, creepy, eerie, chilling, and just overall worked quite well for the movie, often elevating the suspense of various scenes. There were also a couple of licensed tracks used in the movie that worked pretty well in their respective scenes.

This movie was directed by James Wan (making his second appearance this Month of Spooks) and I thought he did a great job. He does a lot with very little, building a lot of suspense with very few things. Really, the suspense/tension really builds throughout the movie, and any scares that pop up feel earned. I also want to mention that this movie is rated R. “How is that interesting?” I hear you ask. Let me explain. Cursing? Almost none. Sex/Nudity? Mildly implied, but never shown. Blood/gore? Minimal. This is rated R based purely on how scary it is… not gonna lie, that is pretty fucking cool.

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 68/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

“The Conjuring” is a pretty damn good horror movie. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great direction. My only flaws with it (which are fairly minor) are that the beats of the movie feel very familiar, and Ron Livingston’s character feeling underdeveloped. Time for my final score. *BOO!*. My final score for “The Conjuring” is a 9,01/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it is definitely worth buying.

My review of “The Conjuring” is now completed.

There were several occurrences of 70s lingo in this and it makes me so happy.

Movie Review: Insidious (2011)

Hello there, guys, and welcome to the first post for the Month of Spooks! That’s right, for those of you who might’ve missed the announcement post (cave dwellers), for the third year in a row I am dedicating October to the spooks and the creeps! Exceptions to this include trailer talks and also “Thor: Ragnarok”… what can I say, Marvel is a must watch for me. Anyhow, it is time… for some spooky shit.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Insidious”.

After she moves into a new house with her family, Renai (Rose Byrne) starts experiencing weird, probably supernatural phenomena. And soon they find out that these scary occurrences might be happening because of their comatose son. So now we have our haunted house(ish) movie plot. And is it any good? Yeah, I’d say so. It puts some really interesting and surprisingly tense spins on the haunted house formula and makes it feel somewhat fresh in an ocean of movies featuring hauntings. My only problem with the plot is the final act. While entertaining, it is quite the tonal shift from the rest of the movie. For the longest time it is a somber, creepy, and eerie trip through this family’s horrible situation. But then in the final act it becomes a little more lighthearted (for lack of a better word), making for a weird shift in tone. Again, it’s not bad, but it does bring it down a bit since it’s such a weird shift from the haunting (HA!) two acts that came before. So overall the plot here is good.

The characters here are decently fleshed out, sympathetic, and interesting. Rose Byrne plays Renai (pronounced like Renée), the mother of the Lambert family, and the first person to start experiencing these scary things. She is determined to get to the bottom of this, trying to hold it together, but you can see that she might crack any minute, like any normal person would do in that situation. And Rose Byrne is great in the role. Patrick Wilson plays Josh, Renai’s husband. He’s a bit more of a skeptic to the supernatural stuff, but he is willing to do anything to help his wife and his family. And Patrick Wilson is great in the role. Ty Simpkins plays Dalton, Renai’s and Josh’s son. And while he doesn’t get to do/say too much in the movie, the little acting he gets to do is definitely really good. We also have Lin Shaye as a psychic who gets brought in to try to help the Lamberts out. And she’s really good in the role. And we have Leigh Whannell and Angus Sampson Lin Shaye’s assistants, and they’re a fun presence in the movie, both giving good performances. Overall this movie is well acted.

The score for the movie was composed by Joseph Bishara and it was fine. In terms of style it doesn’t do anything very unique, you’ve heard a lot of the musical cues in most other horror scores. But it’s well composed and used well enough in the movie, so I don’t have any complaints about it. There’s also at least one licensed track in the movie. They use it, and while it’s distractingly out of place for an eerie horror flick, I can’t fault it because it never ruined the experience for me.

This movie was directed by James Wan and I think he did a really good job. Everything looks smooth and the shots do look quite nice. But what I appreciate most about his direction is how much suspense he manages to build throughout. He does a lot with very little, managing to create a constant feel of unease and tension throughout. And let’s talk about jumpscares. They’re a staple of horror, popping up in so many horror movies… and this one’s no exception. However, I think this movie does jumpscares well. Most movies use “fake scares”, trying to make people jump when there’s nothing scary in frame. But “Insidious” has no fake scares like that, instead having good jumpscares that actually work. So yeah, this movie scared me a bit.

This movie has been decently well received (I guess). On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 66% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 52/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

“Insidious” is a good little horror movie. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, good music, great directing, and some good scares. My only problem with the movie comes from the final act not being as great as the the other two. Time for my final score. *BOO!*. My final score for “Insidious” is an 8,88/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it’s definitely worth buying.

My review of “Insidious” is now completed.

Month of Spooks has officially begun!

Movie Review: Stretch (2014)

Based on everything that happens in movies and TV, I get the feeling that I shouldn’t ever go to Los Angeles. Seems a bit dangerous and unpredictable.

Ladies and gents… “Stretch”.

We follow a guy known as “Stretch” (Patrick Wilson), a down-on-his-luck limo driver in Los Angeles. In the past he had a problem with gambling addiction and currently struggles to pay off his bookie. So to get money to pay it off he takes on a new client, an extremely eccentric man (Chris Pine), which leads to the craziest night of his entire life. So now we have our plot. And I’d say it’s good. Sure, it isn’t exactly what I’d call award worthy or groundbreaking, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s a relatively straight-forward crime plot filled with all kinds of craziness. And it was really fun seeing where this job would take Stretch next. It’s weird, it’s kind of silly, but it’s a lot of fun.

The characters in this are fun, interesting, and incredibly colorful. Stretch is a failed actor currently working as a limo driver, and he has a slightly cynical outlook on life. And you see him go through a bit of an arc in this movie and it’s actually kind of fun witnessing. And Patrick Wilson is great in the role. Jessica Alba plays Charlie, Stretch’s dispatcher/colleague, and she’s good in the role. Chris Pine plays Roger Karos, the extremely eccentric person that Stretch gets tasked with driving around. He’s weird, he’s off-kilter, and he’s the least Chris Pine that Chris Pine has ever been in a movie. And Pine is great in the role. Then we have Ed Helms in a role that I will not explain because it’s best experienced on your own, because it’s weird and quite funny. But Helms does a really good job. And then there are a whole bunch of solid supporting performances from people like James Badge Dale, Jason Mantzoukas, and Brooklyn Decker. There are also some fun cameos in this movie that I will not spoil.

The score for this movie was composed by Ludwig Göransson and it was good. It’s stylish and lean a lot into techno/electronica. It kind of reminds me of the score to “Drive” at times, but with a less retro feel to it, having a much more modern sound. And while I generally don’t like listening to that kind of music, I feel like it worked quite well for the movie. There were some licensed tracks used throughout as well that worked well in their scenes.

This movie was directed by Joe Carnahan and I think he did a good job. The movie looks good and his direction gives the movie a lot of energy which keeps it at a brisk pace, keeping it from getting boring or slow. And since this is a comedy we should talk about the humor in this movie. And while I think it can divide people, I found it quite funny. It’s weird, dark, and kind of fucked up, which made me laugh quite a bit throughout. Combine that with Carnahan’s energetic direction and you get a lot of fun. Trust me, I did the math.

This movie wasn’t really a big release, so it barely exists on the sites I usually use here. But on Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a page, but no score. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,5/10.

“Stretch” won’t win any awards, but it is quite a fun movie. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, really directing, and really funny humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Stretch” is a 9,55/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Stretch” is now completed.

I need more Patrick Wilson in my life.

Series Review: Fargo – Season 2 (2015)

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Some of you people might remember that I had seen and reviewed the first season of this show a while back. If you remember that you probably also remember that I absolutely loved it. So of course I was excited about seeing season 2… and here we are, finally reviewing it.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the second season of… “Fargo”.

The year is 1979, that’s right, this season is more or less a prequel to season 1. Like I said in my review of the first season, this is an anthology show. Now that we got that part cleared let’s move on to this season. And in it we follows Minnesota state trooper Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson) as he is drawn into an investigation involving a local crime gang, the mafia and a local couple (Jesse Plemons and Kirsten Dunst). And it all of course is a huge mystery filled murder, deception and most other things you’d expect from this show if you’ve seen the first season. And there is no reason to either lie about it or postpone it anymore… I think the plot of the second season is great, as good as the first season even. I would even say that I might’ve enjoyed this season even more than the first one. The mystery is bigger and even more bizarre. It’s intriguing, entertaining and really well told.

While the plot is great on it’s own, it would be nothing without the characters, that is a fact that works for most pieces of media. With that said, holy shit the characters are amazing! They are all very interesting, colorful and all get time to shine. Patrick Wilson knocks it out of the park as Lou, which I didn’t have much of a doubt about since I love him as an actor. Ted Danson plays a sheriff and Lou’s father-in-law and he’s as great as ever. Jesse Plemons, you have shown me once again what a terrific actor you are. First “Breaking Bad”, now “Fargo”… I can’t wait to see what awesome thing you’ll do next. Kirsten Dunst, holy shit, this is the best she’s been in years. Jeffrey Donovan plays an unlikable asshole in this show, but that’s okay because his performance overall is terrific. And there are a whole bunch of otehr great actors/performances/characters in this show that I will not get into because I would be here all day. But yeah… it’s all great.

Just like in the first season we got Jeff Russo to do the score for the show. And once again it is great. It manages to create a lot of tension, a lot of suspense, a lot of drama and it is just awesome to listen to. There is also a lot of otehr tunes here that are not composed by Russo. What I mean by that is that there are a lot of licensed tracks and not only do they fit the scenes they are used in, but they are songs that I really enjoyed listening to. As someone who listens to a lot of 70’s/80’s music, this soundtrack was pretty much made for me. Especially in the last few episodes, those had some of the best tunes in show in my opinion. Yeah… this season had great music.

Season 2 takes the directing of season 1 and ramps it up to fuckin’ eleven. It’s quicker, it’s snappier, it’s even more stylish than the first season. It’s also even more violent, good grief. Yes, season 1 was pretty damn violent, but wasn’t this violent. It also didn’t have as much violence and brutality and blood/gore as this season. Not that the extra violence takes away from the show, I would amost say that it is one of the things keeping the show as interesting as it is in combination with the story and characters ‘n’ shit. The pitch black humor also makes a triumphant return in this season and as someone who loves pitch black humor to no end I actually laughed at some pretty dark stuff. No wonder I never get invited to parties…

This season of the show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% (holy shit) positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 96/100. And while imdb doesn’t have season-based averages, the show does have a score of 9,0/10 and is ranked #23 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

The second season of “Fargo” took what season 1 did right and improved upon it. I thought the story was even better, the characters more entertaining/great (though I miss Billy Bob Thornton), the soundtrack absolutely fantastic, teh directing/action fantastic and the violence/humor great. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Fargo” season 2 is a 9,90/10. I love it and it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Fargo” season 2 is now completed.

So… Ewan McGregor next season then!

Movie Review: Bone Tomahawk (2015)

bone_tomawhawk

Here’s a good question for you to think about: what’s the most peculiar mix of genres you have ever experienced in a movie? And what movie was that? I am asking because the movie I am reviewing today has a weird (to say the least) blend of genres. And I guess that’s one of the reasons I wanted to check it out.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Bone Tomahawk”.

This movie follows a very unlikely group of gunslingers; a sheriff (Kurt Russell), an old assistant deputy (Richard Jenkins), a crippled cowboy (Patrick Wilson) and a well-dressed gentleman (Matthew Fox) as they go out into the wild west to rescue a bunch of people who have been kidnapped by cave-dwelling, inbred, cannibalistic savages… yeah, you figure out how they came up with that. But do you see now what I meant by peculiar mix of genres? The movie decided to try to combine western with horror. And how did it turn out? Actually, it was quite good. The story is told in a very slow moving and suspenseful way which I honestly think worked to the movie’s advantage. Like I said, the movie moves a bit slower than most western so if you don’t have a good amount of patience, you might not enjoy it… but I did. Also, the suspense is really good in this movie.

The characters in this movie all feel very realistic and fleshed out thanks to some good writing and some damn fine performances. Kurt Russell gives a terrific performance in this movie as the sheriff who has sworn to go out and save the kidnapped people. I would even dare say that he gave one of the best performances of his career. Patrick Wilson plays like I said earlier, a crippled cowboy who is coming along because one of the people who got kidnapped was his wife. And Wilson was great in his role. Matthew Fox was a very well-dressed and well-educated man in this movie, but he was also a douchebag… and he did a great job. And Richard Jenkins as the elderly “assistant deputy” was pretty damn great in the movie too. Everybody was really good in the movie. What’s sad though is that both Jennifer Carpenter and Timothy Olyphant were rumored to have important roles in this movie… how awesome wouldn’t that have been?

The score for the movie was provided by Jeff Herriott and S. Craig Zahler (Sidenote: The director of the movie). And it’s pretty great. It’s slow-building, beautiful and tense, in other words perfect for the movie. It’s not huge and extravagant, but it never needed to be.

Seeing as this is a western and me not being able to change, I guess I have to talk about the shooty-bang-bang bits in it’s own separate segment… here we go. The shootouts are fine in the movie. There’s never really any conflict in the movie that requires two or more people to shoot at eachother. But when Kurt Russell or any of the other guys have to shoot at someone or something, it is pretty satisfying.

As previously stated, the movie was directed by S. Craig Zahler and as a little fun fact, this is his directorial debut. And does he make an impressive debut? Yeah, he does. This movie is very well directed and everything looks terrific. Sure, it’s not perfectly directed, but since this is a debut I guess I can kind of look past it.

This movie has been pretty well received even though it hasn’t been seen by too many people. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating (100% if you go by “Top Critics” only) and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

“Bone Tomahawk” is an impressive directorial debut from S. Craig Zahler featuring a really good plot, great acting, great music, good shootouts and great directing. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “Bone Tomahawk” is a 9,83/10. That means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

“Bone Tomahawk” is now reviewed.

Remember the question I asked at the beginning of this? Please leave an answer in the comments.