Movie Review: The Color of Money (1986)

Pool. Also known as billiards. Something I’m not particularly good at, but I still enjoy playing it with friends. Now let’s see how well that sport can translate into a movie.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Color of Money”.

The story follows former pool hustler Eddie Felson (Paul Newman, R.I.P) as he starts delving back into that world when he takes young Vincent (Tom Cruise) under his wing. So now we have a road movie/comeback story/passing a torch kind of story, and it’s a good one. While it tries to have several kinds of story at the same time, it never feels cluttered or messy, as it blends these elements quite well. Now, it does feel a bit uneven in parts, but it doesn’t break the movie for me, more like bring it down a notch. But overall it’s still an enjoyable and pretty interesting story.

The characters here are colorful, layered, interesting, and overall entertaining. First up we have Paul Newman (may he rest in peace) playing “Fast” Eddie Felson, a former pool hustler who now seems to be making a living selling whisky. But he finds a new purpose when he discovers this young man he can teach. He’s a complex man who goes through quite a bit of development throughout the movie. And Newman is of course fantastic in the role. Next we have a young Tom Cruise as Vincent, the new protegé of Felson. He’s an energetic, fast-talking, and skilled pool player that at first seems reluctant to be taken under Felson’s wing, but soon warms up to it. He too gets a fair bit of development throughout the movie. And Cruise is good in the role. And then we have Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Carmen, Vincent’s girlfriend. She’s tough, she’s independent, and quite clever, she’s really a good foil for Vincent’s energetic and fun nature. And Mastrantonio is really good in the role. We also get some supporting performances from people like John Turturro, Helen Shaver, Bill Cobbs, and more, all doing quite well in their respective roles. So yeah, it’s a well acted movie.

The score was composed by Robbie Robertson was good, had a fun, slightly blues-y feel to it that worked well for the movie. Then there were a whole bunch of licensed tracks used throughout, and not only were they pleasing to my music tastes, but they worked incredibly well within their respective scenes, elevating them a fair bit. So yeah, this movie has some damn good music.

Based on a novel by Walter Tevis, this movie was directed by Martin Scorsese who I think did a really good job. He really managed to catch the fun but also somewhat unpredictable nature of bars/pool halls, and even managed to keep a good bit of energy going through it all. I also have to mention the cinematography by Michael Ballhaus, because it’s fucking excellent. Not only are there a good amount of stunning shots, but the camera work here is really playful and makes for quite a fun watch.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 77/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best Actor (Newman). It was also nominated for an additional 3 Oscars in the categories of Best Supporting Actress (Mastrantonio), Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Set Decoration. 

“The Color of Money” is an enjoyable little sports drama. It has a good story, good characters, really good performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. Though as previously mentioned, it is brought down a bit by the plot feeling a little uneven in parts. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Color of Money” is an 8,82/10. While flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “The Color of Money” is now completed.

Guess I should check out “The Hustler” at some point.

Movie Review: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

*Insert repetitive comment about Markus loving westerns here*.

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… “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”!

The story of this movie follows the outlaws known as Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman, R.I.P) and the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) as they travel around, rob trains and banks, and generally outwit the law. And while that is a very basic plot that we’ve seen in many other movies, “Butch Cassidy” does it much better by focusing on the bond between our two heroes as they go through all kinds of shit. It’s actually quite an interesting plot that manages to be fun and exciting without sacrificing any drama. By drama I don’t mean that it’s super serious and overly dramatic, but when it needs to have some good drama, it nails it.

The characters in this movie and interesting, entertaining, and pretty fleshed out. Paul Newman is great as Butch Cassidy, playing him as this charming and confident bandit. He’s endlessly likable and fun to watch. Robert Redford is great as the Sundance Kid, playing the slightly more serious one of the two. Katharine Ross plays Etta, a woman that our two heroes knows/socializes with, and she’s great in the role. Really, there are no weak performances in this movie. Not saying that all are great, but none stood out as bad.

The score for the movie was composed by Burt Bacharach and it was good. It was fun, delightful, and overall worked very well in the scenes that tracks were featured. And I guess I should talk about the one “song” in the movie. It’s called “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” and it was sung by B.J. Thomas, and it’s quite good. Like the score it is fairly lighthearted and it’s pretty delightful. I like it.

This movie was directed by George Roy Hill and I think he did a really good job. The shots look great and everything flows very well. And when bullets start flying, it’s fun, badass, and exciting. What I was also kind of surprised about was that there was comedy in this movie. Not saying that it’s the typical “This is a comedy, now laugh!”, but this movie has a sense of humor. And it’s funny, I laughed at the jokes in the movie. Some might think that blending this humor with some of the more serious moments in the movie could end up poorly, but this movie did this very well.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10 and is ranked #201 on the “Top 250” list. The movie won 4 Oscars in the categories of Best original screenplay, Best cinematography, Best original song, and Best original score. It was also nominated for an additional 3 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best director, and Best sound.

“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” is an incredibly fun movie and most definitely a classic. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Bang*. My final score for “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” is a 9,87/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” is now completed.

This is one of those movies where I was just smiling for most of it. It’s such a delightful movie.

Movie Review: Road to Perdition (2002)

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I am a big fan of mobster related stories, whether it’s from a movie, TV-show, book or even video games. I don’t know why they fascinate me so much, I guess they just kind of do. So then I heard about a mob movie starring one of my favorite actors (Tom Hanks). So of course it got my attention pretty quickly… even though it took me a lot of time before I watched it. But now I have finally gotten the chance to watch it and it’s time to talk about it!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Road to Perdition”.

This movie follows the young boy Michael Sullivan Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin) as he one night watches what his father (Tom Hanks) does for a living… killing people. So after that his mother and younger brother get killed by Connor Rooney (Daniel Craig) who was working with Sullivan sr. that night. So of course our hero must run away with his son to keep him safe. He is also going around hunting down who were part of the death of his family. I know my explanation of the plot if pretty vague but it is difficult talking about this plot without giving you every detail ever. I can at least say that I loved both the premise of the plot and the execution. The movie really explores the relationship between father and son here and how they bond… in a strange way. The story not only brought up some interesting things but was also pretty powerful. So I can safely say that I thoroughly enjoyed the story in this movie.

The characters were really well-written. They didn’t only have great dialogue but also felt very realistic in what came out of their mouths. And the performances in the movie were pretty fucking great if you ask… well, anyone. Tom Hanks is always good, but I feel like this might be one of his best performances in my opinion. Paul Newman was also pretty great in this movie. It was also nice to see Daniel Craig in a great performance that wasn’t James Bond. Jude Law was also really good. Overall every actor did a great job in this movie, but there was one performance that really surprised me with how good it was and that was young Tyler Hoechlin who was only 15 at the time. He honestly gave one of the best child performances I have ever seen. Great job, Tyler!

The score by Thomas Newman is nothing short of great. It really works to create the dark, tense atmosphere of the movie. Yes there were a few more light-hearted parts in both the movie and the score that loosened the tension a little bit but I think that worked pretty damn well. There were a few tracks that I believe weren’t composed by Thomas Newman but were licensed tracks… but they worked too. Every piece of music in this movie really helped capture the time period of the 1930’s which is the time period the movie is set in. So the music was overall great.

This movie is beautifully directed. It is rare to find a movie that looks this great these days. It uses a bunch of longer takes in some scenes which I really appreciate since a lot of modern movies uses cuts every god damn second. I also appreciate how they didn’t use shaky-cam during the more action-y scenes and actually let us see the god damn things on the screen (compared to all modern movies). Here is a fun fact about the movie; It is based on a graphic novel by Max Allan Collins and Richard Piers Rayner. And to answer your possible question, no I have not read the graphic novel but I kinda wish to.

This movie was fairly well-received. It has an 81% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. Roger Ebert gave this movie 3/4 stars, and no I couldn’t find a decent quote from him to sum up his thoughts on the movie, but I could at least assume he liked it since it got 3/4 stars. Anyway, on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10. The movie won an Oscar for Best cinematography. It was also nominated for another 5 Oscars in the categories of Best Supporting Actor (Paul Newman), Best set decoration, Best sound, Best sound editing, Best original score. 

This movie features an interesting/powerful story, great performances and writing, great music, beautiful camera work/cinematography and an overall great atmosphere. So now I am going to hand out my final score for this movie. So my final score for “Road to Perdition” is a 9,71/10 which grants it the one and only “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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“Road to Perdition” is now reviewed.

R.I.P Paul Newman.