Movie Review: The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

Happy valentines day, my friends. Hope you’re showing the love today. Whether for your significant other, your friends, your relatives, your pet, it doesn’t matter. Just show some love. Anyway, since it’s the day of lovey-dovey bullshit, let’s talk about a romance movie of sorts.

Ladies and gents… “The Adjustment Bureau”.

David Norris (Matt Damon) is a congressman in the state of New York. One day he meets professional dancer Elise (Emily Blunt) and starts falling in love with her. But their relationship gets halted at every turn by a mysterious organization hellbent on keeping them apart. So now David has to try to outsmart them and take control of his own destiny. And I thought the plot here was… fine. It has a damn good concept, and I did enjoy the chain of events along with some of the fairly unique world building they did throughout. It did however never fully grab me. It felt like they only really scraped the surface of the idea to try to appeal to the broadest audience possible. It’s like if “Dark City” was a bit bland. So overall, the plot here is fine, if a bit toothless.

The characters in this I found to be decently enjoyable. Matt Damon plays David Norris, a congressman with dreams of moving up in the political world, but can’t quite do that while dealing with this whole Elise situation. And we see him get some decent development throughout as he tries to figure out what the hell is going on. And Damon is great in the role. Emily Blunt plays Elise, the woman that Norris meets and falls in love with. She’s a tough, charming, and overall pretty interesting lady that I liked following a bit in the movie. And Blunt is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like John Slattery, Anthony Mackie, Michael Kelly, Terence Stamp, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for this movie was composed by Thomas Newman, and it was fine. It was a bit bland, while still being decently enjoyable to listen to in the background of the film. I guess it worked well enough for the various scenes throughout the movie, even though it didn’t bring any real oomph to it.

Based on a short story by Philip K. Dick (why am I not surprised), this movie was written and directed by George Nolfi, who I think did a pretty good job. His direction gives the movie a decent bit of energy and helps it from feeling stale. Sure, the plot is a bit so-and-so, but the directing is still good enough to slightly elevate it.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 71% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 60/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

While it has its fair share of flaws, “The Adjustment Bureau” is still a fairly enjoyable little romantic thriller. It has a fine plot, pretty good characters, great performances, fine music, and good directing. Though as previously mentioned, the plot didn’t really stick with me, and the music didn’t really bring anything for me. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Adjustment Bureau” is a 7,87/10. So while it is flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “The Adjustment Bureau” is now completed.

Nothing like stories of forbidden love.

Movie Review: Blade Runner 2049 (2017)

I know that I’m late with watching/reviewing this, but hey… Better late than never. So shut up… let’s get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Blade Runner 2049”!

Set 30 years after the first movie, we follow a Blade Runner named K (Ryan Gosling) as he works a case. And during this case he stumbles upon a really old secret that will lead him onto a dangerous quest to find former Blade Runner Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) and hopefully get some answers. And once again we have a deep plot that at first just sets up an intriguing mystery, but soon also starts to ask questions about humanity and what makes you human or not… like the first movie. But while it does pose some of the same questions as the original, it isn’t really anything like it. Sure, it’s a familiar story with some similar themes, but it mostly does it’s own things, feeling like a proper, expansive continuation rather than a retread of the first movie. I should also mention that it is quite slow-paced, which will put some people off. But for me it worked, taking it’s time to develop the story and it’s developments. The plot here is unpredictable, tense, emotional, philosophical, filled with twists and turns, and I absolutely loved it.

The characters are layered, flawed, and really interesting. Also, forgive me if I’m a bit brief with some of these descriptions as I don’t wanna spoil too much. Ryan Gosling plays K, our protagonist.  Like Deckard before him, he’s a Blade Runner, and while Blade Running he stumbles upon the plot. Within the first couple minutes you get a good feeling that he is a bit of a troubled man, and he goes through a lot of emotions through the movie as he learns more and more. And Gosling is great in the role. Robin Wright plays K’s boss, a tough and smart lady. And Wright is great in the role. Ana de Armas plays Joi, the girlfriend of K. She’s a likable and kind-hearted lady that we quickly learn something interesting about. And de Armas is really good in the role. Then let’s talk about Harrison god damn Ford who returns in this as Rick Deckard. When we meet him you can tell that he’s damaged on the inside after stuff that’s happened in his life (both during “Blade Runner” and between both the movies). He’s grumpy, troubled, and tired. And I have to say that Harrison Ford was great in the role, giving one of his best performances ever. Jared Leto plays Niander Wallace, the menacing creator of the newest Replicants. He’s our villain who is suitably weird and menacing, and Leto is really good in the role. Really, all actors in this movie range from really good to great, brief appearance or lengthy role. ’tis a very well acted movie.

The score was composed by Hans Zimmer & Benjamin Wallfisch and it is absolutely amazing. It manages to emulate the stuff that Vangelis composed back in 1982, while also doing enough things differently to make it stand out. Yes, the synth sounds are still there, but there are also a whole bunch of modern touches to it as well, making it a very epic, emotional, tense, and exciting score that is a feast for the ears. Also, there are a couple of licensed tracks used throughout (which came as a surprise), and they were used well in their respective scenes. Yeah, this movie had some solid music.

Ridley Scott was supposed to originally direct this, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. So instead Denis Velleneuve took over the reins. And holy crap, he did a fantastic job. His directing here (as with most of his movies) is sweeping, taut, suspenseful, and thought-provoking. And let’s not draw this out for too long, Roger Deakins’ cinematography is absolutely fucking spectacular, and if he doesn’t win the Oscar for Best cinematography, then I will get furious and stomp around the house (too lazy to riot). Seriously, this is one of the most beautiful movies I’ve ever had the pleasure of looking at. And the mix of practical effects and CGI here is seamless, it all blends together so well that I never questioned what I was looking at. This feels like “Blade Runner” while still updating it a bit. And for those wondering if there’s any action here: There are a couple of action scenes, but they’re few and far between. That said, when they happen they are awesome. Violent and hard-hitting, but awesome.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 81/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,5/10 and is ranked #61 on the “Top 250” list.

“Blade Runner 2049” exceeded all my expectations (which were decently high), and turned out to be one of the best sequels of all time. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and fantastic directing/cinematography/visual effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Blade Runner 2049” is a 9,90/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Blade Runner 2049” is now completed.

This further cements my mantra “Villeneuve can do no wrong”.

Movie Review: A Scanner Darkly (2006)

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The world of Philip K. Dick adaptations is one that has been explored on my blog for quite some time now. Which is interesting considering the fact that I haven’t read anything by him at all. Oh well, I guess I’ll get to his books at some point. But until then, let’s review this adaptation of one of his books.

Ladies and gentlemen… “A Scanner Darkly”.

The story is about an undercover cop (Keanu Reeves) who gets involved with some people to keep track of where this drug called Substance D comes from. Problem is that he gets a little too involved and he basically starts losing his damn mind and even his own identity. And based on that premise you should expect that this plot gets weird, deep, and pretty interesting. And I’d say you’re correct in assuming such things. The plot gets pretty strange and mindbending as it goes on… and I loved it. Not gonna lie, I had to take a good moment to gather my thoughts about all of this. And when I was done thinking I came to the conclusion that I really loved the plot of the movie. It’s interesting to no end and it’s kind of a mindfuck at times.

The characters in the movie are all kind of a bit… odd, to put it gently. No one in this movie is 100% there, everyone’s a little bit loco. Keanu Reeves has never been that great an actor, but I’m still a big fan of the guy. But I have to say that his performance here is one of his better, he’s actually good in this movie. Robert Downey Jr. is also in the movie, playing one of Reeves’ friends and he does a really good job too, playing a fast-talking, and quick-witted guy who’s like I said… loco. Then we also get some other great supporting performances from people like Rory Cochrane, Woody Harrelson, and Winona Ryder. Yeah, only good acting in here.

The score for the movie was composed by Graham Reynolds and it’s really weird and psychedelic. Yes, I can still classify it as music, I can still hear the instruments being used. It just sounds really weird. And by weird I mean good, it really works for this movie. I’m just saying that it is the definition of psychdelic.

This movie was directed by Richard Linklater, and this is the first of his movies that I have ever seen, but that’s not important. What is important however is that this is one of the most uniquely directed movies that I have ever seen. I think you would say that too if you have seen the movie or by simply looking at the picture I chose to head this review with. This entire movie is rotoscoped. Or rotoshopped, if I’m to believe wikipedia. Basically they filmed the actors doing the scenes, only to animate over each frame to create something really weird, unique, and pretty fucking cool. Seriously, you can look up image comparisons on google regarding some frames in the movie where you see the normal version compared to the animated one. It’s quite fascinating to say the least. Fascinating, creative, cool, impressive, weird… there are plenty of adjectives that can be used to describe it.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 69% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

“A Scanner Darkly” is one of the coolest movies I have ever seen. It has an interesting story, odd yet interesting characters, really good acting, good music, fantastic directing with a unique style and some really good writing. Time for my final score. Woaw. My final score for “A Scanner Darkly” is a 9,86/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “A Scanner Darkly” is now completed.

Stay off drugs, kiddos.

Series Review: The Man In the High Castle – Season 1 (2015)

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So here we are, back in the realm of Amazon’s Original Programming. Yeah, the very same Amazon that you can order shirts, soap and all kinds of stuff from. For the… one of you that didn’t know, Amazon is making original programming. Possibly one of my followers might remember that I did a review for season 1 of Amazon’s show “Bosch” last year. So yeah… they make shows… so let’s review one of them!

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to… “The Man in the High Castle”.

The world has gone to shit (God, I’ve missed that phrase so much!). It’s the 1960’s and Nazis are in control. That’s right, in 1946 they took over the United States and also allied with Japan to rule over everything. We follow a young woman named Juliana (Alexa Davalos) as she is more or less pulled into a plot set up by the resistance to try to get a hold of some films that could change everything. And these films are produced by the mysterious… “Man in the High Castle” (Roll credits). We also get to follow a whole bunch of other characters, including Juliana’s boyfriend Frank (Rupert Evans), who are part of this world and have some part in the grand scheme of things. I know what you’re thinking, this plot sounds interesting, but complicated and maybe a little dumb. But trust me, I am just trying to give you the basics of the plot without spoiling it for you. So trust me when I should say that the story is fantastic and is worth experiencing. It is filled with gripping drama, engrossing situations and several clever twists. Also, the ending of the season (no spoilers) just fucked with my mind so hard. Yeah… it’s great plot.

The characters in this show quickly develop and you start caring about them pretty fast. Alexa Davalos (an actress I knew jack shit about before this show) was fantastic as Juliana. She was determined, strong but also the right level of vulnerable. Rupert Evans (you know, the guy from “Hellboy”) is fantastic as Frank, a man who is pulled into all of this trouble in a very violent fashion (figuratively speaking… ish). Then we have Luke Kleintank as Joe Blake, a young man that Juliana meets on her “adventure” and quickly befriends. Then we also of course have Rufus Sewell (remember when he was a thing?) as Obergruppenführer John Smith, AKA the American Nazi-man. And holy fucking shit, he was amazing in this show. Not only is his overall performance great, but the writer’s made me actually feel sympathy for him… a Nazi. It’s crazy, but true. He’s a great character. There are a whole bunch of other great actors in this show, both in big and small roles. So I’m not gonna go through ’em all as you will most likely notice them too while watching. Seriously, this show is filled with great people.

The score for the show was composed by Henry Jackman and Dominic Lewis and it is (surprise, surprise) pretty stellar. Henry Jackman of course is the man responsible for the music of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and it’s sequel “Civil War”, two movies with great music. So of course when I saw Jackman’s name in the opening credits I was pleased. Speaking of the opening credits, the decision to have “Edelweiss” from “Sound of Music” as the opening theme… fucking brilliant. Anyway, back to the original score; it’s great. Dramatic, tense, awesome.

Fun fact: This show is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick, the man who also wrote the book behind “Blade Runner”. Okay, fun fact over. This show is very well directed, perfectly capturing the feel of this bleak world that is set up. Sure, it isn’t really a show that has fast-paced direction, as it is more of a slow burn, but it’s still really good. Also, Ridley Scott is an executive producer on this show, which makes this his second Philip K. Dick adaptation… hmm. Oh well, it’s a very well done show, so those curiosities can be put aside for later.

This show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 77/100. And on imdb.com the show overall has a score of 8,1/10 (imdb doesn’t have season-based averages).

This show is unlike anything else I have ever seen, it’s so different and unique. With a fantastic plot, great characters/acting, fantastic music and great directing, it’s definitely something. Time for my final score. ACHTUNG! My final score for “The Man in the High Castle” is a 9,91/10. It is great and gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “The Man in the High Castle” season 1 is now completed.

Season 2 is confirmed, but it isn’t here… I need it NOW.

My Favorite Scenes: Blade Runner – Tears in Rain Monologue

Hey guys, it’s me. And it’s time for me to share one of my favorite scenes. And this time it is for the sci-fi classic “Blade Runner”. In other words, spoilers for the movie “Blade Runner” and if you haven’t seen it already I suggest you go and see it (Final Cut version is the best) and then come back. We good? Great!

So this scene is pretty much at the end of the movie. Not the final scene like the video title says because there is still a little bit left after this scene, but it’s still late in the movie. And to be honest, I could include the circa 10 minutes leading up to it as well seeing as it is in my opinion one of the most suspenseful scenes of all time where we see our hero, Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) getting chased by renegade Replicant, Roy Batty (Rutger Hauer) through an old building. But since I didn’t feel like looking for that part to include in video form, I will settle for this part… which is still worth talking about.
This movie is 33 years old and this scene still holds up magnificently both in directing and visual effects. After the chase has ended, Batty saves Deckard from falling to his death and then he starts monologuing. Usually monologuing from the movie’s main antagonist is jsut a cheap way for a deus-ex-machina to happen, but here it works. It is a beautiful monologue that gives a lot mroe meaning to everything in the movie and it is elevated by Rutger Hauer’s fantastic performance and the beautiful score by Vangelis. The scene has a lot of emotion and it is overall just fantastic, definitely one of the best I have ever seen.
Enjoy!

Movie Review: Minority Report (2002)

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With sci-fi being as big of a genre as it is I find it very interesting how many different types of movies you can find. You have your typical “Pew pew” sci-fi like “Star Wars”. Then you have the more methodical and realistic/dramatic sci-fi like “Moon” or “Sunshine”. Then we have the kind of sci-fi that falls somehwere inbetween. It is action, but it is also realistic/dramatic. And that is the type of sci-fi we are taking a look at today.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Minority Report”.

In the future, crime has been completely eliminated! And by crime I mean murder and by completely I mean in Washington D.C. Let me elaborate; there are these things/people called “Precogs” who can see murders before they even happen. So then it is up to a bunch of police(ish) officers to locate said murder and prevent it. And in this movie you follow Chief John Anderton (Tom Cruise) who one day gets accused of committing a murder… in the future. So now he is on the run, trying to clear his name and find out what the hell is going on. Okay, so it sounds like a sci-fi version of “The Fugitive” at first, but when you watch it this movie feels very fresh and original in it’s execution. Not only does the story present an interesting chase thriller, but it is also a story of human emotion which director Steven Spielberg is excellent at showing in his movies. The movie also gives us an interesting look at the future that really hasn’t been done before(ish). It is a very thought-provoking movie with a lot of good emotion and thriller elements behind it’s story.

Since this is a Spielberg movie, you know the characters will be really good. That is somethign I really respect about Spielberg, he makes sure his movie are more about the characters rather than the presented theme of the movie (theme of this is sci-fi chase thriller). So I am glad to see that the characters in this movie are as interesting as in his other movie. Tom Cruise is excellent in the lead role as John Anderton. He has to show a lot of emotion but also a lot of authority in his role and he does it perfectly. Colin Farrell also plays in the movie as this snarky/asshole inspector guy, and he’s great. The third actor I wanna go in depth with is Samantha Morton who plays the Precog Agatha. Holy shit, she is amazing in this movie. She shows off as much emotion as you can and she also manages to be emotionless at the same time and I honestly think she was worthy of at least an Oscar nomination because she was amazing. Every actor in the movie was in fact great, they all did a great job.

Like in most Steven Spielberg movies, the score was done by the one and only John Williams who once again blew us away with his amazing talents as a composer. The score is adrenaline pumping, the score is heartfelt, it is suspenseful, it is everything you need for this type of movie. In other words: it is fucking great!

Like i have stated about 40 fucking times already, this movie was directed by Steven Spielberg and he did a terrific job doing it. His shots look great and he really managed to keep my attention throughout the movie. The cinematography by Janusz Kaminski was also pretty fantastic. The combination of Spielberg’s direction and Kaminski’s cinematography gave the movie a unique look that I have never seen in any other movie which gives it a bit of an edge over other sci-fi movies. Also, this movie is apparently based on a story by Philip K. Dick who also did the story for “Blade Runner”. Remember, he only created the story, not the screenplay. And in other news, I should probably go and read some of his books/stories soon.

This movie has been very well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 90% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 80/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10. The movie was also nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best Sound Editing.

“Minority Report” is a very original sci-fi movie with a thought-provoking story, excellent performances, fantastic music, fantastic direction and cinematography and some genuine suspense. Time for my final score. *Ahem*… My final score for “Minority Report” is a 9,86/10. It definitely deserves the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
Seal of Approval

Review of “Minority Report” is completed.

Murder…