Movie Review: Mission Impossible 3 (2006)

Holy shit, we’re already at the third part in my “Mission Impossible” review series. Time sure flies. Well, I guess we should jump into it like a Tom Cruise stunt.

Ladies and gents… “Mission Impossible 3”.

We once again follow IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) as he gets dragged into another mission. And this time his mission is to find and capture a very elusive and dangerous arms dealer (Philip Seymour Hoffman, R.I.P). So now we have our twisty-turny spy thriller plot. What’s fun is that it takes the MacGuffin, single villain plot of the second movie and mixes it with some of the deeper conspiracy/twist-based stuff of the first. It’s a good, fast-paced, and entertaining spy thriller plot. But there is also where we find the main flaw/draw of the plot: It’s fast-paced. Like, “almost give you whiplash with how fast-paced it is” fast. It’s good because it keeps stuff from getting boring or too slow (a la the first half of “MI2”), but it also makes some scenes feel a bit too rushed. So overall this plot is really good, if a little too fast at times.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, and quite interesting. Tom Cruise of course returns as IMF agent Ethan Hunt, and I really mean it. This is not the wannabe James Bond from “MI2”, this is the Ethan of the first movie, but with some added details. He’s trying to settle down, but he’s also active in operations, trying to keep that side of his life secret. And Cruise is great in the role. Next we have Philip Seymour Hoffman (may he rest in peace) a Davian, the villainous arms dealer antagonist of this film. He’s a sinister, matter-of-fact, menacing motherfucker who proves a truly formidable foe for Ethan and his team. And Hoffman is fantastic in the role, taking lines that would be shit in lesser hands, and turning them into some of the most menacing things I’ve heard in movies. Next we have Michelle Monaghan as Julia, Ethan’s fiancée. Not gonna say too much as her development and such is kind of spoiler territory, but let’s just say that she’s a more interesting character than one would assume at first. And Monaghan is really good in the role. Then we get supporting work from Ving Rhames, Laurence Fishburne, Keri Russell, Jonathan Meyers, Maggie Q, Billy Crudup, Eddie Marsan, Simon Pegg, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Michael Giacchino and it was pretty damn good. What he did here is that he gave us an orchestral score that featured both big, bombastic action tracks and smaller, tension-building tracks for some of the smaller scenes. It’s really a damn solid score that works very well for this movie.

This movie was the feature film debut of J.J. Abrams, and I think he did a really good job with it. As some of you might know, he has a penchant for making his movies very fast-paced, and while that can be a little bit of a detriment to the plot here (as mentioned in a previous section), it does nothing but help the action scenes here. The action here is fucking great, giving us fighting, shooting, swinging, running (so much running), and more, blending it into some damn entertaining stuff.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 70& positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 66/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

“Mission Impossible 3” is a return to form after the disappointing second installment. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and really good direction. As I mentioned earlier, the relentless pace of this movie makes a few moments throughout feel a little bit rushed (but not enough to ruin the movie). Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mission Impossible 3” is an 8,87/10. So while flawed, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Mission Impossible 3” is now completed.

Only one more to go.

Movie Review: Almost Famous (2000)

Music. One of the most powerful things in the world. A medium that transcends language. You may not understand what that foreign person is saying, but you will connect thanks to the recognizable riff of “Smoke on the Water”, or the vocal melody of “Stairway to Heaven”. Music, connecting people better than words can.

Ladies and gents… “Almost Famous”.

The year is 1973. High school student William Miller (Patrick Fugit) has been given the opportunity of a lifetime: To follow up-and-coming band Stillwater on tour and write an article on them for Rolling Stone Magazine. So yeah, that’s about it. We follow William and the journey he goes on with this band. From meeting them, to seeing them play, to the various other highs and lows of a 70s rock band being on tour. And I found myself fully engrossed in the plot of this movie. When it wants to be fun and breezy, it’s fun and breezy. And when it wanted to tug at my heartstrings, it did. It rides the balance between fun and dramatic perfectly, creating a journey that I loved following from the start to finish.

The characters in this are all entertaining, layered, interesting, and feel like real people. Patrick Fugit plays William, the young man who’s been given this opportunity. He’s naive, but not dumb. He holds these guys in high regard, and you can see the joy in his eyes as he hangs out with the band. But you also see him get some good development throughout. And Fugit is great in the role. It’s also refreshing to see him play such a happy character after having seen him be so stressed and damaged in “Outcast”. Next up we have Billy Crudup as Russell, the lead guitarist of the band. He’s the member we get to know the best and that gets the most amount of development. He is a bit mysterious, but as he spends time with William he starts to open a bit more and really develops as a character. And Crudup is great in the role. Then we have Kate Hudson (who I mistook for Drew Barrymore at first, oops) as “Penny Lane”, a mysterious girl that William runs into early on that follows along on the journey. She’s a pretty secretive girl, but she also becomes one of William’s closest friends during this journey. She’s a very fun and interesting character. And Hudson is great in the role. I’m not gonna go in-depth with any more characters as most don’t get the same kind of development as the main three, and also because I don’t want this post to get too long. But we do get some supporting work from people like Jason Lee, Frances McDormand, Noah Taylor, Fairuza Balk, Anna Paquin, Philip Seymour Hoffman (R.I.P), Terry Chen, and more. All doing really well in their respective roles.

While not a lot can be found on it online, there was music in this composed by Nancy Wilson (one half of rock duo Heart), and the little I found out about it was really good. There has been one piece officially released from it that is fantastic, and she also co-wrote some songs for the band in the movie (with some additional help from Cameron Crow and Peter Frampton). And there were of course A LOT of 70s rock tracks used throughout to capture that era and story, and it worked brilliantly. Then again, I am a bit biased due to my love for that era of music. Still, the soundtrack for this movie worked perfectly for it.

The movie was written and directed by Cameron Crowe and he did a fantastic job. His directing is tight and intimate, getting us close to the characters and their situations, making us feel like were really part of it. But it’s not the “look at me and how personal I can get”, Crowe’s direction doesn’t call attention to itself. There’s also a lot of humor in this movie and I found it to be really funny, I laughed out loud several times. But the humor never feels out of place or like it overtakes the drama, it fits into the movie incredibly well.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 90/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best original screenplay. It was also nominated for an additional 3 Oscars in the categories of Best supporting actress (Hudson), Best supporting actress (McDormand), and Best film editing.

“Almost Famous” is a fun, inspiring, and engaging little dramedy. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, fantastic music, great directing, and funny humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Almost Famous” is a 9,89/10. Which means it gets a the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
 

My review of “Almost Famous” is now completed.

Hold me closer, tiny dancer…

Movie Review: Moneyball (2011)

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I have never really had any kind of connection to sports movies throughout my entire life. Sure, there was “Space Jam”, but that was when I was a dumb kid, But I am talking about a real and genuine connection of emotion and inspiration, a connection that feels personal. Either it’s because I have never found a sports movie that have had that type of resonance or it’s because I have pushed them out like “No, get out!”.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Moneyball”.

In “Moneyball” we have the true story of Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) who is/was the general manger of the baseball team “The Oakland A’s”. We see how he assembles a team based on computer analysis and numbers rather than the typical physical traits that talent scouts were looking for. And I was invested the whole way through and I think that might come from the really great screenplay. I can also say that I was emotionally invested in the story… yeah. Me, a lazy, sports-disliking jerk was emotionally invested in a sports movie. Now to be fair, this movie is more about what happens behind the scenes of it all rather than on the playing field itself and I like how they did it.

The characters in this movie all feel real, they all feel like they had a life before/outside the movie. Like I mentioned in my “Paranoid Park” review, those are the best kinds of characters. And the acting was really good. Brad Pitt knocked it out of the park (Pun intended) in this movie. I think I am justified in saying that he is one of my favorite actors. Jonah Hill was also great in the movie, playing the guy who helps Brad Pitt apply the math and statistics for finding the players they need. I’m not gonna lie, when I think of Jonah Hill I don’t think “Great actor”, I think “Guy with slightly bigger physique in comedies”. But still, he was great in this movie. Philip Seymour Hoffman didn’t have that much to do in the movie, but when he was on screen he was good. Also, this movie has Chris Pratt in it. I was actually surprsied to see that when I saw the movie. But everybody was great in the movie.

The score for the movie was done by Mychael Danna and I can safely say that he did an excellent job with it. It is big, it is dramatic and it is emotionally powerful. I’m not kidding, just listening to it makes me get all fuzzy and emotional inside. Yeah, it is that great.

The movie was directed by Bennett Miller who I have seen nothing from before this. I know that he directed Philip Seymour Hoffman in the movie “Capote” and I know he made last year’s “Foxcatcher” which also was a sports movie. So I can safely say that I am looking forward to seeing those movies because this movie looks fantastic. The shots look great and it all just comes together nicely. And like I said earlier, the screenplay is fantastic. It was written by Steve Zaillian who wrote “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “American Gangster”, two movies that I liked. But Zaillian wasn’t alone on screenplay duty, he was helped by Aaron Sorkin who wrote “The Social Network” which I enjoyed. In other words, this screenplay is as airtight as it can get.

This movie has been incredibly well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating with a “Fresh” ceritication. On Metacritic it has a score of 87/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10. The movie was also nominated for 6 Oscars in the categories of Best Picture, Best Actor (Pitt), Best Supporting Actor (Hill), Best Film Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Adapted Screenplay.

“Moneyball” is a sports movie that i think both fans of baseball and sports haters can enjoy. It has a solid plot, great acting, a great soundtrack, great directing and an airtight screenplay. Time for my final score. *Swings bat* Aaaaaand it’s a homerun! He runs around the field and gets an envelope of some kind! My final score for “Moneyball” is a 9,88/10. It gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

“Moneyball” is now reviewed.

Hey batter batter, swing!

Movie Review: The Master (2012)

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Back on the drama platform again. Some dramas get universal praise, while some get hated and some are just somewhere inbetween. And no, this is not one of the inbetween movies…at all. This is a movie that got recognized as a great movie pretty damn quick. But is it something that this guy can get behind and love as much as the critics did?

Ladies and gentlemen…”The Master”.

The story of the movie is set in 1950 and follows a man named Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix). Freddie isn’t really a completely stable person. First he was kind of traumatized by being in war and then he ended up a bit of a drunk. One night when he is on one of his drunken escapades he ends up one a boat filled with people led by Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman). Dodd is someone who the people pn the boat call “Master” (Roll credits). Basically it is like a cult or organization that Freddie ends up joining. And then he struggles to be in the organization but also having the disadvantage of having the bottle as his best friend. And that is it realyl considering how difficult it is to explain this movie without spoilers. But the premise is kind of interesting and the execution isn’t too shabby. It is just that strangely enough…the story of this movie doesn’t appeal to me. Not saying it’s bad, it just isn’t that kind of super awesome to me. It is kind of good, but not perfect.

The characters are kind of like the story…odd. Okay, I never mentioned odd in the story segment, but it is kind of odd. But the way these characters are is diffcult to say. I could say they are portrayed very realistically, but I am not sure on if what they do is realistic or not. I can at least say that the acting is really good…I mean REALLY GOOD. Joaquin Phoenix is pretty much unrecognizable as this drunken mess of a man. This guy pulls off the role perfectly! I honestly think it is one of the best performances I have seen from any actor. Philip Seymour Hoffman was also great as this leader of the organization. Still, Philip Seymour Hoffman is good in everything. But with characters/acting I was pleased.

The music is fantastic. A good mix of orchestral tracks, both bombastic and calm. Composer Jonny Greenwood did an excellent job making the soundtrack for this movie.

This movie looks better than most movies I have ever seen. Paul Thomas Anderson really shows here that he knows how the camera works and how to make a really good looking scene! Also, when I looked in the cast list for this movie I was surprised to see Swedish actress Lena Endre in there. Not saying seeing here there was a bad thing, just surprising.

The reception for “The Master” was good. On Rotten Tomatoes this movie has a 85% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has 86/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars and said this;

Paul Thomas Anderson’s “The Master” is fabulously well-acted and crafted, but when I reach for it, my hand closes on air. It has rich material and isn’t clear what it thinks about it. It has two performances of Oscar caliber, but do they connect? Its title character is transparently inspired by L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, but it sidesteps any firm vision of the cult religion itself — or what it grew into.

On imdb.com this movie has a score 0f 7,1/10. This movie was also nominated for 3 Oscars. Best actor in a leading role (Joaquin Phoenix), Best Actor in a supporting role (Philip Seymour Hoffman), Best actress in a supporting role (Amy Adams).

I have given this movie some good words and some less good words. So now I am ready to give it my score. This movie gets my personal 8,43/10 and a recommendation to rent it. This movie has a lot of things going for it, but is still not really worth buying (In my opinion).

“The Master” is now reviewed.

While Philip Seymour Hoffman is cool, he is not as cool as the Master from Doctor Who.

Movie Review: 25th Hour (2002)

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If you didn’t know, I love Edward Norton. He is not only a fantastic actor…but he also donates a good amount of money to charity and let’s face it…he is one handsome son of a bitch. He have pulled out some great performances in movies like “Fight Club” and “American History X” (in which he was amazing). He is one of those actors that never is bad…NEVER! It is the movie that is bad, not him! HE IS NEVER BAD YOU MOTHERFUC…hmm, sorry about that, I had a fanboy rage moment there. So we are taking a look at one of his lesser known movies.

Dudes and chicks…”25th Hour”.

Montgomery Brogan (Edward Norton) is not at his highest point in life. Why? Because he is going to jail in 24 hours. For what you may ask. And I can tell you he is going in for drug dealing. In 24 hours he will serve a seven year long sentence. During these last hours he kind of re-evaluates his life. He wants to set a few things straight before he ends up in the joint for seven years. He got busted because someone probably ratted him out and he thinks it might be his girlfriend Naturelle (Rosario Dawson). But during these last hours he also have a few drinks with his friends Jacob (Philip Seymour Hoffman, R.I.P) and Frank (Barry Pepper). I am not going further than this with the story explanation for one reason: This story is too easy to spoil and is too interesting to spoil. It is a story that I think you should experience yourself. It is emotional, it is gripping and it is deep and makes you think about what’s right and wrong…trust me.

The characters are…people. People who have been through some shit. First up is Montgomery (out of those I wish to shortly analyze). A man who ended up on the wrong side of the law. An intelligent man who could have gotten a great job but didn’t have a too good start of life. Next up is Jacob. A teacher who got a lot on his mind at the time. His best friend is going to jail, one of his students (Anna Paquin) shows interest in him and tries to get a higher grade. And finally up on the table is Frank…he is for the most part a partying, drunk stock broker who like Jacob is a little confused since his best friend Monty is going to prison. In general…the characters in this movie are incredibly realistic and incredibly well acted. Still…that is not too much of a surprise when you have people Like Edward Norton and Philip Seymour Hoffman as some of your main actors. In general…I found them incredibly interesting to watch.

The music is damn good. The bits of original score by Terence Blanchard are magnificent, really expressing the feel of depression, sadness and a little isolation that the movie wants to show. And I fucking love that stuff. The score is near perfection (not gonna sit here and try to explain why I said “near perfection”). There are a few licensed songs as well but…I didn’t really give a shit about them. They were decent enough I guess.

I have nothing really to mention in the “General Stuff” section. Maybe I can mention that it is based on a novel by David Benioff. There, I mentioned it. Now go away.

Reception for “25th hour” was overall good. Rotten Tomatoes has a 78% rating for it and a “Fresh” Certification. Metacritic has given this movie a 67/100 score. Roger Ebert himself gave this 4/4 stars and put it on his “Great movies list”. The score for the movie on imdb.com is 7,7/10.

“25th Hour” is an intelligent, compelling, gripping and overall fantastic movie. My final score for it is a 9,76/10. This movie is worth a buy. Wait…worth a buy!? I command you to buy it! How do I do that? With the “SEAL OF APPROVAL” of course!
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Review of “25th Hour” is now done.

I wonder what I would do with my last 24 hours…