Movie Review: Mississippi Grind (2015)

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Here’s a question for you: Do you have or know anyone with an addiction? Not just drugs, but any kind of addiction really. If so, maybe say yes and what that addiction may be. Okay, on to the review.

Guys and gals… “Mississippi Grind”.

Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) got a bit of a dilemma. He is overall down on his luck and he got some financial problems. Then one day he meets young and charismatic poker player Curtis (Ryan Reynolds). So they team up to go on a road trip through the south to try to change Gerry’s luck for the better and get a load of money. But it’s not only a typical “Financial hardships and poker” movie, it is also a drama about addiction (Hence the intro to this post). You see, Gerry has a bit of a gambling addiction and that is a big theme of the movie. And I have to say that I really enjoyed the story of the movie because it kind of showed the consequences of addiction while still making gambling look like fun even though you most likely might lose. I thought the plot/story was great.

The characters in this movie are consistently entertaining and they all have several layers to them. Ben Mendelsohn plays the skilled but still struggling poker player and he is absolutely terrific in the role. I don’t have much to really compare to since I have only seen him in one thing before I saw this, and that thing was “Slow West” (Sidenote: Great movie). And Ryan Reynolds as Curtis… terrific! This is the best I have ever seen from him (Sidenote: I have not seen “Buried” yet). Both actors did a great job, as did all the supporting actors.

While there was no real original score (as far as I know/have noticed) for the movie, there was still a soundtrack. It is very heavily based in southern rock & blues music and I absolutely loved it all. The songs were not only great on their own, but they also fit the tone and style of the movie really well.

This is one of those weird movies that have two directors sharing credit. So if the movie is bad, we got two people to blame. Luckily, the movie is very stylishly directed, but not in a bad way. Sure, it’s not as stylish as “Drive” or anything by Wes Anderson, but it still got a lot of style and uniqueness to it. And it’s interesting to see the different parts of the American south that our “heroes” do their trip through because the southern parts of the U.S. interest me a lot.

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. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,4/10.

“Mississippi Grind” is a pretty damn great movie about gambling addiction. It has a great plot, great acting, a great soundtrack and great directing. Time for my final score. ALL IN! My final score for “Mississipi Grind” is a 9,88/10. It most definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Mississippi Grind” is now completed.

What’s your favorite poker/gambling movie?

Movie Review: Rounders (1998)

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Poker is something that has fascinated me for quite some time. There are so many little things that can affect a round and not just luck like most people assume. Of course there is a little luck involved when it comes to what cards you get, but there is also a lot of strategy involved, mainly to know when to raise, fold or go all-in. Then you also need to be able to read a person to find out if they got a great hand that will win them the game or a hand that makes them nervous, gotta know a little about human psychology. But that isn’t important now since we are not playing as much as watching people play.

Ladies and gents… “Rounders”.

Our story follows young poker genius Mike McDermott (Matt Damon). He is retired from poker and gambling after something that happened during a game against Russian poker player Teddy KGB (John Malkovich). But now he lives a quiet life with his girlfriend Jo (Gretchen Mol), he studies law and he generally seems to have it pretty decent. Then when his old friend Lester “Worm” Murphy (Edward Norton) gets released from prison he has to get back into the world of poker to help his friend pay off some brutal loan sharks. And the plot is intriguing in that sense. It is a nice plot to see how these two work everything to try to get the money together to pay off these loan sharks. The problem however is that it would be even better if there was any genuine suspense in the plot. Believe me, I think the plot is great but I feel that it needed a bit more suspense. But it was pretty good overall.

The characters in this movie are all varied, colorful and really well-acted. But shouldn’t come as a surprise considering some of the main stars of the movie are Matt Damon, Edward Norton and John Malkovich. But htye all have personalities and they all fill their seats perfectly. I think my favorite character in the movie however might be Worm (Surprise, Surprise). Not only because he is played by my favorite actor (Edward Norton) but also because of his dry wit, quick mouth and overall “loveable asshole” style. And Edward Norton plays him perfectly! But I do in general think all characters are great.

The score was done by Christopher Young and really fits the style of the movie. A lot of piano in a sort of jazzy style was used to great effect to get the dry wit style of our two main characters and the poker. There were a few tracks that were also a bit more slow and calm but they were great too. There was also a good mix of licensed tracks in there that really worked for everything.

This movie was shot pretty well. I mean, John Dahl has never been known as a visionary director (Sidenote: I had never heard of him until this movie) but he knew how to make the movie look pretty good. Also, remember all that rambling I did in the beginning about how poker worked? Yeah, Matt Damon explained that in the movie in a similar way and I thought it might fit here. And just to make sure and not confuse you, this isn’t a comedy even if the promotional material make it look like that, this is a drama with a lot of dry wit and clever dialogue. Sound good? Great!

This movie was pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes the movie got a 65% positive rating. On Metacritic the movie has a score 0f 54/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3/4 stars. And imdb.com has a score of 7,4/10 for “Rounders”.

“Rounders” is a movie with a good plot that could use a little more suspense, colorful characters powered by great performances, a really good score, good direction/camera work and some great dialogue. Time for my final score. Where the hell is it… oh there, under the poker chips. Oops. My final score for “Rounders” is a 8,99/10. It is a really good movie that is definitely worth buying.
betala-kassa-butik

Review of “Rounders” is completed.

I told you I might’ve been able to squeeze a review in before I traveled to Rome!

Movie Review: Casino Royale (2006)

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James Bond is probably the longest living movie franchise right now. The first one came in 1962 and they have just kepy coming. Sure, they switched the actor every now and then, but that was to make sure the character didn’t look too old. To be completely honest I haven’t seen that many Bond movies. I think I have seen like…three prior to this. Back to the subject…this movie. The Bond “reboot” if you will that got incredibly popular and had critics very pleased. But what did this guy right here think about it? This guy who has been skeptic about Daniel Craig as Agent 007.

Bonds and Bondettes…”Casino Royale”.

The story follows MI6 agent James Bond (Daniel Craig). He has recently become a so called “00-agent” (A.K.A an agent with license to kill). But after getting this little rank he is sent on a special mission by his boss, M (Judi Dench). This mission is to enter a high stakes poker game at a casino and stop the bad guy known as Le Chiffre (Mads Mikkelsen). Le Chiffre is a man who works with illegal arms dealing. If he doesn’t win, Le Chiffre will get money to fund his empire even more and continue his wepons dealing. But doing so is easier said than done when Le Chiffre is a so called mathematical genius. Another thing that troubles everything is that as any Bond movie, there are a lot of people who will try to kill Mr. Bond. But Bond is not entirely alone. He gets help from the beautiful finance woman Vesper Lynd (Eva Green) whom he develops feelings for. Now what I like about this story is not the main layout. but the execution. It is incredibly well made and just perfectly executed. It is perfectly paced. Director Martin Campbell has created a seamless balance of dialogue, action and poker games. The basics are good…but the execution is even better.

The characters…surprisingly I like them. They are well written and well acted. I was very happily surprised with Daniel Craig’s performance as Bond. I actually liked him and thought he fit. I was doubting that fact a for good two years before I saw this movie. He didn’t seem like the typical Bond guy…but he pulled it off. And Judi Dench was of course good since well…she is Judi Dench, let’s just say that. I also liked that they made Bond a very human and even somewhat relatable character that showed that he is not just this immortal badass killing machine…but that he is a mortal human with flaws. And that is something I loved.

The music…oh god the music. Sure, that phrase doesn’t say much since every Bond movie has good music. But the music in this is just fantastic. The score by David Arnold is perfect. But of course…since it’s a Bond movie we have to see how good the opening song is. And in “Casino Royale” it is honestly one of the best songs I have ever heard…but that’s just me. Great soundtrack!

This movie got some of the coolest shtos I have seen in an action movie. Not just for the action scenes, but in general. This movie is shot in such a way that it always is interesting, even in what would have been really boring scenes. Also…the action in this movie is honestly fucking amazing. And unlike most modern action movies, they don’t cut every fucking second…they actually show what’s going on. And that is something I love!

The reception for “Casino Royale” was just great. A lot of it was aimed at Craig’s performance as Bond. On Metacritic this movie has the score of 81/100. On Rotten Tomatoes it has the incredible score of 95% and is certified “Fresh”. Roger Ebert gave this movie a 4/4 star rating saying

 “Craig makes a superb Bond … who gives the sense of a hard man, wounded by life and his job, who nevertheless cares about people and right and wrong,”

This movie got a score of 8,0/10 on imdb.com yet is strangely enough not on the “Top 250” list.

I liked the story, characters, music, direction, action and all that good stuff in this movie. So I am giving this movie the score of 9,56/10 and the SEAL OF APPROVAL!
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This movie is worth a buy. Wait…worth a buy…what the hell am I saying!? It is almost mandatory that you buy it! This movie is great. But yeah, I definitely recommend this movie to lovers of movie lovers/action lovers/anyone.

Review of “Casino Royale” is done.

I’m back, baby!

Movie Review: Maverick (1994)

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As you may have noticed, I love westerns. I’m gonna admit, they are my favorite type of movies. There are a lot of great ones out there. Then there are the not so good ones like “The Lone Ranger (2013)” and “Jonah Hex (2010)”. A lot of times you can see a few re-occuring themes in the good ones, yet it is so good. But then you have some of the more different ones that mix in comedy or Quentin Fucking Tarantino. The movie of today we are looking at contains one of those things, and no it is not the latter of the two. This is a more comedic take on the western genre.

Sirs and ma’ams, the poker playing western comedy…Maverick.

This movie is as you may have realized, during the wild west. It follows a man named Bret Maverick (Mel Gibson) who is stuck, with his ass on a horse, his neck in a noose that is attached to an old tree. He has been put there by a gang led by a man simply called Angel (Alfred Molina). When Angel and his gang leaves, they leave a present for Maverick and the horse…a bunch of motherfucking rattlesnakes. So from that point we get Maverick narrating combined with a long-ass flashback to what the hell got him into that situation. It is mainly because of Maverick wanting to get to a poker tournament with a price of half a million dollars and an entry fee of 25 grand that gets him into a lot of comedic situations that leads up to the point at the beginning. A lot of these situations involve an attractive young woman by the name of Annabelle Bransford (Jodie Foster) and a Marshall named Zane Cooper (James Garner). While the main story is simple enough to follow and the situations are fun to experience through the movie, a lot of times it doesn’t make sense. It is just too weird sometimes. Also, Maverick mostly gets out of these situations with the help of some dumb luck. Also, this movie uses a lot of twists that make no sense and are not the most clever ones to exist. I mean, a lot of these twists are just unnecessary and could have been left out.

The characters are just, awesome! They are unique and just a hell of a good time to watch. They are all horribly flawed and sometimes somewhat douchey…but I don’t fucking care! This is a simple western, we don’t come here to get complex characters, we come to get entertained! And entertainment is most certainly what we get. There is nothing else to say.

Music is for the most part your typical western stuff…in other words good. But there are a few songs that are not even possible to be existing during this time period. And those are a few country songs. But the fact that they are used are still pretty clever since there are a handful of country musicians acting in this movie. Good job Maverick, you clever movie.

Just to mention, Maverick himself in this movie is a little bit of a coward. But he still does more to help than some characters do. Also there is one of the most awesome scenes ever in this when Maverick is in a bank that gets robbed by Danny Glover and his crew. Why is that awesome? Because when Danny Glover looks at Maverick he has this look like “I recognize you, but how? Nah”. It is just a clever nod to them being a team in the “Lethal Weapon” Movies.

Time for my western movie segment called “Gunfights” where I give my opinion on the gunfights in the movies since westerns tend to have those. And they were okay, nothing special. Fun, but a little shallow. They weren’t “Tombstone” quality, but they worked I guess.

Reception for “Maverick” was overall…not bad. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 74% rating. Metacritic doesn’t even know what this movie is. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. He gave it a neat quote to go with it:

“The first lighthearted, laugh-oriented family Western in a long time, and one of the nice things about it is, it doesn’t feel the need to justify its existence. It acts like it’s the most natural thing in the world to be a Western.”

It got the score of 7,0/10 on imdb.com

So overall, “Maverick” wasn’t bad. It was highly entertaining and is perfect popcorn material. Just make sure you don’t choke on it when laughing at the funny parts (which are fairly plenty). I am giving “Maverick” an 8/10. It is very entertaining and is worth a watch.

Wow, I just reviewed a western that wasn’t too well known.

Later.