Movie Review: Paranoid Park (2007)

Paranoid Park

 

You know, while big blockbuster movies that everyone sees are fine and dandy, sometimes you need something smaller. That is at least how I feel, seeing as how I love both huge action spectacles and quiet little movies that sneak up from nowhere. What I am trying to say is that I have reviewed quite a bit of bigger movies recently, so let’s take on a smaller indie movie.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Paranoid Park”.

In this movie we follow high schooler Alex (Gabe Nevins) who likes to skate on his skateboard. But his life changes dramatically after he accidentally kills a security guard. That’s it… simple as it comes. But just because the premise is simple to describe, doesn’t mean that it isn’t layered, because this plot has layers. What I like about it is that it shows Alex trying to live with the guilt and anxiety of what he have done. It makes for an interesting watch and an intriguing plot. What I also find interesting is how jumpy the plot is. To some that might be a terrible thing, but I love when the order is a little wonky so I can piece the puzzle together (I’m looking at you “Sin City”!).

You know what I like about the characters? They all feel so genuine. They all feel like they are real people, like they had a life prior to the movie and actually existed. Those are the best kind of characters, those you can imagine beyond the movie. Say what you want about the acting, but at least it all feels genuine. It’s kind of like when I was “Elephant” a while back (Sidenote: Coincidentally also directed by Gus Van Sant), the actors weren’t really professionals, they were picked for their roles because that their roles were kind of who they actually were(ish). I am babbling at this point, but someone might make sense of it. What I’m trying to say is they all feel very real.

What is interesting about the soundtrack to “Paranoid Park” is the fact that even though it sounds at times like there is an original score, there is none. Instead we have a collection of indie rock and licensed tracks that probably were from original scores in other movies. I mean, if your mixed soundtrack contains songs by Nino Rota (Sidenote: Awesome composer) without having him as composer, it is safe to assume it was licensed. Not that I am complaining, all of the tracks used in the movie were really good and fit every scene perfectly in one way or another. I really like what they did here with the soundtrack.

Like I mentioned before, this movie was directed by Gus Van Sant and once again he is awesome. The shots look great and his editing (Yes, Van Sant edits his own movies because he is awesome like that) is spot on great. And the cinematography by, hold on… Christopher Doyle and… Rain Li looks fantastic, giving it a dark yet colorful look that fits perfectly with the sad and almost melancholic movie. Also, if you easily get queasy then maybe don’t watch this movie because there is one scene (no spoilers) that will make you badly queasy.

This movie has been very well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 76% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 83/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“Paranoid Park” is a very quiet movie that still managed to leave quite the impact on me with a powerful story, genuine/real characters, good music, great direction/editing and excellent cinematography. Time for my final score. *Clears throat*. My final score for “Paranoid Park” is a 9,86/10. It deserves the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

“Paranoid Park” is now reviewed.

As for those of you still doubting, this movie is not about the Black Sabbath song opening a park.

 

My Favorite Scenes: Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End – Hoist the Colors

Good morning, good afternoon, good evening and good night to you people of the world! I am here to share with you another one of my favorite scenes from a movie. And what is it this time? Well this time it is the opening scene from “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End”. First I will give my quick thoughts on the movie; It is entertaining, it is worth watching if you enjoyed the first two. Now to the scene itself. It is dark, haunting and just great. Probably the best scene in the entire movie (if you ask me). You have the British people hanging people who have taken part in piracy. Not only is the cinematography great, but the mood is jsut dark and depressing, which I like. But the scene truly becomes geat and even powerful when that little kid who is about to get hung starts singing the song “Hoist the Colors”. It really helps set the mood perfectly. And then when all the people joins in it just gets amazing… and then ends in a mass hanging. I simply love this scene and think it is worth sharing because of it’s sheer impact on me.
Enjoy!

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.