Movie Review: Lady Macbeth (2017)

That’s right, this summer isn’t just about films from my own country. I can review other things too if I’m in the mood. And right now I am in the mood to review something not in my own language.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Lady Macbeth”.

19th century England. Katherine (Florence Pugh) lives in an unhappy marriage that she’s been forced into. But as we follow her throughout the movie, we see her evolution as she slowly comes into her own, which may or may not stir some shit up in the house. Now, when the movie started out it felt somewhat familiar. A romantically inclined period piece drama with themes of personal liberation. However, as it went on it started leaning into directions I didn’t expect. And I really feel like this gradual shift in tone and even genre really helps “Lady Macbeth” stand out among the crowd of period dramas out there. It helps give the movie a unique identity and impact that I haven’t really seen before. It goes to some dark fuckin’ places at times, and I’d argue it really helped the storytelling out quite a bit. It is slow paced, which might put some people off, but I for one really found the story engrossing.

The characters in this are flawed, quite layered, and just overall quite interesting. Florence Pugh plays Katherine, a young woman who’s been forced into an unhappy marriage with a rich dickhead. Due to her situation she is a bit repressed, but over the movie we do see her evolving quite a bit as a character, making her really fascinating to follow. And Pugh is terrific in the role. The and the supporting work from people like Cosmo Jarvis, Paul Hilton, Naomi Ackie, and more is all pretty great too.

The score for the movie was composed by Dan Jones, and it was good. Compared to so many other movies that use musical tracks in every other scene, this score only appears at a few points. And even then, none of the tracks are loud or particularly attention seeking, going for a more low-key suspense/emotional resonance, and I think that works pretty well.

Based on a novel by Nikolai Leskov, “Lady Macbeth” was directed by William Oldroyd. And I think Oldroyd did a really good job with it. He makes the most of the remote location the film is set in, really creating an engaging atmosphere that enhances the storytelling. And the cinematography by Ari Wegner is pretty fantastic too, both in the wide shots of the moorlands, and in the more cramped indoor scenes.

This film has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 76/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.8/10.

“Lady Macbeth” is a uniquely engaging period piece that I highly enjoyed. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, good use of music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Lady Macbeth” is a 9,64/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Lady Macbeth” is now completed.

Florence Pugh? More like Florence Prettyfuckinggoodatacting.

Movie Review: Let the Right One In (2008)

Good afternoon, my friends. Or good whatever-fucking-time-it-is-when-you-read-this. Either way, time for another Summer of the Swedes entry.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Let the Right One In” (Original title: Låt den rätte komma in).

Oskar (Kåre Hedebrant) doesn’t have it easy. He tries to just live his life, which is made harder at every turn by some other boys who bully him. But one day on a chilly winter night, he meets Eli (Lina Leandersson), a weird and mysterious girl that he soon starts befriending, which will change his life in a major way. Initial setup sounds a tad similar to “We Can Be Heroes!”, which I reviewed a week or so ago. But in execution it’s very different. Instead of being a lighthearted and funny story about outcasts who learn to follow their dreams, this is a slowly burning, somber affair that incorporates elements of existentialism and of course also the supernatural. And I found it to be utterly fucking engaging. Some people might hate the slow pace of it, in combination with the lack of scares (since it’s technically a horror movie)… but for me it just really clicked in an emotionally engaging way.

The characters in this are flawed, nuanced, and overall just really interesting. Something about the characters here just feels real to me, at least more so than many movies I’ve seen recently. And while some of the kid actors here aren’t necessarily great, they do still sell their performances pretty well. Kåre Hedebrant, Lina Leandersson, Patrik Rydmark, they all do well. And the adult actors like Per Ragnar and Karin Bergquist all do really well in their roles. It’s a well rounded cast.

The score for the movie was composed by Johan Söderqvist, and I think he did a really good job with it. It’s a somber affair, helping create this electrifying, almost dreamlike vibe for the movie. It helps create a deeper emotional connection between the viewer, really adding a lot to the atmosphere of the movie.

Based on the novel of the same name by John Ajvide Lindqvist, the script for “Let the Right One In” was written by John Ajvide Lindqvist, with Tomas Alfredson serving as director. The craft here is generally really good. Alfredson really knows how to make scenes feel both warmly engaging and weirdly unsettling. He also knows what to show, when to show it, and how long to show it. There is some genuinely disturbing imagery at times, and Alfredson does an excellent job in its usage. And the cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema is really good as well, giving the movie a unique and stunning look that adds so much to the atmosphere.

This film has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 98% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 82/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10.

“Let the Right One In” is an excellent little horror-drama. It has a great plot, great characters, really good performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Let the Right One In” is a 9,78/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Let the Right One In” is now completed.

Finally, a great movie in this series of mine.

Movie Review: The Hunters (1996)

The Summer of the Swedes continues, this time moving a bit further north in the country.

Ladies and gents… “The Hunters” (Original title: Jägarna).

Erik Bäckström (Rolf Lassgård) is a policeman who recently moved from Stockholm to his old home in Norrbotten following his father’s funeral. While there he starts investigating a case of large scale reindeer poaching. And as he investigates it, he soon starts discovering some dark secrets in and around his home. Yes, this sounds like a typical police film with a mildly unique setting. And at times it does feel like that. But then it also throws in its secondary main plot, which is Erik trying to reconcile with his estranged brother (Lennart Jähkel). And that relationship and the drama surrounding it is pretty fucking compelling, often managing to really get in my heart and my head and actually elicit some emotions. And while the main cop plot isn’t the most original or even nuanced (it does feel kinda shallow), it does work pretty well. And while that’s all good, there are a few bits throughout that don’t work too well for me, all falling within the second half of the movie. They don’t break the entire package, but they do bring it down somewhat. Overall though, the story here is quite good.

The characters in this are for the most part surprisingly layered and interesting. Rolf Lassgård might at first seem like “tough cop with a past”, but we do see throughout that he does have a sensitive side to him that helps endear us to him, with Lassgård giving a great performance. Lennart Jähkel as Lassgård’s tragic backwoods brother is fucking excellent. And the rest of the cast, containing people like Jarmo Mäkinen, Tomas Norström, Göran Forsmark, Thomas Hedengran, Editha Domingo, and more, all generally do very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Björn Lindh, and it was generally pretty good. It’s often pretty emotional and tends to add to the quality of the movie. Though there are admittedly a few tracks that maybe are a little bit too melodramatic for their own good. But generally the score here is good.

“The Hunters” was written by Kjell Sundvall and Björn Carlström, with Sundvall handling directing. And good god damn, the direction here is great. I am so used to movies here having a very “press record” kind of look. But you can tell that they really gave a fuck about making a well crafted drama here. The cuts are well done, the shot lengths are great, and the atmosphere Sundvall’s direction is just palpable. This is further complemented by the cinematography by Kjell Lagerroos, which is fucking stunning.

While this film doesn’t have too much data on my usual sites, I can still say that it was generally well received. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

While flawed, “The Hunters” still rises above many of its peers in the police drama genre, thanks to the crew actually giving a fuck about being compelling. It has a good story, good characters, great performances, pretty good music, and great directing/editing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Hunters” is an 8,76/10. So I’d say it’s worth buying.

My review of “The Hunters” is now completed.

The Swedish word “jäkel” can be translated as “asshole” or other such rude words. Which is funny when there’s such a character in this, played by a man named “Jähkel”.

Movie Review: We Can Be Heroes! (2002)

Time for the Summer of the Swedes to keep going. So what’s on the menu today? A children’s film? Oh fuck.

Ladies and gentlemen… “We Can Be Heroes!” (Original title: Bäst i Sverige!).

Marcello (Ariel Petsonk) doesn’t have it easy. He’s bullied by some boys in schools, and his parents (Michael Nyqvist, Anna Pettersson) try to dictate where his life is supposed to go. But when he befriends the new girl in his class (Zamand Hägg), his life starts changing in a few ways. If some of these elements sound familiar, that’s because you’ve seen other movies. But just because this film borrows cliches from other ones doesn’t mean it’s bad. In fact, I’d argue the story here is pretty good, with writing that takes the cliches and uses them in charming and enjoyable ways. There’s a lot of times when our main character has really vivid dreams, both in the middle of the day and during the night, which serve to not only develop him as a character, but also further the plot and also entertain. And it helps make the storytelling here feel fresh and fun. There are one or two moments in the story that maybe don’t fit too much, since they push the suspension of disbelief a bit too much, but overall I really liked the story here.

The characters in this are colorful, fun, and at times surprisingly nuanced. Sure, they all might seem like walking cliches at first. But as the story moves on, we see most of them get some decent development that makes them endearing and likable. And the cast, which features people like Ariel Petsonk, Zamand Hägg, Michael Nyqvist, Anna Pettersson, Ralph Carlsson, Pontus Stenshäll, and more, all do pretty well in their respective roles.

The music in this movie is based heavily in a lot of pop tunes, which I guess is used to help add to the overall fun tone of the movie. I’m not saying all of them 100% fit all of the time, but I also don’t think any of the tracks ruin the mood at all. The songs work fine.

“We Can Be Heroes!” was directed and edited by Ulf Malmros, and I think he did a damn good job. The way he shoots a scene is energetic and fast-paced, while still allowing for some of the more quiet scenes to nicely simmer. And man, the editing is really good too. Malmros knows when to make perfect cuts and how to nicely transition between reality and Marcello’s dreams. The craft here is really good. And since this is a comedy (despite imdb not acknowledging it), how is the humor? Fucking funny. It’s charming, it’s silly, it’s cute, it’s even a little brash at times… and most of it made me laugh.

On Rotten Tomatoes it exists with no rating. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5,8/10.

“We Can Be Heroes!” had a bit of an uphill battle with me, being both from my own home country and a children’s film. But god damn, it managed to win me over. It’s a charming little comedy about finding yourself. It has a good plot, really good characters, really good performances, pretty good music, great directing/editing, and funny comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “We Can Be Heroes!” is an 8,89/10. So I’d definitely say it’s worth buying.

My review of “We Can be Heroes!” is now completed.

Things are starting to look up.

Series Review: What We Do in the Shadows – Season 2 (2020)

Taking a break from my dive into my own country’s filmography, just so I can talk about a show I’ve watched over the past ten weeks.

Ladies and gentlemen… “What We Do in the Shadows” season 2!

We once again follow  Nandor (Kayvan Novak), Laszlo (Matt Berry), Nadja (Natasia Demetriou), and Colin Robinson (Mark Proksch), as they deal with all sorts of supernatural hijinks throughout their daily lives. All the while their human familiar Guillermo (Harvey Guillén) tries to keep his recently discovered vampire slaying legacy secret. So it’s another season of vampiric shenanigans. And just like the first season, the story here are quite a bit of fun. They really went for a deep dive in exploring their own world, as well as old school vampire mythology. And I found it all very entertaining. Sure, there are parts of the show where it dips every so slightly, but generally I have nothing negative to say about the stuff going on here. It’s a silly bit of fun with a surprising amount of thought behind it all.

The characters are colorful, charming, funny, and overall just really interesting. Some of them even go through a surprising amount of development throughout the season. The returning lead cast of Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, Harvey Guillén, and Mark Proksch are all terrific once again. And the guest stars this season (that I won’t mention by name, because it might spoil things) are terrific too.

The music for the show was composed by Mark Mothersbaugh, and I think it’s really good. Really captures the sort of gothic, semi-Victorian vibe that they go for with these centuries-old vampires, while still keeping a somewhat cheeky/silly vibe to it. Really fits the show splendidly.

This season was written and directed by a whole bunch of different people, and I think they all did an excellent job with it. The directing is great, they really make the most of the mockumentary format, making for a lot of energetic cleverly directed scenes. The editing is also really good, a lot of good cuts and such going on throughout. And since the show is a comedy, I guess I should briefly touch on the show’s sense of humor. It’s really funny, at times even gutbustingly hilarious. It’s very silly, relying on a mix of wordplay, slapstick, and a hint of raunchy stuff. Sure, the show’s sense of humor might not be for everyone, but I certainly love it.

This season/show has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 81/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,4/10.

Season 2 of “What We Do in the Shadows” continues the show’s winning streak, with another ten episodes of funny supernatural antics. It has fun stories, great characters, great performances, good music, really good directing, and hilarious comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “What We Do in the Shadows” season 2 is a 9,80/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “What We Do in the Shadows” season 2 is now completed.

BAT!

Series Review: Transformers Prime – Season 2 (2012)

There are probably those in the world who would say “You’re 23, stop watching cartoons!”. And to that I say “Be quiet, fool, I’m trying to watch a cartoon”. Oh, and there will be spoilers for the end of season 1, just so you don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Ladies and gents… “Transformers Prime” season 2.

At the end of the previous season, we saw Optimus (Peter Cullen) defeat the mighty Unicron. But that doesn’t mean him and his fellow Autobots get any time to rest, since they find themselves in a race against Megatron (Frank Welker) and his Decepticons to find and gather up mighty Cybertronian artifacts, all scattered across Earth. Yes, most of this season is a MacGuffin hunt, but so are all the “Indiana Jones” movies, and those are great. And “Transformers Prime” does it really well too by throwing in a lot of enjoyable character development, some clever twists, and genuinely fun sci-fi concepts. It also continues the show’s exploration of “Transformers” lore in really nuanced ways. The narrative manages to be a lot more compelling than a lot of contemporary cartoons… and a lot more compelling than the live action movies… what I’m saying is that the story here is great.

The characters here are flawed, layered, colorful, and just in general great. In season 1, they kinda started out one way, kind of being a cliche. But by the end of it, they had developed further. And they kept that going here in season 2. A lot of cartoons return to the status quo every now and then, just to make syndication easier. But none of that’s here. Character development sticks, and even gets furthered throughout the season. And the voice cast is great too. Peter Cullen, Frank Welker, Kevin Michael Richardson, Jeffrey Combs, Sumalee Montano, Josh Keaton, Tania Gunadi, Steve Blum, Ernie Hudson, and a few more all return from the previous season, all delivering damn good voice performances. And some of the newer additions, including the likes of Tony Todd, David Kaye, and Nolan North, are also great great.

As with the previous outing, the music for season 2 was composed by Brian Tyler, and he once again did a good job with it. It’s a big, bold, badass, brass-based score that fits the tone of the show really well while adding an extra layer of emotion to certain scenes throughout.

In my review of season 1, I praised the show’s animation for being fluid and dynamic without sacrificing much in terms of detail. Well, I can happily say that it’s still the case here. The animation is beautiful. Sure, the human characters look a bit like putty, but that’s an acceptable compromise for the titular robots. My god, they look amazing. The amount of detail on them, from parts, to shine, to wear and tear in their paint… you can tell that the crew really cared to make them look amazing. And the good animation carries over to the action too, which has plenty of exciting fights, shootouts, and chases. It’s all fluid and super fun, without compromising on any of the detail.

On imdb.com the show has a score of 7,8/10.

The crazy bastards did it. They somehow managed to give “Transformers Prime” another terrific season. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and excellent animation/direction. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Transformers Prime” season 2 is a 9,82/10. Which does mean that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Transformers Prime” season 2 is now completed.

Roll out…

Movie Review: One False Move (1992)

The 90s were such a fascinating time for movies, particularly ones within the crime and thriller genres. Some were kinda typical and formulaic, but often still entertained. But then we also got ones that could subvert expectations. I only say this because 90s thrillers are among my favorite kinds of movies, and today we’re talking about one such movie, one that I only heard about for the first time late last year.

Ladies and gents… “One False Move”.

After a group of criminals commit a violent crime in Los Angeles, they flee the city, heading east towards Arkansas to go into hiding. However, the L.A. police are already onto them, so they get to the quaint Arkansas town first to team up with the local Sheriff (Bill Paxton) to hopefully get his help in apprehending the criminals. In the first half hour or so it may kinda seem like a typical thriller in a lot of ways, but as we move on through the story, it evolves in a lot of unexpected ways, turning into a surprisingly nuanced take on race and humanity. And despite this switch in focus, it all feels natural. The story uses its setups to give us a genuinely clever and layered narrative that managed to keep me enraptured from start to end.

Just like the plot before them, the characters in the movie may seem like one simple idea at first, but as time passes, we find out that there’s more than meets the eye. Bill Paxton plays Sheriff Dale Dixon, a lovable countryside Sheriff who’s ready for action. And the arc he goes through here is so unexpected, yet so compelling, that I can’t help but find him an electrifying character. And Paxton is terrific in the role. Next we have Cynda Williams as a young woman who travels with the criminal group at the center of the story, and we quickly learn she does have some interesting history (to keep it vague). And Williams is really good in the role. Then we have Billy Bob Thornton and Michael Beach as the two main crooks, and they make for an interesting presence in the movie. And both actors are great in their roles. We also get some supporting work from people like Jim Metzler, Earl Billings, Natalie Canerday, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The music for the movie was composed by Peter Haycock, Derek Holt, and Terry Plumeri. I really like what they did with the score. There is an interesting mix of genres in the score. At times it sounds like a more typical movie score with regular orchestrations, and at times it goes for blues instrumentation. I find it to be quite a fascinating blend that really adds to the film’s atmosphere, giving it a fairly unique soundscape that I loved listening to throughout the runtime.

Written by Billy Bob Thornton & Tom Epperson, “One False Move” was directed by Carl Franklin, who I think did a great job. He manages to give the entire thing a very grounded feel, without sacrificing any cinematic flair. This also helps bring in some decent suspense at times, which further adds to the nuance of the narrative and world of the movie. So combine Franklins confident direction with James L. Carter’s really good cinematography, and you get an insanely well crafted movie.

This movie has been really well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 87/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

While the change in narrative focus may put some people off, I personally thought “One False Move” was a great little crime-drama. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “One False Move” is a 9,80/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “One False Move” is now completed.

I miss Bill Paxton.

Movie Review: Stuart: A Life Backwards (2007)

Life is fucking complicated. That’s it, that’s our intro.

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… “Stuart: A Life Backwards”.

Aspiring writer Alexander Masters (Benedict Cumberbatch), through working with homeless people, meets Stuart (Tom Hardy), a homeless alcoholic with a traumatic past. And we follow the two as their lives evolve because of their unlikely friendship. This is a fascinating little drama, and I must say that I found myself enraptured by the story here. Now, the film’s structure isn’t exactly unique, it’s pretty straightforward in that regard. But it still feels quite fresh thanks to its fascinating subject and nuanced writing. It can often be quite heavy and unflinching when revealing what’s been going on in Stuart’s life, which might not be the most fun to watch… but man, it really adds to the experience. The story here is nuanced, heartwarming, heartbreaking, and simply great.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, fascinating, and feel very real. Tom Hardy plays Stuart, the eponymous character. He is an alcoholic with a history of violence and drug usage. I won’t go into specifics, but it’s interesting to see the kind of personal journey Stuart goes through here. They really pull no punches with it all. And Tom Hardy is absolutely fantastic in the role, probably giving the best performance I’ve seen from him. Next we have Benedict Cumberbatch as Alexander, the man who more or less serves as the film’s narrator. He goes through a little bit of a personal arc too after he meets/befriends Stuart, and it’s pretty compelling, with Cumberbatch giving a damn good performance. We also get some supporting work from people like Nicola Duffett, Candis Nergaard, Trevor Sellers, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Rob Lane, and it was good. It’s not one of those scores that you’re gonna find yourself humming along to it, as it relies less on melody and more on heavy ambient sounds. But that’s okay, because it fits incredibly well within the movie, adding to the emotion of a lot of scenes.

Based on the book of the same name by Alexander Masters, “Stuart: A Life Backwards” is a made-for-tv movie co-produced by BBC and HBO, and was directed by David Attwood. And I think Attwood did a good job with it, really giving the movie a sort of fly on the wall feel to proceedings. There’s nothing flashy and movie-ish about his directing here, it really has a grounded and almost documentary-esque feel.

“Stuart: A Life Backwards” isn’t always easy to watch, but it is still one hell of a good drama. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, good music, and really good directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Stuart: A Life Backwards” is a 9,78/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Stuart: A Life Backwards”.

This movie kinda broke me.

Movie Review: Reign of the Supermen (2019)

As has been made clear many times on this here blog, I like watching animated adaptations of DC Comics properties. Yes, there’s been a few less than stellar ones through the years, but I always root for them, because of my nearly lifelong love of these characters. So with this said, let’s talk about one.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Reign of the Supermen”.

Set six months after “The Death of Superman“, the world is still trying to recover after one of its biggest heroes died at the hands of the monster known as Doomsday. And in the wake of the Man of Steel’s demise, several new and mysterious Supermen start revealing themselves, all trying to be the new hero of Metropolis. While the movie at times suffers from trying to cram a lot of plot into 80 minutes, I still found myself enjoying the hell out of proceedings. The creative team really know how to squeeze genuine emotion and clever storytelling out of this admittedly silly premise. There were times where I really felt something more than just “Yay, superheroes!”. Again, it’s not perfect as it has a lot of plot to dish out in a very short runtime, but for the most part the story holds up, even providing a surprising amount of nuance.

Like with the story, the crew managed to give a surprising amount of nuance to the characters in here, giving them interesting motivations and entertaining arcs. I won’t go too much into details about them, as it would risk spoiling stuff, so I’ll just leave it on all characters having something interesting to them. Also, holy crap this cast. Rebecca Romijn, Cameron Monaghan, Cress Williams, Jerry O’Connell, Rainn Wilson, Charles Halford, Rosario Dawson, and so many more… it’s an incredible cast, with everyone giving their A-game.

As with a lot of these DC animations, the score for “Reign of the Supermen” was composed by Frederik Wiedmann, and as per usual, it is terrific. This man brings us terrific tunes every time he composes the score for one of these movies. It’s big and epic, but also low-key and intimate. My man brought his A-game once again.

Based on the 90s comic storyline of the same name, “Reign of the Supermen” was directed by DC animation regular Sam Liu. And if you’re somewhat unfamiliar with that name, let’s just say that he’s one of the most reliable hands in the DC/WB animation department. The man knows how to infuse properties with a certain energy that is quite engaging to experience. When scenes need to slow down and be more emotional, his direction is great. And when action happens, his direction is great. The man knows how to deliver on animated comic book goodness. Speaking of which, the animation here is great. It has a decent amount of detail, and it has a nice fluidity to it that really shines during action scenes.

This has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

“Reign of the Supermen” may buckle slightly under the weight of too much plot in too little time, but it still manages to be a damn fine animated feature. It has engaging plot, it has really good characters, great performances, great music, and really good animation/direction. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Reign of the Supermen” is an 8,87/10. So while flawed, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Reign of the Supermen” is now completed.

Fun fact: As I was writing this, I put on some music. And one of the songs that came on was “Land of Confusion” by Genesis, which has the oddly fitting lyric “Oh Superman, where are you now?

Movie Review: Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989)

Between this and “Sexy Beast”, I seem to be finding myself reviewing a bunch of movies with at-first-glance strange titles that implies something… not very family-friendly (avert thine eyes and minds, nuns and children). But I promise, there’s an actual movie here.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Sex, Lies, and Videotape”.

Ann (Andie MacDowell) and John (Peter Gallagher) live a quiet and seemingly decent life. However, due to Ann’s disinterest in sex, John has resorted to cheating on Ann with her sister (Laura San Giacomo), which has become an unfortunate status quo. But one day when John’s old friend Graham (James Spader) shows up in town, things start to change. “Sex, Lies, and Videotape” deals with sexuality (well, duh), both active and repressed, and how that affects the relationships between the characters. And I must say, I thought it was very well handled here. It’s a slowly burning, mature, and nuanced take on those themes that mesmerizes from start to end thanks to the strong writing (and a few other elements, which we’ll get to later, but I digress).

The characters in this are flawed, unique, and overall quite fascinating. Andie MacDowell plays Ann, a sexually repressed, slightly neurotic woman. She is a pretty layered character unlike any I’ve followed before, and MacDowell was great in the role. Peter Gallagher is really good as the charismatic, yet slimy John. Laura San Giacomo was great as Ann’s sister, Cynthia. And then we have James Spader as the somewhat mysterious Graham. I won’t go too deep on him, because I think some of his quirks and such are better left experienced rather than told. But I can say that he’s quite fascinating, and Spader is great in the role.

The score for the movie was composed by Cliff Martinez, and it was great. Generally it wasn’t very melodic, going for a more atmospheric, droning sound. But it worked fantastically within the movie, adding another layer of emotion to proceedings, making for a much more engrossing experience.

“Sex, Lies, and Videotape” was the feature film debut of American filmmaker Steven Soderbergh. He both wrote and directed the movie, and I think he did a phenomenal job. And I’m not just saying this in comparison to other debuts, but also as a comparison to filmmakers with more experience. The amount of clever camerawork and directing techniques here is insane, and all of them serve the storytelling beautifully. The dude showed skill beyond his years with this.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 86/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10. The movie was nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best original screenplay.

“Sex, Lies, and Videotape” is an excellent little drama that wonderfully explores the lives of our characters. It has a great plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Sex, Lies, and Videotape” is a 9,87/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Sex, Lies, and Videotape” is now completed.

How in the hell is this a debut? Did Soderbergh sell his soul to the devil or something?