Movie Review: Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2019)

Yes. This is a real movie. And I watched it. And now I’m gonna talk about it.

Dudes and chicks… “Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”.

When Ra’s Al Ghul (Cas Anvar) teams up with the Shredder (Andrew Kishino), the Turtles (Eric Bauza, Darren Criss, Kyle Mooney, Baron Vaughn) find themselves following the villains to Gotham City, where they run into Batman (Troy Baker). Aaaand cue the crossover craziness. Is this a masterpiece of storytelling? No. Is this high art? No. But is it a well written and fun crossover that never takes itself too seriously? Yes. For the most part, the plot here is lighthearted comic book action. But there are also moments where it actually dares to go a little darker, but it never feels like it clashes with the more fun and ridiculous scenes. It balances its tone perfectly, giving us one of the most unique and enjoyable plots in recent DC animations.

The characters are colorful, fun, charming, memorable, and pretty interesting. Troy Baker plays Batman, and he’s the ever serious Batman… you know who Batman is, there’s nothing new done to him as a character. But Baker’s voice work is solid here. Then we have Eric Bauza, Darren Criss, Kyle Mooney, and Baron Vaughn as the four Ninja Turtles Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello. And they are exactly as one expects the frickin’ Turtles to be (if you’re familiar with them). And the four actors voicing them are great in their respective roles. While there isn’t much in terms of actual development here, what makes the characters stand out here is how well they play off of each other. It’s their chemistry that makes them so enjoyable to follow… good stuff. We also get supporting work from people like Cas Anvar, Carlos Alazraqui, Rachel Bloom, Andrew Kishino, Tara Strong, Ben Giroux, Brian George, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Kevin Riepl, and it was good. Some orchestrations, some synthesizers, some guitar, a lot of fun percussion, it’s the right kind of score to add an extra bit of fun to the insanity of the movie. I really enjoyed hearing it throughout the movie, and it worked well in the various scenes.

Based on a comic by James Tynion IV & Freddie Williams II (fancy lads and their numbered names), this movie was directed by Jake Castorena, and I think it is a well directed movie. The animation flows nicely and has a really good sense of energy to it. Some of the character designs could maybe be a little hit or miss (mainly Donatello for me), there was nothing I’d call bad here. Especially not the action scenes, which I found to be great. Brutal, fluent, and well directed, the various fight scenes throughout are an absolute joy to behold. There’s also a really fun chase here that was a blast to watch. So yeah, there’s a ton of well animated, absolutely ridiculous action scenes throughout the movie… which makes me very happy. There are also a lot of jokes in this movie, and they made me laugh very hard. Some really clever, some incredibly dumb, all funny.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

So “Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is absolutely insane, and I loved every minute of it. It has a really fun plot, really good characters, great performances, good music, really good animation/direction/action, and hilarious humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is a 9,84/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Batman vs. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” is now completed.

That was… BATshit insane.

Advertisements

Movie Review: Blaze (2018)

Biopics are fascinating. They give us a glimpse into a real life individual’s personal life, while also trying to provide a couple hours of entertainment. And striking the right balance between fact and compelling drama can be tough. But some people manage it.

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… “Blaze”.

The story follows the life and times of Blaze Foley (Ben Dickey), a raggedy man with a talent for music. From his humble beginnings, and through the highs and lows, including his marriage to Sybil Rosen (Alia Shawkat), we get a good glimpse into Foley’s life. And I think that the plot here is really good. There are elements that we recognize from other biopics, but the way they’re used throughout “Blaze” feels fresh, due to the gentle and nuanced writing. It creates a fascinating tale that can be as heartbreaking as it is warmly nostalgic. The deliberately slow pace might prove a bit frustrating for some, but I thought it worked very well for the story here.

The characters here are flawed, nuanced, charming, and overall feel very real. Ben Dickey plays the titular musician. A likable man with a lot of tragic flaws. Seeing his journey as a character here is really fascinating, and I really grew to care about him. And Dickey is great in the role. Alia Shawkat plays Sybil Rosen, a woman and aspiring actress/writer that Blaze has a committed relationship with. The journey she has here, which really are the ups and downs of being with Blaze, is really interesting, and makes her an interesting and sympathetic character. And Shawkat is really good in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Charlie Sexton, Josh Hamilton, Wyatt Russell, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As this is a biopic about a musician, it should be expected that one would hear a lot of songs from said artist throughout. You’d be correct in that assumption, you do hear a lot of Foley’s music here… and I love it. Not only because the music is incredibly well written, but also because the way it’s implemented in the storytelling is absolutely wonderful. So yeah, the music here is great.

Based on “Living in the Woods in a Tree: Remembering Blaze Foley” (bit of a mouthful) by Sybil Rosen, this movie was written by Ethan Hawke & Sybil Rosen, with Hawke also handling directing. And the craft here is wonderful. It has a warmness to it, and a willingness to just sit down and really get to know these characters, not always feeling the need to get to the next “big event”. Like I said in the story bit, the pacing is deliberately slow, and the direction embraces that and turns it into some truly compelling stuff. And the cinematography by Steve Cosens helps kind of give it all a nostalgic storybook feeling that really adds to the experience.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 75/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“Blaze” is a wonderful movie about a very interesting man. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great writing/directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “Blaze” is a 9,77/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Blaze” is now completed.

That was a nice experience.

Movie Review: The Last Castle (2001)

I don’t have much to say here. Not because the movie flabbergasted me or broke my soul in two. I just don’t have anything clever to say. So I guess we should just get into the review.

Ladies and gents… “The Last Castle”.

Eugene Irwin (Robert Redford) is an army general who has been court-martialed and sent to a military prison. But it doesn’t take long for him to notice how corrupt the entire place is. So he decides to rally the other inmates to rise up against the prison and its crooked warden (James Gandolfini). I like stories of revolutions. And setting one of those within a corrupt prison is an idea that I find pretty fucking clever. However, they only do the bare minimum with that idea, going for surface level ideas instead of giving us the kind of nuanced story one could expect from this kind of idea. That said, it’s not bad. Surface level isn’t exactly what I’d call a bad thing here. The story does entertain throughout the two hour runtime. I just wish it had a little bit more nuance to it.

The characters in this are… fine. Often they boil down to stereotypes we’ve seen before. Asshole, big dude, young/underestimated guy, etcetera. Robert Redford plays General Eugene Irwin, the highly regarded army man at the center of the story. He’s a good man, never bent, always doing what’s best for him and his men. He may not be the deepest character ever, but Redford’s performance really makes it feel a bit deeper than the writing would have you believe. James Gandolfini plays Winter, the colonel who’s in charge of the prison. He seems a half decent fellow at first glance, but it doesn’t take long for his crookedness to be clear. He’s a decent matchup for Irwin, and Gandolfini is really good in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Mark Ruffalo, Clifton Collins Jr, Delroy Lindo, Steve Burton, Brian Goodman, Michael Irby, Robin Wright, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The music was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, and it was good. Plenty of military-style trumpets, some emotional strings, and some heavy and dramatic percussion. It is a little bit generic at times, but overall it’s well composed and works quite well for the movie. There’s also one or two licensed tracks used in the movie, and that works pretty well too.

The movie was directed by Rod Lurie, who I think did a pretty good job here. There’s a surprising amount of fun camerawork throughout, and he does have a decent sense of dramatic flair. Whenever the writing is a little bland and uninspired, his direction sort of helps out in making it a bit more interesting.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 52% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 43/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

While not a perfect movie, “The Last Castle” is still a pretty entertaining prison drama. It has an okay plot, meh characters, really good performances, really good music, and really good directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Last Castle” is a 7,23/10. So while flawed, I’d say it’s still worth renting.

My review of “The Last Castle” is now completed.

Do you think Ruffalo played a former pilot because helicopter blades go “Ruffa ruffa ruffa ruffa”?

Movie Review: John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum (2019)

Keanu fucking Reeves. Started out promisingly in comedies, dramas, and various action flicks. Then around 2008 he kind of dropped off the mainstream map after a few… less than critically well received movies. Then in 2014 he starred in “John Wick”, which gave his career the adrenaline boost it needed. And now he seems to be back on top. And I say, good for him. So let’s talk about his latest flick. Oh, and spoilers for the end of “John Wick: Chapter 2”, because that ties into this… sorry.

Ladies and gentlemen… “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum”.

After killing a member of the High Table, the ever tenacious John Wick (Keanu Reeves) is rendered excommunicado, with a 14 million dollar bounty on his head, and must fight for survival as he encounters trouble at every corner. So now we have our constantly moving action story. From a storytelling perspective, these movies aren’t what you’d call “high art”. But I don’t need that. It’s just our hero being relentlessly pursued in an interesting, very comic book-esque world. And that makes for a fun bit of garnish in-between all the shooty-bang-bangs and fisticuffs. The story is present enough that it adds something to the experience, but not so up its own ass that it distracts from everything else. It’s fun.

The characters in this are colorful and pretty interesting. Just like I mentioned with the plot, they feel very much like they’re ripped right out of a comic book. Keanu Reeves of course returns as title character John Wick. A man who lost everything, then is given a new chance, and then shit hits the fan again. He’s endured a lot, and I find him to be a strong and engaging action protagonist that I care about a fair bit. He even gets some decent development here too. And Reeves is really good in the role. And the supporting cast, which includes people like Ian McShane, Lance Reddick, Laurence Fishburne, Mark Dacascos, Halle Berry, Anjelica Huston, Asia Kate Dillon, and many more, is pretty fucking good.

As with the previous two movies, the score for “Parabellum” was composed by Tyler Bates and Joel J. Richard. And like the previous two movies, this score is awesome. It once again takes the approach of mixing very electronic stuff with some sick rock beats and occasional guitar screeching to make a sound that is distinctly “John Wick”. And it’s just as tense, exciting, badass, and pleasing to my ears as the last two times.

Chad Stahelski returned to direct this third entry in the franchise he helped create. And dude’s direction just gets better with each iteration. A clear focus, wonderful long takes, and a great sense of energy. The cinematography by Dan Laustsen is absolutely breathtaking, with some beautiful use of colors. And let’s talk about the thing we all watch these movies for: The action. Fuck me, it is amazing. It’s real, it’s visceral, it’s fun, it’s violent, it’s clear… it just comes together beautifully. You can see everything that happens, which also let’s you see just how much work has gone into the fucking choreography. There are also some rather creative kills throughout the movie too, and they add even more to it. It’s very well crafted, this movie.

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 73/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,0/10.

“John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” is one of the most impressive action movies of this decade, and I absolutely loved it. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography/action. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” is a 9,89/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum” is now completed.

You’d think the people constantly coming after John would take a hint that you don’t fuck with the Baba Yaga.

Movie Review: Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019)

WE GOT A HOLLYWOOD BUDGET MONSTER MASH FEATURING CLASSIC KAIJU, HOW COULD ONE NOT BE EXCITED ABOUT IT. *Calms down*. So let’s talk about this movie.

Ladies and gents… “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”.

When multiple ancient beasts awake from their slumber, the crypto-zoological agency Monarch have to find a way to stop them. Be it on their own or with the help of the titanic lizard known as Godzilla. Let’s cut to the fucking chase, this plot isn’t deep or nuanced. In the moments where it tries developing the human element of the story, it’s kinda dull. But whenever it’s about these ancient creatures having it out for each other, it’s a fucking blast. So plot-wise it’s a bit of a mixed bag. I mean, no one comes to a monster movie for plot, but when there’s a lot of time spent trying to develop it, it can get a bit distracting. So overall… mixed bag.

The characters in this… yeah, I didn’t care. Again, they tried giving them some development, but in the end it’s kind of shallow and cliched. And the cast does a fine enough job with their performances. There isn’t anyone here that I’d say is bad, just some who are better than others. My favorite was probably Charles Dance, who always had a bit of a self-aware glint in his eye, which made him kinda fun to watch whenever he showed up. The rest of the cast, including people like Kyle Chandler, Ken Watanabe, Vera Farmiga, Millie Bobby Brown, Thomas Middleditch, Ziyi Zhang, Bradley Whitford, Sally Hawkins, and various other actors was good. They all played it very straight, but no one was bad.

The score for the movie was composed by Bear McCreary, and I loved it. A lot of big, bold brass, a lot of panicky strings, some chorals… it all fit incredibly well with the kaiju calamity going on throughout the movie. And while I won’t spoil which, some of the tracks are absolute treats for… various reasons. Damn good stuff.

The movie was directed and co-written by Michael Dougherty, who I think did a great job with it. He has a great sense of energy and pacing, which keeps the moving driving along, never really getting boring and too slow at any point. And like with Gareth Edwards before him, he knows how to convey the scale of all the shit that goes on. And credit to the visual effects team for really bringing these creatures to life. The detail, the movement, it all looks fantastic. And man, the cinematography by Lawrence Sher is breathtaking. Some truly awe-inspiring shots exist in this movie. And when it isn’t breathtaking, it still looks quite good. All the technical aspects really come together wonderfully. Especially during the monster action, which I had a ton of fun with.

The movie just came out, so this data will change a bit over time. But as of writing, the movie has gotten quite the mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 38% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 47/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10.

Look, this isn’t one of the greatest movies ever made. But I still had a lot of fun with “Godzilla: King of the Monsters”. It has a mixed bag plot, meh characters, really good performances, fantastic music, and fantastic writing/directing/cinematography/visual effects/action. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is an 8,74/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Godzilla: King of the Monsters” is completed.

Ooooooh no. They say he’s got to go, GO GO GODZILLA!

Series Review: Barry – Season 2 (2019)

Reviewed season 1 a few weeks back (ahem ahem). So it’s reasonable to think that I should tackle the second season now that it too has come to a close. Well, here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Barry” season 2.

Set a few weeks after the events of the first season, we follow Barry (Bill Hader) as he tries to get on with his life as an aspiring actor, while the consequences of his previous actions start creeping up to haunt him. Season 1 took a concept that I wasn’t entirely sure about and managed to make something great out of it. So how would they follow that up? By upping their game tenfold. That’s right, the second season of “Barry” manages to take the dark, yet somewhat quirky ideas of the first season and elevate them in ways I didn’t think possible. It manages to be fun, heartbreaking, suspenseful, exciting, and just overall a damn concise season of television. Great stuff.

The characters in this are layered, flawed, colorful, fun, and overall just really interesting. Bill Hader of course returns as the titular hitman-turned-actor. In this season we get to see a lot of his old demons come up. Combined with a lot of his more current issues, and it gives him a lot of really engaging character development. And Hader is fantastic in the role. Sarah Goldberg returns as Sally, Barry’s girlfriend and acting partner. She goes through a bit of personal conflict throughout the season, and it’s quite engaging. And Goldberg is great in the role. And we get supporting work from people like Henry Winkler, Stephen Root, Anthony Carrigan, John Pirrucello, Michael Irby, Patricia Fa’asua, Daniel Bernhardt, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As with season 1, the music was composed by David Wingo, and it’s great. Suspense-building, emotional, dramatic, and just overall well composed, working well for the various scenes it’s found in. There’s also the occasional licensed track here and there, and they work alright in their respective scenes.

The show was created by Alec Berg and Bill Hader, with those two writing most of the episodes. And the craft here is pretty spectacular. Not only did they up their game in terms of storytelling, but they also went all in when it came to direction and cinematography as well. The first season wasn’t bad in that regard, but there’s a notable leap here, created a visually arresting show that also keeps the viewer on edge throughout most of the runtime.

This show/season has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 87/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10.

Season 1 of “Barry” was great. And somehow, season 2 is even better. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, and great writing/directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 2 of “Barry” is a 9,94/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Barry” season 2 is now completed.

Crazy motherfuckers somehow did it.

Movie Review: There Will Be Blood (2007)

Whenever I find myself watching a critically acclaimed movie, I get a bit nervous. Because of the acclaim and the hype around it, I get scared that I might be the one asshole that doesn’t like it. I mean, everyone has opinions and we should respect that, sure. But I like liking things. And if I don’t like the thing that I hope to like, it’s both disappointing and disheartening. This movie was one of those hyped up movies… so what did I think? Well, let’s get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen, might wanna call a medic, because… “There Will Be Blood”.

Set during the early 20th century, the story follows prospector Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) as he deals with trying to drill up oil, raise his son (Dillon Freasier), and try to handle his less than friendly relationship with a local preacher (Paul Dano). It’s a movie about family and legacy and greed and what this kind of rough life does to a man. And damn, this plot was electrifying. I mean, it’s a slow burn, but I was never bored throughout any of it. They weave a narrative that is complex and layered, but still very easy to comprehend. Great stuff.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, nuanced, and very interesting. Daniel Day-Lewis plays Daniel Plainview, the prospector with the oil and the son and the troubles, oh my. While he at first can seem like a very calm, polite, and reasonable man, we get to see throughout that there are some darker sides too him, especially after certain things happen to him. And Day-Lewis is absolutely amazing in the role. Paul Dano plays Eli, a preacher that Plainview strikes up a bit of a friendship with, even if it’s not always portrayed as the friendliest of friendships. Eli is also one of those who kind of sees himself in a somewhat high regard, as the emissary of god, which is quite an interesting contrast to Plainview. And Dano is great in the role. We also of course get supporting work from people like Dillon Freasier, Ciarán Hinds, David Willis, Kevin J. O’Connor, David Warshofsky, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Jonny Greenwood, and it was really good. It takes a lot of cues from old school scores in the way it builds grandeur and emotion, which works incredibly well for the movie’s pretty unique tone. It also just sounds great, with plenty of strings leading the charge. Good stuff.

Based on a novel by Upton Sinclair, “There Will Be Blood” was written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, and I think he did a great job. The direction had a way of keeping me on edge the entire time, even when there wasn’t anything really suspenseful going on. Damn fine direction. And the cinematography by Robert Elswit is pretty damn good too.

This movie (as you probably got from the intro) has been incredibly well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 93/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10 and is ranked #158 on the “Top 250” list. The movie won 2 Oscars in the categories of Best Actor (Day-Lewis) and Best Cinematography. It also got an additional 6 nominations in the categories of Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Art Direction, and Best Sound Editing.

I am so glad to say that I agree with the hype for “There Will Be Blood”. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, and great writing/directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “There Will Be Blood” is a 9,90/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “There Will Be Blood” is now completed.

All of a sudden I want a milkshake.

Movie Review: Danny the Dog (2005)

I just know that someone’s gonna see this and say “Hey wait a minute, isn’t this movie actually called Unleashed?”. And to that I say, you are not wrong. In some parts of the world, this movie is called “Unleashed”. And in others it’s “Danny the Dog”. The service I watched it on had it listed as the latter, so that’s what I’m using for this review.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Danny the Dog”.

Danny (Jet Li) is a man who has been an attack dog-like slave to a ruthless mobster (Bob Hoskins) for as long as he can remember. But when he meets a kind, blind man (Morgan Freeman), his life takes an interesting turn. Is this the greatest plot ever? No. But I do have to say that I was surprisingly invested in it. Now, I wasn’t ever deeply invested in it all, but I was invested enough to not get bored when the movie decided to slow down a bit. There are layers to the story here, giving us an interesting look at someone who’s never really felt love or compassion, only knowing abuse and violence, who finally gets a glimpse of something better. It’s a little bit ham-fisted in its storytelling at times, but overall it’s still an enjoyable tale.

The characters in this are entertaining and interesting. Firstly we have Jet Li as Danny, the titular character who’s been treated as a bit of an attack dog for most of his life. He is quite emotionally stunted, due to being a slave to a gangster for so long, so seeing him develop throughout the movie is actually pretty interesting. And Jet Li gives a pretty good performance here. Next we have Bob Hoskins as Bart, the gangster who’s been “taking care of” Danny for all these years. He’s a ruthless asshole who you kind of just want to punch in his face. And Hoskins gives a cartoonishly sneering performance here that I just loved watching. Next we have Morgan Freeman as Sam, a blind, elderly piano tuner that Danny meets, and is the first person to ever really show Danny any kind of kindness. And seeing how he affects Danny creates quite a fun dynamic between the two. And Freeman is really good in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Kerry Condon, Vincent Regan, Dylan Brown, Michael Jenn, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by British trip hop band Massive Attack, and while I wouldn’t find myself listening to this music in my spare time, I do think it worked well for the movie. It is of course heavily based in the electronica/trip hop style that the group is known for while adjusting it to fit more as the score of a movie. And it helps add a little bit of fun to the movie.

The movie was written by Luc Besson and directed by Louis Leterrier, and I think that works as a fine double act. Besson’s quirks shine through pretty well, and blends wonderfully with Leterrier’s knack for creating a fast pace. The movie, even in its slower scenes, never really loses any of its energy. And seeing as this movie stars Jet Li, there’s bound to be some fight scenes in it too. And said fight scenes are fucking fantastic. Well shots, not too quickly edited, wonderfully choreographed, these fights really help add a lot to the movie.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 65% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

While not necessarily a great movie, “Danny the Dog” is a highly entertaining action-drama. It has a pretty good plot, okay characters, really good performances, good music, and great writing/direction/fighting. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Danny the Dog” is an 8,66/10. So while not perfect, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Danny the Dog” is now completed.

Woof woof, motherfucker.

Series Review: Yellowstone – Season 1 (2018)

Kevin Costner. What an interesting career this man has had. From being one of the biggest stars of the late 80s/early 90s, to kinda going into obscurity for a while, and then kinda making a comeback in the 2010s. And now he stars on a tv show. So let’s talk about it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Yellowstone” season 1.

The story follows John Dutton (Kevin Costner), an aging rancher, as he tries to keep his family in check while also dealing with various parties trying to encroach on his land. So now we have our neo-western-drama-thingamabob. And while it does dip a bit much into melodrama at times, I find the story here to be quite interesting, taking some really colorful characters and having them scheming around for the sake of their own or someone else’s success. The pacing does suffer a bit at times, and like I said, there’s a strong stench of melodrama at times. But overall it’s still a highly entertaining plot with some solid drama sprinkled throughout.

The characters in this are flawed, entertaining, surprisingly layered, and overall interesting. Kevin Costner plays John Dutton, the aging patriarch of the Dutton family and owner of the Yellowstone cattle ranch. He has demons of his past he has to deal with while also trying to keep his entire livelihood going with everything going against him at once, making him pretty interesting even though he can be a bit of an ass at times. And Costner is great in the role. Next we have Kelly Reilly as Beth, John’s daughter. She has a lot of issues that she at the start of the series hasn’t gone through, making her kind of a fucking mess. But she also has one of the best arcs in the series. And Reilly is great in the role. Next we have Luke Grimes as Kayce (Kay-see), one of John’s sons. A former Marine, he tries to balance being a Dutton with trying to be a good father and husband, which is quite complicated. And Grimes is really good in the role. Wes Bentley plays Jamie, John’s other son, who also happens to his lawyer. Yes, he’s a little smarmy, but mostly he’s probably the outlier of the family in a sense. And Bentley is good in the role. We also have Cole Hauser as Rip, John’s second hand man, who has to keep the ranch going in the events when John is unavailable. And while I won’t say too much more about Rip, I’ll just say that he’s my favorite character on the show. And Hauser is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Danny Huston, Gil Birmingham, Kelsey Absille, Jefferson White, Ian Bohen, Brecken Merrill, Ryan Bingham, Josh Lucas, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the season was composed by Brian Tyler, and I think he did a great job with it. Obviously taking influence from various westerns, he creates an ambient score that works very well within the show to create a certain mood. The theme he composed for the show is also pretty damn solid. There’s also some licensed tracks used throughout, and they work pretty well in their respective scenes.

Created by John Linson and Taylor Sheridan, all episodes this season were written and directed by Sheridan. And the craft here is really solid. Well shot, at times tense, Sheridan does a damn fine job in keeping my eyes stuck to the screen. Ben Richardson’s cinematography is also good.

This show/season has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 51% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 54/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,3/10.

While season 1 of “Yellowstone” misses the shot in some parts, it’s still a really solid season of television. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and really good writing/directing/cinematography. Where it falters (as previously mentioned) is in its occasionally dodgy pacing and unnecessarily frequent dips into melodrama. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Yellowstone” is an 8,61/10. So while flawed, I’d still say that it’s definitely worth watching.

My review of “Yellowstone” season 1 is now completed.

Movie megastar Kevin Costner doing long-form tv. Still blows my mind.

Series Review: Barry – Season 1 (2018)

Don’t kill people. It’s bad. I mean, for most of us, that goes without saying, but some people don’t have that as their default setting. Killing, bad. Okay, let’s talk tv.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Barry” season 1.

Barry Berkman (Bill Hader) is a former Marine who’s been working as a hitman for years. However, while hired to do a job in Los Angeles, he finds himself drawn to a local acting class. And we follow him as he tries to lead this double life as both a hitman and a shitty actor. And I know what you’re thinking, because I too thought so when I heard about it. This sounds like something right out of a “Saturday Night Live” skit, and like it wouldn’t work as a full series. But god damn it, this show proved me fucking wrong. “Barry” is one of the most uniquely compelling shows in recent years. It’s a serious story within a comedic premise, deftly blending a dark crime-drama with its funny setup, surprising me at every turn with how good the storytelling is.

The characters in this show are unique, colorful, fun, layered, and really interesting. Bill Hader plays Barry, the titular hitman (hitular? titman?) who finds a new hobby in life. He’s a guy who’s been through a lot of shit, and seeing how that affects his actions throughout the show is really engaging. And Bill Hader is fantastic in the role, showing that he’s not only hilarious, but also an excellent dramatic performer. We also get supporting work from people like Stephen Root, Anthony Carrigan, Sarah Goldberg, Henry Winkler, John Pirrucello, Paula Newsome, D’Arcy Carden, Glenn Fleshler, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the show was composed by David Wingo, and it’s pretty great. It’s sometimes droning, and sometimes on synths, it helps create an uneasy and emotionally investing mood that helps elevate the already excellent storytelling. And the occasional use of licensed music works quite well too.

“Barry” was created for HBO by Alec Berg and Bill Hader, with them handling writing for most of the episodes, with Hader even directing a few episodes. And the craft here is really solid. The camerawork is methodical, feeling more like a high-budget thriller than a comedy. And this does add a lot to the show, giving it a tension-filled edge that makes it stand out. And as this show is still technically a comedy, I should briefly talk about the humor, right? Well, here we go… it’s funny. Sometimes silly, sometimes dark, sometimes mildly satirical, I laughed at it all.

This show/season has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 99% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 83/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10.

Season 1 of “Barry” took all my expectations, shot them in the head, and threw them in a ditch and showed just how fucking good it is. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/writing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for season 1 of “Barry” is a 9,91/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Barry” season 1 is now done.

If “Barry” is a taco, then the shell is made of comedy, and the filling is made out of drama. Shut up, my metaphors are great.