Movie Review: BlacKkKlansman (2018)

Good grief, that title stylization is such a double-edged sword. Looks neat, and is a great piece of wordplay… but god damn, it is a pain to keep in mind when writing it out. Oh well, that’s all the time we’re spending on that, let’s get into the review.

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… “BlacKkKlansman”!

Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is a young, black police officer in the 70s. He’s an ambitious young man, looking to make a real difference. And one way he intends to do this is by starting an undercover operations to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan with the help of one of his colleagues (Adam Driver). So now we have our quite unique story setup… and good god damn, I loved seeing how it unfolded. What makes it work so well is how impressively they balance tones. On one hand, it’s an undercover cop movie featuring one of the most horrible organizations in the worlds, which is very serious. But then they also acknowledge the bizarreness of a black man making an attempt to enter the Ku Klux Kunts, and have a bit of fun with that idea. So it manages to both put me on the edge of my seat with some of the darker aspects, and have me smiling at some of the more lighthearted and fun moments. It’s also remarkably fast-paced. The movie has a 135 minute runtime, but I never felt that, it moved at a brisk pace that kept it from getting dull. It doesn’t rush through things though, when it needs to slow down and soak in a moment, it does that. But yeah, it’s well paced and well written and highly entertaining.

The characters here are flawed, nuanced, colorful, and overall just quite interesting. John David Washington plays Ron Stallworth, the young cop at the center of this story. He’s smart, highly determined, but also a bit of an underdog considering he’s like the only black officer in the department. And he’s one of the more uniquely compelling protagonists of recent years. And Washington is fantastic in the role. We then have Adam Driver as Flip Zimmerman, Stallworth’s colleague who joins in on this batshit undercover operation. He’s a bit torn between some various things we learn about him throughout the movie, and it makes him quite fascinating to follow. And Driver is fantastic in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Laura Harrier, Robert John Burke, Michael Buscemi, Ryan Eggold, Jasper Pääkkönen, Paul Walter Hauser, Topher Grace, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for “BlacKkKlansman” was composed by Terence Blanchard, and it was great. There’s a consistent theme that gets woven throughout various tracks, making for a consistent emotional quality while still giving it a few different spins. There are of course a few unique tracks as well, and they are very good too. There’s also a few licensed tracks used throughout, and those work quite well in their respective scenes. So yeah, this movie has good music.

Based on a book by Ron Stallworth, “BlacKkKlansman” was directed by Spike Lee. And he did a great job, he really brought his A-game here, giving it a fierce energy that makes it stand out among so many movies in recent years. His direction manages to capture the broadness of this whole operation while never sacrificing the intimacy with the characters. And this makes it absolutely electrifying. And Chayse Irvin’s cinematography is stunning, complementing the storytelling wonderfully. There’s also a surprising amount of comedy throughout the movie, and it’s very funny. It helps to digest some of the bizarre and darkly uncomfortable aspects of this story.

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 83/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best adapted screenplay. It was also nominated for an additional 5 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best original score, Best director, Best supporting actor (Driver), and Best film editing.

Despite it’s annoying-to-write title, “BlacKkKlansman” is a fantastic and highly unique bio-pic. It has a great plot, great characters, fantastic performances, great music, great directing/cinematography, and funny comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “BlacKkKlansman” is a 9,90/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “BlacKkKlansman” is now completed.

This kind of stuff is why I love movies.

Great Music #31

Well hello there, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome back to Great Music, the series where I just talk about music I like. Last time we did this was back in April. I’m not good at keeping up a consistent release pace for these posts. Oh well. Here we go.

So what’s on the menu this time? Bit of old school rock? Something from a famous movie? Nah, neither. This is a bit more… revolutionary (you’ll know why in a bit). Let’s first get something god damn straight: I don’t like nazis, they’re the fucking worst, get them the hell out. But since those sons of bitches don’t seem to go away any time soon, at least I can imagine it and get some catharsis from it… thanks to “Wolfenstein”. First released in 1981, “Castle Wolfenstein” was a stealth game with some shooting elements. Then in 1992 it saw a reboot of sorts with “Wolfenstein 3D”, a revolutionary (no, that’s not the part I meant earlier) game that really brought the first person shooter to the mainstream. Cut to 22 years and god knows how many games later, and we get “Wolfenstein: The New Order”, another reboot of sorts that shared some stylistic and thematic elements with “The Man in the High Castle” and “Inglourious Basterds”. That game was a huge hit among fans and critics (yours truly included). Then three years later, in 2017 we get the sequel, “Wolfenstein: The New Colossus”, a not quite as good, but still fairly enjoyable action game with some standout moments and characters. Now, the music of “The New Order” was good, but you can still tell that it played it a little bit safe, with composer Mick Gordon testing the waters a bit. After then making the acclaimed music for the 2016 reboot of “Doom”, you could tell that he had found his style and wouldn’t shy away from exploiting it like a motherfucker. Cut to “New Colossus”, where he (along with co-composer Martin Stig Andersen) brought his fucking A-game and gave us some of the best video game music of all time. I could’ve talked about any track from the OST and been just as happy, but I felt like I needed to pick one of the more unique tracks from it to truly justify this post. And that’s why I chose “Horton Hears a Revolution” (THERE IT IS!).

In the game, you play as American resistance fighter William Joseph “B.J.” Blazkowicz (voiced by Brian Bloom) as he tries to fight back against the nazi regime which had taken over the world in 1946, and still rules with an iron cross 14 years later. But he can’t do this alone, he has to gather allies. And at a point in the game he travels to New Orleans to try to recruit a resistance group led by southern preacher Horton Boone (voiced by Christopher Heyerdahl). And as he comes to their base, they start discussing the situation they’re in, which is accompanied by a bit of nice clarinet jazz… and Mick Gordon’s heavier-than-metal guitars and drums. You see, Mick likes to approach his compositions a bit differently compared to your John Williams or Michael Giacchinos of the world. Instead of the typical orchestrations of brass and woodwind, this crazy son of a bitch uses instruments typically found in heavy metal bands (and the occasional synth for good measure). It creates a heavy sound that fits the often satirical but still brutal style of the story and writing. And the way it is used to coincide with the jazzy clarinet is absolutely frickin’ wonderful, creating a mesmerizing chaos that honestly just takes my breath away every time I hear it, while also making me want to start a revolution against some nazi assholes.

Have a good one and enjoy.

Watch Dogs Legion E3 2019 Trailer

I promise, some day soon, I’ll stop writing E3 posts. But for now… MORE E3 BULLSHIT, WEEEEEE!

So through E3, legendary video game developer Ubisoft has revealed “Watch Dogs Legion”, which is the third game in the action franchise. The first one was about a lonely hacker seeking revenge. The second one I never played, but looks to be about some hackerific street gang. And this one is apparently about a near-future London that is under a totalitarian rule, and you have to use your hacking skills in combination with a sense of resistance to unfuck Great Britain. Two things:
1. I’m excited to see a major open world title set in a British environment for once… no reason, just fun to get away from the states or wastelands a bit.
2. Did Guy Ritchie write this fucking trailer? Because I’m getting very “Snatch”-seque vibes from it.
Either way, this looks to be interesting. I enjoyed the first “Watch Dogs”, even though I recognize that it has a fair bit of flaws. And people tell me that the sequel is even better. So who know, maybe third time’s the charm? “Watch Dogs Legion” is set to be released March 6th 2020.

What are your thoughts? Are you excited for “Watch Dogs Legion”? And fuck it… what’s your favorite Guy Ritchie movie? Leave any and all thoughts in the comments.
Have a good one and enjoy.

Movie Review: Elysium (2013)

Space, the final frontier… the perfect place to go if you’re a rich asshole that doesn’t want to help the poor.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Elysium”.

The world has gone to shit. As the poor struggle to survive in the slums of Los Angeles, the rich have escaped into a space station called “Elysium” because they don’t want to take responsibility. And we follow poor person Max Da Costa (Matt Damon) as he takes on a mission that could help bring a bit more equality to this rich vs. poor world. So now we have our sci-fi movie that wants to deliver a message. And while the delivery of said message can be a little clumsy at times, I think it for the most part works. I think this is an interesting world that gets set up and I also think the overall plot is quite good. I felt invested in it, I wanted to see where it was going. So yeah, the plot here was good.

The characters here are for the most part interesting. I say for the most part because… well, we’ll get to that. Matt Damon plays Max, our sympathetic main character who is likable, funny, and pretty badass. I cared about him, I wanted to see him succeed. And Matt Damon is great in the role. Jodie Foster plays, Delacourt, the sort of antagonist of the film. Let’s put it like this: She’s kind of an asshole that wants to keep the rich at the top and the poor under the shoe of inequality. And yeah, I didn’t really care for her. I didn’t find her very interesting as she was a very one-dimensional character. And while Foster’s performance wasn’t bad, it wasn’t really that great. It was bland and she had some weird accent going on that didn’t really work. Now on the other end of that spectrum we have Sharlto Copley, playing a sort of rogue black ops agent that is out to kill Damon. The character is a total psychopath and Copley killed it as the character, stealing every scene he was in! Alice Braga plays Frey, an old friend of Damon who pops up several times throughout the movie, and she was a pretty good character with an okay arc. And Braga was good in the role. Diego Luna is in the movie as a friend of Damon’s, and he was good. Wagner Moura was also in it, playing a rebel leader of sorts, and he was great. We also got a little bit of William Fichtner in the movie and he was really good in the role. Overall it is a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Ryan Amon and it was quite good. While not doing anything terribly original, it does work very well for the movie, often adding a bit extra excitement/emotion to a scene. So yeah… it’s good. MOVING ON.

This movie was directed by Neill Blomkamp and I think he did a for the most part really good job. When not a lot is happening, when something just needs to be shown or when there’s just a conversation between two characters, the movie looks quite good. And the way the visual effects are implemented into the movie is some of the best I’ve ever seen. However, whenever action happens… oh boy. It’s shaky and filled with plenty of cuts and it really annoyed me. Hey Blomkamp, just because Matt Damon is in the movie doesn’t mean you should imitate “The Bourne Supremacy”! Sometimes it isn’t too bad, but for the most part it’s just… yikes.

This movie has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 67% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 61/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

“Elysium” is a good, albeit quite flawed sci-fi movie. It has a really good plot, pretty good characters, really good performances, really good music, and good directing. But it is brought down by Jodie Foster’s character/performance, and the action ebing really shaky/annoying. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Elysium” is an 8,66/10. While flawed, I’d still say that it is worth buying.

My review of “Elysium” is now completed.

Matt Damon is… Jason Poor.

Series Review: Mr. Robot – Season 2 (2016)

mr-robot-2-prima-puntata-rimbalza-sui-social-network-v3-266496

It’s finally time. The review of the second season of a show of which I reviewed the first season long ago. Wow, that was a mouthful! But yeah, I did actually review the first the first season of this show last year. And I fucking loved it. So there was of course a lot of hype for the second season. And I was also excited to get to share my thoughts on the season with you guys. So now that we’re finally here… let’s go. But I also want to warn you that there will be some spoilers for season 1 in here, so if you haven’t seen all of that yet… maybe stop reading this.

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you… “Mr. Robot” season 2.

After the big 5/9 hack we find Elliot (Rami Malek) trying to come to terms with his mental health issues of course manifested themselves in a few different ways last time we saw him. We also follow him as both he and the other members of Fsociety try to cope with everything that happened after the big hack. And I’m not gonna say much more because really, this is a plot best experienced. That’s right, I thought it was great. With the show already being pretty twisty and turny, it gets even more so since this season has an even bigger focus on mental health. And seriously, this shit has even more twists and turns than the first season. This season even fucks with the audiences more than the first season which I actually kind of loved. The mystery is great, the drama is great, everything is great. It’s tense, dramatic, and just fantastic.

The characters are about nothing short of messed up. None of them are like “perfect” human beings, they all have something odd about them. Rami Malek once again knocks it out of the park as Elliot, with his performance here actually being even better than in season 1. Speaking of which, congratulations to Malek for winning that Emmy for best actor, definitely well-deserved! Okay, done with that. Christian Slater was great once again in his role. Carly Chaikin was great, Portia Doubleday was great. Basically anyone who was here since the first season… great. We also get a few new additions to the show. Grace Gummer (Sidenote: Daughter of Meryl Streep) plays an agent who tries to solve everything and she’s pretty great in her role. B.D. Wong had a pretty minor appearance in season 1, but his role got a bit bumped up for this season and I am glad because he’s terrific. We also get the surprising addition of Craig Robinson (That’s right, funny guy Craig Robinson). And to give credit where credit is due… he’s really good in his role. I’d argue that every actor this season did a really good/great/fantastic job.

The music this season has been pretty fantastic. Firstly, the original score by Mac Quayle has been pretty great, perfectly building tension and adding to the twisty eeriness of the show. And then there were a lot of licensed tracks in the show, but none of them were distracting or jsut added for the hell of it. All of them helped the show and perfectly the situations they were used in. Yeah, the music this season was pretty great. Sure, I wasn’t personally a fan of every song used, but I can at least acknowledge when a song is used perfectly in a scene.

This show is one of the most uniquely directed/shot television shows that I have ever experienced. Example: One of the things this show does is that instead of having the shot cut off at the scalp of the actors, this show leaves a lot of space above their heads. Gives it all a very unique and interesting visual style. I also have to credit the excellent cinematography by Tod Campbell which looks absolutely stunning and makes for some awesome eye candy. The show is also tightly directed, with most scenes feeling pretty tense and intriguing. Without giving too much away, one of the very last scenes of the finale was one of the most tense scenes that I’ve ever scene on television. My eyes were wide open and my pulse went up. Yeah, it was pretty great. And of course, the writing in the show is phenomenal, but that’s something that I’ve been aware of since the first season.

This season/show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% (100% if you go by “top critics” only) positing rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 8,1/10. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,7/10 and is ranked #90 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

Guys, the second season of “Mr. Robot” basically took everything that was great about season 1 and made it even better (at least I think so). The plot is fantastic, the characters are great, the acting is phenomenal, the music is fantastic, the directing is terrific, and the cinematography is fantastic. Time for my final score. *Hacks own computer*. My final score for “Mr. Robot” season 2 is a 9,97/10. So of course it gets the one and only “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Mr. Robot” season 2 is now completed.

Not gonna lie, episode 6 might be one of the mindfuckiest and most unique episodes of any show I’ve ever seen.