Movie Review: Knives Out (2019)

I love mysteries. Not in real life though, that shit can be infuriating/scary. But in movies/tv/books/games, the mystery genre is one of my favorites. Who killed the man? Who stole the thing? Who pissed in the cereal? Even the worst ones can still have me entertained due to me having a soft spot for the genre. So anyway, let’s talk about a mystery movie (it’s not a mystery movie jackass, it’s right in the fucking title what movie it is). SILENCE, ME.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Knives Out”.

When famed murder mystery writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) dies, a private investigator (Daniel Craig) starts looking into the possibility that one of Thrombey’s eccentric relatives might’ve killed him. WHODUNIT!? The goofy spelling/grammar of that word aside, that is the genre we’re dealing with here. It’s a modern whodunit that pays tribute to the classic ones, such as “Murder She Wrote” or “Columbo”, while also putting its own fresh-feeling spin to proceedings. It gives you everything you want in a classic whodunit story, while also subverting it in some really clever ways that I honestly didn’t see coming. There’s also a surprising amount of social commentary throughout. And while I’ve watched things recently with attempts at that which were a bit too hamfisted, I felt like it worked quite well within “Knives Out”, wonderfully integrating into the already solid murder mystery.

The characters here are flawed, colorful, interesting, and buckets of fun. Daniel Craig plays Benoit Blanc, a private investigator that’s been hired to investigate Thrombey’s death. He is skilled, but he’s also a bit quirky. And holy fuck, Daniel Craig… he really hammed it up here, and it made him such a fun presence to watch. Next we have Ana De Armas as a nurse who is heavily involved in the story. And she’s great in the role. And then the rest of the cast is filled out by people like Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, the aforementioned Christopher Plummer, Don Johnson, Tony Collette, Michael Shannon, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Lakeith Stanfield, Riki Lindholme, and more… and good god damn, what a solid cast this is.

The score for the movie was composed by Nathan Johnson, and it was a lot of fun. It’s very old school in its approach, often sounding like something you’d hear in an older crime movie/show, due to its often overdramatic strings. There’s also a few licensed songs used throughout, and they work well enough. So yeah, this movie has good music.

“Knives Out” was written and directed by Rian Johnson, who I think did one hell of a job on those fronts. He gives the movie such a distinct energy that keeps it feels electric, keeping any shot or scene from ever feeling boring. That doesn’t mean any part feels rushed though, Johnson lets scenes simmer when needed… but never for too long, giving it just the perfect pacing.

This movie has so far been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 82/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10.

I loved “Knives Out”, it’s a really fun and unique whodunit. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, good music, and great writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Knives out” is a 9,90/10. So that’s right, it does get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Knives Out” is completed.

Knives Out, Spoons In.

Movie Review: The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

“The Lego Movie” is one of the most surprising movies ever. The idea of having a feature length movie about Lego just sounds like the most blatant piece of product placement ever… which it still technically was. But it actually had great writing, direction, and acting, so it turned out to be kind of awesome. So let’s see if the second movie in the (not officially titled) Lego Cinematic Universe is any good.

Ladies and gents… “The Lego Batman Movie”.

The many villains of Gotham are out to once again wreak havoc, and it’s up to Batman (Will Arnett) to stop them! But it’s not just another “Bats stopping bad guys” story, as we also follow him as he goes through some family issues after he accidentally adopts Dick Grayson (Michael Cera). So now we have our family-friendly adventure. And the plot here wasn’t just a silly and fun adventure, as it shows a surprising emotional core in the Batman family issues side of things. Because of what happened to Bruce in the past, he is afraid to get attached to anyone in case of him potentially losing them, but he’s too proud to show it. So you get a fun and fast-paced Batventure combined with a surprisingly investing family story, filled with lots of heart.

The characters in this are fun, entertaining, and relaly interesting. Will Arnett reprises his role as Batman/Bruce Wayne from “The Lego Movie” and he just kills it! This version of Batman is very self-centered, with an ego the size of Norta Dakota. He always talks about how awesome he is, but he also goes through a pretty surprising character arc. And really, I just can’t stress enough how awesome Will Arnett is as Batman. Michael Cera plays Robin in this movie, and from the trailers he almsot seemed like he could get a little too much based on how energetic and excitable he was. But he was actually a really fun and endearing character that I found myself caring about, and Cera was great in the role. Ralph Fiennes plays Alfred in this, and he jsut nails it as the character. There’s nothing unique about him compared to other Alfred’s we’ve seen before, but the lines he’s given and his deadpan delivery is just great. Rosario Dawson plays Barbara Gordon and what is there to say, really? She’s tough, she’s smart, she’s Rosario Awesome. Zach Galifianakis plays Joker in this and I think he’s good in the role. The character has a fun and important role in the story, and he was overall fun, but it’s mainly his voice that didn’t sit that well with me. I like Galifianakis, and I get that there’s only one Mark Hamill, but I feel like the voice here was a bit too… normal to work for the Joker. Again, Galifianakis was overall good in the role. And then there’s… I don’t exactly want to spoil it, and I can’t sit here and list every character that pops up, so I’m just gonna list some of the people doing voices here, because there are plenty of great names here. Though I will mention, Two-Face is played by Billy Dee Williams, and if you don’t get the significance of that… then you should go back and watch the 1989 “Batman” movie. Anyway, here’s the cast list: Zoë Kravitz, Conan O’Brien, Jenny Slate, Jason Mantzoukas, Eddie Izzard, Doug Benson, Kate Micucci, Riki Lindholme, Seth Green, Jemaine Clement, Ellie Kemper, Channing Tatum, Jonah Hill, Adam Devine, Hector Elizondo… and more.

The score for the movie was composed by Lorne Balfe and it was great. It was big, bombastic, epic, and just badass. It’s the perfect type of music for a “Batman” movie as it takes elements of the scores from various “Batman” movies. And I liked that. There’s also some new songs created for this movie that were quite fun. None as catchy as “Everything is Awesome”, but I feel like none of them would get on my nerves as easily as that one. Then there’s also a bunch of licensed tracks that are used very well throughout.

This movie, unlike “The Lego Movie”, was not directed by Phil Lord and Chris Miller. Instead it was directed by Chris McKay who is currently slated to direct the live action “Nightwing” movie. And I think McKay did an excellent job with the direction. This movie is so fast-paced and filled with energy that I never felt bored or out of it at any point. There was something interesting happening every second, and that kept me invested and energized. And the animation, mother of god, it is fucking amazing. It is of course done in the same stop motion-esque style that “The Lego Movie” was done in, and it is just so fun to look at. The animation especially shines in the action scenes, something there’s plenty of, keeping any kiddos watching interested. And seeing as this is a comedy, let’s talk about the humor. I laughed a lot in this movie, there’s joke after joke after joke here, rarely giving you time to breathe between them. For the most part it uses the humor to oke fun at Batman’s history, but not in a “HA, this is dumb!” kind of way. It’s a sort of loving tribute to the Caped Crusader and his many iterations, done in the way of satire/spoof. And it’s all funny, at various levels of laughter. There are also references to other pieces of pop culture, and those are really fun too.

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 75/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“The Lego Batman” movie is an incredibly fun animated movie with loads of heart. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, fantastic directing/animation, and great humor. Time for my final score. *I’M BATMAN!*. My final score for “The Lego Batman Movie” is a 9,78/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Lego Batman Movie” is now completed.

DARKNESS, NO PARENTS, CONTINUED DARKNESS.

Movie Review: Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Boxing. Two people standing in a small arena, trying to punch the shit out of each other. Yeah, I don’t understand the point of it. That said, I don’t know what the point of any sport’s existence is. Feel free to hate on me for not understanding the appeal/purpose of sports… I don’t care.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Million Dollar Baby”.

Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) is a woman determined on becoming a great boxer, so she starts training at a gym owned by old and hardened boxing trainer Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood). And soon Frankie takes Maggie under his wing to help her become a great boxer. The story follows them as their relationship evolves while they also go through stuff. While the ideas presented at first glance are very basic and familiar from other boxing movies, the execution of said ideas is much better than a lot of other movies in the genre. Seeing their relationship evolve over the two hour runtime is quite fascinating and it makes for a really solid plot that actually delivers a few devastatingly emotional punches (pun intended) at the right times. So yeah, the plot here is pretty great.

The characters in this movie are all fleshed out and quite interesting. Hilary Swank is terrific as Maggie, perfectly playing this determined woman. She wsa believable in the role and I really cared about her. Clint Eastwood is great as Frankie, giving us the perfect blend of classic Eastwood gruffness and relatable vulnerability. Morgan Freeman (AKA god) plays an employee at Frankie’s gym (while also providing the movie’s narration) and he is absolutely terrific in the role. We also get a bunch of great supporting performances from people like Anthony Mackie, Jay Baruchel, Mike Colter, Brían F. O’Byrne, Michael Peña, and Margo Martindale. So this is a pretty stellar cast.

The score for the movie was composed by… Clint Eastwood? Really? *Does more research*. Yeah, Clint Eastwood composed the music for this movie… surprise. Jokes aside, he did a pretty great job with the music. It’s dramatic, it’s emotional, and it just fits the movie perfectly. Good job, Mr. Eastwood.

This movie was directed by Clint Eastwood and he did a great job. The shots look great and every shot is at the perfect length. Now, since this is a boxing movie we should talk about the boxing scenes. So how are the boxing scenes here? Yeah, they’re pretty great. They’re exciting, intense, and kind of brutal. It all feels quite realistic.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 86/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10 and is ranked #202 on the “Top 250” list. The movie won 4 Oscar in the categories of Best picture, Best Actress (Swank), Best supporting actor (Freeman), and Best director. It was also nominated for an additional 3 Oscars in the categories of Best actor (Eastwood), Best adapted screenplay, and Best film editing. 

“Million Dollar Baby” is an absolutely fantastic sports-drama. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Punch*. My final score for “Million Dollar Baby” is a 9,88/10. Which of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Million Dollar Baby” is now completed.

Is this one of Eastwood’s best films? Hell yes.