Movie Review: Four Lions (2010)

Terrorism. A horrible thing that I wish wouldn’t exist in our world, but unfortunately pops up a terrifying amount of times every year. Hopefully we’ll one day be free of it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Four Lions”.

The story follows a group of British jihadists who plan to commit an act of terror, and we follow them as they train and prepare to commit this horrible act. Luckily they aren’t the most competent of people. And that’s really it. You’d think a concept like this wouldn’t very good, relying more on tasteless shock humor for the sake of shocking audience members. But this is an incredibly clever, funny, and fascinating plot that has a surprising amount of heart to it. It very much has the feel of “The Thick of It” or “In the Loop” (makes sense given some of the crew members), and I think that is awesome. It’s a cleverly satirical plot that kept me entertained and interested from start to finish.

What is interesting about the characters here is that they’re really just a bunch of bumbling idiots. They’re not your typical “scary muslim” type characters that you see in so many movies featuring terrorism. They are just average people/idiots who feel like they should commit some horrible acts, somehow endearing us to them and their quest. I’m not gonna go in-depth with all of them as I don’t want to spoil some fun stuff, but I will talk about one of them. The one I want to talk about is Riz Ahmed who plays Omar, who is more or less the main-main character of this movie. While he is up for this quest and has some great comedic chemistry with the other “Lions”, we do get to see some other, somewhat emotional sides to him when he’s with other people. He’s a well-rounded, and interesting character that I cared about. And Ahmed is great in the role. As for the other characters, they don’t get the same depth as Omar, but I don’t think they need it as they have more focus on their outrageous personalities. Arsher Ali, Nigel Lindsay, Kayvan Novak, Adeel Akhtar… I salute you. Everyone in this movie is great.

The interesting thing about the music in “Four Lions” is that there is no real original score here, just a whole bunch of licensed tracks used throughout the movie. And I think that works really well, since they have found some really solid tracks to use throughout the various scenes here.

This movie was written and directed by Chris Morris (with several other people helping out with writing), and I have to say that I’m impressed with all that stuff. Sure, they don’t go for some grand, sweeping epic here. As a matter of fact it feels very low budget (which it probably is), but I like that. As previously mentioned, it very much has the feel/style of “The Thick of It” and “In the Loop”, even having a similar documentary-esque directing style that I think often elevates a lot of the scenes. As for the comedy here (since it is a satirical comedy), I think it is fucking hilarious, I laughed quite hard at it. Admittedly the humor here is very dark and will most likely put some people off… but I loved it.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 82% positive rating and a “Fresh” ceritifcation. On Metacritic it has a score of 68/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“Four Lions” takes a serious and disturbing subject and turns it into one of the funniest movie this decade. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Four Lions” is a 9,88/19. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Four Lions” is now completed.

Don’t blow people up, kids.

Movie Review: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)

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Guys… motherfucking “Star Wars”! No clever intro needed!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story”.

Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is a young woman who has joined forces with the Rebellion to try to find the plans for the Empire’s new superweapon… the Death Star. That’s it really. Erso together with a ragtag group of rebels trying to get hold of the Death Star plans. And it’s a really good plot. There are a bunch of layers to it all, which I thought was a really cool aspect of it. The biggest flaw of the plot really is that it takes a little while to get going. There is a while in the beginning that sets up the story and characters and it’s a little slow. It’s not bad per se, I was entertained… but it’s worth mentioning to be quite honest. But everything after that setup… great stuff.

The characters in this movie are pretty interesting and they worked well for the movie. Felicity Jones did a really good job as Jyn Erso, playing this tough, determined, young woman that has a bit of a tragic past. Diego Luna was really good as his character, this Rebel captain that becomes part of Jyn’s group. Donnie Yen played Chirrut Îmwe, a blind man with a strong connection to the force. And he was really badass and gave us a really good performance. Wen Jiang plays Baze Malbus, Chirrut’s friend/sidekick and he was also really good. Riz Ahmed as Bodhi Rook was also really good. Alan Tudyk played K-2SO, a big droid. And he was so great, the character was so cool and so much fun. Ben Mendelsohn was really good as Imperial director Orson Krennic. He was a bit over the top, but in a way that actually really worked for the character. Forest Whitaker and Mads Mikkelsen are both really good too. Now, let’s get to the character everybody wonders about… Salacious B. Crumb. Nah, just kidding. It’s actually Darth Vader. Now, this can be considered a mild spoiler, but I also wanna get it out there. He isn’t in the movie very much, this isn’t a Darth Vader movie, don’t go in expecting a Darth Vader movie. He didn’t really have to be in the movie, but I’m still glad he was. His role may have been minor, but god damn… it was pretty awesome. Again, he was used VERY sparingly in the movie, so don’t expect fifty-five-billion Darth Vader scenes.

This is the first “Star Wars” movie not to be scored by the one and only John Williams. What’s interesting is that the movie was originally going to be scored by Alexandre Desplat, but he dropped out for some reason. So Michael Giacchino stepped up to the challenge. And it was really a challenge for him, he only had four weeks to score the movie. But despite that, he did a great job. Sure, there are a lot of familiar motifs throughout, but most of them are worked into some of Giacchino’s new tracks, and it all sounded absolutely terrific. The score was epic and it fit the movie perfectly.

This movie was directed by Gareth Edwards and I think he did a very good job. The movie had a lot of grit and intensity in it’s direction, which is something we haven’t seen really with previous “Star Wars” movies. What I also loved about his directing is the same thing I always praise about his “Godzilla” movie… you get a real sense of scale here. You really get to see a lot of size differences which really helps it all feel a bit more real. An example is (like we’ve seen in the trailer) how during a battle we get to see AT-ATs from the perspective of the people and how these machines look gigantic. Speaking of the battles, Jesus fuckin’ Christ, they are awesome! Again, there’s a lot of grit and intensity in the directing which makes the battles feel so much more grounded and badass. We not only get the ground battles, but also space battles… and those are really awesome too. You can tell that Edwards knew what he was doing when directing this. Which kind of segues into the visual effects, and all of them look amazing. Okay, there was one digital face thingy in the movie that looked a little off, but for the msot part the visual effects are amazingly good. There was also a surprising amount of humor in this movie. Really funny humor at that.

Any scores from review sites can and will change over time since the movie just came out. Anyway, on Rotten Tomatoes it has an 83% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 65/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,0/10.

“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is another great part in this beloved franchise. It’s not the best “Star Wars” movie, but it’s still pretty damn good. It has a really solid plot, good characters, really good performances, great music, terrific direction/action, and amazing visual effects. The only problem was that the slow(ish) opening act. Time for my final score. Ah.. Star Wars! Nothing but Star Wars! Gimme those Star Wars.. don’t let them end! My final score for “Rogue One: A Star Wars” story is a 9,59/10. So it of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
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My review of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is now completed.

What’s this? An actual Star WAR? Holy shit.

Movie Review: Jason Bourne (2016)

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People… we’re finally here! The long awaited release/review of the fifth “Bourne” movie. As some if not most of you may know, this has been my most antipcipated movie of the year. And with that I reviewed every movie in this franchise (I highly recommend you checking them out #ShamelessPlug) over the past few months, had a lot of fun doing that. But now it’s time… the main act, the reason we are here, the other synonymous phrase that could be put here!

Ladies and gentlemen, you know his name… “Jason Bourne”!

Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) has been in hiding since the end of “Bourne Ultimatum”. But now he has to come out of hiding to be able to find out more about his past. While all of this is going on, there is a plot by CIA Director Robert Dewey (Tommy Lee Jones) to use a new social media platform to monitor people in the name of “national security”. So there’s kind of a debate going on throughout the movie on freedom vs. safety. And while the whole social media thing felt a bit weird and slightly out of place at first, I eventually bought into it and thought it kind of worked for the movie. There’s also another assassin (Vincent Cassel) going after Bourne. Yeah, this guy seems to have a bit of a grudge towards our hero. And that bit was really interesting. As for the rest of the plot, it’s really good, it’s always interesting seeing Jason trying to figure out more about who he is and why he is the way he is. It’s tense, interesting, and dramatic. I really enjoyed it.

This movie proves to us that Matt Damon still got it. He kicks so much ass in this movie and his performance overall is fantastic even though he doesn’t say too much (which is fine). Tommy Lee Jones may be and old man in a suit… but he’s my old man in a suit. Yeah, his performance was fine. Alicia Vikander plays a sort of computer tech working for the CIA, and she was really good in the movie. Julia Stiles returns as Nicky and she’s good in the movie, not much to really say there. Vincent Cassel as the CIA assassin, or “Asset” as they call him (New game: Take a shot anytime anyone in any of these movies say the word “asset”, you’ll be drunk before the movie is over). Yeah, he was badass, pretty intimidating, and his performance was good. Riz Ahmed did a fine job with his performance, and so did Ato Essandoh.

The music was once again composed by John Powell (Sidenote: This time with some help from David Buckley). And there’s really nothing to complain about, I thought it was really good and really worked in the movie. And since this is a “Bourne” movie, let’s talk about this movie’s version of Moby’s “Extreme Ways”. While not my favorite version of the song, I still thought it was very good.

“Jason Bourne” was directed by none other than the great Paul Greengrass, the man who directed “Supremacy” and “Ultimatum”. And once again he brought his shaky, but still visually interesting style. So you know that when action happens, it’s badass. And yeah, the action in the movie is really badass and really awesome. There are two scenes in particular that are great. One is at the end (don’t worry, no spoilers), and is so amazing. The other one is a really tense and awesome chase set during a riot, as seen in all the trailers. Yeah, I really enjoyed how this movie was directed.

Keep in mind that this movie just came out, so any scores on these sites might change. Anyhow… On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 56% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

While not my favorite in the series, I still really enjoyed “Jason Bourne”. I found the plot investing, the characters interesting, the acting really good, the music great, teh directing really good, and the action so awesome. Time for my final score. BOURNE TO BE WILD! My final score for “Jason Bourne” is a 9,75/10. So yeah… it of course gets the one and only “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Jason Bourne” is now completed.

Extreme ways are back again
Extreme places I didn’t know
I broke everything new again
Everything that I’d owned
I threw it out the windows, came along
Extreme ways I know move apart
The colors of my sea
Perfect color me

 

Bourne 5 trailer is finally here

How are you doing, guys? As you know, I rarely talk about trailers unless it is for something I am really excited about. And holy shit, who knew the Super bowl could deliver something good?
That’s right, at long last we have finally gotten a trailer for the upcoming “Bourne” movie which I have taken to calling “Bourne Untitled”. But it seems like I have to stop with that now because apparently the movie might be called “Jason Bourne” (Meh). This is a trailer I have been waiting for more than any other trailer. I am a huge fan of the “Bourne” franchise, having seen all the movies, read the original three books by Robert Ludlum and also having played the video game “The Bourne Conspiracy”. But that’s not important, because none of those things are this new trailer. So in this we see Jason (Matt Damon) still kind of being in hiding, apparently taking part in some sort of fight club (call Brad Pitt!). And then he must come out of hiding again when something happens. It’s difficult to say exactly what the movie is about, but I honestly don’t mind that because I don’t want to have everything spoiled by a fucking trailer. But this movie looks just as intense as the previous entries, and that’s awesome. Matt Damon of course returns as Jason Bourne, Julia Stiles returns as Nicky, the operator who’s been an on-and-off ally of Jason’s. We also get the return of Paul Greengrass as director, Greengrass is the man responsible for giving us “The Bourne Supremacy” and “The Bourne Ultimatum”, so it’s great to know he’s directing this. But we’ll also get some new faces for the franchise including Toomy Lee Jones, Vincent Cassel, Alicia Vikander and Riz Ahmed. So yeah… this looks pretty awesome.
Enjoy!

Movie Review: Nightcrawler (2014)

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No, I will not do a joke again like the one I did with my “Birdman” review. I can however say that the title got me a little confused the first time I saw it. I was like “A movie about the X-men character? What the fuck?”. Then I saw the trailer and it wasn’t about the “X-men” character. So now I am finally here to talk about it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Nightcrawler”.

Louis Bloom (Jake Gyllenhaal) is a dedicated young man looking for a job. Then one night he finds out about this  rather unknown and probably illegal profession where you go with a camera to a crime scene as soon as possible and get footage that you sell to news stations. And from that point on I was intrigued and interested in the story. Sure, the premise is different but simple, but that’s not all. It is also a deep character study into the mind of a (possible) psychopath. The study of Louis, his interaction with people and situations and the look into this world of crime-reporter-thing makes for one of the most clever and compelling stories of modern days.

The characters all have some kind of arc that they follow and it all works out well. And I have to get it out of the way, Louis Bloom is probably the creepiest fucking character I have seen in a movie since the Dementors from “Harry Potter”. And Jake Gyllenhaal plays him so well that I didn’t see anything but this creepy and loathsome guy who will do anything to get the footage and the perfect shots. Rene Russo is also in this movie as the sort of news station director he sells the footage to and she is also great in this movie. Also, Bill Paxton is in this movie and he is as entertaining (and kind of dick-y) as always. I mean, he’s Bill Paxton, that’s how it is. Overall I think all the characters and performances in this movie are great.

The score by James Newton Howard is fantastic! He uses a lot of synth and a fair amount of electric guitar in this movie to really help capture the feel of the Los Angeles night life. The music was sometimes creepy, sometimes suspenseful, sometimes action-y but always great and euphoric. I absolutely adored the score for the movie.

This movie is directed by Dan Gilroy, a first time director… but you would never guess it in how well this movie was directed. I got pretty much the same reaction as when I saw “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang” for the first time and found out it was Shane Black’s directorial debut. Would I say this movie is perfectly directed? Not really, no. But here is the thing, it doesn’t need to be perfect, it just needs to be great and it was. I also have to mention one thing about Gyllenhaal again… fuck he got one creepy smile in this movie. It is really noticeable especially since he lost a pretty good amount of weight to play this character. But that smile is creepy any way you look at it… jeez!
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This movie was very well-received when it came out. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 76/100. And on imdb.com it has an 8,0/10. “Nightcrawler” was also nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best original screenplay.

“Nightcrawler” is an excellent thriller with a great plot, a creepy/fantastic performance from Jake Gyllenhaal and great performances from all the other actors, a great score, great direction and one of the most suspenseful third acts I have ever seen. Time for my final score. Oh there you are Lou, do you have the footage? Great! Thank you! My final score for “Nightcrawler” is a 9,83/10. This is an excellent movie that of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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Review of “Nightcrawler” is now completed.

Creepiest. Son of a bitch. Ever.