Series Review: Second Chance (2016)

Do you ever think about what happens after we die? I mean, sure, our bodies stop functioning and there’s just a lifeless husk. But if you allow yourself to add the idea of a soul to the human equation, it becomes way more intriguing. Does it stay in the same space, experiencing everlasting darkness, or will it move on to a new host? I’m just intrigued by this kind of stuff.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Second Chance”.

When ex-sheriff Jimmy Pritchard (Philip Baker Hall) gets killed when trying to stop a break-in, he is brought back from death by twins Mary (Dilshad Vadsaria) and Otto (Adhir Kalyan), this time as a much younger and more powerful man (Rob Kazinsky). And Pritchard uses this second chance to try to reconnect with his son (Tim DeKay) and help him solve crimes. That’s right, they have a clever setup for a sci-fi/drama, and they force in a procedural element. And the case each week isn’t even sci-fi related (bar like one), but instead tends to be more regular affairs. And while it could get away with this with clever writing, á la “Lucifer”, it doesn’t really have that going for it. I wouldn’t call the story of this show bad. The individual cases are fine distractions, and the few times they introduce a more overarching plot to it all it is pretty fun. And the occasional bit of family drama works pretty well too. So overall… this stuff is okay.

The characters in this have good setups, and are on occasion pretty interesting. In our leading role we have Rob Kazinsky as the recently resurrected Jimmy Pritchard. A rough-around-the-edges ex-sheriff with a rocky past, trying to do good in his newly given second chance, even if it isn’t always easy. And that makes him a fun character to watch, with Kazisnky bringing a rugged charisma that makes him even more fun to watch. Dilshad Vadsaria and Adhir Kalyan as the two twins have an interesting dynamic since they’re such opposites in various regards, and I thought they both were good in their roles. Tim DeKay as the disgruntled son is a bit of fun, and makes for some good scenes between him and Kazinsky. And I can’t complain about the occasional bits we get with Philip Baker Hall, because he’s just great. Really, it’s a mostly solid cast.

The score for “Second Chance” was composed by John Paesano, and this is the weakest work I’ve ever heard from him. Now, that’s not saying Paesano’s a bad composer, because he’s fantastic. It’s just that his score here is so bland and unmemorable that if I tried remembering and humming it right now, a singularity of blandness would erupt in my room, causing everything in here to turn grey and brown. Again, Peasano is great, but I get the feeling he wasn’t allowed to flex his composing muscles here.

The show was created for the FOX network by Rand Ravich, with writing by him and other cool people, and direction by various people. And the craft here is fine. Most of the time it’s standard single cam setups, with little thought to much else. On occasion we get a decent shot, and sometimes we get some decently enjoyable action. But the overall craft here doesn’t go much further beyond pretty good, probably because of the limitations of the procedural format.

This show has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 30% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 47/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10.

While it doesn’t do much to stand out from the pack, “Second Chance” is still a decent Sunday afternoon distraction. It has an okay plot, good characters, really good performances, mediocre music, and decent writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Second Chance” is a 6,57/10. So while heavily flawed, it can still be worth a watch.

My review of “Second Chance” is now completed.

It seems FOX isn’t gonna give this show a… second chance.

Movie Review: Mute (2018)

I’ve been looking forward to this movie for quite a long time. The director is one whose movies I’ve enjoyed quite a bit, so a new movie from him is something I of course was hyped about. And now it’s finally out, and I have now seen it. So let’s talk about it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mute”.

Berlin, 40 years from now. Leo (Alexander Skarsgård) is a mute bartender living a seemingly happy life. But after his girlfriend disappears, he goes on a mission to find out what happened to her, which leads him down the seedy Berlin underground. So is this plot any good? Parts of it are. The problem(s) with this plot is how tonally inconsistent it is. Because at first it seems like it’s just gonna be an emotional and gritty character drama, but then it throws in  bunch of more lighthearted and almost silly scenes featuring a pair of surgeons (Paul Rudd & Justin Theroux) as they go about their lives. Yes, the surgeon stuff is important to the plot, but it’s so tonally different to Leo’s quest. The pacing is also inconsistent. At times it moves at an acceptably slow-ish pace, but then there are times where some unnecessary stuff happens that pulls the pace to a bit of a crawl. Really, the best word I can use to describe the plot of “Mute” is inconsistent. Not necessarily bad (though some bits aren’t that great), just very inconsistent.

The characters in this are (you guessed it) inconsistent. Alexander Skarsgård plays Leo, the mute bartender at the center of this story. He’s clearly a damaged person, and seeing him go through his journey is compelling as he’s a fairly interesting character. I’m also really impressed by Skarsgård’s performance, because he has to convey so much emotion without being able to utter a single word… and the dude kills it in the role. Paul Rudd plays Cactus Bill, one of the two surgeons that are a large part of this story. He’s a dickhead, but he also seem to have some morals (mainly relating to his daughter), so he’s somewhat grounded (even if I don’t always like the character). And Rudd is good in the role. Then we have Justin Theroux as Duck Teddington (best name ever?), the other surgeon. He’s a bit of a hippie that we learn some interesting stuff about through the movie. And he’s one of the reasons for the “tonally inconsistent” things I mentioned before. Theroux is good in the role. Then we get supporting performances in the movie from people like Noel Clarke, Rob Kazinsky, Dominic Monaghan, Seyneb Saleh, Florence Kasumba, and more, most doing a good job (though the characters could use some more work).

The score for the movie was composed by Clint Mansell, and now we finally have something that I can give some high praise to! His score here does take some cues from “Blade Runer” (and a few from “Moon”), but it does enough unique stuff to stand out in a crowd, and ends up being a fucking great score that elevates a lot of scenes in the movie. There are also a few licensed tracks used throughout, and they work decently in their respective scenes.

This movie was written and directed by Duncan Jones, and this is very clearly a passion project of his. But did he do well? For the most part, sure. The direction here has a nice flow to it, and I was fairly sucked into it. It also helps that Gary Shaw’s cinematography is really fucking gorgeous, this movie has some really great eye candy in it. And any and all visual effects in this look really good.

This movie just came out, but it has already received some less than stellar reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 6% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 36/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

“Mute” is a mixed bag. It has a tonally inconsistent plot with some pacing issues and some lackluster character work. But it does also have some good ideas, a few okay characters, great performances, fantastic music, and good direction/cinematography/effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mute” is a 6,31/10. While very flawed, it could still be worth a watch.

My review of “Mute” is now completed.

At least this movie has a really cool easter egg in it…

Movie Review: Warcraft (2016)

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Before we begin the review itself I just want to say  that I am no fan of the video games that this is based on. So any fanservice in this movie would kind of fly past me and wouldn’t change my judgment of anything. Just wanted to get it out of the way. Now, let’s do this shit.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Warcraft”.

Orcs have gone through a magic portal into the world of Azeroth, because their own world went to shit. The leader of the orcs, Gul’dan (Daniel Wu), will do anything to take over Azeroth. However, one of the other high(ish) ranking orcs named Durotan (Toby Kebbell) thinks that Gul’dan’s ways are wrong, and sort of sides with the humans to try to stop Gul’dan and his evil ways. Now this is some really interesting stuff. The basic idea is really interesting, as it presents both the human side and the orc side of things here. It’s not like “Human good, orc bad”, it’s a lot more grey than that, which is something I really liked about it. However, to be completely honest, the plot isn’t perfect. My main problem here is really the same as my main issue with the first “Harry Potter” movie. It sets up this world, a lot of the mythology existing in it, and the factions/characters, which kind of ruins the pacing a bit. The plot that we get presented is good, but the pacing is not.

The characters here are… okay. I never felt like I truly cared about any of them, except for maybe one of them. And that one was Durotan, the orc we follow for a good amount of the movie. His motivations were good and I did care about him. And Toby Kebbell, with the motion capture and voice acting was great in the role. Travis Fimmel played the main human character, Anduin Lothar, and I think he did a pretty good job. Paula Patton played a half human/half orc character named Garona, and she was good in her role. Ben Schnetzer played a young mage in the movie and he was okay. I felt like he was in the movie a bit too much, not because of his performance, but because there was just something about his character. We also got supporting performances from people like Ben Foster, Rob Kazinsky, Clancy Brown, Dominic Cooper, and Ruth Negga, all of whom did a pretty good job.

The music was composed by Ramin Djawadi and it was pretty damn badass. It was this big and epic orchestral score that worked really well in the movie, elevating a good amount of scenes, making some of them more (in lack of a better word) epic.

This movie was directed by Duncan Jones, a man who not only made two sci-fi movies I love, but who’s also apparently a big fan of the games. So with that knowledge I had hopes that it would be a well directed movie… and I was right. It’s a very well directed movie, the shots look great. Speaking of things looking great, let’s talk about the visual effects. Jesus fucking Christ, the effects here look great. The orcs look very realistic, and they blend very well with the human characters. Which brings me to the action scenes, all being really fun, exciting, and badass. And my guess is that they wouldn’t really have been as good if a different director would have taken it on.

This movie has not been the most well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 28% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 32/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

“Warcraft” is far from a perfect movie, but it’s definitely one of the better video game movies out there. I can see the potential in a film franchise here. It has a good plot, okay characters, pretty good performances, really good music, great directing/action, and great visual effects. However it is bogged down a bit by poor pacing and the fact that I didn’t care too much about msot of the characters. Time for my final score. *rwlrwlrwlrwl*. My final score for “Warcraft” is an 8,55/10. So I’d say that it is worth buying.
Worth buying

My review of “Warcraft” is now completed.

Weird to see both Jesse (Dominic Cooper) and Tulip (Ruth Negga) from “Preacher” in this movie…