Movie Review: The Score (2001)

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I have proclaimed my love for heist movies more than a few times on the blog. A lot of movies from “Heat” to “Fast Five” interest me because of the heist stuff. And therefore I always look forward to watching another heist movie.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Score”.

Nick Wells (Robert De Niro) is a former thief who now runs a jazz club in Montreal. But his retirement has to be pushed back even further because of his old friend Max (Marlon Brando) teaming Nick up with young thief Jack Teller (Edward Norton) who has a plan to steal a scepter that have been found. So of course Nick unwillingly accepts Jack’s offer to try to steal the scepter. Okay, the premise is cliché as all hell, but as you know i am a person who thinks that if a cliché is done well, it doesn’t matter. And I’m gonna be quite honest, the clichés in this movie work perfectly to create a good heist story. And I was honestly surprised at some of the twists the movie had to offer. Yeah, I really enjoyed it.

The characters in this movie never stopped being entertaining (in my opinion), they were consistently well-written and entertaining. I think it also helps a lot that the actors were fucking phenomenal in their respective roles. Robert De Niro played the character of Nick Wells with a lot of confidence and even a bit of regret to have to do one more heist. Marlon Brando (despite limited screen time) was also great. And Edward Norton, once again giving us a winning performance that we can all look up to. I really mean it, he is truly great in the movie. Everybody was great in the movie, even the supporting cast.

The music was composed by none other than the masterful Howard Shore. You know, the guy who composed “Se7en” and the “Lord of the Rings” movies. And while the score for “The Score” (That is hilarious) isn’t as great as any of those, he still did a great job here to create a soundtrack that at times sounded like typical heist-movie music, but also at times create suspenseful and straight up great tracks for other scenes. And I loved it all. Again, not as much as in “Se7en” or “Lord of the Rings”, but I still loved it.

Frank Oz directed this movie and I have never seen a Frank Oz movie before. So if you know any great Frank Oz movies, please let me know. Anyway, he did a great job directing this movie. He made it look great and be very stylish which really made me appreciate it even more. Something I was surprised by was jsut how tense it could get as times. Like during the big heist itself, the hair on my arms was standing and my heart was racing during parts of the heist. And I like that, it is rare for me to find a movie with that level of tension.

This movie has been pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 73% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 71/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

“The Score” is a heist movie that uses it’s clichés to it’s advantage to create an interesting take on the heist movie. It has a really well-done story, great characters and acting, great music, great direction and surprising level of suspense. Time for my final score. *Steals envelope*. My final score for “The Score” (again, hilarious) is a 9,88/10. It definitely deserves the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
Seal of Approval

“The Score” is now reviewed.

Okay, bye bye!

Movie Review: Taxi Driver (1976)

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Martin Scorsese is known these days as one of the greatest directors of all time, and for good reason. He has made some truly great movies such as “The Departed” and “Shutter Island”. But now it is time to take a look at one of his oldest movies which a lot of people call one of his best IF not his best.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Taxi Driver”.

In this movie we follow mentally unstable Vietnam war Veteran Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro). Since he has trouble sleeping at night he takes a job as a nighttime taxi driver (roll credits). When driving around like this he sees every type of person New York has to offer… and that is not really a god thing. All the scum and assholes make him want to take action against it all to both try to stop it and also to save the life of the really young prostitute Iris (Jodie Foster). And with that said we have a psychological and powerful tale from the point of a mentally unstable man. Seeing the plot unfold was really interesting. The further Travis went down the rabbit hole, the more interesting everything got. And seeing as the plot never once got boring, that is awesome!

Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way first… Robert De Niro was FUCKING AWESOME in this movie! I have always liked the guy, he is a really good actor, but here he gives one of the greatest performances I have seen from anyone ever. De Niro was perfect at portraying the psychological decline of Travis. And Jodie Foster in the movie was also really good. When this movie came out in ’76 she was really young, yet her performance was still really good. And every other were also great in the movie. This movie was like “Weak performance? What the hell is that?”.

The score by Bernard Hermann was a mix of soft jazz and darkly haunting tracks. Seriously, the soundtrack will haunt my dreams after this… which technically isn’t a bad thing. And with that said, the soundtrack was great. It all fit so well into every little part that each track was used in.

When “Taxi Driver” first came out in 1976 it cause a fair amount of controversy and there were two main reasons for that. The first of them was the pretty graphic violence which I can kind of understand. But at the same time, comparing it to “Clockwork Orange” might be a bit of a stretch. Sure the violence here was graphic, but it wasn’t as disturbing as “Clockwork Orange”. The second of the reasons this was controversial is a reason I really do get. *Ahem* They cast a 13-year old girl as a prostitute! And while she is never shown naked and/or having sex in the movie, I can still kind of get behind the argument why that would stir up some controversy. Now with that informative stuff out of the way, this is a great looking movie! Scorsese is a master director who knows how to make a scene look fantastic! And he showed it fairly early in his career with this movie.

“Taxi Driver” has been VERY well-received over the years, being called “One of the greatest movies ever”. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 98% positive rating wit ha “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 93/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 4/4 stars and later added it to his “Great Movies” list. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,4/10 and is ranked #79 on the “Top 250” list. The movie was also nominated for 4 Oscars in the categories of Best Picture, Best Actor (De Niro), Best Supporting Actress (Foster) and Best Original Score. 

People, “Taxi Driver” is a great movie with a terrific plot, fantastic performances, a great score and some great direction/camera work. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “Taxi Driver” is a 9,89/10. This is a fantastic movie that of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
Seal of Approval

Review of “Taxi Driver” is completed.

You talkin’ to me?

Movie Review: Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

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If you follow my blog, you know I very rarely review movies that have a more “normal” setting. I usually do action/sci-fi/western/etc. movies. Not that I have anything against there “normal” movies. I like thsoe a lot. Like “The Full Monty (1997), that movie is great. So for once, you see a “normal” movie here. Only that it is hard to call this movie “normal” since it got nominated for 8 Oscars. But enough jibber-jabber about that stuff.

Males and females…”Silver Linings Playbook”!

The story is set in the town of Philadelphia and follows former teacher Pat Solatano Jr. (Bradley Cooper. And by former it means that he got fired after he had been put in a prison/mental health clinic after he had assaulted the lover of his wife. Why? Well since Pat and his wife Nikki (Brea Bee) were still married and Pat caught the two lovers fucking in the shower. So he assaulted and almost killed him. But circa 8 months later he gets released and have to live with his parents Pat Sr. (Robert De Niro) and Dolores (Jacki Weaver). One day when he’s out for a jog he meets hiw old friend Ronnie (John Ortiz). Ronnie invites Pat for dinner with him and his wife Veronica (Julia Stiles). At that dinner he meets a young woman named Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), who is a friend of Ronnie and Veronica. They have a strange conversation of medication and mental illness. After that, Pat follows Tiffany home, she offers him sex, he declines. The following day they meet while Pat is out for a jog again. And after that the movie follows how their so called “relationship” evolves and they grow into friends…and maybe even more. I gotta say, the story was better than I expected. Sure, it’s not much at first sight, but as the movie goes on, it adds more meat to the bone. Also, Pat is diagnosed bipolar. Just good to mention for the story.

The characters are all fucked up in their respective ways…all of them, even the non-diagnosed ones. But htat is what makes them so unique and entertaining to watch. I honestly fucking love the character of Tiffany! Not only is she strange and greatly written, Jennifer Lawrence makes her even better with her slightly hyper style of acting and odd accent. Also, Pat is great since he is so complex yet so simple. Bradley Cooper delivered him with pitch perfect delivery, I am now convinced he is a good actor and not just a cheesier version of Face from “The A-Team”. All the characters are great to watch since they’re all so well acted. Hell, even Chris Tucker’s character was good (I am surprised since…Chris Tucker). Great characters/acting.

The music is really good. It is a mix of a few licensed songs and a few original tracks by the masterful Danny Elfman (The Simpsons, Nightmare Before Christmas). The licensed songs fit perfectly with this strange movie. The only musician I could recognize was the one of THe White Stripes with their good song “Hello Operator”. All other licensed songs are good as well of course with muscians like Stevie Wonder and Frank Sinatra.

I have to say that David O. Russell did a good job with the directing of this. He made it not only look good, but have a certain type of energy that would be needed for this type of movie.

Reception for this movie was overall good. Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 92% rating and certified it fresh. Metacritic gave it an 81/100 score. Mr. Roger Ebert gave this movie 3,5/4 stars, called Russell’s screenplay “ingenious” and said this lovely thing:

“so good, it could almost be a terrific old classic” 

imdb.com got the rating of 7,9 on this movie.
Like I said, this movie was nominated for 8 Oscars and won 1. Here is the Win: “Best Leading Actress” (Jennifer Lawrence).
And here are the other nominations: Best motion picture of the year, Best Leading Actor (Bradley Cooper), Best supporting actor (Robert De Niro), Best supporting actress (Jacki Weaver), Best achievement in directing (David O. Russell), Best adapted screenplay, Best achievement in film editing.

I have given my opinions on the few aspects on the movie that I usually give. So I am ready to give a score. This movie gets a 9,74/10. This movie is excellent and should be watched by you people…DO IT, DAMN IT!!!

“Silver Linings Playbook” is now reviewed.

Excelsior.

Movie Review: Heat (1995)

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Have you also noticed that a lot-ish games contain/are about bank heists? And there are some good ones; Payday, GTA5 and more. But what about movies? I know there are a lot of movies featuring a bank heists, but they are usually the secondary focus (See things like “30 minutes or less”). It is rare to find one where the heist(s) is the prime focus. At least movies that are set in more modern times than westerns. So when I heard about this movie called “Heat”, it pinched my interest a little bit. Especially since it starred both Robert De Niro AND Al Pacino. Oh and Val Kilmer (But I didn’t care too much for Kilmer by the time I heard of this which was before I saw Tombstone). So I finally sat my ass down to watch it. But was it good? Let’s talk about it.

Ladies and gentledicks…Heat.

The story is about a bank heist crew led by a man named Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro). They are the best damned crew in all of Los Angeles. And who knows, maybe even in America? On this team of badasses we have Chris Shiherlis (Val Kilmer), a fucking aced sniper and pony tail wearing badass. Michael Cherrito (Tom Sizemore), I don’t remember his part, I think he was mainly a brute. And there was another guy but I can’t remember/find who he was and who played him, sorry. Anyway, let us continue. On the other side of the law we not only have normal cops. We even have one with a name…Lieutenant Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino). He is basically the one leading the search for the bank robbers that have not only stolen expensive shit, but also killed a few people. There is a slight mind game going on between McCauley and Hanna throughout the game, mostly because of how elusive McCauley is even though Hanna is one of the best at his job. So as the story unfolds, it really shows that it is a really good story filled with plot twists, suspenseful moments and genuine great storytelling. And those things are usually typical for a Michael Mann movie.

So the characters are…well I don’t really want to use a word synonymous to perfect. Because that is not what they are, even though they are fucking awesome. They are flawed…for the most part. But they are so interesting that I don’t mind. But most of the interesting parts come from the fact that they all are so well acted, and I love that shit.

Music is…great. Not perfect, but nothing ever is…mostly. But for what it is and what it does…it’s great. The soundtrack is a nice mix of orchestral instruments for the different types of moments in the movie.

Have to mention the action scenes. They are really fucking good! I love them! That’s all.

The reception for the film was overall pretty good. With scores like 86% on Rotten Tomatoes and 76/100 on Metacritic. And for the first time in a while, I have found a Roger Ebert review on it. And he really liked it. Here is a quote:
“It’s not just an action picture. Above all, the dialogue is complex enough to allow the characters to say what they’re thinking: They are eloquent, insightful, fanciful, poetic when necessary. They’re not trapped with cliches. Of the many imprisonments possible in our world, one of the worst must be to be inarticulate — to be unable to tell another person what you really feel”.

So overall, this movie got good shit going for it. And that is good since that means I am giving it a score of 9,49/10. This movie is worth every dollar/pound/krona/yen that you spend on it. Go buy it. Or rent it. This is probably one of the smartest actions/thrillers ever.

I robbed you of your time with this review (Bank heist pun).

*Sneaking out*