Movie Review: The Last Castle (2001)

I don’t have much to say here. Not because the movie flabbergasted me or broke my soul in two. I just don’t have anything clever to say. So I guess we should just get into the review.

Ladies and gents… “The Last Castle”.

Eugene Irwin (Robert Redford) is an army general who has been court-martialed and sent to a military prison. But it doesn’t take long for him to notice how corrupt the entire place is. So he decides to rally the other inmates to rise up against the prison and its crooked warden (James Gandolfini). I like stories of revolutions. And setting one of those within a corrupt prison is an idea that I find pretty fucking clever. However, they only do the bare minimum with that idea, going for surface level ideas instead of giving us the kind of nuanced story one could expect from this kind of idea. That said, it’s not bad. Surface level isn’t exactly what I’d call a bad thing here. The story does entertain throughout the two hour runtime. I just wish it had a little bit more nuance to it.

The characters in this are… fine. Often they boil down to stereotypes we’ve seen before. Asshole, big dude, young/underestimated guy, etcetera. Robert Redford plays General Eugene Irwin, the highly regarded army man at the center of the story. He’s a good man, never bent, always doing what’s best for him and his men. He may not be the deepest character ever, but Redford’s performance really makes it feel a bit deeper than the writing would have you believe. James Gandolfini plays Winter, the colonel who’s in charge of the prison. He seems a half decent fellow at first glance, but it doesn’t take long for his crookedness to be clear. He’s a decent matchup for Irwin, and Gandolfini is really good in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Mark Ruffalo, Clifton Collins Jr, Delroy Lindo, Steve Burton, Brian Goodman, Michael Irby, Robin Wright, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The music was composed by Jerry Goldsmith, and it was good. Plenty of military-style trumpets, some emotional strings, and some heavy and dramatic percussion. It is a little bit generic at times, but overall it’s well composed and works quite well for the movie. There’s also one or two licensed tracks used in the movie, and that works pretty well too.

The movie was directed by Rod Lurie, who I think did a pretty good job here. There’s a surprising amount of fun camerawork throughout, and he does have a decent sense of dramatic flair. Whenever the writing is a little bland and uninspired, his direction sort of helps out in making it a bit more interesting.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 52% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 43/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

While not a perfect movie, “The Last Castle” is still a pretty entertaining prison drama. It has an okay plot, meh characters, really good performances, really good music, and really good directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Last Castle” is a 7,23/10. So while flawed, I’d say it’s still worth renting.

My review of “The Last Castle” is now completed.

Do you think Ruffalo played a former pilot because helicopter blades go “Ruffa ruffa ruffa ruffa”?

Movie Review: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

*Insert repetitive comment about Markus loving westerns here*.

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… “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”!

The story of this movie follows the outlaws known as Butch Cassidy (Paul Newman, R.I.P) and the Sundance Kid (Robert Redford) as they travel around, rob trains and banks, and generally outwit the law. And while that is a very basic plot that we’ve seen in many other movies, “Butch Cassidy” does it much better by focusing on the bond between our two heroes as they go through all kinds of shit. It’s actually quite an interesting plot that manages to be fun and exciting without sacrificing any drama. By drama I don’t mean that it’s super serious and overly dramatic, but when it needs to have some good drama, it nails it.

The characters in this movie and interesting, entertaining, and pretty fleshed out. Paul Newman is great as Butch Cassidy, playing him as this charming and confident bandit. He’s endlessly likable and fun to watch. Robert Redford is great as the Sundance Kid, playing the slightly more serious one of the two. Katharine Ross plays Etta, a woman that our two heroes knows/socializes with, and she’s great in the role. Really, there are no weak performances in this movie. Not saying that all are great, but none stood out as bad.

The score for the movie was composed by Burt Bacharach and it was good. It was fun, delightful, and overall worked very well in the scenes that tracks were featured. And I guess I should talk about the one “song” in the movie. It’s called “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head” and it was sung by B.J. Thomas, and it’s quite good. Like the score it is fairly lighthearted and it’s pretty delightful. I like it.

This movie was directed by George Roy Hill and I think he did a really good job. The shots look great and everything flows very well. And when bullets start flying, it’s fun, badass, and exciting. What I was also kind of surprised about was that there was comedy in this movie. Not saying that it’s the typical “This is a comedy, now laugh!”, but this movie has a sense of humor. And it’s funny, I laughed at the jokes in the movie. Some might think that blending this humor with some of the more serious moments in the movie could end up poorly, but this movie did this very well.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10 and is ranked #201 on the “Top 250” list. The movie won 4 Oscars in the categories of Best original screenplay, Best cinematography, Best original song, and Best original score. It was also nominated for an additional 3 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best director, and Best sound.

“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” is an incredibly fun movie and most definitely a classic. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Bang*. My final score for “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” is a 9,87/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” is now completed.

This is one of those movies where I was just smiling for most of it. It’s such a delightful movie.

My Top 13 Favorite Superhero Movies

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Hey guys, once again it is time for a Top 10 (not really). And by Top 10 I mean Top 13 because I felt like I couldn’t exclude some of these. I was thinking “Hmmm, I need to make a new Top 10… but what kind?”. Then I remembered that “Ant-Man” is coming out this year (And for those of you who have al ready gotten it, we here in Sweden don’t get it until wednesday). And that made me think about superheroes. So to commemorate “Ant-Man” coming out, let’s talk about my favorite Superhero movies of all time(ish).

Rule #1: This rule should be a given at this point; this is my list so if you don’t agree with it, you have no right to bitch and moan about it.
Rule #2: Keep in mind that the title says “Superhero Movies”. This means that is can really be anything about a superhero, the movies doesn’t need to be strictly based on comic books. It also means that “Guardians of the Galaxy” won’t be on the list because that is a space/sci-fi movie and not about superheroes.
Rule #3: Only one movie per series. This means that I might only have ONE “Iron Man” movie or only ONE “Captain America” movie. This limits the list a little bit. However, reboots don’t count since they aren’t really part of the same series.
Rule #4: Keep in mind that I haven’t seen every superhero movie ever. So you will not see movies like “The Crow” or “Blade” or “Megamind” on this list.

Now that the rules are out of the way, ladies and gentlemen, I present to you… My Top 13 Favorite Superhero Movies!

Number 13: Superman (1978)
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The oldest movie on the list. This is one of the first superhero movies ever made that actually worked, no the 1966 “Batman” and his shark-repellent does not count even though it is fucking hilarious. No, this is the movie that showed that superhero movies could be made and be good. The only reason it isn’t higher is because I have really not seen this movie since I was like 10, but I do remember liking it. So that is why it is on the lowest spot.

Number 12: Watchmen (2009)
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When this movie came out it got incredibly mixed reception. A lot of people enjoyed it, a lot of people hated it. Me? Well as you may have perceived, I liked it. Do I think it’s perfect? Not at all. For one, it feels a little too long for it’s own good. Second of all, too much blue dick! But despite my problems with the movie, I still enjoyed it a lot for it’s cool action scenes, fantastic soundtrack and Jackie Earle Haley’s performance as Rorshach. He was fantastic in the movie.

Number 11: V For Vendetta (2006)
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Remember remember the fifth of November. Gunpowder, treason and plot. I see no reason why gunpowder, treason Should ever be forgot. The poem of Guy Fawkes and his attempt to take down the parliament with explosives. And then V (Hugo Weaving) comes in with a Guy Fawkes mask and has a plan similar to Fawkes’. A very thought provoking movie with a lot to say. It is also the last movie that the Wachowski’s had a hand in before they lost their fucking minds (Sidenote: I have not yet seen their show “Sense8” which I have heard is pretty great). But this is an excellent movie featuring a genuinely fantastic performance from Natalie Portman and a poetic/surprising turn from Hugo Weaving.

Number 10: The Incredible Hulk (2008)
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I hear how people are going “Wait, is this asshole putting that almost forgotten Hulk movie over the poetic beauty of “V For Vendetta”? What the hell?”. And from that I point you towards rule number 1. But yes, I put this above “V For Vendetta”, and that I will explain why. Long time followers will think I did it because I am an Edward Norton fanboy… and you might be right, but that’s not my reasoning. See, where “V For Vendetta” is a thought provoking and poetic masterpiece, I put “The Incredible Hulk” above it because it is just a fun movie. I really like the action scenes in this movie, they are awesome. And like my old followers probably assumed, I love Edward Norton in this movie, he’s great (as always).

Number 9: The Incredibles (2004)
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Second movie with the word “Incredible” in the title and the first one to not be based on any comic book. That’s right, at number 9 we have the Pixar animated movie “The Incredibles”, directed by Brad Bird who also made “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” which was a good action movie. This movie is fun, it has interesting characters, the animation is terrific and it is perfect for the entire family(ish). What’s not to like?

Number 8: Batman Begins (2005)
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I swear, someone will break rule number 1 because of this spot. You know… since people seem to love “The Dark Knight” so much over this movie. But if you remember when I did my “Top 10 Batman Movies” list, I ranked this above “The Dark Knight”. And that is why this movie is on this list. It has a great plot, great direction by Christopher Nolan, great performances (except for Katie Holmes), and it broguht Batman back from the dead after that failure that is “Batman & Robin”. Let me just tell you my biggest issue with all of Chris Nolan’s Batman movies; Batman’s voice, it just sounds silly. Okay, moving on.

Number 7: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
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That’s right, I like “Age of Ultron” more than the original “Avengers”. Wazzup, motherfuckers! Just kidding, I love you. But if you wanna bitch, go to someone else’s blog because this one is protected by the first rule. But yeah, this is a sequel that I actually enjoyed more than the original. To me, this was more fun and had a much faster pace than the first movie. And Ultron was an amazing villain, mostly thanks to the excellent script and the charismatic performance by James Spader.

Number 6: Iron Man (2008)
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What? I said “Only one movie per series”. Not “One movie per cinematic universe”. So “Iron Man” goes on this list. Mostly for being cool, innovative, fun, great and for starting the MCU. Also, AC/DC music.

Number 5: Hellboy 2: The Golden Army (2008)
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While based on a series of comic books, this is the only movie on the list not coming from either DC or Marvel. But we don’t need those two corporate giants to make a good superhero movie, because “Hellboy 2” is fucking awesome! Directed by Guillermo Del Toro who is an amazing visual director, this movie stars Ron Perlman in his second outing as the titular character, trying to save the world. And I got a message for you Hollywood… PLEASE GIVE US A HELLBOY 3!!!

Number 4: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
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A sequel that is so much better than the original that it is absolutely crazy! This movie took everything that was good about the first “Captain America”, and improved on it. Only downer is that there is no Hugo Weaving. But everything else in this movie is amazing. It also never breaks pace, this is an intense, action-packed movie with a pretty good spy-thriller twist on it. Also, this movie has ROBERT REDFORD! MARVEL GOT ROBERT FUCKING REDFORD ON! HALLELUJAH!

Number 3: X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
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I guess 2014 was a good year for comic book movies. “Guardians of the Galaxy”, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past”. This movie marked the return to the franchise of director Bryan Singer who hadn’t made a great movie since 2003 when “X2” came out. But when he made this, holy shit he made something fantastic. “Days of Future Past” had the action you wanted, the drama you needed and the humor to keep the movie fun. While I love “X2”, this might actually be my favorite “X-Men” movie of all time. Also, that scene with Quicksilver… amazing.

Number 2: Batman (1989)
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Remember what I said about reboots not counting as being in the same series as earlier movies? Yeah, that is why I could put this movie so far up here. And if you go back and check my “Top 10 Batman Movies” list, you’ll notice that this is my favorite Batman of all time. And that is because this, to me, is a perfect movie. I love absolutely everything about this movie. Sure, the music by Prince is a little distracting, but it doesn’t ruin the movie for me. I still love this movie A LOT. It’s fun, it’s dark, it has Jack Nicholson, it is motherfuckin’ “Batman”!

Number 1: The Matrix (1999)
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This might to some people be my strangest pick for this list. I mean, since all other movies relate back to superheroes in a more direct way. This doesn’t really touch on it that much, but ultimately made it to the list. I was actually debating with myself about putting this movie on the list or not for a while, then I watched Watchmojo’s video “Top 10 Superhero Movies Not based on Comic Books”. That is what ultimately made me put the movie on the list. This is a superhero movie at heart, even though it doesn’t clearly show at first. But to me it is still a superhero movie and my faovrite superhero movie of all time.

So what are your thoughts? What is your favorite superhero movie? Leave a comment and let me know.

Have a good one!

 

 

 

Movie Review: Captain America – The Winter Soldier (2014)

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I have noticed in recent years how Marvel is really stepping up their game when it comes to their movies. Not only are they making a whole bunch of them, but people also seem to really love them. I am a guy who really likes a good Marvel movie. You might remember that I did a review of “Guardians of the Galaxy” around september of 2014 and gave it a really good score. But that isn’t the only Marvel movie I like a lot, I love a bunch other ones as well such as “Iron Man” and “The incredible Hulk”. And those are only some of the Marvel/Disney studio movies, there are also the Sony/Fox movies. But that isn’t relevant in this case. Today we are taking a look at the 2014 film set within Marvel’s “Phase 2”. So what did I think of it? Let’s find out!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”.

This movie as you may know is the sequel to 2011’s “Captain America: The First Avenger” but also follows 2012’s “The Avengers” (Sidenote: If you want me to review those two movies, you just tell me). We see Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) living in our modern times. But one day the organization S.H.I.E.L.D (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforment and Logistic Division) whom he works for starts chasing him down. And at the same time he has to keep his eye out for this mysterious new threat “The Winter Soldier” (Not saying who it is if you don’t actually know sice the twist is kinda cool, also roll credits). I am not going to say more about this plot because it is filled with twist after twist after twist… and it works. The Plot of this movie is excellent with some really clever writing and really cool twists like I mentioned earlier. Rarely have I seen a superhero movie with a plot this clever, suspenseful and politically aware. I loved seeing it unfold.

The characters in this movie are all great. They really showed that these people are more than characters, they are really people. Steve Rogers/Captain America is a surprisingly relatable character with some great dialogue and is portrayed excellently by Chris Evans. Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) is a really well-written, badass and infinitely sexy character. She really worked and I liked how she was portrayed in this movie. She has gone from sexy badass to sexy badass person. And yes, Johansson portrayes her perfectly. Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) is also really great. The biggest reason I liked him in previous movies is becuase of Samuel L. Jackson’s charisma and talent. But here he actually gets some depth to the character and he actually gets some stuff to do. Do I even have to mention that Jackson’s performance is good? I mean, come on… it’s Samuel L. Jackson. But by far, my favorite character in this movie has to be the one of Sam Wilson/Falcon (Anthony Mackie). Not only did he provide some great comic relief, but he was also pretty deep and you could really believe him as a character. Plus, I love his wingsuit… it’s badass. It was also nice seeing Robert Redford in this movie. His character was really good and fit the movie. The performance was of course great since you know, it is Robert Redford.

The score by Henry Jackman reminds me a lot of two things. Firstly there are tracks which are typical superhero movie songs. Not bad ones at all, but you recognize the style… big and epic. Then we have the tracks which reminds me of the “Metal Gear Solid” games. I don’t know why they do that, but I don’t mind! Which is fitting considering that this movie (never mentioned it before which I actually should’ve… oops) is not only a badass action movie, but also a sort of spy-espionage-thriller. But I don’t mind getting a little “Metal Gear” in my Marvel. It just hightens it. But the soundtrack was great.

This movie is very well-directed. The shots are great and the camera work in general is great. I also have ot mention that the action in this movie is pretty fucking great. Not only is there pretty minimal CGI within the action, but you can also notice a lot of great stunt work and close quarters combat in this movie. Sure there is a bit of shaky-cam in this movie, but it doesn’t ruin it. It gives the movie a pretty stylish feeling, kind of like the “Bourne” trilogy which likes this movie happens to be an action franchise with some espionage stuff in it. I also found the political things in this movie really intriguing and really gave the movie an edge over most superhero movies. Another thing I liked about this movie gives off the feeling of Captain America actually being able to die. This movie puts the characters in peril and makes it so much more suspenseful… they might die. And that makes the action so much better since you know they really are in danger. Good job, writers!

This movie was really well-received when it came out. It has an 89% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes. On Metacritic it has a score of 70/100. And on imdb it has a 7,8/10.

“Captain America: The Winter Solder” got a great plot with some great twists, great characters, great music, political intrigue, spy-thriller elements and some of the best action in recent years from a Hollywood movie. So now it is time for my final score. *Gets thrown envelope* Woaw, thanks Cap! My final score for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is a 9,76/10 which as you should know by know gets it (say it with me)… the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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Review of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” is completed.

Since this movie was so good I am really curious to see how the Russo brothers handles “Captain America: Civil War”.