Movie Review: White Boy Rick (2018)

Don’t do crimes.

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 gents… “White Boy Rick”.

Detroit, the 1980s. Teenager Richard Wershe Jr. (Richie Merritt) comes from a broken home. But soon he finds himself on quite an interesting rise, as he starts getting involved both as an FBI informant and a drug trafficker. So now we have our crime-drama. The premise of it all I find highly intriguing, and there are some decent moments and ideas going on throughout the movie. But looking at the package as a whole, it feels quite underwhelming, with the script, while not bad, feels severely underwritten. The writer’s should’ve probably done another draft or two to truly flesh out a lot of the storytelling, because as it stands, it doesn’t quite reach the dramatic heights it sets out for. And this makes it often feel a lot more boring and uninteresting than one would want a fascinating premise like this to be.

Much like the story, the characters in this story suffer due to the undercooked script. I can see what the team were going for with all of them, but they never quite get far enough to make ’em that compelling. Richie Merritt plays Richard Wershe Jr, the young man at the center of the story. He’s the closest we get to a compelling character, as he gets the biggest arc of the bunch (probably due to his status as “protagonist”). And Merritt is okay in the role. Next we have Matthew McConaughey as Richard Wershe Senior, the father of our main character. He’s a bit of a hick, while also trying to be a decent dad. As said before about other things: Good idea, mediocre execution. At least McConaughey gives a really good performance. We also get supporting work from people like Bel Powley, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Brian Tyree Henry, Rory Cochrane, RJ Cyler, Jonathan Majors, Eddie Marsan, and more, all doing pretty well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Max Richter, and it was really good. Richter’s a talented composer, and he managed to bring some really compelling synth/piano goodness to the soundscape of this movie. It manages to take scenes that are mediocre at best, and manages to make them alright. There’s also a few licensed songs used throughout, and they work fine I guess.

“White Boy Rick” was directed by Yann Demange, and I think he did an okay job with it. There are scenes in the movie that I think are really well directed, but then there are also scenes that I feel are a bit drab in execution. Again, it’s kind of a mixed bag in execution, which unfortunately really brings me out of the experience. There are scenes where Demange’s directing truly shines, and I applaud those moments. But there are times where it dips too, which is a shame.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 59% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 59/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,4/10.

“White Boy Rick” has some decent elements to it, but in the end is a disappointment. It has an undercooked story, less than compelling characters, good performances, really good music, and okay directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “White Boy Rick” is a 4,78/10. So despite some bright spots, I’d recommend skipping it.

My review of “White Boy Rick” is now completed.

Mustache McConaughey.

Movie Review: A Scanner Darkly (2006)

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The world of Philip K. Dick adaptations is one that has been explored on my blog for quite some time now. Which is interesting considering the fact that I haven’t read anything by him at all. Oh well, I guess I’ll get to his books at some point. But until then, let’s review this adaptation of one of his books.

Ladies and gentlemen… “A Scanner Darkly”.

The story is about an undercover cop (Keanu Reeves) who gets involved with some people to keep track of where this drug called Substance D comes from. Problem is that he gets a little too involved and he basically starts losing his damn mind and even his own identity. And based on that premise you should expect that this plot gets weird, deep, and pretty interesting. And I’d say you’re correct in assuming such things. The plot gets pretty strange and mindbending as it goes on… and I loved it. Not gonna lie, I had to take a good moment to gather my thoughts about all of this. And when I was done thinking I came to the conclusion that I really loved the plot of the movie. It’s interesting to no end and it’s kind of a mindfuck at times.

The characters in the movie are all kind of a bit… odd, to put it gently. No one in this movie is 100% there, everyone’s a little bit loco. Keanu Reeves has never been that great an actor, but I’m still a big fan of the guy. But I have to say that his performance here is one of his better, he’s actually good in this movie. Robert Downey Jr. is also in the movie, playing one of Reeves’ friends and he does a really good job too, playing a fast-talking, and quick-witted guy who’s like I said… loco. Then we also get some other great supporting performances from people like Rory Cochrane, Woody Harrelson, and Winona Ryder. Yeah, only good acting in here.

The score for the movie was composed by Graham Reynolds and it’s really weird and psychedelic. Yes, I can still classify it as music, I can still hear the instruments being used. It just sounds really weird. And by weird I mean good, it really works for this movie. I’m just saying that it is the definition of psychdelic.

This movie was directed by Richard Linklater, and this is the first of his movies that I have ever seen, but that’s not important. What is important however is that this is one of the most uniquely directed movies that I have ever seen. I think you would say that too if you have seen the movie or by simply looking at the picture I chose to head this review with. This entire movie is rotoscoped. Or rotoshopped, if I’m to believe wikipedia. Basically they filmed the actors doing the scenes, only to animate over each frame to create something really weird, unique, and pretty fucking cool. Seriously, you can look up image comparisons on google regarding some frames in the movie where you see the normal version compared to the animated one. It’s quite fascinating to say the least. Fascinating, creative, cool, impressive, weird… there are plenty of adjectives that can be used to describe it.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 69% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 73/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

“A Scanner Darkly” is one of the coolest movies I have ever seen. It has an interesting story, odd yet interesting characters, really good acting, good music, fantastic directing with a unique style and some really good writing. Time for my final score. Woaw. My final score for “A Scanner Darkly” is a 9,86/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “A Scanner Darkly” is now completed.

Stay off drugs, kiddos.

Movie Review: Oculus (2014)

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BOO! Got ya there, didn’t I? No? Well, screw you. *Sigh*. Anyway, hello and welcome to a review that has been teased a bit on my twitter (Cough, shameless plug, cough) over the last two(ish) days. Mainly because I knew that this would come around these days as the introduction to something special. And by something special I mean a series of reviews that I call “The Month of Spooks”. What is that? Well you obviously didn’t read my post the other day where I first used that phrase. What I mean is that since it’s October I should review some horror movies. I already got a few suggestions by a person here on wordpress and I will maybe review those movies at some point. But if you have any horror recomendations I suggest you put them as a comment on the post “The Month of Spooks” which is relatively recent so you know what you can and can’t recommend. Anyway, rambling over, review time!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Oculus”.

In “Oculus” we follow siblings Kaylie (Karen Gillan) and Tim (Brenton Thwaites). Ten years ago something very tragic happened to them which got Tim arrested and put in psychological care. But now he gets to come out, fully rehabilitated (yay?). However, his sister drags him into a sort of investigation to prove that a mirror is evil and is the reason every terrible thing happened to them as kids. And while this shit sounds like it would make for a terrible plot, it really caught me off guard. The plot is surprisingly deep and made me doubt everything through most of the movie. It made me ask “Are these guys just out of their fucking mind or is the mirror really an evil entity?” which is actually kind of great. The plot could also get really personal and emotional at times which is not something I ever expect from a horror movie, so that was kind of cool. However I feel like it started out a little slow. But after a little while the movie kicked into high gear and I was intirgued the entire way through. So high praise to this plot.

The characters all feel like they could be very real people… real people who are stuck in a terrifying situation. And the actors did a pretty great job. Brenton Thwaites as Tim was great, playing basically a male version of Scully from “The X-Files”. Now if you haven’t seen that amazing show then first off: Go watch it! And secondly: Scully is the skeptic of the two main characters in the show, and that’s what Tim is at first. And if Tim is Scully then that makes Kaylie the movie’s version of Mulder (the believer). And Karen Gillan did a fantastic job. What caught me off guard though was how well she masked her Scottish accent and did a terrific American one, she sounded legit. Every actor was really good in the movie.

The score for “Oculus” was done by The Newton Brothers and I think it’s pretty good. It’s tension-building, it’s well-composed and it just overall fit the movie pretty damn well. It’s also very electronic in how it sounds, not that that’s bad thing. Like I said, it’s a good score that fit the movie.

This movie was directed by Mike Flanagan who I have not seen anything else from. But I can still for sure say that he did a great job directing this movie, the shots look great. Here is a fun fact: This movie is apparently based on a short film that Flanagan made in 2006, also starring the character of Tim (Sidenote: Not played by Brenton Thwaites in that one). Another fun fact: It was shot in only 24 days which is a crazy short amount of time for a movie to be made. But I guess that since it is a pretty limited film in size and scope, that makes a little bit of sense. Also, since this is a horror movie, was it scary? Yeah… it was. But it isn’t like a “BOO, MOTHERFUCKER!” type of horror movie, it instead relies on dread, suspense and disturbing imagery to scare. And it did it perfectly, getting under my skin and disturbing me to the point of leaving my room after finishing it and then hugging my dog, true story. Would I call it terrifying? No, but scary and creepy are definitely adjectives I’d like to use for it which in itself is pretty great.

This movie has gotten some pretty mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 73% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 61/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,5/10.

“Oculus” surprised me on every level. It has a great & emotional plot, terrific acting and characters, a really good score, great directing and as a horror movie it manaegd to scare me. Although I will subtract a little bit because it started out a little slowly. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “Oculus” is a 9,57/10. Yeah, despite the slow start of the movie, it sitll gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

Review of “Oculus” is now done.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the scariest piece of reflective glass of them all?