Movie Review: Dark City (1998)

You know how we all want weird, original movies? Yeah, sometimes that happens.

Ladies and gents… “Dark City”.

On a dark night, John Murdoch (Rufus Sewell) finds himself waking up in an apartment with a dead body, not remembering anything… not even who he is. So he starts going on a quest to find out who he is, what the hell is going on, and why these weird/pale/supernatural motherfuckers are chasing him. So now we have our twist-turny memory-altering noir. And I think this plot is great. The clever ideas about memories and and reality being messed with, combined with some really solid twists and turns throughout is what makes this plot so great. I know this explanation might seem a bit vague, but that is only intentional as I don’t want to spoil it too much. But trust me when I say this: I thought the plot here was great.

The characters are layered and interesting. Rufus Sewell is great as John Murdoch, playing him constantly on edge as he is chased when he’s trying to figure all this strange shit out. And can we just take a second to appreciate having Rufus Sewell in a leading role, ’cause it’s not every day we see that happening. Anyway, like I said, he’s great in the role. Jennifer Connelly plays Murdoch’s wife, Emma. As a character she’s trying to figure out what the hell is going on with her husband. And Connelly is really good in the role. William Hurt plays a detective that is trying to solve this whole Murdoch case, and he’s really good in the role. Kiefer Sutherland plays a weird scientist that is important to the plot in ways that I don’t want to to ruin here, but I can at least say that Sutherland was great in the role. Then we have the main three of the aforementioned pale/weird people, played by Richard O’Brien, Ian Richardson (R.I.P), and Bruce Spence. And they’re all great. Really, all actors in this movie do very well in their roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Trevor Jones and it was great. Dark, eerie, tense, epic, inspiring, and just overall very well composed. It perfectly worked for this dystopian sci-fi-noir-weirdness. Then there are also a couple of song covers in the movie, performed by Anita Kelsey, and they’re great. Yeah, this movie has some great music.

This movie was directed by Alex Proyas and I think he did a great job here. His directing is atmospheric and tense, keeping me invested and slightly on edge throughout most of the runtime. There are also a couple of action scenes in this and they are handled very well. They’re not the shooty-bang-bang types of action scenes, but instead relying on other types of action scenes. It’s difficult to discuss without spoiling it, but let’s just say that it’s some really solid stuff. I also feel like I have to mention that this movie just oozes atmosphere. From the directing, to the cinematography, to the art direction, to the set design… it is all a visual treat.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 74% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 66/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars and put it on his “Great Movies” list. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10.

“Dark City” is a great piece of science fiction-noir weirdness. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and directing. Time for my final score. My final score for “Dark City” is a 9,87/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Dark City” is now completed.

Why do I get a feeling that Christopher Nolan likes this movie?

Series Review: The Man In the High Castle – Season 1 (2015)

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So here we are, back in the realm of Amazon’s Original Programming. Yeah, the very same Amazon that you can order shirts, soap and all kinds of stuff from. For the… one of you that didn’t know, Amazon is making original programming. Possibly one of my followers might remember that I did a review for season 1 of Amazon’s show “Bosch” last year. So yeah… they make shows… so let’s review one of them!

Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to… “The Man in the High Castle”.

The world has gone to shit (God, I’ve missed that phrase so much!). It’s the 1960’s and Nazis are in control. That’s right, in 1946 they took over the United States and also allied with Japan to rule over everything. We follow a young woman named Juliana (Alexa Davalos) as she is more or less pulled into a plot set up by the resistance to try to get a hold of some films that could change everything. And these films are produced by the mysterious… “Man in the High Castle” (Roll credits). We also get to follow a whole bunch of other characters, including Juliana’s boyfriend Frank (Rupert Evans), who are part of this world and have some part in the grand scheme of things. I know what you’re thinking, this plot sounds interesting, but complicated and maybe a little dumb. But trust me, I am just trying to give you the basics of the plot without spoiling it for you. So trust me when I should say that the story is fantastic and is worth experiencing. It is filled with gripping drama, engrossing situations and several clever twists. Also, the ending of the season (no spoilers) just fucked with my mind so hard. Yeah… it’s great plot.

The characters in this show quickly develop and you start caring about them pretty fast. Alexa Davalos (an actress I knew jack shit about before this show) was fantastic as Juliana. She was determined, strong but also the right level of vulnerable. Rupert Evans (you know, the guy from “Hellboy”) is fantastic as Frank, a man who is pulled into all of this trouble in a very violent fashion (figuratively speaking… ish). Then we have Luke Kleintank as Joe Blake, a young man that Juliana meets on her “adventure” and quickly befriends. Then we also of course have Rufus Sewell (remember when he was a thing?) as Obergruppenführer John Smith, AKA the American Nazi-man. And holy fucking shit, he was amazing in this show. Not only is his overall performance great, but the writer’s made me actually feel sympathy for him… a Nazi. It’s crazy, but true. He’s a great character. There are a whole bunch of other great actors in this show, both in big and small roles. So I’m not gonna go through ’em all as you will most likely notice them too while watching. Seriously, this show is filled with great people.

The score for the show was composed by Henry Jackman and Dominic Lewis and it is (surprise, surprise) pretty stellar. Henry Jackman of course is the man responsible for the music of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and it’s sequel “Civil War”, two movies with great music. So of course when I saw Jackman’s name in the opening credits I was pleased. Speaking of the opening credits, the decision to have “Edelweiss” from “Sound of Music” as the opening theme… fucking brilliant. Anyway, back to the original score; it’s great. Dramatic, tense, awesome.

Fun fact: This show is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Philip K. Dick, the man who also wrote the book behind “Blade Runner”. Okay, fun fact over. This show is very well directed, perfectly capturing the feel of this bleak world that is set up. Sure, it isn’t really a show that has fast-paced direction, as it is more of a slow burn, but it’s still really good. Also, Ridley Scott is an executive producer on this show, which makes this his second Philip K. Dick adaptation… hmm. Oh well, it’s a very well done show, so those curiosities can be put aside for later.

This show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 77/100. And on imdb.com the show overall has a score of 8,1/10 (imdb doesn’t have season-based averages).

This show is unlike anything else I have ever seen, it’s so different and unique. With a fantastic plot, great characters/acting, fantastic music and great directing, it’s definitely something. Time for my final score. ACHTUNG! My final score for “The Man in the High Castle” is a 9,91/10. It is great and gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “The Man in the High Castle” season 1 is now completed.

Season 2 is confirmed, but it isn’t here… I need it NOW.

Movie Review: The Illusionist (2006)

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Mysteries, they are so…mysterious! I always love a good mystery, often in combination with supernatural elements. If you didn’t know, I am a big fan of TV-shows like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, “Angel” and “Supernatural”. All those contain mystery in one way or another and also have supernatural elements (Especially “Supernatural”). But what happens if you take a supernatural-based mystery but trade a lot of the horror/thriller elements for romance? You get this one movie that was kind of an odd choice for me.

Ladies and gentlemen…silence please…today TheMarckoguy presents; “The Illusionist”!

In the turn of the century (19th – 20th) we follow a young illusionist (roll credits) called Eisenheim (Edward Norton). At a young age (Flashbacks featuring a younger version played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson) he was shown some great magic tricks and got very interested by it. So he started practicing and got really, really good. He met a young girl named Sophie (Eleanor Tomlinson) whom he falls in love with and she falls for him. But their love is not accepted considering she comes from a higher social standing (Her guards/family calling him a “peasant”). The young Eisenheim runs away and travels the world to show off his magic tricks. Several years later he comes back to Vienna (forgot to mention it was set in Vienna…sorry) to have a show. In this show the crown prince Leopold (Rufus Sewell) is attending…and so is a now grown up Sophie (Now played by Jessica Biel). She and Eisenheim meets eachother again afterwards and begin a little bit of a secret romance. But that is not all of the plot, a lot of it also involves Eisenheim’s shows and inspector Uhl (Paul Giamatti) trying to figure out how his tricks work. And that is the story in a nutshell I suppose. To be honest I really liked it. I am not one to choose a romantic movie first-hand since they are for the most part not my cup of tea. But this storyline intrigued me (Maybe because of Edward Norton being in it, I don’t know). But it might be because of the magic-based twist this movie got. Or maybe it is because of the next segment…

The characters…sure, they are not always the most likeable, but they are portrayed so well by their respective actors that I don’t mind. I was especially impressed with Paul Giamatti and Rufus Sewell…DAMN THEY CAN ACT! I really liked their performances, and that is one of the highlights of this movie. And of course we have to give a few points to Edward Norton for being…Edward Norton, really. He is always good (He just acts in bad movies sometimes). But everyone on the acting side did a great job. Maybe Aaron Taylor-Johnson was a bit…not too good but remember, this is one of his earlier movies.

The music was FANTASTIC! The score by Philip Glass was just perfect. It not only works with the time period, but also works for the different situations in this movie. It is just beautiful and I think you should listen to it. NOW!

This movie looks beautiful! It is shot in such a way that I just love looking at it. Not only based on the lighting, but in general, the camera work is excellent! So I am not surprised that it was Oscar Nominated for best Cinematography.

This movie had really good reception. On Rotten Tomaotes it not only has a 74% positive rating, but also a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has 68/100. Roger Ebert gave this a 3,5/4 star rating (couldn’t find a good quote). 7,6/10 is the score on imdb.com.

I have said my opinions on this movie and I am now gonna amaze you with my magic trick of conjuring up a score! Yes, there it is. It is a 9,59/10 which tells me you should go buy it now. And it also tells me it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”. 49920178

“The Illusionist” is now reviewed.

If life is an illusion, then what the hell are hallucinations?