Movie Review: The Next Three Days (2010)

What would you be willing to do if a loved one was falsely imprisoned? How far would you go to get him/her out? Ponder this as you read this review.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Next Three Days”.

After his wife (Elizabeth Banks) gets arrested for a murder she didn’t commit, John Brennan (Russell Crowe) aims to do anything in his power to get her out. so now we have our little drama-thriller. And is this plot any good? Kind of. The idea itself is pretty interesting (if unoriginal), and there are some solid dramatic moments throughout that made me feel really invested in the story, but the plot does have some issues. For one, there are a whole load of implausibilities in this movie, situations where the outcome makes no fucking sense. And the pacing at times isn’t very good. Both of these problems drag the plot down quite a bit, but not enough to make me think that it’s total shit. Just that it could be better.

The characters here are good. There are none that I feel are bad, but not everyone gets the same amount of development. Russell Crowe plays John Brennan, the man at the center of this story. Over the movie you seem him go from the average, loving, family man to something else due to this whole crazy situation with his wife. It’s an interesting character journey. And Crowe gives a really good performance. Elizabeth Banks plays Lara, John’s wife and the woman who gets falsely imprisoned. I’m not gonna say too much about her development, as that’s best left experienced rather than explained. But I can say that Banks is great in the role. Then you have Ty Simpkins as Luke, the young son of John and Lara. Sure, he doesn’t get that much development here, but he still works pretty well among the characters. And for someone so young, I thought Simpkins did a really good job in the role. Then we have Lennie James as a cop who gets involved with all this. Again, not that much development there, but his characters still works very well within the plot here. And James is really good in the role. Then you get a bunch of really solid supporting performances from people like Olivia Wilde, Daniel Stern, Jason Beghe, Aisha Hinds, Liam Neeson, and more. It’s a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Danny Elfman, and it is quite good. It’s emotional, tense, and overall well composed. Sure, it’s not necessarily one of Elfman’s best, but it’s certainly really good. The movie also uses a whole bunch of licensed tracks throughout, with Moby being the most frequent artist used throughout. And all the tracks work pretty well for the movie to elevate their respective scenes slightly. Good music.

This movie was written and directed by Paul Haggis, and is apparently a remake of a French movie called “Pour Elle”. Now, I haven’t seen that French original, so I don’t know how accurately this represents it, but as a movie on it’s own I think Haggis did a good job. The movie is pretty well shot and everything has a pretty nice flow to it in general. He even manages to create some half-decent tension in some scenes throughout.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 51% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 52/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

While it’s not anything truly great, “The Next Three Days” is still an enjoyable drama-thriller. It has an okay plot, okay characters, great performances, really good music, and good directing. As for flaws, there are points in the plot where it’s a bit implausible, and the pacing is a bit draggy at times. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Next Three Days” is an 8,11/10. While flawed, it’s still definitely worth a rental.

My review of “The Next Three Days” is now completed.

This is the third movie in a row I’ve watched/reviewed where Jonathan Tucker has popped up. It’s like that guy is following me everywhere… and it’s a bit eerie.

Movie Review: The Nice Guys (2016)

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In a world filled with crime and scary stuff, cops have their hands full. And that’s basically why there are private investigators, so the cops don’t have to take care of all the bullshit out there… at least I think it is like that. If not, then I don’t know what the fuck their purpose is.

Ladies and gents, let me introduce you to… “The Nice Guys”.

Holland March (Ryan Gosling) and Jackson Healy (Russell Crowe), two somewhat different people. One is a somewhat dim-witted private investigator, the other is an enforcer. These two people have to team up to try to investiagte the disappearance of a girl and the death of a porn actress. The cases may seem unrelated, but our “heroes” soon find out that they might actually be related in some strange way. And from that premise we get a surprisingly layered and intriguing mystery set in Los Angeles in 1977. And as you may suspect from my choice of words, I loved the plot of this movie. It’s just such a fun and interesting and odd mystery that we get to see these guys go through in this movie, it’s really something we never see in film these days. But we got to now… and it was great!

The characters in this movie are all unique, interesting, and so damn entertaining. Ryan Gosling is terrific in this movie as this dim-witted and often drunk private investigator. Ruseel Crowe is also really great as the enforcer guy who seems to have a little bit more brain behind his skull. But what makes this even better is the chemistry between these guys. These guys play off each other very well and they really make some magic together. We also have young actress Angourie Rice as Holly, the fdaughter of Gosling’s character. And to tell you the truth, she was fucking amazing. Usually having someone as young as her in a movie can turn out really bad, but she was awesome. Her performance was really good and her character actually helped get shit done in the movie. She was really a standout in the cast. And the cast also has some more great actors in it, such as Keith David and Kim Basinger. There’s also a really badass character that doesn’t show up until late in the movie, but let it be known that he is awesome!

The score for the movie was composed by John Ottman and David Buckley. And it is perfect. Okay, it’s not something that I would jsut listen to at pure random, but it’s perfect in the sense that it perfectly fits the movie. The music really harkens back to the stuff you could hear in 70s crime movies/shows… and that’s perfect because this is a crime movie set in the 70s. It fit the movie perfectly and is overall very well composed. We also get a lot of great 70s tunes played in various scenes. We get everything from KISS, to America, to Earth, Wind  & Fire. Yeah, this movie got some great music.

This movie was written and directed by Shane Black, and like his directorial debut (which he also wrote), “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”, he has created a movie with great directing and pitch-perfect writing. The shots look great and Black’s directing really helps sell the 1970s setting. And the writing… oh my fucking god, it is some of the funniest stuff that I’ve experienced in some time! Really, this movie made me laugh pretty damn hard. Maybe that’s just because I have a dark sense of humor, because there is some dark stuff in the movie that really got me laughing pretty hard. But that is also kind of like “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang”, Shane Black’s dark buddy-comedy from 2005. What I’m trying to say is that this movie is fuckin’ hilarious. I can also say that this movie has some action scenes and they are all fun and exciting. Really, Black did a great job here.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 70/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“The Nice Guys” is the type of movie that doesn’t really get made these days. It feels so different to the majority of Hollywood stuff we get these days. It has a great plot, great characters, great acting (and chemistry between the actors), great music, great directing, and some really hilarious writing. Time for my final score. *Boogie woogie*. My final score for “The Nice Guys” is a 9,90/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
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My review of “The Nice Guys” is now completed.

A movie written by Shane Black that isn’t set during Christmas? Holy shit!

Movie Review: The Insider (1999)

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Whistleblowing is a topic that has been very relevant these past few years, especially after the whole Snowden ordeal in 2013. For those of you who don’t know, whistleblowing is when you expose secrets about a company or something of that nature that they would like to keep secret. In other words, blowing the whistle on them, hence the name “whistleblowing”. I can give you two examples of well known whistleblowers; Erin Brockovich who blew the whistle on a company that was the reason for people getting sick in a small town in California. And then we have our second example, Edward Snowden who leaked secrets of CIA/NSA spying on regular civlians through the internet as fecently as 2013. Okay, this intro became longer than expected… shit.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Insider”.

In this movie we follow real life whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe) who was convinced by producer/journalist Lowell Bergman (Al Pacino) to go on the show “60 Minutes” and give confidential details and expose a huge tobacco industry. And from that we get an excellent plot. The plot is filled with fantastic suspense and drama that keeps you on the edge through the entire 2 hours and 37 minute runtime. While some events have been fictionalized for dramatic effect, most of it is actually accurate. But the blend of the real and the fictional is so fantastic that it will keep you guessing which is which. And that is what I loved about the plot, the seamless combination of real and fake, suspense and drama.

The characters in this movie are all compelling, fleshed out and feel like real people. And the actors in the movie do great jobs as them. This is definitely one of the best performances I have ever seen from Russell Crowe, he is excellent in this movie. He shows a lot of emotions in the movie and he has a bunch of little nuances that enhance his performance a lot. And Al Pacino was also great in this movie as Lowell Bergman. This is what I would call one of his more “quiet” performances. Don’t get me wrong, he does some shouting in the movie, but not as much as in a lot of movies. He is definitely less over-the-top and shout-y than in Michael Mann’s previous film “Heat”. Remember Pacino in “Heat” and his “great ass” monologue? Yeah, it was weird.
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The score for the movie was done by Lisa Gerrard and Pieter Bourke with a few tracks respectively by Graeme Revell, Gustavo Santaolalla (yay!), Jan Garbarek and Massive Attack. And despite there being so many different composers/artists working on the soundtrack it all feels very cohesive and not messy at all. All tracks come together to create a very atmospheric and suspense building soundtrack that helps the movie keep you on the edge of your chair/couch/floor/great ass.

This movie was directed by Michael Mann and it shows because this movie is dark, gritty and it all got a great tone. And the cinematography by Dante Spinotti is just as gritty as the overall direction and is therefore fantastic. The shots all look great and it manages to make the movie feel much more tense than if you had used any other director/cinematographer. Also, if you watch this, be prepared with a lot of popcorn and drinks because it is a long movie. Sure, “Heat” is even longer, but “The Insider” is still really long… so make sure you are loaded up on snacks and such. But I guess some of you take that as a challenge with the reaction of:
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This movie has been very well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 84/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10. The movie was also nominated for 7 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best Actor (Crowe), Best director, Best adapted screenplay, Best cinematography, Best film editing and Best sound. 

“The Insider” is a suspenseful and dramatic corporate thriller with and excellent plot, terrific acting/character, great music, excellent direction/cinematography and some terrific writing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Insider” is a 9,87/10. It definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
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“The Insider” is reviewed.

Two days in a row that I have reviewed a movie with “Inside” in the title… strange.

 

Movie Review: Gladiator (2000)

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History is something that has always interested me. I don’t know why shit that happened a long time ago is so interesting to me… it just kinda is. And that means historical movies should interest me more than anything, right? Well that might be true in some cases. But then there are shit historical movies as well. The movie we are taking a look at now is sort of a historical movie. It isn’t really a historical movie in the sense of it following a real historical figure, but rather is set in a time period which is now considered history.

Boys and girls… “Gladiator”.

This movie follows Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius (Russell Crowe). He is a great general who have won many battles. Why is that important? Because it is part of his character and because it plays into the story. After one battle he is betrayed by Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), the emperor’s corrupt son. He got Maximus’ son and wife killed and got Maximus imprisoned. After a little while he gets bought by a guy and is turned into a gladiator in the great arena together with a bunch of other guys, including a black man named Juba (Djimon Hounsou). And through the movie we get to see how he goes from low ranking gladiator to what I like to refer to as “Mr. Big Cheese”. And seeing this story/journey unfold throughout the movie is pretty fucking awesome. Not only does it show the battles Maximus goes through to get higher rank, but it also shows the political intrigues brewing beneath it all… and that is to me very interesting. So yeah, the story in both idea and execution was excellent.

The characters all have different personalities and those personalities are easy to see and they are very well-written. I don’t really have too much more to say there otehr than the fact that I was very interested in the character of Maximus Decimus Meridius. I am not saying I can relate to the guy, but I am saying I really found him interesting and intriguing. Also, all characters in this movie are incredibly well-acted. The actors do a tremendous job filling the shoes (or sandals in this case) of these characters.

The music really did help sell the time period. Not only because it really had the ambience that would be needed to sell it, but also because it had some pretty epic tracks. And while I can’t list them on the top of my head I can at least say that I loved it.

Ridley Scott, you are a magnificent magnificent filmmaker! This movie looks amazing! The camera work is fantastic in both just regular scenes and action scenes. Sure, there is a little bit of shaky-cam during the action scenes but not enough that it bothered me. Ridley Scott made a very good looking movie. Also, the kid who plays a (sort of) key part in the story was not too bad either. You probably think I should have mentioned that in the “Characters/Actors” segment, but I didn’t because I felt it fit better here on “General Stuff”.

Time to see how the movie did among the movie sites and critics! On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 76% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it got the average 64/100. Roger Ebert didn’t seem to like this movie too much since he gave it 2/4 stars saying:

“It employs depression as a substitute for personality, and believes that if characters are bitter and morose enough, we won’t notice how dull they are.”

On imdb.com this movie has a score of 8,5/10 and is ranked #47 on the “Top 250” list. This movie also won 5 Oscars (Best picture, Best Leading Actor, Best Costume Design, Best sound, Best Visual Effects). It was also nominated for an additional 7 Oscars (Best supporting actor, best director, Best screenplay directly for screen, Best cinematography, Best film editing, Best original score, Best set decoration).

I have given my thoughts about a few things on “Gladiator”. This movie has an interesting story, great acting, fantastic music, great action scenes, interesting characters and one of the best endings in movie history. Time for the final score. My final score for “Gladiator” is a 9,62/10 which grants it the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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“Gladiator” is finally reviewed.

ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED!?

Movie Review: A Beautiful Mind (2001)

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Biographical movies are not easy to make. You have to not only have a good director, but you also need a good cast (and of course a lot of other people who know what the hell they’re doing). I am one who likes to watch a good biography every now and then. Last time I watched such a film was when I watched “Dead Man Walking”. Today we are taking a look at a biographical movie that tackles something else than a guy on death row or a gangster…this movie is about a teacher.

Ladies and gentlemen…”A Beautiful Mind”.

The movie follows the real life (with a few slightly more fictional aspects) story of mathematician John Nash (Russell Crowe). While he is a genius mathematician, he is also incredibly asocial. He is not one of those you see interacting and having fun with a bunch of friends a friday night. His only real friend is a man named Charles (Paul Bettany). But soon Nash will be pulled into some top secret cryptography work with the government. He at that point works for/with agent William Parcher (Ed Harris). This job is so top secret that he will have to keep it secret from his wife Alicia (Jennifer Connelly). Thing is…this job will turn his life around in some very strange ways. And that is all I am gonna say, becuase this movie and it’s story is magnificent. It is both dramatic, complex and somewhat tragic…which is something I adore. If I was a teacher and the story was my student, I’d give it an A+!

The characters are complex. For example, John like I said is an asocial genius…which makes him a lot more interesting. But honestly, even though he and most characters are interesting and fantastically acted, Paul Bettany steals the show. He is one who just oozes charisma and is highly entertaining to watch. He is a little bit like Sam Rockwell in “Seven Psychopaths”. But in general to the entire situation, every character is complex, interesting and…realistic. Also, the actors are doing an amazing job in this movie…especially Russell Crowe.

The music in this movie is amazing. Sure, a lot of it is the type of music you’d expect from a drama…but that is not a bad thing. The soundtrack by James Horner is beautiful (mind). And what I mean by my first statement about it being what you’d expect is that there are a lot of orchestral tracks, but also a few relaxing, calm tracks that use the piano a fair amount. There is also a little voice…thingy (can’t really call it singing, because singing requires lyrics) in a good amount of the tracks…and that is one of the things that makes it beautiful. I love it.

While the camera work offers nothing new or innovative, it still looks really good. Ron Howard knows how to make a great looking movie (Even though I already knew that thanks to “Apollo 13”, “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels & Demons”). And again…Paul Bettany stole the show…I’m sorry I repeat myself, but the truth needs to get out there. Also, this movie almost made me cry a little bit during the second half (not saying how, just saying that it happened).

The reception for “A Beautiful Mind” was good. Rotten Tomatoes has a 76% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. Metacritic has 72/100 as score. Roger Ebert gave this movie a perfect 4/4 stars. imdb.com has the score of 8,2/10 and has the movie ranked #161 on the Top 250 list.
This movie was also nominated for a total of 8 Oscars (Holy shit). And it won on 4 of them (Best Picture, Best supporting actress, Best director, best screenplay based on previously published material). The other 4 nominations were for Best Leading Actor, Best Film Editing, Best Makeup, Best original score.

The acting is fantastic, the story is complex and fantastic, music is fantastic and…FUCK IT! This entire movie is fantastic. My final score is a 9,71/10 and a recommendation to buy it…and also the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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Review of “A Beautiful Mind” is finished.

Why didn’t Russell Crowe win the Oscar for this movie!? HE SHOULD’VE WON IT!

Movie Review: 3:10 to Yuma (2007)

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Getting tired of seeing westerns appear on the blog? Don’t worry, it won’t stop for a good while. Anyway, old westerns are great. Ever seen “The Dollars Trilogy” (“For A Fistful of Dollars” “For A Few Dollars More” “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”)? No? Then you’ve missed out on something. But then there are the old western classics that somehow get remade. A prime example is the classic “The Lone Ranger” which got remade into the 2013 piece of shit. Then we have this thing. Based on a 1957 movie by the same name it has gotten its fair share of success. But what does this western loving reviewer think?

Cowboys and cowgirls…”3:10 to Yuma”.

The story is set in the old west. It follows rancher Dan Evans (Christian Bale). His farm got attacked by a bunch of guys who want money from him. A day or so later he gets robbed of his and his sons’ horses by a gang led by Ben Wade (Russell Crowe). Some time later he catches Wade in a saloon with the help of some lawmen. He also agrees to take Wade to a train that’ll take him to a prison in Yuma where he will be hung…as long as the lawmen pay Evans 200 dollars. So they set out on an adventure to get Wade to Yuma, for Dan to get his money to pay to keep his farm alive and escape the rest of Wade’s gang which at the time of Wade being captured is led by outlaw Charlie Prince (Ben Foster). Dan also gets closer to his son William (Logan Lerman). What makes this story a lot more interesting is hte fact that throughout the journey, Evans starts more and more to empathize with Wade and they become almost, just almost like friends. Don’t get me wrong, the story was interesting from the beginning, but that part just gives the movie a lot more depth and a little more of an edge than it would have had without it.

I gotta say, for a western…this movie has A LOT of character depth. Especially in the character of Ben Wade. He is cold, intelligent, calculating, charming and even a bit funny. And Russell Crowe delivers it with such pitch perfect acting that I see it as Oscar worthy. Another great character thing was Charlie Prince. He was a little like Wade…cold, calculating and charming. And it all worked out thanks to Ben Foster’s excellent performance. One last thing I have to mention when it comes to the character/acting department is my opinion on Logan Lerman as William…he was fucking excellent. He was okay in Percy Jackson, but this was also circa 2 years before that and he gave a great performance…I was honestly surprised by it. Great job, Logan!

The music is your typical western fair, only with a little more edge. And by that they manage to use the guitar even better for a western soundtrack than most movies. So yeah…I love it. Also it has to be good, it got nominated for a fucking Oscar…yeah, the soundtrack. So the music in “3:10 to Yuma” is some of the best I’ve heard in any movie.

One thing I have to mention, no doubts is that this movie looks fucking excellent. Long wide takes and beautifully filmed. That is all.

Time for the segament “Gunfights” that I mention in all-ish my western reviews. I talk about the gunfight(s) of the movie. And how are the ones in “3:10 to Yuma”? They are tough as nails and really good. Sure, they are not as satisfying and entertaining as in “Tombstone”, but they are still good. I mean, they at least beat the ones in “Maverick” by a long shot. They are all very well choreographed and work excellently in the movie’s favor.

The reception for this movie was just…good. Nothing else to say. Rotten Tomatoes gave it an 88% rating and certified it “Fresh”. Metacritic liked it and gave it 76/100. Roger Ebert gave this movie 4/4 stars and say this in the process:

“James Mangold‘s “3:10 to Yuma” restores the wounded heart of the Western and rescues it from the morass of pointless violence. The Western in its glory days was often a morality play, a story about humanist values penetrating the lawless anarchy of the frontier. It still follows that tradition in films like Eastwood’s “Unforgiven,” but the audience’s appetite for morality plays and Westerns seems to be fading. Here the quality of the acting, and the thought behind the film, make it seem like a vanguard of something new, even though it’s a remake of a good movie 50 years old.”

It got an imdb rating of 7,8/10.

Now that I have thrown out my opinions on the parts of story, characters/acting, music and other general bullshit that is to dicuss, I am rewarding “3:10 to Yuma” with a 9,70/10 and a reccomendation to add this to your collection as soon as possible! This movie is a must see for western fans and film buffs alike. IT is also very possible for a normal person to like it too. And as I said before in the review, major cred to Russell Crowe in this who is Oscar worthy.

Now the review in done, my friends!

Bang bang, bang bang bang…oh sorry, I was playing with this here revolver and…Bye.