Movie Review: The Hero (2017)

Life. It’s short, but it’s also the lengthiest event we’ll experience. It’s such a fascinating subject. Why are we here,? Why are we who we are? What could I have done better? So many questions about something we mostly take for granted.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Hero”.

Lee Hayden (Sam Elliott) is an old actor who was famous for playing a gunslinger back in the day. And one day he gets the news that he has cancer and will eventually die from it. So we follow his journey as he tries to come to terms with his past mistakes/successes and his mortality. And right up front, this plot is filled with clichés. He has an estranged daughter (Krysten Ritter), he was known for one thing which has followed him his entire life, he meets a woman (Laura Prepon) that he strikes up a relationship with… and overall the plot isn’t very original. And there are moments where it can come off as a little bit pretentious with long, contemplative shows of oceans and nature and shit like that. But it’s still an honest and heartfelt plot that I could easily follow, and I found myself interested in what was going on. Yes, it is clichéd, and it’s not perfect, but it’s still pretty solid.

The characters in this can, like the plot, come off as a bit cliché. But I still found myself interested in them and their parts in the story. Sam Elliott plays Lee Hayden, a very Sam Elliott-y man. He’s never had a true big break, and is known mainly as a bit of a cowboy… kind of like Sam Elliott. He’s a charming old man that we get to know pretty well throughout the movie. And I have to say that Elliott was fantastic in the role. It’s a fairly subdued performance, and it really impressed me. Laura Prepon plays Charlotte, the woman that Lee finds himself striking up a bit of a romance with. While she isn’t the deepest of characters, I still found myself caring about her somewhat due to her interesting relationship with Lee. And Prepon is really good in the role. Nick Offerman plays Lee’s weed dealer/best friend. He’s a fun presence popping up a couple times throughout the movie, and Offerman is good in the role. Krysten Ritter plays Lee’s estranged daughter Lucy, and she isn’t the happiest with her old man. She is fairly bitter when we meet her, but not to an unrealistic degree. She is willing to give him a chance, even if it’s not the most tempting thing. And Ritter is really good in the role. Really, every actor in this movie does a good job.

The score for the movie was composed by Keegan DeWitt and it was good. It’s very much so in the “contemplative drama” style of music, where you have a lot of droning or distant-sounding high notes to create a thought-provoking mood for the movie, with the occasional piano thrown in there. And it works well for this movie. There were also a couple of licensed tracks used in the movie and they worked fine for their scenes. Good music.

This movie was directed by Brett Haley and I think he did a good job with it. The movie almost has a dreamlike quality at times, even in moments that aren’t dream sequences, which gives the movie a fairly unique feel. And the cinematography by Rob Givens was really good, this movie looks really good. For anyone wondering, this movie is partially listed as a comedy, but there isn’t too much humor here, it is mainly a drama. But the little humor there is in this I thought was pretty funny. Just thought I’d adress it just so you didn’t go watching this thinking it was a straight-up comedy.

This movie has gotten some okay reception On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 77% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 61/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

While flawed, “The Hero” is still a solid little drama. It has a pretty good plot, mostly meh characters, great performances, really good music, and really good directing/cinematography. My problems with the movie are the plot being very clichéd and also most of the characters not being that great. Time for my final score. *Howdy*. My final score for “The Hero” is a 7,77/10. While flawed, I’d say that this movie is most definitely worth a rental.

My review of “The Hero” is now completed.

I just want Sam Elliott to narrate my life…

Movie Review: Up in the Air (2009)

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Flying, something that we humans can’t naturally do, but for some reason really want to be able to do. So that’s why we place ourselves and other people in giant hunks of metal that can miraculously get into the air.

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s fly… “Up in the Air”.

Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) is man who works as a corporate downsizing expert, which really is just a fancy way of saying that he fires people for the bosses at their places of employment so that they themselves don’t have to get their hands dirty. And with this comes a good amount of perks, including getting to fly for free(ish) all over the country. He really loves the lifestyle of not really having a home and having to give too much of a damn. However, all of this takes a bit of a turn when he meets Alex (Vera Farmiga), a woman whom he starts a bit of a “casual” relationship with, but it might possibly be going a little further than “casual”. Ryan’s world also gets a little shaken up when he has to take a young, new co-worker (Anna Kendrick) under his wing (plane pun, ladies and gents). Let me tell you this: The marketing for the movie makes it look like your typical romantic comedy, but it really isn’t. I would really describe the movie as a character study of a man who loves to be free, not having to be settled down. And if you go into the movie knowing that, then I think you might enjoy it. And I think that is something that makes the plot of the movie so much better. I was invested in the plot, I really wanted to see what was gonan happen next in Ryan’s life. It was funny, dramatic, heartfelt, and actually a little bittersweet. Yes, there’s romance in the movie… but that’s not techincally the main focus of it all.

The characters in this movie are all pretty great. They are all pretty damn flawed and that really helps make them compelling. George Clooney honestly knocks it out of the park as Ryan Bingham, perfectly playing this man who really doesn’t want anything to do with love or marriage or anything like that. Keep in mind, he isn’t an asshole… he just does his job… while also being a little bit of a jerk. Vera Farmiga is great in her role, playing this woman who comes into Bingham’s life and adds a little something to it. Anna Kendrick as the young woman who works with Bingham to learn the job, she’s really good. I haven’t really seen her in anything that made me go “Fuck yes, Anna Kendrick!”. She’s never been bad, but she’s also never really impressed me in any way. But I gotta say that she did a really good job here. As for the rest of the supporting cast… Yeah, it was great. There are a lot of pretty big names within the supporting cast, but none of them get a particularly big role. Biggest of them might be Jason Bateman who plays Bingham’s boss/co-worker, but even then he has a relatively small role. Most actors in this movie only get like one pretty small scene each… but god damn, are those scenes well acted!

The score for the movie was composed by Rolfe Kent and while it wasn’t used too much in the movie, it was really good. It helped elevate the few scenes it was used in. What happened though was that a lot of scenes had licensed tracks by various artists. But that’s okay because the music choices in the movie were pretty great and perfectly worked within the scenes they were used in.

This movie was directed by Jason Reitman, who also made “Juno” and “Thank You For Smoking”, the latter of which being one of my favorie comedies ever. With that said, this movie isn’t a straight-up comedy. This is a drama with comedic bits every now and then. The jokes that are in the movie are really funny, especially a few early on that are pretty dark. But as you probably know by now, I love dark humor. But as for the directing itself, which I should have mentioned first before the genre stuff… yeah, it’s really good. It’s a very well directed movie even if it doesn’t do anything too special in that area. The writing on the other hand… fucking great stuff, I tell ya.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes a 91% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 83/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10. The movie was also nominated for 6 Oscars in the categories of Best Picture, Best Actor (Clooney), Best Supporting Actress (Farmiga), Best Supporting Actress (Kendrick), Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

“Up in the Air” is quite a surprisingly great movie. It has an interesting story, great characters, great acting, great music, really good directing, and great writing. Time for my final score. *Cough*. My final score for “Up in the Air” is a 9,87/10. This of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Up in the Air” is now completed.

And we’re flying through the night away
Far far away
And we’ll fing a place we’d like to stay
Far far away

 

Movie Review: Thank You For Smoking (2006)

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I have a very mixed feelings about corporations and the people who work for them. Doing all kinds of dirty and terrible businesses while having some skilled and equally slimy face to the outside world who will distract people from the bad shit. And while I don’t condone that type of work, I have to admit that it’s pretty fucking clever.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Thank You For Smoking”.

The movie follows Nick Naylor (Aaron Eckhart) who is the spokesperson for Big Tobacco. Nick is in a little bit of a dilemma as he is trying to speak for cigarettes and make people actually keep buying them while at the same time trying to be a bit of a role model for his young son, Joey (Cameron Bright). That’s right, this movie is centered on a man saying smoking is cool and good for you, the usual villain thing… and it aboslutely works perfectly. No, I don’t mean that I wanna go out right now and buy a pack o’ smokes, I am saying that it is a damn clever way of delivering the story. I mean, the moral at the end of the movie (no spoilers) is actually the smartest way of handling this type of thing. And since this is meant to be a satirical comedy, is it funny? Yes it is funny, I would even say that it is pretty fucking hilarious, it made me laugh a lot. And since the the movie managed to deliver a smart & interesting story while also making me laugh, I really have to give it some major cred.

The characters in this movie are colorful, well rounded and incredibly entertaining. And you know what makes them even better? The actors. Aaron Eckhart is aboslutely fantastic in the role as Nick Naylor. He is perfectly on that line of slimy public figure while still remaining as likable as one can be. And you actually root for him in his struggle to balance his job and the relationship to his son. And like I said, Eckhart is terrific in the role. William H. Macy plays the senator who Naylor is constantly butting heads with and he is also great in his role. Cmaeron Bright is really good in the role as Naylor’s son. And then we have J.K. Simmons as Naylor’s boss and of course he knocked it out of the park because he’s J.K. Simmons. There are so many moe names I could mention, but I don’t feel like going through the entire list. But I do really think every actor did a great job in the movie.

What I like about the soundtrack is that it’s kind of a mixed back of styles. No, not in the “Cowboy Bebop” sense where you will basically hear any and all genres possible, but rahter to get a decent mix of stuff. The original score for the movie was composed by Rolfe Kent and it is great, kind of Henry Mancini-esque in it’s style. Then we have a lot of licensed tracks relating back to smoking in some way and they all perfectly fit into the movie when they are used.

This movie was directed by Jason Reitman (Sidenote: Son of Ivan Reitman who directed “Ghostbusters”). And you can really notice that it is one of Reitman’s movies since it has his style that would be noticeable in his movies. Okay, to be honest I have only seen “Juno” prior to this, so I don’t have too much to go on, but according to people who have seen more of his movies they have said that he has a very unique style. Very snappy, very stylish but still very conventional. And I guess that is kind of what I really like about his directing style. I can also say that the movie features some fantastic writing (also done by Reitman) that both made me laugh out loud and think “Yes, this shit is true”. What I am trying to say is that it’s both funny and thought provoking. Fun fact: this movie is based on the book of the same name by Christopher Buckley… just wanted to throw that out there.

This movie has been well received. Om Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and 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 7,6/10.

“Thank You For Smoking” is a very clever satire of not only cigarette companies, but of the American conglomerate in general. It has a smart & well-crafted story, great characters & acting, great music, really good directing, great writing and it is really hilarious. Time for my final score. *Huff puff*. My final score for “Thank You For Smoking” is a 9,90/10. It most definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Thank You For Smoking” is now completed.

You wanna get better at rhetorics? Listen to Nick Naylor.