Movie Review: Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)

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How many spy movies with any credibility do we get these days that aren’t “James Bond”? Pretty much zero, that’s how many. Really, that’s all I have to say on the matter.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Kingsman: The Secret Service”.

Harry “Galahad” Hart (Colin Firth) is a man working for an organization known as the Kingsmen. This organization pretty much consists of gentlemanly badasses. One day after a Kingsman dies, Harry gets the chance to recruit a young man called Eggsy (Taron Egerton) who happens to be the son of a former Kingsman. And they together wit ha few other members of this organization have to try to stop bad guy Richmond Valentine (Samuel L. Jackson) from doing his evil things. To say that this plot is anything but basic would be a big fat lie, but at the same time the movie knows that it is quite simple. Mainly it’s just supposed to be an homage/send-up to classic spy films and something pulls it off pretty damn well. This isn’t a movie that is supposed to be taken too seriously even though there are some slightly more dramatic bits, but those bits never feel unnecessary or forced… they work. Everything in this silly plot works.

The characters are all consistently entertaining, interesting and pretty cool. Sure, there are some dickheads in the movie, but they are not really part of the central cast. Anyway… how was the acting? Well it’s pretty great. Relative newcomer Taron Egerton plays our hero, Eggsy and he is actually pretty damn great in the role. He is likable, he is relateable, he is funny and he’s actually pretty awesome. Colin Firth as Galahad was of course great if you look at it from a performance-based perspective. But I was also skeptical about it, thinking “Colin Firth: Action star? I don’t think so”. Oh, how I was wrong, he’s great in the movie. Samuel L. Jackson was great in the movie as well. He has this lisp throughout the movie which at first was a little distracting, but it kind of grew on me as time went on. Then we have a bunch more great actors who I don’t have the time/patience to fully go through even though I thought they all were great, so I’m jsut gonna go ahead and mention them and be done with it. Mark Strong, Jack Davenport, Sofia Boutella, Michael Caine, Mark Hamill, Sophie Cookson.

The score for the movie was composed by Henry Jackman & Matthew Margeson and I have to say that it was pretty great. If you’ve seen a few “Bond” movies, you know how it sounds. Big, bombastic, orchestral and fun. This movie also has a lot of licensed tracks that it uses and they all absolutely work within the context of the movie… sort of. There is one song that was in a scene that felt a little weird at first, but then I thought that it was just great and it added to the fun of it all. There are some songs I personally didn’t like, but still felt that they worked for the scenes they were used in, so I’m not detracting any points for them.

This movie was directed by Matthew Vaughn who also made “X-Men: First Class” and “Kick-Ass”, two movies I personally really enjoyed. And once again, he did a good job directing this movie. It is fast, it is well-shot and it’s just really good. Yes, there is a bit of shaky-cam in the movie but I feel like it actually sort of worked in some strange way. I don’t know, somehow it jsut really worked for the action scenes in the movie which are all pretty great. I mean the action is pretty violent, brutal and if you do not like violence and a lot of blood in your movies, then maybe skip this one because blood and gore galore. I have to also touch on the fact that we get to see Colin Firth, Colin fucking Firth… kick a lot of ass in the movie. Apparently he even did about 80% of his own stunts for the movie. And without spoiling it here, there is one scene that just has several factors about it that just made it one of the best scenes I have ever seen. Because it is both well made and utterly fucking ridiculous which is just something I really needed. I just might talk about it though in an upcoming “My Favorite Scenes” (Nudge nudge, wink wink). I also have to quickly mention that there is a lot of funny humor in this movie… that’s it.

This movie has been fairly well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 74% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

“Kingsman: The Secret Service” is a ridiculous spy movie with a surprisingly good plot, great acting & characters, an awesome soundtrack, really good directing and great action. Time for my final score. *Bang bang*. My final score for “Kingsman: The Secret Service” is a 9,88/10. It definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Kingsman: The Secret Service” is now done.

Manners Maketh Man. 

“The Legend of Tarzan” trailer just dropped

Hey there, guys. Whenever I talk about trailers coming out it’s because it is something that I’ve been genuinely interested in and had previous knowledge about. But this time I wanna share/talk about this trailer because it just kind of came out of fucking nowhere. I didn’t even know that this movie was releasing a new trailer, let alone knowing it was in production.

So if you don’t know about the story of Tarzan, let me explain it to you, you unknowing person. It started out as a book titled “Tarzan of the Apes” written by author Edgar Rice Burroughs in the early 1900’s. It follows a man named Tarzan who was raised by apes despite being a human and not an ape. And at some point in his life, other humans come to his jungle, one of those humans being a young woman named Jane Porter whom Tarzan falls in love with. And adventure ensues. While I haven’t read Burroughs’ original books, I can at least say that I am a fan of the 1999 animated disney movie starring the voice of Tony Goldwyn as Tarzan. And while this movie seems to stray a bit away from most basic story elements. This will apparently follow Tarzan as he returns to the jungle after living in London.

Now this trailer sets a fairly dark but still relatively lighthearted tone. It’s not overly serious, but also not too silly. And since it is a disney production, it was kind of logical to take a cue or two from the Marvel productions. Okay, so what do I like about this thing so far? Well, I do like the choice of director for the movie. “The Legend of Tarzan” is directed by David Yates who directed the final four “Harry Potter” movies and also the upcoming “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” which really gives me hope for that movie.  As the titular character we will see Swedish (my nationality) actor Alexander Skarsgård who I have seen in some things and thought he was good. At least in the trailer and some photos he does look like he could do it… I hope. I would say that the cast overall looks promising. Margot Robbie, Christoph Waltz, Samuel L. Jackson, John Hurt, Djimon Hounsou… this is a great frickin’ cast. So there are a few promising elements to this movie, question is though how it will hold up when it comes out in July.
Enjoy the trailer!

So are you excited for this new upcoming Tarzan movie? Leave a comment.

Movie Review: 1408 (2007)

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I’m gonna tell you the truth, I am not a big fan of horror movies. Not because I’m too scared to watch them but rather because they do not entertain me. I don’t know why I don’t like horror movies that much, I just don’t. Oh, except for “Jaws”, that movie is amazing. With that said, let’s review a horror movie.

Ladies and gentlemen… “1408”.

In “1408” we follow writer Mike Enslin (John Cusack) as he decides to travel to New York and visit the Dolphin Hotel, owned by Mr. Olin (Samuel L. Jackson), to try to tackle the mystery of the supposedly haunted room number 1408 (Roll Credits). And from that we get a plot that is pretty good. Haunted rooms/buildings is not something new in horror movies and it’s been done to death, but in “1408” it is actually done pretty damn well. The plot is held up by psychological tension and (well done) plot twists rather than overt blood & gore or the wait for the next jumpscare. And thanks to that strong focus on psychological tension I really liked the plot of the movie.

The character of Mike Enslin is a troubled man because of something that happened to him in the past. He is also a tenacious guy who really wants to understand what the deal with this room is. And John Cusack portrayes him well. He gives a strong performance that really helps hold the movie up. He goes through mindfuck after mindfuck in this movie and Cusack is so good at showing it/reacting to it.

The score by composer Gabriel Yared is tense, atmospheric, thoughtful and excellent. It helps bring the tension and thrills to a higher level than if it wouldn’t have been there. I know I am sounding stupid here, but that is what it is like to me. And I like it!

This movie is directed by Mikael Håfström who actually comes from my home country, Sweden. And I do think he does a great job with the direction of this movie. To be honest I have not seen any of his other films, not even his Oscar nominated movie “Evil” or “Ondskan” for us Swedish people. Anyway, seeing as I had not seen any of his movies before I didn’t know what to expect when it came to direction, but now I know that he is a competent director. The only slight problem in the movie is that some of the visual effects aren’t that good. But the bad ones are pretty few and don’t bring down the movie that much for me even though they annoyed me a little. Also, this is based on a Stephen King short story from his short story collection book “Everything’s Eventual” together with about 13 other stories. Now I have not read the original short story or anything else from that book, but I guess their good… I hope.

This movie was fairly well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 79% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 64/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

“1408” is a surprisingly good horror movie, or it’s more of a psychological thriller that makes you doubt what’s real or not in the movie. It has a tense and excellent plot, a strong lead performance from John Cusack, a great original score and some terrific direction even though it also has a few not very good visual effects. Time for my final score. *Mhmm* My final score for “1408” is a 9,67/10. It does in fact get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
Seal of Approval

Review of “1408” is done.

Name of the sequel: “2816”.

 

Movie Review: Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)

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As the Marvel cinematic universe moves on, they have to figure out what the hell they should do next. Of course they can always look back on the comics/graphic novels for inspiration, but they need to know which ones to go by. And with that said, IN YOUR FACE, AMERICA! Sorry, I wanted to be a jerk about the fact that we got the movie before you.

Ladies and gents… “Avengers: Age of Ultron”.

So in this movie we see how Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) tries to start up a new peacekeeping program to help keep the world safe. But that seems to go to shit as the program takes a robotic body and turns on it’s creator. So now it is up to Iron Man, Captain America (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) to go out and stop the villainous robot Ultron (James Spader). And with that we get a deep story filled with action, drama, emotion and a lot of narrative strengths. This is a movie with a constantly moving story that never feels dull or boring at any point. I loved it!

At this point we are all familiar with the main players of the movie and we know they are amazingly awesome, so in this part of the “characters/acting” segment we will focus more on the newcomers. First up, James Spader as Ultron… holy shit! If the phrase “perfect casting” could ever be put on something it could be put right here. Spader is fantastic as this 8ft tall robot. Not only does he deliver his lines perfectly, but his voice is just fantastic for Ultron. It is deep, smooth and villainous. I also felt like there was a bit of a Raymond Reddington vibe going on (Sidenote: For those of you who don’t know, Reddington is Spader’s character in the TV-show “The Blacklist”). And it was just great. Next up is Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver. I had my doubts, not because of Johnson, I now he is a really good actor, I just doubted if this Quicksilver could be awesome. And he was awesome, frankly great. He had funny lines and a cool personality which I felt like Johnson captured perfectly. Finally we have Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch (Sidenote: Johnson and Olsen played husband and wife in 2014’s “Godzilla” and here they play siblings… weird). And she was great, playing her with a lot of confidence and power. She was great. Overall I think all actors were great and the writing for them was also great.

The score for the movie was done by Brian Tyler and by this point we know he is great. He has done the music for most modern Marvel movies (4 M’s in a row, damn). The score is just as large, epic and amazing as it has been for the past however many years Brian Tyler has been along for the ride. And for those of you who wonder, the song “I’ve got no strings” is actually in this movie.

This movie was really well-directed. The shots looked great and nothing lingered for too long. And the action scenes in this movie were amazing, some of the best any superhero movie has ever seen. They were fast, flowing, energetic and badass. And the visual effects were spectacular! Everything looked great, especially Ultron, he looked so real! And the writing in the movie was also really great. Not only were there a lot of funny lines like you would expect but there were some genuinely deep and dramatic lines in there that really worked for the movie. And there was also one moment in the movie that I have to admit (Don’t worry, no spoilers on my blog) that made me almost tear up, well done Marvel.

As this movie hasn’t been out that long in the world (not at all in the U.S.) there aren’t that many things to go by. But so far I can mention that Rotten Tomatoes it has an 80% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,6/10. Reminder: All scores that I present here are always what I find at the time of the review, scores on sites may alter afterwards.

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” is another badass addition to the MCU with a great plot, great characters/acting, a great score, amazing action and visual effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem* My final score for “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is a 9,87/10. This is a great movie that of course gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

Review of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” is now completed.

If you wonder about my thoughts on the first “Avengers”, I liked it. But I think this is the superior movie.

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”.

Movie Review: Robocop (2014)

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Remakes are happening all the time. Some good like “3:10 To Yuma” and Christopher Nolan’s “Dark Knight” trilogy. Then there are shit ones like the 2013 version of “The Lone Ranger”. Then we have remakes that get reviews so mixed, that they wake the interest of people even more. That recently happened for this reviewer fairly recently with a remake of one of the most undreground hits of all time…”Robocop”. So what did this reviewer think of the remake that has gotten a PG-13 rating instead of the M rating the original had.

Ladies and Gentlerobots…”Robocop”!…The remake.

In 2028, company Omnicorp has the leading grasp on robotic technology. Mostly for military needs overseas. But they want to expand it to have for police based needs in the US. But the people are not too happy about it. The guy who want to put it in the hands of cops, Raymond Sellars (Michael Keaton) really wants to push the idea forward. He looks for valid candidates to put this technolgy on. Mainly people who have lost limbs and been in the army and shit. But they find no good one. Enter police officer Alex James Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) who after coming home from a regular day of work and checking why his car alarm is going off an hour or so later…gets blown up. So naturally he gets picked out, his wife (Abbie Cornish) signs the papers that basically say “Yes I allow scientists to do weird robot shit with my husband” and he gets rebuïlt by Dr. Dennett Norton (Gary Oldman). So after he wakes up and stuff, he goes on a smaller rampage just because he is scared and don’t know what the hell is going on or where the hell he is. But after getting shut down and getting everything explained to him by the good Dr. Norton, he will be tasked to become the first ever…Robocop (Roll the credits…oh wait). So yeah, they did some changes to the origin story a little bit and drags the whole transformation into Robocop out until circa the 30 minute mark. Then he becomes Robocop. But changes aren’t always so bad (Except if Michael Bay makes them), they might actually help. And I feel that the dragging out until the transformation thing was kinda smart, considering it gives it a little more buildup. But they try to make the entire story thing a shit-ton more complicated which kinda takes away from the charm a little bit. And since they make it more complicated…it kinda loses its edge a little bit. Also…it’s PG-13…so no ultra violence to make it more entertaining…damn. Also, they reversed the character of Robocop a little bit. In the original, he had to learn to become more human. In this one he need to learn to be more robotic. So yeah…changes!

The characters, I’m gonna be honest are kinda jsut there to be characters and fill out space. They are not here for anything else. The only one I even remotely cared for was Alex (Robocop) since he was the main protagonist with any development. Oh wait…Dr. Norton had some too…but not as much. So the characters are not the strong suit of this movie.

The music is something I liked in this. It is exactly what you’d expect from this type of movie…techno-esque things and a few rock tracks. And I really enjpyed that. Also, minor spoiler (but still not) for the end credits. They played the song “I fought The Law” by The Clash on the end credits…and that gets some major points from me.

The special effects in this…they are honestly really good. Those are one of the few things driving this movie forward. Also the action scenes, while brief, are surprisingly well done and actually enjoyable…even if they are few and far between. And this movie looks really, really good. Good job director-guy.

Reception for “Robocop” has been very mixed. For example: Rotten Tomatoes gave this movie a 49% rating. Metacritic gave it a 52/100 rating. The things in this movie that has gotten most praise were the performances and the looks of it. But getting criticism for the lack of violence and social satire in it. And to top this off, imdb.com has given this movie a score of 6,5/10.

So I have given my opinions on the movie and is ready to throw it a score. The score for “Robocop”…the remake, is a 6,89/10 and a recommendation rent it. This movie is not bad…it’s quite good. But it is not as fun as the original.

Review is now completed.

Your move, creep!