Movie Review: The Rental (2020)

Have you ever just wanted to get away for a weekend? Just sort of get out of the house and have some fun, recharging a bit. Yeah, maybe don’t. Or do, I’m not your mother.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Rental”.

The story here follows two couple (Dan Stevens/Alison Brie and Jeremy Allen White/Sheila Vand) as they rent a nice, big, fancy cottage for the weekend, as a way to unwind and celebrate a bit. But not long after they arrive they discover some sinister stuff going on around, which not only may threaten their lives… but also forces some dark secrets to come out. I like this setup, it takes elements of both a slasher and a domestic drama, which could make for a really interesting narrative… shame it doesn’t live up to that though. Because for most of it I wasn’t interested in what was going on. The story beats themselves are actually pretty interesting, but the way they were handled was just so dull. What’s even more egregious is that when the plot felt like it was picking up for its second act, it ended like four minutes later. So the ending feels very abrupt. And when you combine that with the overall execution of everything else being subpar, you get an overall poor narrative.

The characters in this, like the plot before them, have interesting setups… but in the end I don’t care. They don’t have much going for them in terms of personality, and I’d probably mix them all up if I wasn’t already familiar with some of the actors. I mean, you have Dan Stevens (who I love), you have Alison Brie (who’s good in things), you have Jeremy Allen White (who I’ve heard good things about), they all do fine, even though they got very little to work with. Sheila Vand does fine with her role. And Toby Huss who shows up briefly is alright too. It’s a good cast that does the best they can with very subpar material.

The score for the movie was composed by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans, and I think they did an okay job. It is dark and droning and very reminiscent of their other scores in those ways. So yeah, their score here is fine. Not their most original or well composed, but solid enough.

“The Rental” was co-written and directed by actor Dave Franco, and I think he did an average job. His directing here is fine, passable, serves its purpose in an average manner. This is a bit of an issue when it so clearly wants to be a creepy, suspenseful thriller, and at no point did I ever really feel uncomfortable or tensed up. I do commend his directing in that it has some snappiness to it, no shots feel like they drag or like they rush, I think that stuff is handled decently enough. But good shot composition and half-decent editing doesn’t really make me spooked, despite the movie clearly wanting me to be.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 75% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 62/100. And on it has a score of 5.7/10.

Despite a solid setup and a good cast, “The Rental” is sadly a bit of a miss. It has a poor plot, uninteresting characters, good performances, okay music, and mediocre directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Rental” is a 4.60/10. So I’d recommend skipping it.

My review of “The Rental” is now completed.

That title is kind of ironic, because this movie isn’t really worth renting.

Series Review: The Outsider (2020)

Alright, first review of an actual 2020 release. We’re finally getting into the new year properly.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Outsider”.

When a young boy is found having been raped and murdered, the evidence points to local baseball coach Terry Maitland (Jason Bateman) having done it. But as Detective Ralph Anderson (Ben Mendelsohn) looks further into it, there seems to be more to the case than meets the eye, leading Ralph down a dark and complicated path. So now we have our dark mystery series. And I would say the story here is a really intriguing one. The way this case evolves the further we get into the show is fascinating, making for some really interesting and often suspenseful television. It’s often also quite disturbing, but in a way that serves the story and doesn’t feel like cheap exploitative crap. Now, there are parts of the show where not much happens, and that drags it down ever so slightly. I don’t mind a slow burn (hell, most of this show is a slow burn), but there’s a difference between slowly burning drama and no real development. That said, it doesn’t full on ruin the show for me… it’s still a great and chilling story.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, and overall quite interesting. First up we have Ben Mendelsohn as Ralph Anderson, an aging police Detective who’s the lead on this case. He’s a determined man, ready for action at any point, while also dealing with some personal demons. And Mendelsohn is great in the role. Next we have Cynthia Erivo as Holly Gibney, a private investigator who gets brought in to help out with the case at a point in the story. She’s a bit eccentric, but also absolutely brilliant at what she does, making her a very valuable part of the cast. And Erivo is great in the role. Jason Bateman is good as disgraced baseball coach Terry Maitland. Bill Camp is great as defense attorney Howard Salomon. Yul Vazquez is great as fellow detective Yunis Sablo. Julianna Nicholson is good as Terry’s wife Glory. We also get supporting work from people like Paddy Considine, Jeremy Bobb, Mare Winningham, Derek Cecil, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the show was composed by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans (two names we haven’t seen on this blog in quite a while). And I think they did a great job in creating an eerie and chilling score that perfectly encapsulates the dark and creepy vibe that the rest of the creative team were going for. There’s also a few licensed songs used throughout the show, and they work well enough in their respective scenes.

Based on the Stephen King novel of the same name, “The Outsider” was developed for HBO by Richard Price, with writing by him and a bunch of other cool people (including my favorite author, Dennis Lehane), and directing by a few other cool people (including Jason Bateman and Karyn Kusama). And this is where the show is at its best. The craft is fucking immaculate. The slow burn of the story is very much part of the directing too, and I like that, as it gives the show this cold and almost otherworldly vibe that constantly kept me on my edge to some degree. And the cinematography, split over the ten episodes between Kevin McKnight, Zak Mulligan, Rasmus Heise, and Igor Martinovic… it’s stunning. Each shot is meticulously planned, making for quite an engaging visual experience.

This show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 80% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 69/100. And on it has a score of 8.6/10 and is ranked #192 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

While it does drag a little in parts, “The Outsider” is still a damn good show that I highly recommend. It has a great plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Outsider ” is a 9/10. So it’s definitely worth watching.

My review of “The Outsider” is now completed.

I need to read more Stephen King.

Series Review: Ozark – Season 1 (2017)

Netflix seems to be taking over the entertainment world. Sure, Amazon and Hulu aren’t doing too poorly either, and HBO gets all the viewers thanks to “Game of Thrones”, but it really feels like Netflix is the ruler of the watchable media.

Ladies and gents, welcome to… “Ozark”.

Marty Byrde (Jason Bateman) seems like your average man. He has a wife (Laura Linney), two kids (Sofia Hublitz & Skylar Gaertner), and a steady job as a financial advisor. However, he has secretly been laundering money for a Mexican drug cartel. And when his dealings with them goes to hell, Marty decides to quickly move him and his family out to the Missouri Ozarks to try to try to sort this shit out. So now we have our crime-drama plot. And is it any good? Yeah, I’d say so. It’s very serious and surprisingly deep. Not deep in a mindfuck kind of way, but it just has layers to it. My only problem with it is that the pacing at times can get a little too slow. I have no problem with a slow burn, and for the most part this show’s slow burn is just fine, but there are times where it drags it’s feet a little bit too much. Mainly in a couple of episodes near the middle of the season. But like I said, for the most part it’s fine. And the overall plot is solid enough that the occasional pacing problem doesn’t hurt it too much.

The characters here are all troubled, layered, and just overall interesting. Jason Bateman is great as Marty Byrde, this highly intelligent and cunning man who just wants to protect his family (and his life). He can at times seem like a dick, but then I remember “Oh yeah, Mexican gangsters might kill him and his family”, so it can be accepted. And like I said, Bateman is great in the role. Laura Linney plays Marty’s wife, Wendy, a woman who has secrets of her own as she’s trying to accept this situations with Marty and moving and all that. And Linney is great in the role. Sofia Hublitz and Skylar Gaertner as Marty’s kids are really good in the roles, going through some interesting situations/arcs of their own throughout the season. Julia Garner plays Ruth Langmore, a local girl who is clever and constantly conniving, and she was probably my favorite character in the show. And Garner was great in the role. We also get Jason Butler Harner as Roy Petty, an FBI agent investigating Marty’s activities. He’s quite the interesting dude, and Harner is great in the role. I also want to mention Esai Morales who shows up at a few points in the season as Del, the main gangster that wants Marty’s money. The dude is a great mix of charming and intimidating, with Morales giving a great performance. Every actor in this show does a good job.

The score for the show was composed by Danny Bensi & Saunder Jurriaans amd it was great. Dark, chilling, eerie, and overall well composed, it often helps elevate the suspense in a lot of scenes. There’s also a good amount of licensed tracks used throughout the show that help set certain moods too, which I liked.

This show was created by Bill Dubuque and Mark Williams (not the Mr. Weasley one, totally different Mark Williams). And it was directed by a whole bunch of other people, including Jason Bateman who did a few. And the show is tightly directed, with as muc hsuspense as possible being squeezed out of a lot of scenes. It’s also a good looking show, with an often cool blue hue that gives the show a cold and eerie feel. There’s also a little bit of dark humor to it which I thought added a little bit to it.

This show came out fairly recently, but it has still been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 65% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 68/100. And on it has a score of 8,8/10 and is ranked #166 on the “Top 250 TV” list (as of writing this, as I refuse to update this in case of change).

“Ozark” is another solid show from Netflix. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. The only problem is the previously mentioned pacing issues. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Ozark” season 1 is a 9,21/10. So while it has a few flaws, I’d say that you should still watch it!

Season 1 of “Ozark” is now completed.

If you’re still in denial about Jason Bateman’s dramatic talents, go watch “The Gift”. He’s great in that.

Movie Review: The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)

I find autopsies quite fascinating. Now, I have never witnessed an actual autopsy, so I can’t speak for what that experience would be like. But the idea of them: A dead body being cut up and examined to determine a cause of death so that some closure can be given to that case… that shit is really fascinating to me.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Autopsy of Jane Doe”.

Tommy (Brian Cox) and his son, Austin (Emile Hirsch), work together in a morgue. And one night they receive the body of a mysterious Jane Doe (Olwen Catherine Kelly). So we follow Tommy and Austin and they do an autopsy on this woman, trying to figure out who she is and what might have killed her. And as they continue to examine the body, strange and disturbing things start getting revealed. And I thought the plot here was really good. I’m a sucker for a good mystery, and this movie has it. I don’t want to give too much away, because the revelations and such in this movie are best experienced on your own. But let’s just say that this plot is suspenseful, dramatic, disturbing, creepy, unpredictable, and just overall great. Had me on edge for most of the runtime.

The characters, though few, are likable and pretty interesting. Brian Cox plays Tommy, the main coroner in the morgue where the Jane Doe is being examined. He’s generally just a likable elderly man who is determined to get to the bottom of this, and Cox is great in the role. Emile Hirsch plays Cox’s son and fellow coroner, however he has a few different goals in life, but he also wants to help his dad. And Hirsch is great in the role. And kudos to Olwen Catherine Kelly who plays the titular Jane Doe. While she is just lying down the entire time, not saying a damn thing. But I still give her major cred for being willing to lie down, naked, while Cox and Hirsch examine her, with crew around all of them… kudos. There are a few more actors in the movie, but they’re not in it enough to be worth talking about (though they did do well). But yeah, this is a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Danny Bensi & Saunder Jurriaans and it was great. It was dark and eerie, and it really helped with building a lot of tension for a lot of scenes in this movie.

This movie was directed by Norwegian director André Øvredal and I think he did a terrific job. Not only do the shots look great, but Øvredal’s direction is very tight and tense, creating a lot of suspense and tension that is very rare in modern horror movies. And it’s also really scary, with unexplained things happening in here, combined with the previously mentioned suspenseful directing. Sure, there were some jumpscares throughout the movie. And while not a total dealbreaker for me, they did at times bug me a little bit. But the jumpscares aren’t that plenty, and this movie managed to legitimately scare me. There’s also a little bit of dark humor in here that I found funny (I know, I’m horrible), but it also worked overall for the story.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 87% positive rating and a “Fresh” ceritifcation On Metacritic it has a score of 65/100. And on it has a score of 6,8/10.

“The Autopsy of Jane Doe” is a surprisingly great horror movie. It has a great plot, good characters, great performances, great music, great directing, and it is actually scary. Time for my final score. *Cuts open envelope*. My final score for “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” is a 9,65/10. This means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Autopsy of Jane Doe” is now completed.

A word of advice: If you’re gonna watch this movie, go into it with an empty stomach… ’cause there’s some gruesome stuff shown here.

Movie Review: The Gift (2015)


Good thing I decided to see this movie AFTER christmas and not slightly before or right around it. Because then I would probably be paranoid about the presents I got.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Gift”.

Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) are a happily married couple who just moved to California to sort of start their life anew. Then one day they meet Gordo (Joel Edgerton) who is a man Simon went to school with once upon a time. So when they get aquainted with eachother Gordo starts leaving them gifts and he’s being really creepy and we now have a thriller. But it’s not just your typical stalker-thriller because it also throughout the movie presents an interesting backstory and we get some secrets revealed which makes everything so much more unique and interesting. And through the netire movie I was invested in the story and I was constantly on the edge of my seat, especially during the finale which absolutely blew my mind and knocked me flat on the ground. That is when everything just comes together and just gives you one of the most dramatic gut-punches ever. I absolutely enjoyed every second of the plot and it was all very interesting to watch it unfold.

The characters in this movie were all in some way damaged and it clearly showed in their expressions and it’s one of the things that makes them so interesting to watch. Ot also helps that the acting in the movie was good. Jason Bateman in this movie blew me away. Usually when I see him in a movie I go “Hey, I like you, Jason Bateman” because he’s a likable comedic actor. However I never feel like he has ever disappeared into a role… until now. When I watched this movie, Jason Bateman disappeared and we got this very compelling character who had something he wanted to keep hidden. Rebecca Hall was fantastic in the movie as Bateman’s wife who experiences all of this shit happening. Joel Edgerton… Joel Edgerton gave an absolutely fantastic performance as this pretty creepy and awkward guy. This is a role that could so easily be terrible and would ruin the movie, but thanks to Edgerton being so subdued with his performance, he absolutely nails it. Every actor does in fact do great jobs in the movie.

The score for the movie was a collaborative effort by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans. And it was actually good. For the most part it was pretty low-key. Stayed as ambient noise in the background but also showed itself a good amount from time to time to enhance the tension of a scene. And all of the tracks were used to great effect in the scenes they were in.

So this movie was directed by… Joel Edgerton? Yeah, it apparently seems like one of the stars of this movie was the director… and screenwriter as well. And I have to say that he did fantasticly with those duties. There are a lot of slow camera movements in this movie that gets to linger on certain scenes which makes for a gorgeous looking movie and for a little bit of suspense building. There is one shot in the movie that is completely static but it’s really a fantastic shot that features to characters on opposite ends of the screen. And the dialogue in the movie was really good as well, very smart and realistic. And like I said, the final act of this movie is absolutely amazing, one of the best I’ve seen in a while, featuring a twist or two that made me go “holy fucking shit”. Yeah… well done, Edgerton. Oh, I also have to mention that the trailer for this movie was pretty awful, so stay away from that if you wanna watch this movie.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 77/100. And on it has a score of 7,2/10.

“The Gift” is one of the biggest surprises in quite some time for me. It features a smart & suspenseful story with an amazing finale, fantastic performances, a great soundtrack, terrific directing and really good dialogue. Time for my final score. Ooo, present! *Rips paper, opens box*. Oh, the final score… cool. My final score for “The Gift” is a 9,88/10. It most certainly gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “The Gift” is now completed.


Movie Review: Enemy (2014)



While dumb movies can be fun, sometimes you need something that will challenge your mind and make you think. A.K.A. a mindfuck movie. And I am a guy who loves mindfuck movies. Anytime I can get my hands on a mindfuck movie, I am excited. So let’s review something that people say is a mindfuck movie.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Enemy”.

In “Enemy” we follow history teacher Adam Bell (Jake Gyllenhaal). One day one of his colleagues recommends a movie to him. So he rents it and watches it, noticing thato ne of the actors in the movie looks just like him. So he decides to go out there, find him, talk to him and figure out what the hell is going on. And that all adds up to one of the most interesting plots I have seen ever. The plot of the movie was complex, suspenseful and incredibly well-written. I have also never said “What the fuck is going on?” this much because of any other movie plot. The plot of “Enemy” is very confusing and strange and surreal and I love it.

Jake Gyllenhaal… how could you not have won an Oscar yet!? I’m not even kidding, he is aboslutely fantastic in this movie as both of these men. There are so many parts of his performance(s) that make it fantastic. I think I am pretty justified in calling Gyllenhaal one of my favorite actors. Mélanie Laurent, who you probably know from “Inglorious Basterds”, is also great in the movie. Every actor that was in the movie was good, but Jake Gyllenhaal outshined them all… Because he is amazing.

The score for the movie was done by Danny Bensi & Saunder Jurriaans and it is one of the most eary, disturbing, creepy and bone-chilling scoresI have ever heard. It really fits the dark and eary tone of the story perfectly and really helped to keep me creeped out and even a little bit disturbed. It also kept the movie even more weird, disturbing and fucked up than it already was… fuck you guys! I love you though, great score!

This movie is directed by Denis Villenueve who also made the movie “Prisoners” which I think will stay my favorite movie of 2013. And just like that movie, he managed to create an incredibly well-directed movie. The shots look fantastic, and the cinematography is some of the most dark but still beautiful I have ever seen.  I also like how they kept it consistent in  the coloring. What kind of coloring? Bleak and grey… perfect for this type of movie. And I am gonna repeat myself, this movie is complex beyond belief. Sure, you can interpret it all you want, but it will be difficult to find a perfect interpretation of it. Just don’t expect me to analyze and interpret it, I’m not smart enough to be able to do that.

This movie has been pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 75% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 61/100. And on it has a score of 6,8/10.

“Enemy” is a strange movie. I mean, it’s really fucking weird. But I do also think that the story is suspenseful & excellent, the acting is spectacular, the score is fantastic, the direction/camera work is great and I just felt like this was pretty great. Time for my final score. AH, SPIDER! *SQUISH*. My final score for “Enemy” is a 9,87/10. It definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
Seal of Approval


“Enemy” is now reviewed.

Villeneuve… come at me, bro.