Movie Review: Upgrade (2018)

Can I just take a second out of this review to talk about release schedules? Because everyone got this movie in the cinemas at some point in 2018… but I didn’t, and then I had to wait until today to be able to see it at home? It’s not the first time I’ve gotten screwed liked this. I wanted to watch it, but my local cinema was like “Nope, sorry, not showing it… you dick”… okay, they didn’t directly say that, but that’s what it felt like with “Upgrade” and various other movies. Seriously, screw release schedules some times.

Ladies and gents… “Upgrade”.

After his wife is killed and he gets paralyzed, Grey (Logan Marshall-Green) accepts an offer to get an experimental surgery that would let him walk again. But soon he finds out that he’s able to do more than that, which he will use to find the people responsible for his misery. So now we have our cyberpunk revenge thriller. And it’s good. I mean, the opening isn’t the most inspired, in a lot of ways it’s just kind of bland. But after that generic opening, the plot just gets better and better and I think it becomes quite unique for a revenge thriller. It’s not one of the greatest plots ever, but it’s certainly a lot of fun and has enough little twists and turns to keep it fresh. So yeah, it’s a good plot.

The characters in this are… fine? Most of them are kind of underdeveloped. For some of the bad guys, I can accept that, as it gives them a sort of video game boss battle quality, which I enjoyed about them. But others that the movie expects me to care about… nope. Anyway, Logan Marshall-Green plays Grey, the average Joe who receives the title to become a badass. And he’s honestly quite a fleshed out character, as he’s given quite a bit of development throughout. And Marshall-Green is great in the role… mostly. At the start he’s bland and average, but like the plot, when shit gets going, he becomes great in the role. Next we have Betty Gabriel as the detective working the case of Grey’s dead wife. And where the movie expects us to give a damn about her… I didn’t, her character isn’t interesting enough in her writing for me to care. But Gabriel is pretty good in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Simon Maiden, Harrison Gilbertson, Melanie Vallejo, Benedict Hardie, Christopher Kirby, and more, all doing pretty well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Jed Palmer and I thought it was really good. It somehow sounds like a mix between typical cyberpunk stuff (“Blade Runner”, “Deux Ex”, etc.) and a couple different horror scores. And the mix, while familiar, feels unique and gives the most an eerie and interesting vibe that I liked quite a bit.

Based on nothing at all, this movie was written by Leigh Whannell, and I think he did a great job here. While the opening (as previously stated) is a bit boring, his direction gives the movie a certain energy that makes it kind of a joy to watch. He finds ways of really engaging the viewer with little details. But it’s in the action scenes where the directing and cinematography truly shines, because holy fucking shit, the action scenes in this movie are fantastic. They’re fast, energetic, and have some of the most clever and unique camera movements I’ve ever seen. There are a couple fights in this movie that honestly kinda blew my mind. There’s also a surprising amount of humor throughout the movie, and none of it feels intrusive, rather just adding to the movie’s fun factor.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 87% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 67/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“Upgrade” is a really good revenge action-thriller. It has a good plot, meh characters, really good performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Though as previously stated, the start of the movie isn’t great, and I don’t really care about most of the characters. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Upgrade” is an 8,72/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Upgrade” is now completed.

That was fun.

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Movie Review: The Death of Superman (2018)

One of the most recurring things on this here blog (except for lame jokes and personal opinions) is my constant support of animated movies based on DC Comics. And while it’s been a while since my last post on one, my adoration for the franchise hasn’t faded in the slightest. So seeing as this will be my last review of the year, we might as well make it one about this recurring theme.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Death of Superman”.

When a mysterious new threat arrives on earth, Superman (Jerry O’Connell), as well as the other Justice League members), as to step up to stop it before it can destroy us all. I thought the plot was good here. It’s straightforward, yet somewhat nuanced. I wouldn’t call it the deepest plot in this franchise, but there’s enough little details to keep it from just being another “Let’s beat up the bad guy plot”. It’s about Supes coming to terms with his relationship with Lois (Rebecca Romijn) and if he should come out of the closet, in regards to his dual identity. And the stuff around this new threat (who we all know is Doomsday, but I digress) has a natural sense of escalation that also works well enough for the plot.

The characters in this are fine, they are all enjoyable and work pretty well in the story. Jerry O’Connell reprises his role as Clark Kent/Superman. He’s charming, he’s likable, and he’s just generally a good guy (as Superman should be), while still struggling with some minor conflicts while also having to deal with the bigger conflict of a giant murder-alien from who knows where. And it made me care about him a bit more. And O’Connell does a really good job voicing him. Rebecca Romijn plays Lois Lane, the tough, but believable reporter who seems to have some relationship issues with Clark. And I think she’s a pretty interesting character here. And Romijn does a really good job voicing her. Next we have Rainn Wilson (yes, really) as Lex Luthor (I’m serious), the brilliant businessman with a great intellect, but a bit of an arrogance problem. Not saying much more there, you know who Lex is. But what I will say is that Wilson is really good in the role. Then we get supporting performances from people like Rosario Dawson, Nathan Fillion, Jason O’Mara, Christopher Gorham, Shemar Moore, Matt Lanter, Nyambi Nyambi, Rocky Carroll, Patrick Fabian, Paul Eiding, Jennifer Hale, Charles Halford, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As with the majority of these DC animated features, the score was composed by Frederik Wiedmann, and as per usual, it is pretty great. It is grandiose, it is epic, but it is also emotional and intimate, creating a sound that perfectly complements the life of Clark Kent. This guy never disappoints.

The movie was directed by Jake Castorena and DC animation veteran Sam Liu. And the direction here is fine, there is a decent flow to the scenes, nothing feels too rushed or too slow. And the animation here is pretty good. In quiet dialog-driven scenes, it looks fine, not much to write home about. But it’s in the action scenes where the animation comes to life and shows just how talented the people working on these movies are. These are fast, brutal, and at one point even kinda breathtaking. So yeah, the animation here is good.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 92% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

While not my favorite movie in this current line of DC animated movies, “The Death of Superman” is still a highly enjoyable and somewhat touching superhero romp. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and really good directing/animation. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Death of Superman” is an 8,80/10. So it’s definitely worth buying.

My review of “The Death of Superman” is now completed.

And that’s that for 2018. See ya next year.

Movie Review: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

What really is there to say about Spider-Man at this point? He’s one of the most well known, beloved, and profitable superheroes of all time. You all know who he is, so nothing really has to be said, I am excited to talk about this different take on the franchise.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”.

Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) is just your average guy, except for the fact that he’s been bitten by a strange spider and has received Spider-Man-ish powers. And at the same time as he’s trying to get the hang of these new abilities, he discovers that Spider-people from other dimensions have shown up. So now Miles has to team up with his inter-dimensional namesakes to save the multiverse. And I absolutely loved the story here. It’s a fast-paced and fun comic book adventure that flies by fast than you can say “thwip”. It manages to be a good origin for this character that a lot of mainstream audience members might not know anything about, while also presenting a big multiverse adventure that should please a lot of comic book fans. But even amidst the fast-paced insanity, it knows when to slow down a bit and let the dramatic moments simmer a bit, making this whole ordeal a bit more engaging. So yeah, this is a great plot.

The characters in this are colorful, unique, fun, and just really interesting. Shameik Moore plays Miles Morales, this average guy who has a bit of trouble fitting into his current life. And when the Spider stuff comes into his life it forces him to evolve a bit as a person, and the development Miles gets is quite interesting. And Moore does a really good job voicing him. Jake Johnson plays Peter Parker, a cynical slob who’s also god damn Spider-Man. Not gonna say how he got there, but it’s funny and interesting, and he too gets some good development here. And Johnson does a really good job in the role. Next we have Hailee Steinfeld as Gwen Stacy, another interesting character who gets some decent development. And Steinfeld does a great job voicing the character. We also get supporting performances from people like Brian Tyree Henry, Mahershala Ali, Nicolas Cage, John Mulaney, LIev Schreiber, Lily Tomlin, Luna Lauren Velez, Kimiko Glenn, Kathryn Hahn, Chris Pine, and MANY more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score was composed by Daniel Pemberton, and I think he did a great job. While there of course is a lot of the heroic orchestral stuff throughout, Pemberton also mixed in stuff from hiphop, electronica, jazz, and even rock to create a sound that is both familiar and unique, which gives the movie its own sound. There’s also a fair bit of licensed tracks used throughout, and while I personally wouldn’t find myself listening to them on my own time, I thought they worked very well within the movie.

So this is an animated movie, and I seriously loved the animation here. At first some of it might look like it’s missing frames, but it didn’t take too long for me to get over that. And from that point on I got to experience one of the most visually stunning things ever. I don’t even know how to fully explain it, it’s just like someone put a fucking comic into a machine that would make the panels fully animated. It’s colorful, it’s fluid, it’s stylish, it’s unique, and it’s just some of the coolest stuff I’ve ever had the pleasure of looking at. Which also makes for some truly amazing action scenes. The movie also has a lot of comedy throughout, and all of it made me laugh, this is absolutely hilarious. Some of it subtle dialog, some of it broad slapstick, and some in-between stuff.

This movie just came out, but it has already been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 97% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 87/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8.8/10 and is ranked #30 on the “Top 250” list.

“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is an absolutely magical movie, filled with great stuff for both comic book fans and casual movie goers. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, amazing animation/action, and hilarious comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is a 9,90/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is now completed.

2018 is a great year to be a Spidey-fan.

Movie Review: Solo – A Star Wars Story (2018)

Hey, finally a non-christmas movie. Nice to have a bit of variation. Anyway, let’s go on a space adventure, you scruffy looking nerf herders.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Solo – A Star Wars Story”.

The story follows Han (Alden Ehrenreich), a young and determined guy who wants nothing but to get out of the shitty slum life he’s been part of his entire life. And such an opportunity presents itself when he joins a crew of space scoundrels who have been tasked with delivering a very valuable fuel resource to a notorious gangster. So now we have our “Star Wars” prequel. And while the plot here isn’t anything special, I found it to be a bit of fun. As a big fan of “Firefly” and “Cowboy Bebop”, I have a soft spot for these kind of ragtag space misfit stories. In it’s entirety, the plot is just fine, not something I’d put among the all-time greats. But it’s a fun and fast-paced space adventure, and I don’t mind that.

The characters in this are likable, somewhat interesting, and quite entertaining. Alden Ehrenreich plays the young version of Han Solo. In this, Han isn’t quite the jaded smuggler that we know him as in the older movies, but we see hints of that here as he enters the scoundrel life. He’s quite a fun protagonist. And I thought Ehrenreich was really good in the role, he definitely had a lot of that sly charm one would expect from the character. Next we have Woody Harrelson as Beckett, the guy that Han starts working with who sort of becomes his mentor. A hardened badass with a lot of charisma, he’s quite an enjoyable character. And Harrelson is great in the role. Next we have Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra, childhood friend and love interest of Han. And that’s all I’m gonna say, because any further details would technically be spoilers. But she’s an okay character. And Clarke is pretty good in the role. Donald Glover plays the young version of Lando Calrissian, the smoothest son of a bitch in the galaxy. Not much else to say, he’s a smooth-talking, tricky, and clever guy who could charm his way into the heart of a mountain. And Glover is really good in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Joonas Suotamo, Thandie Newton, Paul Bettany, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Jon Favreau, and more, all doing well in their respective roles (even if one or two of the characters is less than well-realized).

The score for this movie was not composed by the one and only John Williams. Instead it was done by John Powell. And while there are some familiar themes used throughout, he still brought a lot of his own stuff to it to create one of the best scores of the year. I’m not just saying that because of my love for any piece of “Star Wars” music, he brought his fucking A-game on a fair bit of the tracks here. Yeah, the music here is great.

This movie was directed by Ron Howard, and I think he did a really good job with it. He manages to work with a lot of the typical “Star Wars” visual stylings, while also bringing in some stuff of his own, and even a little bit of old school western. The movie is just well shot and has a nice overall flow here that makes it a joy to watch. And the action here too is a lot of fun. Some good shootouts, a nice fight or two… there’s just a lot of fun to be had with the action here. And I don’t think I need to say anything about the visual effects at this point… it’s fuckin’ “Star Wars”, y’all know that stuff is gonna look great.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 70% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 62/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

While not anything special, “Solo – A Star Wars Story” is a damn fine space adventure full of charisma and fun. It has a pretty good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and really good directing/action/visual effects. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Solo – A Star Wars Story” is an 8,86/10. So I’d definitely say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Solo – A Star Wars Story” is now completed.

You know what another title for this movie could be? Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. *Ba-dum-tss*.

Movie Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

And the 2018 catch-up continues. Admittedly I don’t have a super specific series set up, but catching up on the year’s movies is what one have to do when nearing the end of said year. Enough rambling, let’s shrink.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Ant-Man and the Wasp”.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has to once again don the Ant-Man suit, but instead of using it to steal some shit, he has to use his abilities, as well as the assistance of his ally Hope (Evangeline Lilly), to get hold of some tech to try and pull Janet Van Dyne out of the Quantum Realm. But this quest will prove challenging as opposing forces want this technology for their own purposes. So now we have our “Ant-Man” sequel plot. And it’s good, a fun comic book romp. Has a few decent dramatic moments. Not much I can say, it’s just a fun superhero plot. Doesn’t do much, but doesn’t do little either. It’s fast-paced and easy to follow while expanding on a few of the ideas set up in the first movie. It doesn’t do anything special, but it also doesn’t need to. It’s just an easygoing and fun plot.

The characters in this are colorful, interesting, and really entertaining. Paul Rudd of course returns as Scott Lang, the charming ex-con/superhero with a heart of gold. He’s fun, he’s someone I care about, and he is just generally an enjoyable protagonist. And Paul Rudd is great in the role. Next we have Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne/Wasp. She was just sort of a tough sidekick/teacher in the first movie, but here she gets to do a lot more, especially since she now has her own super suit to play with. And she’s quite an enjoyable character to follow. And Lilly is great in the role. Michael Peña returns as Scott’s best friend, Luis, and he’s just as hilarious as he was the first time around. Michael Douglas returns as Dr. Hank Pym, and he’s once again pretty great. Newcomer time! First up, Hannah John-Kamen as “Ghost”, a mysterious new villain with a pretty compelling arc that I won’t say more about here, but I found it to be pretty cool. And John-Kamen is really good in the role. We also get Walton Goggins as some shady black market dealer, and he’s as Goggins-y as ever, and while his character doesn’t have much to actually do, Goggins is really good in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale, Abby Ryder Fortson, David Dastmalchian, Randall Park, T.I., Laurence Fishburne, Michelle Pfeiffer, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

Like with the first movie, Christophe Beck did the score for this one. And it’s just as fun and enjoyable as the first time around. It’s bouncy, irreverent, and just overall fits the lighthearted tone that the movie generally goes for. The added use of synth and (for lack of a better word) bouncy percussion really helps keep the pace up. It’s just fun. And there are a few licensed tracks used throughout that work well enough in their respective scenes.

As with the first movie, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” was directed by Peyton Reed and I think he did a good job with it. His directing is fun, fast-paced, and just generally has a certain energy that makes it all quite enjoyable to watch. The action scenes too are quite solid, giving us some good close quarters combat, as well as the shrink/grow superhero stuff we came to see. There’s of course also a lot of comedy throughout this movie, and I found most of it to be quite funny. A few jokes weren’t the best, but none of them made me want to tear my brain out. Some mild nose-wrinkling, some chuckles, a few out loud laughs… yeah, it’s funny.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 70/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is a fun movie… not one of the best of the year, but an enjoyable romp nonetheless. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, really good directing, and funny comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is an 8,76/10. So while not perfect, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is now completed.

Baba Yaga…

Movie Review: Deadpool 2 (2018)

In 2009, we got the big screen debut of comic book character Deadpool in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, and it was a fucking disgrace. Skip forward to 2016, Deadpool gets his own movie called… “Deadpool” (fucking unpredictable title, I know). And in 2018 he got a sequel. And now I finally watched it. So let’s talk about it.

Ladies and gents… “Deadpool 2”.

Super-powered mercenary Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds) has to create his own mutant team in order to protect a young mutant (Julian Dennison) from a time traveling super soldier called Cable (Josh Brolin). So now we have our big comic book sequel plot. And it’s good. It does lack some of the focus that the first movie had, but that is not very surprising considering this is trying to be bigger than the first one. But I don’t dislike the plot here at all, as a matter of fact, I found it to be a lot of fun. Sure, it does jump around a bit, but it’s not enough to annoy me. It embraces the silliness of superhero comics, while still subverting a fair bit of expectations one has for them. And I thought it all had a fair balance between silly comic shit and heartfelt character drama. ’tis good.

The characters in this are fun, badass, surprisingly layered, and overall very entertaining. Ryan Reynolds of course returns as Deadpool. But this is a slightly different Deadpool to the first movie, this one has suffered a little bit, this Deadpool is going through some shit. But he still retains the insanity that we’ve come to know from him. And Reynolds is once again fantastic in the role. Next we have Josh Brolin as Cable, the time traveling soldier out for blood. He’s a tragic, unrelenting badass that I found quite interesting. And Brolin is great in the role. We also get Zazie Beets as Domino, one of the mutants joining Deadpool on his quest. She’s an interesting foil for Wade’s antics, and she’s just overall a fun character. And Beets is great in the role. Julian Dennison is also great as the tragic mutant kid that Wade wants to help. WE also get supporting work from people like Morena Baccarin, Karan Soni, Stefan Kapicic, Leslie Uggams, Eddie Marsan, Brianna Hildebrand, Rob Delaney, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Tyler Bates, and it’s good. It does include some good ol’ heroic brass, but it also takes inspiration from rock to create a score that captures the film’s mostly irreverent vibe. There’s also a lot of licensed tracks used throughout the movie, and while there are several I wouldn’t find myself listening to on my own, I thought all of them worked well enough within the movie for each scene.

Written by Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick, and Ryan Reynolds, this movie wasn’t directed by Tim Miller. Instead, David Leitch took the director’s chair for this one. And I think he did a great job. Sure, quiet scenes don’t have much to speak of, all the magic in those come from the actors. But the action scenes, holy fuck, they are great. Fights, shootouts, chases… this film has all kinds of action, and all of it is well shot and incredibly entertaining… and violent as hell. And just like the first movie, “Deadpool 2” is in large part a comedy. So is the humor any funny here? I think so. Fourth wall breaks, references, sight gags, deprecating jokes, it’s all here, and I laughed like an idiot at most of it.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 83% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 66/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

While I probably prefer the first movie, “Deadpool 2” is still an absolute blast from start to finish. It has a good plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, great directing/action, and hilarious comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Deadpool 2” is a 9,75/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Deadpool 2” is now completed.

Can beauty come out of ashes?

Movie Review: Overlord (2018)

*Ron Perlman voice activated* War… war never changes. *Ron Perlman voice deactivated*.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Overlord”.

Set during world war 2, we follow a group of American soldiers as they land behind enemy lines in France to take out a nazi transmitter. But as they delve further into the complex, they discover some horrifying things that are unlike anything they have ever seen before. So now we have our historical action-horror plot. And I have to say that I really enjoyed it. Admittedly it’s a very predictable and straightforward plot that doesn’t do much to increase in depth, but that is also what I like about it. Don’t get me wrong, complex plots with twists and turns are great, but there’s something oddly refreshing about the simplicity of “Overlord”. It does slow down at a couple points to build on the characters, but that is just a plus for this movie as it gives the audience some room to breathe in between all the intense war stuff. So yeah, the plot is simple and predictable, but it’s also tense, badass, engaging, and just fun.

The characters in this are simple, but they’re also interesting and entertaining. First up we have Jovan Adepo as Boyce, who more or less is the rookie in the team.  A good kid who sees the horrors of WW2 and has to step up. But they play around with that pretty well here. And Adepo is great in the role. Next we have Wyatt Russell as Ford, the badass Corporal who takes no shit and is a little stern. Russell is great in the role. Next we have Mathilde Ollivier as Chloe, a French woman that our squad of heroes meet. She’s tough, she’s resourceful, and she’s willing to help the Americans stop ze nazis. And Ollivier is really good in the role. And then we have Pilou Asbæk in the role of evil nazi captain. I know his character has a name, but that doesn’t matter because evil nazi captain is all you need to know. A clear villain, no grey areas here. And Asbæk is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like John Magaro, Iain De Caestecker, Jacob Anderson, Bokeem Woodbine, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Jed Kurzel, and it was really good. It uses a lot of heavy percussion to simulate the intensity of wartime, while also implementing some intense brass stings, trodding bass, some tense string work, and it all comes together to create some music that really helps the suspense and intensity of the movie go above and beyond.

The movie was directed by Julius Avery, and I think he did a great job with it. He captures the uncertainty and suspense of being within this situation. You’d almost think this would be a straight up intense shoot-em-up all the way through, but there’s a surprising amount of sneaking around as well, and I think that adds a lot of tension to the movie. That’s not to discredit the shootouts, because when the bullets start flying, it is some of the most intense and brutal action I’ve seen in quite a while. The violence here will please fans of war films, as well as fans of gory horror stuff. There are also a couple jumpscares here, and I think they work well enough. They may be predictable, but they’re not false, and they did still get to me. Good shit.

This movie very recently came out, but so far it’s been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 82% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“Overlord” isn’t the most original movie, but it’s still one hell of a ride that I liked a lot. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Overlord” is a 9,87/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Overlord” is now completed.

Came because of AC/DC, stayed for the HOLY SHIT, THAT’S BRUTAL.

Movie Review: E.T. (1982)

I can already hear some people mumbling “This isn’t horror, why the hell are you putting it in the Month of Spooks?”. And here’s my reasoning: It’s set during Halloween, which technically makes it a Halloween movie, which means that it works for Month of Spooks. Loophole, motherfuckers. So let’s talk about an alien non-invasion.

Ladies and gentlemen… “E.T.”!

The story follows a boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas) as he one day finds and befriend and alien that he goes on to call E.T. And so we follow Elliott as he tries to keep his new alien friend hidden while trying to find away to contact E.T’s species. So now we have our family friendly alien non-invasion plot. And even when I put my nostalgia aside, I fucking love this plot. It’s a fun twist on an alien coming down to earth, usually we get aliens coming down to murder all of us, but this is about a friendly little guy. And the people behind the scenes of this manage to make it endlessly engaging, fun, charming, and just plain entertaining. It’s perfectly paced while still telling an emotionally investing story.

The characters in this are fun, interesting, and overall entertaining. First up we have young Henry Thomas as Elliott, the child at the center of the story. He has a bit of a troubled life, with his parents getting separated, among other things. But he’s still a good kid, and it’s fun to see his evolution after he meets E.T. And Thomas is great in the role. Next we have Robert MacNaughton as Michael, Elliott’s older brother. He’s kind of a jerk, but he does get some decent development throughout the movie. And MacNaughton is really good in the role. Next we have a very young Drew Barrymore as Gertie, Elliott’s young sister. Not only is she absolutely adorable, but she’s also a fun character that adds a little extra charm to it all. And Barrymore is really good in the role. We also have Dee Wallace as Elliott’s mother. She’s under a lot of stress, and Elliott’s misadventures certainly isn’t helping things out. But she’s still a loving and caring mother. And Wallace is great in the role. Yeah, ’tis a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was of course composed by the one and only John Williams. And as one would expect from that legend, the score here is fucking fantastic. The theme is as memorable as all his other ones, and the rest of the score of course has that magical, whimsical, and emotional quality that Mr. Williams is so damn good at. I don’t need to say more, you know how good this score is.

Written by Melissa Mathison (R.I.P), this movie was directed by Steven Spielberg, and of course he did an excellent job with the direction. He has a way of creating magic and excitement from the smallest of scenes. It also helps that the writing here too is absolutely delightful. But seriously, Spielberg could direct a movie of someone reading the phone book and it would be charming. Probably starring Tom Hanks. Anyway, not only does he capture the childlike wonder of Elliott discovering this alien, he also manages to create some eerie and outright disturbing moments throughout. And the cinematography by Allen Daviau is absolutely breathtaking.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 98% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 91/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars and put it on his “Great Movies” list. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10. The movie won 4 Oscars in the categories of Best sound, Best visual effects, Best sound editing, and Best original score. IT was also nominated for an additional 5 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best director, Best original screenplay, Best cinematography, and Best film editing.

So yeah, “E.T.” is considered a classic for a reason. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and fantastic directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “E.T.” is a 9,88/10. Which means that if (of course) gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “E.T.” is now completed.

My blog, my Month of Spooks, my rules.

Movie Review: Serenity (2005)

Once upon a time, there was a tv show called “Firefly”. It was this well-written genre-bending sci-fi show about a group of space cowboys and the adventures they went on. It was beloved by many, but was unfortunately canceled after only 14 episodes. Fans were devastated. But two years after it got canceled, fans saw something shiny in the distance. Was it a continuation of the show? Yes it was. And today we’re taking a look at it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Serenity”.

Set after the events of the show, we once again follow the crew of the ship Serenity, led by Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Nathan Fillion), as they are hunted down by a mysterious assassin (Chiwetel Ejiofor) hellbent on getting to a specific member of the crew. So now we have our space opera featuring cowboys. And I found this to be a really good plot. It feels like an extended episode of the show, giving us the fun space adventure we wanted while also further evolving the universe. And I also think it works the perspective of someone who hasn’t seen the show before. Sure, people might be slightly lost on a few aspects, but it’s not so ingrained in the show’s plotlines that it would alienate general audiences. And I do in think this is a fun, suspenseful, emotional, and overall well told story.

The characters in this are layered, unique, interesting, and overall entertaining. While I’m sure there are those of you here who are unfamiliar with these characters, I will not go in-depth with those returning from the show as it would make this post last far too long. But in that group we have Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Summer Glau, Adam Baldwin, Sean Maher, Morena Baccarin, Jewel Staite, and Ron Glass, all giving great performances throughout, and most getting some good development throughout. Let’s talk about Chiwetel Ejiofor as the film’s villain, simply known as The Operative. He’s a calm, well-spoken, and generally diplomatic guy who is a highly capable killer. And that makes him quite an interesting villain, making him a good foe for our beloved heroes. And Ejiofor is really good in the role. We also get some supporting performances from people like David Krumholtz, Michael Hitchcock, Sarah Paulson, Yan Feldman, Rafael Feldman, Tamara Taylor, and more, all giving solid performances.

The score for the movie was composed by David Newman, and I think he did a really good job with it. As expected from something that is about cowboys, it of course takes a lot of inspiration from western and country, with various string-based instruments used throughout to give off that cowboy-ish vibe. But there are also some tracks implementing the sort of percussion and brass one can expect from a lot of sci-fi. And it all comes together to create a fun, engaging, and emotional score.

As previously mentioned, “Serenity” is a follow-up to the tv show “Firefly”, which was created by Joss Whedon. And this movie is written and directed by Whedon as well, who does a great job bringing the stuff I love about the show to a larger scale. The fast-paced action, the intimate conversations between characters, and the overall fun vibe that the show always had. And yes, the snappy dialogue of course makes a return, and it’s just as funny and enjoyable as it was in the show. And the cinematography by Jack Green was really good, giving us a lot of cool shots. The visual effects can be hit or miss, but I don’t mind too much, especially since I know that this was a lower budget production (compared to a lot of contemporary movies). Overall the technical stuff just comes together nicely.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 83% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10.

“Serenity” is not only a good continuation of the “Firefly” universe, but it’s also an overall enjoyable sci-fi romp. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography/effects/humor. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Serenity” is a 9,82/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Serenity” is now completed.

Take my love, take my land
Take me where I cannot stand
I don’t care, I’m still free
You can’t take the sky from me

Movie Review: The Abyss (1989)

Sci-fi. A genre that I hold very closely to my heart. From “Star Wars” to “Blade Runner” to “Ex Machina”, there’s a ton of movies/shows/books/games/etc. within the genre. And one of the main reasons why I adore the genre so much is that there are so many kinds of stories that can be told within the genre. From pew pew laser action to brain-y AI philosophizing, it’s a versatile genre. So let’s explore another one of its depths.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Abyss”.

After an American nuclear submarine mysteriously sinks to the bottom of the ocean, a diving crew gets tasked with diving down there to investigate what might have happened to it. And soon they discover something they never expected to find down there.  So now we have our underwater thriller with a potential sci-fi twist. And yeah, this plot is great. What we have here is not just people finding something strange and never before seen, but it’s also about people stuck in a claustrophobic situation and how that affects them. And it makes the plot so much deeper. The plot here is tense, engaging, awe-inspiring, and just overall enjoyable.

The characters in this are all interesting and overall entertaining. First up we have Ed Harris as Bud Brigman, who is more or less the leader of the dive team. He’s a man willing to do a lot to get the job done, but he also cares deeply for his crew, never wanting to push them too far. He’s an interesting character who gets some decent development throughout. And Ed Harris is of course great in the role. Next we have Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio as Lindsey, the somewhat estranged wife of Harris’ Bud. She’s quick-witted, smart, and quite tough, making her quite an enjoyable foil to the rest of the cast. And Mastrantonio is great in the role. Next we have Michael Biehn as Lieutenant Coffey, the leader of some Navy SEALs who have been tasked with helping out on this dive. He’s tough and a little bit of a dick, but he’s not a straight up bad person. And he gets some really interesting development through the movie that I won’t explain any further. And Biehn is great in the role, it’s probably the best I’ve ever seen him. And we get some supporting performances from people like Leo Burmester, Todd Graff, Kimberly Scott, John Bedford Lloyd, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Alan Silvestri, and it was absolutely fantastic. His score has a way of evoking a sense of awe and wonder, as well as building tension. It captures many kinds of emotions, and just overall elevates the movie quite a bit. It’s seriously fantastic.

“The Abyss” was written and directed by James Cameron, and he did a great job with all that. His directing really evokes that sense of claustrophobia that a movie set under the sea should be able to bring. And this sense of claustrophobia of course gives the movie some really solid suspense that kept me on the edge of my seat for a good chunk of it. And Mikael Salomon’s cinematography is stunning, especially in the many ways it plays around with lighting. Combine that with the absolutely amazing visual effects, and you got one of the most visually stunning movies around.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 62/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best Visual Effects. It was also nominated for an additional 3 Oscars in the categories of Best Cinematography, Best Set Decoration, and Best Sound.

“The Abyss” is a highly ambitious movie from James Cameron, and I think it worked out incredibly well. It has a great plot, good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and fantastic directing/cinematography/visual effects. Time for my final score. *Blub*. My final score for “The Abyss” is a 9,86/10. Which of course means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “The Abyss” is now completed.

Thank god that it wasn’t… abyssmal.