Movie Review: Child 44 (2015)

Adapting a book to a film is a very serious gamble. Sometimes you can  succeed very well and get something as great as Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, or you get something as mediocre as “The Hunger Games” (That’s right, I said it). So for you aspiring filmmakers out there want to adapt something into a movie… be careful.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Child 44”.

The Soviet Union, 1953. Leo Demidov (Tom Hardy) is a member of the Russian Military police that takes on the the task of investigating a series child murders. And what follows is a tale of betrayal, redemption, and other fancy words. The basic story of this movie is actually really good and could be incredibly compelling… however, the execution of said story in this movie is not that good. I wouldn’t say that it was bad, but you can tell that the movie’s reach exceeds it’s grasp. The people who made this film clearly wanted to make the plot compelling and suspenseful, but in the end it was just kind of… meh. Which is kind of sad, because the ideas they set up here are actually good. The execution on the other hand is not that great. It’s kind of boring. I can appreciate a slowly paced movie, but the pacing in this movie is kind of shit.

The characters in this movie are decently interesting. I wouldn’t say that I was too invested in them, but they weren’t bad. Tom Hardy plays the main character Leo Demidov and actually gave a great performance. I actually did kind of care about his character, but that’s mainly because of Hardy’s great performance. Noomi Rapace played Hardy’s wife in this movie and she was good. Joel Kinnaman plays one of Hardy’s colleague in the movie and he did a really good job. His character was a bit psycho, and Kinnaman portrayed that very well. Gary Oldman is also really good in the movie, even though he doesn’t get to do too much in this. Jason Clarke pops up very briefly in this movie, and he does a really good job even though, like I said, his appearance is rather brief. We also get Fares Fares as another one of Hardy’s colleagues and he gives a really good performance. So yeah… there are a bunch of really solid performances in this movie.

The original score for the movie was composed by Jon Ekstrand and it was pretty good. While it never did anything overly unique/original, it was still well composed and fit the movie fairly well.

This movie was directed by Daniel Espinosa and he did an okay job. The shots for the most part look really good, but I think that’s more thanks to the cinematographer, Oliver Wood. There are a few action scenes in this movie and they are… okay. The main problem with them is that they are too shaky. I know that it works in “Bourne Ultimatum” (also shot by Oliver Wood), but here it just looks bad. Basically when there is no action and people are simply talking or there is some establishing shot, this movie looks great. But when action comes it turns into a shaky, quickly cut mess. Also, remember when I talked about adapting books at the beginning of the review? Yeah, this movie is based on the book of the same name written by Tom Rob Smith.

This movie has not been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 26% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 41/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,5/10.

“Child 44” is a movie that has glimpses of greatness throughout it’s entire runtime, but ultimately falls flat. It has a meh story, okay characters, great performances, good music, okay directing, and good cinematography. The things that bring it down is an uncompelling plot, characters not being the most compelling, and action scenes being shaky as shit. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Child 44” is a 6,22/10.
So it might be worth a rental.

My review of “Child 44” is now completed.

In Soviet Russia, movie watch you.

 

Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

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Guys, we are finally here… the final part in my series of “Indiana Jones” reviews. I apologize for it being a bit later than expected though. I had planned to release it on Monday, but I got really sick so I wasn’t able to do anything. Then on Tuesday and Wednesday I chose to just relax and recover from the rest of it. But now I am feeling well and ready to review the movie for you… so let’s end this damn series, already.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull”.

Indy (Harrison Ford) is back aaaand he’s old. This time he goes on an adventure where he has to find the mysterious Crystal Skull. On this adventure he has teamed up with a young man named Mutt Williams (Shia LaBeouf) to do this. He is also always in the sights of a bunch of Soviet soldiers (No Nazis? That’s kinda refreshing) and their dangerous leader, Irina Spalko (Cate Blanchett). And the plot in this movie is, it is… it’s… I don’t know what to say. There is a MacGuffin… but there are also a few small twists on the “Formulana Jones” as I’ve decided to call it. I don’t know how to talk about the plot anymroe without going into spoilers… it’s kind of weird. I can say that I didn’t enjoy the plot as much as in the previous three films, but I didn’t think it was offensively bad either.

Where the plot might lack some in enjoyment for me, I think the characters almost make up for it. Harrison Ford is still great as Indy, even though it had been almost 20 years (Jesus tapdancing Christ) since he had played the character last time. He gives a really good performance as Indy, even managing to portray that Indy had aged quite a bit. He also still has that awesome smirk that I just love. I know that Shia LaBeouf is made fun of a lot these days for being… weird (to put it gently), he isn’t too bad in this movie overall. His performance is just fine, it’s the writing he got that isn’t really too great… it’s not very good. If only they had written him a little better, I wouldn’t have any problem with him at all. Cate Blanchet: beautiful woman, great actress… odd villain. I’m not saying that she’s a bad choice, au contraire, I love the idea. Her performance is still good, and she works fine as the villain I guess, even though I don’t find her particularly intimidating like Toht in “Raiders” or the Kali Ma guy in “Temple”. Then we also get some good supporting roles too, such as that of Ray Winstone, John Hurt and Karen Allen (welcome back). Jim Broadbent is also in this movie.

The score for this movie was just like in the previous three, composed by the one and only John Williams. And again, it is great. Let’s face it, John Williams is a masteful composer of music for films, and the “Indiana Jones” movie have some of his best tunes ever… even if I think his best song might be the “Jurassic Park” theme, but that is a story for another day… NEXT PART.

Steven Spielberg decided to come back to direct this fourth installment of the franchise and I guess he did a good job. I mean, his direction overall was pretty good, it’s Steven fucking Spielberg we’re talking about… but there is a thing that prevents me from appreciating it as much as I should… This movie looks fake as shit. CGI here, CGI there, CGI EVERYWHERE! There is also a shit-ton of green screen, not very well implemented if you ask. It all looks so artificial that I was actually groaning when I watched the movie. Sure, some of teh visual effects looks fine… but a lot of shit just looks… BLEH! Sure, there are a few actual sets in the movie as well, and they look terrific… props to the people who put those together. But the action in the movie (while ridiculous) is actually pretty good. Ford still gets to kick a bit of ass in the movie, and LaBeouf gets to have some fun himself… except for that “Tarzan” bit… *Shivers*. But there’s also some pretty good humor in the movie to help try to balance it out… *under breath* god damn it, Lucas…

This movie has certainly gotten some mixed reception by people and critics alike. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 78% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 65/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,2/10.

“Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” is a bit of a mixed bag for me. The story is averagely enjoyable, the characters/acting I enjoyed, the music is great, the directing is, but the CGI/green screen isn’t that great… at least the action and humor is pretty good. Time for my final score. *DUN DU DUN DUUUUN*. My final score for “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull” is a 7,45/10. While not one of the better movies in the series, I’d still say that it’s worth a rental.
Rent it

My review of “Indiana Jones and the Kingomd of the Crystal Skull” is now done.

I still have one more “Indiana Jones” related post planned in the future, so look forward to that. Other than that… I am done with these movies (on my blog, that is).