Movie Review: Da 5 Bloods (2020)

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

Ladies and gentlemen… “Da 5 Bloods”.

In the present day, four African-American Vietnam veterans travel back to the country they once battled in to find the remains of their fallen comrade, and bring him back to the States. But as we soon learn, there is a bit more going on with this situation than just men wanting to pay respect to their brother. “Da 5 Bloods” is a fascinating movie in the sense that it evolves quite a bit over time. It has its main goal of course, but then it also uses various tangents to make points about a lot of real life things, from the Vietnam war, to the messy relationships of the characters, to history of race within the States. It’s a very ambitious narrative, which I respect quite a lot. And there’s a lot to like about the story. But I also feel like the amount of content here ultimately hurts the story somewhat. You really feel the 150 minute runtime at multiple points, and the sheer amount of threads within this narrative does make it feel somewhat messy sometimes. I was mostly invested in what was going on, and I would still say that it’s a good story… but also a flawed one.

Whereas the story can feel a little iffy at times, the characters shine, always being extremely interesting. Their different personalities make for fascinating chemistry, as there’s clearly a brotherly bond between the group, but then there’s other aspects of their personalities that clash, and I thought that made for some electrifying cast dynamics. I won’t go into too much detail on each one, as they’re better left experienced. But I will say that Delroy Lindo plays possibly the most complex character in this movie, and his performance is fucking amazing. The rest of the cast is great too, filled with very talented people like Clarke Peters, Isiah Whitlock Jr, Norm Lewis, Jonathan Majors, Chadwick Boseman (R.I.P) and more.

The score for the movie was composed by Terence Blanchard, and it was very good. Sometimes it creates a subtle and emotional vibe that creates a lot of dramatic tension and maybe some heartache, and at times it’s slightly more bombastic for various reasons. It’s not my favorite score that Blanchard has composed, but it still works really well for this movie. There’s also some licensed music used throughout, and those tracks work pretty well in their respective scenes.

“Da 5 Bloods” was directed and co-written by Spike Lee, and I will say that he’s done a really good job with it. The dude somehow manages to bring a big, epic scope to this project while still managing to keep us intimate with the characters. The movie just feels grandiose, like one of those older war epics, even though it never really focuses on any actual warring. The movie also plays around with aspect ratio in some fun ways. In the present day it’s a nice wide 16:9, but when we get flashback’s to the early 70s, it goes in on a 4:3 aspect ratio, which I thought was a nice touch for the storytelling. Also, there’s some grisly images in this. Really grisly… just thought I’d mention that.

“Da 5 Bloods” has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 92% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 82/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.5/10.

“Da 5 Bloods” may not be perfect, but it’s still a very good drama about some very interesting people. It has a pretty good story, really good characters, fantastic performances, really good music, and great directing/editing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Da 5 Bloods” is an 7.99/10. So even thought it’s flawed, it’s still definitely worth watching.

My review of “Da 5 Bloods” is now completed.

If Delroy Lindo doesn’t get the Oscar, we riot.

Movie Review: BlacKkKlansman (2018)

Good grief, that title stylization is such a double-edged sword. Looks neat, and is a great piece of wordplay… but god damn, it is a pain to keep in mind when writing it out. Oh well, that’s all the time we’re spending on that, let’s get into the review.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “BlacKkKlansman”!

Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is a young, black police officer in the 70s. He’s an ambitious young man, looking to make a real difference. And one way he intends to do this is by starting an undercover operations to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan with the help of one of his colleagues (Adam Driver). So now we have our quite unique story setup… and good god damn, I loved seeing how it unfolded. What makes it work so well is how impressively they balance tones. On one hand, it’s an undercover cop movie featuring one of the most horrible organizations in the worlds, which is very serious. But then they also acknowledge the bizarreness of a black man making an attempt to enter the Ku Klux Kunts, and have a bit of fun with that idea. So it manages to both put me on the edge of my seat with some of the darker aspects, and have me smiling at some of the more lighthearted and fun moments. It’s also remarkably fast-paced. The movie has a 135 minute runtime, but I never felt that, it moved at a brisk pace that kept it from getting dull. It doesn’t rush through things though, when it needs to slow down and soak in a moment, it does that. But yeah, it’s well paced and well written and highly entertaining.

The characters here are flawed, nuanced, colorful, and overall just quite interesting. John David Washington plays Ron Stallworth, the young cop at the center of this story. He’s smart, highly determined, but also a bit of an underdog considering he’s like the only black officer in the department. And he’s one of the more uniquely compelling protagonists of recent years. And Washington is fantastic in the role. We then have Adam Driver as Flip Zimmerman, Stallworth’s colleague who joins in on this batshit undercover operation. He’s a bit torn between some various things we learn about him throughout the movie, and it makes him quite fascinating to follow. And Driver is fantastic in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Laura Harrier, Robert John Burke, Michael Buscemi, Ryan Eggold, Jasper Pääkkönen, Paul Walter Hauser, Topher Grace, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for “BlacKkKlansman” was composed by Terence Blanchard, and it was great. There’s a consistent theme that gets woven throughout various tracks, making for a consistent emotional quality while still giving it a few different spins. There are of course a few unique tracks as well, and they are very good too. There’s also a few licensed tracks used throughout, and those work quite well in their respective scenes. So yeah, this movie has good music.

Based on a book by Ron Stallworth, “BlacKkKlansman” was directed by Spike Lee. And he did a great job, he really brought his A-game here, giving it a fierce energy that makes it stand out among so many movies in recent years. His direction manages to capture the broadness of this whole operation while never sacrificing the intimacy with the characters. And this makes it absolutely electrifying. And Chayse Irvin’s cinematography is stunning, complementing the storytelling wonderfully. There’s also a surprising amount of comedy throughout the movie, and it’s very funny. It helps to digest some of the bizarre and darkly uncomfortable aspects of this story.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 83/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,5/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best adapted screenplay. It was also nominated for an additional 5 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best original score, Best director, Best supporting actor (Driver), and Best film editing.

Despite it’s annoying-to-write title, “BlacKkKlansman” is a fantastic and highly unique bio-pic. It has a great plot, great characters, fantastic performances, great music, great directing/cinematography, and funny comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “BlacKkKlansman” is a 9,90/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “BlacKkKlansman” is now completed.

This kind of stuff is why I love movies.

Movie Review: Inside Man (2006)

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The amount of ways bank robberies can be executed are astonishing. You can do it all methodical and plan for months every inch of the plan or you could just go in guns blazing. Any way is possible and that is why it is so fascinating with heist movies for me since you never know which way they will go with. So now, let’s look at a movie about a bank robbery.

Men and women… “Inside Man”.

In this movie we see how a group of bank robbers led by a man named Dalton Russell (Clive Owen) enter a bank to rob it (duh), but it soon also turns into a hostage situation. So now it is up to police detective Keith Frazier (Denzel Washington try to get the hostages out and save the day together with broker Madeleine White (Jodie Foster). And from that we get a surprisingly layered story filled with suspense and some pretty great twists. Yeah… I was surprised by the amount of depth to be found in the plot of this heist movie. It always keeps you guessing how it’s gonna go, and when you think you got it, the movie pulls the rug from under you and goes “Surprise, motherfucker!”.

The characters in this movie are all thoroughly entertaining to observe as they deal with the different situations throughout the movie. Denzel Washington is at his Denzel-iest in this movie… that’s a new adjective, Denzel-y (Denzel-ier, Denzel-iest). He is just so likeable in his role as this police detective turned hostage negotiator. He is also very believable in his role. Clive Owen plays the leader of the bank robbers and he is excellent in this movie. He plays the character in a manner which makes us believe that he is actually this intelligent and methodical criminal. Jodie Foster is also great in her role as a somewhat slimy yet charming high-power broker. Also, I think that she only gets more attractive with age… I don’t know, call me a perv if you wish. Willem Dafoe is also in this movie as a police captain and he was great. Christopher Plummer was also great as the elderly owner of the bank. And Chiwetel Ejiofor as Denzel’s partner was also great.

The score for the movie was done by Terence Blanchard who apparently is a frequent collaborator with director Spike Lee. And while I can’t recall any other original score he’s ever done, I can for sure say that he did a terrific job with the score for this movie. He uses a lot of trumpets and such to create different styles for different scenarios. And if you listen to the music in general you can hear that he takes some inspiration from other great composers. In the action bits he emulates his inner Hans Zimmer and in the more emotional songs he gets out his inner Ennio Morricone. Now, I wouldn’t say that this score is better than anything I have heard from those two, but I will say that if you like those two composers I think you’ll enjoy the score for “Inside Man”.

Like I said before, this is a Spike Lee joint. And he shows that he is a terrific director in this movie. The shots look great and he manages to he manages to perfectly capture the closed and locked-in feeling of being stuck in a bank with a bunch of bank robbers who might kill you at any second. And by that I mean when you get to see from inside the bank from the perspective of the hostages. But he also manages to catch the feeling of distress that everyone on the outside (except Denzel, somehow) feels over if they will managed to save these hostages or not. Now I haven’t really seen anything from Spike Lee except for “25th Hour” which is one of my favorite movies of all time, but now that I have seen both that and “Inside Man” I will probably check more of his joints out because he’s a great director. Also, here is something that I noticed which was pretty entertaining: in this movie we see both Clive Owen and Chiwetel Ejiofor as characters important in some way to the plot, in a movie that came out in 2006. Both actors also had important roles in “Children of Men” which also came out in 2006. Small world.

This movie has been pretty well-received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 76/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“Inside Man” is an entertaining heist-thriller that is actually really clever and smart and is held up by a suspenseful and twist-filled plot, excellent performances, great music, excellent direction and a great tone. Time for my final score. GET DOWN ON THE FUCKING GROUND! GIVE ME THE ENVELOPE! GIVE IT TO ME! My final score for “Inside Man” is a 9,81/10. It gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

“Inside Man” is reviewed.

Vladimir, I am Inside Man, what I do?
Boris you dumb borshch, I told you to be Inside Man at bank, not go INSIDE MAN!
Oh… Chert , chuvak.

 

My Favorite scenes: 25th Hour – Monologue

Hello my friends, it’s me again! Time again to share one of my favorite scenes from a movie. And what is it this time? Well it is the monologue/rant given by Montgomery Brogan (Edward Norton) in the amazing Spike Lee directed movie “25th Hour”. In this scene out “hero” gives a rant about the entirety of New York. Not only is it incredibly well-written but this scene really let Edward Norton give a fantastic performance. This scene is so intense… and there’s not even any action. I love this scene so much and that is why I want to share it with you! Warning: This scene is full of the F-word and controversial statements… and that just makes it so damn good.

 

Movie Review: 25th Hour (2002)

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If you didn’t know, I love Edward Norton. He is not only a fantastic actor…but he also donates a good amount of money to charity and let’s face it…he is one handsome son of a bitch. He have pulled out some great performances in movies like “Fight Club” and “American History X” (in which he was amazing). He is one of those actors that never is bad…NEVER! It is the movie that is bad, not him! HE IS NEVER BAD YOU MOTHERFUC…hmm, sorry about that, I had a fanboy rage moment there. So we are taking a look at one of his lesser known movies.

Dudes and chicks…”25th Hour”.

Montgomery Brogan (Edward Norton) is not at his highest point in life. Why? Because he is going to jail in 24 hours. For what you may ask. And I can tell you he is going in for drug dealing. In 24 hours he will serve a seven year long sentence. During these last hours he kind of re-evaluates his life. He wants to set a few things straight before he ends up in the joint for seven years. He got busted because someone probably ratted him out and he thinks it might be his girlfriend Naturelle (Rosario Dawson). But during these last hours he also have a few drinks with his friends Jacob (Philip Seymour Hoffman, R.I.P) and Frank (Barry Pepper). I am not going further than this with the story explanation for one reason: This story is too easy to spoil and is too interesting to spoil. It is a story that I think you should experience yourself. It is emotional, it is gripping and it is deep and makes you think about what’s right and wrong…trust me.

The characters are…people. People who have been through some shit. First up is Montgomery (out of those I wish to shortly analyze). A man who ended up on the wrong side of the law. An intelligent man who could have gotten a great job but didn’t have a too good start of life. Next up is Jacob. A teacher who got a lot on his mind at the time. His best friend is going to jail, one of his students (Anna Paquin) shows interest in him and tries to get a higher grade. And finally up on the table is Frank…he is for the most part a partying, drunk stock broker who like Jacob is a little confused since his best friend Monty is going to prison. In general…the characters in this movie are incredibly realistic and incredibly well acted. Still…that is not too much of a surprise when you have people Like Edward Norton and Philip Seymour Hoffman as some of your main actors. In general…I found them incredibly interesting to watch.

The music is damn good. The bits of original score by Terence Blanchard are magnificent, really expressing the feel of depression, sadness and a little isolation that the movie wants to show. And I fucking love that stuff. The score is near perfection (not gonna sit here and try to explain why I said “near perfection”). There are a few licensed songs as well but…I didn’t really give a shit about them. They were decent enough I guess.

I have nothing really to mention in the “General Stuff” section. Maybe I can mention that it is based on a novel by David Benioff. There, I mentioned it. Now go away.

Reception for “25th hour” was overall good. Rotten Tomatoes has a 78% rating for it and a “Fresh” Certification. Metacritic has given this movie a 67/100 score. Roger Ebert himself gave this 4/4 stars and put it on his “Great movies list”. The score for the movie on imdb.com is 7,7/10.

“25th Hour” is an intelligent, compelling, gripping and overall fantastic movie. My final score for it is a 9,76/10. This movie is worth a buy. Wait…worth a buy!? I command you to buy it! How do I do that? With the “SEAL OF APPROVAL” of course!
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Review of “25th Hour” is now done.

I wonder what I would do with my last 24 hours…