Series Review: Fortitude – Season 1 (2015)

I am aware that I’m kind of stretching it a bit here in terms of the Month of Spooks, but there are aspects of this show that kind of work for it. Also, I kind of cheated with “Mindhunter” last year, so I think I’m allowed this one this year.

Ladies and gentlemen, I welcome you to… “Fortitude”.

On the edge of the arctic circle lies the town of Fortitude, a frozen place with a small population. A town that has been safe for as long as it’s existed. But the peace of Fortitude is disturbed when a violent crime occurs. So now we have our cold as hell thriller. And it’s good. It has an eerie feel to it that makes it stand out from other crime-thrillers out there, and the mysteries it sets up throughout the season are quite intriguing. I was sometimes taken out of the show a bit though. While it is fairly grounded most of the time, there are occasions when it suddenly requires a lot of suspension of disbelief. Now, aside from some of those moments, this is an engaging, chilling (HA!), and overall intriguing story.

The characters in this are layered, flawed, interesting, and mostly all feel pretty realistic. I will however not go in-depth about them because the cast here is so big that we’d be here all god damn day, and none of us want that. But I can say that the cast is pretty impressive. Including people like Richard Dormer, Nicholas Pinnock, Alexandra Moen, Luke Treadaway, Stanley Tucci, Michael Gambon, Sofia Gråbøl, Elizabeth Dormer-Phillips, Darren Boyd, Mia Jexen, Christopher Eccleston, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the season was composed by Ben Frost, and I think he did a really good job with it. His music has a way of capturing the feel of this frozen and remote location. It’s eerie, it’s suspense-building, it’s emotional, it just works incredibly well for the show. There are also a few licensed tracks used throughout, and they work pretty well in their respective scenes too.

“Fortitude” was created by Simon Donald, and written/directed by a whole bunch of people, and I think what they created here is really interesting. For one, it’s a pretty unique location for a show. A remote town in one of the coldest parts of the world, perfect setting for this kind of show. And thanks to the directing and some frankly gorgeous cinematography, they really capture the feel of the location perfectly. They also build a lot of suspense with it, and even capture some imagery that is kind of horror-esque in how graphic and disturbing it is.

This show/season has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 86% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 75/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

While not perfect, “Fortitude” still serves up a nice, cold mystery. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Though as previously mentioned, the score if brought down a bit by the show expecting you to really bend your suspension of disbelief. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Fortitude” season 1 is an 8,91/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it’s definitely still worth watching.

My review of “Fortitude” season 1 is now completed.

It still kind of works as horror.

Movie Review: Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)

This is a very special review. Some of you might think my reasoning for it is because both “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Infinity War” are coming out soon, and that could be a valid argument for it, but that is wrong in this case. I am reviewing this movie in honor of a friend who passed away recently. He was a big fan of the Captain, and I thought that this was the best way I could honor him on here. So here we go.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Captain America: The First Avenger”.

Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is a young man who just wants to serve his country, but isn’t allowed due to his scrawny build. But one day he takes part in a secret government experiment that turns him into a super soldier. And shortly after this he finds himself on the path to taking down Hydra, an evil nazi death cult led by the evil Johann “Red Skull” Schmidt (Hugo Weaving). So now we have our origin story. And I have to say, I found myself more invested in the plot here than I did the first time I watched it. Sure, I’m not gonna sit here and pretend like this is the most original or even most well written plot ever, but it’s far from bad… in fact, it’s quite good. On one hand you get a fun WW2 adventure with a sci-fi twist, and on the other you get an inspiring tale of overcoming great adversity despite your limitations. The plot isn’t too deep and complicated, but it makes up for that in how inspiring and entertaining it is.

The characters here are unique, interesting, and entertaining. Chris Evans plays Steve Rogers/Captain America, a young man who’s been picked on most of his life. But despite this he has always stood up to bullies and bad people, always willing to give his life for what he cares about. He’s a truly inspiring character if I’ve ever seen one. And Evans is great in the role. Hayley Atwell plays Peggy Carter, a special agent that Steve works with throughout the movie. She’s tough but she does also have a more vulnerable side, making her feel a bit more layered than some characters with similar setups. And Atwell is great in the role. Then we have Tommy Lee Jones as colonel Chester Phillips, Steve’s superior and a tough but fair military man. And Tommy Lee Jones is very Tommy Lee Jones in the role… AKA really good. Then we have Hugo Weaving as Johann Schmidt, AKA Red Skull, AKA evil nazi death cult leader, AKA villain. And he’s suitably intimidating in the role, making the character a bit more interesting in the process. The character in itself isn’t very deep, but Weaving’s performance is what makes him so interesting and memorable. So yeah, Weaving is really good. Then we have Sebastian Stan as James “Bucky” Barnes, Steve’s best friend. You do get a good feel of their friendship and the character is decently interesting. And Stan is really good in the role. And throughout the movie you get some really solid supporting performances from people like Dominic Cooper, Stanley Tucci, Toby Jones, Neal McDonough, Kenneth Choi, Richard Armitage, Derek Luke, JJ Feild, and many more. It’s a very well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Alan Silvestri and I thought it was pretty great. What I like about it is that it aims to capture the feel of inspiration and wonder that comes with Steve’s journey from Brooklyn boy to Captain America. And it does help build some decent tension at times. And in general the score really inspires me to want to go out and do some good. So yeah, the music is great.

The movie was directed by Joe Johnston and I think he did a really good job here. What I like about his direction is that he gives the movie a very retro vibe, often emulating action-adventures of the past. And I think that style really works well for the story and setting. It even bleeds through into the action scenes which are intense, badass, and just a ton of fun.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 80% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 66/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

While it isn’t necessarily the best MCU film, “Captain America: The First Avenger” is an inspiring and highly entertaining action movie. It has a really good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and really good directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Captain America: The First Avenger” is a 9,60/10. Which means it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Captain America: The First Avenger” is now completed.

Here’s to you, Eric… you are sorely missed. Rest in peace, my friend.

Movie Review: Spotlight (2015)

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Bullshit happens in our world all the time. From corrupt politicians, to corrupt courts, to corrupt cops, to corrupt men of faith… a lot of corruption now that I think about it. Anyhow, all of it is awful… I got nothing else to say.

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… “Spotlight”.

The year is 2001. The Boston globe’s investigative team (called “Spotlight”, roll credits) starts investigating allegations of sexual abuse within the Catholic church. And the movie follows their journey as they are looking into this, and some of the difficulties with getting it done. And it’s no huge conspiracy thriller we’re dealing with here, oh no. This is a quiet and slowly burning drama that completely engrossed me from start to finish. Seeing these people investigate all of this is incredibly fascinating. And I have to admit that when certain things were uncovered and we learned more about what was going on… I got a little bit disturbed… because the things that we learn are pretty fucked up. But yeah, I was totally invested in the story of this movie. It was very interesting and had a good amount of emotion to it.

The characters in this movie are all very clearly passionate about this investigation they are working on, and they are all very interesting and believable. And the actors definitely helped sell a lot of that for me. Mark Ruffalo is great, Michael Keaton is great, Rachel McAdams is great, Liev Schreiber is great, Brian d’Arcy James is great, John Slattery is great… every single actor in this movie is great! But what I enjoyed about these performances mainly is how reserved they all are… which adds a lot to the realism of it. Really, the way they act in this movie doesn’t feel Hollywoodized in any way, it feels very real and genuine. There’s only maybe one outburst (typical Oscar/Hollywood thing) in this movie, but it feels like it has a purpose where it is, and doesn’t just feel like it’s there for the sake of being there. Yeah, it’s a very well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Howard Shore and it is pretty damn good. Most of the time I really didn’t necessarily notice it, but that isn’t really a bad thing. Like with the story and acting, the score is very quiet and reserved and perfectly fits the movie. And after also litening to it a bit after the movie I have to say that the music overall is really good.

This movie was directed by Tom McCarthy and I think he did a really good job with it. The shots never do anything too crazy or innovative, but it’s a smoothly directed movie that looks great. And again, it perfectly works with the more quiet and reserved style of everything else in the movie.

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 93/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10 and is ranked #192 on the “Top 250” list. The movie also won 2 Oscars in the categories of Best picture and Best original screenplay. It was also nominated for an additional 4 Oscars in the categories of Best supporting actor (Ruffalo), Best supporting actress (McAdams), Best director, and Best film editing. 

“Spotlight” is a pretty fuckin’ great movie. It has an engrossing plot, really interesting characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *ahem*. My final score for “Spotlight” is a 9,88/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Spotlight” is now completed.

Remember that time Bruce Wayne, Howard Stark, Bruce Banner, Christine Palmer,  and Sabretooth worked for a newspaper? Good times.

Movie Review: Road to Perdition (2002)

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I am a big fan of mobster related stories, whether it’s from a movie, TV-show, book or even video games. I don’t know why they fascinate me so much, I guess they just kind of do. So then I heard about a mob movie starring one of my favorite actors (Tom Hanks). So of course it got my attention pretty quickly… even though it took me a lot of time before I watched it. But now I have finally gotten the chance to watch it and it’s time to talk about it!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Road to Perdition”.

This movie follows the young boy Michael Sullivan Jr. (Tyler Hoechlin) as he one night watches what his father (Tom Hanks) does for a living… killing people. So after that his mother and younger brother get killed by Connor Rooney (Daniel Craig) who was working with Sullivan sr. that night. So of course our hero must run away with his son to keep him safe. He is also going around hunting down who were part of the death of his family. I know my explanation of the plot if pretty vague but it is difficult talking about this plot without giving you every detail ever. I can at least say that I loved both the premise of the plot and the execution. The movie really explores the relationship between father and son here and how they bond… in a strange way. The story not only brought up some interesting things but was also pretty powerful. So I can safely say that I thoroughly enjoyed the story in this movie.

The characters were really well-written. They didn’t only have great dialogue but also felt very realistic in what came out of their mouths. And the performances in the movie were pretty fucking great if you ask… well, anyone. Tom Hanks is always good, but I feel like this might be one of his best performances in my opinion. Paul Newman was also pretty great in this movie. It was also nice to see Daniel Craig in a great performance that wasn’t James Bond. Jude Law was also really good. Overall every actor did a great job in this movie, but there was one performance that really surprised me with how good it was and that was young Tyler Hoechlin who was only 15 at the time. He honestly gave one of the best child performances I have ever seen. Great job, Tyler!

The score by Thomas Newman is nothing short of great. It really works to create the dark, tense atmosphere of the movie. Yes there were a few more light-hearted parts in both the movie and the score that loosened the tension a little bit but I think that worked pretty damn well. There were a few tracks that I believe weren’t composed by Thomas Newman but were licensed tracks… but they worked too. Every piece of music in this movie really helped capture the time period of the 1930’s which is the time period the movie is set in. So the music was overall great.

This movie is beautifully directed. It is rare to find a movie that looks this great these days. It uses a bunch of longer takes in some scenes which I really appreciate since a lot of modern movies uses cuts every god damn second. I also appreciate how they didn’t use shaky-cam during the more action-y scenes and actually let us see the god damn things on the screen (compared to all modern movies). Here is a fun fact about the movie; It is based on a graphic novel by Max Allan Collins and Richard Piers Rayner. And to answer your possible question, no I have not read the graphic novel but I kinda wish to.

This movie was fairly well-received. It has an 81% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 72/100. Roger Ebert gave this movie 3/4 stars, and no I couldn’t find a decent quote from him to sum up his thoughts on the movie, but I could at least assume he liked it since it got 3/4 stars. Anyway, on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10. The movie won an Oscar for Best cinematography. It was also nominated for another 5 Oscars in the categories of Best Supporting Actor (Paul Newman), Best set decoration, Best sound, Best sound editing, Best original score. 

This movie features an interesting/powerful story, great performances and writing, great music, beautiful camera work/cinematography and an overall great atmosphere. So now I am going to hand out my final score for this movie. So my final score for “Road to Perdition” is a 9,71/10 which grants it the one and only “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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“Road to Perdition” is now reviewed.

R.I.P Paul Newman.