Movie Review: Hope Springs (2012)

Marriage. A bond between a man and a woman. Or a man and a man. Or a woman and a woman. The point I’m trying to make is that it’s a bond, connecting to people (sometimes out of love, sometimes because of horrible shit) in a more powerful way. But even the happiest of marriages can show cracks, especially after a really long time. Let’s explore that.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Hope Springs”.

Kay (Meryl Streep) and Arnold (Tommy Lee Jones) have been married for a long time. And while they have a nice and easy daily routine, Kay feels like their marriage has gotten a bit stale. So she books tickets for them to go to intensive couples therapy to see if she can’t fix their situation a bit. Stories about sexless marriages isn’t anything new, and the plot here doesn’t do anything new or totally unpredictable. Overall I’d call it… fine. It’s breezy and enjoyable enough, with only a few moments of melodrama that sometimes work and sometimes don’t. It’s a harmless enough plot that I’d call fine.

The characters in this aren’t the deepest, but I also don’t hate them. They’re fine. Meryl Streep plays Kay, the one of the two who gets the plot started, the one that feels like something’s off about the marriage. She loves her husband, but she wants things to be less… dry. She easily gets emotional, and it’s a bit hit or miss for me throughout. But I can safely say that Meryl Streep is great. Tommy Lee Jones plays Arnold, the Tommy Lee Jones-ian grouch who seems to be perfectly fine with the dry and sexless marriage that he’s part of. And it’s interesting to see him get some decent character development here. And Jones is really good in the role. Then we have Steve Carell as Doctor Feld, the therapist that Kay and Arnold see during their little vacation. You can tell that he’s actually interested in what’s going on, and he seems like he genuinely likes helping people. He mainly serves as a plot device to get the Kay’s and Arnold’s plot moving forward, but he’s also an enjoyable presence. And Carell is really good in the role.

The score for the movie was composed by Theodore Shapiro and it was fine… I think. I almost never really noticed it. I could at times kind of hear it, but those tracks felt more like fodder rather than any actual mood-setter. Then there’s also a bunch of licensed tracks used throughout and I have mixed feelings. While the songs themselves were pretty good, the way they were used was a bit… sledgehammer-y. Like they used songs “appropriate to the situation”, meaning lyrics exactly explaining what was going on with the characters, things we could’ve picked up on without the “YOU HEAR THIS SHIT, WE SO CLEVER!” use of music. So the music in this movie overall is… fine.

This movie was directed by David Frankel, and he did a pretty good job. Like I said about the plot, it’s quite fun and breezy, and there’s no shot that lingers too long. And the camerawork in general is fine. There are also some jokes here that are fine. I never laughed out loud, but there were a bunch of chuckles throughout.

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 65/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,3/10.

While “Hope Springs” is far from a great movie, it’s still an enjoyable enough little romcom. It has an okay plot, okay characters, really good performances, okay music, good directing, and okay comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Hope Springs” is a 6,23/10. While very flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “Hope Springs” is now completed.

Seen better, seen worse.

Series Review: Angie Tribeca – Season 1 (2016)

Police work is serious business. Finding killers, stopping drug dealers, preventing further thefts. So it’s interesting when the profession is played around with in film and tv in a more comedic format. We’ve gotten quite a few variations on that throughout the years, and today’s review is of one such thing.

Ladies and gents… “Angie Tribeca” season 1.

Angie Tribeca (Rashida Jones) is a tough-as-nails, no nonsense, lone wolf of a police detective in an LAPD precinct. But her whole life will change when she’s assigned a new partner (Hayes MacArthur) who will help her solve some really horrible crimes, like the apparent suicide of several bakers, or the death of a beloved ventriloquist. So now we have our cop comedy (copedy?). And what I like about the plot(s) of this show is that it kind of follows the “Airplane!” mentality of storytelling, in that it doesn’t immediately feel like a comedy until they start involving the jokes and other silly things throughout. It gives it a fun and (in these modern times) refreshing feel that I always loved following. And each case that the team takes on is of course a fun spin on the typical cop formula as well. Good stuff.

The characters in this take some of the established characteristics of serious cop shows and turns them into sillier and slightly more incompetent versions of them. First up we have Rashida Jones as Angie Tribeca, who respresents the typical “I had a partner, and now I don’t want a partner” badass who might learn to warm up to a new partner. She’s a good cop, but can be a bit impulsive form time to time. And Jones is great in the role. Then we have Hayes MacArthur as Jay Geils, Angie’s new partner in crime-solving. He shows a decent amount of deductive reasoning, but he is also not the smartest tool in the shed. And MacArthur is great in the role. Next up we have Jere Burns as Chet Atkins, Angie’s and Jay’s lieutenant. He’s loud and a bit stuck up, but ultimately cares about his precinct and is often involved in operations. And Burns is great in the role. Then we have Andree Vermeulen as Monica, a medical examiner who works at the precinct. She’s smart and is probably the one who is the best at actually doing her job at this precinct. And Vermeulen is really good in the role. Then we have Deon Cole as Tanner, another detective from the precinct. He’s a little harder to pin down as a character, but he is an enjoyable character who gets some good moments throughout. And Cole is really good in the role. And finally we have detective David Hoffman, played by Jagger… a german shepherd. Yes. One of the main players is a dog. And there’s a really funny recurring joke about him throughout that I will not spoil. But I can safely say that Jagger is a good boy. Then you get tons of great supporting work throughout from people like Alfred Molina (who might be my favorite in the show), Lisa Kudrow, Gary Cole, John Michael Higgins, and so many more. A lot of talented people in this.

The score for “Angie Tribeca” was composed by Jim Latham, and I think it was really good. Kind of like I mentioned with the plot, the music takes a sort of “Airplane!” approach where it’s done like it’s not in on the joke, and has a fairly serious sound, which adds to the absurdity of the entire thing, which improves on a lot of scenes throughout.

The show was created by Steve Carell and his wife Nancy, and written/directed by them (and various other people). And they’ve created something really fun here. It’s mostly shot like a relatively serious show (again, kind of like “Airplane!”), but it’s filled with a lot of gags. Speaking of which, the comedy in this copedy (I am gonna start using that term from now on) is absolutely hilarious. I’d say that it’s a mix of “Naked Gun” and “Hot Fuzz”. It can be extremely silly (“Naked Gun”) and it can be snappy and self-award (“Hot Fuzz”), while still feeling like it’s own thing. I don’t think there’s any joke in this that I found bad. I always laughed, whether through a small chuckle or a gut-busting laughter. It’s so much fun.

This show/season has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 78/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

Season 1 of “Angie Tribeca” is the type of silliness that we don’t really get much of these days, so I find the show quite refreshing. It has a really good plot, great characters, great performances, good music, good directing, and fantastic comedy. Time for my final score. *FREEZE!*. My final score for season 1 of “Angie Tribeca” is a 9,84/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Angie Tribeca” season 1 is now completed.

Sometimes you just need a good laugh.

Movie Review: The Big Short (2015)

Finances. While they are important for society (somehow), I find it hard to give a shit about them. They’re not interesting, they’re not fun, and they often make little to no sense.

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… “The Big Short”.

In 2007, some people working within various sectors of the financial world predict that the global economy is gonna collapse in a very near future. So we follow these men as they either try to do something about it or try to earn a profit from it. And this gives us all a deep look into the world of banking, finances, and the people behind all of that shit. And while it’s an interesting enough idea for a plot, I was never really invested in it. It does a pretty good job of trying to explain things in a way that an idiot like me can kind of understand, I felt like this plot wasn’t that strong. It felt a bit unfocused and the tone was a bit inconsistent. It went from comedic to really serious at times. And while that can work in a movie (See “Up in the Air”), here it felt a bit off. I wouldn’t necessarily call it bad, overall it is an interesting plot and I was never bored… but the clashing tones and the amount of plots going on makes it a little messy.

What this movie lacks in plot, it makes up for in characters. While none of them are heroes in any way. they were all fleshed out, entertaining, and interesting to watch. Christian Bale plays Michael Burry, a really smart but kind of socially awkward guy who is the first person to kind of predict the financial crisis, and Bale is great in the role. Steve Carell plays Mark Baum, a man who’s part of all of this who also happens to be kind of prone to anger. And Carell gives a great performance. Ryan Gosling plays Jared Vennett, a wall street man who more or less acts as our narrator, and Gosling was good in the role. Brad Pitt plays Ben Rickert, a veteran within the business, and while he wasn’t in the movie much, he was really good in the role. Then we also got a whole bunch of great supporting performances from people like Hamish Linklater, Melissa Leo, John Magaro, Finn Wittrock, Marisa Tomei, and a whole bunch of other people.

The score for the movie was composed by Nicholas Britell and it was really good. What I especially enjoyed about it was how it played around with a whole bunch of different styles. From more serious and gloomy piano pieces to fun and energetic tracks. And it worked very well for the movie, often elevating scenes. There were also a whole bunch of licensed tracks throughout the movie, and not only were they often overall good songs, but they also worked very well in the scenes they were used in.

This movie was directed by Adam McKay and he did an okay job. His direction takes on a very documentary-esque style, containing a lot of quick zooms and feeling very amateur-ish. And while that can work for certain movies, I don’t think it worked too well for this one. Especially with some of the weird fourth wall breaks that the movie has. Again, it’s not necessarily bad directing, but I feel like it wasn’t the best choice for this story.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 81/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10. The movie won 1 Oscar in the category of Best adapted screenplay. It also got an additional 4 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best supporting actor (Bale), Best director, and Best film editing.

“The Big Short” is a movie the critics loved, but I thought was only fine. It features an okay plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and okay directing. My problems with the movie (as previously stated) come from the story being kind of messy and the directing being a little too amateur-ish for the subject matter/story. Time for my final score. *Gulp*. My final score for “The Big Short” is a 8,50/10. While quite flawed I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “The Big Short” is now completed.

That 8,5 I gave it was on the edge of not being worth buying (8,5 is minimum for “Worth Buying”). So I ask y’all out there, what is a movie the critics loved that you didn’t think was that great?

Movie Review: The Way Way Back (2013)

the_way_way_back_movie-1366x768

I am gonna be completely honest with you, summer is not really my favorite time of year. It is too warm, there are mosquitos everywhere and people expect you to throw off all your clothes for like swimming trunks or bikinis or whatever you are expected to wear. I am a guy who prefer to sit inside all day and watch movies rather than walk around outside without a shirt. Plus, it is not the best time for me since I got pollen allergy. I am more of a spring/autumn guy. But alas, I have to endure the summer every fucking year. Is there anything about the usmmer that I like? Yes… movies set during the summer. And today we are taking a look at such a movie.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Way Way Back”!

This movie is about the story of shy 14-year old Duncan (Liam James). He and his mother Pam (Toni Collette) are going with Pam’s boyfriend Trent (Steve Carell) and his daughter Steph (Zoe Levin) to their summer house near a beach. Of course Duncan isn’t too happy about it considering he is shy and a little antisocial. But one day when he goes to the water park “Water Wizz” he meets a man named Owen (Sam Rockwell) who he quickly befriends and starts haning with every day. Hell, Owen even gives him a job at the park where he gets to meet the employees there and just have something to do all day… but neither his mom nor Trent knows about this little new occupation of this. And this is kind of what we get. We get to see Duncan interact with the people who work at the park and also see how his friendship with Owen evolves. We also get to see how Duncan’s relationship with his mom and “family” kind of bounces around. And I have to say I really liked the story of “The Way Way Back”. Sure, some things in it are very familiar and not original but that is not the idea of a thing like this. The idea of a thing like this is to take those familiar things but keep them entertaining in it’s own way. And this movie does this perfectly. The story was fun.

The characters in this movie are perfectly portrayed. Not jsut in the acting department, but also because they are very well-written. The characters are very realistic and have some really good dialogue. I also feel like all the characters are very unique and feel different from each other (in a good way). For example, Liam James plays the shy yet likeable main character in this movie, he is just a guy who you know you will like. Then we got Steve Carell who surprisingly plays a pretty convincing dick in this movie. Not saying he is completely unlikeable, he just happens to be a bit of a dick. And I can’t hold it anymore… Sam Rockwell in this movie is honestly fantastic! He was really made to play this character, just like him this character is wise-cracking and full of energy and he did it perfectly. I also think his and Liam James’ chemistry was fantastic. It is rare for me to see that kind of chemistry these days. So as you may have guessed, I liked the characters in the movie.

The music is kind of interesting because the majority of tracks you here are licensed tracks. Sure, there are a bunch of original tracks as well done by Rob Simonsen that all work, but you don’t notice them as much. And I have to admit that the licensed tracks didn’t really bother me. I actually think they worked to really sell the summer-feel of this movie. And I have to say that the tracks were pretty enjoyable. And the original score was good as well.

The camera work, while not groundbreaking, was still really good. The camera guy for this movie really knew how to frame a scene and just make the entire thing look good. I also feel like I have to touch on how this movie isn’t a straight up comedy but rather a comedy with a fair amount of dramatic bits. Sure, none of the dramatic parts made me cry, but they did actually get to me. And I have to say that at first I thought “Okay this movie is pretty okay”. But as I got further into it I really started liking it more and more.

This movie was pretty well-received by both critics and audience members alike. On Rotten Tomatoes this movie has an 85% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 68/100. And finally on imdb.com it has a 7,4/10.

“The Way Way Back” is a movie filled with a ton of funny moments, some good drama, a ton of good performances and a lot of heart. It also has one really catchy soundtrack. So maybe it is time to hand out my final score. My Final score for “The Way Way Back” is surprisingly a 9,55/10 which grants it the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”. I was really surprised how much I liked this.
49920178

“The Way Way Back” is now reviewed.

A summer movie in october… weird.