Series Review: Line of Duty – Season 4 (2017)

That’s right, another “Line of Duty” review. But don’t worry, it’s the last one… until season 5 makes its way over here.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Line of Duty” season 4!

AC-12 is back, this time investigating the recent, slightly suspicious actions of a highly decorated detective chief inspector (Thandie Newton). Twists, turns, and “holy shit” abound. Yeah, it’s another season of “Line of Duty”, the edge-of-your-seat police procedural that I still have no way of predicting where it would go each season. The threads brought back from previous seasons are tied wonderfully into some stuff here, and the new plot is great too. Really, there’s not much else that I can say without repeating what I said the last three times I reviewed this show. It’s more “Line of Duty”… and it’s great. Not season 3 great, but still great.

The characters here are as flawed, unique, layered, and interesting as always. To avoid repeating myself, I will not go over the three mains again, as I can’t say anything new about them here without going into potential spoilers. But the three of them (Martin Compston, Vicky McClure, Adrian Dunbar) are still great characters complemented by great performances. So let’s get into the new part of the core cast (for the season), that being Thandie Newton as DCI Roseanne “Roz” Huntley, a tough-as-nails policewoman who’s worked hard to get where she is. Not only is it interesting seeing her dealing with AC-12 and their inquiries, but she also has her own dealings (for lack of a better word) that she tries to handle throughout the six episodes, and that stuff is pretty engaging as well. So yeah, Huntley is an interesting character, and Newton is great in the role. And in the supporting roles we find people like Lee Ingleby, Paul Higgins, Maya Sondhi, Jason Watkins, Scott Reid, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As per the first three seasons, the music here was done by Carly Paradis, and once again it is great. Most of the time it’s a subtle piano piece that sneaks the main theme in a bit, but it does also know when to get a bit more tense, exciting, and loud. It’s probably my favorite iteration of the score so far. It doesn’t do anything overly new or groundbreaking, but it’s probably the most polished and balanced version we’ve gotten so far, and that’s an A+ in my book.

As per usual, all the episodes were written by series creator/showrunner Jed Mercurio, who even took on directing duties for the first two episodes, with John Strickland taking on the remaining four. And like with the score, this is probably the most polished version of the show so far. That’s not to say that they shy away from some of the gritty stuff… ’cause they don’t. It’s just that you can tell that they’ve come a long way since the first season in terms of both budget and storytelling confidence. Remember how I mentioned the “edge-of-your-seat” thing from before? Yeah, that applies to the direction too. In terms of suspense in television, few do it as well as “Line of Duty”.

This show/season has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 100% positive rating. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,6/10 and is ranked #158 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

So yeah, as expected, season 4 of “Line of Duty” is fucking great. Great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, great writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Line of Duty” season 4 is a 9,92/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Line of Duty” season 4 is now completed.

This show is too addictive for my own good.

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: Mission Impossible 2 (2000)

Here we are, the second part in my “Mission Impossible” review series leading up to “Mission Impossible: Fallout” in August. So let’s get into it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Mission Impossible 2”.

When a rogue agent (Dougray Scott) gets hold of a deadly virus, it is up to Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) to try to stop him from doing some bad stuff with it. So we go from a complex spy plot to a simple save the world plot. And I’m fine with that… for the most part. On one hand, sometimes you just need a “hero trying to stop a villain from doing bad shit”, and when it focuses on that it’s actually fun. But on another hand, this movie can be quite boring. The first half to be a bit more exact, as it meanders a bit too much for my taste. But when the second half kicks in, we get the fun, fast-paced, and focused action plot that we want. So overall this plot is… fine.

The characters in this are… well, they are… how do I put this… flat-ish. The first movie had tons of good character development, and this… doesn’t. Tom Cruise of course returns as IMF agent Ethan Hunt, and unlike being a vulnerable and interesting character, in this he’s kind of like James Bond. He went from a complex character to a badass archetype. And while he can be fun to watch, I feel like something’s kind of missing here. Oh well, at least Tom Cruise is really good in the role. Next we have Dougray Scott as the villain, Sean Ambrose. He’s not one of the greatest villains of all time, but he works quite well for the story being told, being an enjoyable foil for Ethan. And Scott gives a really good performance. Next we have Thandie Newton as Naya, a thief that Ethan recruits for the mission (impossible) and even falls in love with. She feels less like a fully realized character and more like a somewhat generic love interest/prop. But she does get some decent enough moments throughout to make her feel somewhat useful. And Newton is good in the role. Then we get supporting performances from people like Ving Rhames, Anthony Hopkins, Richard Roxburgh, John Polson, Brendan Gleeson, and Rade Serbedzija, all doing okay in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Hans Zimmer, and it’s pretty good. It uses an interesting blend of orchestrations, acoustic guitar, and slightly distorted electric guitar to create some pretty cool sounds. It actually helps to make some bits a bit more exciting. As for the theme by Limp Bizkit… it’s actually okay when there are no vocals, as the instrumentals are fairly competent.

This movie was not directed by Brian De Palma, but was instead helmed by John Woo. And I think he for the most part did a good job. The shots look good and he does make the edit quite interesting. And when we actually get to the action scenes Woo shows his true colors… and man, that is a good thing. The action scenes in this are fast-paced, badass, brutal (for PG-13), and tons of fun. Say what you want about his pigeon fetish, but you can’t deny that Woo knows how to handle action sequences.

This movie has gotten a lot of mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 57% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 59/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,1/10.

“Mission Impossible 2” is a mixed bag of things, but ultimately works if you want some enjoyable action. It has an okay plot, meh characters, really good performances, really good music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Mission Impossible 2” is a 7,01/10. So while very flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “Mission Impossible 2” is now completed.

SLOW-MO PIGEONS DUAL-WIELDING PISTOLS.

Series Review: Westworld – Season 1 (2016)

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It is no secret at this point that I love westerns, I’ve stated it a few too many times on this blog… and on twitter… and in real life. So I always get a bit excited when a new western gets announced. Movie, TV show… doesn’t matter, just give me a western.

Sirs and ma’ams, welcome to… “Westworld”.

Welcome to “Westworld” (roll credits), a giant theme park made to resemble the old west. This park is filled artificial beings called “hosts”, and if you’re in the park you can practically do whatever you want to them. Kill, beat up, fuck… any of it. And everything it seems to be going pretty well here. However, things soon seem to be going a little bit haywire. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that because there’s a lot of things going on here and I don’t really wana spoil any of it. But I will say that the plot is intriguing, dramatic, and overall really entertaining. And it gets even deeper and more mind-blowing as the season goes on. And I fucking loved it.

The characters in this show are all very interesting and get more and more layers as the season went on. And the actors they got for the show portrayed it all very well. To try to stay as spoiler-free as possible I’m just gonna list some of the main players in the show because they were all great and talking more in depth about them might acidentally spoil some stuff. But we did get some great acting from Evan Rachel Wood, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris, Anthony Hopkins, Jimmi Simpson, Ben Barnes, Luke Hemsworth, Rodrigo Santoro, and Angela Sarafyan… among a fuckload of other actors that did great work here!

The music in the show was composed by Ramin Djawadi and he gave us some pretty damn great tracks, The main theme is of course a standout for me, it is absolutely fantastic. And the rest of his original tunes were pretty damn great too. Exciting, hanting, and dramatic are just a few of the words I’d use to describe it. What I also kind of enjoyed is that there were some musical covers in the show that I didn’t expect. I’m not gonna say what they are, but you will most likely go “Hey, I know that song!” when you hear it. I know I did.

This show was brought to us by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy (Nolan’s wife), and was co-produced by J.J. Abrams. And what they have given us here is pretty great. The writing is superb and the directing is just as great. The shots look fantastic and scenes flow very well. And whenever there’s a bit of action it is exciting and badass. I also wanna add that this is an HBO series, so expect lots of violence and nudity. If you have a problem with those things then you might not have a great time with this show. Though I’m sure most people that read my blog aren’t really wimps like that. Also, fun fact: This show is based on an old movie that was written and directed by Michael Crichton (the brain behind “Jurassic Park”).

This show has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 89% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100.  And on imdb.com it has a score of 9,2/10 and is ranked #16 on the “Top 250 TV” list.

All I can say is that “Westworld” is a fucking amazing show. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, great music, great writing, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Bang!* My final score for “Westworld” is a 9,90/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

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

Wait… HOW LONG UNTIL SEASON 2!? 2018!?

 

 

Movie Review: Interview With the Vampire (1994)

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Vampires! You either love them or hate them. I am more on the love side to be honest. But it has kind of started to change with all these shitty teenage vampire movies (Unfortunately looking at you Twilight!). I have for a pretty long time been a fa nof vampires thanks to things like “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and “Angel”. But those shows didn’t really focus on the vampires themselves, but rather on the people trying to put down the vampires. But today we will take a look at a movie that actually focuses on the vampires themselves.

Ladies and Gentlemen…”Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles” (What a mouthful).

The story follows Louis de Pointe du Lac (Brad Pitt). He is a vampire. And the story here is that Louis is being interviewed by reporter Daniel Malloy (Christian Slater). Louis tells Daniel about his life as a vampire. From the moment Lestat de Lioncourt (Tom Cruise) turned him into a vampire and onwards. And that is your story in a nutshell. I will not really spoil the entire story for two main reasons. 1. I would be sitting here all day and this review would be too long. 2. Why would I spoil the entire story of a movie? That would be incredibly dumb. But as I always say: It does not matter if the idea for your movie is simple and not very original, as long as the execution is done well. And in this movie I can say that the execution is well done. This movie is one of the few that is perfectly paced. It never feels too slow or too fast, it is excellent in pacing. I was intrigued by the execution of this movie and I never got bored. Well done, people of this movie! Also, the ending of this movie was really surprising…not kidding. I was genuinely surprised with what they did…good job, people!

The characters are complex and interesting to watch. A lot of that is because of the excellent writing, but also because of the really good performances from the actors. I think this is one of Brad Pitt’s best performances…seriously. Mainly because he captures the feeling of this calm guy with a tortured soul. Great job, Pitt! Tom Crusie was also great in this movie. Still, he is good in everything. I was also happily surprised by (the very young) Kirsten Dunst in this movie. She killed it (Vampire pun not intended). So in general, characters and acting in this movie is great.

The music is fucking amazing. It is just what you’d expect…orchestral stuff! But that is never a bad thing (Unless it is used in a really bad movie). Here it is amazing and really sets the mood of the scenes. Composer Elliot Goldenthal did an amzing job with the soundtrack and I suggest you check him out. Want even more proof the soundtrack is great? Okay. It was nominated for an Oscar…that is how great it is.

The camera work in this movie is some of the best I have seen in quite a while (Even rivaling Jack Reacher). Sure, it is not as great as anything done by David Fincher, but it still worth a mention for it’s quality. Also the makeup in this movie is really well done. Not only to make the vampires look pale and half dead…but even when showing decaying corpses it is amazing. Almost, just almost rivaling “The Walking Dead”.

Reception for “Interview With the Vampire” was something that was overall pretty good. Rotten Tomatoes has a score of 61% positive reviews. Metacritic gave it a 59/100. Roger Ebert gave this movie 3/4 stars and said:

Although one of the characters in “Interview with the Vampire” begs to be transformed into a vampire, and eagerly awaits the doom of immortality, the movie never makes vampirism look like anything but an endless sadness. That is its greatest strength. Vampires throughout movie history have often chortled as if they’d gotten away with something. But the first great vampire movie, “Nosferatu” (1922), knew better, and so does this one.

This movie has a 7,7/10 on imdb.com. It was also nominated for 2 Oscars. Best art decoration-set decoration and Best Original Score. However it did not win on any of them.

“Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles” (Still a mouthful) is an intriguing, well filmed, well acted movie with a great soundtrack. I am ready to give it my final score now. My final score for “Interview With the Vampire” is an 9,10/10 and with that, a recommendation to buy it. It is a great movie.

“Interview With the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles” is now reviewed.

I wonder what it would be like to see Lestat fight with Buffy…