Movie Review: The Adjustment Bureau (2011)

Happy valentines day, my friends. Hope you’re showing the love today. Whether for your significant other, your friends, your relatives, your pet, it doesn’t matter. Just show some love. Anyway, since it’s the day of lovey-dovey bullshit, let’s talk about a romance movie of sorts.

Ladies and gents… “The Adjustment Bureau”.

David Norris (Matt Damon) is a congressman in the state of New York. One day he meets professional dancer Elise (Emily Blunt) and starts falling in love with her. But their relationship gets halted at every turn by a mysterious organization hellbent on keeping them apart. So now David has to try to outsmart them and take control of his own destiny. And I thought the plot here was… fine. It has a damn good concept, and I did enjoy the chain of events along with some of the fairly unique world building they did throughout. It did however never fully grab me. It felt like they only really scraped the surface of the idea to try to appeal to the broadest audience possible. It’s like if “Dark City” was a bit bland. So overall, the plot here is fine, if a bit toothless.

The characters in this I found to be decently enjoyable. Matt Damon plays David Norris, a congressman with dreams of moving up in the political world, but can’t quite do that while dealing with this whole Elise situation. And we see him get some decent development throughout as he tries to figure out what the hell is going on. And Damon is great in the role. Emily Blunt plays Elise, the woman that Norris meets and falls in love with. She’s a tough, charming, and overall pretty interesting lady that I liked following a bit in the movie. And Blunt is great in the role. We also get supporting work from people like John Slattery, Anthony Mackie, Michael Kelly, Terence Stamp, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for this movie was composed by Thomas Newman, and it was fine. It was a bit bland, while still being decently enjoyable to listen to in the background of the film. I guess it worked well enough for the various scenes throughout the movie, even though it didn’t bring any real oomph to it.

Based on a short story by Philip K. Dick (why am I not surprised), this movie was written and directed by George Nolfi, who I think did a pretty good job. His direction gives the movie a decent bit of energy and helps it from feeling stale. Sure, the plot is a bit so-and-so, but the directing is still good enough to slightly elevate it.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 71% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 60/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10.

While it has its fair share of flaws, “The Adjustment Bureau” is still a fairly enjoyable little romantic thriller. It has a fine plot, pretty good characters, great performances, fine music, and good directing. Though as previously mentioned, the plot didn’t really stick with me, and the music didn’t really bring anything for me. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Adjustment Bureau” is a 7,87/10. So while it is flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “The Adjustment Bureau” is now completed.

Nothing like stories of forbidden love.

Movie Review: Jarhead (2005)

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

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… “Jarhead”.

Anthony Swofford is young man who recently enlisted with the United States marines. And we follow him in the time leading up to and during Operation Desert Storm, and how much damage it does to him psychologically. There’s a lot of interesting scenes throughout that does develop the story, and I was somewhat interested in everything that was going on. But I never really felt as engaged as this type of story should’ve gotten me. There was never that emotional hook that a story like this should be able to get. Now, I’m not saying it needs to make me cry, just that it needs to grab me and hold onto me really tightly… which it never really did. I remember some really well done moments throughout, but never was I fully invested in it all. Overall, a fine story.

The characters in this are all assholes… but in a believable way. I really believe that this is what one would become if going through all of that. And I find them all to be quite interesting. Jake Gyllenhaal (as previously mentioned) plays Anthony Swofford, a smart young man who goes through the ups and downs of marine life. Seeing a good guy like him tested like this is quite interesting, and it makes him a pretty compelling character. And Gyllenhaal is of course fantastic in the role. And throughout the movie we get supporting performances from people like Peter Sarsgaard, Jamie Foxx, Evan Jones, Brian Geraghty, Lucas Black, Chris Cooper, Dennis Haysbert, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score was composed by Thomas Newman, and it was pretty good. It takes some inspiration from rock and a few middle-eastern influences, all of which comes together to create an interesting atmosphere for the movie. It’s tense, fun, and just overall pretty cool. There are also a few licensed tracks used throughout the movie, all of them pleasing to the ear, and all of them working quite well in their respective scenes.

This movie was directed by Sam Mendes, and I think he did a good job. When he wanted to make me feel uneasy, he made me feel uneasy. When he wanted to build some suspense, he built some suspense. Mendes has a good eye for these things. And speaking of seeing things, the cinematography by Roger Deakins? Absolutely fantastic (what else would you expect from that man?).

This movie has gotten some slightly mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 61% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

“Jarhead” has a lot of good things going for it, but it’s far from perfect. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. As previously mentioned, it is brought down quite a bit by a lack of a good emotional hook in the story. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Jarhead” is an 8,54/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Jarhead” is now completed.

Bang a gong, get it on…

Movie Review: The Lost Boys (1987)

So far for the Month of Spooks we’ve covered a couple kinds of horror. Namely hauntings and psychopaths. So let’s move on to a different kind of horror. And what better to move on to than one of the most reliable kinds of horror, vampires! So let’s fuckin’ do it.

Ladies and gentlemen, they are… “The Lost Boys”.

During a summer, brothers Michael (Jason Patric) and Sam (Corey Haim, R.I.P) move with their mom (Dianne West) to the town of Santa Carla. However their lives soon take a turn for the worse when they discover that this town is a haven for a group of vampires. So now we have our vampire plot. And I’d say that it is pretty good. It doesn’t take itself too seriously which I think makes it really enjoyable and easy to get through. But while it is a pro for the movie, it is also a bit of a con. Sure, this somewhat lighter tone makes it a fun and enjoyable ride, but it also makes things feel a bit inconsequential, taking away some tension from it all. It doesn’t bring it down too much for me, but I still feel like I should mention that the plot here didn’t engage me as much as it could have. So overall it is good. Not great, but good.

The characters here are all fun and decently interesting. Jason Patric plays Michael, the older of the two brothers who move to vampire-town. He is the one who gets the biggest arc here. Sure, it’s not the deepest character arc in cinema, but it’s definitely the best arc in the movie. And Patric is really good in the movie. Corey Haim (may he rest in peace) plays Michael’s brother, Sam. He’s a young, somewhat impulsive, but still well meaning lad. And Haim is really good in the role. Dianne West plays their (for the most part) really chill mom. And she’s good in the role. Kiefer Sutherland plays David, the head of the group of vampires. A thrill-seeking, corny, badass vampire who’s quite a bit of fun. And Sutherland is really good in the role. Then we have Corey Feldman (because of course he’s in the 80s movie) and Jamison Newlander, the Frog brothers, a pair of vampire hunting youngsters that Sam befriends. They’re pretty fun, and both Feldman and Newlander give good performances. Really, this is an overall well acted movie filled with recognizable faces.

The score for the movie was composed by Thomas Newman and it was pretty good. It was fun and horror-ish, adding some mild tension to certain scenes. There’s not a lot I can say about the main score here… it’s good. But what I can say more about is the soundtrack… holy shit, it is great! It’s filled with awesome rock and pop music from bands/artists like INXS, Lou Gramm, Gerard McCann, Echo & The Bunnymen, Tim Cappello, and even Aerosmith/Run DMC. It’s a very 80s soundtrack, but I love it and it works very well within the movie.

This movie was directed by Joel Schumacher (second Schumacher movie in less than a month, I swear this is a coincidence). And I think he did a really good job here. His shots look good and everything flows pretty nicely throughout. There are also some pretty neat directing tricks in here that he had to use due to the apparently low-ish budget. And the vampire makeup stuff looks fine. In terms of scares… I wasn’t scared. It is tense in parts, but it never made me feel scared or creeped out. But I get the feeling that it didn’t try to strictly try to spook us, but rather just be a somewhat chilly horror-comedy that you can watch and just have with. As for the jokes… yeah, I laughed. Never a gut-busting laughter, but it did manage to get past chuckle at a couple points.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 73% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 63/100. Roger Ebert gave it 2,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,3/10.

“The Lost Boys” is a fun little vampire movie. It has a good plot, good characters, really good performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Lost Boys” is an 8,99/10. While I didn’t love it, I still think that it is definitely worth buying.

My review of “The Lost Boys” is now completed.

I already wasn’t a fan of noodles, and this movie isn’t doing noodles any favors.

Movie Review: Road to Perdition (2002)

post_0028_2

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!”
49920178

“Road to Perdition” is now reviewed.

R.I.P Paul Newman.

Movie Review: The Green Mile (1999)

404195

Stephen King is one of those authors that writes stuff the majority of people who read it like. Personally I am a big fan of his “Dark Tower” series. Most people know King for his horror novels like “The Shining”, “It” and “The Monkey”. What some people maybe didn’t know is the fact that he also writes drama…yeah. Does “Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption” sound familiar? Well if it doesn’t, then you have missed out on the thick words there and with that, something great. But today we are taking a look at another one of his dramas, in movie format.

Ladies and gentlemen, the most voted movie in my poll…”The Green Mile”!

Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) is a guard on death row. More specifically he is a guard at the death row called “The Green Mile” (Roll credits). He works there with his colleagues Brutus “Brutal” Howell (David Morse), Dean Stanton (Barry Pepper), Harry Terwilliger (Jeffrey DeMunn) and Percy Wetmore (Doug Hutchison). They have a bunch of different criminals in there. But one day they get a special new addition to the group of criminals in there…a huge black man named John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan, R.I.P) who was arrested for the (this is not fun to say) rape and murder of two young girls. Sounds like a scary guy huh? But when he walks in he acts like the biggest softy ever (Scared of the dark, very polite and doesn’t seem like a troublemaker at all). Soon after, Paul and crew will find out that this man has a mysterious “gift”. Now that is all I can say about the plot without going into too many spoilers. Now, like most Stephen King stories, this is incredibly complex. And for you people out there who think complex only means “Mindfuck”…you’re wrong. For a story to be, all it needs are several layers…not necessarily mindfucking. And with that I have to say that “The Green Mile” succeeds with it’s multi-layered story and general well done execution. Not only is it a good story on paper, it is also really well done. But that is something director Frank Darabont is really good at (See “Shawshank Redemption”). With an original plot by Stephen King, an adapted screenplay and direction by Frank Darabont, the story comes together nicely.

The characters in this movie have more layers to them than a wedding cake. Not only are they incredibly well-written, but the actors are fantastic! I was especially impressed by Michael Clarke Duncan…that dude did a fantastic job in this movie. I was also happily surprised to see Barry Pepper in a really good role (considering he would do the worst movie I’ve ever seen one year later). One thing when it comes to the actors really surprised me. One of the inmates at the place was played by Sam Fucking Rockwell…wow. I am a big fan of his, so seeing him in this movie (pulling off a fantastic performance). You really thought he was this psycho hillbilly. So in general, characters have many layers and the actors are fantastic.

The music…oh my fucking god, the music. The soundtrack by Thomas Newman is fantastic. I am really surprised it didn’t get nominated for an Oscar. It is your typical oschestral/beautiful drama soundtrack…but that is why it is as fantastic as it is. It is your typical thing…but it is so well done that I don’t mind. It is as I always say…the idea can be as generic as it can get, as long as it is executed in a really good way.

The camera work…nothing special there. It is good, nothing more. I can also mention that this movie left me crying. If a movie can make me cry…good job you bastards (who worked on the movie), you won! Also, did I mention Sam Rockwell was in this movie? What? I did? Oh well, rather one time too much than one time too few. I was also very surprised how funny it got at a few point in the movie…good job Frank Darabont, your comedy in your drama doesn’t feel forced. Might also be good to mention that it is three hours long…so prepare.

Time for the reception of this little movie. Let’s see here…we have an 80% positive rating on Rotten Tomatoes with a “Fresh” certification. Metacritic is by far the lowest with a score of 61/100 (damn). Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars, and I quote

The film is a shade over three hours long. I appreciated the extra time, which allows us to feel the passage of prison months and years.

This movie has a score of 8,5 on imdb.com and is ranked #46 on the Top 250 list (as of this review). The movie was also nominated for 4 Oscars. Best Picture, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Michael Clarke Duncan), Best adapted screenplay, Best sound.

This movie has a lot of depth in it’s story, the actors are fantastic, the music in fantastic, the camera work is good and it has Sam Rockwell (Okay, I’m done with that now). The only thing dragging the score down a bit is the knowledge of this movie being three hours long…even though it only feels like two and a half. But it also gets a pat on the back for making me leave it with tears in my eyes. And now I am ready to give this movie my final score. “The Green Mile” gets a score of 9,72/10 which not only requires you to add it to your collection, but also gives it the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
49920178

Review of “The Green Mile” is completed.

I should probably go find the book somewhere. Also, R.I.P Michael Clarke Duncan.