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: Atomic Blonde (2017)

Spies? 1980s? Charlize Theron? “John Wick” crew members? This sounds fucking sweet, so let’s talk about it.

Ladies and gents… “Atomic Blonde”.

Germany, 1989. Mi6 agent Lorraine Broughton (Charlize Theron) has been sent on a mission to retrieve a list that has the names of undercover agents on it. And that’s the basic idea behind the plot. It’s something that’s been seen in movies and such before, but I would’ve been okay with it here had they done something fun and clever with it. But this plot has some issues. Firstly, it’s told as a series of flashbacks with Lorraine reporting to two agents played by Toby Jones and John Goodman. The problem is that this immediately takes the tension out of the plot, since we know where the hell she ends up. And secondly, for such a simple-ish idea, this plot is messy and kind of convoluted. I get that a spy movie needs to have twists and turns, but this thinks it’s clever in how it layers twist on twist on twist, but it just comes off as messy and convoluted. So the plot here is quite meh.

The characters here are… okay, I think. You don’t learn a lot about them in the movie, which made me not care too much about any of them. Charlize Theron plays Lorraine Broughton, the eponymous hero. She’s a highly skilled badass that can kick all sorts of ass while also being good at sneaky spy shit. However, you never really get to know her a lot. You get hints of things that have happened in her life, but nothing solid enough to make her compelling. But Theron gives a great performance here and I did enjoy seeing her kick ass. James McAvoy plays David Percvial, one of Broughton’s contacts in Berlin. He’s a bit less serious as a character, but he still gets to kick some ass. He’s charming, but not that deep of a character. McAvoy is great. Eddie Marsan plays a German man called Spyglass in this movie, and he might be the most compelling character in the movie despite not being a main one. That said, he’s not too deep. Marsan is great in the role at least. Toby Jones and John Goodman as the two agents that Broughton tells her story to are fine… they don’t get too much to do. They’re both good in the roles, but they’re not that interesting. Then we get some really solid supporting performances from people like Sofia Boutella, Til Schweiger, Bill Skarsgård, and more.

The score for the movie was composed by Tyler Bates and it was good. It’s heavily electronic/synth-based and definitely fits the late 80s setting, and it’s quite fun to listen to. Then there’s a whole bunch of licensed tracks used throughout and I have mixed feelings about them. I like most of the songs here, my problem with them comes with how some of them are used within the editing of the movie. They often make it sound like the music comes from a source within the scene, whether it’s a speaker or a boombox, but then they cut it out like a regular background soundtrack. And those edits don’t really work that well as they distract quite a bit from the overall experience. But I admit that some are used well enough throughout the movie. Good music.

This movie was directed by David Leitch, one of the two men behind the first “John Wick” movie. And for the most part I think he did a great job. His directing is slick and everything has good energy to it, keeping it from feeling boring. And the cinematography by Jonathan Sela is absolutely stunning, he really make the movie look stylish hand cool. The action scenes here range from pretty good to fucking incredible. They are all a lot of fun to watch as it’s clear how much actual stuntwork is done here, both by stunt people and the actors themselves, which is so great to see in today’s computerized movie environment. Especially during an action scene during the second half of the movie. I won’t say what happens exactly, but it’s fucking amazing.

This movie has gotten some mixed-ish reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 76% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 63/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

Weird title and flaws aside, I enjoyed “Atomic Blonde”. It has a meh plot, okay-ish characters, great performances, good music, and great directing/cinematography. A previously mentioned, the plot is very messy as hell, and the characters aren’t great. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Atomic Blonde” is a 7,87/10. While flawed, I’d definitely say that it’s worth renting.

My review of “Atomic Blonde” is now completed.

Cool.

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010)

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Guys, we are now at the penultimate part in my series of reviews leading up to “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them”. There’s not much else to say other than… let’s get into it!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1”!

With Voldemort (Ralph Fiennes) and his death eaters getting more and more control over the wizarding world, Harry (Daniel Radcliffe), Ron (Rupert Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) have to go out into the world (and by world I mean the UK) and find/destroy the Dark Lord’s horcruxes. And while doing this they come across the existence of three incredibly powerful items… the Deathly Hallows (Roll credits). What the studio and filmmakers did with the story, splitting it into two movies, that shit was risky. So how did it turn out with taking the first half(ish) of a book and making it into one movie? Pretty well actually. You can tell that there is some slight stretching being done to make it into a two hour and twenty minute movie, but it still has really good pacing. The plot is interesting and there are some really great moments throughout, both of the exciting and emotional varieties.

The characters in this movie have now really gone into maturity. Daniel Radcliffe, once again being absolutely fantastic as Harry who this time has to go through some of his toughest challenges yet. There are some scenes where he have to show a lot of emotion, and he just fucking nails it. Rupert Grint, knocking it out of the park as Ron. Emma Watson is also great in her role as Hermione. Helena Bonham Carter as Bellatrix, great performance. Alan Rickman (rest in peace, you awesome man) was really good as Snape. Imelda Staunton returned for a bit to once again play Dolores Umbridge and she was great as that horrible person. Ralph Fiennes as Voldemort, fucking great. All returning actors were great… so let’s talk about any new additions. Domhnall Gleeson played Bill Weasley, Ron’s older brother that we’d never seen before and he was really good in the role. We also got Rhys Ifans as Xenophilius Lovegood, the father of the magnificently amazing Luna. And he gave a great performance. And we also got Andy Linden as the very shady and slimy Mundungus Fletcher, and he was really good in his role. Yeah, great characters, great acting.

The score for this movie was not composed by the one and only John Williams, nor Patrick Doyle, nor Nicholas Hooper. No, the score here was composed by Alexandre Desplat. And I think he did a terrific job with it. The score is well composed, fun, and exciting. It is really great.

David Yates once again took on the mantle of director and he did a terrific job. The movie is magnificently shot and the scenes are very well handled overall. And the action scenes in the movie, they are some of the best in the series. As an example: There is a very exciting and tense chase through a forest… yeah, it’s awesome. There are also some scenes that really touched me *sniffles* Shut up, I didn’t cry, you cried! Okay that was a lie… I cried. On a lighter note, the visual effects in this movie are fucking fantastic… just wanted to get that out there.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 78% 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 7,7/10. The movie was also nominated for 2 Oscars in the categories of Best visual effects and Best art direction.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” is not perfect, but it’s still a damn good movie. It has a really good plot, great characters, great acting, great music, great directing, and great visual effects. Time for my final score. *ACCIO!* My final score for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” is a 9,83/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
seal-of-approval

My review of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1” is now completed.

One review left, guys… get fuckin’ hyped!

 

Movie Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)

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The other day was the blogathon thing, and we still got some Month of Spooks stuff left to do… but we can also not forget my series of “Harry Potter” reviews leading up to “Fantastic Beasts” in November. And now we are finally continuing it after,,, two and a half weeks, good grief. Anyhow, let’s stop with this intro and get into the review itself!

Ladies and gentlemen… “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets”!

Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) begins his second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in a rather rocky way. First off, he got warnings from a house-elf named Dobby (Toby Jones) about bad things that will happen at Hogwarts. Secondly, his journey from Little Whinging to Hogwarts was kind of troublesome and filled with mishaps. But the trouble is not over yet, as people start getting petrified for some reason. And this of course creates a mystery where Harry, Ron (Rupter Grint), and Hermione (Emma Watson) to try to figure out who/what might have done this. With that said, I really liked how the plot unfolded… a lot. What I think the plot of this movie benefited from was how it doesn’t have to set the world up, since that was done (pretty fucking well) in the last movie. So now we can just get right into the main plot of this movie, which of course gives the plot of this movie a much better pace. Which is of course a bit ironic seeing as this movie is longer than the last. But yeah, it was an interesting plot which created a compelling mystery which of course led to the plot going to some darker places when it comes to this world and it’s main character. It was pretty great.

The characters in the movie are about as great as in the first one, but as the plot unfolds we do get a little bit more development from them as they learn more things. Daniel Radcliffe once again knocked it out of the park, getting some more moments to shine here in comparison to the first one. And the development of the character itself is actually really good, as we learn more about who he really is, at the same rate he does. Rupter Grint and Emma Watson also did great in this movie in their roles. And the chemistry between these three central actors is so great and so believable. The other actors in the movie do pretty great as well. Tom Felton as Malfoy once again was great, with his character being even more despicable than in the first movie. Richard Harris (R.I.P) was also really great as Dumbledore, Maggie Smith once again was great as professor McGonagall, Alan Rickman (R.I.P) was still amazing as Snape, and it goes on like that for pretty much every returning actor/character. But we also got a few new interesting faces in this one, so let’s go through them. First off we have the previously mentioned Dobby the house-elf, a magical little dude voiced by the great Toby Jones. At first he is actually a bit annoying, but after a while you grow to actually kind of like him, especially near the end when you find out some more stuff about him and his “family”. Next is Kenneth Branagh as Gilderoy Lockhart, a very famous wizard who you immediately can tell is more bark than bite. Basically he is the magical equivalent of the classic saying “Girls want to be with him and guys want to be him”. Think to have that dude as the “Defense Against the Dark Arts” teacher… yeah. But you can tell that Branagh had fun with the role, and I think he did a good jobas the character. And finally we have Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy, AKA Draco’s dad. And this dude just oozes of self-important asshole, as soon as he enters the scene you immediately tell that this guy is bad news. And Jason Isaacs is pretty damn great in the role. In other words, this cast is great!

Once again the music was composed by the one and only John Williams and its still great. Some of the themes in there are of course the same as in the first movie, but that’s nothing to complain about because those tracks are pretty great. But there are also a bunch of new tracks composed for this movie as well, and they are pretty great too, perfectly capturing the magical and whimsical but still dark world that Harry and his friends live in. Yeah, the music’s fucking great.

Like the first movie, this was directed by Chris Columbus (still not re-discovering America). And he did a great job again. Sure, a lot of bits remind me of the first movie a lot, but it’s not too much of a complaint. But he is a very talented director who did a great job, giving us some great directing and some great angles. He also managed to make this movie even more suspenseful and even scarier than the first. I mean, the final act is really tense and actually a bit scary. And the visual effects in this movie are even better than in the first, especially the Quidditch match which looks so much better than the first movie, which of course makes it more engaging and more fun.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 82% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 63/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

“Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” is a a definite improvement over the first movie. With a really interesting plot, better pacing, great characters/acting, great music, fantastic visual effects, and better suspense/tension. Time for my final score. *Magically summons score*. My final score for “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” is a 9,67/10. So of course it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

My review of “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” is now completed.

If you have arachnophobia then this movie might not be the best for you…

Movie Review: The Mist (2007)

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What’s up, people? Time to continue “The Month of Spooks” with another frightening movie review. And it is the second time we are taking a look at a movie based on a story by author Stephen King. Now let’s not stand around and make fools of ourselves, let us move on to the review!

Ladies and gentlemen, do not enter… “The Mist”.

This movie follows artist David Drayton (Thomas Jane) as he and a bunch of other people get stuck in a supermarket because of a mysterious mist that brings out a lot of blood-thirsty creatures. So now they have to try to defend themselves inside of the supermarket. They have no idea what’s causing the mist and they have no idea where the creatures come from, all they know is that they have to survive. And was this survival story well executed? Yeah, I’d say so. Once again it is one of those situations of the idea not being original, but maybe the execution is done well enough. And I thought it was good. Not great, but good. I don’t know what to say really. I guess I can say that I thought it was pretty tense and suspenseful at times and I have to say that the ending is pretty tragic and maybe the best aspect of the plot. So yeah, good plot.

The characters in the movie are pretty much cookie cutter Stephen King characters. You have the main character dad who does art of some kind, you have the child, you have the elderly black guy, the religious nut and feel free to check off this list on your own. But how is the acting? It’s… good, I guess. Thomas Jane plays the main character of the movie and he does a fine job as the guy… except when he has to do somethign emeotional, then he kind of sucks. But I didn’t expect too much from him since I’ve never considered him that great of an actor. Andre Braugher plays the elderly black guy in the movie and he does a good job. The child actor who plays Jane’s son does a fine job, I have seen both worse and better child performances before, so I don’t feel that this kid adds or detracts anything from the movie. What was kind of fun though with the actors in this movie was how I saw a good amount of people who would later be in “The Walking Dead” which director Frank Darabont had a hand in. Jeffrey DeMunn, Laurie Holden, Melissa McBride and Sam Witwer all appear in this movie at some point and that was fun seeing since i like “The Walking Dead”. Anyway, that derailed a little bit. Uhm… acting was fine and the characters were meh.

The score for the movie was provided by Mark Isham and I have to say that so far it is the best part of the movie. It isn’t something I can see myself listening to again, but it’s definitely a good score that really fit the movie. And to be honest, there wasn’t really anything sticking out except for one track called “The Host of Seraphim” which appeared near the end of the movie. Every other tracks in the score was fine, but that track is, no joke, fucking amazing. Held up by an eerie & slowly building backing note and the gorgeous vocals of Lisa Gerrard, it is one of the reasons why the score for the movie holds the movie up so well. That track is just amazing and the score overall is pretty good.

Okay, so far the plot has been fine, the acting fine and the score good, but is there something great about the movie? Yes there is… the camerawork is pretty damn great. It perfectly fits the eerie and a little creepy mood this movie conveys and actually manages to capture some pretty great shots. And I have to say that some of the writing in the movie was pretty great, and I am mainly talking about certain pieces of dialogue. And something I noticed early on in the movie which is kind of cool is that we see Thomas Jane working on a painting/poster which appears to be Roland from Stephen King’s “The Dark Tower” books. As a fan of those books I just kind of thought that was a cool little easter egg.

This movie has gotten pretty good reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 73% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 2/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“The Mist” is a real mixed bag of a movie. It has a decent story, decent acting, good music and fantastic camera work/directing. Time for my final score. Woaw, look at all that mist. What’s that in the mist? Wait, is that… Jeff? Oh my god, Jeff. Where have you been, asshole? Screw it! Do you have something for me? *Jeff gives envelope and disappears into the mist*. My final score for “The Mist” is a 7,99/10. I think it’s worth a rental.
Rent it

My review of “The Mist” is now completed.

Hearing Toby Jones tell someone to shut the fuck up is just magical.