Movie Review: Knives Out (2019)

I love mysteries. Not in real life though, that shit can be infuriating/scary. But in movies/tv/books/games, the mystery genre is one of my favorites. Who killed the man? Who stole the thing? Who pissed in the cereal? Even the worst ones can still have me entertained due to me having a soft spot for the genre. So anyway, let’s talk about a mystery movie (it’s not a mystery movie jackass, it’s right in the fucking title what movie it is). SILENCE, ME.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Knives Out”.

When famed murder mystery writer Harlan Thrombey (Christopher Plummer) dies, a private investigator (Daniel Craig) starts looking into the possibility that one of Thrombey’s eccentric relatives might’ve killed him. WHODUNIT!? The goofy spelling/grammar of that word aside, that is the genre we’re dealing with here. It’s a modern whodunit that pays tribute to the classic ones, such as “Murder She Wrote” or “Columbo”, while also putting its own fresh-feeling spin to proceedings. It gives you everything you want in a classic whodunit story, while also subverting it in some really clever ways that I honestly didn’t see coming. There’s also a surprising amount of social commentary throughout. And while I’ve watched things recently with attempts at that which were a bit too hamfisted, I felt like it worked quite well within “Knives Out”, wonderfully integrating into the already solid murder mystery.

The characters here are flawed, colorful, interesting, and buckets of fun. Daniel Craig plays Benoit Blanc, a private investigator that’s been hired to investigate Thrombey’s death. He is skilled, but he’s also a bit quirky. And holy fuck, Daniel Craig… he really hammed it up here, and it made him such a fun presence to watch. Next we have Ana De Armas as a nurse who is heavily involved in the story. And she’s great in the role. And then the rest of the cast is filled out by people like Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, the aforementioned Christopher Plummer, Don Johnson, Tony Collette, Michael Shannon, Katherine Langford, Jaeden Martell, Lakeith Stanfield, Riki Lindholme, and more… and good god damn, what a solid cast this is.

The score for the movie was composed by Nathan Johnson, and it was a lot of fun. It’s very old school in its approach, often sounding like something you’d hear in an older crime movie/show, due to its often overdramatic strings. There’s also a few licensed songs used throughout, and they work well enough. So yeah, this movie has good music.

“Knives Out” was written and directed by Rian Johnson, who I think did one hell of a job on those fronts. He gives the movie such a distinct energy that keeps it feels electric, keeping any shot or scene from ever feeling boring. That doesn’t mean any part feels rushed though, Johnson lets scenes simmer when needed… but never for too long, giving it just the perfect pacing.

This movie has so far been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 96% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 82/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,1/10.

I loved “Knives Out”, it’s a really fun and unique whodunit. It has a great plot, great characters, great performances, good music, and great writing/directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Knives out” is a 9,90/10. So that’s right, it does get the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Knives Out” is completed.

Knives Out, Spoons In.

Movie Review: About a Boy (2002)

Having kids. Not everyone’s cup of tea. There, I said it. So many think everyone should have kids and that there’s something wrong with you if you don’t. But that’s such a narrow view of stuff. Be open to other people’s life choices. And those who don’t wanna have kids, don’t look down at those who have kids. Let’s all be friends.

Ladies and gentlemen… “About a Boy”.

Will (Hugh Grant) is an immature, cynical bachelor that has chosen single mothers as his new dating targets, and he’s willing to put up any lie to get inside their pants. This however backfires when a 12-year old boy (Nicholas Hoult) starts seeing through his lie, and becomes a central part of Will’s life. And maybe these two will learn some stuff from each other. So now we have our rom-rom/coming-of-age story. And it honestly subverted a lot of expectations I had. With these two genres, one expects a lot of tropes, and we do get a few of them here, which end up being some of the weaker elements of the story. But with that said, there’s still enough nuance and subversion here to make it an intriguing and surprisingly engaging take on these two familiar genres, while still giving you some of the heartwarming bits you’d expect.

The characters in this are flawed, layered, colorful, and overall quite interesting. Hugh Grant plays Will, the cynical man-child at the center of this story. Never one to commit himself to a single person for long, he drifts around various women like a lying asshole. He isn’t the typical charming, Hugh Grant rom-com character, and it makes him quite an intriguing and refreshing character to watch as he evolves. And Grant is great in the role. Next we have a young Nicholas Hoult as Marcus, the little kid that Will begrudgingly “befriends”. He’s a bit weird, but he’s also clever, charming, and quite an endearing kid. And Hoult is really good in the role. We also get supporting work from people like Toni Collette, Natalia Tena, Rachel Weisz, Victoria Smurfit, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score was composed by the musician known as Badly Drawn Boy, and it was good. They’re basically indie pop songs, which I’d assume is the genre that Badly Drawn Boy might be associated with usually. There are even a few instrumentals that could fit that description used throughout. And this music works alright within the story. The tunes themselves are pretty good, it’s just that when used within a movie context, it creates a bit of a bland vibe. So overall… pretty good.

Based on a novel by Nick Hornby, this movie was directed by Chris Weitz and Paul Weitz, and I think they did a good job with it. There’s certainly a warmth their direction brings that makes it feel nice to watch (if that makes any sense). What really surprised me though was the shot composition. So many romantic comedies out there have what I like to call a “start the camera” look, in which it just looks like they started the camera, with no real thought of giving the movie an interesting style or any fun camerawork. But here, there’s plenty of both, this is a really well shot movie. And since it’s a comedy, we should talk about the humor… it’s funny. Some light slapstick, some surprisingly dark jokes, some clever digs at things. I laughed throughout.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 93% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 75/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,1/10. The movie was nominated for 1 Oscar in the category of Best Adapted Screenplay.

While it still dips into cliches at times, “About a Boy” still subverts enough to impress. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, good music, great directing, and funny comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “About a Boy” is an 8,97/10. So while a little flawed, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “About a Boy” is now completed.

Hughbert Grantchester is a lot better when he gets to do these slightly more offbeat characters.

Movie Review: The Sixth Sense (1999)

The-Sixth-Sense-Bruce-Willis-Malcolm-Crowe-768x1366

Don’t worry, I have seen this “essential” movie before so you don’t have to lose your shit. It’s just that I haven’t seen this movie in a few years and thought it could be good to give it a little rewatch to refresh my memory of it. So now I’ve seen it (again) and now I will review it (for the first time).

Ladies and gentlemen, do you have… “The Sixth Sense”?

In this movie we follow child psychologist Malcolm Crowe (Bruce Willis) as he after getting shot, takes on a new patient. This patient is nine year old Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment) who apparently can see dead people… who don’t know they’re dead! From that you might expect “Oh, it’s a horror movie then!”. But I wouldn’t really call “The Sixth Sense” a horror movie per se. I would say that it is a drama with thriller elements. Sure, there are parts that you could argue are straight up horror-related, but I counter with the fact that this movie never really tries to full on scare you, it just wants to get udner your skin and make you feel a little bit uneasy. Kind of like a thriller. But if you analyze the plot, it is really a drama-thriller, not a horror movie. Anyway, with all of that bullshit out of the way, I loved the plot. It built up a lot of suspense, it showed excellent drama and it was just overall really great. And despite knowing the final twist, I still think it is one of the greatest twists ever. I’m not gonna spoil it if you somehow haven’t seen this movie at all.

The characters in this movie (despite the unusual situation) all feel like real people, none of them simply felt like characters in a movie. And I think a lot of that comes from a combination of excellent writing and some pretty great performances, three in particular. First off we have Bruce Willis who is actually acting and playing a character not just being Mr. Grumpy action dude. Jokes aside, Bruce Willis is great in this movie, playing a very human character who you’d just wanna be friends with. Next up is Haley Joel Osment who gives possibly the greatest performance by a child-actor ever. And if not THE best, at least one of the best. The final performance I wanted to mention was that of Toni Collette who plays Osment’s mom. She was excellent in the movie, portraying every emotion you could ever mention. Yeah, she was great. Everybody was great.

The score for the movie was done by James Newton Howard who managed to create an atmospheric, creepy, suspense-building and beautiful score that has lingered in my mind ever since the movie wrapped up, it is that great.

This movie was directed by M. Night Shyama-Lama-Ding-Dong, sorry… Shyamalan. And he did a great job with it, perfectly building tension and never revealing too much of anything in the movie. He did a fantastic job directing the movie. He also did the writing for the movie which I also thought was pretty great.

This movie has been very well-received over the years. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 85% positive rating with a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 64/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,2/10 and is ranked #161 on the “Top 250” list. The movie was also nominated for 6 Oscars in the categories of Best PIcture, Best Supporting Actor (Osment), Best Supporting Actress (Collette), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay and Best Film Editing.

Guys, “The Sixth Sense” is an awesome movie with a tense and beautiful story, great characters/acting, excellent music, great direction, great writing and one of the best twists in cinema. Time for my final score. AH! Dead person! Oh, it’s just Jeff. Envelope. Thank you. My final score for “The Sixth Sense” is a 9,88/10. It definitely gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.
Seal of Approval

Review of “The Sixth Sense” is completed.

Shyama-Lama-Ding-Dong…

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.