Movie Review: The Homesman (2014)

Something something, Markus likes westerns.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Homesman”.

After three women goes mad from living very tough lives they have to be transported to Iowa. So a woman named Mary Bee Cuddy (Hilary Swank) volunteers to take on this daunting task. However, she soon realizes that she might not be able to do this alone, so she employs a low-life drifter named George Briggs (Tommy Lee Jones) to help her out. So now we have our western-drama. And I’d say that it’s an interesting plot. It’s very serious and and at times even a bit disturbing, and overall it is very well told. My main issue with it is the first half which meanders quite a bit. I get that this is a simple road movie set during the old west, but even I feel like it doesn’t get very far plot-wise during that first half (a little less than half to be a bit more fair, but shut up). But when we get into the second half the plot picks up a bit more and I found myself really invested in the journey. And just to be clear: The first half isn’t bad… just a little bit too slow… a little bit.

The characters in this are layered and interesting. Hilary Swank is great as Mary Bee Cuddy, giving a vulnerable yet determined performance. Tommy Lee Jones is great as George Briggs, playing him as a kind of pathetic but still tough and semi-honorable man. Then we have the three crazy ladies (that is what they are, shut up), played by Grace Gummer, Miranda Otto, and Sonja Richter. And they’re all great in their respective roles. They don’t say a lot, but they give great performances nonetheless. Then there are a bunch of good supporting performances throughout from people like Evan Jones, William Fichtner, John Lithgow, James Spader (his Irish accent isn’t very good), Jesse Plemons, Tim Blake Nelson, and Meryl Streep. Most of these actors aren’t in the movie for very long, but when they are… they’re good.

The score for the movie was composed by Marco Beltrami and it was really good. It was very dramatic and emotional, often adding to the quality of the various scenes in here. Sure, a lot of the music sound like stuff we’ve heard in other western-dramas, but that doesn’t make the music any worse… ’cause it’s really good.

This movie was directed by Tommy Lee Jones and I think that he did a really good job. The movie is directed with a lot of confidence which makes for an investing watch. It’s also a really good looking movie, having a bleak style that doesn’t feel too depressing and sad. I also feel like I should mention that this isn’t an action packed western. It’s a slow drama, with very few shots being fired. Just thought I’d mention that.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 81% positive rating and a “Fresh” ceritifcation. On Metacritic it has a score of 68/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

“The Homesman” is a really solid western-drama. It has a good plot, really good characters, great performances, really good music, and really good directing. My main problem with the movie is that first half which meanders a bit too much. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Homesman” is an 8,84/10. So while it is flawed I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “The Homesman” is now completed.

Sloooooow burn.

Movie Review: Elysium (2013)

Space, the final frontier… the perfect place to go if you’re a rich asshole that doesn’t want to help the poor.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Elysium”.

The world has gone to shit. As the poor struggle to survive in the slums of Los Angeles, the rich have escaped into a space station called “Elysium” because they don’t want to take responsibility. And we follow poor person Max Da Costa (Matt Damon) as he takes on a mission that could help bring a bit more equality to this rich vs. poor world. So now we have our sci-fi movie that wants to deliver a message. And while the delivery of said message can be a little clumsy at times, I think it for the most part works. I think this is an interesting world that gets set up and I also think the overall plot is quite good. I felt invested in it, I wanted to see where it was going. So yeah, the plot here was good.

The characters here are for the most part interesting. I say for the most part because… well, we’ll get to that. Matt Damon plays Max, our sympathetic main character who is likable, funny, and pretty badass. I cared about him, I wanted to see him succeed. And Matt Damon is great in the role. Jodie Foster plays, Delacourt, the sort of antagonist of the film. Let’s put it like this: She’s kind of an asshole that wants to keep the rich at the top and the poor under the shoe of inequality. And yeah, I didn’t really care for her. I didn’t find her very interesting as she was a very one-dimensional character. And while Foster’s performance wasn’t bad, it wasn’t really that great. It was bland and she had some weird accent going on that didn’t really work. Now on the other end of that spectrum we have Sharlto Copley, playing a sort of rogue black ops agent that is out to kill Damon. The character is a total psychopath and Copley killed it as the character, stealing every scene he was in! Alice Braga plays Frey, an old friend of Damon who pops up several times throughout the movie, and she was a pretty good character with an okay arc. And Braga was good in the role. Diego Luna is in the movie as a friend of Damon’s, and he was good. Wagner Moura was also in it, playing a rebel leader of sorts, and he was great. We also got a little bit of William Fichtner in the movie and he was really good in the role. Overall it is a well acted movie.

The score for the movie was composed by Ryan Amon and it was quite good. While not doing anything terribly original, it does work very well for the movie, often adding a bit extra excitement/emotion to a scene. So yeah… it’s good. MOVING ON.

This movie was directed by Neill Blomkamp and I think he did a for the most part really good job. When not a lot is happening, when something just needs to be shown or when there’s just a conversation between two characters, the movie looks quite good. And the way the visual effects are implemented into the movie is some of the best I’ve ever seen. However, whenever action happens… oh boy. It’s shaky and filled with plenty of cuts and it really annoyed me. Hey Blomkamp, just because Matt Damon is in the movie doesn’t mean you should imitate “The Bourne Supremacy”! Sometimes it isn’t too bad, but for the most part it’s just… yikes.

This movie has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 67% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 61/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

“Elysium” is a good, albeit quite flawed sci-fi movie. It has a really good plot, pretty good characters, really good performances, really good music, and good directing. But it is brought down by Jodie Foster’s character/performance, and the action ebing really shaky/annoying. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Elysium” is an 8,66/10. While flawed, I’d still say that it is worth buying.

My review of “Elysium” is now completed.

Matt Damon is… Jason Poor.

Movie Review: Black Hawk Down (2001)

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

Ladies and gentlemen, we got a… “Black Hawk Down”.

In 1993, a band of American troopers were sent in Mogadishu, Somalia to try to take down a local warlord who is the cause of a civil war. However when one of their Black Hawk choppers crash in the city they have to fight for survival against essentially everyone in the city… or at least a lot of heavily-armed Somalis. And while the story doesn’t have a lot of cultural empathy, it’s still one hell of a ride. What we have here is a really intense war story and how it affects different people in this situation. And it was all very riveting. There is rarely a calm moment in this movie, so when there finally is a bit of calm you never really take it for granted. But I have to say that it was really interesting, intriguing and pretty well handled.

The characters in this movie are nothing to write home about. They are all bland and never really develop at any time. And I know that you might be sitting there like “Come on, they’re in a war, there is no time for character development”. Three words: “Saving Private Ryan”, a war movie that is just as intense but takes the time to develop it’s characters and keep them interesting. The only reason you care for the characters in this movie is because the movie makes you root for them but introducing them in the beginning and making sure you don’t completely hate them. The only one I actually still really cared about was Josh Hartnett’s characters, but that’s really only because he gets the most space out of everyone. That and his performance is pretty great. That is something positive I can say: while the characters are bland and such, the acting is still fucking phenomenal, great work by everyone in the movie.

The score for the movie was composed by the ever so masterful Hans Zimmer. It is tense, emotional, big and badass. I would really say that it perfectly fit a war movie of this size and scope while also working very well musically overall. I also like the good mix of licensed tracks in the movie because they all worked really well in my opinion.

“Black Hawk Down” was directed by Ridley Scott who I am a huge fan of and once again, he delivered. First off, the movie is masterfully shot and directed and never really has any of that terrible shaky-cam bullshit. And the action scenes are very well handled too. They are both masterfully crafted and plentiful, so anyone in need of realistic war-action, look no further. I will just say that at one point there was so much intensity going on that I thought I was gonna get a heart attack from this damn movie. Thankfully the movie felt like quieting down for a bit around that time so I could catch my breath.

This movie was well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 76% positive rating and a “Fresh” ceritifcation. On Metacritic it has a score of 74/100. Roger Ebert gave it 4/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,7/10. The movie also won 2 Oscars in the categories of Best film editing and Best sound. It was also nominated for an additional 2 Oscars in the categories of Best director and Best cinematography. 

“Black Hawk Down” is a really intense war movie with an engaging plot, bland & uninteresting characters, great acting, great music,  great directing and excellent action. Time for my final score. AAAAAAHHHHH. My final score for “Black Hawk Down” is a 9,38/10. I would say that it’s worth buying.
Worth buying

My review of “Black Hawk Down” is now completed.

Only the dead have seen the end of war.