Movie Review: Upgrade (2018)

Can I just take a second out of this review to talk about release schedules? Because everyone got this movie in the cinemas at some point in 2018… but I didn’t, and then I had to wait until today to be able to see it at home? It’s not the first time I’ve gotten screwed liked this. I wanted to watch it, but my local cinema was like “Nope, sorry, not showing it… you dick”… okay, they didn’t directly say that, but that’s what it felt like with “Upgrade” and various other movies. Seriously, screw release schedules some times.

Ladies and gents… “Upgrade”.

After his wife is killed and he gets paralyzed, Grey (Logan Marshall-Green) accepts an offer to get an experimental surgery that would let him walk again. But soon he finds out that he’s able to do more than that, which he will use to find the people responsible for his misery. So now we have our cyberpunk revenge thriller. And it’s good. I mean, the opening isn’t the most inspired, in a lot of ways it’s just kind of bland. But after that generic opening, the plot just gets better and better and I think it becomes quite unique for a revenge thriller. It’s not one of the greatest plots ever, but it’s certainly a lot of fun and has enough little twists and turns to keep it fresh. So yeah, it’s a good plot.

The characters in this are… fine? Most of them are kind of underdeveloped. For some of the bad guys, I can accept that, as it gives them a sort of video game boss battle quality, which I enjoyed about them. But others that the movie expects me to care about… nope. Anyway, Logan Marshall-Green plays Grey, the average Joe who receives the title to become a badass. And he’s honestly quite a fleshed out character, as he’s given quite a bit of development throughout. And Marshall-Green is great in the role… mostly. At the start he’s bland and average, but like the plot, when shit gets going, he becomes great in the role. Next we have Betty Gabriel as the detective working the case of Grey’s dead wife. And where the movie expects us to give a damn about her… I didn’t, her character isn’t interesting enough in her writing for me to care. But Gabriel is pretty good in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Simon Maiden, Harrison Gilbertson, Melanie Vallejo, Benedict Hardie, Christopher Kirby, and more, all doing pretty well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Jed Palmer and I thought it was really good. It somehow sounds like a mix between typical cyberpunk stuff (“Blade Runner”, “Deux Ex”, etc.) and a couple different horror scores. And the mix, while familiar, feels unique and gives the most an eerie and interesting vibe that I liked quite a bit.

Based on nothing at all, this movie was written by Leigh Whannell, and I think he did a great job here. While the opening (as previously stated) is a bit boring, his direction gives the movie a certain energy that makes it kind of a joy to watch. He finds ways of really engaging the viewer with little details. But it’s in the action scenes where the directing and cinematography truly shines, because holy fucking shit, the action scenes in this movie are fantastic. They’re fast, energetic, and have some of the most clever and unique camera movements I’ve ever seen. There are a couple fights in this movie that honestly kinda blew my mind. There’s also a surprising amount of humor throughout the movie, and none of it feels intrusive, rather just adding to the movie’s fun factor.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 87% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 67/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“Upgrade” is a really good revenge action-thriller. It has a good plot, meh characters, really good performances, really good music, and great directing/cinematography. Though as previously stated, the start of the movie isn’t great, and I don’t really care about most of the characters. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Upgrade” is an 8,72/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Upgrade” is now completed.

That was fun.

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Movie Review: The Death of Superman (2018)

One of the most recurring things on this here blog (except for lame jokes and personal opinions) is my constant support of animated movies based on DC Comics. And while it’s been a while since my last post on one, my adoration for the franchise hasn’t faded in the slightest. So seeing as this will be my last review of the year, we might as well make it one about this recurring theme.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Death of Superman”.

When a mysterious new threat arrives on earth, Superman (Jerry O’Connell), as well as the other Justice League members), as to step up to stop it before it can destroy us all. I thought the plot was good here. It’s straightforward, yet somewhat nuanced. I wouldn’t call it the deepest plot in this franchise, but there’s enough little details to keep it from just being another “Let’s beat up the bad guy plot”. It’s about Supes coming to terms with his relationship with Lois (Rebecca Romijn) and if he should come out of the closet, in regards to his dual identity. And the stuff around this new threat (who we all know is Doomsday, but I digress) has a natural sense of escalation that also works well enough for the plot.

The characters in this are fine, they are all enjoyable and work pretty well in the story. Jerry O’Connell reprises his role as Clark Kent/Superman. He’s charming, he’s likable, and he’s just generally a good guy (as Superman should be), while still struggling with some minor conflicts while also having to deal with the bigger conflict of a giant murder-alien from who knows where. And it made me care about him a bit more. And O’Connell does a really good job voicing him. Rebecca Romijn plays Lois Lane, the tough, but believable reporter who seems to have some relationship issues with Clark. And I think she’s a pretty interesting character here. And Romijn does a really good job voicing her. Next we have Rainn Wilson (yes, really) as Lex Luthor (I’m serious), the brilliant businessman with a great intellect, but a bit of an arrogance problem. Not saying much more there, you know who Lex is. But what I will say is that Wilson is really good in the role. Then we get supporting performances from people like Rosario Dawson, Nathan Fillion, Jason O’Mara, Christopher Gorham, Shemar Moore, Matt Lanter, Nyambi Nyambi, Rocky Carroll, Patrick Fabian, Paul Eiding, Jennifer Hale, Charles Halford, and many more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

As with the majority of these DC animated features, the score was composed by Frederik Wiedmann, and as per usual, it is pretty great. It is grandiose, it is epic, but it is also emotional and intimate, creating a sound that perfectly complements the life of Clark Kent. This guy never disappoints.

The movie was directed by Jake Castorena and DC animation veteran Sam Liu. And the direction here is fine, there is a decent flow to the scenes, nothing feels too rushed or too slow. And the animation here is pretty good. In quiet dialog-driven scenes, it looks fine, not much to write home about. But it’s in the action scenes where the animation comes to life and shows just how talented the people working on these movies are. These are fast, brutal, and at one point even kinda breathtaking. So yeah, the animation here is good.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 92% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,4/10.

While not my favorite movie in this current line of DC animated movies, “The Death of Superman” is still a highly enjoyable and somewhat touching superhero romp. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and really good directing/animation. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Death of Superman” is an 8,80/10. So it’s definitely worth buying.

My review of “The Death of Superman” is now completed.

And that’s that for 2018. See ya next year.

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: Sweet Country (2018)

Australia. Beautiful scenery, deliverer of my favorite band, origin of so many great actors… there’s a lot to appreciate, but there’s also things that one won’t appreciate. Like snakes… and spiders… and the fact that not even the country at the end of the world has been free of racism. Oh well, let’s go down and under and back in time a bit.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Sweet Country”.

Australia, the 1920s. We follow an Aboriginal farmhand (Hamilton Morris) who has to go on the run after he shoots a white man in self defense. So now we have our historical Aussie western. And I thought the plot here was good. It has an interesting premise, the events unfolding are somewhat engaging, and the entire story is pretty well told. It gives an interesting glimpse into what it was like in the outback during those times… but despite all this, it never really grabbed me. It was interesting enough for me to follow along, but there was never any point where the story had me in its grasp. I don’t know how to properly explain it. Yes, the story is good, but it’s not one of those that really dug itself into my mind.

The characters in this are decent, not ones I’ll be remembering, but they worked well enough in the movie. Explaining their arcs like I usually do is hard as to not get into some spoilers, so I’ll just skip that and list the actors (who are all really good). Hamilton Morris, Bryan Brown, Tremayne Doolan, Sam Neill Ewen Leslie, Matt Day, and many more.

The score was composed by… no one? Yeah, there’s no music here except for the end credits and like one really high pitched note at one point. But other than those… no music. Hmm…

The movie was shot and directed by Warwick Thornton, and I think he did a really good job with it. He has a way of keeping you engaged through his tight and often kinda tense directing, while also giving us some great shots of the Australian outback. It’s well shot and well directed. Not much else that can be said on that front.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 95% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 87/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,8/10.

While “Sweet Country” didn’t enamor me like it has the critics, I still think it’s an incredibly well made historical western-drama. It has a good plot, okay characters, great performances, no music(?), and great directing/cinematography. Though as previously mentioned, despite the plot in itself being really good, I wasn’t that engaged by it. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Sweet Country” is an 8,51/10. So while flawed, I’d say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Sweet Country” is now completed.

G’day.

Movie Review: Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)

And the 2018 catch-up continues. Admittedly I don’t have a super specific series set up, but catching up on the year’s movies is what one have to do when nearing the end of said year. Enough rambling, let’s shrink.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Ant-Man and the Wasp”.

Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) has to once again don the Ant-Man suit, but instead of using it to steal some shit, he has to use his abilities, as well as the assistance of his ally Hope (Evangeline Lilly), to get hold of some tech to try and pull Janet Van Dyne out of the Quantum Realm. But this quest will prove challenging as opposing forces want this technology for their own purposes. So now we have our “Ant-Man” sequel plot. And it’s good, a fun comic book romp. Has a few decent dramatic moments. Not much I can say, it’s just a fun superhero plot. Doesn’t do much, but doesn’t do little either. It’s fast-paced and easy to follow while expanding on a few of the ideas set up in the first movie. It doesn’t do anything special, but it also doesn’t need to. It’s just an easygoing and fun plot.

The characters in this are colorful, interesting, and really entertaining. Paul Rudd of course returns as Scott Lang, the charming ex-con/superhero with a heart of gold. He’s fun, he’s someone I care about, and he is just generally an enjoyable protagonist. And Paul Rudd is great in the role. Next we have Evangeline Lilly as Hope Van Dyne/Wasp. She was just sort of a tough sidekick/teacher in the first movie, but here she gets to do a lot more, especially since she now has her own super suit to play with. And she’s quite an enjoyable character to follow. And Lilly is great in the role. Michael Peña returns as Scott’s best friend, Luis, and he’s just as hilarious as he was the first time around. Michael Douglas returns as Dr. Hank Pym, and he’s once again pretty great. Newcomer time! First up, Hannah John-Kamen as “Ghost”, a mysterious new villain with a pretty compelling arc that I won’t say more about here, but I found it to be pretty cool. And John-Kamen is really good in the role. We also get Walton Goggins as some shady black market dealer, and he’s as Goggins-y as ever, and while his character doesn’t have much to actually do, Goggins is really good in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Judy Greer, Bobby Cannavale, Abby Ryder Fortson, David Dastmalchian, Randall Park, T.I., Laurence Fishburne, Michelle Pfeiffer, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

Like with the first movie, Christophe Beck did the score for this one. And it’s just as fun and enjoyable as the first time around. It’s bouncy, irreverent, and just overall fits the lighthearted tone that the movie generally goes for. The added use of synth and (for lack of a better word) bouncy percussion really helps keep the pace up. It’s just fun. And there are a few licensed tracks used throughout that work well enough in their respective scenes.

As with the first movie, “Ant-Man and the Wasp” was directed by Peyton Reed and I think he did a good job with it. His directing is fun, fast-paced, and just generally has a certain energy that makes it all quite enjoyable to watch. The action scenes too are quite solid, giving us some good close quarters combat, as well as the shrink/grow superhero stuff we came to see. There’s of course also a lot of comedy throughout this movie, and I found most of it to be quite funny. A few jokes weren’t the best, but none of them made me want to tear my brain out. Some mild nose-wrinkling, some chuckles, a few out loud laughs… yeah, it’s funny.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 88% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 70/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,2/10.

“Ant-Man and the Wasp” is a fun movie… not one of the best of the year, but an enjoyable romp nonetheless. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, really good directing, and funny comedy. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is an 8,76/10. So while not perfect, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Ant-Man and the Wasp” is now completed.

Baba Yaga…

Movie Review: Game Night (2018)

What’s your favorite game? Not counting video games here, just things that you can easily play with friends on a game night. Charades, Yahtzee, Uno… doesn’t matter. Let me know your favorites.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Game Night”.

Max (Jason Bateman) and Annie (Rachel McAdams) have a weekly tradition of inviting their friends to a game night. One such weekend the group gets invited to a game night by Max’s brother (Kyle Chandler). They find out that he’s planned a bit of a murder mystery themed game night. But soon what should just be a fun evening with friends turns into something a bit crazier than originally expected. So now we have our twisty-turny comedy. And the plot here is pretty good. I appreciate that it tries to do something a bit different than a lot of modern comedies. It takes a really clever idea and has a lot of fun with it. Now, while I’m all for a twisty-turny web, this one twists around a bit much, turning it into a bit of a mess at times. Twist upon twist is fine, but the way it’s done in “Game Night” doesn’t always work, turning it from a clever mystery into a bit of a messtery (see what I did there?). It’s not so bad that it made me angry, but it does take me out of it a little at times. But it’s still a fairly refreshing entry in the world of Hollywood comedies. Good stuff.

The characters in this are all a ton of fun to follow, and they share some solid chemistry. First up we have Jason Bateman as Max, who is a very Jason Bateman-esque type. I can’t put it any other way, if you’ve seen Jason Bateman in a comedy, you know what to expect from him. But it still works, and Bateman does a good job. Next we have Rachel McAdams as Annie, Max’s wife and fellow game night entusiast. She’s not always the brightest bulb in the shed, but she’s always full of glee and is just a ton of fun to follow. And McAdams is fantastic in the role, absolutely the scene stealer. We also get supporting work from people like Kyle Chandler, Billy Magnussen, Sharon Horgan, Jesse Plemons, Lamorne Morris, Kylie Bunbury, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Cliff Martinez, and it was really good. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a fan of some of Martinez’s older work, but I think it’s genuinely a great score that works really well in adding a surprising amount of suspense and intrigue to the movie. There’s also a few licensed tracks used throughout, and they work pretty well in their respective scenes.

“Game Night” was written by Mark Perez, and directed by John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein, and this trio really outdid themselves here. In terms of the overall craft of the movie, I didn’t expect much. So imagine my surprise when I notice all the clever and engaging camerawork used throughout the movie, especially during one sequence that I will not spoil, but let’s just say that my eyebrows were raised and my jaw was on the floor. And since this is a comedy, you might wanna know if I laughed. So did I? Like a fucking idiot. I didn’t expect this movie to crack me up as much as it did. Some jokes were chuckles, some were loud gut-busters. Yeah, I had a blast with the humor here.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 66/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

“Game Night” is one of the biggest surprises of the year. It has a pretty good plot, good characters, great performances, really good music, great directing, and hilarious comedy. Though as previously mentioned, my score gets brought down a bit by the plot being a bit convoluted. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Game Night” is an 8,88/10. So while flawed, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Game Night” is now completed.

I think Uno might be my favorite, purely because of how fun it is to fuck people over.

Movie Review: Hellraiser (1987)

And as we reach the end of October, we come to the penultimate Month of Spooks review. Kinda bittersweet as I love doing these reviews, but I’m also looking forward to talking about non-horror stuff again. But it’s not completely over yet.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Hellraiser”.

After moving into a new house, Julia (Clare Higgins) discovers the recently reanimated corpse of her former lover (Sean Chapman), who urges her to bring him people to feast on so he can regain his strength. So now we have our horror plot. And I actually enjoyed it. The setup itself is pretty fun, and the way they develop on it with the help of some other supernatural things that are in the movie really adds to it. Mix it all together and we get an enjoyable horror plot that actually subverts multiple conventions of the genre.

The characters in this are… fine. I didn’t find myself too invested in their struggles and such, except for maybe one. I never thought any of them were necessarily bad, just not very compelling. First up we have Clare Higgins as Julia, the unfaithful wife who kind of makes the plot happen. Her motivations are feel kinda muddled, and I never really found myself interested in her as a character. But I can say that Higgins was pretty good in the role. Next is Andrew Robinson as Larry, Julia’s husband who is in the dark about the supernatural stuff throughout the movie. He’s a good guy who just wants to live a good life. He can come off as kind of dull, but he’s not a bad character. And Robinson is fine in the role. Next we have Ashley Laurence as Kirsty, Larry’s daughter. Remember when I said there was like only one character I actually cared about? Yeah, it’s her, she is the most compelling one for me. And Laurence is really good in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Sean Chapman, Robert Hines, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Christopher Young, and it was fantastic. As bombastic as it was subtle, it perfectly manages to instill fear while also having a surprising amount of emotion behind it. The score here manages to elevate the movie quite a bit. Good stuff.

Based on a novella by Clive Barker, this movie was written and directed by… Clive Barker, I’ll be damned. And I have to say, I think he did a great job here. He shows here that he kinda knows what he was doing behind the camera. He shows a surprising amount of restraint here and manages to create a lot of suspense throughout. And when I say that he shows restraint it doesn’t mean that he skimps out on the gory details, because that stuff is here and it is gore-ious (HA!). But what I mean is that a lot of people directing horror could make their directing loud, abrasive, and lacking in subtlety. But Barker actually gives the viewer’s a lot of breathing room here which adds to the suspense and creepiness of the movie. Now, back to the blood and gore and effects. Holy shit, this is some disgustingly beautiful stuff. The visual effects are excellent, once again showing that practical effects can’t be beaten. They are detailed, bloody, and are just overall fantastic.

This movie has been decently well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 68% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 57/100. Roger Ebert gave it 0,5/4 stars (ouch). And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

While flawed, I still think “Hellraiser” is a really solid horror flick. It has a really good plot, meh characters, good performances, fantastic music, and great directing/visual effects. And as previously mentioned, it is brought down a bit by most of the characters not being that compelling to me. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Hellraiser” is an 8,56/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Hellraiser” is now completed.

Almost at the finish line.

Movie Review: Night of the Living Dead (1968)

Hello and welcome to another Month of Spooks review. So what’s on the menu today? Zombies? Neat.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Night of the Living Dead”.

The story follows a group of strangers as they barricade themselves inside of a farmhouse. Why are they doing this? Because the dead have risen from their graves and have come to feast on the flesh of the living. So now we have our survival plot. And it’s pretty good. This is the grandfather of zombie stories, and everything you recognize in a lot of current zombie stuff was born here. Sure, there were movies featuring the creates before “Night of the Living Dead”, but this is what set up most of what we know zombie stuff to be. From “Braindead” to “Resident Evil” to “The Walking Dead”, we have this story to thank for every zombie thing in our modern times. But aside from that, is this a well executed version of that? Yeah. The stories and developments that happen inside of the house when the survivors are doing anything to stay alive (and not lash out at each other), that stuff it utterly compelling thanks to some solid writing. But when we go back to the living dead it just doesn’t fully hold up, it’s just not as interesting as the survivors just interacting. I’m sure that stuff was horrifying and intriguing back in the day, but for yours truly in 2018 it doesn’t quite have the same impact. But the plot isn’t bad, it’s just a mixed bag.

The characters in this are fine, not awful, not great. Duane Jones (R.I.P) plays Ben, one of the survivors we follow, as well as being one of the first ones we meet. He’s probably the most capable of them all, constantly on his feet and thinking a step or two ahead, making him one that I’d follow in this kind of scenario. And Jones is great in the role. And in supporting roles we have people like Judith O’Dea, Karl Hardman (R.I.P), Marilyn Eastman, Keith Wayne (R.I.P), and Judith Ridley, all doing pretty well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by William Loose (R.I.P), and I thought it was good. Sure, it has that sort of 50s/60s cheese with a lot of low brass and theremin-esque vocals to create that sort of cheesy horror sound… and I like it, really gives the movie an interesting and often surreal vibe.

As you all probably know, this movie was written (with the help of John Russo) and directed by George Romero (R.I.P), and he did a great job here, which is especially impressive considering this was his first movie. He builds a lot of suspense thanks to his claustrophobic camerawork inside of the farmhouse, which made me feel kind of uneasy while watching this. Good job, Mr. Romero.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 97% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 88/10. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,9/10.

“Night of the Living Dead” is a revolutionary film that I don’t love as much as some people, but still highly recommend. It has a good plot, okay characters, really good performances, really good music, and great directing. Though as previously mentioned, it is brought down a bit by the zombie aspects of this zombie story not being that interesting. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Night of the Living Dead” is an 8,77/10. So while not perfect, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Night of the Living Dead” is now completed.

No, bad zombie, no flesh for you!

Movie Review: Constantine (2005)

So what’s on the Month of Spooks meny today? Spooky comic book adaptation? Neat.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Constantine”.

The story follows John Constantine (Keanu Reeves), a private detective handling cases of the supernatural kind, as he helps an LAPD detective (Rachel Weisz) try to prove that her sister’s death wasn’t a normal suicide, but something more sinister. All while John is dealing with the recent news that he has a really severe case of lung cancer. So now we have our spooky detective story. And it’s good. Not perfect, but good. Overall it’s a very well paced story that never feels like it drags, but there is kind of a weird disconnect between the plots of the movie. It’s clear that they used the “Dangerous Habits” story arc from the comics as basis, but then added the cop with the dead sister plot onto it because I guess they needed a more movie-esque aspect in the plot. And the two sometimes tie into each other okay, but a lot of the time they don’t fully gel. Both plots on their own are really good, but putting them together like that doesn’t fully work. But overall, pretty good stuff.

The characters in this get some decent development and are all pretty interesting. First up we have Keanu Reeves (whoa) as the titular hellblazer. He’s a sarcastic jerk who doesn’t let anyone get close, for reasons we shall not disclose, but it’s some good stuff. He’s quite a departure from the comics, but I still found him to be an entertaining and interesting character. And Reeves is really good in the role. Next we have Rachel Weisz as Angela Dodson, the detective that Constantine decides to help. She’s tough as hell without it coming off as forced or unrealistic. She feels a bit more real. And Weisz is great in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Tilda Swinton, Shia LaBeouf, Djimon Hounsou, Max Baker, Pruitt Taylor Vince, Gavin Rossdale, Peter Stormare, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Brian Tyler (with some additions by Klaus Badelt) and I think he did a great job with it. The score takes influences from a couple cultures as well as taking inspiration from a couple different genres such as horror and action. And it creates a really interesting sound that elevates the various scenes where music can be heard.

Based on the “Hellblazer” comics by DC/Vertigo, this movie was directed by Francis Lawrence, and I think he did a really good job with that. While elements of the story and character have trouble capturing the vibe of the comic, his direction gets closer to capturing that feel… if it was turned up to 11 that is, but that’s slightly besides the point. But I do like the slightly gothic vibe this thing has, which often manages to add some creep factor to it all. And the cinematography by Philippe Rousselot is pretty great too, giving us some damn fine looking shots throughout.

This movie has gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 46% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 50/100. Roger Ebert gave it 1,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,0/10.

While not necessarily a great representation of its source material, “Constantine” is still a damn good supernatural action thriller. It has a good plot, good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. As previously mentioned, it is brought down a bit by elements in the story feeling somewhat disjointed. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Constantine” is an 8,94/10. So while flawed, it’s still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Constantine” is now completed.

Whoa.

Movie Review: The Stakelander (2016)

Once upon a time I reviewed a movie called “Stake Land”. It was very good. Now for the Month of Spooks, I am reviewing its sequel. So let’s do it.

Ladies and gentlemen… “The Stakelander”.

The world has gone to shit. After his life in New Eden is destroys by the vampire brotherhood known as… The Brotherhood, Martin (Connor Paolo) must travel into the wasteland to try to find his old mentor and friend Mister (Nick Damici). So now we have our story. And I really enjoyed it. Sure, it lacks a lot of the little subtleties that made the first movie’s plot so great, but it’s still an enjoyable enough plot that works in its own right. Whereas the first one was a slowly burning road drama, this is more of a fast-paced action-horror thing. I do still prefer the first movie’s plot, but this is still an enjoyable romp.

The characters in this are interesting and entertaining. Connor Paolo reprises his role as Martin, the young man taken in by Mister in the first movie. He’s older, much more proficient at killing vampires, a hardened survivor. But he still has a warm heart beating behind that chest of his, giving some nice layers to the gruff boy. And Paolo is really good in the role. Next up we have Nick Damici reprising his role as Mister. How do we describe his character… had the movie come out in the 70s, Charles Bronson would’ve played him. He’s an older badass who is able to kick a lot of ass. But he does also have a soft side in there, he just doesn’t reveal it to anyone. And Damici is great in the role. We also get supporting performances from people like Laura Abramsen, A.C. Peterson, Steven Williams, Kristina Hughes, and more, all doing well in their respective roles.

The score for the movie was composed by Redding Hunter (that is such a good name), and I think he did a good job with it. Of course there are a lot of familiar horror stings there, but there’s also a good chunk of the music that has a very western-y vibe, which I think really works for the whole “wandering through the wasteland” thing this movie is going for. And it all comes together to create a really good score.

Unlike the first movie, “The Stakelander” was not directed by Jim Mickle (though Nick Damici stayed on as writer). Instead this was directed by Dan Berk and Robert Olsen, and I think they brought a somewhat distinct style to it that I liked. Where the first movie created a very broody atmosphere for its slow character drama, this has a more light atmosphere that complements the generally faster pace. But they still do bring in the creeps from time to time, thanks to solid direction and some vicious fuckin’ vamps. And the cinematography by Matt Mitchell was really good, giving us some really good looking shots. Some decently satisfying action here too.

This movie doesn’t have much of an existence on the sites I usually use, so this’ll be brief. But I can say that on imdb.com it has a score of 5,3/10.

While it lacks a lot of the subtlety and layers that made the first one great, “The Stakelander” is still a really solid sequel. It has a good plot, good characters, really good performances, great music, and really good directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Stakelander” is an 8,76/10. So while not perfect, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “The Stakelander” is now completed.

Not gonna lie, my expectations for this were quite low, but I am glad to have been proven wrong by it.