Movie Review: Don’t Worry Darling (2022)

Alright, after a short break (that ended up longer than intended, oops) following the Month of Spooks, I am back, ready to write about non-spooky stuff again. So let’s go!

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “Don’t Worry Darling”.

Living in a seemingly utopian 1950s suburbia, Alice (Florence Pugh) seems to lead a wonderful life with her husband (Harry Styles). But this bliss is soon tested when Alice discovers that this seemingly perfect suburbia may hold some dark secrets. On paper, I love pretty much everything about the narrative, there are so many cool ideas for an effective psychological thriller here. In terms of execution though, I find it a bit lacking. Not outright bad, and never boring, but I never got that “Oh yeah, I’m really into this movie” click. Something about the way the story unfurls, the way that the narrative expands just doesn’t entirely come together for me. It’s undercooked and a bit messy that way, but I also can’t say that I disliked it. It’s… eh.

The characters in this are a mixed bag. One or two I find pretty compelling, like there’s something interesting about them. The rest of them on the other hand show shades of being intriguing, but their arcs don’t really go far enough to be truly compelling. I’ll say, our lead character Alice is pretty compelling, it’s interesting to see how she reacts to the various events and revelations of the story, she’s a fairly dynamic and interesting character. And Florence Pugh is absolutely fantastic in the role, as she always is. Harry Styles plays her husband, and he’s… fine. He’s not terrible, but he’s not great either… just fine. Then we also have people like Chris Pine, Olivia Wilde, KiKi Layne, Gemma Chan, Nick Kroll, Kate Berlant, and more rounding out the cast, and they all deliver really solid performances. It’s generally speaking a really good cast.

The score for the movie was composed by John Powell, and I thought it was great. It’s this strange mix of more typical thriller droning and some basic orchestrations with colorful and really eerie vocalizations, with some interesting piano and percussion. It’s one of the more unique scores I’ve heard in a while, and I kinda loved it. There’s also a lot of licensed songs from the 50s that are used throughout, and they work pretty well in setting a mood in their respective scenes. So yeah, this movie has some great music.

“Don’t Worry Darling” was directed by Olivia Wilde, and I think she did a pretty solid job with it. She has a good grip of how to try to build tension in a scene, she shows how to have a good flow to her scenes. Her talent behind the camera does help elevate some of the less than stellar writing a bit. And when you combine her directing with Matthew Libatique’s frankly stunning cinematography, you get a movie that, on a technical level, is quite stunning.

This movie’s gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 38% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 48/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.2/10.

While it isn’t as emotionally engaging as it could’ve been, I’d still say that “Don’t Worry Darling” is fine. It has a meh story, okay characters, great performances, great music, and great directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Don’t Worry Darling” is a 6.57/10. So I’d say it’s still worth renting.

My review of “Don’t Worry Darling” is now completed.

I didn’t worry… so now what do I do or do not do?

Movie Review: X (2022)

X gon’ give it to ya… wait, that doesn’t work. Umm… X marks the spot? Nonono… Xpertly I crafted a dumb intro before moving onto the review. Nailed it!

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “X”.

1979. A group of young, aspiring filmmakers travel to a farm in rural Texas with the intention of using the rustic setting as a backdrop for a porno they plan on making. But as soon as they arrive and begin working (bow chicka bow wow), sinister things start brewing around them. “X” has a distinctly old school feel, hearkening back to a lot of 70s horror, opting for that sort of grungy slow burn tension, with “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” being one of the clearest influences on this. And I think that works pretty well for “X”, it gives its story a vibe that’s been all but lost in today’s movie environment. As for the story in general, I thought it was alright. Nothing bad about it, and I do really appreciate the dark, slightly off-kilter sense of humor that shows up throughout, but in terms of general enjoyment it didn’t do much more than passable enjoyment for me. Like I said, the tone is fun, the slower pace is pretty engaging, and some of the events and reveals I did enjoy. But on the whole I just didn’t love it as much as some others have. It’s a passably enjoyable story for me.

The characters in this are pretty good. Again, not really amongst my favorites ever, but the movie still does a decent enough job of establishing who they all are and finding way to make them fairly likable and decently interesting. The cast is also pretty stacked, containing people like Mia Goth, Jenna Ortega, Brittany Snow, Martin Henderson, Kid Cudi, Owen Campbell, Stephen Ure, and a few more, all delivering damn good performances. Mia Goth especially is an absolute standout here, she’s terrific.

The score for the movie was composed by Tyler Bates and Chelsea Wolfe, and I think they did a damn good job with it. Low key spooky strings, some synths, piano, occasional choir voices, some droning noises. It has a weirdly old school feel that works really well for the movie and helps build a bit of an unsettling atmosphere. There’s also a handful of licensed songs used throughout, and I think they work well in their respective scenes. There’s one track in particular, which I won’t spoil, but it’s a song I adore, and the way a particular section of it comes crashing in during a certain event is just fucking spectacular, and an absolute standout moment. But yeah, this movie has good music.

“X” was written and directed by Ti West, which sees him making his return to movies since 2016. And I think he did a damn good job with his directing. West has an excellent way of utilizing space to build a bit of tension or add impact to an action, and it’s just done marvelously here. And when combined with Eliot Rockett’s old school, grimy, beautifully blocked/framed cinematography, you get a movie that just oozes charm, grit, and a confidence that is quite fun.

This movie’s been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 94% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 79/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.6/10.

While I don’t really love it like many others seem to, I still enjoyed “X”. It has an okay story, pretty good characters, great performances, really good music, and really good directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *BOO*. My final score for “X” is a 7.43/10. So while flawed, I’d certainly say that it’s worth renting.

My review of “X” is now completed.

What letter’s the best for cutting down trees? The X.

Movie Review: Underwater (2020)

Amongst other things, we’ve dealt with the horrors of vampires, possession, and small town Oregon, so now it’s time to switch it up a bit, going for the ultimate horror… liquid.

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “Underwater”.

In a research base located in the Mariana Trench, a group of scientists must fight for their survival when a mysterious earthquake suddenly erupts, destroying part of the facility. So now the team have to find a way to get out and maybe also find out what the hell is going on. In some ways, this story is “Alien”, in some ways it is “The Abyss”, and in a lot of ways it is just okay. I like some of the reveals that happen, and I wouldn’t say I was ever bored with what was going on, but I wasn’t super invested either. It was just sort of a passable sci-fi/horror story that quickly went by. And I guess that might be a bit of an issue. Not just that there’s little of a dramatic hook, but also the borderline breakneck pace. On occasion that can work, and I get that they want to have some perpetual intensity going thanks to that, but I think they could’ve benefitted from slowing down, building some dread, let us get to know the place and people a bit more. It’s still mildly entertaining, but it sadly never fully hooked me.

The characters in this are… eh? Again, they feel vastly underdeveloped. They try to throw in quick things every now and then to add some characterization, but it’s never enough to truly make me care… but I also didn’t outright dislike them, they sort of exist in this weird bubble of being watchable and occasionally likable, but never compelling, it’s weird. What I can say however is that I generally like the cast in this, most of the performances in this are really good. Kristen Stewart, Vincent Cassel, Mamoudou Athie, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr (always nice to see him), Gunner Wright, they’re all good. There is also the heavy presence of a certain horrible person that shall not be named. But taking his horrible shit aside for two seconds, he just doesn’t work in this movie. They try to make him the comic relief, and none of his jokes land, along with the performance being not great. So that’s a big, annoying stain on the otherwise really good cast.

The score for the movie was composed by Marco Beltrami and Brandon Roberts, and finally there’s something I can just outright praise. This score is great, mixing traditional orchestration with electronics and synths to create a mesmerizing and fun soundscape that fully captures the strange, almost alien sensation of being stuck so deep beneath the ocean’s surface. It’s just great stuff that actually manages to elevate certain moments of the movie. So that’s nice.

“Underwater” was directed by William Eubank, and I think he did a really good job here. His direction is slick, stylish, and scool… okay, that didn’t work, but you get the point. His direction just helps the otherwise underdeveloped script come to life more, as he really does bring the deep sea station and ocean floor sections to life. Combine his direction with Bojan Bazelli’s frankly gorgeous cinematography, and you get a really cool looking movie. Furthermore, the effects in this are stellar and there’s some great sets as well. On the whole it’s just really well crafted.

This movie has not been super well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 48% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 48/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5.8/10.

While it is very underdeveloped in the script department, I can’t say that I disliked “Underwater”. It’s an okay survival thriller. It has an okay-ish story, meh characters, really good performances, great music, and really good directing/cinematography. Time for my final score. *Blub blub*. My final score for “Underwater” is a 6.21/10. So while very flawed, I’d say that it can still be worth renting.

My review of “Underwater” is now completed.

I love water, but there’s no fucking way you’ll see me in an underwater base. I value my sanity and not-being-at-constant-risk-of-drowning status too much.

Movie Review: Deliver Us from Evil (2014)

My friends, I once again deliver a Month of Spooks review for y’all. So let’s quit this dawdling and get into it.

Ladies, gents, non-binaries… “Deliver Us from Evil”.

As a series of strange, violent crimes start plaguing New York City, police officer Ralph Sarchie (Eric Bana) finds himself having to team up with a very unique priest (Edgar Ramírez) in order to try and solve these disturbing goings-on. “Deliver Us from Evil” is a tale of two conflicting elements. At first glance it’s an atmospheric cop thriller, showing a man trying to do his job, all while dealing with an inner turmoil. And that bit I genuinely really like, there’s a lot of interesting and surprisingly compelling drama going on for it with Sarchie, the case, his family, and a few more things. But it also presents this fun, pulpy detective thriller that I enjoyed following, even if the movie drags towards the middle. But then we have the second part of the movie, which is the more overt supernatural horror shenanigans. Some of it is kinda fun, such as some of the stuff in the last act. But a lot of the horror stuff in the first two just doesn’t work for me. There’s a great sense of atmosphere with the movie, but when the scares hit, they kind of deflate it and take me out of the movie. So the horror of the HORROR movie is a bit of an issue. So the story here is very much a mixed bag.

The characters in this are pretty solid, all being given compelling arcs and personalities. Eric Bana plays Ralph Sarchie, a tough-as-nails and sarcastic, yet good-natured policeman with a bit of baggage in the trunk. It’s interesting to see how the events of the story affect him and how his past further informs the development he goes through. And Eric Bana does a damn good job in the role. Next is Edgar Ramírez as Mendoza, a slightly peculiar jesuit priest that Sarchie meets. He’s an interesting fella with an interesting story, and I like the rapport he has with Sarchie. And Ramírez is great in the role. The rest of the cast is pretty great too, containing people like Olivia Munn, Lulu Wilson, Joel McHale, Dorian Missick, Sean Harris, and many other talented actors.

The score for the movie was composed by Christopher Young, and it was alright. Fairly unremarkable eerie horror score. Nothing too noteworthy in either direction, just fairly standard stuff. Now, with that out of the way, I can mention that the movie also uses some licensed music, namely a few tracks by The Doors. I find this interesting, because the band has always had indirect (or direct, who knows) ties to spirituality, which adds something thematically intriguing to proceedings. It doesn’t necessarily make the movie scarier or more suspenseful, but it makes it a bit more interesting. So yeah, the music in this is mixed.

“Deliver Us from Evil” was based on a book that was co-written by… Ralph Sarchie? Yeah, he was a real person, and he wrote a book about investigating actual exorcism in actual New York. I will however take those musings with a pocketful of salt, so feel free to call me Scully. Anyhow, Sarchie’s book served as loose inspiration for this movie that was directed and co-written by Scott Derrickson. And I think he did a good job directing this, the man is excellent at building a creepy atmosphere and utilizing space for his set pieces, and he brings that to this movie in spectacular fashion. While the scares in this felt tepid or annoying, everything inbetween (and even during some more overtly horror-y scenes) is wonderfully directed. This is further amplified by Scott Kevan’s dark and grimy cinematography that adds so much to the chilling vibes they build up. There’s also a fair bit of really cool gore and makeup and VFX work. It looks really rad and works well to add weight to the world.

This movie has not been super well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 29% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 40/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.2/10.

So while its let down by sub-par horror and some pacing issues, I still enjoyed “Deliver Us from Evil”. It has a pretty good story, really good characters, great performances, interesting music, and damn good direction and cinematography. Time for my final score. *BOO*. My final score for “Deliver Us from Evil” is a 7.23/10. So while it is quite flawed, it’s still worth renting.

My review of “Deliver Us from Evil” is now completed.

What’s your favorite Doors song? Mine is probably “Break on Through”.

Movie Review: Antlers (2021)

Greetings, my spooky friends, hope you’re doing hel- I mean well. So anyhow, shall we get into talking about a spooky movie? Yeah? Cool

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “Antlers”.

Somewhere in Oregon, a teacher (Keri Russell) starts picking up on the increasingly strange behavior of one of her students (Jeremy T. Thomas). And as she attempts to get more involved in the boy’s life to find out what’s going on, she slowly starts to uncover, dark, sinister, supernatural things going on. The story of “Antlers” is frustrating, because it has a lot of interesting things going on, using ancient evils to try and discuss things like abuse and trauma… keyword being “try”. Using horror to create discussions on heavy subjects isn’t anything new, and it can be done to great effect. But I feel like “Antlers” doesn’t stick the landing on that. It feels very undercooked, almost feeling like a last minute addition with how little it ultimately informs or plays into the narrative. And so what remains is the horror mystery aspect, which I actually enjoyed. Again, with little dramatic heft it doesn’t hit as much as it could, but I still enjoy the parts that feel lean more on just being an atmospheric creature romp, as those bits succeed pretty well in entertaining and creeping me out. So on the whole I found the story to be a mixed bag. The drama goes nowhere, but the horror elements are pretty fun.

I found the characters in this to be okay. On paper I think they are incredibly compelling, you get shades of nuance and depth in moments, but much like the story before them, they really feel underdeveloped. They introduce interesting ideas for each of them, but we never get enough time spent with any of those ideas for the characters to become as compelling as they could be. But while the characters weren’t as great as they could be, the cast far from disappointed. Every single actor in the movie is absolutely terrific. Keri Russell, Jeremy T. Thomas, Jesse Plemons, Graham Greene, Scott Haze, and everyone else just delivers damn good work.

The score for the movie was composed by Javier Navarrete and I thought it was great. It’s this brooding, oft overwhelming score bringing a tragic menace to every scene it’s in, whether it’s a slower, more drama-focused bit or if it’s one of the more overtly horror-y scenes. Navarrete’s music just brings this unsettling atmosphere that I absolutely loved listening to.

Based on “The Quiet Boy” by Nick Antosca, “Antlers” was directed and co-written by Scott Cooper, and I think he did a damn good job here. His directing has this slow, eerie quality to it that keeps every scene engaging even if the narrative doesn’t quite hit those highs. But what further elevates the direction is Florian Hoffmeister’s cinematography, which further helps build this dark and dingy atmosphere that helps keep scenes engaging. It’s also absolutely gorgeous to look at, there’s so much fantastic lighting and framing going on that I couldn’t help but be in awe at times. The movie also has its share of visual effects, mainly sticking to practical with some CG enhancements, and they look absolutely astonishing. Be it gore makeup or creature effects, all of it is a marvel to look at and it really helps further add to the atmosphere of the movie.

This movie’s not been the most well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 60% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 57/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5.9/10.

While its writing feels very underdeveloped, I still enjoyed “Antlers”. It has an okay story, okay-ish characters, great performances, great music, and fantastic directing/cinematography/effects. Time for my final score. *AAAAAH*. My final score for “Antlers” is a 6.65/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth renting.

My review of “Antlers” is now completed.

Maybe it would’ve been better if it was about Antler from “Fallout: New Vegas”. We will never know…

Movie Review: Unhinged (2020)

On the Crowe again, just can’t wait to watch Russ Crowe agai- Oh hi, didn’t see you there. Uuuuuhhhhh… let’s talk about Russell Crowe road movie.

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “Unhinged”.

After she has an altercation with a man (Russell Crowe) while in traffic, Rachel’s (Caren Pistorius) day turns into a living nightmare as the man begins stalking and terrorizing her. What I like about the story in “Unhinged” is that there’s no pretense of greatness here. At first glance it’s a popcorn thriller, and upon further inspection, still a popcorn thriller. And that is sort of the story’s biggest strength, as it’s just 80 minutes of relentless tension, Crowe chasing Pistorius around, wreaking havoc. It makes it a bit of  a breeze to watch.

The characters in this are fine. Rachel, our leading lady hasn’t really been given much in terms of personality, but what little there is works well enough to make me root for her, and I think Caren Pistorius does a really good job with the material. Now, let’s talk about the man… that’s how he’s listed in the credits, so don’t blame me for the vagueness. Anyhow, Russell Crowe is fucking terrifying in this. Just an unhinged, surprisingly calculating psychopath that I never really knew what to make of. He’s just a mysterious agent of chaos, and Crowe’s performance is absolutely fantastic. Anytime he was on screen, he was electrifying. Supporting cast’s solid too, limited though their screentime may be. Gabriel Bateman, Jimmi Simpson, Austin P. McKenzie, Juliene Joyner, they’re all good.

Score for the movie was composed by David Buckley, and I really liked it. Nice mix of electronic sounds with a few regular instruments every now and then, helps to add nicely to the tension throughout. Sure, it’s not the most groundbreaking of scores, but it worked well for this movie. So yeah… good stuff.

“Unhinged” was directed by Derrick Borte, and I think he did a really good job behind the camera. Action scenes are well shot and feature some really gnarly stunts and even grisly violence at times that really add to the intensity of the movie, making the danger of the situation and Crowe’s character feel all the more visceral. Borte really knew how to make the most out of the premise and out of Carl Ellsworth’s script, crafting some really suspenseful scenes that never really let up until the credits.

This movie’s been pretty mixed in its reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 48% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 40/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.0/10.

Is “Unhinged” one of the greatest movies ever? No. But if you’re like me and you like brisk, tense, pulpy thrillers right out of the 90s, then I can easily recommend it for a rainy afternoon. It has a fun story, okay-ish characters, great performances, really good music, and really good directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Unhinged” is a 7.88/10. So I’d say it’s worth a rental.

My review of “Unhinged” is now completed.

Vroomssel Crowe

Movie Review: Hotel Artemis (2018)

At last, first review of the year not featuring a movie starring Ghostface. Don’t get me wrong, I loved going through the “Scream” movies, but a bit of variety doesn’t hurt, you know. So with that out of the way, let’s do this.

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries, let’s check in at… “Hotel Artemis”.

Los Angeles, 2028. The city has been torn to shreds by constant riots. In the middle of this chaos is Artemis, a hotel/hospital dedicated to treating criminals, run by a woman known as The Nurse (Jodie Foster). And we follow her on what might be the most hectic night in the establishment’s history. I mostly enjoyed the story here. When it focuses on the lean, colorful contained thriller aspect, it’s a lot of fun. Where it does falter though is when it tries to go for a more serious tone, developing the backstories of the characters. Wanting to add more nuance and emotional depth to the narrative isn’t an inherently bad thing, but the writing isn’t really strong enough for it to feel successful, which does make those sections feel like a bit of a drag. Luckily, those parts aren’t the main focus of the movie, so for the most part it’s an enjoyable story… bar those select few sections, I mean.

The characters in this are decent, all stand out enough from each other, and work well for the story. But what does elevate them beyond just being passable are the actors. Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Sophia Boutella, Dave Bautista, Charlie Day, Jeff Goldblum, Brian Tyree Henry, Zachary Quinto, and more appear in this movie, and there’s not a weak link within the cast.

The score for the movie was composed by Cliff Martinez, and I think he did an okay job with it. As with most of his work, it’s based heavily in synths, and I think it fits with the neon-soaked, dingy style of the movie. It’s not Martinez’s best or most memorable score, but it worked fine for the movie. There’s also a few licensed songs used throughout, and they work well in their respective scenes.

“Hotel Artemis” was written and directed by Drew Pearce, and I think he did a pretty good job. His style does have this fun, almost comic book-ish charm that really keeps each scene feeling fun and charming. His action scenes are also pretty well handled. Not perfect, but they’re generally well made and fun. What also adds to the overall quality of the craft is the cinematography by Chung-hoon Chung, which is beautiful and really adds to the feel of the movie, making each scene even more engaging.

This movie’s not been super well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 58% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 58/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.1/10.

While it does falter a bit when trying to be more serious, “Hotel Artemis” is an enjoyable contained thriller. It has a pretty good story, okay characters, great performances, okay music, good directing, and great cinematography. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Hotel Artemis” is a 7.23/10. So while it is flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth renting.

My review of “Hotel Artemis” is now completed.

Welcome to the Hotel Artemis, such a dingy place, such a dingy place…

Movie Review: Scream 3 (2000)

We’re 75% through this little journey, my friends… or well, 60% if we count the new one that’s not even out ye- fuck it, we’re only counting the old(er) ones for now. And without further ado, let’s get into the review itself!

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “Scream 3”.

A few years have passed since the murders at Windsor College, and Sidney (Neve Campbell) has moved to a remote new place somewhere in California. Meanwhile, a third movie in the “Stab” franchise is being made, which prompts another killer to come forth and kill people involved with the production. “Scream 3” had the perfect setup for a deep cut satire about Hollywood and filmmaking and such, but sadly falls flat and completely misses in that regard, largely due to it not being written by series mainstay Kevin Williamson. That said, I don’t hate the story here. Yes, it’s more convoluted than it needs to be. Yes, it does lack the satirical edge that made the first two movies as good as they were. Yes, it makes some baffling decisions at a few points. But it’s still a decently fun horror story that at times has some nice suspense or a good joke. So yeah, not as good in terms of actual storytelling, but it’s stil. decently enjoyable.

The characters in this can be a bit of a mixed bag. The returning ones remain the highlight, with their relationships and personalities developed further, and with Arquette, Campbell, and Cox once again delivering damn good performances. As for newcomers, some of the characters are a decent bit of fun, and some are just kinda meh, with one in particular falling really flat due to the convoluted narrative. At least the supporting cast are all solid in their roles, featuring actors like Parker Posey, Patrick Dempsey, Scott Foley, Deon Richmond, Jenny McCarthy, Emily Mortimer, Lance Henriksen, and more.

For the third time in a row, Marco Beltrami came in to do the music, and once again he’s polished his style even further, leading to arguably my favorite score in the series so far. It does have some of the loud brass and such again, but it’s still surprisingly subdued, making for a pretty eerie score that manages to elevate the movie, even when the script stumbles. As for licensed music, there’s a little bit of that used throughout, and it’s all pretty good. This movie has good music, yo.

As I previously stated, Kevin Williamson didn’t come back to write this (boo), but at least Wes Craven stayed on as director, and once again he did a really good job. He could manage to wring a lot of energy and suspense out of a scene, making it very watchable, even if the event itself isn’t super interesting.

This movie’s gotten some mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 41% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 56/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 5.6/10.

While its let down by a weak script, I still had a decently fun time with “Scream 3”. It has a meh story, okay characters, great performances, great music, and really good direction. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Scream 3” is a 6.97/10. So while it’s flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth renting.

My review of “Scream 3” is now completed.

One more to go…

Movie Review: The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)

Hello there, hope you’re having a good weekend. Only a few days until “Spider-Man: No Way Home” is released, which means it’s time for me to cover the second (and final) movie in the previous reboot. So let’s go!

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “The Amazing Spider-Man 2”.

Peter Parker’s (Andrew Garfield) life is a bit of a hectic one, trying to balance being Spider-Man with being a regular New York teenager. But this is going to get way tougher when a series of new villains emerge and start causing chaos. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is a curious case of occasional good ideas getting absolutely crushed by the overabundance of superfluous plot threads. First is the Peter/Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone) romance, fine. Then there’s the introduction of Electro (Jamie Foxx), fine. But then there’s also the backstory involving Peter’s parents. And a plot involving Harry Osborn (Dane Dehaan). And then there’s a few more threads throughout. There’s so much shit going on that it really messes with the pacing. First act is fine, and even has some great shit going on. But as the film goes on, it just becomes an overstuffed, underdeveloped, sluggish mess that is hard to engage with. There are moments of quality in the storytelling, but the overall narrative is just… ugh.

The characters in this are a mixed bag. Our two leads, Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, they’re both charming, fun, engaging, and just overall a great pair, with Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone both delivering top notch performances. Next we have Max Dillon/Electro, who is at first set up as our main villain. His characterization is bizarre, and I don’t completely get why they wrote him the way they did. And Jamie Foxx… it’s a mixed bag of a performance. On occasion I do enjoy it, but it often just didn’t click with me. Dane Dehaan as Harry Osborn? Decent performance, undercooked writing. Paul Giamatti as Aleksei Sytsevich? Unnecessary, but very amusing. I’ll at least say that the rest of the supporting cast is solid, featuring people like Sally Field, Colme Feore, Marton Csokas, Felicity Jones, Campbell Scott, Embeth Davidtz, and more.

The score for the movie was composed by Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, Junkie XL, Johnny Marr, Steve Mazzaro, and Andrew Kawczynski… FUCK, that’s a lot of composers. But they acted as sort of a supergroup to make the music for this, and I think it mostly paid off. It’s an interesting mix of styles and genres, making for a unique and slightly eclectic score that I thoroughly enjoyed hearing throughout the movie. There’s also a handful of licensed songs used throughout, and they are a bit of a mixed bag. Some work pretty well, some less so.

As with the first one, “Amazing Spider-Man 2” was directed by Marc Webb (HA!), and I think he did a solid job. Despite the script being a complete mess, Webb’s direction is sound, flowing beautifully and bringing some nice energy to proceedings. It especially shines in action scenes, which are all generally quite enjoyable. And that’s something I can say, on the technical side of things, this movie is solid.

This movie has gotten some very mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 52% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 53/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.5/10.

Despite a lackluster and overly messy script, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” still has enough bright spots in it to keep it from total failure. It has some good story moments, it has a few good characters, the performances are (mostly) great, the music is really good, and the direction is really solid. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is a 6.23/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth a rental.

My review of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” is now completed.

*thwip*

Movie Review: The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

Are my eyes deceiving me, or is this another Month of Spooks post? Well it is! And what’s the deal today then? Exorcism? Interesting, let’s go!

Ladies, gents, and non-binaries… “The Exorcism of Emily Rose”.

When a priest (Tom Wilkinson) is accused of causing the death of a young woman (Jennifer Carpenter), lawyer Erin Bruner (Laura Linney) takes his case, soon finding herself diving into deeper, and more complex waters than she ever could have expected. If you read the title of this movie, you expect a straight up horror flick, right? Well, that’s not quite what we have here. “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” is actually for the most part a courtroom drama, with some flashbacks interspersed throughout that are mor horror-focused. And I personally liked the courtroom stuff quite a bit, as they provided a thematically and dramatically interesting debate on science vs. religion. But then we have the flashbacks to what happened with the character of Emily, and I kind of tuned out of those, because they leaned too much into typical horror tropes, without generating any actual scares. There’s decent atmosphere in those bits, but there’s no actual tension or terror, and I was uninterested in the storytelling in those bits. So yeah, the story here is a bit of a mixed bag.

The characters in this are all pretty interesting, and I like the way they’re used throughout the movie. Even when the storytelling loses me in those flashbacks, the characters are still decently engaging. And a lot of that comes from the spectacular cast, containing people like Laura Linney, Tom Wilkinson, Jennifer Carpenter (who steals the show), Colm Feore, Campbell Scott, Henry Czerny, and many more.

The score for the movie was composed by Christopher Young, and I think he did an alright job with it. Some of the track resonate decently, creating some good emotion. But some just feel a bit overbearing as they just try to create this droning horror-y sound. So the score can feel like a mixed bag at times, even though I can’t blame Young himself.

“The Exorcism of Emily Rose” was directed and co-written by Scott Derrickson, and I think he did a really good job with. Derrickson is a director who’s work I’ve enjoyed before, and this was his cinematic debut, so it was exciting to see where it started for him. And he definitely has a style and skill that was well beyond his years. Even though I didn’t find the horror bits scary in this, Derrickson’s direction still kept it slightly interesting.

This movie has not been super well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 44% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 46/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6.7/10.

While it is a bit of a mixed bag, “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” can still be recommend for its courtroom drama and electrifying cast. The story is alright, the characters are okay, the performances are fantastic, the music is okay, and the direction is really good. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” is a 6.97/10. So while it’s very flawed, it’s still certainly worth a rental.

My review of “The Exorcism of Emily Rose” is now completed.

Your honor, I will exorcise my rights to plead the fifth.