Movie Review: Candyman (1992)

Time for some more spookums for the Month of Spooks. So let’s stop standing around and get into it.

Ladies and gents… “Candyman”.

Grad student Helen Lyle (Virginia Madsen) is working on a thesis about a local spooky legend known as the Candyman (Tony Todd). And as she investigates this legend, she soon comes face-to-face with the titular myth. So now we have a psychological thriller/procedural. And I’m gonna be frank with you guys, I really liked the story told here. For something that can be technically considered a slasher, there’s a surprising amount of nuance to the story, putting doubt in your mind about certain story elements, making the viewer feel uneasy about the things going on. Despite a relatively short runtime, it took its time to tell this chilling and surprisingly nuanced narrative. That’s not to say that there aren’t thrills, ’cause there are. But the story here isn’t just some thinly veiled excuse for gory slicing and dicing a la Jason Voorhees. The story here has an actual purpose, and I was pleasantly surprised by it.

The characters in this are, like the story, surprisingly nuanced and engaging. Virginia Madsen plays Helen, the grad student investigating the local legend. She’s a bit of a skeptic, so when she starts coming face-to-face with some of the strange things she doesn’t fully believe in, she starts going through a bit of a fascinating arc. And Madsen is fantastic in the role. Next we have Tony Todd as the titular legend. I won’t go into too much detail in case you haven’t seen it but want to. But let’s just say that he’s one of the more intriguing horror antagonists out there. And Todd is great in the role (and what a cool voice he has!). We also get supporting work from people like Xavier Berkeley, Kasi Lemmons, DeJuan Guy, Vanessa Williams, and more, all doing very well in their respective roles.

The score for “Candyman” was composed by Philip Glass, and I think it’s pretty spectacular. Sure, the opening track has some minor things that I’m not a huge fan of. But other than that, this score is wonderful. It’s eerie, yet mournful. Haunting, yet sad. Like with the things we talked about earlier, there’s a surprising amount of nuance to it, and especially with the main theme, which is one of the most stunning that I’ve ever heard.

Loosely based on a short story by Clive Barker, the movie was written and directed by Bernard Rose. And I think he did a great job with it. Yes, there are jump scares, and yes there is gore. But he still has a direction that generally relies more on a subtle creep-factor rather than constant thrills, which adds to the overall experience. There’s even a lot of fun camerawork throughout, which helps add a bit of extra energy to proceedings, and not just have it be a slightly boring, static shot of something happening.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 74% positive rating. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,6/10.

I was pleasantly surprised by “Candyman”, it’s a surprisingly nuanced little horror movie. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and great writing/directing. Time for my final score. *AHEM*. My final score for “Candyman” is a 9,78/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Candyman” is now completed.

Wait, how many times did I say his name in this review? 1, 2, 3, 4, fuck.

Movie Review: Gattaca (1997)

Never let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. There’s no “destiny”, you make up your own story. You have control over your own path.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Gattaca”.

Ever since he was a kid, Vincent (Ethan Hawke) has wanted to go to space. But due to his inferior genes he has been ineligible for the longest time to even take part in the program. But he finds a way to potentially achieve his dream when he gets to assume the identity of a genetically superior man (Jude Law) to get into the program. So now we have our sci-fi plot. And it is honestly pretty damn great. It explores the themes of humanity and ethics. It’s an engaging drama with a slight science fiction twist. The type of sci-fi here feels fairly believable, as if it could possibly happen in the future. But it’s mainly an inspiring drama about a man trying to achieve his dreams despite what some have told him, and I have huge respect for that. It’s a truly great plot.

The characters are fleshed out and quite interesting. Vincent has, despite his shortcomings, always hoped that his dreams of space travel will come true. And seeing his determination to make his dream a reality is kind of inspiring. And Ethan Hawke is great in the role. Uma Thurman plays one of Vincent’s co-workers that we get to know a bit throughout the movie. And Thurman is great in the role. Jude Law plays the “genetically superior” man whose identity Vincent assumes to make it into the space program. He’s a charming and fun guy with some okay dramatic stuff going for him throughout. And Law is great in the role. Then the cast is rounded out by actors like Ernest Borgnine, Xander Berkeley, Gore Vidal, Alan Arkin, Loren Dean, Tony Shalhoub, Jayne Brook, and Elias Koteas (and more), all doing very well here.

The score for the movie was composed by Michael Nyman and it was fantastic. It strikes a perfect balance of tense, inspiring, and emotional. It’s mainly based around strings which gives it a very beautiful sound. And it all works very well for the movie, elevating the already great scenes.

The movie was written and directed by Andrew Niccol (who also made the great “Lord of War”) and I think he did a fantastic job here. The way he manages to create a world that is familiar yet different is excellent, and he manages to keep a surprising amount of tension going throughout. I don’t mean edge-of-your-seat type of tension, but rather a tense feel of unease as Vincent tries to keep his real identity a secret throughout. The movie is also very well shot, it’s definitely what I would call visually arresting. And there are a couple of clever little details in certain shots throughout that I thought were nice touches.

This movie has been well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has an 84% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 64/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3,5/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,8/10.

“Gattaca” is pretty fucking great. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, fantastic music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Gattaca” is a 9,86/10. So it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Gattaca” is now completed.

I’m gonna say it once again… Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. Write your own story.

Movie Review: Son of Batman (2014)

I’ve told you how I love watching DC animated movies so many times before, so let’s just jump into the review.

Ladies and gents… “Son of Batman”.

On a night like any other, Batman (Jason O’Mara) gets a visit from Talia al Ghul (Morena Baccarin) who tells him that he has a son named Damian (Stuart Allan). So now Batman has to take care of his troublesome son while also looking into a case that seems to involve Kirk Langstrom (Xander Berkeley) and possibly even Deathstroke (Thomas Gibson). And this plot was… fine. While I like the idea of Batman finding out he has a bloodthirsty son that he has to take care of, I never really felt that invested in the plot. It was entertaining and I never thought it was poorly told, but it wasn’t as investing as it could have been.

The characters in this, while not the deepest, were pretty interesting and really entertaining. I’ve said it before and I’m gonna say it again, Jason O’Mara is great as Batman… not much else I can say there, he’s great. Stuart Allan plays Damian in this movie and I think he did a really good job. Firstly, he’s actually young, so he actually sounds like a kid. And secondly, he portrayed the vengeful, entitled, and angry feel of the character very well. Morena Baccarin was really good as Talia al Ghul. David McCallum did a really good job voicing Alfred. Xander Berkeley was really good as Kirk Langstrom. Thomas Gibson did a pretty good job as Deathstroke. He wasn’t bad per se, but I feel like his voice didn’t fit the character too well. Nightwing also pops up in the movie, voiced by Sean Maher. And I think he did a really good job as the character. So overall I’d say that the cast is really solid.

The score for the movie was composed by Fredrik Wiedmann, the same man that did the score for the awesome “Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox”. And I think the stuff he composed for this movie was really good. It was tense, exciting, and just overall worked very well within the movie.

So since this is a direct-to-video DC animated movie, we should talk about the animation. So how is it? The animation here is good. During scenes where characters just walk around and talk it looks fine, not great, not bad. But during action scenes it looks really good. The action in this movie is fast, fun, and surprisingly brutal. Especially during the last fight of the movie, that part was awesome!

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 70% positive rating. On Metacritic it doesn’t even exist. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,7/10.

“Son of Batman” is a fun addition to the DC animated universe. It has an okay plot, pretty good characters, good performances, great music, and good animation. However like I said, I wasn’t exactly that invested in the plot and the animation wasn’t always the best. Time for my final score. *Throws Batarang*. My final score for “Son of Batman” is an 8,89/10. So while it’s flawed, I’d still say that it’s worth buying.

My review of “Son of Batman” is now completed.

There’s a scene in Arkham Asylum in the movie and it shows how you do cameos the right way… Just saying.

Movie Review: Taken (2008)

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I am honestly not a big fan of modern action movies. There are not that many that I have found that appealed to me. Sure, I have a few that I can call “guilty pleasures” (“Expendables 2” for example). And that is a bit of a disappointment considering I in general like action movies. Anyway… I also like Liam Neeson, the guy’s a great actor. Recently he started to do less dramas and insted do more action oriented movies. You might remember that I did a review for his most recent movie “Non-Stop” about a week ago. Well today we are not revisiting that movie! Today we are taking a look at the movie which launched him into the action movie circle.

Sons and daughters… “Taken”.

The story of “Taken” follows ex-CIA agent Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson). He lives a quiet life as a… retired guy. He retired from the CIA to be closer to his daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) who now lives with her mother Lenore (Famke Janssen) and step-father Stuart (Xander Berkeley). One day Kim asks for his permission to go to Paris with her friend Amanda (Katie Cassidy). So after a little while, Bryan agrees to it… with a few conditions. So then Kim and Amanda goes to Paris… but it doesn’t end well. And by “doesn’t end well” I mean they get kidnapped and it is up to Bryan to get over there and find them… in the most badass way possible. And there we have our story… at least in a basic synopsis-y way. Is it a good premise? Yes. Is the execution of it good? Pretty good I suppose. I’m not saying the execution is bad, I am just saying it is not done in such a way where it keeps me interested. Although I was interested in a different thing about the movie that we’ll talk about in a bit. But back to the point! The drama in this movie was not very engaging and never felt as real as it could. Sure, a few bits struck a small nerve with me, but that’s about it. Not much interest in the execution of the story.

The characters are done in a way that actually keeps this movie going. Not saying they are my favorites in any movie ever… but they work. Let’s start with the only one really worth talking about (Yes, I’ll skip the others), Bryan Mills. He is one of the biggest badasses ever. But he doesn’t only kick literal ass in this movie, but also metaphorically… let me explain. He is very well-written and also carries the emotional parts of the story in this movie. Sure, he doesn’t start crying in this movie, but he really shows emotions compared to every other action hero ever. Also, while he is kicking ass in combat and never seems to lose, you can still notice that he is vulnerable… not just the ultimate killing machine (even though he is that as well). So in general, good characters that work, but we only care for Liam fucking Neeson because he is Liam fucking Neeson.

The music was pretty damn good. It was a mix of a few cold tracks (explanation of cold tracks: Tracks that are calm and used to create a cold and kill-all-the-happiness feeling) and exciting action based tracks. All tracks in this movie comes together to have an orgie and make a great soundtrack for this movie. And that is something I really like! Good job, soundtrack!

Remember when I said I would talk about something that interested me? Yeah, me neither. But time for it to happen! What I meant was the action in the movie… it is pretty awesome. Sure, some of it is obstructed by the curse of shaky-cam, but what you can see is pretty awesome. It is fun to watch and it makes for great entertainment. Also, like I said, this movie really helped launch Liam Neeson into the “action hero circle” which I am so thankful for because he is amazing in action movies (“Non-Stop” is a fine example). Also… camera work (when it isn’t having an epileptic seizure) is fantastic. The shots done in this movie are really great and makes for some real eye-candy.

Reception for “Taken” has been for the most part good…with a few exceptions. Rotten Tomatoes has a score of 58% on it. On Metacritic this movie has a 50/100 rating. And while I couldn’t find a decent quote, Roger Ebert seemed to like it a little bit since he gave this movie 2,5/4 stars. The highest (overall) score has to be on imdb.com since it has a 7,9/10 on there.

“Taken” has fun action, a decent plot, some great music and a great performance by Liam Neeson. So now I will hand out my final score and the movie will take (haha) it. My final score for “Taken” is a 9,52/10 which is just enough to give it the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”
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“Taken” is at last reviewed.

This movie has Taken me in…