Review: Oldboy (2013)


oldboy 2013 movie poster

“I’ve been thinking about it for the last twenty years.”
– Joe Doucett

SYNOPSIS: Obsessed with vengeance, a man sets out to find out why he was kidnapped and locked into solitary confinement for twenty years without reason. – via IMDB

Okay, so, unpopular opinion time! I liked this rendition of Oldboy. I have seen the original, but I was not enamoured. True story. I thought this one was pretty entertaining, so I thought that one had to be better (it’s all you ever hear when this comes up), and I did not think this was the case.

Oldboy was relatively well constructed. I thought that Josh Brolin did a good job playing Joe. His transformation was touching. He was such a damned twat in the beginning, I could not stand him. He had nothing good or positive going for him, and I had no pity for him. I just thought him a world class loser. His imprisonment was also quite intense. Initially I was just like oh whatever, but later it became terribly sad.

Joe’s spiral into some insanity was heartbreaking, how the loneliness got to him, brought him to his knees, and how he had to cope. The rat scene (and if you have seen this you will know what I am talking about) was just rough. Sure, there were holes in this film, too (a big one for me – planning his escape for the very day he was going to be let out, anyhow), but if you don’t focus on the issues too much and just watch the movie, the story it tells is quite good.

Anyway, Oldboy definitely has some issues, but it is not the worst thing you will ever watch. I thought it came together well as was a decent watch. Far better than the original, if you ask me :/

October Blind Spot Review: The Goonies (1985)


“Home? What home? In a couple more hours, it ain’t gonna be home anymore. Come on, guys, this is our time. Our last chance to see if there really is any rich stuff. We’ve got to.”
– Mikey

SYNOPSIS: In order to save their home from foreclosure, a group of misfits set out to find a pirate’s ancient valuable treasure. – via IMDB

I didn’t love this. There. I said it. Got that off my chest. I know that this movie is exceptionally popular, that is has major love, that there is immense amounts of nostalgia attached to it, but whatever. Maybe I am a heathen, but I did not love this. In fact, it irritated me more often than not.

First off, this movie was noisy. Nobody stopped screaming or yelling or anything, and it grated on my last nerve. There was just noise all the time. Ugh. Biggest peeve off my chest. Then there was Chunk, a character who really pissed me off. He was constantly whining and eating and screaming and no. Just no. Though I did enjoy his confession to the Fratellis. Anyway. This movie also felt as though it were forever and six days long, despite only being a two hour movie. Maybe the noise and ridiculousness made it feel longer than it should have.

Also, I want to reiterate how far child actors have come over the years. These kids weren’t bad, and they totally delivered better performances than were usually seen in this time, but if you look at kids in movies more recently, the performances are more believable and natural, which I prefer. These had that awkward hallmark to them, though they had moments where there was something good that shone through. The Goonies is that typical old school family movie, and it didn’t work for me.

What I did like though was the way the characters (especially Mikey) had ways that they said something, were corrected, absently say it the right way after that and then say that is what they said, goodness. That made me smile every time it happened. I also really liked Josh Brolin here, and Sean Astin was very sweet.

So yeah, maybe if I had watched The Goonies as a child it would have a more special place in my heart, but I didn’t, and so it doesn’t. It is not the worst movie I have ever watched, but I do not feel like I was whisked off on a pirate, treasure seeking adventure. The villains chasing these kids were shallow and cheesy, and the dialogue was cringy. The adventure left much to be desired, and oh man, what I would have given to have less screaming assaulting my ears at every turn. Definitely not a movie I will be returning to in a hurry. Or ever.

Rapid Review: Sicario (2015)


sicario poster

“Nothing will make sense to your American ears, and you will doubt everything that we do, but in the end you will understand.”
– Alejandro

SYNOPSIS: An idealistic FBI agent is enlisted by a government task force to aid in the escalating war against drugs at the border area between the U.S. and Mexico. – via IMDB


GRADE 7I was so looking forward to this, especially seeing how much love it was getting. Plus I thoroughly enjoyed Denis Villeneuve previous two films. I thought Prisoners to be really dark and messed up but fantastic, and while Enemy won’t be for everyone, I liked that, too. But then there was this one, and while it was good, I think it is awfully overhyped. It is shot beautifully, and features some solid performances, without a doubt, and it is interesting. However, the downfall is that the movie presents itself as though it is far smarter and difficult to understand than it is, so even though you follow the movie the whole way through, by the end you feel as though you have theoretically missed something, but upon reflection and reading, you know you haven’t. It also didn’t help that Emily Blunt’s Kate Macer will work on your last nerve for the duration of the movie. I totally didn’t want to say that cause I really like Emily Blunt, but hell man, what a nuisance she was here, and so whiny! Sicario showcases some impressive violence – not anything I thought to be overkill, but then I have realised over the years that I do not have a very good gauge for that, I am too desensitized. Maybe someone else can comment on that. However, in the movie’s defense, it was never just gratuitous violence, it all served a purpose. I thoroughly enjoyed Benicio del Toro’s turn as Alejandro. His character fascinated and scared me in equal measure, and was shrouded in mystery. He worked incredibly well across Josh Brolin. Del Toro was definitely the big draw for me here, and he did not let me down. I wish I could talk more about the characters and what went down, but there would be spoilers, so I will be quiet instead, cause screw spoilers. All in all it isn’t a bad watch, is put together well, looks fantastic and is interesting, but it falls short of the mark at times, and seems to be striving to be so much more than it actually is.

Review: Gangster Squad (2013)


gangster squad poster

“Go back to Chicago and tell them what you saw tonight. You tell them that Los Angeles belongs to Mickey Cohen.”
– Mickey Cohen

It is 1949 and Mickey Cohen (Sean Penn) is on a mission to control all the organised crime in Los Angeles. Detective Sergeant John “Sarge” O’Mara (Josh Brolin) of the Los Angeles Police Department ruffles Mickey’s feathers up by saving a young woman from some of Cohen’s thugs. Earning the reputation of ballsy and unafraid, Chief Bill Parker (Nick Nolte) puts O’Mara in charge of waging war against Cohen, any means necessary. O’Mara has special operations training and what not from World War II and would be perfect. O’Mara graciously accepts the offer to take Cohen down using guerrilla warfare tactics, and sets about putting together a task force. Parker makes it clear that the LAPD will be in no which way involved with whatever the outcome of the operation is – they are to operate under total anonymity.

gangster squad mickey cohen

“I’m not angry. This is business.” – Mickey Cohen

Sergeant Jerry Wooters is an immoral detective with the LAPD. His ideals for the task force have long since been thrown out the window. One night at a restaurant he meets Grace Faraday (Emma Stone), and is in love. His childhood friend Jack Whalen (Sullivan Stapleton) warns him to stay away from Grace, she is Cohen’s girl. Whalen is also in with Cohen to some degree, on the other hand he is an informant. Jerry and Grace start up a very hush hush relationship with one another, both keeping it from Cohen. O’Mara and his wife Connie (Mireille Enos) discuss his new task, and she reminds him that she is pregnant and that he has a family to provide for. Thereafter she helps him assemble the team he will use, ones that will most likely not be on Cohen’s payroll. So O’Mara recruits Conway Keeler (Giovanni Ribisi), a family man, Coleman Harris (Anthony Mackie), an anti-herion black cop who is intent on making a difference and sharpshooter Max Kennard (Robert Patrick), who comes part and parcel with his Hispanic partner Navidad “Christmas” Ramirez (Michael Peña). O’Mara fails miserably when trying to bring in Jerry, who is content on doing absolutely nothing at work.

gangster squad love

“Where have you been all my miserable life?” – Grace Faraday

Now that the task force is formed, they start knocking over Cohen’s businesses, starting with an illegal casino. Instead they get busted and locked up, and before anything can happen, their luck takes a turn. Jerry joins the gang when a young kid named Pete (Austin Abrams), who polished shoes, is murdered when Jack Dragna (Jon Polito) is almost assassinated. Embittered, he goes in to murder Cohen, and Whalen stops him just in time. He breaks some of the guys out of prison, and soon the squad starts cracking down like a whip on Cohen’s activities, causing major issues and just becoming a real pain in the gangster’s side. So far the group has remained anonymous, and by a stroke of luck Keeler manages to plant a bug in Cohen’s home, giving the squad an even better insight to the inner workings of Cohen and his people.

the gangster squad

“You lose everything and you win the war – you’re a hero. You lose everything and you lose the war – you’re just a fool.” – Sergeant John O’Mara

Cohen’s organisation is suffering, and he is getting angry. Will he work out that it is a bunch of cops that are bleeding him dry, causing him grief? Will he work out that Grace is in love with another man, one of the men that are causing him untold amounts of trouble? Will Cohen ever get to run Los Angeles completely, as he hopes to, even though he is sustaining serious knocks in business? Will the Gangster Squad bring Mickey Cohen to his criminal knees?

gansger squad planning

“We intercept that dope and he is dead on the water.” – Sergeant John O’Mara

I am going to score this a 6.5/10. I had a hell of a lot of fun with this film. It was serious at parts, and then it was balls-to-the-wall fun at other times. There was humour, there was drama, there was a love story and there was tons of action. This is not a film to take too seriously, and I liked the fact that the movie never tried to be that too much. Some people wanted it to be more, but it is nothing but an entertaining piece of film. It benefited from a really good cast and a decent script, though the dialogue was pretty damn questionable at times, it remained entertaining throughout. I didn’t know what to expect at all from this film when I went in for it seeing as I had tried to keep my knowledge on it at an absolute minimum so that I could have no expectations (I try really hard to do that), and had a colleague strongly recommend this for me, and I must say it was pleasurable. There were flaws, there were mistakes, but overall not enough to detract from the movie (unless you want something very serious and historically very accurate). Emma Stone was simply gorgeous as always, and Brolin, Penn, Patrick, Mackie, Ribisi and Gosling really worked well together, definitely giving you something to smile about. The Gangster Squad itself was endlessly entertaining to watch, too, and I thought this was done rather well, and I enjoyed the costume design. A light film, not the greatest of all time, but perfect to put in for the simpler things in life, not too demanding.