Review: Death Note (2017)

5

“Every human spends the last moments of his life in the shadow of a death god.”
– Ryuk

SYNOPSIS: Light Turner, a bright student, stumbles across a mystical notebook that has the power to kill any person whose name he writes in it. Light decides to launch a secret crusade to rid the streets of criminals. Soon, the student-turned-vigilante finds himself pursued by a famous detective known only by the alias L. – via IMDB

You know, I wondered how this was going to go down. I am sure there are going to be a ton of people that are going to hate on it and knock on it (yes, I see I am right having Googled the reception and rating). Anime is not an easy thing to bring to screen, and I must confess I have skipped a lot of the things. I don’t watch anime, though my brother in law and a very close friend of mine swear by it.

Now, while I do not and have not watched a lot of animes, Death Note is one of the few I actually did watch. Well, most of it, until it got so drawn out and boring I wanted to scratch my eyes out. It was entertaining until about halfway, three quarters through, then it just got crazy. When I saw the run-time for this, I was interested to see how exactly Wingard was going to handle the whole story and bring it to life. In short, pretty damn well actually.

Yes, I know a lot of people might want to shoot me for that, and I don’t care. I liked that this was fast and got to the core of the story without all the filler stuff that just bored me out of finishing it initially. The movie felt a bit longer than it was, not because I was bored, but because there was a hell of a lot of content crammed into a short space of time. It never felt rushed though, which is a bonus. It set up what was needed and then told the story, and it came together pretty well.

A big drawback for me was the casting of Keith Stanfield as L, he just didn’t really feel right. The other actors fit and did alright with their roles, but Stanfield just stood out because he did not seem to gel with the other actors, and his performance came across as forced, which I didn’t like. Also, I could have done with more of Ryuk. Light was definitely a strange character here, like he was never scared of Ryuk, but that also didn’t always hurt this. It all just rolled along fine, just strange.

As this was done by Wingard, it looked stylish and I enjoyed the soundtrack and score. Wingard understands style, that’s for sure, so that was one of the things nailed down really well in Death Note. All things being said, I quite enjoyed this and I really think the internet is hating on it way more than it deserves.

Rapid Review: Odd Thomas (2013)

16

odd thomas poster

“Fate is not a straight road. There are many forks in it. You have the free will to choose which one you take, but sometimes it will bend around and bring you straight back to that same stubborn fate.”
– Odd Thomas

SYNOPSIS: In a California desert town, a short-order cook with clairvoyant abilities encounters a mysterious man with a link to dark, threatening forces. – via IMDB

odd thomas grill

GRADE 7I really don’t know why this movie has such bad ratings online… oh yeah, because this is the internet. Anyway. I haven’t read the Odd Thomas books (at the time of writing), so I cannot draw comparisons in this review. I must say, that while the film was quite uneven in places, it was engaging, and while it was predictable, there were still things that shocked, and it contained some really great performances from the cast, especially looking at Anton Yelchin, whom I find immensely under-appreciated, Dafoe who was, of course, excellent as always here, and Addison Timlin. I thought that Timlin and Yelchin had really sweet chemistry together, and their relationship was something I truly enjoyed. I also really liked how Odd and Wyatt Porter had such a cool understanding with one another. Anton Yelchin was great as Odd, I cannot actually picture anybody else playing him because he embodied all the idiosyncrasies that made Odd endearing and charming. The movie is quirky and odd (hehehe), but I liked it for the most part. I was entertained the whole way through, and it even managed to bring a solid emotional side in, something I did not expect. Something that was also refreshing is that, while Odd might be hiding his abilities from the town as a whole, he is not alone in his quest. Stormy knows all about him and loves him, and the chief, Wyatt, is aware of Odd’s abilities and works closely with him, they are really close knit, so there isn’t the whole whiny “the world will never know what I do for it, and can’t” drama that can get boring quickly. It was shot quite well, too, and the soundtrack was pretty fitting. The effects may not have been groundbreaking, but they worked just fine for the film, and won’t put you off. They served their purpose. This may be a budget film, but I am pleased to say that it does not look it, and what with the quick pacing and adventurous storyline, the film is certainly likable and well worth a watch.

Review: John Wick (2014)

34

john-wick-poster1

“John wasn’t exactly the boogeyman. He’s the one you sent to kill the fucking boogeyman.”
– Viggo Tarasov

SYNOPSIS: An ex-hitman comes out of retirement to track down the gangsters that took everything from him. – via IMDB

joh wick bullet dodge

GRADE 9Yes. Yes. Yes. That is all that I have to say. I was super amped to get to this and I must honestly say that it lived up to all my expectations and then some. I’ve watched this multiple times and it doesn’t get old, it doesn’t get boring. John Wick is, quite simply, just immense amounts of fun. Keanu Reeves is an actor that I thoroughly enjoy and will defend, bad movies and all. When he is properly cast, he owns, and that was precisely the case here. Plus, his outfits… hmmmmm.

John Wick is shot beautifully, touting a slightly washed out look but in-your-face neons that coloured it when necessary. It cannot be denied that the movie looked amazing, and had a pretty awesome score to carry it, too. I was a big fan of the action sequences, the choreography was simply stunning and I could not take my eyes off of it. I suppose having stuntmen directing this film gave it all the more oomph. The humour in here was dark and funny, and it certainly spoke to me.

Broyles Lance Reddick is an absolute hoot as the concierge at the front desk of the Continental, and I was so hoping that Ian McShane would get a line containing “cocksucker”, but no such luck (it would not have jibed with his character), it was awarded to someone else later on. Anyway, the plot is simple and straightforward, no silly bells and whistles and nothing to inundate it. The storytelling is deliberate, and within the first ten to fifteen minutes, you have what you need to understand everything and the plot moves on.

Wick is an impressive and enjoyable character, and I had quite a blast watching Bratva boss Viggo Tarasov quaking in his boots just to think of the drama that is about to unfold due to his son’s stupid actions. The cast that made their appearances is very good, too. I was a big fan of the costumes, too, because let’s face it, those suits were amazing. I was thrilled to hear Manson featured in here, finally sounding more like his old self again (let’s face it, Manson’s new album, The Pale Emperor, is his best album in years). 

John Wick is totally the type of movie I love when dipping my toes into this genre: no nonsense, dark, amusing in a smart way, well put together, and engaging. What a ridiculously stylish movie. Go watch it. Now. Really. 

Review: Spider-Man 2 (2004)

7

Spider-Man 2 Movie Poster 2004

“Now… let’s see who’s behind the mask.”
– Harry Osborn

Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is done with high school and knee deep in a really horrid dead end job, though his double life and Spider-Man is going incredibly well. Crime rates are down, and he is slowly but surely climbing the rungs at the Daily Bugle (who is claiming Spider-Man is a criminal), though the jobs are sporadic and mostly insignificant. As if Peter’s life does not suck enough, he loses his useless pizza delivery job, and is having a really hard time at school as he is missing a lot of classes and his homework is always late. Dr Curt Connors (Dylan Baker) is progressively getting more and more tired of his once-star pupil.

Peter’s best friend, Harry Osborn (James Franco), is intent of finding Spider-Man and making him pay for the loss of his father. He becomes obsessed with the notion of revenge. He has taken over Oscorp, and the business is very successful. Peter and Harry start drifting when Peter refuses to give Spider-Man’s whereabouts to Harry, who despises the fact that Peter is protecting what he feels to be a villain. The love of Peter’s life, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) is becoming a successful star, and is dating and becomes engaged to Daily Bugle mogul J Jonah Jameson’s (J.K. Simmons) son John Jameson (Daniel Gillies). However, Mary Jane is still in love with Spider-Man, and houses her suspicions of Peter being that visage.

The ultra famous upside down kiss

The ultra famous upside down kiss

Finally Peter’s powers start to dwindle and disappear, leaving him in rather an uncomfortable predicament. He has no idea what the issue is, and a doctor that he sees for his restlessness tells him that he is at a crossroads and needs to choose what path he will take: the hero or normality, basically. Peter crumbles and confesses to his Aunt May Parker (Rosemary Harris) the circumstances surrounding Uncle Ben’s (Cliff Robertson) death, and the guilt he carries with him daily. The news hurts her, and she is already in dire straits as it is, both emotionally as well as financially. Two years of crime fighting in secret and losing his real life’s friends and family has finally come knocking to take its toll. Peter chooses a simple, plain and boring life, and things start looking up for him again.

Epic train fight

Epic train fight

Brilliant scientist Dr Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina) attempts a fusion experiment that Harry is funding. Naturally the experiment would go horribly wrong, and his wife Roaslie (Donna Murphy) pays the ultimate price: her life. Bitter and angry, and the regulator between the fusion and his brain shattered, Doctor Octopus rises to tear the city apart. Peter’s giving up the crime-fighter’s life seems to have been a rash decision. He will have to re-evaluate his intentions, and choose his destiny once again, the same as he did years ago. Spider-Man has never been needed more, and Peter rises to the occasion in suited red and blue.

When revenge is not as simple as you would have hoped

When revenge is not as simple as you would have hoped

Will Peter be able to repair his shattered friendship with Harry as well as score the girl of his dreams? Will he ever really learn how to successfully balance his two lives with minor repercussions?

Spider-Man 2 earned 7/10. I really don’t know, but Kirsten Dunst’s performance seemed so wooden in this Spider-Man that I am truly shocked. It was cool how the tentacles carried Doc Ock around without him needing to walk places. Impressive. There were a few holes in the story again, but I really felt sorry for Peter at times. What got me, though (after long talks with Ricky), the scene when Harry heard his father, Norman, he heard the Green Goblin laughing. Now the thing is, Harry never knew his father was the Green Goblin (Peter ensured that), and the Goblin was a manifestation in Norman’s head. Norman is a manifestation is Harry’s head, so how is the Green Goblin laugh there? Maybe my brain is just being overly logical again… forgive me. Alfred Molina did a very good job as Doc Ock, so it was pretty cool to watch that. Worth watching but I would say the best time for it would be during the course of a Spider-Man run.

Review: Spider-Man (2002)

8

Spider Man 2002 Poster “You’ve spun your last web, Spider-Man.” – Green Goblin I decided on an old school Spider-Man rerun recently. I have not watched these movies in years. I recall It has been really fun so far, because Ricky has risen to the occasion with gusto to explore the old world of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man. Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) is your average high school loser, orphaned and living with his Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) and Uncle Ben (Cliff Robertson). He is forever in love with the girl next door, Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), but has no way of telling her how he feels. Peter’s best friend, Harry Osborn (James Franco), is the misunderstood, unhappy and angry teenager who is from an extremely wealthy family, and the only person that understands and accepts Peter.

The all American photographer

The all American photographer

On a school trip to a science lab, Peter is bitten by a spider, which leads to him becoming very ill, and then noticing some extremely drastic changes in his life. His body buffs, his senses soar and heighten like he never knew was possible, his sight becomes perfect again… this is a whole new life for him, and a whole new array of opportunities seem attainable to him now. The changes distance him from his family, though, and his aunt and uncle are worried about him, and this only irritates Peter some more. His life was just starting to shape up! Sadly, things over-complicate themselves when Peter becomes lost in the dream of somehow using his new-found abilities to make a lot of extra cash to buy a car to impress the girl next door. Under the pretext of visiting the library one evening, Uncle Ben attempts to speak to Peter, and the two end up having a massive argument, and Peter goes to a wrestling ring (as he had planned, anyway). Things go in his favour, but he is screwed out of his cash by the end of it. A robbery goes down, and Peter refuses to help the wrestling boss out after he was done in. His actions lead to him discovering his Uncle Ben shot outside, and he dies in Peter’s arms. Peter seeks vengeance, and realizes that he will have to fight crime a little more, he needs to make amends. His uncle’s speech is finally given credence, thanks to his death, sadly. After graduation, Peter is crushed to find out that Mary Jane is dating Harry, and that he did not tell him anything, even though they live together after moving out of their homes respectively. Peter gets a freelance job as a photographer working for J. Jonah Jameson (J.K. Simmons) at the Daily Bugle to snap pictures of the Spider-Man.

Spider-Man and the Green Goblin 2002

Such great friends at play

Harry’s eccentric, scientist and millionaire father, Norman Osborne (Willem Dafoe), administering himself a serum in desperation to retain government funding for his research on performance enhancers. Instead of the desired results he expected, a terrifying alter ego emerges: The Green Goblin. The Green Goblin starts tearing the city apart, and Peter realizes he will have to step up and become the Spider-Man to keep the people safe, and embrace what has now become his destiny. spider-man-2002-1

Now that he is to embrace his destiny, will Spider-Man be able to overcome his new identity, save the city, get the girl and make it as a photographer in the world? Tall order to fill for such a young man.

A 7/10 for Spider-Man here. I still do not think that Tobey Maguire was the best choice for Peter Parker or Spider-Man, to be dead honest. He couldn’t pull of the sarcasm and cheek very well, and he was such a loser, way more than he should have been. He was supposed to be geeky, but not the total butt of all jokes? I enjoyed James Franco and Willem Dafoe in this film. There were just a few things I was not in love with in this movie, but there were also a few decent aspects. There are a few flaws and a few strong points to this movie, I have to give it credit for that. I have been having an absolute ball re-watching them and laughing, though, but more so at the mistakes and what not. Overall, not the most terrible entry into the superhero category, but it is watchable.