Tag Archives: Justin Long

Barbarian (2022) Review



Time: 102 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Graphic violence, horror, sexual violence references & offensive language
Georgina Campbell as Tess Marshall
Bill Skarsgård as Keith Toshko
Justin Long as AJ Gilbride
Director: Zach Cregger

A young woman discovers the rental home she booked is already occupied by a stranger. Against her better judgment, she decides to spend the night but soon discovers there’s a lot more to fear than just an unexpected house guest.

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I heard about Barbarian for a while; I just knew that it was a horror movie starring Bill Skarsgard and that plenty of people were saying it was best not knowing too much about it going in. I think it was worth all the hype overall.


Much of your experience with the movie will hinge on how little you know before going into it. I think it is worth watching blind because it goes in directions that you’re not initially expecting. Part of the premise is that Georgina Campbell arrives at the Airbnb she rented and finds that its already occupied by Bill Skarsgard, she then reluctantly spends the night there. That’s as much as you’ll want to know beforehand. Overall. I think the writing is strong. I was unsettled over the course of the movie, there is a strong atmosphere, suspense, and a real feeling of dread. There’s also some surprising humour which fits into the movie well. The humour isn’t so overt that you would call it a comedy, but it is subtle enough that it doesn’t take away from the tension. There is some social commentary here which you can look deeper into. In some ways the message kind of gets muddled and there are some missed opportunities to dive deeper. However, it at least allows room for interpretation instead of spelling out everything for the audience. I do have some issues. The movie is a bit short at an hour 40 minutes and I wish it was a little longer to flesh things out. There are some solid twists which take you off guard, but after the first half, the twists in the second half just weren’t as impactful. The unexpected jumps in the narrative can also cause some issues with the pacing, even though they were helped make things unpredictable. Without spoiling anything there is a bit too much time and scenes dedicated to Justin Long’s character and establishing him in the story. I think they could’ve conveyed all that information in less time, and that probably would’ve helped the film to not feel like it came to a screeching halt when he’s introduced.


The performances from the cast are really good. Georgina Campbell plays the main character and really sells her role really well, conveying her character’s dread. Bill Skarsgard is also good in this, playing the person already in Airbnb. His casting is particularly used to great effect here, especially considering his menacing and villainous roles in other projects. As a result, during his scenes, you are trying to figure out who he is and what his intentions are. Another bit of great casting is Justin Long, who was a real stand out. Right from his first scene he is shown to be selfish and unlikable but Long plays it very well, and is the source of much of the comedy.


Zach Cregger’s direction was great, this is his solo writing and directing debut. This one location and setting is conveyed really well, and the parts in the basement look very creepy and unnerving. The camerawork and cinematography are outstanding, from the movements (goes handheld when necessary) to the choice of lens (fisheye at some points). Finally, the score by Anna Drubich is eerie and adds to the atmosphere and tone.

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Barbarian is a great, suspenseful, entertaining, and well crafted horror movie, phenomenally directed, with surprising humour, and great performances from Georgina Campbell, Bill Skarsgard and Justin Long. Its one of the best horror movies of the year and well worth checking out (but is best going into it blind).


Live Free Or Die Hard (2007) Review


Live Free or Die Hard

Time: 129 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] containes violence & offensive language
Bruce Willis as Detective John McClane
Justin Long as Matthew “Matt” Farrell
Timothy Olyphant as Thomas Gabriel
Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Lucy Gennero-McClane
Maggie Q as Mai Linh
Director: Len Wiseman

The Director of FBI’s Cyber Crime Division assigns John McClane the task of tracking down a hacker. John ends up working with an ethical hacker who helps him deal with the cyber criminals.

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Live Free or Die Hard (or Die Hard 4) was the fourth movie in the Die Hard series, released 12 years after the last movie. I do recall people being a bit mixed on this movie, especially as it leans into more a conventional action blockbuster and feeling less like Die Hard. To a degree it is partially a let-down after Die Hard with a Vengeance but I enjoyed it nonetheless.


The movie is definitely ridiculous even by Die Hard standards, with regard to the plot and with the action (particularly near the end). Die Hard with a Vengeance increased the scale to the entirety of New York City, so as you can expect, the fourth movie’s scale is even larger. Live Free or Die Hard pits John McClane against younger cyberterrorists and while the plot does feels very late 2000s and dated, cyberterrorism was a decent choice of antagonism to keep the series from just rehashing the past. Some of the changes do make the movie feel less like Die Hard, it’s pretty much a generic action plot that happens to have John McClane as the protagonist. With that said, McClane does play a big part in this movie working. Despite feeling less like typical Die Hard, I appreciate the changes made to the formula, especially with how the last movie was made over a decade prior, and it does its best to modernise it.

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Bruce Willis returns once again to the iconic role of John McClane. I wouldn’t say that this is Willis in top form, and the movie effectively turning him from a down to earth cop and underdog into an indestructible superhero who survives unbelievable dangers. At the same time, he is still really good here. As a more grizzled John, Willis is surprisingly engaged in this role and still delivers as his character. Live Free or Die Hard is a typical mid to late 2000s action movie with cyberterrorists but the one thing that makes it work is John McClane, it would be a much weaker movie without him. Willis is protecting a hacker character played by Justin Long, who had the potential to be annoying but actually worked okay here. The chemistry between the two certainly wasn’t at the level of Willis with Jackson in the previous movie, but their banter is enjoyable enough. Mary Elizabeth Winstead plays McClane’s daughter and isn’t in it much but is good in her screentime. Timothy Olyphant as the villain is fine enough for this movie. He isn’t all that intimidating or convincing, but at least was different enough of a villain compared to McClane’s past antagonists. There is a Kevin Smith cameo in this, while I’m not going to say I disliked it, it was certainly distracting.

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Len Wiseman directs this movie, and his work is decent. This is the first PG-13 Die Hard movie, meaning that the violence is toned down and is less bloody despite the high bodycount. I have issues with it for sure but it doesn’t ruin the movie for me. Something you’ll notice immediately is that it looks so different from the rest of the franchise, fitting right into the late 2000s mold of action cinema mainly with the cinematography and lighting. The action is competently handled even if it doesn’t reach the heights of the first or third movies. The action is often cartoonishly over the top and far fetched, but at least it is creative and fun to watch. I will say though that the over-the-top action does eventually lead to a lack of tension since John seems to survive soe many ridiculous situations.


Live Free or Die Hard definitely has its faults. The story is fairly generic, and it does lose some of its identity of a Die Hard movie. However I do think it is entertaining. The story is at least watchable, the action is fun to watch, and Bruce Willis is once again great to watch as John McClane. Considering many of its aspects, the updated modern day setting, the PG-13 rating, the fact that it’s the 4th movie in the franchise and 12 years since the last instalment, it could’ve been a lot worse. This was the more ideal place for the franchise to stop. Die Hard had to evolve, from 2 to 3 and from 3 to 4 but at this point its lost its identity as a Die Hard movie and would be best leaving it at that. Unfortunately there was a fifth movie after this.