Tag Archives: Michael Rooker

F9 (2021) Review

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F9

Time: 145 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] contains violence
Cast:
Vin Diesel as Dominic Toretto
Michelle Rodriguez as Letty Ortiz
Tyrese Gibson as Roman Pearce
Chris “Ludacris” Bridges as Tej Parker
John Cena as Jakob Toretto
Jordana Brewster as Mia Toretto
Nathalie Emmanuel as Ramsey
Sung Kang as Han Lue
Michael Rooker as Buddy
Helen Mirren as Magdalene “Queenie” Shaw
Kurt Russell as Mr. Nobody
Charlize Theron as Cipher
Director: Justin Lin

Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) is living the quiet life off the grid with Letty (Michelle Rodriguez) and his son, but they know that danger always lurks just over the peaceful horizon. This time, that threat forces Dom to confront the sins of his past to save those he loves most. His crew soon comes together to stop a world-shattering plot by the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they’ve ever encountered — Dom’s forsaken brother (John Cena).

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The long running Fast & Furious series just had its latest instalment (technically the 10th if you include Hobbs and Shaw) with F9. They keep getting more over the top with every movie while remaining kind of endearing, and I’m quite entertained by them. So while I wasn’t expecting anything special from F9, I knew that I would have fun, and certainly had that despite some issues.

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The overarching plot with the main goal does feel very familiar, even by the standards of the recent movies. The team have to get this particular world-ending weapon which that the antagonists are after, and the plot just so happens to be more larger scale than the last movie. It already turned into a spy series in Furious 7, becoming a more over the top Mission Impossible with further emphasis on the cars, and so they now have to raise the stakes with every future instalment. With that being the case, I do actually wonder how much they can really do for the last two movies of the series before the plot becomes literally about saving the world from being destroyed. Something that was very apparent when I was watching F9 is that it is absolutely packed with side quests, and that stood out even after having recently re-watched the movies in the series from 5 onwards. Sometimes the characters split off in groups to do different things and somehow it ends up being hard to follow everything that’s happening. At the same time there are some things that don’t make sense even by Fast & Furious standards, and is somehow complicated. That aside, the more recent Fast and Furious continues its interesting mix of not taking itself seriously while being genuine with the way it takes its characters and story somewhat seriously. There is a further emphasis on the story and characters in this movie to a degree, with the soap opera reveal that Dom Toretto (Vin Diesel) has a brother that he never mentioned before in the prior films, and whom they are up against in this movie. Not only that, but there are a number of flashbacks which show Dom and his brother Jakob when they were much younger, and what caused their rift and put Jakob where he’s at presently. Not that I don’t appreciate that the filmmakers went through the effort to actually show what happened, but by the end it doesn’t really resonate as much as it was intended to. Overall, the story is very flawed, is sillier than before and even feels formulaic, however I was still interested in it throughout. For those interested, F9 does have a mid-credits scene, and if you’re a fan of these movies I think it’s worth sticking around for.

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F9 has the returning cast of Vin Diesel, Michelle Rodriguez, Tyrese Gibson, Ludacris, Nathalie Emmanuel, they don’t really have a huge amount to do by Fast and Furious standards but are still enjoyable as usual. It really is lacking Dwayne Johnson from the past few movies but it is nice to see Jordana Brewster back as one of the team in her role as Mia Toretto. After Fast Five she was only making brief appearances and now she’s back as one of the main players. Also as hinted in the trailers, there’s the return of Han played by Sung Kang, who was shown to be killed off in Tokyo Drift, the mid credits scene of Fast & Furious 6, and Furious 7. It’s nice to see him back in the team again, though he doesn’t do quite as much in this movie as you would think. As for the explanation for how he’s back from the dead, it’s a little unbelievable, convoluted and very far fetched, yet still rather underwhelming. However I think I’m fine with it, as long as the series doesn’t pull another one of these retcons again. Kurt Russell and Helen Mirren provide some good supporting work as they reprise their respective roles. John Cena was one of the most advertised actors in this movie, as he’s playing Dom’s long-lost brother. Cena can actually act well, although despite the critical role he has to play in the film, he doesn’t really have much to work with. He has a past with Vin Diesel and that’s it, he doesn’t have much personality really, which is strange considering that Cena is definitely a charismatic actor. Charlize Theron as the character of Cipher seems to be intended to be the overarching villain for the Fast and Furious series from Fate of the Furious onwards. However she doesn’t have as much involvement with the plot of F9 as you would initially think, unlike how the trailers showed it, she’s not teaming up with Jakob against Dom. For much of the movie she just spends her screen time in a plastic prison cell, Hannibal Lecter style. I get that they are trying to connect her to every movie in the series from this point but really, she could’ve been written out of this film, and not changed the plot that much. It’s hard to say Cena’s Jakob is the full on main villain of the film, and Theron’s Cipher certainly isn’t. So if there is a clear cut villain in this movie, then the only one left would be the character of Otto played by Thue Ersted Rasmussen, who’s usually in the background and is incredibly forgettable. If he really was intended to be the main antagonist of the film, than he would have to be the worst main villain in the entire series.

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Director Justin Lin makes a welcome return to the Fast and Furious series, after directing Tokyo Drift, Fast & Furious, Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6. As expected he brings such an energy to the movie that gives it a lot of life, it’s shot and edited well, and there’s a lot of attention to detail. The action goes into further levels of absurdity, even more so than the past movies. To a degree, it does feel like its running out of steam in terms of what action can be done with cars. However they still manage to be fun, there’s particularly some fun action involving magnets. Then there’s a particular moment hinted in the trailers that may involve outer space, and while I won’t elaborate on that, it is quite the highlight.

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I do actually wonder how much there’s really left in this series, with the absurd twists and retcons, the physics breaking action and the like. There’s a fine line that the series has walking, and while they haven’t crossed it yet, with F9 it’s pretty clear that they are pretty close to doing that. Speaking of the movie by itself though, I did enjoy it. I think at the very least, Fast Five, Fast & Furious 6 and Furious 7 are better than F9. However I can’t deny that I had a lot of fun watching it, and I’m looking forward to watching the next movies.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) Retrospective Review

Time: 136 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Contains violence
Cast:
Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord
Zoe Saldana as Gamora
Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer
Vin Diesel as the voice of Baby Groot
Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket
Michael Rooker as Yondu Udonta
Karen Gillan as Nebula
Pom Klementieff as Mantis
Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha
Chris Sullivan as Taserface
Sean Gunn as Kraglin
Sylvester Stallone as Stakar Ogord/Starhawk
Kurt Russell as Ego
Director: James Gunn

Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and his fellow Guardians are hired by a powerful alien race, the Sovereign, to protect their precious batteries from invaders. When it is discovered that Rocket has stolen the items they were sent to guard, the Sovereign dispatch their armada to search for vengeance. As the Guardians try to escape, the mystery of Peter’s parentage is revealed.

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In the lead up to Avengers: Endgame, there were a few movies I wanted to rewatch beforehand. The first was The Incredible Hulk, which I reviewed very recently. The other two were Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Captain America: Civil War. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 was a movie I was mixed about when I first saw it, while the second movie had some of the things that made the first movie so good, it felt like some things were missing and it just didn’t work for me. However, I decided to give it another go so that I was sure how I felt about it, and I’m glad to say that after my second viewing, I like the movie a lot more now.

As this is a retrospective review, I will be going into some spoilers throughout the movie, so if you haven’t seen the movie you should probably watch it first before reading this. I think probably the most jarring part that might’ve prevented me from liking the movie as much as I could’ve when I first watched it was that it wasn’t as fast paced and action packed as the first one, it’s a very different kind of movie. Most of the movie is most of the Guardians of the Galaxy (aside from Rocket and Yondu who have their own plotline elsewhere) on planet Ego, so for a large portion of the movie, not much is happening plotwise. It seemed to be much more focussed on characters, and in that it did rather well, even if it took me 2 viewings to appreciate it. The movie is about family, when it came to Peter and Ego, Peter and Yondu, Gamora and Nebula, and so on. It’s by no means anything original, even when it comes to comic book movies, but still they pulled it off rather well. The jokes worked a lot better for me this time too. One of the main criticisms of the MCU is that some of the jokes can take away from the dramatic and emotional impactful scenes, and I regarded this movie in my original review as suffering from that heavily. On a second viewing however, I found that it doesn’t take away as much as I thought it did. With that said, I I feel like it really only is effective on an emotional level at the end of the movie. I still consider the Yondu death scene one of the highlight MCU scenes, very well executed, the final moments on the whole were really well handled. With a lot of the other MCU movies building up to Infinity War and setting up things, it is nice seeing an instalment that’s working as its own story first and buildup second.

The cast generally did well, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana and the rest all do commendable jobs in their roles. Dave Bautista’s Drax in this movie wasn’t as bad as I remembered him being. I remembered him as being such a laugh machine (as in he would laugh a ton) compared to the first movie, and was just really distracting and annoying. While it’s still kind of true, I didn’t mind him as much now. Baby Groot from the trailers look like they were going to overuse him to an annoying amount and rely on him too much, but they utilise him well and don’t overdo it. Michael Rooker’s Yondu got to shine a lot more here and he was paired with Bradley Cooper’s Rocket Racoon for a large amount of the film, the two of them played off each other very well. Karen Gillan’s Nebula also has her storyline with Saldana’s Gamora, which further developed both characters and their relationship. The newer additions were also good. Mantis (played by Pom Klementieff) unfortunately in both this movie and Infinity War hasn’t been utilised a lot (I’m unfamiliar with the character from the comics), but still she was a nice addition to the group. Kurt Russell was great as Star Lord’s father, Ego, the secret main villain of the movie. In my original review, I mentioned that his character kind of goes downhill after he’s revealed and becomes a typical big CGI villain that needs to be dealt with (or I implied it at least, with it being a non-spoiler review). While he’s not as strong (as in interesting) in the third act, seeing the movie again he still works reasonably well. Sylvester Stallone also appears here, and while the idea of him in a Guardians of the Galaxy movie sounded fantastic, he appears for like two scenes, with the first just being to deliver a bunch of exposition about Yondu. Unless he reappears in the sequel, I’m not exactly sure why he’s here (unless it was only just meant to be a cameo). The characters who suffer the most no doubt were The Sovereign. You see them at the beginning as the Guardians try to escape them after Rocket stole some of their batteries and then at the end when they track them down when they’re facing off against Ego. It’s like they’re only in this movie so that Rocket could steal something that would eventually be used in the climax. When they do show up at the end, they don’t pose really any threat against the Guardians. I guess it wouldn’t feel as bad if a talented person like Elizabeth Debicki wasn’t in the role of the leader of the Sovereign, she really isn’t given anything to do here. Hopefully they get a chance to actually do something in the third movie, one of the credits scenes at least implies that they’ll play a part in the sequel.

James Gunn directed the movie as well as he did with the previous movie. This movie is visually stunning, it really is one of the best looking movies in the MCU. While there weren’t as many action sequences as in the previous movie, they are fast paced and very entertaining. Probably my favourite of these scenes are when Yondu and Rocket are taking back the ship from the mutineers and Yondu’s arrow is flying all around the ship killing people, so well edited and put together (and plus the use of Come a Little Closer by Jay & the Americans helped quite a bit. I loved the soundtrack from the first movie, however the music picks for the second movie are taken to the next level. Brian Tyler’s score also shouldn’t be overlooked.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 worked a lot more for me when I saw it again. It’s a visually stunning and entertaining movie, while also having some very effective emotional bits to it. I still think that the first movie works better but I can appreciate the second movie, and consider it to be in the top 10 best MCU films so far.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017) Review

Time: 136 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Contains violence
Cast:
Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord
Zoe Saldana as Gamora
Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer
Vin Diesel as the voice of Baby Groot
Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket
Michael Rooker as Yondu Udonta
Karen Gillan as Nebula
Pom Klementieff as Mantis
Elizabeth Debicki as Ayesha
Chris Sullivan as Taserface
Sean Gunn as Kraglin
Sylvester Stallone as Stakar Ogord/Starhawk
Kurt Russell as Ego
Director: James Gunn

The team struggles to keep its newfound family together as it tries to unravel the mystery of Peter Quill’s (Chris Pratt) true parentage in the outer reaches of the galaxy.

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Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2 was one of my most anticipated movies of 2017. At the same time though, I felt a little worried about the movie as its release date got closer and closer, the marketing didn’t really sell this movie as being much more than just more of the same Guardians of the Galaxy. After seeing it I have to say that while it was a lot better than I thought it would be, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. is one of the weaker entries of the MCU. It’s balancing of the humour and handling of the characters really didn’t always work, and it could’ve been handled a lot better. With that said, the movie is entertaining, some of the humour worked and there are some surprisingly effective emotional moments. This movie is still decent overall, the MCU still hasn’t made a bad movie.

This plot of the movie is more personal, as Peter Quill is finally meeting his father Ego. This storyline is the main focus of the movie, and it was great. However, the conclusion of this storyline was quite underwhelming. There are surprisingly some emotional moments, some of them worked, others didn’t work so well (I’ll get to that in a moment). Despite some of the emotional scenes being hit or miss, I can say that there is a certain scene in the last act which is probably one of the best scenes in the MCU, you’ll know exactly which scene I’m referring to when you see it. Now a reason that some of the emotional scenes didn’t work was because a lot of times the humour actually decreases its impact. Something that really needs to be addressed is the humour in this movie. The use of humour was very hit or miss. The first movie had a lot of jokes but it was balanced out well with the characters and story. This movie however hammers you with an overload amount of jokes and at times it felt like (at least early in the movie) it was just relying on that. The first half of the movie is all fun and humour, the second half is more dramatic and ultimately better, even though there is still a little too much humour in there. Overall this movie had my full attention throughout, even if at the times the story wasn’t the strongest, I was at least entertained. As for post credits scenes, there are like 5 mid-credit scenes in the movie, all of them really weren’t needed, some of them could’ve been fitted inside the ending of the movie before the credits rolled. But some of them at the very least have me interested to see what the next Guardians of the Galaxy movie will be. There’s definitely a lot of potential for a great movie.

The actors all do a great job in their roles but the handling of the characters in this movie was a mixed bag. The best character in the movie by far is Michael Rooker’s Yondu, there is more focus on him this time than in the previous movie. He just has so many great moments in the movie. Also, the interactions between him and Rocket Racoon was absolutely perfect. Fantastic paring. Kurt Russell was also a highlight of this movie, it was great seeing him as Ego interact with his son Peter Quill (played of course by Chris Pratt), however as I said earlier, the payoff of that relationship was underwhelming and weak. Still, Kurt Russell played his part well, and was a scene stealer. Most of the original cast worked well. Zoe Saldana’s Gamora got to interact with Karen Gillan’s Nebula quite a lot, which worked well because of the conflict between them, and we also get to learn about Nebula’s history with her father Thanos. However, I felt that the storyline could’ve been a bit stronger and had more focus on it. Baby Groot wasn’t annoying like I thought he would be but he did feel overused and constantly forced into the movie just to be adorable. As for Dave Bautista’s Drax …. he really wasn’t used well at all. When he’s not a complete joke machine, he is laughing, like all the time. Also, there wasn’t really any arc to him. Sylvester Stallone makes an appearance in the movie, he doesn’t play a huge role but he was great in his short screentime and I can’t wait to see more of him in the future. As for the villain of the movie, I won’t go into spoiler territory. But I will say the villain for was great for most of the movie, but then the last act just reduced them to a simplistic typical MCU villain just to make an explosive climax, and ultimately had a poor payoff. Speaking of villains, there are some secondary villains in the movie who pop up every so often to cause problems, they were incredibly pointless and distracting. While in the long run I understand why they were in the movie, they really could’ve been handled better.

Directionwise, what you saw in the first film is what you get in the sequel, just on a much larger scale. The CGI and action were all really good, no real complaints there. The designs of everything from the ships, to the characters, aliens and the worlds are very creative. The makeup on all the types of aliens were also excellent. The soundtrack (as expected it being a Guardians of the Galaxy film) was very entertaining and well suited for the movie and tone with its use of the score and classic music.

Personally, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 wasn’t as good as the original. The handling of the plot was a bit of a mixed bag, not all the characters were used that well, there was a complete overload of jokes, most of it didn’t work within the movie and a lot of it detracted the effectiveness of the emotional moments. Despite all its many faults however, I do think that it’s worth checking this movie out. This movie is still entertaining overall and it has many elements which work very well (with some surprisingly emotional moments too), it’s just that most of them could’ve and should’ve been done better. Still, I recommend watching this, even if you didn’t like the first movie.

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) Review

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Guardians of the Glaxy

Time: 121 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Cast:
Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord
Zoe Saldana as Gamora
Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer
Vin Diesel as Groot
Bradley Cooper as Rocket
Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser
Michael Rooker as Yondu Udonta
Karen Gillan as Nebula
Djimon Hounsou as Korath
John C. Reilly as Corpsman Rhomann Dey
Glenn Close as Nova Prime Irani Rael
Benicio del Toro as Taneleer Tivan/The Collector
Director: James Gunn

Brash space adventurer Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) finds himself the quarry of relentless bounty hunters after he steals an orb coveted by Ronan (Lee Pace), a powerful villain. To evade Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with four disparate misfits: gun-toting Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), treelike-humanoid Groot (Vin Diesel), enigmatic Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and vengeance-driven Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista). But when he discovers the orb’s true power and the cosmic threat it poses, Quill must rally his ragtag group to save the universe.

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Guardians of the Galaxy was another risk on Marvel’s part. Not only did it take part in a part of the Marvel universe that most people don’t know, but it also had characters that no one had heard about. Plus it initially looked plain silly, 5 people band together to form a team, one of them is a giant talking tree and another is a talking racoon. This was the movie that convinced me that Marvel can do no wrong. It is riddiculusly fun, has great characters and it’s just pure entertaining.

Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy..L to R: Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) & Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt)..Ph: Jay Maidment..?Marvel 2014

The plot is very standard, everyone is after an object, and the main characters are trying to keep it from the villain. The story plot isn’t really anything special, the best elements come from the execution. The only flaw in Guardians of the Galaxy aside from the villain is that I wasn’t totally invested in the story, but then again this isn’t that type of superhero movie. The characters are really likable, which really helps us get into them and the film needs that seeing as how this film doesn’t just have 1 or 2 new characters, but 5 new characters. This film knows how ridiculous the ideas are and the best part about it is that it embraces it. This is also the funniest movie in the Marvel Universe. All of the characters have their funny moments and play off each other very well.

Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy are, from left, Chris Pratt as Star-Lord/Peter Quill, Vin Diesal as Groot, Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket Raccoon, Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer, and Zoe Saldana as Gamora. (Marvel/MCT)

All the actors are really good and as I said earlier, they play off each other well. Chris Pratt was fantastic as Star Lord, Zoe Saldana is great (playing another alien), Vin Diesel worked as a tree who can only say three words (I am Groot) and wrestler Dave Bautista makes his big onscreen debut as a guy who takes everything literally (you know what I mean if you’ve watched the movie). Bradley Cooper’s Rocket Racoon could make or break this movie, thankfully it’s the former and he steals every scene he’s in. Lee Pace’s Ronan isn’t very interesting as a villain, which is really the film’s greatest problem. I do think that the actor has more to work with and is decent, much better than Malekith in Thor: The Dark World. It’s really just the writing that let him down. We get a couple of scenes of Josh Brolin as Thanos and while we don’t get a lot of him in it, I’m liking what I’m seeing and I’m looking forward to see him as the main villain in the Avengers Infinity Wars movies.

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The action scenes are fantastic. It was much more Star Wars/Star Trek type action than the usual Marvel superhero movie action. Everything is also on such a big scale, there are many locations that the 5 main characters travel to and all of them look great. The soundtrack was also good, it has a lot of classic music which surprisingly worked in with many of the scenes and some of them were even action scenes.

Marvel's Guardians Of The Galaxy..L to R: Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and Peter Quill/Star-Lord (Chris Pratt)..Ph: Film Frame..?Marvel 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the best movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and was the movie that proved to me that Marvel can do no wrong. It had likable actors, great action, brilliant writing and it was overall fun. With a sequel coming in 2017, I am very excited to see the Guardians of the Galaxy returning to the big screen.

JFK (1991)

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JFK

Time: 189 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Offensive Language
Cast:
Kevin Costner as Jim Garrison
Kevin Bacon as Willie O’Keefe
Tommy Lee Jones as Clay Shaw
Joe Pesci as David Ferrie
Laurie Metcalf as Susie Cox
Gary Oldman as Lee Harvey Oswald
Michael Rooker as Bill Broussard
Jay O. Sanders as Lou Ivon
Sissy Spacek as Liz Garrison
Director: Oliver Stone

New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison (Kevin Costner) investigates the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22 1963 in Dallas, Texas. After looking deep enough, he suspects that there may be more to the story than the public is being told.

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The assassination of John F. Kennedy is one of the biggest events in history and one of the most debated topics, especially when it came to conspiracy theories. I honestly didn’t know that much about the assassination before watching this film but after watching this movie it made me want to learn more about it. One of the things that makes JFK even better is the fact that these ‘characters’ are actually real people investigating what happened. The film isn’t just a documentary about possible scenarios of the president’s assassination; it follows Jim Garrison’s investigation. Whatever your thoughts on what happened with the assassination of John F. Kennedy are, this film is still worth a watch.

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It was fascinating watching these real life people investigate the mystery as they try to piece everything together. If there is one thing you should know about JFK before watching it, it’s that it gets more interesting over time. It first builds up the events before the investigation and during those moments, viewers may feel a bit bored, however it is well worth the wait. This movie is also long – at about 3 hours and 10 minutes. The film also has a lot of details; there may be too much information to process at once; so viewers should keep that in mind before viewing it. People will definitely remember some facts more than others. My favourite part of the movie is the final act; it summarises every theory and discovery Garrison has found over the course of his investigation. I won’t spoil any of the scenes that happen in this movie because if you are like me – someone who didn’t know that much about the assassination, you will find all the scenes to be a great surprise.

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The acting is top notch from everyone. The cast ranges from Kevin Costner to Tommy Lee Jones and Gary Oldman. All the actors in this movie are playing real life people and they definitely manage to feel like them. It may be easy to miss the acting while paying attention to the investigation but it still is really good and they should be applauded for their performances.

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One of the most distinctive and defining things about this movie is the cinematography and the editing. When people make predictions or discover something that happened, it flashes back to the past and is cut in such a way that makes it feel like a documentary. Also, the film sometimes blends archive footage with new scenes with a 60s older look. A good example of great use of it again, is at the end. In the end, the film blends the real life moments recorded on camera in the 60s (such as Kennedy’s assassination) with the possible unseen (filmed for the movie). The soundtrack by John Williams is also great, as all his compositions usually are.

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This movie should be seen, even just for learning about Jim Garrison’s search for the truth. I won’t mention what the scenario of the assassination is true; those are left up to the viewer. JFK can really get people talking about what they thought really happened, and can give people a different perspective on certain events in history. As someone who isn’t usually that interested or into conspiracy theories, I loved this movie and I recommend it to everyone. It is one of Oliver Stone’s best films.