Bruce Balsinde's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Captain America: Civil War
15 months ago via Flixster

Yet another incredible installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I had heard/read a lot of things about this film going in, one of those things being that this is essentially just a mini-Avengers film. While it definitely has a large cast of Avengers, this is very much a Captain America movie, with some Tony Stark thrown in. The rest of the cast largely plays a supporting role for those two. The rest of the film falls in line with what we've come to expect from MCU films. Great acting, continued phenomenal character development, incredible action sequences, and bits of humor thrown in just the right places. The first half of the film was a bit slower than I would've preferred but once Spider-Man and Ant-Man come into the film, the rest is perfection. #TeamCaptainAmerica

The Martian
The Martian (2015)
15 months ago via Flixster

The Martian is probably the best movie I've seen in the last few years. Matt Damon does an amazing job carrying large portions of this film, literally by himself, and the supporting cast delivers strong performances in their brief time on screen. The drama feels real but it's surprisingly enough the humor that you take home with you. The dry, subtle, situational humor is simply amazing. The writing (which I'm assuming is largely pulled from the novel), was top notch. A must see movie.

Trainwreck (2015)
20 months ago via Flixster

Trainwreck is just painful to watch at times. Amu Schumer is NOT a leading lady and it has nothing to do with her looks, which is what feminists will claim. She is, quite frankly, obnoxious. Surprisingly she isn't a bad actress but too often her true personality comes through and, as a protagonist, it destroys much of the film. I think she would be better suited for the obnoxious friend of the main girl. Bill Hader does a solid job but is mostly forgettable. Honestly, the only reason this film is worth watching is for the plethora of celebrity cameos, highlighted by LeBron James. They all play versions of themselves in hilarious skits that fit neatly into the plot. If it wasn't for James, John Cena, Amare Stoudemire, etc. this film would be among the worst comedies I've seen in recent memory.

Southpaw (2015)
20 months ago via Flixster

Is Jake Gyllenhaal the best actor in Hollywood? Honestly, movies like Southpaw make that a question worth asking. He has delivered amazing role after amazing role recently and this is arguably his best effort. He not only physically transforms himself for roles but he makes you forget you're watching a film. Him, Whitaker, and McAdams all do incredibly in what is one of the best fight films ever made. The heart, the emotion, the plot and character development, it's all there.

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens
20 months ago via Flixster

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens is hands down the worst installment in the history of this great franchise. If you have never seen a Star Wars films in your life, I can see how you could love this film. Similarly, if you're a fanboy who is delusional and refuses to accept that a Star Wars film without Jar Jar can be terrible, I understand that you must lie to yourself and those around you in order to feel comfortable with the emotional investment you've already made. Beyond those two categories, however, nobody else should claim that this movie is great, let alone very good. It is a sub-par film that, by Star Wars standards, is terrible. Why? I'll go into detail in the following paragraph where spoilers will be in abundance.

The villain, Kylo Ren - The biggest problem with the film was the villain. First of all, the casting decision here was abysmal, which I predicted the second Adam Driver was announced for the film. If you have seen his work in the past, as I had, you would know that visually and vocally, he is anything but intimidating. When Kylo Ren's mask and outfit was revealed, however, it gave me hope that his face and voice would be disguised. Unfortunately, this did not last long, as he removed his helmet and became the least intimidating villain I can remember. Jesse Eisenberg might even be more intimidating as Lex Luthor, which is saying something because that casting decision is almost as bad. Enough with Driver though. This character would be terrible no matter who played it because it was written horribly. Anybody who complains about Hayden Christensen and calls him a crybaby while applauding this character is a liar and a hypocrite, period. Kylo Ren is the single most whiny and crybaby character in the history of the saga. Even worst, he has no reason for his whiny cowardice. At least you could argue that Luke Skywalker (yes, Mark Hamill whined in Episode IV too) and Anakin Skywalker had cause for their personal anguish. Ren had absolutely none as all of his suffering was brought on by himself. Han and Leia's son (I warned you about spoilers) turned on Luke and the Jedi order when he had it all. He is nothing more than a spoiled little brat who had the world in his hands and threw it away. Then he goes and kills his dad (again, I warned you) in what is the most predictable but still upsetting part of the movie. I'll touch on that more in a bit but the bottom line is this: Kylo Ren is a complete and total failure of a character and I lost a great deal of respect for J.J. Abrams because of it.

The final fight, Ren vs. Finn and then Rey - This is the only part of the movie that was almost worse than the primary villain. Let's add some context, shall we? Kylo Ren is the son of Han and Leia, as I pointed out before. He has the force flowing through him in a very strong way and grew up his entire life training in it. Luke Skywalker himself, "the last Jedi", mentored him and trained him for years. The movie then establishes that he was capable of destroying the entire foundation of the new Jedi Order that Luke was recreating after the events of Episode VI. It doesn't state that he defeated Luke but it infers that he was at least powerful enough that Luke fled after Ren's betrayal in order to find answers to restoring the Jedi Order once and for all. The early scenes then show Ren stopping a blaster bolt and suspending it in mid-air, something that we have not only never seen any Sith or Jedi do before but it came across as an incredibly powerful act. When adding in the Vader-like force choking and mind control that Ren shows in the first half of the film (before taking the mask off), it is safe to assume that Ren is an incredibly powerful villain akin to Darth Maul and Darth Vader. Remember, Darth Maul took on two incredibly talented Jedi single-handedly (Qui-Gon Jinn and a young Obi-Wan Kenobi) and almost defeated both of them and Darth Vader proved his worth throughout Episodes II through VI. Anybody who is portrayed as their equals, or at least close to it, should be able to handle themselves in a fight, right? Wrong! According to J.J. Abrams, a storm trooper who never even saw battle nor had any training with a lightsaber or the ways of the force (Finn) was able to injure him and give him a decent fight before being defeated and a scavenger girl from a desert planet who, again, has never seen battle, handled a lightsaber, or been trained in any way whatsoever, not only defeated him but did so handedly. Do you remember Anakin losing to Count Dooku or Luke losing to Vader even though both had substantial training prior to those encounters? Abrams must not have seen those fights. Any bit of enjoyment I was able to muster up until that point in the film was destroyed.

The plot - Was this Episode VII or Episode IV.V, because J.J. Abrams essentially regurgitated A New Hope while slapping on some different faces. Orphaned young adult/teenager on a desert planet with a talent for electronics/mechanics scrounging for parts to get by? Check. Villain with black samurai style mask, red lightsaber and voice altering device force choking people to intimidate them into doing what he wants? Check. Charismatic little droid and bleeps and bloops while carrying critical information for the resistance? Check. Orphaned desert teenager ends up being force sensitive and plays a huge role in delivering the critical information to the resistance? Check. Resistance pilot who isn't force sensitive but is still an incredible pilot and plays a large role? Check. Cantina with strange looking aliens, music, and filled with "scum and villainy"? Check. Scene towards the end where father-like figure predictably sacrifices himself while trying to sway the primary villain away from the dark side? Check. Enormous planet/moon/space station that doubles as an incredibly powerful weapon capable of eliminating entire planets? Check. Said planet/weapon has an obvious weak spot that can not only disable it's weapon but also destroy it entirely? Check. I mean come on. Is this really the best J.J. Abrams could do? There are predictable plots and then there are plots that we have literally already scene before.

The humor - Honestly, I heard that this bugged some people beforehand but I assumed they were just being overly critical. After all, Thor: The Dark World was hilarious, as were both Avengers films, and I loved them. If anything, the humor in those films was a large reason for why I enjoyed them so much. Therefore, I was certain the criticisms regarding this film's humor were misplaced. Oh, I was wrong. About half of the humor in this movie feels like it would fit better in a Disney Pixar movie rather than a Star Wars movie. Many people were worried about this when Disney bought the property and those worries were proven prophetic. Don't get me wrong, the other half of the humor was mature, situational, and genuinely entertaining. But the juvenile Disney humor was just too much and began to reach levels similar to Jar Jar in Episode I.

It was boring - A large part of this overall lack of entertainment is that we had seen this before. Again, it's essentially Episode IV retold so there was nothing really fresh about it. Not only was the plot a fail but the fighting sequences, parts of Star Wars that were historically either incredibly tense (see Empire Strikes Back) or hyped up (see Return of the Jedi) or amazingly entertaining (see Phantom Menace), were a disgrace. I already talked about the disaster at the end of the film but even preceding that point, there was really no combat worth note. There were the typically pathetic encounters with storm troopers but that was it. The early seen with Ren showed promise but it fell off from there and never got that back.

The new cast - Other than Daisy Ridley, the rest of the new cast that is supposed to carry Star Wars into the future failed miserably. Not all of that is their fault. In all fairness, I thought they all acted very well. The real failure here was in the writing. I already went into detail on the failure that was Kylo Ren so I won't repeat myself here. Poe Dameron had absolutely zero depth to him, whatsoever. He had as many layers as Wedge Antilles but with ten times as much screen time. Finn was maybe even worse than Poe. He wasn't developed well at all and it seemed that his only purpose in the film was to do three things: 1) carry a torch for Rey in some blatantly forced interracial couple, 2) provide the majority of the juvenile Disney humor I talked about earlier, and 3) act as an arbitrary plot device that allowed J.J. Abrams to magically provide whatever information that was necessary to the resistance.

So why, with all of those negatives, did I still give it a 5/10? Because there were some positives as well. Daisy Ridley was absolutely amazing as Rey. I'll be honest, I had my doubts going in but she did a magnificent job and is worthy of carrying the Star Wars franchise as a primary protagonist. It is apparent that she is likely Luke's daughter and her character's continued development is honestly the only thing that might keep me intrigued going forward. The best part of the entire film might have been when Ren was interrogating her and they discovered that she was force sensitive. Brilliant. BB-8, while essentially a rip-off of R2-D2, was cute and provided a charming element to the often times dreary setting. The nods to the original trilogy were sometimes subtle and sometimes in-your-face but they were always welcomed. J.J. Abrams did a decent job of integrating the old with the new. Speaking of old, the original cast's return is, behind Ridley, the best thing about the film. Seeing Luke (for 10 second at the end), Han, Leia, Chewbacca, C-3PO, R2-D2, etc. alone made it not a completely wasted trip to the theater. Lastly, the visuals and the music. If there is anything Star Wars films always get right, it's the score. The music was on point throughout the film and really delivered the emotion of the scenes and the visuals were fantastic. Overall I was incredibly disappointed with the film and with the job Abrams did as director but it was still a Star Wars movie and it provided enough joy to not give it too much of a failing grade. I walked out not sure I'd ever watch another Star Wars film in theaters though. I'm afraid that 5/10 is as high as I could go.