Clayton Davis's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Oxyana
Oxyana (2013)
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Raw, emotional, and heartbreaking at times, Sean Dunne's Oxyana shows the struggle and loss of drug-addiction in Oceania, West Virginia, a tiny mining town that has its 1,400 citizens succumbing to Oxycontin.

With an atmospheric somber that's reminiscent to the eye-opening Kids (1995) by Larry Clark, the film depicts the struggle of addiction and plays nearly fifteen examples of life-shattering changes you would see in the first forty-five minutes of the A&E's hit-show "Intervention." While filmmaking style doesn't always hit the right chords and not offering any real resolutions or suggestions for fixing the problem, if anything, Oxyana shows the youth of the lost generation being picked off one by one as we remain helpless.

There may be no real answer at this point in time for the problem to be fully resolved. Perhaps that's Dunne's brilliance in an almost waving the white flag sort of fashion. Some of the stories of these people are horrific and you can almost see sympathize with their reasoning for drug usage through their testimonies. The film is polished enough to open the door for discussion by political and movie-goers everywhere and emotional enough to warrant a reaction.

Stories We Tell
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Sarah Polley continues to become one of the most innovative and inventive directors working today and its proved by what she spills out on the silver screen in her newest endeavor Stories We Tell. A compelling and personal documentary about her own life, Stories We Tell blends and fuses the magic of non-fiction with the imagination of the cinematic mind.

Telling the story of her own inception, family life, and personal struggle with her own sense of being, Sarah Polley invites the audience into a world that otherwise would seem shameful and dreary but ends up rising triumphant and inspired. While documentaries often take a very serious, somber, and issue-driven approach, Polley's film proves that real life can be just as magnetic without an epiphany of theatrics or cheap camera tricks. Stories We Tell takes cinematic risks that pay off tremendously in both execution partnered with Iris Ng's stunning cinematography. This is one of the best things that the movies have offered this year yet.

When one takes on a personal subject like their family, you always run the risk of starting your film with a wall between you and the audience from the first frame. Family is one of those things that you can only appreciate when you're a part of the madness. If I sit here and tell you countless stories of brothers and sisters bickering, falling in an apple ditch, or simply the origin of our creations, a disinterest may become prevalent because what makes my story any more real than yours? Unless we have some extraordinary circumstances, family is all relative and subjective. Polley's family feels real. While there are painstakingly clear alignments between my family life and hers, the film goes beyond anything that documentaries have offered viewers before. It's not too often you grow to care about members of a family in a 108 minute stretch unless your last name is Brady, Seaver, or Winslow. It's amazing to watch one story, told from different perspectives, yielding different results and emotions. Why Polley decided to do it, I'm not so sure. Maybe it was her own way of making sense of her unfortunate hand that was dealt or perhaps it was a way of release, living with so many unanswered questions, possibly still until this day. I'm grateful she let me in to tell her story. We should all be grateful.

There are surprises, innuendos, and things that the film embraces that must be saved for anyone on the first viewing. All I can say is, Polley has likely set a new precedent and encouragement for filmmakers to do similar experiments in the future. A film such as this that follows the life of people like Jack Nicholson or Angelina Jolie would definitely build an anticipation for many to see. Stories We Tell is kind to soul and heartwarmingly relevant. A film to be remembered. The film played at this year's Montclair Film Festival and is scheduled to be released May 17, 2013.

Zero Dark Thirty
4 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow and Oscar-winning screenwriter Mark Boal take their newest effort, Zero Dark Thirty, to places I couldn‚(TM)t have imagined. Based on the events leading up to the killing of Osama bin Laden, the two display an impressive amount of control in the way the film is told and showcases some brilliant moments in filmmaking. Zero Dark Thirty hooks you from minute one and just DOESN‚(TM)T. LET. GO. It‚(TM)s one of the best pictures of the year!

Starring Jessica Chastain as the beautiful and insightful Maya, she smoothly yet fiercely pulls you through the film delivering her best performance of her career so far. The film begins and ends with her and in the final scene, the Oscar mouths will be drooling. Chastain inhabits and constructs a character from scratch, inserting ticks and beats that only sweetens the execution. It‚(TM)s one of the year‚(TM)s best performances. Point blank.

Accompanying her is the talented Jason Clarke, who‚(TM)s scene-stealing and at times comedic turn level out a very emotionally and demanding film. Kyle Chandler and Mark Strong make strong impressions in their minimal screen time and give even more evidence that Zero Dark Thirty is one of the best cast ensembles this year.

The true star of the film is Mark Boal whose research, detail, and magnetic dialogue stands as the writer‚(TM)s finest work. The film creates such inner, moral dilemma and this is coming from someone who saw the World Trade Center fall at the tender age of 17. I witnessed evil that day and even with that, the film makes me ashamed to be an American. Revenge can run deep but what we witness in the film, is not revenge. You can‚(TM)t fight fire with fire. It‚(TM)s a dilemma Boal puts forth and one that will follow the viewer long after the film‚(TM)s end. It‚(TM)s pulse-pounding filmmaking and first-rate writing that should be studied for years to come. Bigelow‚(TM)s signature style doesn‚(TM)t come into full effect until the final thirty minutes but it will blow your socks off. The raid on the compound showcases heavenly camera work from Greig Fraser and commanding and sharp editing from Dylan Tichenor and William Goldenberg, two near sure-fire nominees for the Academy Awards. A well-placed Alexandre Desplat score only adds to the marvel of those final moments.

Zero Dark Thirty is the best political thriller this decade. Mark my words. Oscar, your move!

The Dark Knight Rises
4 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

‚Ladies and gentlemen, we have a contender‚¶‚?

Those were my exact thoughts and tweet following the screening of Christopher Nolan‚(TM)s The Dark Knight Rises. A little over twelve hours have passed, allowing what was seen to officially settle in. The Dark Knight Rises, dare I say it, is better than it‚(TM)s predecessor. With all my qualms and things that I found wrong in The Dark Knight (2008), Nolan goes back, corrects, and elevates everything in the superhero genre, frame by frame. If there were ever doubts about Christopher Nolan and his ability as a filmmaker, he puts all things to rest and declares himself one of the most innovative and visionary directors working today. He analyzes and interprets Batman in a way, I‚(TM)ve never known possible. Nolan wants to make more than a ‚Batman‚? film or just another ‚superhero‚? movie. He reinvented the genre and quite possibly creates the best superhero film of all-time.

Cinematographer Wally Pfister, always impeccable and dynamic with his camera work, goes well beyond the call of duty. Showing a master class on cinematography every step of the way. Film Editor Lee Smith finally nails the art of pacing and makes this near three-hour venture smooth and attainable for a second watch. The sound team is in charge and back in the game again, making explosions and car chases blow out the eardrums of its audiences. Pure adrenaline pumps through your veins.
Unless you‚(TM)ve been living under a rock, you know the basic plot elements of the story. I‚(TM)ve avoided spoilers throughout this process and I will offer the same luxury to any person reading this. I‚(TM)ll say this, Nolan‚(TM)s story structure, and where he takes Batman in this tale, is pretty extraordinary and absolutely natural. The script is not perfect and while there are some flaws like rushed character developments and unclear plot details, its splitting hairs. The film is still remarkable but in a spoiler-filled look later this week, we‚(TM)ll get into qualms with the script.

Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne/Batman is still adequate and acceptable in his respective role (and yes kids, the voice is still a problem, definitely better, but still distracting). Bale shows Bruce Wayne broken, rising, and risen in perfect succession. There‚(TM)s no denying that Bale, probably for the rest of this century, will be associated proudly and respectfully with this role and what he gave the character.

Michael Caine as Alfred, gives the most heartfelt and endearing performance of all of Nolan‚(TM)s trilogy. It‚(TM)s Caine‚(TM)s best work since The Cider House Rules (1999) and if anyone is looking for an actor to recognize, look no further. Grassroots campaign, do your work.

Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle, is sexy, confident, and offers a great balance of humor. Hathaway‚(TM)s casting was called into question for months, but rest assure, she delivers. In terms of creating and penning a unique female character, which has been pointed out as Nolan‚(TM)s one flaw as a screenwriter, it‚(TM)s a valiant effort and much better than our terrible Rachel Dawes. Hathaway elevates the material otherwise.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake is talented as always, diving deep into a character‚(TM)s motivations and executing with absolute precision. Marion Cotillard as Miranda Tate is the perfect balance to Hathaway‚(TM)s sexy Selina, enabling a turn not seen of her before. Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox is still great decoration and a terrific addition to an outstanding cast.

Gary Oldman as Jim Gordon still remains the unsung hero of this franchise. Oldman‚(TM)s talents and electric execution of the words are of the highest quality of actors working today. Oldman shows restraint when needed and turbulence when necessary.

What everyone is waiting on is the performance of Tom Hardy as the diabolical Bane. A little bit of advice, please try your absolute hardest to divorce the Joker and Heath Ledger‚(TM)s performance from ‚Rises.‚? What we all witnessed in 2008 was a performance of a lifetime that may not be matched for years to come. Hardy as Bane is simply sensational. It‚(TM)s one Hardy‚(TM)s best turns thus far and on the merits of the film alone, he‚(TM)s quite possibly best-in-show. When looking information on the character, all I kept hearing and reading was ‚carnage.‚? Carnage doesn‚(TM)t begin to describe what Bane is. Nolan and Hardy transcend into a place, darker and more malicious than any film seen this year. It was the PERFECT villain for this finale.

Oscar-talk you ask? Ok, here it goes. If there has ever been a chance for superhero film like The Dark Knight Rises to be nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards, and have the QUALITY be present, this is the time. When thinking of successful and brilliant trilogies like The Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, who have all had their dances with Oscar before, Nolan‚(TM)s film needs this moment. We‚(TM)re almost guaranteed nominations in Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, Film Editing with very likely mentions in Cinematography and perhaps Makeup. It DESERVES, and this is said without seeing many of the films slated to come out for the rest of 2012, to be among a Best Picture and Director lineups. A nomination for Nolan has to be considered when putting this film against any other film this year or superhero film of ANY year. It‚(TM)s the finest directing work of this genre so far. Point blank. Period. Can‚(TM)t think of anyone else better.

The Dark Knight Rises is not just the best film of the summer, it‚(TM)s possibly the best film of the year.