Jake Henderson's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Lincoln
Lincoln (2012)
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

A highly polished, yet dull, picture.

The first thing that I can say about this movie is that it is not exciting. The acting, however, is terrific. Also, the filming is top draw (including a colour saturation pulled back to give it an old look without seeming affected). Technically the film is of expert quality, that which has come to be expected from a Spielberg picture.
Two areas define this film for what it is. Firstly, the acting. Daniel Day-Lewis' portrayal of Abraham Lincoln is overwhelming to say the least, leading an audience to forget that he is acting; adding verisimilitude to the role. Tommy Lee Jones also gives a solid performance as Thaddeus Stevens, playing the role with a slightly troubled demeanour.

The second area that defines this film is its content. The movie centres around Lincoln attempting to pass the 13th amendment, which would lead to the abolition of slavery. Although sounding like a good base to start from, the movie focuses solely on this matter which becomes extremely tedious to watch. The content in this film is highly conversational, and not in a way which has worked so well for the likes of Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino's films are based on their impressive dialogue, yet are sprinkled with outrageous action. Lincoln fails to deliver any action that would keep an audience interested for two and a half hours. The seemingly endless courtroom ramblings engulf the whole film, leaving no room for any action from the Civil War, or even the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.

Technically, a solid film, yet its story leaves something to be desired. Watch it for an outstanding acting display, but have an energy drink beforehand.

J.Henderson

4/10.

Django Unchained
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Masterful.

Set in the American South, only two years before the Civil War, Django (Jamie Foxx), a recently freed slave, sets out on a journey to find and free his wife (Kerry Washington) and take revenge on the cruel plantation owners, along with the help of bounty hunter Dr. King Schultz (Christoph Waltz).

Tarantino deals with this story so simply that as his heroes have suffered such historic injustice, their revenge can never be too bloody or cruel, allowing for this to be a classic QT picture. Tarantino's natural instinct in film-making seems to be to exaggerate, and Django Unchained is no different. His use of blood is hysterical, creating a volcanic type eruption whenever a bullet strikes its target. Furthermore,Tarantino uses the N-word as often as he believes he can get away with, yet, I don't feel he over-stepped the mark. Tarantino films must always be watched knowing that what you are about to see is not trying to be a true depiction of the era or subject involved. It is simply Tarantino's take on the subject, and nearly always poking fun. Take Kill Bill for example, the action sequences are ridiculously unrealistic, with QT clearly making a joke about martial arts films. I feel something similar is happening with Django Unchained, as Tarantino writes his own history.

The film opens to a pair of brutish slave-traders who are dragging a chain-gang of black men across Texas. Next enters Dr King Schultz, a stylish German-born bounty hunter. Schultz dispatches the slave-traders in a superbly calm and comical style, and off he and Django, released from the chain-gang, go together. When Django explains he is looking for his German Speaking wife, Broomhilda, Schultz becomes entranced and agrees to help find and free Broomhilda, who happens to be under the ownership of plantation owner Calvin Candie (Leonardo DiCaprio).

Christoph Waltz follows up his excellence in Inglourious Basterds by delivering another phenomenal supporting performance, and a deserving winner of the Golden Globe. However, the stand-out performance was that of veteran Tarantino favourite Samuel L. Jackson, as Stephen, the housekeeper of Calvin Candie, and the most evil Uncle Tom. "Who dis nigger up on dat nag," is the reaction of Stephen seeing a free black man, and also the audiences introduction to Samuel L. Jackson. From his introduction onwards, Samuel L. captures every scene with his quick-wit, contagious laugh, and dark betrayal of Broomhilda. The character of Stephen perfectly highlights Tarantino's ability as a screenwriter, as the large portions of dialogue, mixed with the outbursts of violence, manage to successfully captivate the viewer.

Tarantino's best film since Pulp Fiction, one that should definitely not be missed.

J.Henderson.

9/10.

Wreck-it Ralph
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Fun and imaginative in a world you wouldn't even have thought of.

In a 1980s arcade game called Fix-it Felix, Wreck-it Ralph is building-smashing bad guy who is fed up of wrecking things after doing it for 30 years, and wants to be good. Wreck-it Ralph wants to be the hero, wants to save the day, so he breaks out of his game in search of a medal, in order to prove he is a hero.

Whilst on his quest, Wreck-it Ralph comes across many other arcade games, giving Disney the opportunity to play around with a large variety of settings, and being extremely creative. Wreck-it Ralph's journey takes him from the old-school, first generation arcade game Fix-it Felix, to 90s racing games Sugar Rush, and also to a new generation, present day shooter called Heroes Duty. Disney takes full advantage of being able to show off their visual styles.

The film is diverse in that it is filled with various humour, from the outrageous action, to the quick witted one-liner (usually from Jane Lynch). Also, Wreck-it Ralph has moments of a dark nature that I didn't see coming (not going to spoiler). Overall the film is quite an imaginative risk, with the idea of teenagers still going to spend their pocket money down at the arcade a little dated, but Wreck-it Ralph is a classic Disney production. It seems that the combination of Disney and Lucasfilm is already on show as in this film we saw a little cameo of Star Wars sound effects. See if you can spot it.

A very good Disney film, worthy of its Oscar nomination.

J.Henderson.

7/10.

The Impossible
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

A physical triumph in film-making.

A story (based on fact) centred around a family broken apart by the horrendous 2004 boxing day tsunami. The story is simple, will the family be reunited?

Coming off the back of his chilling film The Orphanage, exciting young director Juan Antonio Bayona delivers a hugely physical, sensory assault, especially in a ten-minute sequence of phenomenal effects work and thunderous sound design. The scene apparently took about a year to make, using real water, unlike many other CGI filled films. The extreme length of time spent on this small section of the film completely pays off. Its a superb piece of film-making, so loud and harrowing, you feel trapped, drowned, helpless. One of the best action scenes produced, Bayona creates something worthy of any Hollywood action epic. Definitely a director to watch for the future.

Another highlight of this feature is the acting from the lead cast. Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts give emotional performances as Mum and Dad, while 16 year-old Tom Holland, manages to successfully transform his character from a moody teenager, to a boy determined to help anyone he can and help get his family back together, in a performance that is truly remarkable.

However, I feel Bayona takes this film slightly too Hollywood. To set this story around a wealthy white family, having a nice holiday go disastrously wrong, is not representative of the 200,000 plus that were killed by the tsunami, and the many more that were effected. With a film based on the horrendous natural disaster, I feel a film showing the effect that it had on the Thai people would have been more striking. It also seems that most of the people in the hospitals were tourists, what happened to everyone else?

Other than the terrific set and lead acting, the film disappoints as it fails to show the wider effect the tsunami had.

J.Henderson.

6/10.

This is 40
This is 40 (2012)
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Footnote characters getting their own film.

Set five years after Knocked Up, with Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl nowhere to be seen, This is 40 centres around Pete (Paul Rudd), Debbie (Leslie Mann) and their kids Sadie and Charlotte (Maude and Iris Apatow, respectively). Pete and Debbie are coming up to their 40th birthdays, and everything seems to be going horribly wrong all at once as financial trouble and a lack of a sex life are making the couple feel trapped. Add to the mix a moody teenage girl and a hyperactive 10 year-old and everything is in chaos.

Pete and Debbie are trying to discover whether they still love each other. They hide their bad habits from one another (Pete and his cupcakes, cigarettes for Debbie). They don't spend time together. He's evasive, spending a ridiculous amount of time on the toilet away from anybody else, she's a nag. Yet, they feel trapped in the relationship, because of the kids, because of history, because of responsibility. They have come to the realisation that the life they have right now, is what they are stuck with forever.
The couple has not developed as characters since Knocked Up. Pete's still careless. Debbie's still shrill and a constant nag. This was perfectly acceptable, and quite hilarious, when they were a bit part in Knocked Upbut, in their own film, they're really hard to care about. Their financial problems, due to Pete's handouts to his father (Albert Brooks) and a failing record label, are supposed to form the backbone of the plot. However, you find it hard to sympathise for the rich people, almost laughable at the suggestion that downgrading a huge house for a smaller big house is a problem worthy of our sympathy. They may have big financial problems, yet they can still afford to throw a sizeable pool party for Pete's birthday, and go on a couples retreat.

The script for this film is weak and contradicting. Pete and Debbie seem to love each other one minute and then hate each other the next. On their little weekend away they indulge in marijuana cookies and speak of the love they share, how amazing their relationship is, it's very mushy, very soppy. 10-minutes later, at a party, Pete slips to Debbie that "it's not your fault you can't feel love," starting yet another huge argument. And then once more, 10-minutes later, all troubles and issues are forgotten, as simple as that, all it takes is for Pete to ride his bike into a parked car.
This film is not bad, exactly, just boring for long periods of time with moments of rare hilarity. Jason Segal and Chris O'Dowd give the performances to look for, with writing that suits their comedic style.

J.Henderson.

5/10.