Kevin Mozulay's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Blade Runner 2049
2 hours ago via Rotten Tomatoes

In my review for the original 1982 Blade Runner, I had said that it was truly bizarre and I didn't understand why it had garnered such a respectable reputation. 5 years later, it may be due for a revisit. The mistake I made in approaching it's sequel, Blade Runner 2049 was that of not rewatching the original prior to seeing it. With that being said, I wonder how much of a difference it would have made... the title card in the very beginning briefly explains the plot involving Replicants, an artificially intelligent humanoid capable of great and terrible things. Their numbers grow exponentially, and at the beginning of Blade Runner 2049, it appears that not only are their multiple models of the Replicants, they've also seemingly outnumbered the humans. Even with this preliminary description, it wasn't enough to prepare me for what followed; an intelligent plot, but also one that is extremely convoluted. The story moves along so slowly over the course of it's 2 hour and 45 minute running time that I began to doze off in the first act, and that's a rarity. This was clearly made for fans of the original movie. Ryan Gosling is good in the lead as a newer Replicant detective, but the robotic restrictions of the character don't give him much space to flex his acting muscles. Harrison Ford returns from the original, doing a decent job as well. This is a Denis Villeneuve movie (director of Prisoners, Sicario, and Arrival), so I knew it was a guarantee there would be something positive about it. What Blade Runner 2049 does so well, and what makes it worth the price of admission is it's jaw dropping visuals, it's booming soundtrack, and scarce but intense violence. Gosling's character's holographic artificial wife looks phenomenal and interacts with the physical world with a mind bending but sharp awareness for genuine physics. The neon lights and flying cars practically breathe off of the screen, despite having seen it in 2D (do people even see 3D movies anymore?). Hans Zimmer's soundtrack echoes similarities with Daft Punk's Tron Legacy soundtrack, so it sounds amazing in the theater. 2049 is essentially a one-and-done deal for me; if you are going to see it at all, it has to be seen in a theater. I understand that the producers allowed Villeneuve to release his own cut, which I think was a mistake and is likely the biggest reason it did so poorly at the box office. Audiences are not used to movies like this; frankly that includes myself. However, I know there are people out there who deeply appreciate a story like this, and hopefully you're one of them.

American Made
American Made (2017)
3 hours ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Tom Cruise is such a high profile actor at this point that even a hint of characterization is overtly noticeable. In American Made he plays a real life man named Barry Seal. Seal was notorious for transporting cocaine to and from South America, while simultaneously working for the CIA. Seal was from Louisiana... which means that Tom Cruise is speaking with a largely thick southern accent, and my god is it bizarre. I don't think I ever got used to it. He didn't do a bad job, but how often do you hear Tom Cruise speak like that? I found it to be a little distracting; perhaps a lesser known actor would have been a smarter casting choice. Despite the gorgeous cinematography and lavish jungle landscapes, American Made is what I consider to be mildly interesting. There's not much particularly wrong with it, and there's also not a whole lot to write home about either. It's a fun movie, but don't expect to be beaten over the head with rich themes and audacious metaphors. One would think that a movie about living the fast and dangerous life would move along at a brisk pace. All while considering the film is less than two hours, I was a little surprised to find that it dragged a little in the middle. It would have worked in it's favor if 15-20 minutes or so had been cut. While Cruise definitely steals the spotlight, it's worth mentioning that Domhnall Gleeson did a pretty good job as the CIA agent that hires seal to do his dirty work .American Made is occasionally funny as well. I liked how Pablo Escobar was involved but director Doug Liman (who did an amazing job directing Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow) pushed famous drug dealer Pablo Escobar to the back burner in favor of his other cartel partner. It would have been cliche at this point to focus on him, especially given how widely covered Escobar already is in pop culture. The overarching keyword that comes to mind for American Made is occasional: along with being occasionally funny, it's occasionally interesting, occasionally well acted, and occasionally entertaining. Just don't expect it to stick in your memory long after leaving the theater.

Wind River
Wind River (2017)
34 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Taylor Sheridan, the incredibly talented writer of Hell or High Water and Sicario makes his directorial debut in Wind River. Most murder mysteries follow a similar formula: the body, the investigation, and the final battle. While it doesn't stray particularly far from this formula, it's Sheridan's patience and mastery of tension and mood that set it far apart from the rest. Set in the wintery hell of Wyoming, it's one of the more unique filming locations; frostbite, drugs, and depression run rampant in the predominantly Native American town. The maverick of the bunch, played by the great Jeremy Renner turns in the best performance of his career, topping The Hurt Locker. He loses himself in the character, along with almost every other actor in the film. Renner is a hunter, and protects animals and farms from the primal forces that run wild in the mountains. He stumbles upon a body of a young girl, brutally raped and murdered. He calls in an FBI agent, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and the two engage in a chase to catch whodunnit. It's a near-masterpiece of slow burning tension, all building up to one of the most disturbing scenes I've ever seen in a movie: it had me shifting in my seat and covering my eyes more than most horror movies. Following this is an unbelievably satisfying ending that had me cheering. The soundtrack, made by Nick Cave, creates a chilling and ominous atmosphere that had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up. Another huge aspect of Wind River are the heavy-handed themes, particularly grief and justice; both key aspects of what makes a murder mystery so effective. Sheridan has established himself as an incredibly talented writer and now director, and has a truly promising career ahead of him. Wind River is one of the best movies of the year, and I can't wait to see what Sheridan does next.

It
It (2017)
41 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

I'm a huge fan of both Stephen King's books and the film adaptations that almost always follow. Having been familiar with the novel and the 1990 miniseries of the same name, I was intrigued as to how a remake of It would pan out. It delivered in so many ways, and the final cut was extremely satisfying and traumatizing. Tim Curry's original portrayal of Pennywise the Dancing Clown was very goofy, and despite being creepy the makeup and effects were abysmal. Bill Skarsgard, a 27 year-old Swedish actor, did a fantastic job as Pennywise here. Skarsgard takes a more serious and violent approach, thanks in part to modern makeup and effects; both of which have improved significantly. The jump scares were largely ineffective, whereas the actual scariness came more from what Pennywise says and the way he says it: exactly the way it should be. It could have easily been a dumbed down PG-13 version of the novel, which is incredibly violent and disturbing. Thankfully, director Andy Muschietti and the producers hold nothing back with the blood and gore, both of which there are extensive amounts. The iconic opening scene where Georgie loses his paper boat in the storm drain while he converses with Pennywise is masterfully executed, ending in an appropriately traumatizing fashion. Did I mention every single scene with the clown is traumatizing? The bulk of the film is Pennywise terrorizing a group of 7 friends, all of whom have their own unique fear. Avoiding spoilers, we're shown what each and every kid is afraid of, with the delivery being high-caliber horror. Along with Bill Skarsgard, the kids do an amazing job with their performances and also being just generally likable. Their witty banter is hilarious, and their chemistry unparalleled. There are a few moments that don't fit into the context of the movie, and the cinematography, while well done, is inconsistent. Despite those minor gripes, they're not nearly enough to hinder me in saying this version of It is easily the best horror movie of the year; not to mention one of the best in many years.

Midnight Special
47 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Jeff Nichols has established himself in the film industry as one of the most talented directors of our time. His first three films: Shotgun Stories, Take Shelter, and Mud are all indie knockouts. Unfortunately, Midnight Special is his first dud; it happens to the best of them. Midnight Special is not bad, by any means. It's incredibly well made, decently acted, and has some good dialogue going for it. Where it falters is in the failing to explain even some of the mysteries we're presented with from the very start. Midnight Special is about two men (Michael Shannon and Joel Edgerton) who have seemingly kidnapped a young boy who has some sort of otherworldly power. He can communicate in many different language and claims he doesn't belong on Earth. It sounds like a superhero origins flick, but it's far from it. Nichols has must have drawn inspiration from Steven Spielberg's ET, except our protagonist is a boy and not a little animatronic alien. The dialogue is realistic and the special effects are so minimal that I never once had the thought that the boy (Alton) was a superhero... only that he was a stranger in a strange land. The mysteries Nichols sets up for us are undoubtedly intriguing, but the novelty wears off about halfway through, when we realize that he has no intention of answering the majority of these mysteries. Some can argue that the point of the film is to not understand these things... I suppose that's where audiences are divided. On one hand, you can choose to have faith and believe that Alton is the second coming of God, while on the other you can approach it scientifically and question the origins of Alton and his lineage. I side with the scientific approach, and for that, Midnight Special is an incredibly well made, massive question mark that left me disappointed.