Ryan Valentine's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

What Have You Done to Solange?
5 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

A series of nubile schoolgirls are brutally slaughtered for reasons that evade the police. A young professor (Fabio Testi) has the key to solving the mystery of who the murderer is, but his situation is complicated since he witnessed one of the killings while on a extramarital excursion with one of his students (Christina Galbo). What Have You Done To Solange has an appropriately tense score from Ennio Morricone and suspenseful direction by Massimo Dallamano, but some of its thematic motifs left me cold. The narrative of the movie criticizes teenage girls for open sexuality, but it also fetishizes them when they're tortured, sexually violated, and murdered. This may be the prudish American in me talking, but I found the bluntness of this dichotomy (as well as the creepy endorsement of "innocent virginity" in young women) to be unsettling in ways that the film didn't seem to consciously intend.

Ride the Pink Horse
5 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Robert Montgomery (who also directed) stars as an embittered, abrasive veteran who travels down to a fiesta in a New Mexico border town in the hopes of blackmailing a war profiteer who murdered his friend. As expected, he runs into more than he bargained for. Ride The Pink Horse runs through a lot of the typical tropes of film noir, but it distinguishes itself thanks to sharp dialogue, relatable acting, and camerawork that knows all about visual storytelling (cinematographer Russell Metty tries out a few tricks that he later used on Orson Welles' Touch of Evil). It would probably be an overstatement to call Ride The Pink Horse a forgotten masterpiece, but I feel that it's fair to label it an underappreciated gem that's worth seeking out.

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
6 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The motley gang of interstellar freebooters in the Guardians of the Galaxy are split up into a tangled assortment of subplots that all converge on Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) meeting the sentient planet who turns out to be his father (Kurt Russell). The plot of this sequel is scattershot, but I get the impression that this was a deliberate choice on the part of writer/director James Gunn. This movie has plenty of badinage, action, adept soundtrack choices, and visual spectacle, but the focus tends to remain on characterization; this gives Dave Bautista, Karen Gillan, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, and Michael Rooker plenty of moments to shine. I guess it's debatable as to whether this movie completely recreates what made its predecessor such a fun ride, but (in my humble opinion) I'd say that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a rare case of a Marvel Studios sequel properly recapturing and expanding upon what made its cast of characters so appealing in the first place.

The Manchurian Candidate
6 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Nine soldiers in the Korean War are heroically rescued by the stoic Raymond Shaw (Laurence Harvey). He wins the Congressional Medal of Honor for his deeds, but it turns out that this hero has been mentally conditioned by foreign powers to become an assassin . It's up to one of his former comrades (Frank Sinatra) to get to the bottom of things before a puppet gets installed in the White House. The Manchurian Candidate has long been a go-to when it comes to classic films about spies, conspiracy, and Cold War paranoia. John Frankenheimer's tight direction and some striking visuals play a role in this film's longevity, but its dominant virtue is undoubtedly Angela Lansbury's chilling, dynamic performance as Raymond's mother.

Kill, Baby, Kill (Operazione paura) (Curse of the Living Dead) (Don't Walk in the Park)
6 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Arguably Mario Bava's strongest horror film, Kill, Baby Kill follows a coroner who's called in to help investigate the mysterious death of a young woman in an isolated, superstitious village. The locals blame this killing (as well as a slew of similar ones) on the sadistic machinations of the ghost of a little girl; naturally, this turns out to be exactly what happened. Mario Bava chronicles this chiller with his trademark use of saturated colors, heavy shadows, and ample use of the fog machine. While not dissimilar to rest of his catalog, everything in Kill, Baby, Kill just clicks in a way that only happens when talent, hard work, and luck all happen to be in the right place at the right time. No exploration of Italian exploitation cinema would be complete without going over this movie.