KJ Proulx's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Beauty and the Beast
2 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Whether you are a die-hard fan of the animated Disney classic or not, there's no denying that the world has been captivated by this "tale as old as time" for quite some time. They have been working on these live-action adaptations for a while now, and while they pretty much are just replicas of the existing animated films, it's the fact that they are done with absolute care that matters the most. This live-action version of Beauty and the Beast may have some elements that aren't for everyone, but it's definitely a story worth revisiting one more time. None of these remakes have to exist, but if they are all as good or even better than Cinderella, The Jungle Book, and now even Beauty and the Beast, I won't find myself complaining too much. While not perfect, this film had me smiling and wanting more. Here are my thoughts on 2017's Beauty and the Beast.

While watching this years rendition of Beauty and the Beast, it will be impossible to not compare it to the original animated classic, due to the fact that most of the film is a replication of that dialogue. At a mere 80 minutes, the original film was short and to the point. This version is almost an hour longer, adding in new sequences, adding more depth to the character of Belle. Aside from that, this film is everything you've seen before, but done very, very well. The story of a woman learning to love a beast for who he is on the inside is still as relevant as ever. Although Emma Watson and Dan Stevens probably weren't interacting all that much, their chemistry felt very real and very present. Everyone seems to be complaining about accents throughout this film, but found it to be quite charming and elegant.

Admittedly, not every film can have the realistic look of 2016's The Jungle Book, but there were more than a few instances that stood out here. Yes, the CGI work throughout this film was very well done, but when Belle has close interactions with the beast, it did feel slightly awkward at times. As for the secondary characters in the inanimate objects coming to life, that was the most authentic work in terms of CGI in my opinion. It truly looked as though these objects were coming to life in the castle. Not only in making characters come to life, the technology utilized throughout the course of Beauty and the Beast was note-worthy. Everything about this film was incredibly immersive and the music just elevated that.

When you recreate a film like Beauty and the Beast, you don't really have a choice but to include the classic songs in some shape or form. Utilizing all of the same music, while still taking the time to execute a few side plots containing some very good new tracks, this film is full of fresh takes on the classic tale. There are a few aspects that seem to be overdone here, like the villain for instance. Gaston is perfectly cast in Luke Evans, but his character is a bit too rough and tough in this version. I know that you are supposed to dislike him as a character, but I straight up hated this version, but then again, I'm sure they were going for that. To add to the casting comment, I absolutely loved the casting choices for just about everyone and their vocals didn't bother me one bit. The music was brought to the big screen with care and these performers were seeming to be giving it their all.

Looking back on my experience with this film, I didn't find myself complaining about too much, but the run time may be about 10-15 minutes too long. I felt as though there were quite a few sequences that dragged on a little too long, but I was clammering for more throughout some of them. The musical numbers are terrifically executed, the visuals are quite stunning at times, the casting is spot-on, and although I feel as though the villain is incredibly overdone and the CGI of the beast is quite noticeable, this is a harmlessly safe re-telling of the classic story. Highly recommended for newcomers and fans of the original. Great family entertainment with a solid lesson that will never age. As mentioned above, remakes are not necessary in my opinion, but if they are going to be as well-made as this, I don't think people should be complaining yet.

Goon: Last of the Enforcers
5 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Goon was a very pleasant surprise for the comedy genre and this particular sport in film. Hockey has become a thing of the past in terms of making films that revolve around it. Having a main character who joins a team just to fight seemed like a very fresh premise, even though it was a true story to begin with. That being said, there was absolutely no reason for a sequel to be made. Luckily, writer and first time director Jay Baruchel clearly cares about this character and has crafted a very solid and heartwarming conclusion to the Doug Glatt story. I will honestly look back on both of these films equally as one long picture. Although hilarious at times, this film takes a much more dramatic approach and it works very well. Here is why I believe Goon: Last of the Enforcers is just as good as the first.

After being brutally injured by a new and tougher opponent in Anders Cain, Doug is forced into recovery. Working a day job, awaiting a child, and realizing that he should be using every last ounce of his strength to get back on the ice, he calls to his former opponent for training. This film is the definition of the one-last-time storyline. Building on Doug's character more than the first film ever did, Goon: Last of the Enforcers is a much stronger film in many ways. Both of these films can easily be watched back-to-back as one long feature film. For such a simple premise, these two films have much more to say than the average comedy normally does. Heavy on the emotion and having a much better finale than the original, is seems as though I am praising this film much more than the first right? The reason I won't ever be able to call this a better film is due to the fact that the first half of this film is very rocky.

Wyatt Russell plays Anders Cain, the newcomer who has taken down Doug in the opening scene of this film. Without spoiling too much, I will say that his character undergoes far too many changes throughout the course of this film. There are times when the story seems to be compensating for the fact that Doug is not on-screen. Anders is given the reputation of team captain on Doug's team while he is away, only to end up working with him and eventually having another inevitable feud. There were far too many turns with this character and as much as I enjoy watching Russell's performances, he seemed to be overdoing it a bit here. Each time his actions changed the course of the film, there were some inconsistent tonal shifts in my opinion.

Anyone who likes to poke fun at the Canadian stereotypes and go along for the ride in terms of fighting in the sport of hockey and laughing at sports commentators, are truly the ones who will love this film in the end. That being said, this film offers a little more than that and a bit of a broader audience may actually enjoy this sequel more. Bringing in a family dynamic and whether or not Doug should actually continue to follow his dream as a fighter or not, really grounded this film in reality. Sure, this is a film about hockey so it has always been grounded in reality, but the fights were pretty ridiculous and wouldn't have lasted as long as they do in these films. The heart of this film is ten times that of the first and I highly commend it for having the guts to do so.

I truly can't see another film coming in this series after the way this film concludes. In the end, Goon: Last of the Enforcers wraps up the arc of Doug Glatt in a nice bow, putting a smile on any faces that enjoyed its predecessor. Although slightly more accessible than the first, I truly can't see anyone being won over if they didn't enjoy the original film. They bleed into each other (no pun intended) in a pretty seamless manor, including almost every single character in some capacity. Very well-made from beginning to end by first time director Jay Baruchel (who also reprises his role), I can see a bright future ahead of him. Filled with many great laughs and even more heart, Goon: Last of the Enforcers is a very solid finale to this story. I may not have enjoyed the first two acts as much as the third, but it held my interest and was saved by some great characters and great comedy. If you liked the first one, you'll probably like this one just as much.

Goon (2012)
6 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

When it comes to Canadian cinema, there are very few wide releases in a year. Aside from films like Bon Cop Bad Cop or The Sweet Hereafter that have gained a cult following, there isn't much of a draw to Canadian films. On a shoestring budget, Goon was released back in 2012, and while it was not regarded as a box office success, its cult following became fairly large upon its home release. Not only is this a solid Canadian film, but its a solid film in general. Sure, it embraces the fact that its Canadian and exploits the use of hockey, the term "eh," and being extremely polite and apologetic, but when you're making a Canadian film about hockey, why wouldn't you just go all out. Here is why I think Goon demands your attention if you haven't seen it.

Sean William Scott has went off the radar after his stardom in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Starring in hits like American Pie and Dude, Where's My Car?, many people quite enjoyed his presence on-screen. That being said, this is by far the best performance I've ever seen him give. Goon follows Doug Glatt (Scott) as he is recruited by a local OHL hockey team for being a fantastic fighter. He can't skate, he is ridiculed, and his teammates can't even believe he was asked to be on the team. Being very useful when needed, the team begins to come around on him and he may just be what they needed to make the playoffs after all. It's about as Canadian as Canadian stereotypes get, but this film makes it work so well.

With such a simple premise, there needs to be a villain that really gives our hero a run for his money. Hoping to fight the best of the best, Doug will do everything he must, including fighting the champion in Ross Rhea. Although he doesn't have a lot of screen time, Liev Schreiber and Sean William Scott have some very believable chemistry here. Throughout the film you will most likely be focussing on the character arc of Doug, but you will also be long-awaiting the showdown between these two goons on the ice. The wait is more than worth it and I found myself engaged in this film from beginning to end. The fight itself isn't the reason I enjoy this film so much though, but the undeniable likability of the central character.

Rough and tough, Doug Glatt is one hell of a fighter on the ice, but it really is about the humanity of his character. How is as polite as can be off the ice and pretty dim-witted out in the real world. These characteristics are truly what make this film so likeable. Sean William Scott's portrayal of this character is absolutely gut-busting and I found myself laughing throughout every single scene he was present in. Goon is by no means a groundbreaking comedy, but it's easily one of the best films to come from Canada in the last decade or so.

In the end, a film like this wouldn't have been as authentic as it was without an actual Canadian hand in the mix. Written by Jay Baruchel, he also plays Doug's best friend throughout the film, and while he is just present to make audiences laugh, he does serve the purpose of giving his friend the much needed confidence on the ice. Cleverly written, well-directed by the man behind films like The F Word and Take Me Home Tonight, and having a sense of humanity and heart along with some pretty gut-splitting comedy, Goon is easily one of my favourite Canadian films. I really do think this is the best comedy revolving around hockey since the original Slap Shot. It's pretty straight forward when looking back on it and some of the jokes are very one-note, but the story is cared for and the end product is great. I highly recommend Goon.

Get Out
Get Out (2017)
7 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

There are very few films each year that leave a lasting impact on its audience, but I can definitely see Get Out being one of the films remembered by the average moviegoing audience in 2017. When it comes to horror/thrillers I have been known to be turned off by most. I enjoy filmmaking in general as much as the next person, but the genre doesn't really do all that much for me, unless it's fantastic. To my surprise, this film is fantastic in many more ways than one. Shocking, disturbing, cringe-worthy (in a good way), and just downright smart, here is why I believe the audiences who only casually go to the cinemas will be calling Get Out one of their favourite films of the year.

Racism has been a thing since the beginning of time. Nowadays, most of the world has accepted people as people and the division has vanished. That being said, there are still cases where stories like this can be extremely relevant. Now, take segregation and crank it up to a million. Then, and only then will you have Get Out. Following Chris as his girlfriend Rose takes him to meet her family for the first time, it begins as more of a romantic comedy. The tension starts when you see that he is a man of colour and she is not. Her entire family is Caucasian and clearly has something against his race. Using his race as slaves around their house, their behaviour seems off from the start. Seeming to be one big set-up for him, things begin to get uncomfortable at a rapid rate. If giving this film a perfect score meant it having an excessive amount of tension, then Get Out receives an A+ in my book.

Made famous by his show Key & Peele, Jordan Peele writes and directs this film as his first effort out of the gate. If this film is any indication of his continuing talent, then this man has an even brighter future ahead of him than he already has now. Everything about the direction in this film is picture-perfect. From delivering a light tone with some very dark comedy throughout some very tense moments, to having the actors/actresses cry as they keep a straight face, there are so many elements that were probably extremely difficult to pull off here. I found myself in awe at how well this film was put together. For such a low budget and such a large box office return as of now, it just goes to show that people will see an original film after all.

Although Daniel Kaluuya's portrayal of Chris is award-worthy in my humble opinion and the rest of the cast surrounding him gives it their all, making for an absolutely moving picture, my favourite actor in the film was easily LilRey Howrey. Portraying the best friend of Chris and the much needed comedic relief, his moments brought a sense of relief in an otherwise tension-filled film. From tears to death, this film isn't afraid to go all out, so it was very nice to see that a comedian (Peele) could bring a sense of humanity to his script in a film that is not supposed to be taken too seriously. There are many laughs to be had, many jumps, and a few great twists, but the best portion of this film is the fact that it's not afraid to balance it all with a bit of levity.

In the end, Get Out is the type of film that escalates so much by the time that it reaches the third act, making it impossible to not stir up a conversation between its viewers. For all viewers who can accept a bit of an overblown finale, this film will definitely make people talk. For that reason alone, along with the fact that it's cleverly written, well-acted, and very well-directed, Get Out will be able to impress horror fans, fans of tension, fans of a great story, and fans who just love to see a film stay consistently great and surprising throughout. The screening I attended has people applauding at certain moments and I can't see audiences dying down anytime soon. This film is making bank and there is a good reason for that. From beginning to end, Get Out is incredibly impressive. There are a few unexplained things that I wish had a bit more detail, but in the scheme of things, it's just a speeding ticket. I love Get Out and it's one of the best of this young year so far.

Before I Fall
Before I Fall (2017)
11 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Films based on novelizations have been around since almost the beginning of cinema. Before I Fall is the latest story to follow suit. Getting a pretty wide release, this film hasn't been getting the box office return that I believe it was hoping for. I enjoy films, period. I will (for the most part) see any film that comes out in theatres. The trailer for this film looked off-putting, almost as if it was ripping off of other films and playing it too close to the chest in terms of keeping it very modern for younger audiences. Sadly, Before I Fall is exactly that, but becomes a much deeper story by the third act. Here is why I believe this is one of the rare films to continuously get better as it goes along.

Zoey Deutch has been growing on me quite a bit through the years and I can truly see her being a much bigger star in the near future. This role was absolutely perfect for her range. This film takes us through a day in the life of Sam (Deutch), from her about to lose her virginity, to having to deal with bullying friends, to just flat out having a terrible day overall, ending in a car crash. Waking up in her bed again as if that day had never happened, she is forced to live the same day over and over again, until she discovers how it may be fixable. Her arc throughout this film may be pretty crazy, but the finale is worth the wait, trust me. I didn't like this film throughout most of the first act.

Setting up the main premise does take some time here, and while this film does feel like a teenage version of Groundhog Day, there is a little more to it than that. Learning mistakes every time she wakes up, her mission becomes focussing on the ones around her, rather than herself. The first act is a generic party film for everyone between the ages of fourteen and eighteen, the second act is for indie lovers like myself, and the finale is for a much more mature audience. The third act is well worth the 100 minute run time, solely due to the fact that it gives the rest of the film a much larger meaning. I promise, even if you don't find this film enjoyable in any way, you will at least appreciate the effort in the finale.

When it comes to bittersweet films such as this, it's imperative that it takes the time to explore a much lighter tone when deep aspects are not present. Before I Fall does a very good job in balancing these two ideologies. Finding myself compelling between the transformation of her character and how she slowly begins to make the right choices with the right people and leave her wrong choices aside was terrific. That being said, there are many instances of generic "Y.A." moments, like the use of the abbreviations "BRB" or "BAE." These things took me out of the film at times, because the overall meaning of this story was feeling betrayed and felt behind. A few aspects clashed with one another in this regard, but it was always able to get back up on its feet.

In the end, Before I Fall has a very talent leading actress who clearly cares about this character and portraying her in the right way. It's not only a film about self-discovery, but also about the way we should look at others around us. This message seems to be for the teenage demographic on the surface, but the way the third act plays out makes it feel much more mature. With a film like this, I was expecting an ending that would completely compromise the core story, trying to go for something a little too abstract, but happily, just the right amount of deep is explored. Before I Fall is competently written (say for a few specific lines), well-directed, and the performances are very believable. It's definitely not for everyone, but I believe most audiences will be able to appreciate the finale, so I think that's saying something. For all of these reasons and more, Before I Fall is a decent little flick with a powerful ending.