KJ Proulx's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Pacific Rim Uprising
4 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The first Pacific Rim was a very divisive film. Sure, it had its fair share of fans, but critics and fans either had a blast with it or it just wasn't for them. For myself, I was on the former end of that argument. I really enjoyed watching the spectacle of the first movie. Even though it was flawed, it was all about caring of the characters and whether or not they lived or died. Some people found it to be hollow, but there are counter-arguments to make about that as well. That being said, there aren't many arguments that can save this sequel from being disliked. Pacific Rim: Uprising is the perfect example of a film that desperately relies on the spectacle and characters of its predecessor in order to impress. For all these aspects and more, here's why I think fans of the first and newcomers might as well stay away from this sequel.

Pacific Rim: Uprising follows Jake Pentecost as he is thrust into the war he never thought he would join. Being the son of his fallen father who helped save the planet in the first film, that was the one connection that made this film lazy in my opinion. From the visual style to the one-dimensional characters, to the nearly non-existent chemistry between everyone, I found this film to be lackluster from start to finish. Audiences come to see these movies for the spectacle of monsters fighting robots, but when the majority of that fighting takes place in the final 30 minutes and you've bored your audience by that point, then there isn't much hope for an enjoyable experience.

I'm usually the person who talks as highly as I possibly can about a movie, looking for positives where most people find negatives, but I'm finding it very difficult to defend this one. Without ruining it for those who wish to see it, there are returning characters from the first film who are completely wasted here and their character arcs are ridiculous and frankly too stupid to agree with. The entire time someone from the previous film was on-screen, I found myself wishing I was back in the theatre when the first film came out. Everyone from the new characters to the old characters was poorly executed here and I was more than disappointed by that.

Yes, the final act does have some cool fight sequences, but I'm more just commending the filmmakers on a few cool action scenes rather than saying that I actually enjoyed them while watching. Yes, the effects are great, but I was bored by the time they showcased them. On top of that, the stakes are silly, due to how the Kaiju's make their return to Earth. Honestly, I found myself either wondering how much time was left or hoping for an exciting twist that would grab my attention, but none of that is present throughout this film.

In the end, Pacific Rim: Uprising is everything that I didn't want from a sequel. Being the first feature film that Steven S. DeKnight has directed (having only worked on television beforehand), I went in with a little apprehension, to begin with, but his work on television or smaller films may suit him better. This movie is just about as generic as you can get. I would like to say that this film would make a good example of how visual effects look on a home television experience for a rental, but I still think the better recommendation for that would be the first film. Overall, I've seen far worse movies out there, but Pacific Rim: Uprising isn't anything worth talking about.

Blockers
Blockers (2018)
5 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

About ten years ago, there wasn't a single argument that would sway me into believing that John Cena would work as a leading man in a comedy because even then he was average at best in some generic action films. Well, putting together the fact that I was seriously wrong about that and the fact that Blockers is actually one of the better comedies I've seen in quite some time, I was pleasantly surprised during my viewing of this movie. Don't get me wrong here; this is a movie with jokes and storylines that you've definitely seen many times in the past, but there's something special about this particular cast and the way this particular film is told that had me rolling on the floor on multiple occasions. If you're looking for a good comedy or quite frankly a solid little film in general, here's why Blockers earns a recommendation in my book.

It's prom night and every teenager in the city is wondering how to plan or behave on their special night. Blockers picks up as these events are slowly heating up and follows three friends in Julie, Sam, and Kayla. They make an agreement to all have sex on prom night and their parents happen to see their entire conversation. Hell-bent on stopping this from happening, these parents begin to hunt them down, following their every move and antics begin to ensue. From family issues to personal fears with certain characters, there's more on the surface than just partying on prom night. There was heart put into certain aspects of this script and it definitely shows throughout the final act.

John Cena, Leslie Mann, and Ike Barinholtz are all very well-cast as these over-protective parents and surprisingly I would put the asterisk on Barinholtz. I've seen him appear in comedies before, but he stole the show here in my eyes. Always being the voice of reason to the other parents, while also being the child on multiple occasions, this made for some very fun sequences involving these three. Cena and Mann are both funny here as well, but I feel like audiences have come to expect that from them by now.

As far as negatives go, I have to admit that John Cena needs to stick to comedy, because his dramatic heart-to-heart moments with his daughter felt awkward, due to the fact that he's not really accustomed to anything outside of action or comedy. Every actor/actress plays off him well and brings out his strengths, but I sadly believe he will always be best suited as the stereotypical strong guy in action films or comedies. Sure, it's definitely possible that he improves over time, but I believe comedy is his sweet spot and that shouldn't change.

In terms of the comedy itself, Blockers is the type of film that plans out its jokes and brings some of them full circle, which is what makes many great comedies classics. No, I'm not saying Blockers will become a classic because I can almost guarantee that it won't, but it has quite a few laughs in its arsenal that had me laughing pretty hard. I feel as though many other viewers will have the same impact, which is why I'm talking so highly about this film and not mentioning many negatives.

In the end, Blockers suffers from being a movie with a familiar premise and not enough memorable lines to be quoted by audiences, but it has enough in-the-moment gags and emotional depth to make you care about everything and everyone when you're watching it. This film had the potential of being one of the worst comedies out there, but it's surprisingly one of the better ones I've seen in a while. For all these reasons and more, I think this movie is one that works for both teenagers and adults. Check out Blockers if you have the chance.

Rampage
Rampage (2018)
8 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Movies like Rampage hit the big screen many times each year, but they never stand out from the rest, because they're meant to appeal to the lowest of demographics. Kids between the ages of 10 and 16 fall in love with movies like this and then ask themselves why about 10 years later. That being said, Rampage has a little extra flair this time around, due to the star power in Dwayne Johnson. He has become the man to open movies as of late and honestly one of the few remaining big movie stars. Audiences seem to love everything he does, even if they love him for the fact that you're not supposed to take him very seriously. Rampage is exactly the movie that you expect it to be when watching the trailers, but here's why you may get a little more out of it in terms of entertainment.

Based on the popular arcade game that was made famous decades ago, Rampage follows the military, animal trainers, and scientists as they track down and prevent catastrophe after an experiment goes wrong and multiplies the size and anger of a few animals. Yes, the premise is as silly as it sounds when talking about it, so you definitely have to go in ready for a corny ride from beginning to end. With that said, when certain characters say silly lines of dialogue, everything is still taken fairly seriously, so if you can sit back and have a good time with a dumb popcorn flick, then this may be the movie for you.

Dwayne Johnson will continue to be the big star that he is for years to come because his on-screen charm doesn't seem to be going anywhere, at least anytime soon. I would recommend going to see this film for his interaction with everyone, yes, but his relationship with the main genetically-enhanced animal in George is great. This relationship is what will make or break the movie for you because the driving force of the story lies with these two characters. The final act of the movie is all about the culmination of where they started together at the beginning of the film, so if their chemistry doesn't work for you, then you may want to leave the theatre before it really dives in.

This is where I'll dive into my negatives with this film, even though there really aren't many to discuss. The main issues are that the story itself is very familiar and the jokes have been told throughout countless blockbusters throughout the past. This is just about as safe as you can possibly make a movie like this, so I walked out not really complaining but wishing it provided much more than it did. The action is fun and the effects are surprisingly detailed and realistic, but the spectacle is really all this film has to offer for its audience.

In the end, there isn't another way of saying it other than stating that this film is exactly what you are expecting it to be. Animals are mutated and destroy the city. You care about one of them and hope that Dwayne Johnson's character in Davis can work with him to stop everything from getting worse and I'll leave the rest up to your imagination. The conclusion you're probably coming up with is most likely what happens here. Yes, the charisma of Johnson is great, the secondary characters are likable enough, and I can really see this movie appealing to young teenagers, so it does receive a mild recommendation from me, but if you're looking for something innovative in terms of Hollywood blockbusters, then I would suggest looking elsewhere. If you're in for a dumb, but fun ride, then I think you'll appreciate it for what it is like I did.

The Greatest Showman
9 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

I've never been over-the-moon about musicals per-say, but any musical that has catchy songs will always have a special place in my heart. If a movie can make me smile through its music, regardless of the quality of the story at hand, then it's definitely doing something right. The Greatest Showman is one of the most recent musicals to hit the big screen and while I don't consider this one a masterpiece by any means, I can definitely see why so many people have hyped up the soundtrack. This is the pinnacle example of a film that works very well, solely due to the fact that it has fantastic musical numbers throughout its entire duration. If you haven't seen this film yet and you're not a fan of the musical style, then I would warn you to stay away, but if you're the opposite of that, then you may have found a new favorite to sing along to.

The Greatest Showman follows P.T. Barnum (Hugh Jackman) as his family suffers from him not being able to hold a job. Promising his wife a magnificent life at a young age, he hasn't given up on that yet. He decides to buy a museum that he would eventually turn into a musical circus, filled with people of all shapes, sizes, colors, and attitudes. This sparks a huge interest in the town and his rise to fame is quite rapid. Yes, I know the story is altered to suit a film because the actual P.T. Barnum wasn't such a nice person, but it works as a movie and that's all that matters when watching. Having said all that, this particular story has been told to death already, so if you're going in for something fresh, I wouldn't bother, unless you're able to ignore that aspect as I surely did.

This is a film that you go to for the spectacle of the shows and visual storytelling (albeit brief) because the music is so well-written and catchy you honestly forget about the core story completely. Yes, that's a man to cover up something mediocre, but I would be lying if I didn't call this film remarkable in terms of choreography and music. I've only seen this film once, so I wasn't singing along with any of the music, but when the cues occur, I must admit that I had a few goosebumps appearing.

As far as the performances go, everyone here was hired for their stardom. They can both sing and act very well. From Hugh Jackman to Michelle Williams, to the very likable chemistry between Zac Efron and Zendaya, I was grinning from ear to ear whenever any of them were singing on-screen together. Even though the story is basic, it put a huge smile on my face through the ways it let the music tell the story. Even though mediocre at its core, I had an absolute blast watching The Greatest Showman.

In the end, this movie won't be remembered as one of the greatest musicals of all time, or even the last ten years, but this is a soundtrack that music lovers will be playing for many years to come, and that alone is a tough feat to accomplish. No, I didn't care all that much about the outcome of the story, but the music itself made me care enough to put a smile on my face, and there is a lot of music, so I was distracted into liking this movie enough to warrant a decent recommendation. Please take this recommendation with a massive grain of salt, though, because if you're not into musicals, this movie will probably have the exact opposite effect for you.

A Quiet Place
A Quiet Place (2018)
14 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

To say that the horror genre has been on a high note over the past couple of years would be an understatement. From genre-bending movies like Get Out to turning the terrible Annabelle film around and making a solid sequel, filmmakers have really been able to share their talents throughout this genre. For that reason, A Quiet Place was easily one of my most anticipated films of the years, also due to its fantastic trailers though. Upon leaving the theatre, I had to ponder the fact that I think it may be one of my favorite horror films ever. Yes, that's a bold statement, but everything about this film feels fresh and I was on the edge of my seat from start to finish. If you're a fan of the horror genre or just like a solid piece of entertainment, then here's why I would highly recommend A Quiet Place.

John Krasinski broke out as a fan favorite on the small screen in The Office, but ever since, he's resorted to romantic comedies. I thoroughly enjoyed his performance in the film 13 Hours and I was hoping for that to be a wake-up call for him and dive into some serious roles. Happily, that's exactly what has happened. Written and directed by Krasinski, A Quiet Place follows a family who must not make a sound, or they will otherwise likely be killed by creatures that have infested the Earth. The concept of this film alone is one reason to like it, but it's the intricate details that really make this film shine from start to finish.

From the notion of loving your family to the point of planning out their future in the safest way possible, to the element of surprise, there are many thought-provoking aspects to A Quiet Place. Many of the surprising elements that make this movie work as a whole would be considered spoilers, so I will just leave it at that. What I will say is that there are many things presented throughout the film that builds up to a very intense moment, and the way it all came together, frankly had me in tears. When a movie can emotionally move me simply by being well-constructed, then it's an instant winner in my eyes.

The way the filmmakers use sound to move this story along is genius and there are reasons as to why this family makes certain decisions. Everything means something even when you think it may just be a throwaway moment or sequence. At a mere 90 minutes, every second is devoted to either building characters, building tension, or describing certain story points that may have been confusing to certain viewers. As much as I'm praising this film (and I do think this is a nearly perfect movie in every way), no film is perfect.

I found myself scratching my head about a few decisions made by certain characters, as well as the fact that something is present later on in the movie that should be making far more trouble for this family than the way they chose to present it in this movie. With these gripes aside, I must admit that the performances here easily cover up any minor issues I had, due to the fact that I was sucked into every second any of them were on-screen.

In the end, A Quiet Place is a home run for the genre, for Krasinski's career, and for everyone involved. This is definitely a piece of cinema that I will be recommending and talking about for quite some time. From each quiet moment that builds tension, to each exciting moment that had me on the edge of my seat, to the fact that I was brought to tears by the way this film was cut together and how much thought was put into it through the screenplay, I walked out of this movie replaying it over and over again in my head. I loved A Quiet Place and it's going to be difficult for me to find a film this year that will surpass my experience of this particular one. If you couldn't tell from this review, please do yourself a favor and check this one out.