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Rating History

To the Bone
To the Bone (2017)
1 day ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Films that are based around events that happen throughout our every day life can be very hard to watch at times. I'm not going to sugar coat this film and say that it's a masterpiece and you should watch it before anything else, because I know that there are some people that probably can't quite make it through the reality of the film. To the Bone depicts certain aspects of life with honesty and I found myself reminded of the rest of the world on multiple occasions. Yes, this is a terrific film that Netflix has acquired, and quite frankly one of the best films I've seen in all of 2017, but I can't recommend it unless you know what you're getting yourself into. Here is why To the Bone needs to be seen, but why that recommendation needs a warning accompanying it.

From the second this film starts, to the second it ends, To the Bone is a relentless fact spewer. Following a young lady in Ellen (Lily Collins) as she is struggling immensely with anorexia, she is sent to a home that takes care of patients like her. Some have already had progress and some may even be worse than her. Trying to recover while having to make friends and watch them suffer with her, this is a very realistic tale to watch unfold on-screen. Plain and simple, films don't get much more realistic than this. When a tragic element is needed in order to motivate a character, this film goes for it and it can be quite the challenge to sit through at times. There isn't a moment of beating around the bush, because this film gets itself straight to the point without hesitation.

Although there are side characters with their own issues, Ellen is definitely at the forefront of this premise and her interaction with everyone was easily the highlight of the film for me. The way she used others to either motivate herself or put herself down felt incredibly realistic and Lily Collins' performance was far better and much more true-to-life than I was expecting it to be. She truly was phenomenal throughout this film. Although the character of Luke (Alex Sharp) bugged me at first, his offbeat relationship with Ellen that slowly blossoms throughout the film was what gave the much needed depth to his character. If I had to gripe about something, it would have to be the constant reminder that our main character is sick.

At a very solid length of 107 minutes, To the Bone is a movie that doesn't need to keep reminding you of what the core story is about, but for some reason it does. I understand this concept may be hard for some to take in, but constantly showing the audience that Ellen doesn't want to eat and constantly wants to exercise could've been trimmed down a bit in order to provide a little more backstory into why she became this way, but that was really the only issue I had with the film upon reflection. Yes, there is a sense of repetition, but I found that Lily Collins distracted me from that most of the time, due to her stellar performance.

In the end, this film proves at Netflix knows how to pick a good property to showcase. From start to finish, To the Bone is a very captivating film about the harshness of anorexia. It's not afraid to give you the facts and also not afraid to visually show you how bad it can become. It's hard to say that you love a film like this, so I will refrain and simply state that this is one of the most effective films I've seen in quite some time. Well-written in terms of being realistic, well-directed in knowing when to showcase certain events, and well-acted across the board, To the Bone is well worth watching, but just know that it's very straight up with its audience. If you're in the mood for a drama that takes itself 100% seriously (even though there are aspects of comedy), then I highly recommend checking this one out.

The Big Sick
The Big Sick (2017)
3 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Films like The Big Sick are very rare occasions. When the trailer for this film was released, displaying it as a hilarious comedy from start to finish (with a hint of drama throughout), I was sold. That being said, this film is as much a drama as it is a comedy. Independent films like this need to be discovered more often, because not enough of them are released to a mainstream audience. Sure, many people will be turned off by an off-beat indie feature, but there is also the odd one that audiences gush over. I truly feel that The Big Sick will be one of those unanimously adored films as 2017 comes to a close. I found myself cracking up, tearing up, and becoming emotionally invested from beginning to end. This is why The Big Sick deserves your attention.

Most romantic comedies have their share of unbelievability when it comes to their romance factors. To be quite honest, a film like this wouldn't have worked over 30 years ago, because times are just much more accepting nowadays. This is a film that is quite the eye-opener in many ways. Loosely based on true events, Kumail is a man from Pakistan, who falls in lover with an American girl, not telling his family (because they have arranged marriages in their culture) so that he may live the life he believes he deserves. Forming a strong, yet awkward bond, these two face a very difficult challenge as she realizes he has been lying to his family about her. The film takes quite a turn when she realizes she has issues and is forced into a coma. This film then becomes Kumail's story of self-discovery and I loved every second of it. Not only is this a very funny movie when it wants to be, but it's also one of the most important movies you'll probably see all year.

In terms of being accessible to all viewers, this film takes a very unconventional approach to the Rom-Com genre. From being incredibly racist throughout a few portions, the movie is so well-mannered that you can forgive its jabs. Also, when it takes the turn into hardcore drama, that's also when a lot of the jokes come into play. There is a very nice balance between the sad and the funny here, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The Big Sick may not be the greatest Rom-Com of all time, but it wouldn't be much of a stretch to say it's one of the best in recent memory, due to the sole reason that it does everything in its power to revitalize the genre. There are so many unexpected turns this film takes and the payoffs in the final act are all earned and tear-worthy.

Ot was very clear that Judd Apatow has some sort of hand in this production, even though it was very clearly from the minds that experienced these events. Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon scripted this film, and director Michael Showalter brought much life to their wonderful tale. Apatow films have a very specific feel to them, being that they juggle drama and comedy very well, which is exactly what The Big Sick was Abe to accomplish. This also brings me to my biggest, and really only complaint about this movie. While the movie does try to become awkward at times in terms of what you should or shouldn't laugh at, it broke the streak of believability for me on many instances. There were a few conversations spread throughout this film that truly didn't feel authentic, but you may not see that the same way that I did.

In the end, I'm sure there were liberties taken in order to make this true story work on-screen, but the end result is a near-perfect piece of Rom-Com filmmaking. Most films of this genre don't have the guts to take risks like the ones that The Big Sick chooses to, which is why I think I loved it more than I expected I would. There are some forced sequences of prolonged dialogue that may turn a few viewers off and it probably could've been about 10 minutes shorter, but these are all very minor complaints. This is an extremely well-made film that I can easily recommend to almost everyone. Some jokes may offend certain viewers, but they feel natural enough to be forgiven. The Big Sick does everything a film in this genre should do, and the some. I love this movie.

War for the Planet of the Apes
5 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

In a world of cinema where it's incredibly rare for a sequel to live up to its predecessor, it's very hard to believe that a franchise will continually improve. Planet of the Apes has had its ups and downs in the past, but if this recent reboot has taught us anything, it's that Hollywood reboots can be more than worth making. War for the Planet of the Apes closes this trilogy of films in a big, yet tender way, which I feel may divide certain audiences. These films have truly morphed into something completely different than what was presented in 2011's Rise of the Planet of the Apes, but in order to show progression and to deliver on emotion, I truly think they did the best they could've possibly done here. I don't want to overhype this film for you, but War for the Planet of the Apes is my personal favourite of this trilogy and for what it sets out to accomplish, it's a near masterpiece. If you've found any enjoyment throughout the first two films, here is why this film demands your attention as soon as possible.

Without giving away any spoilers, audiences have been wondering if there's going to be any sort of tie-in to the original franchise, tying this trilogy up in a nice bow. All I'm going to say is that fans will be pleased with the decisions that are made throughout the duration of this instalment. Picking up many years after the conclusion of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Caesar's story has become something much deeper, becoming an ape who is willing to do absolutely everything in his power to protect his kind and his family. Coming across soldiers who are are solely around in order to wipe out the rest of the apes, War for the Planet of the Apes really is just a search for these soldiers. Once again, without giving too much away, it also becomes a story of revenge, as well as a story of survival and escape. What pulled me into the film more than the previous two instalments though, was the ambitiously present sense of drama.

The human cast changes throughout each film, due to the fact that it needs to progress the ape storyline first and foremost. These movies have always been about the apes and has always made you want to root for them. That being said, the first two films had a human character for Caesar to latch onto, grounding the film in reality (for the most part), but Caesar has become a completely different ape and there aren't very many friendly humans remaining. This makes it very difficult for truces to be made and also opens the door for an endless amount of drama. There are quite a few moments that had me in tears, whether it was due to a death or simply due to the fact they are humanizing these apes so much, to the point that I felt I was watching a three-decade-long arc unfold in front of my eyes, involving talking apes.

These films have always had a dramatic side to them, but this is definitely most deep. The trailer for this film make you think you are in for a war feature between apes and humans, and while you may get that throughout the last 10-20 minutes, the title is much more metaphorical than you might've expected. War for the Planet of the Apes is a drama, plain and simple. It's a character study, as well as a sweeping adventure. This is easily the slowest film in the trilogy, but the final moments of this film would not have felt earned if the movie was a flat-out action movie. This slow tone fit just right and when levity was needed, the movie wasn't afraid to toss in a gag or two. If you're expecting an action film, I suggest not seeing it, or changing the way you see the movie going in. This film is a very heavy piece of drama to take in.

There are very few trilogies that get better as each film comes out, but I truly think we have another Lord of the Rings on our hands here. No, the epic-ness and grand scale of the films like that isn't present, but when was the last time that you watched three Hollywood productions that continuously got better than the last? (and have all been great) It's been a very long time. War for the Planet of the Apes truly is a masterpiece. Yes, I can see people being annoyed with a few new character additions, but they didn't really get on my nerves. In fact, one of the new characters actually felt like a breath of fresh air in the midst of such devastation. From terrific motion capture performances, to progressing very well into the classic films, to silence becoming more emotional than any line of dialogue, this film is a true revelation in my eyes. I can't believe how much I loved this film. This is a fantastic trilogy with a perfect and beautiful conclusion. Looking back on it, this film is so well made that I can't get myself to complain about it. For fans of the franchise, I can't recommend this movie enough.

Dawn Of The Planet Of The Apes
9 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Films in a franchise always have the desire to be on par or better than its predecessor(s), but there are the rare cases where a franchise seamlessly progresses its storyline, getting progressively better in terms of storytelling and build-up. This new iteration of the Planet of the Apes lore has done that in spades. Being very reminiscent of how The Lord of the Rings films were, each instalment seems to be getting better. 2014 was a great year for blockbusters, and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was one of the best Hollywood productions that year. Improving on almost every aspect that had already given this trilogy a great start in Rise of the Planet of the Apes, this sequel was not one to miss out on. Although very subdued, this is an epic film in every sense of the word. I still love this film just as much today as I did back then. Here is why you should revisit this film or why it deserves your attention if you have not yet seen it.

Picking up many years after the conclusion of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, this film follows Caesar once again, as he has lead his apes into the forest, where they've now created a home/civilization for themselves. Now accompanied by children and having sparked relationships over the years, it seems as though these apes have made a life for themselves, but the humans were not too far away. Just on the other side of the bridge lurks an army of humans who are just trying to survive after the takeover of the virus. Becoming a back and forth of trust between these new human characters and the apes, this film is all about its emotional core. Taking itself very slowly in order to build to a grand finale, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes may just be the best film this franchise has ever seen, even including the original classic.

While the first film was a drama, it definitely played out as an action/thriller as well, and being a mere 105 minutes didn't hurt for its pacing either. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes may lose some viewers in either its pacing or its run time. At a lengthy 130 minutes in comparison to the first, this instalment does feel like a much heftier film. On top of that, it places the drama in the forefront, leaving the action as a secondary element, which made me love the film even more. Even though this was a personal plus side for me, I can easily see how that would bore some viewers. The screenplay was terrific for this film, calling back just enough from the previous film in order to earn the stamp of sequel. This is the type of sequel that you can jump right into and enjoy from star to finish, as they give enough explanation as to what has happened in the past so that this could be the first film in the franchise.

When Rise of the Planet of the Apes was released, people definitely showed some praise for the motion capture work of the apes, but this instalment improved on that in almost every conceivable way. There were many noticeable moments in the first, but the apes throughout Dawn of the Planet of the Apes seem to be flawlessly integrated into the scenery. Critics and audiences have called recent films like The Jungle Book the most impressive look to computer generated animals, but I still believe this franchise may hold that title. The motion capture work here is terrific and Andy Serkis' performance as the leading ape (Caesar) is really something noteworthy.

A Film is only as good as its screenplay, and when you're the second film in a rebooted franchise, there is a very tall order in terms of what can work as a fresh storyline. When films like this have been around for as long as they have, sometimes a simple story of trust is all you need in order to build some great characters throughout a two hour film. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes still stands as one of the greatest Planet of the Apes movies out there. I love every minute of this film. There may be a few scenes that drag on a little too long, but I truly can't think about much else to complain about. This is a superbly crafted blockbuster from start to finish. Can't wait for the conclusion in War for the Planet of the Apes.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
9 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Planet of the Apes is a franchise that has been around for a very long time. From a fantastic original back in 1968, to spawning sequels ranging from good to downright unwatchable, to a terrible remake back in 2001, this franchise has been all over the spectrum in terms of watchability. At the time of release in 2011, I really don't believe many people were clamouring for yet another reboot of this concept. Then it was announced to be a prequel series, which worried me even more, as it seemed the studio was desperate for a new concept. That being said, this is one of the best prequels I've ever seen and the series only got better from here. Here is why Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a great idea back then and why it serves as an incredible idea still to this day.

From the mere idea of this film, it was a risky gamble. For a franchise that started many years ago and failed so recently, it was a large wonder as to why they were deciding to bring this franchise back into the spotlight. Sitting in the theatre almost six years ago, this film opened my eyes in ways that I wasn't expecting. Dealing simultaneously with human issues in cancer and survival, while dealing equally with the torture that caused these apes to go crazy on the human race, there was a real sense of purpose for this film to exist. Getting to see how exactly these apes will be able to speak and learn in the future was a very well done aspect of this first film, also adding some great tension along the way. Easily the best aspect about this film was the relationship between Caesar (performed by Andy Serkis) and his adoptive guardian Will (played by James Franco).

James Franco was a strange casting at first, because it didn't seem like the type of franchise that he would comfortably fit into, but I was completely wrong with that judgement. His adoption of Caesar, morphing into a relationship of a loveable pet, only to devolve into a hatred, this endearing relationship just goes to show how much love can truly mean nothing unless you fight for what you believe in. This is the core story of the film for sure, but I truly think this film wouldn't have worked as well without this genuine human connection with these apes. Although fictional, this film goes a very good job in making this a believable premise. There truly aren't any big flaws with this film, but it's almost too straight forward to have the right amount of depth.

In the grand scheme of things, this is a film that could've easily become convoluted in trying to connect every one of its storylines in order to stay in line with the original classic, but it happily stays on its own as a standalone beginning to a new trilogy of films. This truly is the story of how Caesar will evolve and eventually lead the apes to take over the planet. While there are side plots occurring throughout the majority of this picture, that's the core story through and through. Nothing else is needed here in my opinion, because it really just wanted to be a fresh starting point for a new, epic trilogy of films. This could also be seen as a negative, as the film doesn't take many risks in exploring anything more, but I felt that was a gutsy positive in the end. On a mere $93,000,000.00 budget, they played it safe, and while it wasn't a box office smash, its fanbase has been growing ever since (myself included), due to the quality of filmmaking put into it.

In the end, you can pretty much call the beats of this film and there are a few throwback moments for the classic fans, but Rise of the Planet of the Apes is still as fresh as ever, and serves as an even better film after watching the 2014 sequel and the upcoming conclusion. War for the Planet of the Apes hasn't quite released yet, but this is shaping up to be one of the best trilogies in recent memory. Most trilogies have weak spots, but these just keep getting better. From it's slow burn throughout the first act in order to exploit the treacherous human side, to the very well paced second act to set-up the eventual climactic battle, to the climax itself that satisfies in more ways than one, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is the exact representation of a franchise that has made itself accessible to all audiences. There is a romance aspect, a social commentary aspect, a heavily drawn dramatic aspect, and a very well spread out action-centric finale. It may be a little too basic of a film to call a masterpiece, but each time I view this movie, I find new things to love about it. Popcorn entertainment doesn't get much better than this.