KJ Proulx's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

When We First Met
4 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Netflix has been known to pick up independent comedies fairly often, and while I'm not opposed to a good quirky comedy, none of them have really stood out on their streaming service. That being said, When We First Met has been released unto the world recently, and it's probably one of the better ones in the genre, as far as their original content goes. When going into this movie having only seen a brief trailer that they released, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I surprisingly got a comedy that's a nice mixture of elements from movies like Back to the Future and Groundhog Day. No, there's no reality in which I would compare When We First Met to classics like that, but take the plot of those films and apply it to a romantic comedy and that's pretty much what you get. This is about as average as you can possibly get in terms of originality, but hey, I had fun with this movie.

Following Noah (Adam Devine) as he meets the girl that he's destined to be with on Halloween back in 2014, this is a doomed romance that will only result in friendship for him. After being given the opportunity to travel back in time and alter reality as many times as he likes, he works very hard to make her his wife. This may not exactly work out for him, but the different scenarios that blossom from each of his decisions are funny to watch and the conclusion of the film does send a nice message. By the time this film had reached its climax, I was sold, even if it was just average throughout its entire duration. I think my mind was changed due to the fact that I enjoyed this cast so much.

When it comes to quirky comedies, your film's pretty much doomed if your cast isn't completely present with their performances. To add to that statement, I was never a huge fan of Adam Devine when he first came into the spotlight a while ago. With his performances in the television show Workaholics to his appearances in the Pitch Perfect films, I found myself quite annoyed by his overacting. That being said, I have grown to enjoy him in movies nowadays and When We First Met is just another addition to his filmography that continues to win me over. He, along with Alexandra Daddario, Shelley Hennig, and Robbie Amell, all add quite a bit of fun through their performances, even though none of them were all that noteworthy.

This is a film that surprised me in terms of comedy because I found myself laughing throughout the majority of this movie. Mind you, most of the jokes were juvenile, but for every joke that didn't work, I was latching onto the development of each of these characters. As I said, there's nothing to love about this film as a whole, but I'd be shocked if this cast didn't at least win you over during the dull or repetitive aspects to this movie.

In the end, this is just a solid cast, in an average movie, elevated by funny dialogue and nice character progression. When We First Met is a neat premise, but it's been done many times in the past, so originality is already out the window upon first viewing. Netflix still hasn't hit their stride with feature films, but I'd say that this film's definitely moving them in the proper direction. When We First Met won't ever win a single award, nor does it deserve to, but the messages and the overall outcome is worth watching, at least for some viewers. If you have nothing better to do, there are far worse movies to watch.

Wonder
Wonder (2017)
4 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Sappy films aren't everyone's cup of tea, but when a film embraces its sappiness and turns it into something emotionally resonant, then I truly believe that they can be some of the best films out there. While Wonder may have looked a little overdone throughout its marketing campaign, making it out to be a film about a kid being bullied for looking different from everyone else, that's honestly just scratching the surface of what the message of this film really is. There is always a feel-good movie that I attach myself to every year, and I believe Wonder is probably the film from 2017 that did it for me. No, it's not going to win awards for originality, but quite honestly, if there was an award for moving your audience to tears, then Wonder would earn top honors. This movie deserves to be seen by everyone of all ages and here's why.

Following Auggie Pullman, a young fifth grader who was born under unlikely circumstances, leaving him to deal with looking different than everyone else around him, this is a story about the courage to ignore the bad and embrace the good. I was expecting this film to be strictly about the character of Auggie, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that this film divides itself into sections that explore each of the characters that surround him and their reasoning for either being nice or mean to our protagonist. I found the construction of this film to be one of the most commendable aspects because the end result only benefited from this.

Ever since I first watched him perform in Room, Jacob Tremblay continues to prove that he's either ten years older than he looks, or that he's just a gifted actor that won't let a single movie prevent him from being stellar. This young actor has an incredibly bright future ahead of him. Whether it was narration that dived into his psyche or simply his natural interaction with his friends and family, I truly saw this character as a real person, instead of a generic young actor in a movie. Owen Wilson and Julia Roberts give solid performances as well, along with Noah Jupe and Izabela Vidovic being very solid in their supporting roles. Where this film may turn some viewers off (which I think will be a very slim few) is in its eye-rolling emotional core.

Look, you can't go into a film like Wonder and expect something with raw human emotion like a film that has family in and out of prison because this is for families. If you're looking for the most realistic film in terms of realism, then I would suggest looking elsewhere, but if you're up for a great family movie that will make you cry every few minutes and make you want to hug the closest person around you, then Wonder is just about as perfect as they come. This is easily the feel-good movie of 2017 that deserved every dollar it received at the box office.

In the end, Wonder explores a story that feels familiar, but not exactly ever told in this way before. We've seen thousands of stories revolving around bullying and looking different, but we see it from multiple perspectives here and watching all of these characters transform around the expense of the character of Auggie was such a delight. For people who want to sit down and watch a movie that will make them feel amazing, I can't recommend watching Wonder enough. Everything about this film is well-done. From its writing that does a good enough job in exploring multiple characters to the direction that focuses on emotion first, to musical cues that will have you in tears, to the very notion that our world can be a better place if people were kinder, Wonder has it all. Aside from feeling sappy at times, I absolutely loved this movie from start to finish.

12 Strong
12 Strong (2018)
9 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Everyone knows that once the Twin Towers were attacked on September 11, 2001, soldiers went into battle and wars have been occurring ever since. That part is well-known by everyone around the world. These wars will soon be talked about in history classes if they aren't already, so it goes without question that films will be made about certain aspects of the war, due to the significant impact that it has left and continues to leave. The story that 12 Strong presents is something that has been classified until recently, so it should be quite the surprise to many. There are many aspects about this film that follow the standard war film formula, but as long as it's supported by a solid cast, great sequences, and solid direction, the premise itself should be enough to carry its audience, and I believe it does just that. Now playing in theatres, here's why I think 12 Strong deserves a watch, even if not immediately.

Following the first twelve men that stood up to make the first attacks after the collapse of the Twin Towers back in 2001, this movie explores the true story of courage and ambition that these men displayed for the world. As a film, it does feel slightly formulaic, due to the fact that it pretty much takes you from one location to another in a fairly simple way, but I can also see this being exactly what went down in reality, so I was able to forgive that flawed aspect pretty quickly. This is a film about intensity and the characters surrounding that intensity and for that, it succeeds with flying colors.

From Chris Hemsworth to Michael Pena, Michael Shannon to a fair newcomer in Trevante Rhodes (whom I loved in 2016's Moonlight), this is a stacked film. I always appreciate when a movie delivers crazy amounts of action, while also finding the time to slow down and give each character their moments to shine. No, the character development here isn't anything to write home about, but I have to admit that I was wrapped up in each of their stories. Simple moments of characters sitting by a fire and reminiscing gets to me if it's done well, and 12 Strong accomplishes these feats quite well.

This movie definitely isn't for the faint of heart in terms of gore or being turned off by too much action, because when this movie wishes to display its reign of terror on the people who have some sort of involvement in the terrorist attacks, 12 Strong does it in a very visceral manner. From showing executions to showing towns being bombed, I found this movie to be a fresh dose of reality to people who seem to forget about the horrors that go on around the world on a daily basis. As I said, there's nothing spectacular about this movie, but I think it's a little more important than people are making it out to be.

Although director Michael Bay hit a high point in his career with the film 13 Hours (at least in my opinion), I feel that 12 Strong is a film that shows real promise for director Nicolai Fuglsig. This is his first mainstream outing, and I have to call it as I see it and say that I believe this man knows how to portray action on-screen and I can't wait to see the progression of his career as a filmmaker. In terms of action, I would recommend keeping an eye on this name for the future. Overall, 12 Strong is a solid and important war flick when it comes to the core story and I believe everyone should check it out at some point, but I could also recommend quite a few better movies in the same genre. Impressive filmmaking, but just good as a whole.

Phantom Thread
10 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Let me just start by stating that I'm not the biggest fan of director Paul Thomas Anderson. I'm well aware that I have a very unpopular opinion among film fans about that. From his earlier films like Boogie Nights or Punch-Drunk Love to newer films like Inherent Vice or The Master, I've appreciated his films for what they are and even though they were at least solid watches. That being said, upon my viewing of his latest outing in Phantom Thread, I found myself incredibly baffled by how much I was loving it. Yes, of Anderson's entire filmography, I think Phantom Thread may just be my absolute favorite that he's made. From its calm direction and slow-paced emotional core, here are all the reasons I believe that every mature film viewer needs to witness this movie.

Following Reynolds Woodcock, an older dressmaker who is as arrogant and simple-minded as they come, he happens to come across Alma, the perfect woman in every way for him. Being the perfect body type to model his dresses while also finding her very attractive, the two of them for a very strange romance that ultimately leads to deception and heartache for the both of them. The premise itself seems like something that a much older audience will appreciate, but I found myself sucked into this story and honestly on the edge of my seat at times. Yes, there are quite a few tension-filled moments throughout this movie and the surprises in it are some of the most memorable that I've witnessed in quite some time.

Where I feared this film would lose my attention, like many of Anderson's previous works did, was in its pacing. I find his sense of storytelling to be very dull and even though his filmmaking techniques are extremely commendable, to say the least, they just haven't stuck with me over the years. This time around, the film relies on your connection of these two characters to hold your interest, which was precisely the reason I fell in love with it. Watching a man make dresses and fall in love with someone at least 30 years younger than him doesn't seem like a masterpiece on the surface, but I can assure you that this movie builds up to a very unconventional love that will catch most viewers off guard.

Not only does Anderson do a great job at directing this film, but his screenplay is also worth mentioning, due to the incredible detail that seems to be written throughout it. Whether or not a character is talking, there's always something going on. Whether it's through a look that a character shares with another or whether someone simply touches a piece of clothing, it almost seemed as though everything about this movie was telling a story, even when nothing was happening, and that's a very rare thing to accomplish. Although these are two very different films, I got vibes that dated back to my first viewing of the film Drive. In the way that it used a little less dialogue and more visual storytelling. Don't get me wrong, there's still plenty of dialogue here, but this is a film that doesn't need dialogue to get its point across.

In the end, Phantom Thread is a movie that deserves every bit of praise and awards buzz that it's receiving, which is a lot coming from me. The slow pace didn't bother me, because the characters were so interesting and the third act almost becomes a quite romantic thriller, due to the situations that begin to present themselves. This film develops very quickly from one thing to another and it kept me wanting more. For these reasons and more, I can't bring myself to complain about anything here. If you're a hardcore fan of cinema like I am, I can see you loving this film.

The Cloverfield Paradox
12 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The fact that Cloverfield even became a loose franchise boggles my mind. Back in 2008 when the original film was released, I saw it as a cool alien invasion flick with secrets that it wanted to keep hidden. After rumors that a sequel would eventually arrive, I don't believe 10 Cloverfield Lane is what they were expecting. That being said, 10 Cloverfield Lane was a superior film in terms of tension, as well as the loose connection it made to the original movie. Now, without any real promotion, The Cloverfield Paradox has arrived on Netflix. Being the third instalment in this loose franchise, taking us to space is yet another thing that I don't think anyone expected before reading the synopsis. Nevertheless, a new sequel has arrived, and the biting questions everyone seems to be asking are whether or not it has a closer connection to the first and whether or not it's a good film. So, let's dive in and see if either of those things are true.

The rest of this review isn't going to spoil anything about the movie, but since there hasn't been any real promotion, some people may consider the slightest plot detail to be a spoiler, so you've been warned.

Aside from a few references throughout the first act of the film, this movie stands on its own as its own movie, just like 10 Cloverfield Lane did. That being said, there are some pretty obvious connections it makes as the movies go along, but I won't discuss those any further in this review. The Cloverfield Paradox follows a crew of scientists across space as they try to solve an entry crisis on Earth. Making a few mistakes during this process, they're sent to an alternate dimension and discover that strange things have begun to happen. That's the basic premise, and hearing that alone would've excited me enough to buy a ticket to this in theatres, but I can also see why it went straight to Netflix.

Although 10 Cloverfield Lane was a very low-budget movie, pretty much taking place in just a couple rooms, this is very much in the same vein, but with a few solid special effects added in. The feel of this movie definitely feels smaller scale than even the original, which was made to feel cheap and realistic, so this is why I found Netflix to be the proper release. Setting that aside, I was pretty impressed by the performances here and the surprises that this film delivers are worth the wait.

This film isn't going to win any awards, and quite frankly isn't nearly as good as the previous two instalments, but from comedic moments to genuinely questionable scenarios that constantly presented themselves, to vague references to what's happening on Earth, to interesting characters being thrown into the mix halfway through the runtime, I found myself enjoying this movie, for the most part. It wasn't too long and kept up a nice pace, even though the plot points felt very, very familiar.

Many people will be frustrated that it's not a direct sequel to either of the previous films, and while I'm okay with it not being that way, I also found myself puzzled as to why the story felt so distant, and yet they found reasons to pull aspects of the original into it. On top of that, aspects of pretty much every single movie that ever took place on a space shuttle are present here and you can see a lot of twists coming from a mile away.

In the end, this works as a solid movie to watch on Netflix, but it does nothing new for this franchise and instead of expanding things, I found this third instalment to be one that chose to close a few doors that I was hoping to eventually explore further at some point in the future. The story is pretty generic, the direction is good enough, the performances are solid, and the tie-ins are cool, but ultimately predictable. The Cloverfield Paradox will be a nice watch for fans of the first film, but it's pretty average when looking at it as a film in its own right.