CriscoOne's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Paranormal Activity 2
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Paranormal Activity 2 was walking a very fine line with its release strategy. The success of the first film demanded a sequel and it seemed like Oren Peli decided to take the dangerous route of the Saw franchise and release its sequel within a year of the original. On top of that, the plot decided that instead of moving forward it would take a step back and explain the story from before the first one, which immediately causes it to lose some suspense. With those two factors, it seemed like an impossible task for Paranormal Activity 2 to be a success.

The film opens by introducing Katie's sister's family as they move into their new home in San Diego, even re-introducing Katie to the story and pointing out that she lives close by. The story then jumps to about a year later, 60 days before the death of Micah, Katies' boyfriend. When the family thinks that break ins are occurring, they add security cameras to their home and watch several strange disturbances unfold. While the disturbances seem small at first, they increasingly grow stronger and more violent and seem to be targeted at their one year child, Hunter.

I must say that the film did a decent job creating suspense in what I thought would be an unsuspenseful prequel. I was wondering how the film would work itself out without Katie getting too freaked out over what happened to her sister's family, but Williams and Peli did a pretty good job making a clean transition between the two stories.

Additionally, I was wondering how IMAX would create a better experience for the film and I forgot that IMAX is not only about increased picture quality, but also the sound. I saw the first film at home, which kind of makes it scarier, but I think some of the ominous sound of the demon's presence gets removed because of that. IMAX, however, added to that and created an overall sense of dread, mimicing what it might feel like to just feel evil surrounding you.

Outside of the sound, I thought this film resorted to cheaper thrills than the first. Watching the first one sent chills down my spine watching shadows and objects move, while this one resorted to more jolting forms of fright. While they were mildly effective, some of them were just downright laughable. I did like the fact that there was access to more cameras for this film than the first, but I didn't like the security camera look of it and preferred more of the narrow view of the hand held camera to create suspense.

After I watched the first one, I did have trouble sleeping, because the demon for the most part was left unexplained, and I am going to admit that I was kind of creeped out by it. This film I thought answered too many questions, and because of that didn't seem as scary and didn't linger with me like the first one. Overall, it was a decent film and it did overcome some of the obstacles it created for itself in the hasty production and being a prequel, but I thought that it could have been a lot better if they had just taken some more time with it. I am sure there will be a Paranormal Activity 3 and I hope it moves more forward in the story than this one did or changes its focus because even though this didn't live up to the success of the first, it was still one of the more effective forms of horror that is out there.

Buried (2010)
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

What a film. I am telling as many people as I can about this one because it is gripping from start to finish. Some people that I have told about it are like, " you're telling me that this entire film takes place inside a coffin?" To which I respond, "Yup." They stare at me for a minute, turn their heads like an inquisitive dog before asking something along the lines of, "There are no flashbacks? Or scenes outside of the coffin?" I respond in the negative and all of them except maybe one, who probably was thinking about dinner or something when I was talking said, "Hmmm....I don't know about that." Let me tell you....give this movie a is spectacular.

Buried is about a civilian contracted truck driver in Iraq named Paul Conroy (Ryan Reynolds giving the performance of a lifetime) who wakes up buried alive in a coffin with only a cell phone with weak reception, a pen, and a lighter. He receives a call from a terrorist who informs him that he has an hour and a half to get $5 million to them or he will be left to die. He races against time and lack of oxygen to put the pieces together about how he ended up there and acquire the money.

Rodrigo Cortes, who has mainly directed Spanish short films and one feature length, does a superb job keeping the audience intrigued with what could have been a very boring venture. Of course the film starts out slow as he figures out his surroundings, but Cortes does some interesting work with the camera and lighting to project the sense of claustrophobia and suffocation that sets the stage for future scenes.

The film hinged not only on pacing, but in Ryan Reynolds' performance. Back when this film was rumored to come out there was a lot of skepticism that he could hold the attention of the audience and carry a dramatic leading role, but he does it beyond a doubt. I fully expected coming into this film that it would be thrilling, but I did not expect the range of emotion that Reynolds portrays to make this film complete. The urgency in his voice, or even just the pace of his breathing, control every scene.

Cortes creates some incredibly intense scenes, one in particular involving an unwanted creature in the coffin, but he even uses the vibrating phone as an instigator of urgency within the film. It is films like this that give hope to independent filmmakers everywhere because he does so much with so little.

Like I said earlier, Buried, receives one of my highest recommendations for this year, if not the highest so far. After seeing The Social Network and Inception I was sure that it would not get much better than that for 2010, but this one gives them some hefty competition and I hope both Cortes and Reynolds are rewarded for the outstanding job that they did.

The Social Network
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

I did an article at the beginning of September about the five films that I was anticipating the most this fall. The Social Network was not on there. When I was asked why I didn't have it on there, I said that it looked like a quick way to make money off of the facebook craze. I couldn't have been more wrong. Instead, what I saw last night was a thoughtful look at a complex person and the tragic side of the meteoric rise of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook.

David Fincher has another incredible directorial success with The Social Network, keeping the audience entertained through what could have been just two hours of drawn out dialogue by ensuring that the appropriate amount of humor and wit maintained a perfect pace. Obviously, without a strong script from Aaron Sorkin this film would have fallen apart and probably wouldn't have attracted Fincher's interest; and Sorkin's script really was fantastic.

In my opinion, this was Eisenberg's best role yet. He usually plays a mumbling and understated loser who is too weak to stand up for himself, and while there are elements of that in this role, he adds a biting tongue and a pompous air that he hadn't had before. What made his performance amazing was his ability to create minor ways to make the viewer feel sorry for him when he realizes he has done something bad, but can't figure out the appropriate way to make up for it and gets confused at why people can't understand his misguided attempts at apology.

I thought Justin Timberlake might be a hindrance on the film, but he didn't overdo his role and he played the part Sean Parker really well. Armie Hammer, who played both Winkelvoss twins (sort of) stole some scenes as well. Josh Pence played Tyler Winkelvoss, but Hammer's face was superimposed over his in post-production, which was really incredible because if I hadn't known, I wouldn't have notice at all. Andrew Garfield also did a decent job playing Zuckerberg's "just-happy- to-be-involved-but-am-very-naive" best friend.

While this was definitely a great film, one of the best of the year, I have trouble seeing it winning a Best Picture award, but it will certainly be nominated at least. I predict that it will win an award for Best Adapated Screenplay for Aaron Sorkin, and while Fincher will probably at least receive a directorial nomination, he will most likely have to wait again to be recognized by the Academy as one of the greatest directorial minds in the business today. I just hope that when he wins, it is for a film that truly encompasses his genius and that it is not just a bone the Academy throws him, like they did with Martin Scorcese.

Let Me In
Let Me In (2010)
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Let me first start off by saying that I have regrettably not seen the original Swedish version, Let the Right One In, that this film is based on. I have heard great things about it, but haven?t been able to see it yet. When I saw that this version was coming out, I was cautious because it seemed like a quick turnaround for a remake, but from what I have heard this film follows very closely to the original.

This film exceeded my expectations, since there have been so many terrible remakes in the recent past. After so many cheesy vampire shows and movies that overdo the sex appeal and mortality of vampires, this one focuses on the truly disturbing details and implications of vampires, and does not disappoint those who have the patience to sit through a slower vampire movie.

The cinematography is very interesting, choosing to leave many details out of focus and therefore up to the imagination of the viewer. Also, an interesting aspect was that Owen?s mother was not clearly seen throughout the entire film, which symbolized how she was almost absent in his life, except when she called him for dinner, which is when she was shown the most clearly.

Moretz and Smit-McPhee carried the movie on their very capable young shoulders with superb performances by both. Moretz has played some very different roles for a child her age, and may need therapy when she grows up, but shows some tremendous promise in almost every film she is in. The characters progressed in such a way that it was easy to see how Owen makes the decisions he does, which is very crucial in making this film believable. Richard Jenkins played a great character as well (as always), being able to let his neurotic tendencies show through.

The pace of the film may be a draw back for some, but I thought it was just right. Matt Reeves, the director and writer, spaced out moments of sharp intensity with just the right amount of character development and story. Those looking for an in-your-face gore fest with prolonged action scenes will not find it here. But for those willing to wait 15 minutes for very satisfying moments of disturbing pay off, this is a film for you.

This is one of the darkest films I have seen in a while and I thought it was very well done and well directed by Matt Reeves. Unfortunately, it failed to succeed in the box office, which means that films like this will be less and less likely to be made. It is so depressing that terrible movies are, more often than not, rewarded monetarily for being enamel shells of cinematic nothing.

The Town
The Town (2010)
7 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Ben Affleck's sophomore directorial release is just about flawless. While it is not necessarily an original concept, it combines elements of The Departed and Heat in a taut manner while having fully-fleshed out characters that perfectly add to the tension within the story. Who would have thought that the Ben Affleck from Gigli would direct such a thoughtful piece of cinema?

The Town opens on a bank robbery in Boston, which appears to be conducted by Skeletor clones who are in fact Doug MacRay (Ben Affleck), his best friend Jimmy (Jeremy Renner) and the rest of their heist crew. Due to a minor setback Jimmy takes the bank manager, Claire (Rebecca Hall), hostage and after they are clear set her free. Claire is immediately questioned by FBI Agent Adam Frawley (Jon Hamm) and Doug follows her to make sure that she does not give anything significant away to the FBI. While he is following her he falls in love, threatening his own and his crew's safety. While he tries to salvage his love and get out of town he finds that the city has more of a grip on his life than he thought.

Affleck continues his directorial success after Gone Baby Gone and, in my opinion, improves on it. He not only tells a compelling story with complex characters like he did with Gone, but this time adds exciting action and bank heists, which he also helped script as well. He is able to build tension not only through shootouts and bank heists, but between the characters as well, fully fleshing out almost every key character introduced (minus Jon Hamm who looked uncomfortable in FBI attire). Jeremy Renner has another spectacular performance as the mentally unbalanced and hot-headed Jimmy and Affleck does a decent job in front of the camera as well.

While the action sequences weren't as intense as Heat they were still palpable and engaging. Especially the final shootout and a car chase scene that seemed dedicated to every soccer mom with road rage. The pacing was spot on, moving seamlessly in between drama fueled discussions, detailed planning, and then heist execution, which kept the audience engaged for the full two hours.

I look forward to more of Affleck's work as a director since I prefer him behind the camera than in front of it. He seems to have redefined himself successfully, managing to pull himself away from the tabloids and blockbuster films and create a more serious image that deserves recognition for his excellent work.