Don't Tase Me Bro's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Django Unchained
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

I love the Western genre of film and still think it deserves more attention in Hollywood. I do not, however, think Tarantino should have anything to do with it. Or Gaspar Noe. Or Eli Roth. Or Tom Sixx.

If those trio of names do not seem fair to even be uttered in the same paragraph as the High Priest of Cool that Tarantino is, please hear me out before you excoriate me here.

First off, unless you've been living in a cave you have seen the trailers for this film, and have known the synopsis months in advance, so I won't bother regurgitating the storyline here.

What is worth consideration is the commentary on taste that Tarantino's films engenders and my feeling that Tarantino has lost his edge.

There is more blood than the floating human chum in Spielberg's JAWS, more copious uses than the tidal wave in Kubrick's THE SHINING, and I have no idea why. Rivers of it. As wide as the Mississippi Delta...and as bloodsoaked as Macbeth's hellish nightmares.

I miss the Tarantino of his earlier days, when audiences were actually spared the image of watching Michael Madsen's Mr. Pink slice off a cop's ear while dancing to Steelers Wheelers.

I miss his use of 'implied violence' and think that his gratuitous use of bloodshed is disturbing and exploitative.

I've tolerated his bloodlust throughout most of his cinematic corpus, because there has been so much else on offer to enjoy...his sense of humour, his characterisations, the mise en scene.

But with DJANGO, I have finally had enough.

If the overt use of the N-word (over 140 uses of it) doesn't desensitise viewers, the bloodshed is ridiculous.

Has every victim in DJANGO turned into a bloated tick that explodes buckets of gore and blood with the slightest puncture?

Did hollow-point bullets exist in the Old West?

What the hell is Tarantino doing?

And more disturbingly, -- just to give you an idea of 'where' we're going as a culture -- I'm stunned to see so many well-respected film reviewers in print media fawn all over Tarantino's efforts here as though blood for blood's sake is attributable to the maxim "Art for Art's sake."

This is what passes for art?

For entertainment?

Well, I guess there's no accounting for the cultural and moral shifts in taste...lest we forget Caligula once ran Rome and was just as bloodthirsty in his efforts to entertain his people.

I never wanted to be the guy to declare that the Emperor Has No Clothes, but Tarantino's overt bloodshed in DJANGO is stomach-churning and appears to be employed in his latest work for the sake of shock.

Just like an Eli Roth film.

Or a Tom Sixx HUMAN CENTIPEDE sequel.

I'm actually very disappointed with Tarantino because there are true moments where DJANGO shines, Christoph Waltz is fantastic here, genuine funny moments in the film (the pre-KKK posse scene is as funny as anything Mel Brooks gave us in BLAZING SADDLES)--but the brutality of the Mandingo fighting scene--(reportedly heavily cut because earlier test audiences were too disgusted by it)--and the ridiculous and graphic use of gore in the last act of the film was enough bloodshed for me.

You might say I've gone all soft and can't stomach it.

Maybe it's because Weinstein was so eager to get the film released for Oscar consideration, despite the tragedy at Sandy Hook two weeks before the film was released--(curious that Weinstein didn't delay the release, isn't it?)--that I just wasn't up for it as a holiday film.

The sad thing is, remove the overt uses of bloodshed and you've got a damn fine Tarantino film to marvel at.

Maybe we'll get to see how good DJANGO really is if a brave Network exec at ABC, NBC, CBS, or FOX decides to air it with the violence edited out.

Perhaps, but I wouldn't hold my breathe waiting for that to happen.

The Dark Knight Rises
4 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

It's so hard to say goodbye to a franchise so well loved (and defended). For the midnight preview screening, I had the fortunate experience of seeing all three films in a single marathon sitting. This greatly helped to remind me of the context of the first film (especially in the final film) and sharpened my attention on the character arcs of several, integral characters in Nolan's trilogy.

Gotham appears to be healthy and mostly crime-free in the wake of the late Harvey Dent's legacy. In the interim, Bruce Wayne has withdrawn as a mourning, reclusive eccentric billionaire absent from the city he loved and fought so hard to protect. But underneath (literally) the facade of metropolitan tranquility, treachery lurks and grows.

The treachery is embodied in a hulking mass of muscle known only as Bane, whose malevolence and rhetoric apparently is inspiring enough to earn followers. (It's never clear why anyone would cosy up to antagonists with such unredeeming character qualities, but if Charles Manson could do it, why not in the movies? Don't worry; just go with it.)

Vocally, there is an 'otherness' about Hardy's Bane. At times, you sense, lurking beneath the Vader-esque breathing apparatus, that he's flashing a sardonic smile. It's menacing. It's unsettling. In contrast, we enjoy the benefit of the duality of Bale's Batman/Bruce Wayne who is interchangeable from the cowl and cape to his immaculate Armani suits.

But we never see Bane. Shakespeare was wrong to tell us "There is no art to find the mind's construction in the face" and this is demonstrably true where Ledger's Joker is concerned, but with Hardy's Bane, we are left to imagine the level of malevolence. Where your imagination chooses to take you is entirely up to you, but I submit where you may end up with Bane can be ultimately darker, and more terrifying than any other villain in Nolan's Batman franchise. That appears to be what Nolan intended all along.

If Nolan has a weakness, it has (on occasion) been with his female leads. From Scarlett Johansson to Katie Holmes, and arguably one or two in between, Nolan's films have not always been strengthened with his female protagonists, so there was plausible cause to worry with the news of Anne Hathaway's casting as Selena Kyle, but any concern over her casting is quickly put to bed with her nuanced, moxie-infused portrayal. She is sexy, menacing, calculating, opportunistic, delivering an all-around solid performance in a sea of great actors at the top of their game.

Morgan Freeman's Lucious Fox and Gary Oldman's Commissioner Gordon offer more of their preceding excellence in the franchise. But special consideration should be given to Michael Caine's touching, sincere, paternal, Lear-like Alfred Pennyworth come awards season. His cumulative performances across all three films deserve statuette acclimation, especially at the Oscars. The mark of Caine has been one of the best things in Nolan's Batman franchise and few actors spring to mind with Caine's capability and range.

Where THE DARK KNIGHT sparkled into brilliance with the mental head game colloquies between Bale and the late Ledger, THE DARK KNIGHT RISES tests the limits of Batman's mind over seemingly impossible physical matter. The title hints at what must and (ultimately) is done, and the endeavour is painstakingly charted by Bale's 'broken' Batman in tandem with the decline of Gotham under Bane's reign. This raises the stakes very satisfyingly towards a conclusion with its own twists and turns that is reminiscent of THE RETURN OF THE KING's long, long, goodbye.

That 'long goodbye' is actually the most unsettling thing because everything is sacrificed to for it. Nolan recently remarked that he "never thought we'd do a third -- are there any great sequels? But I kept wondering about the end of Bruce's journey..." His commitment to 'end' his franchise on his terms in his own way superimposes what feels like forced closure to the central plot with everything building towards that end. If you loved Nolan's Batman, and the Gotham universe he created, it was sad to see him so hell-bent to take it away from us.

Bob Kane created the Batman over 70 years ago and in that time the character has endured innumerable permutations, and reimaginings. Nolan didn't have to walk away from the Batman. And while he deserves to be free to pursue other projects and try his hand at other things (though his ability to influence the tone and tenor of a spate of superhero films that have dutifully followed his verisimilitude style has created a sub-genre the way the Jason Bourne films influenced the Bond franchise that remains the preferred standard audiences have widely embraced) surely his supporting work in the upcoming Superman reboot could easily be appropriated with another director readily eager to embrace his vision and adopt his style.

The projected billion dollars the third film is expected to make suggests some studio mediation that may (though seemingly implausible at this point) produce another film. Heck, we ended up with another PIRATES film sans the trilogy's original director and most of the supporting cast. And lest we forget a fourth TRANSFORMERS film will soon be foisted (unwanted) onto us as evidence that studio money really is persuasive in Hollywood. So never say never.

But Nolan is an artist. And great artists can't be bought.

*Spoiler-alert:

How did you see the ending? Nolan presents Alfred Pennyworth's encounter in the Italian cafe the way he always imagined it, with Bruce happy and in love (this time, unbelievably with Selena Kyle). It is shown literally, except a couple clues can offer an alternative interpretation: Bruce Wayne (and if I'm wrong, I may need to study that scene a lot more closely to be certain in this) doesn't acknowledge Alfred. Why? If he's supposedly playing dead (again), but is willing to sit publicly without a disguise, why no acknowledgment of Alfred? Because it plays out precisely the way Alfred earlier explained to Bruce? Perhaps. Caine's performance in this scene is comforting, soothing. But it could be nothing more than his imagination again. A comforting daydream to soothe his broken heart after weeping so bitterly at his graveside. So Batman may really and truly be dead after all. This is why I love Nolan's work -- he leaves it so open to interpretation.

Real Steel
Real Steel (2011)
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

If you've got kids, take 'em. They'll probably like it. Mine sure did. But that would be because they hadn't seen this film before, with a down-on-his-luck has-been, estranged from his son who's lost his mother, who both in turn truck across the USA bonding with each other through a mutually beneficial father-and-son testosterone-inducing sport. And then you know how it ends.

Wait.

You have seen this film before. Just replace the arm-wrestling with robots and you've got 1987's OVER THE TOP, starring Stallone.

Here's the trailer to compare it:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gB5iDUnx0iY

In fact the film so closely mirrors OVER THE TOP, I'm surprised I haven't heard about any litigation proceedings by now from producers of the 1987 'original'.

Still, the formula holds up and delivers some genuine scenes worthy of a rental. But originality is thoroughly dead in this film.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Harry: I thought you knew what you had signed up for?!
Ron: Yeah, I thought so too.

HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: Part 1 is the third [if we count the bifurcating of HALLOWS, technically soon-to-be fourth] film in the series to be directed by David Yates. If you've read the books, there will be no reason to be confused with the darkening of the films as events unfold toward an inevitable endgame between the still-bepectacled Potter and the serpentine Voldemort.

Yates, as ever, applies a deft and dark touch to the film and gives us a rather slowed down story for DH1. This is the most character-driven piece in the entire series thus far and for those who still care about the relationship between the three main, young wizards in a world where TWILIGHT films luxuriate in the relationships of the adolescent leads, there is much to go by.

Perhaps a little too much.

While faithful to the source material, Daniel Radcliffe's Potter, Rupert Grint's Ron Weasley, and Emma Watson's Hermione Granger spend a little too much time camping and moping aimlessly about in Northern England/Southern Scotland. If that doesn't bother the fans who, after six films still can't get enough of the trio coming to terms with the magical dangers they face and their feelings for one another, then so be it.

(A brief note about the acting chops of the kids: Radcliffe, tows the line; Grint is getting better and better; Watson, beautiful of course, seems to phone in her performance in this one from the last several films with the added difference of having more screen time in DH1).

There are a few clever and innovative additions to the film, Rhys Ifans's Xenophilius Lovegood is a welcome addition, as well as Peter Mullan's sinister Yaxley. The animated mini feature of The Deathly Hallows aesthetically breaks up the monotony of the film.

My main complaints derive from the virtual cameos (at least as they affect DH1) of Richard Griffiths and Fiona Shaws' Dursleys. Blink, and you'll miss them in the opening minutes. Additionally, there are a few too many warped Voldemort dream sequences peppered throughout the film.

Still, the film sets things up nicely for DH2, and on that front, I strongly suggest not missing this one.