KBridgham1979's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Die Hard
Die Hard (1988)
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

It's the 1980s. The era of the blockbusters. Big budget fantasies and adventures like the Star Wars, Superman, and Terminator series either began or continued in that decade and they dominated the box office. The heroes of these films were larger than life, sometimes invincible, and often from another planet or time. Then along comes John McClane, a tough-talking New York cop who isn't looking to save the world or defeat an evil empire. All the guy wants to do is patch things up with his estranged wife. When the bad guys show up, does he go charging heroically in with no regard for his own safety? Hardly. The whole film all the guy is really looking to do is get the hell out of the building and call the police. Sure he pulls off a few death-defying stunts, gets out of impossible situations with preposterous luck, and endures disabling injuries to emerge victorious; at least the man gets injured. The bullets don't bounce off of him, nor do the bullet holes heal themselves. John McClane bleeds. A lot. In short, "Die Hard" must have been a welcome change of pace, a bit subversive even, considering the action/adventure company it kept in that decade.
Without any super powers, space ships, or futuristic weaponry, the movie still manages to prove itself enjoyable from the first frame to the last. The action is both brutal and suspenseful, the macho dialogue fun, and the characters every bit as likable or hateable as the filmmakers intended them to be.
Additionally, with its witty banter, blood-soaked violence, and everyman hero, "Die Hard" seems to even predict the bloodier, grittier, lower-budget trends that directors like Quentin Tarrantino and Robert Rodriguez would exemplify in the next decade.
As fresh as the movie might have seemed in 1988, that doesn't mean that it still doesn't rely on some boring conventions. This is most noticeable in the characters not named John McClane. Most of the cold but calculating villains have German accents, surprise surprise; the police and feds are clueless buffoons too focused on bureaucracy and protocol to do anything but cause more problems; and the TV reporter is a soulless weasel. Not exactly creative stuff there, but the screenwriters weren't going for "Citizen Kane." They were writing an escapist popcorn flick complete with time-tested, stock characters.
While the multiple scenes featuring walkie talkie communicated dialogue between McClane and arch-villain Hans Gruber are the most enjoyable moments of the film overall, if one scene has to be picked for memorability it has to be Gruber's plummet down Nakatomi tower. Shot from the point of view of McClane, the camera capture Gruber's descent from the top floor to the ground and it looks frighteningly real. So real that one might even feel a little sympathy the murderous and duplicitous Gruber. In the era of blue screens and CGI the modern moviegoer is desensitized to most visual effects but this scene, now more than 20 years old, remains stunning.

The Birth of a Nation
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Of course, considering its subject matter and notorious racism, the only thing to admire about this film is its pioneering technique and so this is what I tried to pay attention to the most. An impossible task, but I did my best. There are moments where Griffith's innovations are obvious. For example, when the camera moves with a character, rather than sits still while the action goes on around it. There is also the cutting from interior rooms to exteriors and from one scene to another and back as a means of explaining what is happening simultaneously in the story. These are of course today simple techniques that the modern viewer takes for granted and does not even notice. But storytelling through film was brand new in Griffith's day and thus he invented much of what is today the commonly accepted visual language of the medium. For that alone, "The Birth of a Nation" will and should always be revered. That doesn't mean I have to enjoy the movie.

It's a shame that such innovation had to accompany a disgraceful story laced with despicable stereotypes and misrepresentations of history. What more can be said about the abomination that is the plot of this story than to present the facts. The founders of the Ku Klux Klan are the heroes of this tale while all of the black people of the film are presented as ungrateful, slovenly, lascivious, traitorous, and stupid. It is of course shocking to watch but in a way essential as well. For it's importance is not only in Griffith's technical breakthroughs but in its candid representation of the generally condoned bigotry that still pervaded all levels of American society in the early 20th Century.

The scene that continually haunts my mind follows the arrival of carpetbaggers in the South and their promotion of suffrage for blacks. Black men are elected to key government posts and, in the context of the film anyway, run amok. The viewer is treated to astonishing scenes of African American congressmen munching away on fried chicken, sitting with their bare feet up on their desks, and sneaking liquor. Every moment represents preposterously racist propaganda at its most hateful.

The Usual Suspects
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

What can be said that hasn't been said before except that I DID figure out the twist long before the end and yet I still enjoyed this movie thoroughly. Everything one could want in a movie really. Plenty to think about, marvelous technique and craft, eyeloads of style, and constant entertainment value. My friends who always told me "This is your kind of movie" were correct.

The Invention of Lying
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

A cute romantic comedy with a humorous concept. Satisfactory acting performances, especially from lead Gervais. Some of the comedy feels forced, but plenty of parts elicited genuine laughs, or at least several chuckles. Nothing extraordinary here, but a decent choice if you're looking for something sweet, mostly light-hearted, and a little quirky.

Oh, and, is it just me, or is Jennifer Garner not attractive at all?

Zookeeper (2011)
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

This movie will not entertain children or adults. Kevin James is funny where he can be and some of the animal characters are suitably cute and goofy, when they're on screen. The story spends way too much time trying to follow the human relationships which are too poorly written to move adults and too dull and unfunny to keep a child's attention. Rosario Dawson is hot as always, but not hot enough to redeem this one. Avoid this one.