jamasianman's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Black Swan
Black Swan (2010)
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Relentless and sublime. A truly enigmatic and masterful thriller, with themes of repression and duality.

You have to be dense not to see the usage of mirror images. From the play itself with two pairs of white/black dressed characters, to the character Lily, to the shots of dark figures opposite in mirrors and in hallucinations. This is obviously the main theme of the film, exploring another side of who we are.

Also present is the theme of being repressed. To the scene with the supposed (?) lesbian sex scene and the fact that her room is for a 12 year old when she is 28. Teenage rebellion happens late for protagonist Nina Sayers, as she slowly grows away from the dependence of her mother. At the beginning they seem close, but by the end Nina wants her privacy and wants to move out.

The acting from Natalie Portman is fantastic. Forgot who she was at times, as I thought she was just the timid and frigid Nina. Barbara Hershey never overdoes it, but plays a controlled domineering mother. The cake scene even reveals more beneath the surface with the relationship with her daughter. Interestingly so, the father is never mentioned.

This is the closest thing you'll get to a horror movie, without it being an actual horror film. The wonders the director could do if tried that genre. Lots of disturbing imagery and symbolism, with wings and feathers relating the Black Swan and the transformation to that side of a person's personality.

As for the climax, gave me goosebumps. They had to use Swan Lake obviously, because that is the ballet they were doing. Watching this once will barely scratch (hehe) the surface. A masterful end that is sad yet beautiful.

The King's Speech
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Captivating and magnificent. Those are the words I use to describe this film. It's brilliantly crafted and well written.

For me, the film hits a deeper note. I can sympathize with the Duke of York, as I had a fear if public speaking. Everyone has to do it sometime in their life, and some are better at it than others.

By taking such an epic scope of the film and narrowing it down to the perspective of one man, it makes the film more manageable when it comes to audience participation. We are seeing a Royal family struggle, but from the underdog.

As for the acting, masterful. Colin Firth is at his A game right now, giving King George VI the stammer and a little lisp when he improves. We feel his tumultuous affairs and the weight on his shoulders. Geoffrey Rush plays the everyman, a mentor to the main character with his own goals and motivations.

Also excellent are Helena Bonham Carter, in a movie not directed by Tim Burton. She plays a mix of supportive and homeliness that is not too sappy. And Guy Pearce, he was so good I thought he was British actor Toby Stephens the entire movie, until the ending credits told me otherwise.

The film is well written. The only complaint is the transition between large periods of time, it simply cuts to a new location with a title and new year. They could have done this a bitter better since the movie says it takes place over many years, but it doesn't seem like it.

As for the pacing itself, amazing. Never a dull scene and the dialogue is exemplary. The character development is through the roof, giving humanness to a person of the past I've never even considered reading about in my spare time. It paints a nice portrait of a held back dysfunctional family in disarray over important matters.

The cinematography lends a hand into how it all plays out. There are few locations, but the camera floats in front of King George for some scenes, making it a sort of build up to the next scene. They also play around with angles a lot, giving variety to the scenes with sitting and conversation.

There is a very harmonious usage of Symphony No. 7 in A major, Op. 92, II. Allegretto by Beethoven with the climax. King George must address the nation (therefore the title) and it is used as he speaks. I've seen this done a few times before (Tarsem Singh's The Fall, Knowing) and this tops them both.

A simple story about a man overcoming his childhood stigmas and personal demons in order to fulfill a greater destiny in himself and his country. A fantastic film on all counts.

127 Hours
127 Hours (2010)
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Almost everyone is familiar with the story of Aron Ralston. He was a rock climber that fell and got his arm crushed under a boulder. After being trapped and succumbing to lack of food, shelter, and water, he cut his own arm off in order to survive.

Director and co-writer Danny Boyle fleshes out the newspaper articles and 15 minutes of fame into a character. His back story is not very glamourous, as he is just a tad selfish and takes life for granted. With a few eye-rolling set ups (forgot to call mom, left gatorade in car, didn't bring good knife) the adventure sets off early.

From then on the inciting incident occurs and the story takes place. The horrific 127 hours endured by trying to chip away at the boulder, his hallucinations, and basically a deconstruction of his life. With flashback nods and some hallucinogenic fits, they explore his mindset and we are able to sympathize with him on a deeper level. He sees his impossible task and the consequence. He'll never get to see his family again.

Then the climax comes. If you've not heard of it before, Aron cuts off his arm after exhausting all his other futile methods. This grueling little exercise does not keep it psychological, it gets in your face and is very brutal with realistic detail.

As the ending credits roll, Aron Ralston has a new outlook on life and values it more, seeing his survival and experience as a lesson. He has transformed physically, but emotionally as well.

Kill Bill: Volume 1
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The ultimate homage to Asian cinema by Quentin Tarantino. An epic first half of a revenge tale with developed villains and heroes.

Laced with black humour throughout, the movie maintains a fresh pace with flashbacks and flashforwards. They begin with an bloody bride, followed with an assassination and then going back to how it all started. There is even a cool animated segment for O-Ren Ishi, one of the five deadly villains that the protagonist must kill in order to exact revenge.

The second half is the biggest surprise, especially if you are familiar with Asian cinema. From the casting of Gordon Liu, Sonny Chiba, and even Chiaki Kuriyama (Battle Royale), you can tell Tarantino did his homework and dipped into his fandom of all things Asian.

From the usage of black and white footage in the Showdown at the House of Blue Leaves, Tarantino homages the Lone Wolf and Cub series, which sometimes pitted the protagonist against a small army. Beatrix Kiddo does the same in her tale, and also takes on talented bodyguards.

Even though you know that The Bride cannot die in this installment (Volume 2), they still manage to make you doubt this. O-Ren Ishi has some powerful bodyguards under her employment and this combined wit the full force of the Crazy 88 gang push The Bride to her limit. This kind of suspense and risk matches the short segments with the samurai sword duels near the end of the film.

A highly stylish and entertaining premise, done with a passion. Excellent camera angles and over the top bloodiness makes for an excellent pastiche from Quentin Tarantino.

The Next Three Days
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

A solid thriller that takes its time. A bit inferior to its predecessor 'Pour Elle', but Russell Crowe tries his best and makes it good.

The only gripe would be a small break during the final half hour that feels a bit out of place and ruins the pacing. It does recover, only to have a denouement a bit too long.

Solid thrills when they are there, but uneven often.