Bijinius Cross's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Star Wars: The Last Jedi
3 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

For me, one-and-a-half stars is being generous. Like so, so many I grew up on the original trilogy. I think most young boys did. I shared the public disdain for the prequels, but did like 'Force Awakens' for what it was-a good time at the movies. This movie, however, was the very opposite of that-a thoroughly unpleasant, miserable movie-going experience from beginning to end. The film's calamities are huge in number, but chief among them are it's aggressively poor plot, it's actively unpleasant characters who were allowed *very* little growth. . . . and most alarmingly, the film's diehard insistence on blanketing the entire film in extremely bizarre "humor." The poor, poor attempts at comedy were so amazingly wrongheaded and inexplicable that it really beggars belief.

So, yes-'Last Jedi's' tone was disastrous. It's one of the worst cases of inappropriate, drama-killing comedy that I've seen in a movie. It was so hilariously successful in its struggle to demean every one of its characters that it seemed to me the film was some kind of thoroughly nasty hate-letter to the diehard fans of this franchise. The film's clear main concern was wacky comedy; hardly one scene went by that wasn't critically undercut by some kind of unfunny wisecrack or strange visual gag. In some instances, even the terrible 'Phantom Menace' comes off as downright solemn in comparison with the antics of this one. I watched in amused disbelief at a wartime crank phone call, that slapstick toss of an iconic prop, the VERY odd physical buffoonery of that island's totally silly caretakers, anachronistic wording of stale cracks ("Let's go, chrome-dome!"), and the cartoonish capering of those Porg things. I can only IMAGINE how distressing, sad and humiliating it must have been for those lifelong, diehard fans of the franchise who are so invested in the universe's history and lore. Having to suffer your favorite light space fantasy series' turning into a zany, joke-a-minute farce must have been crushingly depressing. "The Empire Strikes Back," by far the funniest film in the series, has its humor thoroughly based in well-developed characters. Star Wars was never a gritty sci-fi drama like "Blade Runner," but it honored its character's dignity. The humor rarely (if ever) came at the expense of dramatic situations or plot points.

The humor is what most glaringly stuck out for me, but the film's story and character arcs were critically poor too. The film manages the rare feat of completely dismantling any possible interest in what comes after it-so many terrible, terrible decisions were made in the film's inept script that upon film's close, I began to realize how very little the trilogy's story had progressed in this film's overlong two-and-a-half-hour runtime. The middle chapter of a three-part series is in many ways the most important; it should set up the concluding part in a thrilling and edge-of-your-seat manner. As I began to think of all that occurred here, I started to laugh incredulously at how very little of it actually mattered to an overarching three act structure. Not only that, but I was left absolutely uninterested in whatever comes next (aside from a cynical, morbid curiosity as to how they could possibly right the series after such a disaster). I know one thing for sure, and that is that I absolutely DO NOT CARE about finishing this story. Abrams and Disney have their work cut out for them, having to now trick the public into thinking they want to see how the the plot wraps itself up. There are so few interesting questions posed at this film's sloppy climax. This movie, in effect, was almost entirely unnecessary. For the most part, the events depicted in this movie did not HAVE to be told in order to advance the saga's plot.

Having said that, I do give a whole half-star to the sheer brilliance of how the film looks and sounds. The special effects are great. The music is great. And despite his ineptitude here at crafting a mere SERVICEABLE story and plot - let alone a good one - the director really offered up some good visuals. There were moments that had real visual style here. The fine production values are worth a half-star (I'd have otherwise given it just one). This movie cost a fortune, and it shows. But then. . . . these days almost every tent-pole release has high quality computer generated effects-while impressively detailed, the effects work here doesn't dazzle or leave one in awe (like I'm sure the original trilogy's did). Even films with much smaller budgets and audience appeal like (the excellent) "Deus Ex" have Oscar-winning CGI implementation, but nonetheless I give credit where it's due-the film looks and sounds like the two hundred million bucks it cost to produce.

So I leave this rambling, emotionally charged summation of the film's quality without touching on other major problems, which are numerous. The incredibly poor new characters, the totally obnoxious political grandstanding, the clearly disingenuous and timely gender politics, the infamously unnecessary b-stories, the risible Rose character and her ridiculously ham-fisted actions in the film's final act, the scornfully calloused treatment of the beloved Luke Skywalker character, the many suggested-then-dropped plot points, the now-famous lack of ANY character-building effort on the part of the Rey character, who shows immense powers and abilities without earning any of them, the complete lack of cohesiveness with it's predecessors. . . . and I could go on, man. But I won't. I've spent far too much time and too many words already.

So, rest assured-this movie for me not only goes down as the worst "Star Wars" film (including the embarrassing prequels), but one of the worst blockbuster sequels yet released. And the saddest part of all is that despite all that I and the fanbase have incessantly complained about, we're all most likely willing to give Disney more of our money when the third one comes out. So the studio and filmmakers won't ever be held accountable for the amazingly poor quality of this one-while not nearly as successful as 'The Force Awakens,' this was still an immensely lucrative release for Disney, becoming the highest grossing film of 2017. And it was almost entirely undeserved. A humiliatingly bad addition to a once-promising trilogy, it goes without saying that even if the third installment is an out-and-out masterpiece, this new three-part saga is fundamentally and fatally flawed by its lamentably lame second act.

Phantom Thread
3 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Paul Thomas Anderson is one of my favorite directors. Daniel Day-Lewis is my favorite actor. "There Will be Blood" is one of my very favorite movies. I was incredibly psyched to see this. Beautifully shot, directed and acted (obviously), the movie just didn't grab me. It was just an okay script-I just couldn't get involved with the film's plot, and that's completely disappointing, considering the level of talent accrued here. Everybody brought their A-game but Anderson with his screenplay. Remember the electric drama and energy of movies like "Boogie Nights" and "Magnolia?" How revelatory the atmospheric intensity of 'Blood' was? I admit I didn't really dig "The Master" the first time out. I had to watch it again later to really start to appreciate it's incredible attention to period details and it's stupidly good performances (among many other things). I love that movie today-I hope to have a similar re-evaluation of "Phantom Thread" in the future. I'll certainly see it again; it's a real film for serious people. The devil is likely in the subtle details and characterizations. Like "The Master," it's an incredibly straight-faced, rather dour experience. I can totally understand why it was rejected commercially. It seems to me that Paul Thomas Anderson isn't interested in making popular, crowd-pleasing dramas for serious people-it seems he's intentionally making highly inaccessible puzzle boxes not meant to be appealing to mainstream audiences. While his other films were serious works of art, they were also immensely entertaining, and highly popular successes at the box office (well, maybe not "Punch-Drunk Love"). It might have been mostly loved by critics, but "Phantom Thread" left me cold, while still well aware of its merits on a technical level. If this really IS the last movie to ever star Day-Lewis, it's a fine end to an exorbitantly impressive career. . . though I wish it were in a film I liked more. I'll wait a bit and give it a second, more discerning pass.

Justice League
3 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

The story was ridiculous, the script was TERRIBLE, the effects were cheap, the humor wasn't funny, the villain was stale and astoundingly fake-looking, the characters were obnoxious and completely uninteresting, the direction was insane, the tone was deaf AND insane, the plot made no sense, Henry Cavill couldn't be bothered to shave for his re-shoots, Batman was flipped from a dark, dramatic character into a hacky early '90s comedian, The Flash was the most aggravatingly unamusing comic relief in superhero history. . . . I could go on, but what's the point? Even though this thing bombed harder than World War II, I guess it reached the right fanboy people who were already guaranteed to love it anyway. It's how a non-movie like "Suicide Squad" still managed to draw unwitting DC fans. It's just pathetic when compared to Marvel's amazingly consistent popular and critical successes. DC doesn't know what it's doing. Literally. Just look at what they did to their best hero here: Batman, the dark knight, made a completely uncharacteristic one-liner or quip in every other scene he was in. This, despite how he came off in the other films in this doomed franchise. They obviously don't care about their audience, so why should their audience care about them? Just a really, very bad movie, and a total humiliation when compared to the rock-solid competition. Marvel Studios couldn't make a flop if they tried right now. They're on one of the most unbelievable hot streaks in the history of popular entertainment. That'll end, as all things do, but they'll leave a legacy of at least a dozen great blockbuster movies in a row. And they just keep going. As I write this rambling, incoherent review, that new one they've got coming out-"Black Panther?" It's getting some of the strongest reviews for a superhero movie ever. It must be a sorry, humbling time for DC fans. I'm sorry, guys. I don't know what's wrong with the filmmakers either. It's a humiliatingly uneven playing field. DC can't reach the shoelaces of its rival, who just make much better and more popular movies than they do. Maybe one day that'll change, and some effort or intelligence will come in. I hope it will. Nobody WANTS to hate a film. I have to believe that. Maybe next time. Sorry DC fanboys. It's rough, I know.