Kiera's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Chungking Express
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Chungking Express... Two love stories set in a crowded area of Hong Kong. Our anchor is the fast food bar that the main characters frequent. Ironically, it's about loneliness rather than interconnectedness.

This film has extraordinary visuals thanks to director Wong Kar-wai. Every shot is an impressionist painting and colors are juxtaposed in ways that are both surprising and beautiful. Exciting blurred motion sequences are followed by peaceful stagnation.

Although focused on themes of loneliness and the isolation of social life and individuality, this is an incredibly joy-inducing film. The second story in particular is highly engaging because of its quirky sense of romance. The uniqueness of how the characters meet and how they go about getting to know each other (however unconventionally) is a great source of the humor throughout the film. At its most basic level, this is a grade-A romantic comedy.

I can say nothing else, but please see this utterly delightful masterpiece.

(my apologies for all the gushing)

The Hunt
The Hunt (2013)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The Hunt is a Danish film that tells the story of Lucas (Mads Mikkelsen), a kindergarten teacher wrongly accused of molesting a young girl named Klara (Annika Wedderkopp). Klara's innocent lie quickly surges out of control as Lucas's community viciously ostracizes him. The attacks against Lucas are so relentless that the film becomes heartbreakingly difficult to watch.

Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, The Hunt was directed and co-written by Thomas Vinterberg, who cofounded the Dogme 95 movement. Since creating the first Dogme film in 1998, Vinterberg's direction has moved towards slightly more stylization. In this film, he opts for special lighting and benign autumn colors, but continues his use of handheld camera work. The script begins with a seemingly innocuous story, with scenes of Lucas playing with the kindergarteners in the schoolyard. However, it takes on a slow and steady build to overwhelm the audience, becoming more and more devastating as the actions of the community become increasingly violent and visceral. The score is very sparse, instead relying on silence for intensity.

Unanimous praise has surrounded Mikkelsen's superb performance, for which he won Best Actor at the Cannes Film Festival. He creates an incredibly vulnerable and sympathetic character, further proving his place as one of the most talented actors working today. It's important to note that we feel this sympathy not through Lucas asking for it or feeling sorry for himself, but through his strength in taking both physical and mental beatings. While the story and its ending are somewhat ambiguous, the ideological implications of the film are not. The message conveying that whether innocent or not, a lie like this will destroy a man's life, is very clear. The stain on Lucas's reputation is a permanent one, and applying this to reality is what evokes the film's disturbing and maddening vitality.

Bad Words
Bad Words (2014)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Bad Words is an impressive directorial debut by Jason Bateman. It's clear while watching the film that he had a clear vision in mind, and did exactly what he said out to do. Bateman actually said himself that getting a directing job is "really the only reason [he's] been acting for the last 20 years of this career."
(see here in this interview:

This may come as a bit of a surprise to some-- it certainly did to me. However, Bad Words is definitely a plus for proving he has some talent as a director. Getting the incredibly endearing and hilarious performance from 9-year-old Rohan Chand is impressive in itself.

Bad Words is a non-PC, dark comedy that's not at all short on laughs or originality. I found the end of the film (and reason why Bateman's character is participating in a children's spelling bee) somewhat clichéd and uninteresting. Still, this is strong and refreshing comedy worth seeing.


The Place Beyond The Pines
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

There are three acts to this movie. In act one we're given Luke Glanton, a motorcycle stuntman for the state fair. He doesn't have everything figured out, but he does understand that he has responsibilities. Once he learns that the woman he had a fling with bore his child, he is determined to do everything he can for Romina (Eva Mendes) and the baby. Unfortunately, he doesn't have a lot of money or skills to work a day job, so he decides to rob banks. The second act starts after the confusion and sudden gunshots between Luke and Avery Cross (Bradley Cooper), the cop who was chasing him down. Cross is applauded by the whole town for killing this notorious robber, but hates the way he feels for taking a father away from his infant son.

Act three takes place fifteen years later, with Cross running for attorney general on fuel from exposing corrupt cops. His son AJ and Luke's son Jason are the same age and are both very troubled boys. After Jason finds out that AJ's father killed his own father, he attacks AJ and holds Avery Cross hostage with intent to kill him. Cross apologizes, seeming to let out fifteen years of built up remorse over Luke's death through his tears, which makes Jason decide not to shoot him. Instead, he takes Cross's car and wallet, in which he finds a photo of himself as a baby with his mother and father. The film concludes with Cross winning attorney general and Jason mailing his mother the photo and finally riding off on the motorcycle he purchased.

I was already so impressed halfway through the movie because of the drastic shift that takes place after Luke's death. It's a very good, understated twist--Ryan Gosling is right in the middle of the poster so you don't expect him to go so soon. Bradley Cooper carries the remainder of the film from this point, constantly dealing with his friends and family making him out to be the hero he doesn't believe himself to be. And with his agitation and regret, which he tries to ignore, there comes an unsettling feeling reinforced with the audience. Is he the good guy? I like this movie a lot because it could have easily gone in a number of different directions--it could've been a fast-paced thriller about a skilled biker who becomes obsessed with robbing banks. Or it could've been exclusively about Bradley Cooper's cop character, busting crooked officers and using that as political fuel for his designs on attorney general. Fortunately, it's ambitious enough to look at multiple perspectives.

Generally speaking, you get movies that make criminals seem cool (Goodfellas, Bonnie and Clyde) and movies where the good guys are the heroes (every cop/superhero/war movie). The Place Beyond the Pines presents a rare package deal. Not that moral ambiguity is unprecedented, but the balance between good and evil in the film is almost frustratingly even. There is sympathy and heartache for all characters involved. It's challenging in a way that's upsetting and difficult to swallow, because the bad guy isn't really so bad and the good guy is not completely good. Everyone makes mistakes and this film causes you to look deeply at the consequences that follow. It's a very dreary story that makes ideals and dreams seem almost impossible to reach, but nonetheless leaves you feeling somewhat hopeful.


Pump Up the Volume
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

My first review in over a year... that freaks me out a little. I have written on movies during that time period of course, but maybe not in Rotten Tomatoes fashion, so they stay within the confines of my Documents folder. My disclaimer is that I have a pretty strong affection for somewhat dated teen movies. I think they are a hell of a lot of fun-- not something totally corny for us "superior" generations to laugh at.

Pump Up the Volume is the tale of teen pirate radio host Happy Harry Hard-on, broadcasting his intensely rebellious, radical, anti-authority message. The popularity of his radio persona and influence over his classmates eventually lands him in the ring with the FCC. It stars Christian Slater with as much charismatic angst as you could possibly hope for.

This movie was part of a series of screenings for New Line Cinema class. I felt like taking a moment to write on Pump Up the Volume, because it really irks me to see people of my age constantly laughing at movies like this. I concede that it is a little outdated and a little extreme in its message, but it isn't stupid. I'm not trying to come off as if I take this movie 100% seriously, but I did find something worthwhile in it. It is relentlessly entertaining, and while I don't plan to go set fire to something or vandalize my school, the message is a positive one if not taken so literally.

The people who make fun of this movie and others like it are shutting themselves off from finding anything to take away from it. Pointing out every detail of 1990 outrageousness is a profound waste of time. Movies like this are great and absolutely deserve our time, because they give us a wonderful view into the past. I'm not sure why this film gets less attention than Brat Pack and John Hughes canon, but it's definitely worth noting. It's far edgier and angrier than its 1980s counterparts.

I don't see anything delirious or exasperating about Pump Up the Volume. The performances certainly weren't dreadful-- I thought they were quite good. It's very funny, but it isn't laughable in the way that modern audiences feel the need to make it. For all movies we find dated, Let it be what it was meant be.

90% -- Give it a chance.