Bernard1422's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Sunshine Cleaning
4 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

It's not just a matter of being a human being, but of constantly becoming one.

Most of us amateur reviewers would, after some indurate arm twisting, and possibly an inspiring comment or two, tend to agree that we love to critique blockbusters such as AVATAR, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, TROY, and the like, for that is the very situ, we staunchly trust, where our manifest glory, and the rich underbelly of our chosen but dubious profession, will one day be realized(sic).

Then, once in a while, along comes a unique motion picture we are fully prepared to ignore or relegate to the chick-flick genre, if there truly is one. SUNSHINE CLEANING, however, no matter how hard we manipulate the branding iron, should make the astute among us sit-up and take notice.

To be sure, it is a relatively small film but with a great director, a wonderful script and very big performances from two very fine actresses, the lovely Amy Adams and Emily Blunt:

When single mom Rose Lorkowsky( Adams)discovers that her eight year old autistic son(Jason Spevak) needs to change schools( because he has taken to licking walls and women's legs) at a considerable increase in the cost of tuition, simply proclaiming that her disposition would be livid is an understatement. She doesn't have the money, and her job as a maid doesn't pay much. Conversely, her desultory sister, Nora Lorkowsky ( Blunt), a somewhat sexually precocious young female, is of no help at all. At the time, that girl is in the very act of having sex with a nondescript slob(or so it appears)-when Rose calls to reveal that she has found a new way of keeping bread on the table- and quickly extricates herself from the insipid fellow humping her just propitiously enough to answer the phone. This scene may seem prurient and even lascivious but it is hardly that according to today's Hollywood standards.

Rose has discovered that there is money to be made in the Crime Scene cleanup service, a type of biohazard removal of blood and semen and guts and gore(ugh), to which the girls eagerly apply themselves now.

The script of SUNSHINE CLEANING was superbly written by Megan Holly. In fact, there were times I turned off the video portion of the flick and merely paid attention to the audio. It is simply that great. The movie has many remarkable incidents, let me just touch on one or two.

As the boy, Oscar Lorkowsky, is being taken to a new school, flanked by his aunt and mom, he turns to Nora and asks, "What is a bastard? Jeremy has called me a bastard."

(I am not quoting this dialogue ipsissima verba but only as best as I am able to recall.)

With a slight smirk, Nora replies, "It's not a big deal. You're bastard because your father didn't marry your mother. But you're a nice bastard, and it's the first step to being cool."

Biohazard cleaning is a succinct and demanding science. When Rose Lorkowsky decides to take a short hiatus from her arduous and precarious existence to attend a baby shower, her sister, having to work alone, of course, inadvertently burns down the house of a crime scene, and obviously increases the Lorkowsky's huge debt. Alan Arkin, as always, is distinguishing himself as the Lorkowsky sisters' bumbling and unemployed father, Joe Lorkowsky, who fails to make a killing in the shrimp business and eventually joins the crime scene cleaning vocation.

In this film, Amy Adams and Emily Blunt put to rest the fear of all those who may have questioned the acting ability of today's bland starlets. Their performances are singular, distinguished and far above the average. And they are in good company. As already pointed out, Alan Arkin is at his very best, and Clifton Collins Jr as Winston, the friendly one-armed supplier of biohazard cleaning paraphernalia, is also deserving of kudos.

For someone who is not familiar with the machinations or the social implications of a nine to five job, SUNSHINE CLEANING was an eye-opener for me, and an exceedingly rewarding motion picture.

I truly recommend this one to all of my RT friends.

Big Stan
Big Stan (2009)
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Pathetic, of course, but great fun, too. BIG STAN is sanctimonious to the point of emesis in an effort to be culturally, sociologically and ethnically acceptable in the widest possible range, from homosexuals to neonazis to blacks to orientals to radicals, etc. The film, of course, doesn't succeed but it makes a few interesting points; and, as said, the 'actors' are clearly enjoying themselves. The term 'acting' is indeed a wasted verbal form here inasmuch as the players wallow in their stereotyped roles. And that is the way it ought to be in a 'happy hour' flick of this ilk. Why subject the cranial matter to vigorous exercise when all of it will be in vain, anyhow? The plot is about a convicted criminal(Rob Schneider)sentenced to prison. Before he makes the move, however, and could be himself brutalized by the inmates, he becomes a Kung Fu master(thanks to David Carridine)and turns the table on his fellow convicts with such enthusiasm that he soon finds himself in the enviable position of the unchallenged godfather of the prensio.

Fighting
Fighting (2009)
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Speaking on a very personal note, what made FIGHTING a film worth watching(as a matter of fact, I advise all of my RT friends against viewing this pathetic and very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very bad flick) was only the outstanding performance of Terrence Dashon Howard. Even though it is his fellow co-star, Channing Tatum who does all the repugnant street brawling, Howard makes him appear like a desultory amateur thespian who merely by happenstance was caught in this film and couldn't find time or the intelligence to run for the hills.

While facing his opponent at the start of a bare-knuckle rumble in the streets of New York City, Tatum's facial expression never changes. "Hell", I said to myself, "doesn't it somehow hurt when you get kicked in the face, or perhaps a lot lower?" Apparently not. Channing Tatum's only desire is to win the fight and to have the last kick. Oh, his visage revealed nothing to me of the things I am boldy suggesting here. What you read just now is purely a matter of intuition.

It said somewhere that there was a script, perhaps, but this flick didn't need one, for the offering is so hackneyed and downright stale a script might be an insult to a writer's acumen. Another possibility is that the script was thrown out by Tatum, but that may be a separate, and possibly confusing story.

Let me(although it opposes my best ability to make an informed decision)give a bit of a plot of this hideous movie.

A fellow arrives from the South in New York City with a box of iPods, a few Harry Potter books, and some DVDs but before he can peddle any of them he is in a street fight and Terrence Howard becomes his manager and Zulai Henao will soon be his beautiful girl friend. That's it. Someone was absurdly suggesting deeper levels of interpretations. Nah, that is absurd. There is nothing to interpret; absurd, absurd.

Now we come to Terrence Dashon Howard. He is now a big star. He was in IRON MAN and possibly makes a good wage. Whatever, Howard deserves it. Producers and directors with pictures of a bush-league nature should hire him because he has the innate ability to salvage Hollywood's reprobates from the scrap pile. Acting wasn't made for Howard. Howard was made for acting. He was born an actor. Just look at him. 90% of all actors either swagger or strut. Howard walks. You don't even see it. He can go from point A to point B without the slighest effort on a sound stage. Don't kid yourself. This is difficult for most actors. Not for Howard. When he speaks his face registers every needful emotion and peerlessly. He has class and carries it well.

Anyone who wants to become an actor should watch Terrence Dashon Howard in any flick he has made, even this utterly despicable offering.

A final caveat. Boxing fans totally repudiate this motion picture.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
7 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

There are just two simple words for this film. Brilliant and cerebral. And if we want to substitute--outstanding, magnificent and intellectual, it would still not change a thing. And even though the ontological argument was never invoked, nor the Cartesian speculation brought to the forefront, still and all, every person viewing this motion picture will have to come to terms with a very intrinsic life that in reality started in old age and ended on the very day of birth.

Now what is brilliant about the flick? Is it Brad Pitt's acting? No. And I will get to it. For one, what is brilliant is Cate Blanchett's portrayal of Daisy Williams. From the moment we lay eyes upon this old woman, lying on a hospital bed, to the precious moment( at the end of the picture) when she holds the dying tiny infant in her arms(this is her partner; the father of her child)and her tears fall upon the baby, Blanchet has us mesmerized, she has enmeshed us like Charlotte's Web, and no male actor can sustain her enormous charisma. Why she was not even nominated for an academy award is inscrutable.

Now to Brad Pitt, or better, to Benjamin Button. The character is extremely well written, but, like Hermann Hesse's Knulp, Benjamin does very little to make an impression upon the tabula rasa of life, the blank slate with which all of us apparently came into the world. Conversely, life acts upon him. He rarely has an unambiguous line but actually gets lost in uttering aphorisms. "Sometimes we are on a collision course..." On the other hand, people are interacting with him, and that includes Daisy, but Benjamin narrates the events that ensue from their very special love, rather than replying to them. Inasmuch as life is challenging him, and he is definitely not challenging life, Benjamin becomes a spectator to the occurrences around him. This is evidenced by the lengthy narrations throughout the film. And this is the way it was to be. Think about it. How many one-on-one conversations does Button have? Not many. This is portentous and sets this obviously amazing film apart from any competitors, such as FORREST GUMP, in which the protagonist overreacts to whatever may befall him. I don't find it surprising that Pitt didn't get the academy award, for his fine acting skills, in this offering, rarely came into question.

It is nevertheless a difficult, yet highly enjoyable motion picture that constitutes much more than the proverbial fairytale, or fantasy, because it most certainly has antecedents in this life. Benjamin was dropped off on the stairs of an old people's home and he also spends his childhood years there and dies in that home. Can it be seen as a place of security? Perhaps. Is it a place where they must accept all of the decrepitudes that life can hurl at us? Yes, indeed. It is home for Benjamin. IN Robert's Frost's poem THE DEATH OF THE HIRED MAN, Frost says, "Home is a place where they have to take you in." Well, Queeny, his beloved substitute mother, more than welcomed him.

When he realizes that she cannot raise him as well as their mutual daughter, Button leaves Daisy. Upon his return, she says to him, "You do look younger, to which he replies for once, "only on the outside," and thereby opens a whole new level of emphasis. Benjamin rejuvenates physically before our eyes, but what about his emotional, or spiritual nature? I cannot go into that matter now.

Let me stress again the fabulous performance given by Cate Blanchett. Her profound depiction of Benjamin's death, in many ways, has no equal, and must stand as such. As her tears fall upon the newborn's head, she moans deeply, trying to remember the best times of her relationship, and then she whispers. "At this point, he does know me!" And the infant dies.

What may take many additional discussions is the rich imagery interwoven in this film. Hurricane Katrina, the tug boat, the whole supernatural motif of walking: She can dance and walk but breaks a leg; he rides in a wheelchair and is eventually elevated to better transportation. Another touching scene occurs also at the end. She is now using a cane, and, like a grandchild might do, he stands on his toes to grasp her hand for support as they take a walk.

It's a fabulous film. Enjoy it!