Jason P.'s Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

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

This was possibly the most fun I had a theater in years. Avatar was purely eye candy. Inception was great, but still had that blockbuster feel to it. But Black Swan is in a class in and of itself. I do have to say in advance that I'm definitely partial to movies like this even if I enjoy my soulless cheese just as much as everyone else.

The story was simple, yet intriguing. Very basically, without spoiling anything, you follow the path of a girl (Natalie Portman) who works her butt off to get the lead role in the ballet, Swan Lake. This was honestly the backbone of the movie and let everything else unfold beautifully. Not many people know about the grind that actually goes into succeeding in a fading classical entertainment industry, and as this movie shows us, she definitely went through a grind.

The directing was outstanding. It kept you entranced for the whole movie; whenever there were lulls, it was to let your heart rate calm down and get you to think about how everything was about to unfold. The style was slightly abrupt, but it played very well with the mind trip style of movie this was. Regardless, it still managed to be very cohesive. Aronofsky is just a great director.

This movie was just everywhere at once: grotesque, thrilling, beautiful, schizophrenic in a way. But that's the beauty of it. Through all that, everything falls together and you come out finding the ride it takes you through extremely suspenseful and enjoyable. This is no cheap psychological thriller, this is the real deal. I know a couple of people who didn't like it because they thought it was taken too far, but I don't want people to be swayed from those opinions. It's not about whether or not it's gross. Do what my friend did and close your eyes if you need to and let yourself get dragged into the rabbit hole that is Nina's journey to perfection.

Inception (2010)
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Saw this movie back when it came out and never got to reviewing it. I loved it. Watching it for the second time this weekend.

By now, anyone that hasn't watched the movie and plans to knows what it's about. To put it VERY simply, people are able to travel through their dreams and obtain knowledge. This leads to the age old question: are we still dreaming or is this reality? I thought Nolan did a great job with something that could have easily ended up cliche, and the ending was great.

Don't think I need to say much about this. Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page (quickly becoming a favorite of mine), Ken Watanabe, Michael Caine, and I could go on forever. They all meet or surpass expectations. 'Nuff said.

The rest:
It was suspenseful, thrilling, etc. I went in thinking it would be a complete mindfuck, but it wasn't really as thought-provoking as I thought it would be. Maybe I missed out on something, I'll find out on my second time through. For now, I consider this more of a summer blockbuster action flick (with more than a reasonable amount of depth behind it) than a Shutter Island, which was also a great movie. There was much more action that I thought there would be, which I suppose is never a bad thing in a movie like this. Whether or not you end up liking, it is a must watch.

Red Cliff (Chi Bi)
7 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

One thing to note: I am reviewing the full 5 hour experience that is Red Cliff, not the abridged American version. I don't know how they decided that they could essentially take a full movie, just rip out parts until you've cut it in half, and expect it to succeed, but that's what happened. For anyone who is considering this movie, I highly recommend getting the Chinese version with English subtitles. It comes in 2 parts, each half being around 140 minutes.

This movie is beautiful. I've seen people compare it to Lord of the Rings, but it is nothing of the sort. If I HAD to choose a movie to compare it to, I'd say it's a mish-mash of Troy and 300, but with a big difference. While I would equate Troy and 300 (both movies I love, by the way) to porn, Red Cliff would be poetry or a masterful painting.

Story: It is based on a war that happened back in China's history during its unification. Very similar to the Battle of Thermopylae from 300, forces that are vastly outnumbered need to find ways to protect their homeland. As such, plot isn't a huge factor for the movie. Instead of focusing on something they don't really need to, the movie focuses on character development and epic war scenes -- great combination.

Characters: What I found to be a strength in this movie. By the end of the five hours, you know everything you need to about each main character, and some about everyone else who "doesn't matter." There's just this beauty about how they go about it; nobody in this film is evil. Some may be overly ambitious, but all have good intentions. I loved the tea scenes and how each one led us deeper and deeper into who the "bad guy" really was. I noticed how some other reviewers were saying that there were random "jam sessions" that instantly made friends; on the contrary, music shows us what the characters are really feeling without words and these sessions confirmed the camaraderie between the two. I'm not going to go on any further because I'm scared of spoiling you once I lose control :P That and I really don't think I'm doing the movie justice.

Everything else: The music was beautiful, and of obvious Asian influence. The action scenes were great. Some didn't like it because they were "slow," but the focus was on strategy and not on explosions (although you do get your fair share of those too). The choreography was done by Cory Yuen, the mastermind behind the fight scenes in The Transporter. You can instantly see the results of his participation, as you watch the effective and resourceful fighting styles of the generals.

Red Cliff is a true epic war film and was a very refreshing break from the American blockbuster movies as of late, which target our country's increasingly short attention span. As such, it might be like jumping off a moving train in terms of its pacing, but if you can do it, you're in for a treat.

Robin Hood
Robin Hood (2010)
7 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

I love the current age of movies where dark, gritty remakes continue to entertain me year in and year out. But, unlike certain movies (Batman), Robin Hood had little to gain from that make over. As contradicting as my next statements are, I am not a fan of Russel Crowe, but I love Ridley Scott. I gave Ridley Scott the benefit of the doubt and went to watch this movie, and I feel like he massacred my childhood. I take that back. He didn't write the script; whoever wrote the screenplay for this movie should be convicted of murder.

The nostalgia that overwhelms me when I hear the words "Robin Hood" bring back certain aspects of prior movies: the beautiful hand drawn animation of the Disney version; the comedic genius of Men in Tights; the merry tales of Robin Hood and his festive group of followers. Robin Hood was never meant to be a dark film, and what's even worse is that in the attempt to make it so, the story became all convoluted and underwhelming. I don't think I'm going too far when I say Ridley Scott may have actually singlehandedly saved this film with great directing. So on to the meat of my review:

Story: By far, this facet of the film is what disappointed me the most. Let's start by the setting: it's a prequel to the legends of Robin Hood that takes place after his adventures were supposed to have started. Now, I just made a very subjective statement that's based on nothing but my experiences with the stories themselves; but there's one important factor here, I am the target audience. The gambles with rewriting a story like Robin Hood is that your target audience has grown up watching and re-watching the movies, reading the books; when you take on a movie like this, you don't have the luxury of changing it on a whim. And if you do, it has to be good. The plotting and scheming that went on throughout the film felt inconsequential and insignificant.

I'm going to go ahead and compare this movie to Gladiator (go figure). Why was Gladiator a success? It focused on its characters, invested you in them; the consequence of this was that when major plot developments unfolded, you CARED. With Robin Hood, this wasn't the case. Which leads me to the next part.

Characters: Another facet of the movie I was very underwhelmed by. Little John was about as important as the Queen's owl. Russell Crowe was Robin Hood. I'm sorry, but he just doesn't fit the part; he would only look merry if he were placed in the setting for Terminator: Salvation. And whilst he had no reason to be merry, that was supposed to be the charming quality of Robin Hood; his ability to be happy and positively affect those around him in a time of suffering and need. Maid Marian looks old and has a big nose. More seriously, she was a victim of this whole "gritty movie" business. Not every main female character has to be a bad-ass! It was just so forced, I couldn't stand it. There's nothing wrong with her being a damsel in distress, it only gives Robin Hood more reason to save her. This is also very subjective, but I prefer her as the princess about to be swept off her feet. I'm a fan of ass-kicking girls just as much as the next guy over, it just didn't work with this movie. Not to mention that there was no development of any of the characters; neither Richard nor John, forget the Sheriff of Nottingham, nobody.

Directing/Music: The best parts of the film. Well orchestrated soundtrack to go along with the movie and Ridley Scott scores yet again. What's new?

This time around, they just missed the mark. Thanks to Ridley Scott, the movie is watchable. I recommend you watch it on DVD, though.

Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2 (2010)
7 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Iron Man 2 had a serious case of sequelitis. They saw everything that was great about Iron Man and then took it and beat it into our heads. Quite honestly, the movie was very uninspiring.

Story: I didn't expect much here from the get-go. This is a comic book movie; all I need is a tightly woven story that doesn't suck. And unfortunately, it failed. It was definitely tightly woven, but it didn't allow for much development of anything. The premise behind Iron Man 2 was perfectly fine and gave us a villain with a motive, but they told it in a completely disorderly manner that didn't let me just sit back and enjoy it.

Characters/Actors: Just like in the first movie, the strength of the story. I'll take it further: the first half of the movie was carried by Tony Stark. Without him, it was nearly bad enough to walk out on. His relationship with Pepper and Rhodes is just as witty and comical as before, but almost too much so. You know how they say you can't have too much of a good thing? Iron Man 2 nearly gave us just that. The rest of the guys played out their cliched roles very well. They weren't given much from the start, so you can't really ask for more than they provided. Good villain, good cowardly villain, and good *insert spoiler here*. Really, the strong point of this movie.

Everything else: The music is the same great classic rock that we all re-fell in love with when the trailer for the first Iron Man came out. It's prevalent throughout the entire movie, and I loved it. Some of (one?) action scene may have been a bit overdone -- it's really obvious which one I'm talking about if you see the movie -- but for the most part they were very well done.

Conclusion: Iron Man 2 does a lot of things well, which is why I gave it a passing grade, but they walked that slippery slope that is the sequel. It's really unfortunate, I think Iron Man was just too successful. I thought Hulk was a great comic book movie that didn't make as much of a box office impact as it should have due to the misconceptions made by the travesty that was The Hulk with Eric Bana. As a result, though, we aren't going to have it ruined for a us with a Hulk sequel and we still get to see Edward Norton in The Avengers, which I'm looking forward to. Before I digress much further, Iron Man 2 not only walked that slippery slope, but tripped and fell and barely hung on. I hope to dear god that there will be no Iron Man 3 (I am absolutely SCARED of what Transformers 3 could possibly become) and that Thor/Captain America next year will be as refreshing as Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk were two year ago. Iron Man 2 just wasn't it. Even in IMAX.