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Rating History

Raging Bull
Raging Bull (1980)
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Raging Bull is Martin Scorsese's biopic of Jake LaMotta. A boxer who's heavy emotional baggage and violent tendency's slowly destroys his personal life. Robert De Niro masterfully plays Jake LaMotta, with Cathy Moriarty and Joe Pesci also starring as the loved ones that are most vividly affected by his rage. This film won two Oscars; De Niro for Best Actor and Schoonmaker for editing. It's a shame that this film didn't net Scorsese a Best Director statue because his direction in this film is absolutely incredible. He gives the film such a raw and edgy style that really makes it hard for the viewer to sit through. You not only vividly witness his anger, but you feel it as well. Also, their is a boxing scene in the film in which Scorsese used the "shower" technique from Psycho. He generates a brilliant sequence of sharp punches that are expressed through rapid quick cuts and shots of splattered blood. Even if you know nothing about boxing, this scene gives you a feel of the brutality of the sport and it's one of the most memorable sequences in the film.

Just as Scorsese and De Niro did with Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver, they create a character study that is nearly unwatchable at times because it's so realistic. De Niro becomes LaMotta, he completely gives his soul to the character and goes down with him. You can see the madness in his eyes, the pain in his voice, and the arrogance in his walk. He's consumed by the character and it's never short of brilliant. It's one of cinema's finest performances, and you'll probably never see something like it again. De Niro proves his cinematic status with this film and if I had to pick one film to sum up his legendary career, I'd pick Raging Bull.

Despite Scorsese's raw direction and De Niro's outstanding performance, they aren't the only ones who deserve credit for this nearly flawless production. Cathy Moriarty is fantastic as the innocent and sexy Vickie, who is wooed by LaMotta's genuine charisma, only to find out the harsh reality of his deep emotional issues. Joe Pesci is great as well, it's always a treat when Pesci, De Niro, and Scorsese decide to team up and this is probably their finest collaboration together. The two of them together in a scene in always fireworks and it's no different here. The "hit me in the face" scene in one that sticks out in which it showcases the raw performances from De Niro and Pesci.

Raging Bull is a haunting, mesmerizing, and raw biopic that showcases Robert De Niro at his absolute finest and near flawless direction by the legendary Martin Scorsese.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part II is the epic and magical conclusion to J.K. Rowling's highly lucrative fantasy series. This final chapter in the epic saga follows Harry, Ron, and Hermione as they continue their quest of defeating Lord Voldemort. After eight films, it's easy to claim that this is by far the most epic, stunning, and absolutely mind-blowingly perfect Potter film. It was highly anticipated and it did not dissapoint. Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, and Emma Watson all return for the final time in their now iconic roles. David Yates directs this final installment.

For the most part, I have been pretty pleased with the Potter films. Some have been beyond great, others have been flawed, but this final epic film is easily the best Potter film bar none. It's full of epic sequences, brilliant performances, and it's never short of thrilling. It's one of the most enjoyable films i've seen all summer. I honestly believe that it will end up the best movie of the summer. Yates directs this film masterfully. It's always entertaining and completely surprising. It's a true treat for all the people who have been following this franchise since the first film was released. It's definitely sad that it's over, but this is a fantastic way to go out. Harry Potter says good-bye with a bang.

Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson, and Rupert Grint have all grown since the first film. They each give their finest performances of their careers. You can truly sense the raw emotion in their performances as they act their hearts out because underneath they knew they'd never visit these characters again. The three young stars leave it all on the table and wear their hearts on their sleeves in this film and it really added a poignant feel to the film. Also, Ralph Fiennes, always chilling as Voldemort goes out with a bang as well. This is arguably his finst Potter hour as well. Everybody behind and in front of the camera were truly on top of their game.

What else can I say? If your a big fan (or casual) of the Potter series, you will truly enjoy this epic and truly stunning final chapter in this exciting franchise. It's one of the best franchises Hollywood has ever seen and this final installment proves it's merit. The Harry Potter franchise was an enjoyable experience and they truly saved the best for last. This is a gem for the hardcore fans, they will surely not be disapointed.

Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows: Part II is the most impressive Harry Potter film yet as they saved the best for last. It's the closest thing to a masterpiece that we've seen this summer. I'm going to miss you Harry Potter, thanks for a truly incredible ride!

Kill Bill: Volume 2
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Kill Bill Volume 2 closes out Tarantino's epic revenge saga. The film was originally meant to be one, long film, so this film literally takes place where the first one left off. She has three more people to cross off her list after killing O-Ren Ishii and Vernita Green in Volume 1. In this film, she must kill Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah), Budd (Michael Madsen), and finally, her most important target, Bill (David Carradine). Where the first film succeeded in being a visceral and entertaining action film, Tarantino opts for a much more talkative and heartfelt tone to end his saga.

I've always considered Kill Bill to be one film. If you watch them back-to-back, it's an epic and satisfying revenge saga. I don't think one volume is better than the other because they both serve the overall story equally well. Sure, I will admit, this film definitely isn't as fun and cheeky as Volume 1 was, but this film is definitely much bolder and leads to an extremely satisfying, yet heartfelt conclusion. I didn't feel like their was any drop off from Volume 1 to this one. Yes, the tone is different in both films but the quality is the same.

That being said, this film isn't all talk. It has some delightfully tongue-in-cheek moments like the first one did as well. Their is a particular memorable moment involving the lone eye of Elle Driver (I won't go into details in case you haven't seen it yet), and another brilliant moment (that only Tarantino would think up) where The Bride finds herself buried alive and has to literally punch her way out of the coffin and the ground (which the Myth Busters would later go on to test to see if it was actually possible). So don't let the fact that the film has less action than Vol. 1 turn you off because at the end of the day, Tarantino will always have memorable moments in his films.

Of course, without Uma Thurman, this film would be nowhere near as good as it ends up being. Sure, Tarantino's story is well written and stylishly directed, but this is Uma Thurman's film and she most definitely makes it much better than it ought to be. She is just legendary as The Bride, like I said in my Kill Bill Vol. 1 review, it's one of the (if not the most) badass female performance I've ever seen. She carries this film. In the final sequence where she confronts Bill, she generates some chillingly dynamite chemistry with David Carradine. It's an extremely vital and precise sequence. The entire weight of Tarantino's epic saga rested on the shoulders of that final scene with Thurman and Carradine, and they deliver.

Kill Bill Vol. 2 has less action than Vol. 1 but it still has it's fair share of memorable moments. It's an extremely worthy conclusion to Tarantino's epic revenge saga.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

David Fincher directs this epic adaptation of the F. Scott Fitzgerald short story. The film tells the bizarre story of a man named Benjamin Button, who ages backwards. Brad Pitt stars as Benjamin Button, Cate Blanchett plays Daisy (a subtle reference to F. Scott Fitzgerald novel The Great Gatsby), and Taraji P. Henson plays his adoptive mother.

The film unravels at an extremely slow pace, but if you know Fincher, he is a master of story-telling. The film doesn't feel nearly as a long at it is. It's captivating, moving, and brilliant. Simply said, this is a fairy tale from David Fincher. It's at times a wonderful love letter to life and preaches about the importance of enjoying the good things in life, and at it's heart, the film is an epic romance. That's right, a romance from David Fincher.

This film is a flat-out amazing film production. It's beautifully shot and some of Fincher's use of CGI is truly breathtaking. It's a truly masterfully crafted film, if I had to complain about one thing, it would be Eric Roth's sprawling script. It's a bit too long but nevertheless, Fincher's artistic talents and storytelling techniques ultimately save the film from being pretentious and overlong like the script is.

Brad Pitt gives a wonderfully soft performance as Benjamin Button. Whether he is an adolescent checking himself out in the mirror as an old man, or an old man in the body of a young man realizing that he'll soon be younger than his own daughter. It's a complex role and Pitt does it wonderfully. Cate Blanchett is amazing as always, and she's a perfectly suitable love interest and somebody who truly love Benjamin no matter what he looks like because she knows who he is inside. I'd also like to mention some of the supporting players because this truly is overall, an impressive ensemble. Taraji P. Henson, Julia Ormond, and Tilda Swinton all give wonderful performances.

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button is a beautifully crafted romantic epic for David Fincher, and while it might not rank with his best work, it's still a brilliant film nonetheless.

Jonah Hex
Jonah Hex (2010)
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The popular comic book adaptation Jonah Hex is the latest to make it to the big screen. Unfortunately, it's an extremely choppy and poor adaptation. The story is really simple, Jonah Hex (Josh Brolin) is out for revenge after Quentin Turnbull (John Malkovich) kills his wife and son. He scars Hex and fakes his own death. But after a train robbery orchestrated by Turnbull, Hex learns that his arch enemy is still alive. Hex has the ability to talk to the dead, so he uses this trick to locate Turnbull. Along the way he re-unites with prositute Lilah (Megan Fox) After Turnbull steals a powerful weapon from the Union, he plans to destroy America with it and Jonah Hex must get revenge on Turnbull while also saving the country.

When I first heard that they were making a Jona Hex movie, I was very excited because the comic books have so much vivid cinematic potential. Well, all of that rich potential is just wasted here. The direction is really off and just bizarre. It's well known that this film had some production troubles and went through a ton of reshoots, and it's painfully clear while watching this film. The action is really bland and unexciting. The opening action scene is actually quite good, but it's very brief and seems to be heavily edited down. Much of the violence and death are off-screen, they don't show any of the blood or brutal nature that really defined the Jonah Hex comics. The slow motion explosions are excessive in this film. A character will literally throw a match at something and it blows up into a mushroom cloud in this movie, it's just bizzare. The story is inconhesive and utterly terrible. Their are so many wasted characters in this film that serve absolutely no purpose to the film at all. The most obvious is Megan Fox's prositute Lilah. She has one scene with Jonah Hex, and the she's kidnapped by Turnbull because he wants to lure Hex. But the funny thing is, he doesn't even come to rescue her because he has no idea that she has been kidnapped. Huh? It's really mind-boggling how unfocused and horrible the screenplay and direction are. This has to be one of the worst Hollywood productions of recent. Actually, I take that back, I forgot about that other film. (The Last Airbender)

Now, let's get to the acting. Their is only one good performance in this film, and that's Josh Brolin. He's actually quite effective and solid as Jonah Hex, but the story and the supporting cast doesn't give him anything to work with. It's really unfortunate, Brolin is a perfect Jonah Hex. Megan Fox's performance is horrible as expected, but she's quite nice to look at in this film, so I guess her purpose was served. Michael Fassbender is way to over the top and annoying. You really have no idea what he was trying to do to the character and that being said, his character serves absolutely no purpose to the story at all. Will Arnett takes a break from his comedic characters and decides to give a serious character a try. I don't want to be overly harsh, but it really feels out of place. Just looking at the guy you want to laugh, you can't take him seriously. John Malkovich is decent, but he's done this role so many times before. He doesn't take it to any new heights and it comes off as a really contrived and cliched villian performance.

I was really disapointed by this cinematic failure. With Josh Brolin as Jonah Hex and a rich comic book series, this could have been a great film. But it's ruined by poor acting, dreadful direction, and a truly juvenile and sloppy script.