Peter Wertz's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Only God Forgives
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

In general, these subtexts seem relevant more for their cultural antiquity than their place in modern culture, and I suppose there's something to be said for the tenacity of Refn's thematic exploration, but the utter torpor found in so much of Only God Forgives makes its 89 minutes feel interminable.

Her
Her (2013)
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Superficially, Her is striking because it's entirely plausible. From the Apple-tinted future tech to the subtle revisions to fashion to the utter solitude found in a crowd, the film has a great deal to say about the near future, and the world we're in the process of creating. And yet, Her isn't about the science fiction. It's not about predicting the future or scaring us straight. It is, simply, a love story in a different time than ours, with a different set of rules and the same expectations.

Read the rest at wertzofwisdom.com

Man of Steel
Man of Steel (2013)
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Despite the varying issues with the variable Superman movies, there is a great Superman film out there somewhere. And you could argue that Zach Snyder has gotten closer to it than anyone else; Man of Steel paints the character's neurosis and isolation in wide swaths, and these components are necessary for any modern reintroduction. But, as is often the case with mega, ultra, super blockbusters, they've put the horse before the cart with this latest iteration of the world's first superhero, building a flashy skyscraper on the rickety foundation of a David Goyer screenplay.

The film opens on Krypton, the home world of Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman (he's really only called this once or twice, thus the film's surrogate title), in the midst of a world-ending natural disaster and a passionate political upheaval. We're introduced to Kal's father, Jor-El (Russell Crowe), whose supreme intellect and pure morality cast him as a night light in the shadows of Krypton's ignorance. General Zod (Michael Shannon) is the zealot at the helm of Krypton's uprising, entrenched in his view that Krypton's technology should lead them to a Gattaca-like mastery of their genetics. Only the strong survive and all that. The infant Kal escapes the dying planet in a spacecraft aimed at the Earth, and Zod and his team are exiled to something called the Phantom Zone, where they become the only Kryptonians to survive the apocalypse that pretty much everybody knew was coming.

Our introduction to Henry Cavill's Clark Kent is a mish mash of character context and exposition that tries to arrange him as a drifting loner, but ends up desperately evoking Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. Between modern day and his conflicted past, we learn that Clark has struggled with his literal alienation since he was a young boy, despite being a pretty handsome kid and saving a school bus full of peers. This isolation-like so much of David Goyer's shitty screenplay-is phoned in beyond repair. There's no apparent reason for Clark to feel particularly alienated, other than having these world-changing powers, which, in Goyer's hands, simply isn't good enough. What is born of this choice is the film's only authentic relationship, between Clark and his dad Jonathan, played by a perpetually distressed Kevin Costner. Goyer has spoken effusively about the father/son issues he wanted to inject into his screenplay, and while the Jor-El connection is its own dilemmatic can of worms, Man of Steel at least gets the relationship between Clark and his adoptive father mostly right.

It then proceeds to kill off the father in a flashback; an atrophied attempt to teach Clark a lesson about helping people. This effectively deprives the film's second half of the only relationship that feels remotely authentic, leaving us with an excessively brassy Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and a bafflingly subdued Superman who are hard pressed to do much but stare longingly at each other. It leaves us with a collection of characters who make up for their lack of development with screentime. It leaves us with a computer-generated version of Jor-El who lives on a Kryptonian thumb drive and holds forth endlessly about the importance of his son's free will, while outlining the myriad ways he has controlled his son's destiny from the grave. But these are the sorts of issues commonplace in Man of Steel, a film that simply never had a chance. Goyer's script is that miserable.

Even the second half of the film-which is really the only thing Zach Snyder seems to have any control over, and creates a scale of action and destruction on par with The Avengers-ends up falling prey to Goyer's careless character motivation. As Zod and Superman brawl Metropolis to pieces, it's impossible not to wonder how a character so committed to protecting his adopted planet can allow buildings to crumble around him as punches another super human's lights out. Put another way: Superman can fly, and there are plenty of wide open spaces on this planet where a fight with Zod won't kill thousands more people.

Zach Snyder's not a bad director, but he doesn't seem too capable when he gets outside of action. The second half of Man of Steel really is remarkable, and at the very least we finally have a big screen version of Superman where the action matches what has before only ever lived on the page. But so much of Man of Steel is weak that the film can't be anything but a disappointment. I've said it before and I'll say it again, because as far as I'm concerned it's one of the most important rules that filmmakers can live by: If your script is bad, your film will be too.

Silver Linings Playbook
4 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Drawing comparisons between a David O. Russell film and the film of another, more boilerplate Oscar-season director is kind of like comparing the X Games to the Olympics, the latter more prepared to sweep us up in its comforting and controlled familiarity, the former astonishing with its mercurial brilliance. This is not a compliment or critique, but a comment on the thrilling messiness David O. Russell brings as a storyteller. Silver Linings Playbook-Russell's follow up to the Academy-nominated The Fighter-thrives in this mess, bringing its sundry characters together in a collection of manic fits and starts-appropriate for a film so preoccupied with mental health issues. Playbook is a film with the heart of a romantic comedy and the head of a black comedy, and of this collision is born a visceral, cerebral story about a family with a lot to fix.

Read the rest at wertofwisdom.com

Killing Them Softly
4 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

We like to imagine that we've cleared the orbit of the circle of life. That we've achieved a degree of self-awareness far greater than that of our savage forbears, and a good distance from the antiquated notion of hunters and prey. The reality is that we've created a new circle of life, one in which we are the sole patrons, and the money is the mission. This is the world according to Writer/Director Andrew Dominik's latest, Killing Them Softly, a film as well-made and intriguing as it is heavy-handed and bleak. Softly is a gritty crime allegory, allowing a hierarchy of gangsters to stand in for our nation's government and its people, and as the film unfolds it expends loads of energy conveying this connection, asking blood and gore to serve as a proxy for dollars and cents.

Head over to wertzofwisdom.com for the rest of the review.