Alexander D.'s Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Last night I finally got the chance to go see Rise of the Planet of the Apes and I was pleasantly surprised how much I found myself enjoying it.

Story: A spinoff and prequel of the original Planet of the Apes story that is much more action packed and exhilarating. The story begins with Will Rodman, James Franco, trying to get his newest drug, ALZ112 a drug supposed to help Alzheimers but also seems to be increasing intelligence, passed by the company he works for. During this presentation things go terribly wrong with his test subject Bright Eyes, but in the outcome of this he and his lab partner Franklin find a young baby ape, whom is our eventual uprising ape, Caesar. Will takes him into his home and essentially begins to think of Caesar as his son, but as he ages and his intelligence begins to rapidly increase Caesar believes that he is no more than a pet to Will. So begin his questions of freedom and uprising. The story is quick and well told, although it is told in a very predictable manner. I found myself at times already knowing for sure what the next scene was going to be. The ending however was rather good and definitely sets up for an eventual trilogy of these movies.

Acting: In my mind there was only one real great performance and one well done performance. The great on being that of Andy Serkis as Caesar and the well done being that of John Lithgow. Serkis has everything down from the movement to the looks its just an absolutely believable performance. Only if awards shows would give him some props but being in CGI motion capture the whole time doesn't sit well with them. But hey John Hurt was behind make up the whole time in Elephant Man and they gave him some recognition. Bad comparison?

Technical Aspects: The movies greatest achievement comes from its technical crew as the editing, camera work, and especially the special effects are top notch. In a world where special effects now seem to rule movies, these special effects are above the standard as I found myself at times knowing that they were special effects but hard pressed to believe it. Expect some awards this award season, but what would you expect from the people who did movies like Lord of the Rings and Avatar.

Any Issues?: Just a few and I mentioned one earlier. One issue I had was its predictability of the storytelling as I found myself knowing what was going to happen next. Also I feel they under used their talented cast and almost used all of them as character actors. The only real character I cared for was Caesar, but again maybe that was the point. Besides these two complaints everything else was great.

Dunn's Verdict: A nice surprise action reboot that will spawn a trilogy undoubtedly, but with how good the technical aspects and performance by Serkis was, this reviewer is excited to see what else is in store for the series.

4 out of 5

Until Next time.

Drag Me to Hell
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Drag Me To Hell starring Alison Lohman and Justin Long, is an absolutely brilliant return to the horror genre for director Sam Raimi. Raimi really shows that his strong suits are in the horror genre. You can really feel the Raimi's prints all over this one. Using his old tricks from the cheesy special effects, dark humor, and immense amounts of bodily fluids being emitted everywhere.

The story centers around Christine (Alison Lohman)who, in an attempt to get the new assistant manager job at her work, turns down a sickly old woman. Well Christine happens to turn down and evil gypsy who unleashes a terrible curse on Christine that will drag her soul to hell for eternity in three days. She also has to try getting her boyfriend's (Justin Long) parents to like her, but this is a very minimal part of the story. The plot is quite original and fresh, but if you have seen enough movies can be predictable but the movie is so much fun it is hard to care.

In terms of the actors, well hell you are not going to see any award winning performances but they all do their job just fine. Also there is no Bruce Campbell's so do not expect any wise cracking kick ass hero types in this movie.

Overall you are going to get a great homage to the glory days of horror movies. Hopefully we start to see Raimi return to the horror genre a little more because there is nothing quite like a Raimi horror movie. Maybe he will make another trilogy of horror movies out of this, probably not though but that sure would be awesome.

Mother (Madeo)
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

My love for South Korea cinema continues with Joon-ho Bong's Mother.

Story: The story follows a mother trying to prove the innocence of her son, whom is being blamed for the murder of a girl. The beginning of the story starts the viewer off before the beginning of the murder, then the film follows the mother as she slowly pieces together the mystery until the shocking conclusion. The film is quite funny as director Joon-ho Bong truly shows that he can balance humor and drama so fluidly. One minute you will laughing and the next cringing. Yet in the end what the film leaves you with is an example of true love and loyalty of a mother and son.

Acting: The two leads Hye-ja Kim and Bin Won were just perfect in this movie, especially Kim, whom I believe should have gotten some more awards recognition in the States than she was given. She plays the mother with such realism and passion that it transcends the film and makes you truly believe her in this role as the mother. Bravo, Kim, bravo. Another great job in acting was the character Jin Tae played by Ku Jin, who plays him with the mysterious, almost anti-hero guardian of the mother. He really brings a lot of cool to the character but at the same time leaves you unsure whether to trust him or not.

Technical Aspects: To me South Korea has some of the sharpest and best looking films I have seen in recent years. They understand the camera and how to use it to really create the emotions they want you to feel. There may not be many special effects, if there was any, but still just a great looking film with wonderful camera work.

Any Issues?: To be honest, not really. I can't think of anything I really disliked about this film. Maybe just that it got a little slow for me at times but besides that a really flawless movie. The only reason I did not give it a 100% is because to me that is reserved for classic movies and masterpieces, at this moment I do not know if I would consider this movie either. Maybe a second viewing is required.

Dunn's Verdict?: A really well acted, well shot murder mystery that manages to blend humor flawlessly in all of the horror and drama of this story. A highly recommended film to anyone who likes foreign cinema or murder mysteries.

4.5 out of 5

Until next time.

Barney's Version
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Next up on my reviews was one of my favorite actors, Paul Giamatti, latest movies, Barney's Version.

Story: The story is a grand retelling of Barney Panofsky's, played by Paul Giamatti, life with a emphasis on his three marriages, the last being his true love. Barney Panofsky is a sarcastically hilarious, at times calculating but in the end a man as Barney's first wife Clara says, "(He) wears his heart on his sleeve." In between his love life you get a glimpse into the relationships with his friends, mainly his friend Boogie played by Scoot Speedman, and his father, played by Dustin Hoffman. At times the story is quite funny, but in the end it goes down dark road and turns into a serious drama. While told in a grand manner it still can be looked at as a simple straight forward retelling of this man's life with a few twists and turns throughout the movie.

Actors: This is the area where the movie shines most as the cast has as good of a cast as the Eagles roster this season. Paul Giamatti, Dustion Hoffman, Minnie Driver, Scott Speedman, and Rosamund Pike are all fantastic as is the rest of the cast not mentioned. To me Giamatti is completely underrated in terms of awards as in my opinion he should of won for Cinderella man years ago. In this role he plays Barney throughout his whole life from a reckless Barney in his 30's to an aging Barney full of regrets. Hoffman as Barney's retired cop father and right hand man plays in one of his best roles I have seen him in a while. Pike plays Barney's true love and she plays it with a quiet strength. She is subtle but strong as each look, action or thing she says is done with passion and emotion. Driver seems to have fun as the Jewish princess and so does Speedman as the philosophical drug addicted friend.

Technical Aspects: In terms of direction Lewis does not really have any grand shots just seems to stick to more personal shots letting the camera almost seem as a bystander watching the events unfold. Shots that make you feel more on a personal level with the characters which helps to make the whole story feel more relatable. Another great technical aspect was the makeup which I believe got nominated for an oscar. Aging all the actors most have been a task and they did it great. Giamatti at the end of the movie truly looks like the worn down old man they want him to appear as.

Any Issues?: Now while I did feel the movie was good I found myself having one major issue with it. They could have cut about twenty minutes of it off as the movie seemed to drag on a little two long for my tastes. Essentially there was just scenes that felt unnecessary, for instance the whole side plot with Barney and Boogie to me seemed to have no point.

Verdict: A at times funny retelling of a man's life but ultimately a rather depressing relatable life story of a man who man have had a rough exterior but in reality "wore his heart on his sleeve." Fantastic acting and great make up make this worth a watch, especially if you like Paul Giamatti like myself.

3.5 out of 5

Until next time.

Source Code
Source Code (2011)
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Ya summer session at my school is over so I finally have time to watch more movies and write a few reviews. So I decided to start my movie watching with Duncan Jones newest movie Source Code. I am going to break it down into all the separate parts of the film and break down each one. So without anymore waiting here is the review.

Story: The story begins with a disoriented Jake Gyllenhaal, in the leading role as Captain Colter Stevens, on a train he does not remember getting on. We are introduced to one of the supporting characters here in Christina Warren, played by Michelle Monaghan, who treats Captain Stevens as if they have known one another for quite sometime but he has no idea who she is. Before we get to much more insight an explosion happens and Captain Stevens wakes up in some unknown pod again unaware of how he got there only remembering he should be somewhere in Afghanistan. Here we are introduced to Colleen Goodwin, played by Vera Farmiga, who briefly reveals what is going on that Captain Stevens is being sent in to this train to find a bomb placed on the train and the person who put it there. We are finally let in to the true purpose later on by Dr. Rutledge, played by Jeffrey Wright who explains that Stevens is being sent back in time to find the bomber to stop a future bomb from happening. One thing Source Code manages to do is have quite an original story that manages to have many twists and turns throughout its short running time, only about an hour and a half. The story moves along rather quick to but this shows how well Jones manages to keep the pacing going as the action, suspense, and emotions never let up. Duncan Jones shows that he is not just a one hit wonder and manages to show that a toned down number of sets can still make for grand movies. It almost seems like a futuristic Murder On the Orient Express as all the characters are suspect. A definite plus is how its better written and more intelligent than most action movies today that rely on explosions and terrible one liners *cough Michael Bay *cough

Acting: The cast is great as the four main actors are great for their roles. We have Jake Gylenhaal as the tough intelligent but always questioning war hero trying to find out the truth, Michelle Monaghan as the intelligent but caring love interest, Vera Farmiga as the sympathetic technician trapped between her job and what is right, and Jeffery Wright as the driven but heartless doctor wanting to prove his work. Jones really picked a great cast as even all the minor supporting characters all add their two cents to the story.

Technical Aspects: Jones has managed to become quite good as a director as I think he is beginning to become more and more experienced with each movie. The movie was shot well and had great action editing that knew when to slow down to build emotion or speed up for the action. Also, the special effects were not to bad either as the explosion scenes were really quite good, slow motion explosions are awesome no matter what. One scene that was pretty interesting and well shot was a one shot no cut away of Captain Stevens jumping from the train and rolling on train platform. There was obvious special effects but it was impressive as a shot nonetheless.

Any Issues?: To be honest not many as the movie as an original action movie was quite enjoyable and entertaining except for one part and that being the ending. I obviously will not ruin the ending but for those who have seen the movie will understand. The ending really did not make sense with the rest of the movie as a whole as throughout the whole movie Source Code's science is being explained by Jeffrey Wright's character and in the end I feel like none of it mattered. It essentially left me a tad bit frustrated and wanting to call foul. It did not add up with what was being explained throughout the whole movie and I have my theories on what it meant but still think that it doesnt add up. Besides that however the rest of the movie was quite good.

Verdict: An enjoyable original action movie that still remains grand even with its toned down amount of sets and huge action sequences. Good cast, camera work and special effects make the experience better, even if the ending essentially left this reviewer frustrated. Still would recommend it for a fun action movie night that is more intelligent than most of the garbage action movies that come out nowadays.

Hope you enjoyed the review, until next time. -Alex