Tyler M.'s Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

The Amazing Spider-Man 2
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

There are spoilers in this review, you have been warned!

In the ever-anticipated sequel to the rebooted hit, Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) is enjoying being Spider-Man and all that that implies, including kicking butt and taking names. Now Peter suffers his greatest challenge yet, a nerdy shutout Max Dillon (Jamie Foxx) who garners electric powers and turns evil, his old friend Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan) who wants desperately to keep living using Spider-Man's blood, and the struggle of being in a relationship with Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone), after giving a promise to her late father about keeping her safe.

I will just say for the record, I love Spider-Man. I do. I think he is possibly my favourite superhero both in the comics and the screen. And despite the obvious flaws in all three films, the Sam Raimi Spider-Man films were all highly enjoyable and I found good qualities in all three of the films (yet, even Spider-Man 3.) But then it was announced that a new director and new star were going to reboot the franchise, I had cold feet, and of course, upon watching it, it rubbed me the wrong way. The Amazing Spider-Man 1 wasn't what I would consider a "bad film" but it also wasn't nearly as inventive as what Sam Raimi pulled off.

One of my main criticisms was that Andrew Garfield played off Spider-Man as a cocky, arrogant prick throughout the film when he donned the disguise, destroying the essence of what I felt Spider-Man should be, a likeable everyman persona instead of acting like a jerk, and thankfully there is very little of that in the film. Maybe Marc Webb saw my review of The Amazing Spider-Man 1 and thought to change that up, but I doubt it.

And with all respect, I think Andrew Garfield is a great actor. He's not who I would have picked to play Spider-Man, but I think that he is a talented young man who has a bright future ahead of him. He's not bad as Spider-Man, but then again he's not brilliant. Emma Stone is your typical, nice, everyday sweet love interest, and it's nice that they don't make her useless and don't result to giving her "Megan Fox Syndrome" if you know what I mean. And Jamie Foxx is absolutely interesting in this role. I say this because despite having one of the most unique, super-cool designs that I've seen a villain have in a motion picture since Bane, it's the writing that goes back and forth. How are we supposed to root for the hero if we feel sympathy for the villain. Before he turns evil, you can't help but feel that Max Dillon just wants some attention and to be noticed, and that in the end, you kinda don't want him to be evil or even to die. And then treating him like he had no redeeming qualities in himself at all. Maybe if Electro had a redemption near the end of the film then it would work, but regardless I love the design. And while Dane DeHaan wasn't necessarily bad as Harry Osborn, I felt that it was completely pointless of him turning evil at the end. I mean, really the only purpose this served was to have two villains, and honestly it's not needed. There are plenty of great films in the past that had only one villain, Spider-Man 2 is a prime example. Regardless, Dane DeHaan is pretty good. All the other actors are fine in the roles that have been given to them.

And while this film certainly didn't garner as much hatred as the first film did, I don't think this is that big of an improvement upon the first one either. It just felt kinda dull. Not bad, but not necessarily good. The onscreen chemistry of Garfield and Stone was pretty good and I can't think of a moment in the film where I was bored or wanted it to end. The action scenes were a lot of fun to watch as well, but it feels like one of those Hollywood sequels where not a lot of effort was put into it, and considering that this came out the same year as Dawn of the Planet of the Apes or How To Train Your Dragon 2 which were vast improvements upon the first installment, this one just kinda exists for now real purpose.

Hans Zimmer has some really beautiful chords throughout this film and the editing by Pietro Scalia was nice, but that's all I can really say about the film.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 isn't as outwardly mistake-riddled as the first Spider-Man, but it does improve upon several aspects while not improving the story or writing in general. Whereas Spider-Man 2 was an improvement upon the first and was even my favourite film of 2004 (yeah you heard me right), the other "2" Spider-Man film suffers, although the same mechanics could have made this a highly enjoyable film.

** out of ****
FINAL VERDICT: 52%

Divergent
Divergent (2014)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The young adult medium in Hollywood is really hit-or-miss. For every Hunger Games or Harry Potter, there's a Twilight or Percy Jackson. I will admit that even though I never heard of the Divergent book series by Veronica Roth, I thought that the film adaptations could make for interesting films.

In a futuristic Chicago, people live in several different factions according to their personalities. Abnegation for the selfless, Amity for the peaceful, Candor for the honest, Dauntless for the brave and Erudite for the intelligent. When the young adults come of age, they must complete a test in order to see which group they will live in for the rest of their lives. Beatrice Prior (Shailene Woodley) fits under an extremely rare faction. She's divergent, meaning that her way of thinking is different from everyone and she qualifies for more than just one faction. While living under dauntless and going from the bottom to the top, the government, headed up by Jeanine Matthews (Kate Winslet) are on the hunt for said divergents.

Or something like that. Honestly, this film left me confused and lost at various points. The prologue confused me, and the climax confused me. The second act got more interesting, but there are a lot of questions left unanswered. Why is it that if these rare divergents are supposedly dangerous that there are so many people who are accepting of Beatrice? Why is it that some people go totally change without having a scene developing it? The writing seems fairly uneven throughout.

The acting is good. There's no horrible acting here, and yet there isn't really an Oscar-worthy performances. Even the great Kate Winslet seems to be holding back in a lot of scenes. Not really much to say on the acting in this film of course.

I get the feeling that director Neil Burger really wanted to pay homage to The Hunger Games franchise with these films, as these two films have a lot of similarities. However whereas Hunger Games had a very thought-provoking message about the government and the media, Divergent tries to put that in, and the idea is interesting, but it's the execution that has it stalls. It didn't go quite in the direction I thought it was going to be, but I still didn't like where it went. Maybe this was how Roth's book was, I don't know, I never read it, but if it is, that just makes me not want to read the book anymore.

A sort of Hunger Games Jr. without the killing, scope or essentials, Divergent tries to be thought-provoking, but ends up stalling. The confusing, albeit interesting premise showed promise, but it ends up just going under the lore of other young adult films that are just meh. It's not a terrible film, or as bad as I thought it was going to be, as it's production design and a few interesting scenes kept me interesting, but honestly I was just waiting for the film to end so I could sleep at several moments during the climax. Maybe this'll be up your alley if you thought The Hunger Games was too coarse for you, but this is one series I probably won't be coming back to anytime soon.

*1/2 out of ****
FINAL VERDICT: 38%

The Monuments Men
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

The idea of this movie, about a group of six men finding art and monuments before the Nazis destroy them, is a noble idea, and one part of history that should be told and yet really isn't anywhere else, but not in the way Clooney tells it in The Monuments Men.

It certainly sounds from first glance to be an interesting movie, but combined with the fact that I took my nighttime medication just before watching it mixed with the fact that there is a lot of filler and pointless scenes, and it seems to be just a half of a movie with an excruciatingly long ending, The Monuments Men turns into a pretty lackluster one.

It's not the problem of the cast, which has a pretty nice one. The likes of George Clooney, Matt Damon, John Goodman, Bill Murray, Bob Balaban, Hugh Bonneville, Cate Blanchett, and Academy Award winner Jean Dujardin all pull off good stuff with what they have, but they are phenomenally underplayed. None of the characters are really standouts in the acting department and are played for laughs way more than they should in a story as serious as this. I am not saying that comic relief in a drama is a bad thing, I love it when when comic relief in a drama happens, as long as it is executed correctly. If done correctly, it can make a dramatic story more fun and watchable. Examples like The King's Speech or Slumdog Millionaire. But here, the comic relief makes all the characters seem childish and unreal. Also, the character development is oddly put. We learn so little about these guys that we end up not really caring, and outside of a few scenes, so sparse and far from each other, that are interesting, The Monuments Men really isn't a massive care-fest.

Not that this film gave me nothing. The production design and costume design are nice to look at, the music from Alexandre Desplat is a decent listen, like I said before, the actors are good, but no real standouts. The cinematography also has some pretty images throughout.

Though it is pretty boring and uninteresting despite the fascinating and unique storyline, there is a lot of visual splendor that made it almost enough to give it a good review. But sadly, George Clooney's The Monuments Men is not a treasure hunt that I want to attend again.

** out of ****
FINAL VERDICT: 47%

The Grand Budapest Hotel
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

"There are still faint glimmers of civilization left in this barbaric slaughterhouse that was once known as humanity"

The Wes Anderson nerd inside me just couldn't help but adore his latest venture into the obscure, yet fun world of The Grand Budapest Hotel.

In the most lavish, posh hotel in Zubrowska (a cleverly named fake country), the head concierge M. Gustave H. (Ralph Fiennes) is a well-revered individual, even if he is a massive womanizer, but for senior citizens and not young chicks like most playboys are. Anyways, one of his "wooed blondes" Madame CÚline Villeneuve Desgoffe und Taxis, or just Madame D (Tilda Swinton) gets murdered and leaves the hilariously silly painting Boy with Apple to Gustave in her will, and at the funeral, D's son Dmitri (Adrien Brody) pins Gustave as the prime suspect. Now Gustave and his recently hired lobby boy Zero (Tony Revolori) must set out to prove is innocence, with comic mayhem ensuing at every turn.

This story within a story within a story, cleverly composed by Anderson and story writer Hugo Guinness, is just a delicious spinning yarn. It could've been very easy to make a story like this uninteresting and boring, but Anderson populates the candy-colored world (marvelously put together by production designer Adam Stackhousen) with some pretty interesting and memorable characters, including a lovable rogue in M. Gustave H., played exquisitely by Ralph Fiennes. Included is a wonderful who's who cast ensemble that ranked amongst the very best I've seen in a Wes Anderson film, all of whom pull of great jobs even if they are only onscreen for but a few minutes. Noticeable standouts include Adrien Brody as the potty-mouthed, revenge-filled son of Madame D, and Willem Dafoe as J.G. Jopling, my favourite character, as Dmitri's emotionless assassin.

As huge of a Wes Anderson nerd I am, it's debatable as to whether or not this is his greatest film to date, but I think it is the most "Anderson-y" of the films he's done. This is in every way his film and his style. I love how no other filmmaker has the balls to make films like this, and for his individuality in a world where there are remakes and sequels that plague theatres is always welcomed. I go into further detail in my Moonrise Kingdom review, and while he does turn some off just by how "weird" he is, I have a strong feeling that homey knows exactly what he's doing.

Like the opening quote details, which is in my mind more true today than it ever has, and the story, about the humor and heartbreak of relationships is brilliantly weaved in Anderson's glorious script. The humorous moments gave me frequent chuckles, from the subtle to the macabre, but it also provides an interestingly thoughtful take on how friendships work. Gustave's deliciously prickish attitude coupled with Zero's quiet innocence quite literally makes this film, if you ask me. For as so much visual splendor is in hotel, and how much charm is in the concierge, I felt that the flick has a wonderful beating heart underneath all that deliciousness.

While not as funny as Fantastic Mr. Fox, or as magical as Moonrise Kingdom (I actually still say that Moonrise is the better feature), The Grand Budapest Hotel shines both as a humorous, candy-coated period piece but also as a thoughtful work on relationships. M. Gustave H. and his little lobby boy Zero are just as entertaining now, as they undoubtedly will be during repeated viewings, and if you are as big of a Wes Anderson fan as I am, then be sure to check into this hotel whenever you get the opportunity.

***1/2 out of ****
FINAL VERDICT: 88%

WALL-E
WALL-E (2008)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

WALL-E's brilliant animation, captivating story, riveting romance and quite incredible sound puts WALL-E among Pixar's best and among the best animated films, if not the best film, period.

The animation is brilliant, except for the humans, of course. And I remember when I saw WALL-E in the theatres, the cinematic charm and wonder over this adorable little robot filled the entire theatre.

And best of all, the first third of the film had very little dialogue and yet, it told an amazing story. That's true filmaking.

FINAL VERDICT: 96%

Mostly everything was great in WALL-E and I could watch it again and again and again and again and again