Bryan Ferry's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

The Girl Who Played with Fire (Flickan som lekte med elden)
4 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

After the relative high point the first film established, The Girl Who Played With Fire roars onto the scene, just without the flames or character interaction one would expect.

Not that the film is bad, per say, but it certainly ditches the emotional oomph of the first film, that being the relationship between Lisbeth and Mikael. They're separated so completely from each other that the story feels compartmentalized and disjointed.

Major Spoilers ahead

The film essentially starts where the last left off with Lisbeth riding around in excess after her successful (and ridiculously contrived) heist from the previous film, spending her money on travel, new furniture and a new apartment. Her life is looking up until a series of murders linked to a sex trafficking ring's near exposure to the media happens. She's framed for the murders, and hides out for most of the film, sending cryptic messages to Mikael as he attempts to get to the bottom of the murders.

This is the bulk of the film, a cat and mouse, back and forth, little by little detective story that culminates in Lisbeth finding out her Father was responsible all along, a man who was not only involved in the sex trafficking ring, but also an ex intelligence operative gone rogue that also framed his estranged daughter for murder. A daughter who had lit him up like a paper lantern when she was 12 for abusing her mother... If it sounds ridiculous it's because it is.

What before, in the previous movie, was "normal" people becoming involved in an extraordinary matter turns into a soap opera made for Quentin Tarentino in the second film. The amount of preposterously unrealistic and conveniently coincidental happenings in this film are too much to ignore, or to suspend disbelief for. It's just so contrived and it comes off as a fanfiction written by a 16 year old.

It all culminates into a late night, revenge fueled meeting between Lisbeth and her father (oh, and her 8 foot tall half brother from another fling that literally can't feel pain and acts as the father's murderous muscle). She attempts to kill him, fails, gets told it was all business, we get spoon fed some exposition on him, her brother and Lisbeth herself which then leads to her being pushed outside to a freshly dug grave. She attempts to flee, fails, and gets shot three times, once in the head even. She's buried alive, lay's in the grave until dawn, and then digs herself out with her cell phone.

Now there comes a time when a movie oversteps the boundaries of realism a little too far. This is that time. To think a 90 pound woman who has been shot three times, once in the head, could escape a grave... after hours of being underground... with a cell phone... And then still manage to assault and nearly kill both her father and half brother, is laughable. No it's beyond laughable, it's borderline hysterical. Although the tension in the scene is palpable, and the blood soaked frame of Noomi Rapace is intimidating to a degree I didn't think possible, the way the scene moves to that point in time is so absurd I couldn't truly enjoy any of it.

Now I could perhaps deal with the farcical aspects of the film if the two main characters, the two who I thought had such great chemistry in the previous installment, actually had ANY screen time together, or even spoke to each other on a phone.. The most we're given is email tag and Mikael clumsily coming to her rescue at the end, again, with nary a bit of exchange between the two. These movies (and I can only assume the same applies to the books) work because the two protagonists feel real and play off each other's drastically different personalities so well. When you strip that away, as is the case in played with fire, we're left with a film that is comically told.

The absurd story on display is so apparent because of the lack of obfuscation by the leads interacting. I didn't really notice how contrived and full of holes the first film was in the moment, because of Lisbeth and Mikael being together. Now there's nothing but a hackneyed plot left to watch.

If your a fan, watch it I suppose, but if the first film left you lukewarm, this will only solidify your apathetic feelings towards the series. I'll give props to Noomi Rapace once again, but that's not enough to save this franchise.

Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1
4 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

I must admit something, I watched the other three films in the "franchise" with rifftrax commentary only. This film however, I am disappointed to say, was watched within the confines of a theater. My friend's girlfriend bought me a ticket so we could all go "enjoy" the newest film, not knowing I despise every single fiber of this so called "saga"

I must say, that even without the commentary of Mike, Kevin and Bill, Twilight is nearly as hilarious. This film is devastatingly bad, on a level I nearly can't describe in words. The actor's are completely stiff, awkward and their delivery of the preposterous dialogue borders on some of the worst I've seen since Plan 9. The story is about as superfluous and meaningless as it gets.

So, with that out of the way, I'll concentrate on the real reasons why Twilight is such a poorly written and conceived "saga", the obvious and numerous contradictions within it's own setting.

Vampires are shown to be made of what I can only guess is porcelain, lacking any fluid in any way. Yet, Edward somehow gets a chub and knocks up Bella. That's one point for impossible, another is the fact that Vampires are dead, meaning no new cells being created, meaning no genetic 'material' being created for the purpose of said knocking up. Another point for impossible.

They are shown to sparkle in the light of day, yet when in Rio, not a twinkle from Edward.. so, even with the contrived and ridiculous spins made on the vampire myth, it can't be consistent within the confines of it's own lore.

The vampires are starving in the second half of the movie as they are unable to feed because of oversized cg wolves sieging their estate. Yet when Bella becomes sicker and they find that the baby needs blood to survive, the father of the house magically produces dozens of bags of blood for her to drink. One, drinking blood would do nothing for this baby hell beast as blood would simply dissolve and breakdown within the stomach. Two, if the baby is connected to Bella in any way, say, an umbilical cord, it would be getting blood anyway. Three, if dozens of bags of human blood were in the house, the vampires would have devoured them by that point, what with them going out of control when smelling or seeing blood.

There are more, however, this movie really doesn't deserve analysis, and the fact that I spent my time writing this is a testament to my own stupidity. In fact, I'll end the review with one line, a quote made by the great Thomas Jefferson.

"All Twilight needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent."

Maybe it was "All tyranny needs" can't remember, doesn't matter.. It applies all the same.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
4 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Time to review the franchise that's become more popular than Twilight lately. Regarding the first film, it's advertised and described as an adult thriller for a mature audience, however, outside of the graphic violence and sexual themes, it's nothing more than a Agatha Christie run of the mill crime mystery.

Major Spoilers ahead

Lisbeth Salander is the star of the trilogy, as everyone who's paid attention knows, and is played by Noomi Rapace. In Dragon Tattoo she does a great job of becoming the anti-social, disturbed and victimized young woman that's been propped up as a symbol of modern feminism. And although I do find her a breath of fresh air in a sea of mediocre and homogenized protagonists full of Mary Sue characters (google mary sue for the literary reference), the pro-feminism claims are a bit ridiculous.

She's a victim, in every sense of the word, and although she does exact vengeance on the individuals who have harmed her, it doesn't change the fact that this narrative is walking dangerously close to female abuse fantasy. The morbid rape and subsequent revenge torture are sickeningly graphic and unneeded. We can be alerted to the fact she was raped without having to see every disgusting detail, and the same goes with her revenge against Bjurman.

Besides my distaste at those scenes, the other problems have to do with some inconsistencies and just cliche mystery story devices. She's a master class hacker, yet needs her friend to tell her whether or not her computer is broken, let alone the fact that she didn't keep any sort of backup, and she uses an apple, again being a "master" hacker, right. 40 years after a girls supposed murder, her uncle asks a reporter, who was recently convicted of slander, to solve the case that no one else has? The woman who is discovered to be alive and living in Australia, knowing how disturbingly sadistic and violent her brother and father were, never attempted to alert anyone about them? In 40 years!?!

The only saving grace of the film is Noomi Rapace's performance regarding Salander and Michael Nyqvist as Blomkvist. The two do have a very good screen chemistry in this first film and play off each other well, in subtle but endearing ways. However, when Lisbeth suddenly, out of nowhere, jumps Blomkvist's bones, I felt confused, as her character up to that point had been shown to be a lesbian, and after her molestation and violent rape, it felt out of place. It doesn't help that she then simply goes back to acting normal and stand offish and never attempts anything of the like ever again.

The story feels rushed and not very well thought out. Lisbeth at one moment garners your affection, but then the very next makes you feel uncomfortable and uneasy. Perhaps that was the point, but it still made the character hard to fully support as she's just so damn alien.

Overall it's a beautifully shot film with some great performances, it's simply that the narrative structure and plot inconsistencies and holes make the actual tale a bit of a bore and one that doesn't feel very realistic. The ending has got to be the most contrived thing I've seen in a while. But if your looking for a less than complex "who done it" with some great, unique characters, check it out. Just don't expect the story to leave you reeling.

Centurion (2010)
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Centurion is one of those movies you start to watch and think, for just a moment, that it might actually pull off the material well and provide a meaningful, enjoyable story. Then you see the female Pict tracker sporting loads of mascara and you realize what a fool you were.

The movie revolves around one man named Quintus Dias, a Roman soldier stationed on the Scottish frontier during the Legion's attempted foray into totalitarian rule over the UK territories. He's a simple yet proud man that takes pride in Rome and her people. But his world is turned upside down when a Pict raiding party decimates the fort he's at and takes him prisoner. The rest of the movie is centered around his escape from their clutches and the subsequent attempt to flee enemy territory with a few other Legionaries.

I'll start with the good, which is the beautiful locations and lighting. The countryside is captured wonderfully and the washed out tone set upon the backdrop of the Scottish landscape sets a nice mood. The music, although not memorable, is sufficient in keeping the movie grounded in the warfare epic it's striving to be. Orchestra swelling and moody lulls dot the picture which is what is to be expected.

Now, the bad. To start, the characters are simply caricatures of ruff and tumble Legionaries with no brains but lots of heart, that is of course minus the protagonist who is smart, brave, loving and an unbelievable fighter with no flaws to be seen (zzzz). The Picts are displayed as soulless, murderous barbarians with no capacity for mercy making them both a boring and single faced enemy. Also there is nary a lick of development between any of the characters. All the Romans are strong dignified soldiers (minus one) and all the Picts are crazy voodoo tribesman that revel in Roman blood, not a single character strays from this mold which makes for a boring movie when considering characterization.

Now the fighting, which although bloody, is neither realistic nor suspenseful. The blood sprays out in digital streams of matted on pixels and the limbs, heads and bodies of the men in the fights get cleaved apart as if they were made of paper mache. It's astounding how easily people's heads just get sliced in half at the nose with nothing but a mild swing with a gladias or short axe (Think Kill Bill without the fun). Duels between the more important characters are devoid of excitement and wind up ending in the most boring and predictable ways imaginable.

Finally, I'll touch on the terrible period and logic based inconsistencies. From mascara on the Pict tracker to salon styled hair on a gorgeous hermit out in the woods to giant, flaming, perfectly rounded boulders being shoved down a heavily forested area at the ninth Legion, illogical and ridiculous decisions by the crew pop out at the viewer and scream "I make no sense!".

One of the worst that caught my attention was a scene where the small band of soldiers infiltrate a Pict camp at night, silently killing their way to their captured general, only to find they can't break the chains that are tying him to a rock and must flee without freeing him. Yet in the very next scene, the Picts simply swing an axe into the chains instantly breaking them. You would think that if you formulated an elaborate plan to sneak into a camp with thousands of enemies to free a comrade you would figure out a way to break some iron chains, but apparently all those axes from the Picts they killed on their way to him never seemed like a plausible answer to their dilemma...

All in all Centurion is a very predictable, very mediocre movie set in an era and location with a lot of potential. Sadly, the movie takes advantage of none of it and instead goes down the easiest, bloodiest and ultimately most unfulfilling route they could and leaves the viewer with a sense of loss. That is, a loss of time.

There Will Be Blood
5 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Possibly one of the most absorbing films I've ever watched and yet it's slower than a snale. That pace however never hindered my immersion or enjoyment... not once...

The story centers around Daniel, an oil prospector during the turn of the century. The entire beginning of the film, for I'd say 15 minutes, has no dialogue. It's simply shots of him digging on his own, in his youth, attempting to strike it rich with the downright primitive instruments and tools of the time. It implies towards the end of the voiceless introduction, in my view, that he accidentally discovers an easier way of drilling, at this point in history it's nothing more than dropping a collar (a heavy cylinder of iron or steel) into the hole repeatedly, essentially digging the hole.

Which is at the heart of what I found so fascinating about There Will Be Blood. It, along with being one of Daniel Day Lewis's greatest performances, is a history lesson in the way endeavors at this time took place. It's more accurate to the time period than I could have ever imagined and the technology and techniques shown are absorbing to watch. From the derricks themselves to the clothing and locations, it's a snap shot of the 1900's lifestyle in California.

After his discovery of easier oil extraction, the story transforms into his quest to acquire as much of the Bakersfield lands as possible, so as to maximize his profits. Daniel is a bitter, controlling, greed driven carcass of a man that hates nearly everyone he knows and meets. He purposefully buys the land from the desperate and poor individuals in the area for fractions of what it's worth and does it with the intention of using them until they're nothing but dust.

The rest of the movie revolves around the conflict between Daniel and the preacher of the town who is just as greedy and crazy as he is. Both are shown to be snake oil salesman and the path that their lives tread down is one filled with rage, deceit and malice.

The cinematography of this film is absolutely top notch, with scenes that span a full ten minutes without a cut at times, something that is sorely lacking in today's fast paced, cut and splice ADD driven movies. The desolate landscape, the bleak and washed out lighting, all of it created an atmosphere that I couldn't sop watching, even if I wanted to.

The music is the one odd aspect about the film. Created by the lead guitarist from radiohead, it's claustrophobic, tense and almost violent in it's execution. Scenes that in any other movie would have basic scores added to them are instead drenched in dread and anxiety. It worked very well in my opinion, though others might find it off putting.

To end, I must reiterate how engrossing Daniel is as the lead. He's rotten, evil and tainted to the very core of his being, yet at times I found myself connecting with his mentality in ways I wished I hadn't. For as crazy and malicious as he is, he carries a devilish, dark intellect that would make even the most courageous of men shrink back in fear and respect. He is impossible to deny and he infuses the character with a tenacity and blind ambition so strong it's hard not to watch in awe of his acting.

There Will Be Blood is one of, if not the greatest low budget films of the last 30 years in my opinion and stands as a testament to the acting chops of Lewis. It doesn't hold your hand, it doesn't have a message beyond that of the corrupting power of greed and the resolution comes in a nearly anti-climactic fashion that feels more organic and fluid than any movie I've seen as of late. There's nothing else to be said, watch this film, absorb this film and bask in the amazing power the movie carries with it.

110% if I could give such a score...