Daniel R.'s Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

127 Hours
127 Hours (2010)
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Personal Score: 9.5/10

Danny Boyle has been one of my favorite directors for a while now, and this film is a great example as to why. I won't go so far as to say he's the only one who could make a story such as this a great film, but he's probably the only one who could make it this great.

James Franco stars as Aron Ralston. Aron is a young, adventurous, and often reckless person who makes the foolish mistake of hiking into the Utah wilderness without informing anyone as to where he'd be. He's experienced, cocky, and of no mind that anything will go wrong. The trouble is that it started to go wrong before he left.

We all mostly know what happens. Aron falls along with a large rock and when they land his arm is between the rock and the crevice wall, and since he told no one where he'd be going, no one will know where to look for him. Here is where a lesser filmmaker or simply the wrong one would have gone in a less effective direction.

I can imagine a different movie where there are cuts between Aron and his worried family, or some kind of search and rescue operation with a determined person who will stop at nothing to find him because they're certain he's alive. We all know that drill. Boyle, thankfully, doesn't do this. His focus is on Aron and Aron only. He tells his story while at the same time making us wonder what we would be willing to do in the same situation. Could you really gather enough grit and determination to cut off your arm, and with such a poor tool? Would you drink your own urine when you ran out of water? What would you think about in your time alone, thinking you might die? What would your regrets be? Your shattered dreams? Your hope?

127 Hours succeeds in asking these types of questions and showing Aron's perspective what his answers would be. Heck, a lot of this film is all about perspective. There are a few times, here and there, that the imagery and memories are a bit ineffective or strange, but never so much that they harm the film. It is an excellent work by an excellent filmmaker, and James Franco's performance was definitely worthy of its Best Actor nomination, and in many other Oscar seasons it would have won. This is easily one of 2010's best films.

Mortal Kombat
Mortal Kombat (1995)
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Personal Score: 5.5/10

I can remember well the first time I saw this film. It was my brother's 8th birthday and this movie released that same day. He and I were obsessed with video games and the idea of one of our favorites being adapted into a film was so exciting. We sat in the theaters to watch it and from the opening credits on we were hooked. When it ended, we thought it was the coolest movie we'd ever seen.

That was a long time ago.

Now that I'm a bit older, a bit wiser, and much more of a serious movie-goer, I can look at this movie in a much more realistic light. It isn't a great film. Heck, it's really not a good film. It's corny, ridiculous, silly. But still, after all these years, I kinda like it.

Mortal Kombat is a story about...well hey, who cares, right? Some evil sorceror is trying to take over the Earth by using another evil sorceror to do his dirty work and the greatest earthling fighters have to compete in a tournament to save it. Makes perfect sense, right? What the movie really is is a vehicle to watch actors portray the favorite fighters of a beloved video game and then watch this beat the crap out of each other.

The film contains all the fan favorites: Lui Kang, Raiden, Johnny Cage, Sonya, Scorpian, Sub-Zero, Kano, Shang Tsung, Goro, and even some cameos from others. The story is silly and the dialogue suitably goofy. Christopher Lambert is probably the most notable actor in the lot, and even he doesn't seem to know what to do with his lines, but who could? But again, it hardly matters cause all you really want to see is the fights.

The fight scenes in this film are very cool and fun to watch. Yeah, there some moments where you have to roll your eyes during some really extreme grunting and yelling, but overall they're entertaining. The greatest of those fights takes place before the midway point of the film between Scorpian and Johnny Cage. For all its cheesiness, I still enjoy hearing Scorpian's "Get over here!"

I don't need to go much further in praising or criticizing this film, because technical merits mean little to it. If you're a fan of the game, you may find yourself enjoying this little ride despite your more refined movie tastes. If not, then you probably are gonna be one of those people who walk into a room while it's on and wonder why the goobers watching it can't change the channel. Mortal Kombat is the very definition of a guilty pleasure.

Apocalypse Now
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Personal Score: 10/10

It is hard to describe the incredible film, Apocalypse Now, after just one viewing. It is a war film, but not in the typical sense of the term. Most of the time when we say "war film" we mean a film that takes place in and is therefore somewhat about a particular war, such as Saving Private Ryan, which took place in WWII and was somewhat about it as well. With Apocalypse Now, however, this is not the case. Yes, it takes place in the Vietnam War, but to say it is about it isn't exactly true. This film is about war itself. This is a look into the very soul of conflict, and what one must become to attain victory.

The film's plot centers around Captain Benjamin Willard (Martin Sheen), who has been assigned to terminate the command of Colonel Walter E. Kurtz (Marlon Brando). Kurtz is a soldier with so many decorations, so much pedigree, that Willard is puzzled as to why he is asked to assassinate the man. He is told that Kurtz has gone insane and that his methods are unsound, but as the film progresses and Willard learns more and more about the man he must confront, he begins to believe this isn't the case. He is unsure of whether or not he can kill this man, but more than anything he wants to confront him.

The film is a long, creeping journey into the very heart of darkness. I don't mean this as a pun reference to the Joseph Conrad novel from which the film is based, but the title is definitely appropriate. As Willard and the men assigned to him travel upriver, we see just how much of an effect war is having on them. The further they go, the darker things become. They become deadlier, more primal, anxious.

Finally, when Willard meets Kurtz, we are introduced to a man who has seen what he calls "horror," and has befriended it. His speech to Willard about horror is one of the most memorable I have ever seen, and is both terrifying and fascinating.

This film's relevance was also quite striking. Listening to the way the characters describe their enemy, particularly Kurtz's description of their strength to kill dispassionately and without feeling, one cannot help but think of the current war climate in the Middle East that America is in, and that the enemy she faces is one that doesn't fight like regular armies would.

Apocalypse Now is an incredible, epic war film. It is unlike any other of its kind, and perhaps better than all others. Francis Ford Coppola has directed several great films, most notably The Godfather trilogy, but for my money, this is his greatest achievement in filmmaking. Apocalypse Now is a masterpiece.

Daniel - Der Zauberer (Daniel The Wizard)
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Personal Score: 0/10

Okay, here's the deal right off the bat: I have never watched this movie. In fact, I'd never heard of it until very recently, when I checked IMDB.com's 100 lowest rated films. There it sat at number 2, and I thought: "Why does the 2nd worst movie have my name on it?"

This is criminal. Of all the names that could've been first to be used among the worst films ever, mine is closest to the top. Even Justin and Kelly (From Justin to Kelly) are looking up and laughing at my name. What a load of crap!

Now I'll never be able to become a wizard in the Harry Potter world if there's another story about it, cause they'd have to say, "There's Daniel the wizard." to which someone would reply, "You mean that REALLY crappy movie?" Why God? Why?

The other bad thing is that there's no company at that spot to make me feel any better. The next names on the list are Ben and Arthur, and guess what? They share the number 7 spot. Now I don't want to minimize how bad it is that their names are there, but at least there's company. Heck, they could even argue over who should be 7 and who should be 8. And even after those two Justin and Kelly share spot number 16, and we all know they're too stupid to care cause they'd just sing about it. Why can't they be at the top?

Daniel is suppose to be a great name. I like it. Daniel stuck it out all night in a den of lions. He wasn't number 2 on a crappy movie list, he was the number 2 to King Nebuchadnezzar, the most powerful man in the world. Now that's some name justification, baby!. Why couldn't they throw Daniel the Wizard in the lion's den and everyone just forget about it?

So anyway, I really hope no one will take that list too seriously. If you've pondered naming your kid Daniel, don't let Daniel the Wizard stop you. It's a great name. I know, cause I've worn it all my life and I'm better because of it. And Ben and Arthur are good names. Justin and Kelly are good too, as long as you don't have both. Now that'd be bad.

L.A. Confidential
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Personal Score: 10/10

There have been many great films set in the City of Angels: Chinatown, Mulholland Drive, The Player. But the film that sits atop that prestigious mountain of excellence is L.A. Confidential, a mesmerizing film that peels back the glitz and glamour of '50s L.A. to reveal the seedy, filthy muck of criminals, drugs, prostitution, and murder that lied beneath it all.

What makes L.A. Confidential so brilliant is that while it has a great plot, it isn't reliant on it. This is a character film, and Los Angelas is perhaps the central character. It is a film about crime in L.A., about how it is done and how it is fought against. Each character is portrayed with such subtlety, each scene crafted with such precision, that one truly can't help but admire it.

Kevin Spacey is outstanding as Jack Vincennes, a Hollywood cop who consults on a popular t.v. show. Guy Pearce is equally great as Ed Exley, a by the numbers detective who lusts after promotion and recognition, even if that means enduring the hatred of his fellow officers. Russell Crowe is a man on fire as Bud White, a man who dishes out hard justice even if he must bend the law to do so. Kim Basinger, who most deservedly won Best Supporting Actress, is amazing as Lynn Bracken, a Veronica Lake look-alike who slinks across the screen like the Hollywood sirens of old, and yet could stand very distinctly beside them.

I could go on and on with the actors, because there are many and each are outstanding. The plot I'll leave you to discover on your own. It is a brilliantly twisted tale where nothing is as it seems as danger lurks around every corner.

L.A. Confidential is a modern masterpiece that was unfortunately robbed of Best Picture by a certain James Cameron cash cow about a certain sinking ship. You may or may not have heard of it. Make no mistake, this was the best film of that year and one of the best of the '90s, and it should not be missed.