Mike Bierman's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Molly's Game
Molly's Game (2018)
1 day ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

The weakest Sorkin film I can recall. Chastain's performance was good (not great), but I didn't care about the character. Elba looked emaciated and gave the weakest performance I've seen him give, except perhaps, the disaster of Prometheus. The story wasn't compelling, moving, or particularly interesting. The immediate MASSIVE and CONSTANT use of voice over quickly began to grate and never let up. Much of the legal story plotting was quite weak and failed to show a significant understanding of criminal law. The attorney conduct in court was unrealistic and very unconvincing. The gotcha moment and "winning" argument against the prosecutors was painfully weak. The legal strategy was both unethical, while claiming to be so, and also weak. Significant areas of the story were glossed over where character motivation made little sense. The wanderings into the side story of Elba's daughter were very weak and did nothing to add to the film. I found the whole unconvincing and unsatisfying. For a far better film, watch ROUNDERS for the twentieth time.

Tomb Raider
Tomb Raider (2018)
17 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

MINOR SPOILERS.

I was forced to go see this because my girlfriend is in it. She was great, as always, but was held down by the constraints of a relatively uninteresting story and a mediocre script. This could have been compelling and a fine start to a franchise. It wasn't. The script never popped. It never rose above the pedestrian. It never became memorable.

The first 20 minutes of the film was totally wasted and could have been handled better with a mere three minutes of skillful writing. Several of the scenes were complete throwaways. Thus, the very weak first act failed to establish interest and convincingly build both the character origin and necessary relationships. Instead, we got a silly bike race. I can only recall a single outfit for Alicia, whose grace and beauty should have been far better utilized in the setup at the very least.

The initial second act Hong Kong scene also a total waste that should have been cut from the script before production. Walter Goggins did a good job, but the villain he portrayed was a cardboard cutout without depth, sufficient motivation, or any redeeming qualities. A one-dimensional and unconvincing baddy who also couldn't overcome a boring script. His character created an unnecessary plot hole left unexplained and gaping like an open wound. Rote and verbatim oral and visual repetition of the subject of the whole quest seemed to indicate they knew the whole point of the story was weak and uninteresting. Rather than fix it, they just repeated it to make sure we didn't miss the little bit they had done. The twist wasn't one, and was obvious from the beginning, lifted wholesale from ROTLA III. The stakes never felt real or significant, although they should have. The final cliffhanger a seeming paradox that could have been easily resolved by the father, yet was inexplicably left to become the story's not-so-secret moving evil force. Had the father simply removed the impediment in his control, there wouldn't have been any story at all. Hard to believe that none of these things were addressed before the flat, mediocre script went into production.

Hadn't seen Daniel Wu before. He was excellent, but just as they began to use him effectively, they cut his involvement and forgot what was working. Disintegrates into a CGI fest that mimics and palely echoes ROTLA. Still worth seeing if only for Alicia, but a very mediocre film. **.5 /*****. 49/62.

Downsizing
Downsizing (2017)
27 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Starts big and gets small, fast. Abandons its interesting premise for coffee talk and long, vapid stretches that go nowhere. Inexplicably obtuse and pointless. An otherwise fine cast wasted on shallow characters without direction or purpose. Ten minutes can go by without anything happening. Feel free to cook that meal and leave the film playing. You can pick it right up when you're done. You won't have missed anything. But you'll be back to where you were after the first twenty minutes, wondering what you're watching and why. *.75/*****.

I, Tonya
I, Tonya (2018)
28 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

A surprisingly good film. Very well-acted and thoroughly engrossing. If true, puts an entirely different face on the issue. Humorous and beautifully structured, with amusing fourth wall breaks. Managed to completely hold my attention despite not having a lot of interest in the subject matter. Well worth an attentive watch.

The Shape of Water
29 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

*SPOILERS*

VISUALLY, a strikingly beautiful and stunning pastiche of better films. A painfully obvious direct ripoff and patchwork reassembly of SPLASH and the Dutch short film THE SPACE BETWEEN US. Even the title of the short film is perfectly echoed in one of the feature film's most iconic shots. Even the recurring verdant sets clearly derivative of Edward Hopper's "The Nighthawks", which I kept expecting to see as an Easter egg on a wall. Unfortunately, this flagrant copy breaks no new ground in terms of storytelling. The plot feel and characterization are remarkably shallow.

The underlying MESSAGE, strongly anti-white, anti-capitalist, and anti-Christian. The utterly detestable Michael Shannon plays the villain, who is painstakingly painted as a married white Christian male. We got it. And as a cheat, a hypocrite, a racist, a sadist, a misogynist, and a rapey sexual pervert. He despises women, even as he uses them only for sexual gratification and menial labor. He commits anti-Christian acts at every turn whilst paying lip service to God. He is so racist that even his blackening, gangrenous fingers offend him so much he rips them off his body.

THEMATICALLY, strong arcs of bestiality and homosexuality complete the anti-Christian mix. Even the mechanism of copulation between fish-man and human-fish-woman was carefully described to make sure we couldn't miss it. A gratuitous masturbation scene was thrown in, presumably to make us understand Sally Hawkins' character was lonely and rejected. We got it. The pro-Communist theme completed by the hero of the film being a Russian communist spy. The American military depicted as crude, unthinking fascists bent on jingoism and evil-doing. The lonely outcasts of society were showcased and denigrated aplenty, with a particularly gruesome mockery of mute persons.

STRUCTURALLY, a shot-for-shot ripoff of the aforementioned films, with storyboards you could lay on top of each other and identically trace. The twist was obvious from the beginning, and the entire film very predictable.

ACTING was top shelf. Octavia Spencer was her typical likeable and comedic self and did a very fine job. Sally Hawkins and the rest of the cast were also excellent.

Highly overrated, with the thefts and warts overlooked due to the trending politically correct anti-American and anti-Christian themes, and other SJW-ish factors. It would be far more enjoyable to one who is blind to, or agrees with its messages, and who has never seen SPLASH and doesn't know about the blatant theft from the short film. I couldn't overcome the negatives and was left feeling disappointed and ripped off.
**.25/*****. 92/75. PASS.