Oliver J.'s Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Dawn of the Dead
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Dawn of the Dead is another of George A Romero's horror classics. Gory, shocking but still tasteful and meaningful it tells the story of 4 survivors of a zombie outbreak. We have no insight into how the outbreak occured but the film starts in a news room once the pandemic is in full swing. Stephen, a member of staff at the station and the resident helicopter pilot plots to take his girlfriend Francine and steal the station's helicopter to escape the growing threat of a zombie ambush. At this time a law has been imposed to deliver over any harboured zombies to officials and a SWAT team including Roger is breaking into a block of flats to kill a roomful of zombies hidden under local guard within. It's in this building that Roger (who knows about Francine and Stephen's escape plan) meets Peter from another SWAT team. He informs him of the escape plan and that night Stephen, Francine, Peter and Roger escape in the helicopter. They stop for fuel outside the city and have a close escape with some zombies. The main body of the film however is shot in a shopping mall, the 4 survivors hatch a cunning and violent set of plans to stay safely at the mall since it has a significant amount of food, weapons and supplies. Dawn of the Dead shows Roger and Peter barricading the doors of the mall, hunting down the zombies left inside and looting and stealing. As time passes society collapses outside of the closed up mall, the group have a nasty battle with a group of heavily armed bikers and shoot numerous zombies.
Beyond the shallow gore and blood and guts Dawn of the Dead uncovers the psychological problems Roger and Peter have, the fun they take in killing zombies and one SWAT team member at the start of the film is killed by his colleagues to end his rage and the shooting of everything in sight, human or zombie. The ending is also very clever, I wasn't sure what was going to happen, I think however I prefer the gloomy alternate ending. The gore is non-stop in Dawn of the Dead and for the 70s it's fantastic, Tom Savini deserved some more recognition for his role in the special effects. The high standard didn't slip throughout as zombies were beheaded by helicopter rotors, decapitated by machetes, blown apart by shotguns and run over by trucks. The zombies themselves were just extras painted grey and weren't always frightening.
The cast in Dawn of the Dead were quite strong, David Emge played Stephen, Ken Foree was Peter, Scott Reiniger was Roger and Gaylen Ross was Francine. Scott Reiniger was brilliant as Roger, the humane SWAT team member who turns later on into a murdering psychopath.
Dawn of the Dead is a real classic from Romero, it is one of my favourite horror films and puts some modern 'infected/zombie' films to shame.

The Lovely Bones
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The Lovely Bones is a US film adaption of Alice Sebold's novel of the same name. The film tells the story of Susie Salmon who is brutally murdered by her own neighbour George Harvey. This film for me was a huge let down for several reasons, some of the acting was quite poor, the stupid 'heading to the afterlife' scenes were just distracting and the lack of emotion in the murder scene is a problem.
The Plot = It's 1973 and Susie Salmon (Saoirse Ronan) is 14, living with her father Jack (Mark Wahlberg), mother Abigail (Rachel Weisz) and her siblings including sister Lindsey. Susie is a keen photographer and we know from Ronan's narration that she took a picture of her murderer once when he got in the way of one of her shots. We are told quite early on that it's the 6th December when Susie is killed and on that day at school she organises a date with Ray Singh (Reece Ritchie). On her way home she walks through an eery cornfield and sees her neighbour George Harvey (Stanley Tucci) who convinces her to check out an underground 'den' he's created for the local kids. Susie becomes uncomfortable in Harvey's prescence and attempts to leave, it's on this night that George Harvey kills Susie. The movie shows her escaping, she see's her worried family file her as a missing person but when she tries to talk to them they don't respond. Susie Salmon is in the 'In-Between', not on Earth but not in heaven. She makes a new friend who is also in the 'In-Between', Holly (Nikki Soohoo) and Holly tries desperately to persuade Susie to move on, away from Earth and her mourning family. Meanwhile on Earth Susie's father is told by the investigating detective that it's likely Susie was murdered and so he starts obsessively searching for the murderer amongst their neighbours, Susie's sister also suspects George Harvey towards the end of the film.
The quality of acting in The Lovely Bones is extremely varied, the deceased Holly (Nikki Soohoo) doesn't give a very convincing performance and generally annoyed me throughout the 'In-Between' scenes whereas Stanley Tucci plays the psychotic murderer superbly, I would even go as far as saying he was one of the best aspects of the film. Mark Wahlberg also gave quite a strong performance. The scenes in which we see Susie in the 'In-Between' are obviously supposed to show Susie's imagination but they are poorly constructed and distract the viewer from the emotions shown on screen. A good scene however is the sequence in which Lindsey breaks into George Harvey's house, a lot of tension is created by director Peter Jackson in this scene. Another good scene is the one in which we see the girls that Harvey has killed over the years where they were dumped and discover where he has stored Susie's body.
In a sentence 'The Lovely Bones' is a powerful and emotional story badly executed by Peter Jackson as a film.

X-Men: The Last Stand
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

X-Men the Last Stand has some major flaws which the previous X-Men films didn't have. All the X-Men films include a lot of action, some of it is pointless and shallow but 'The Last Stand' has too many explosions and gunshots. It gets boring! I noticed a lot of quite big characters dying as well which isn't always a good thing. This may be down to a new director Brett Ratner.
In this X-Men installment a 'cure' has been developed which simply changes mutants, taking away their powers and leaving behind a human. The humans create guns that shot darts holding the cure and injections for mutants who want to be 'cured'. However, the film actually starts 20 years before the end of the 2nd X-Men film with Magneto and Professor Charles Xavier going to meet a very young Jean Grey and her family, ten years later in the next scene we see a young boy in the bathroom trying to cut off his mutant wings. And then we are back to present day with the scientists behind the 'cure' announcing it's release.
We meet some new mutants in 'The Last Stand' which is expected, Beast (Kelsey Grammer), Angel (Ben Foster), Juggernaut (Vinnie Jones) and Multiple Man (Eric Dane). Old cast members return which means character development is already there. Vinnie Jone's role was ridiculous, when Juggernaut has momentum he can run through anything, it's the stupid humour Juggernaut uses and his accent that makes him seem out of place. Beast is a half-decent character but we really don't see enough of him.
In this X-Men film Jean's powers or Phoenix's powers become apparent, we don't really see her huge powers in the previous films. The different uses of mutant powers which are tied into the story are sometimes quite clever. The ending to 'The Last Stand' is stupid, towards the end Magneto is shot with the 'cure', why at the end did anyone decide to show him move a metal chess piece, I don't think it had the desired effect and it just annoyed me, a completely unnecessary cliff-hanger ending!

Memento
Memento (2000)
6 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Memento is an original and beautifully complex thriller from Christopher Nolan. Guy Pearce stars as Leonard Shelby, a man who suffers from a rare case of short term memory loss which he gained from a hit over the head by the men who raped and murdered his wife.
Memento is structured so that we see the end of the film's timeline at the beginning, this means we see Leonard kill someone he seems to know, Teddy (played by Joe Pantoliano), it seems this is an act of revenge for the murder of Leonard's wife. The film is shot in a variety of black and white and colour sequences. I only started to notice at the end that the black and white sequences are shown in chronological order and show Leonard's thoughts and phonecalls with an anonymous caller whilst the colour sequences which are shown in reverse order depict Leonard's investigation into who killed his wife. And so a matter of minutes into the film we know the end but anyone who has seen Memento know this isn't the case, the last minutes of the film show the first chronological events which are in fact the true ending and plot twist. Also at the end of the film the black and white and colour sequences join and come together.
Leonard's condition and the methods in which he deals with it like the tattoos, photographs, notes and props are intelligent and well thought out, if you had this form of memory loss you would need notes and pictures that you are bound to see when you wake up or sit down to jog your memory. We see a note on Leonard's hand which is shown numerous times throughout the film 'Remember Sammy Jankis' and this note and name is important to the finale when we discover Leonard's secret.
Leonard (Pearce) is on the hunt for the 2nd of two thugs that attacked his wife, he only has a name, John G the police don't believe his claim that there was a second man present, Leonard's condition and the clues at the crime scene suggest that John G doesn't exist. Leonard does seem to have the help of Natalie (played by Carrie-Anne Moss) who helps him hunt for John G and cop Teddy helps with the search (Pantoliano).
The story behind Momento actually came from Christopher Nolan's younger brother Jonathan who wrote a short story with a similar plot and name. The originality and style of the film are brilliant and so both brothers triumphed with Memento. I think the casting was pretty good as well, I think Brad Pitt may have been suggested for the role of Leonard but Guy Pearce was the better choice, his narration and acting made this film even more spectacular. Carrie-Anne Moss was also a strong addition, I particularly liked the scene in which she comes in beaten up and the clever reasons behind this. Overall, Memento is my favourite Nolan film and an awesome thriller with an original story behind it!