Taylor Piske's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Under the Skin

A movie that's chilled to the bone. I left feeling very cold, also confused, a little disturbed. I'm hesitant to say I enjoyed watching Under the Skin, but it probably enjoyed watching me watch Under the Skin. The unsettling music and all the bizarre wtf-ery onscreen had me extremely uncomfortable. My eyebrows were knit for most of the movie. Whether I enjoyed it or not, I thought the imagery was really beautiful, especially in the latter half of the movie. Cold, windy, dripping Scotland. And the sounds were incredible. Windshield wipers, footsteps, the rustle of clothing. Everything was so guttural and sounded so alien. Must have been the effect they were going for, alien. The entire movie feels just that, alien.

I Am Number Four

If you like staring at Dianna Agron then I recommend. Otherwise, I Am Number Four is pretty much a waste of an hour and a half.

Pulp Fiction
Pulp Fiction(1994)

This movie is, in a word, badass. I feel like more of a man just for having watched it. Every word of dialogue is interesting, stylish, and fresh. Every scene is unforgettable. A classic. Awkward silences will never be the same.

Les MisÚrables

I tried to get myself to fall asleep in the middle of another Hugh Jackman cheese-fest, but the movie proved to be too annoying and loud for me to reach blissful semi-consciousness. I absolutely hated this movie.

Let's lay it out. I've never seen a stage production of Les Mis, nor have I read the novel. I knew nothing about nothing in terms of story, characters, or songs coming into this movie. I had no idea they'd be singing every word of dialogue for two and a half hours. If operas and all-out musicals are your thing, this won't be a problem for you obviously, but I can't stand that stuff so Les Mis was on my bad side from the get-go.

To make things worse, Hugh Jackman doesn't sing a melody, just a chaotic rise and fall of random vibrato, and Russel Crowe just shouldn't sing at all. Yet they're singing like the whole time. Really annoying stuff. In fact, grown up Cosette was the only singer I found enjoyable to listen to.

The story is relentless in wanting to make you feel sorry for these miserable people, creating one melodramatic scene after the other. I was not convinced, though the people sitting on either side of me were bawling their eyes out at this sap. The story was syrupy in 'emotion'. It pulled no punches and featured no subtleties, which made it a little exhausting to watch, especially since it's such a long movie and every member of the cast hams it up to the max when they finally get to sing their line of dialogue.

Out of all of my friends who have seen it, I'm pretty much the only one who hated Les Miserables. Maybe I missed something. Maybe I should have read the book or watched the play before diving into this movie. Or maybe this movie does a bad job of drawing in new fans instead of catering to hardcore ones.

Seven Psychopaths

Seven Psychopaths is an interesting one. It's a comedy built around bizarre dialogue, self-referential commentary, and black humor. Sam Rockwell and Colin Farrell took up much of the screen time, and didn't find either of them particularly funny. The only guy I really got a laugh from was Christopher Walken. The stoners sitting next to me thought everyone was hilarious though, so maybe my sense of humor is off. If you find people being shot through the gut and burnt alive funny, you'll probably agree with the stoners more than you will with me.

I was most impressed by how strange the plot was, intertwining itself with the screenplay the main character, Marty, is writing in the movie in a really fresh and interesting way. I read someone say Seven Psychopaths petered out for the last 45 minutes, but I thought the crazy last half of the film was stronger than the first. Maybe I liked the desert shots.

The dialogue is what really pulled me out of the movie. Unless Walken or Harrelson were a part of them, conversations felt contrived rather than natural. I kept getting the feeling that whoever wrote the script was trying to pull off Tarantino, but kept missing the mark.

I gotta say, the ending was clean. I loved it. There's a particular psycho whose story is really eloquently tied up, and it forced me to dig up some respect for what I thought was an overall spoofy, exploitative movie. Well done. But I probably won't watch it again.

The Town
The Town(2010)

Essentially, The Town is a tale of star-crossed lovers mixed up in some dirty mobster business. Most aspects of the characters and premise are pretty shop-worn. The ending wasn't what I expected, and was actually pretty poignant in my opinion.

I know white trash east coasters have dirty mouths, but having your characters say 'fuck' every two seconds doesn't make them more real. Unless you're Quentin Tarantino, it makes your script lose all quotability, and just gets annoying. Try using different words. They're more interesting.

I can't knock the performances though, cause they were all pretty great. Unless we're talking about the SWAT teams. According to Ben Affleck, three pinned down bank robbers > an entire police force. All I have to say about that is tear gas.

The Breakfast Club

Cookie-cutter characters whine about their little white kid problems until they start crying. Tasteless, tacky, melodramatic, and obnoxious.

The Dark Knight Rises

What impresses me about The Dark Knight is how little it feels like a superhero movie. It's dark, realistic, and very smart. Rises is all of that, but dialed back a notch. Its darkness is less potent, it's far less believable, and it lets its fair share of cliched plot points in. It's still a very cool movie, and I don't regret spending $12 on the ticket, but it didn't blow me away. The attention to detail is a little lacking.

I have to say though that Catwoman is insanely well done by Anne Hathaway. Whatever doubts you had about her being able to pull it off, leave them behind. Complex as a character, perfectly acted, and super babelicious, she's easily my favorite part of the movie.

Donnie Darko
Donnie Darko(2001)

That was weird. Slightly confusing too. But I really liked the mood of the whole movie. I expected it to be much darker and creepier, since the whole story line is about going crazy and hallucinating about giant bunnies and the end of the world, but it turned out more quirky than anything.

I was especially impressed with the cast. Jake Gyllenhaal, the foxy Jena Malone, Patrick Swayze to really give it that 80s vibe. Even Batman's girlfriend is in it! And holy crap, is that Crazy Steve?! From Drake and Josh?! It is. Instant respect.

I'd been told that the plot of this one is labyrinthine, but I didn't think it to be overly complicated. Bizarre, definitely. Difficult to follow, not really. Some of the finer points to the plot (and the director's meaning for the entire thing) are less clear and might need a trip to Wikipedia to have explained, but you won't miss out on anything major in the first viewing. The best part about the plot is that it's so unpredictable. This is no cookie-cutter indie flick. It's very original.

All that good stuff being said, I wasn't all that moved by Donnie Darko. The script was great, the story was interesting and off-the-wall, the ending was satisfying in its tragedy, but I didn't feel shaken by this movie which so clearly wanted to shake me. That's just me, though. Different for everyone.

Last and definitely least, the special effects could have used a little work. I did just see The Avengers, so I may subconsciously comparing the two.

A Christmas Story

You can watch Elf. You can watch It's a Wonderful Life. You can watch A Charlie Brown Christmas or Miracle on 34th Street. But nothing beats A Christmas Story. It is truly a classic.

Driving Miss Daisy

I'm a big Morgan Freeman fan, so I felt compelled to see this one since it's supposedly one of his big movies. I was a little disappointed. The entire cast played their parts very well, but the story line just wasn't original enough to really make this movie a keeper for me. Plus, I'm not all that interested in movies about racial prejudice. I saw Remember the Titans, so I'm good now.

That said, there isn't a whole lot to dislike in this movie. It's got a good message, a great script, and old people spoon-feeding each other pumpkin pie. There's a lot of good in there. That explains why I've never heard a word said against this movie whenever I ask about it. It's nice and sweet. I guess I'm just cynical, cause its innate charm didn't overwhelm me like it has many others.

Lastly, the soundtrack was also very sweet, and in my opinion, also very lame. But that's less a function of Driving Miss Daisy, and more a function of the 80s. Come on. The harpsichord stopped being cool in, like, the 17th century.

The Amazing Spider-Man

It's Spiderman with a hotter girlfriend, a lamer bad guy, fewer fight scenes, better special effects, and a lot less funny. Though this one was alright, I find Raimi's vision a lot more entertaining. Watch it for the foxiness of Emma Stone. Or Andrew Garfield. Your call.

Austin Powers in Goldmember

Am I allowed to review a movie I didn't finish? Cause I couldn't make it through this one it was so unfunny to me. I would have found it pretty hilarious if I were in the 2nd grade, but now that I'm out of elementary school, the humor is pretty lame. Fart jokes and over-acting. Meh. Meh to the max.

The Cabin in the Woods

I almost feel guilty for having waited for The Cabin in the Woods to go to the dollar theater before going to watch it. It deserves much, much better than that. This movie is scary, suspenseful, and (surprisingly) hilarious. Most of all, it's unexpected. I had no idea that I would ever laugh that hard at a horror movie, or feel that much respect for the writers behind one. If you're tired of the conventional, The Cabin in the Woods is the place to go.

And Dana's a total fox. So that helps.


The opening to Prometheus, sweeping, beautiful, and haunted landscapes accompanied by a surprisingly inspiring score, caught me off guard. From an Alien movie, I expected far less grandeur. The scale of this one is absolutely massive, so seeing it on the big screen is almost a must in my opinion. Shot for shot, Prometheus is dark and absolutely beautiful. I loved watching it for the sake of watching it.

Unfortunately, the stunning visuals are used to dress up a far less stunning action movie. There are plenty of problems with the story, most of which are due to a lack of explanation. There's a lot going on and you don't exactly know why any of it is happening. I'm assuming Ridley Scott is leaving a lot up for "viewer interpretation," but I wish he had tried to have a few more things explained for us.

I didn't really care though. I thought the movie was great. It's really gorgeous and very intense. The special effects will blow your pants off, and the epic scale is pretty frickin' cool. And that's all this movie is really meant to be anyway. Pretty frickin' cool.

Moonrise Kingdom

If you like quirky, go see Moonrise Kingdom, because it is the quirkiest movie I've ever seen in my life, and it's absolutely great. From the sets, to the dialogue, to every movement the actors make, this movie is consistently plucky and whimsical in its own toy-like way.

The first thing you'll notice about the movie, is that it's gorgeous. Every scene has something special to look at. The attention to detail here is pretty astounding. When costumes and sets are set up so meticulously, every detail suddenly has meaning, which really helps to create characters that feel real.

The feel of the movie is really what drew me in, thanks in part to the wonderful cinematography, but also to the fantastic score which complemented it so well. Wes Anderson really knows how to create a certain mood with his movies. It's quite the spectacle.

The only real complaint I have against Moonrise Kingdom is in the special effects department. For the few scenes that needed special effects, they weren't done very well, which slightly broke the movie's spell, broke the streak of absolute quality. Animating an explosion and some shirts fluttering through the rain shouldn't be that difficult nowadays anyway.

Moonrise Kingdom is really refreshing, but it won't work for everyone. For those of you who dislike the indie quirky movie, this is not for you. For those of you who do, get ready to smile for an hour and a half straight.

Battle Royale

I couldn't believe it when I looked on Rotten Tomatoes and saw the Tomatometer all the way up to 86% for Battle Royale after having just struggled through its 2+ hours of amateur acting, nonsensical plot, and devastatingly lame dialogue.
The premise, a batch of 7th grade kids being forced to fight each other to the death on some deserted island, is extremely underdeveloped. Why are these kids even here in the first place? They're told it's because "They were disrespectful to their elders. Also, the world is a game that they must play," or some epic load of crap like that. Yeah, it's that kind of movie. The kind that wants you to think it has a great plot hiding somewhere off-screen, but is, in actuality, as clueless as to why any of this is happening as you are.
And don't get me wrong, I'm okay with watching really bad movies, because B-movies are usually played off as a joke and thrive in their own cheesiness. They know they're bad. What makes me not okay with watching Battle Royale is how pretentious it is. It's like the director was convinced that what he was making would be a thought-provoking masterpiece, toting a message of a ruminating wisdom that would really impact its viewers. Not with that script, buddy. You can tell it's trying so, so very hard to be profound and deep, but when characters are spending their last words on lines like, "You look really cool, Hiroki," and "These cookies are really good," it's hard to take anything else the movie has to say seriously.
Besides the wonky "plot," the characters were pretty forgettable. With 41 kids to kill off in a couple hours, you can probably imagine there isn't much character back story or development for any of them. And you're right! You don't know anything about anybody! Oh wait, my bad, we're shown that some of them play basketball. Sweet. So as I watched the movie, I had very little emotional investment in any of the melodramatic little kids running around shooting each other repeatedly in the chest, and stabbing each other in the genitals. I began wishing that the whole damn island would erupt in a rapturous flame that would purge my soul of the frustration that had been mounting up inside of me from the get go of the stinking heap of trash that is Battle Royale.
But here are some good things about the movie:
- It's over and I never have to watch it again.
- It instills a new respect for American films in its viewers.
- You'll laugh, you'll scream, and you'll cry. Not for the right reasons, though.
May the odds be ever in your favor, because if they are, you'll never wind up having to watch this movie, and that is a very, very good thing.