Andrew Milito's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension
9 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Despite a reputation that certainly overshadows the actual quality of the film, Paranormal Activity breathed a new sense of life into the horror genre with it's found footage approach, catalyzed by the likes of The Blair Witch Project but cemented as a common genre staple by this out-of-nowhere 2007 smash hit. But alas, a simple, relatively grounded story of catching spooks and scares on tape has become a convoluted heap of trash. For 88 minutes, a runtime that feels twice as long, our blank slates for characters (if you can successfully match a name to any of the four adults, you deserve a medal) go through the series' motions of seeing spooky events unfold, and then watch the characters see the spooky events unfold themselves. Rinse and repeat at least thrice. Now, however, the story tries to wrap up loose threads of a scattered timeline from the other installments. It's painfully obvious none of this was ever intended from the start, as the ultimate conclusion is anything but fulfilling; if anything, it makes the timeline and overall storyline even more confusing.

Also in series tradition, The Ghost Dimension has to shoehorn in a new technological gimmick, since subtlety seems to be a lost cause for this franchise. The previous entry (excluding the Marked Ones spin-off) introduced Skype and the Xbox Kinect to the fray, so this film takes it up a notch with a camera capable of seeing the spirits directly. Unfortunately - but also completely expectedly - their appearance comes as a muddy CGI effect, not even bothering to hide in the shadows most of the time to veil just how ugly of a visual effects job it is. The creature pops its way out of every possible nook and cranny, hoping that a combination of a sudden flash of unfamiliarity paired with a loud sound effect is enough to startle you. Six films into this series, this formula just doesn't work anymore: this supposed "final installment" is hopefully the nail in the coffin of a franchise that has long overstayed its welcome.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
9 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has the trappings of the movie capable of shaking up the superhero formula that has dominated for nearly a decade. Zack Snyder continues with the storytelling angle he introduced in Man of Steel, exploring a side of these characters that, while changing up many defining aspects of their individual histories, offers an interesting modern twist. Much of the first half takes the time to attempt to delve into two opposing ideologies, and it's in these slower moments that Snyder shows his most promise within the confines of this story. There's a lot going on here, perhaps too much for one film, but it takes its time in establishing arcs, not rushing into the big moments.

And then the movie kicks into gear, and all of Snyder's built up goodwill is thrown out of the window of one of the many skyscrapers in Metropolis. More subplots are piled on, rushed through with as little development, if any, as possible, and promptly discarded. We're subjected to out of place dream sequences and egregious foreshadowing to what's to come as, slowly, the movie devolves into a giant mess of confusing character motivations and even more dreary atmosphere. The poor cast are trying their hardest, but they too are brought down with the ship: the likes of Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, and Jesse Eisenberg are so much better than the highly emotionless, or in Eisenberg's case, over-the-top in a diametrically opposed way, performances they're forced to give.

Once more, Snyder proves that he's a director of style over substance: Batman v Superman is consistently stunning as far as visuals go, but those visuals soon begin to dominate the film. Yes, it's a movie that's nice to look at, but at a cost, one that almost sends the whole film crumbling. The film's opening intelligently retcons the much criticized third act of Man of Steel, turning a scene of widespread collateral damage into a catalyst for Bruce Wayne's entire arc, only for the film to continue with massive setpieces that, once again, show a general disregard for human life. At one point, Batman, in his Batmobile, flips, smashes, and explodes multiple cars full of henchmen, and the finale once again boils down to a mindless, city-leveling brawl that even teases a new approach to this formula before quickly changing its mind. It's as if Snyder has somehow simultaneously learned from his mistakes, and yet has a surging desire within him to keep making them.