Micah Fleck's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

La La Land
La La Land (2016)
13 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

"La La Land" is grand. Not as good as Chazelle's "Whiplash" from a couple years ago, but still a near immaculately made film from a technical standpoint. Can't really find a tangible gripe for it, so I guess that means it's one worth recommending.

My main hiccup with this movie is that it is completely safe. This is a movie that clearly aims for "Best Picture" heights, because nothing is quite so ingratiating to Hollywood than a movie about Hollywood. Especially when this "La La Land" in question is presented with virtually no flaws or corruption. I understand that the film is doing this intentionally, and that the whole idea of the aesthetic is to bring back visions of the Gene Kelly golden age of Hollywood musicals. And to that end, the film is executed with near-perfect precision. But I could not help but keep thinking back to "Whiplash" and how bold that film was both in presentation and the statements it was making. This film is likewise about never giving up on dreams, and the more realistic, non-coruscating elements which bookend the film promise a real payoff on that front. But the majority of the movie's main body is so concerned with getting just the right lighting, just the right dance moves, and just the right timing that much of the blood, sweat and tears that come along with that promise are cast aside.

This is a movie that simultaneously knows exactly what it wants to be and yet flirts with something dingier and more poignant. And my admittedly personal tastes almost always respond more to the latter. So for me, this film is a technical marvel that objectively deserves all of its accolades from a purely cinematic place of critique, but it just doesn't have anything truly original or memorable to say. And that is disheartening, because Damien Chazelle might just be the most talented person in movies today. I just hope he continues to push himself and his audience into more groundbreaking territory in the future.

Hidden Figures
13 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

This was my personal pick for best film of 2016 (despite the date displayed on Rotten Tomatoes, it was technically a 2016 release, and was up for Best Picture of that Oscar season).

I knew it wouldn't win. But I thought it was because La La Land would. I'm glad that didn't happen, either.

This movie is one of the most important and entertaining films in recent memory. It uncovers a largely untold story about what really happened at NASA during the space race, and how a group of brilliant, strong women of color were not only important to America's success on that front; they were essential.

The acting is top-notch across the board. The writing is witty and engaging. The direction is masterful. The cinematography is exact and painstaking. The only thing wrong with "Hidden Figures" is that it took so long for the story that it tells to go mainstream. As a movie, it is about as perfect as it gets. As a biopic, it is actually a needed story that isn't simply retelling something everyone already knows about. As a social commentary, it is more necessary that ever-- it celebrates minority empowerment, science and innovation, human ingenuity and perseverance, and individual excellence. I can't think of a finer set of traits for a motion picture to display today.

Sully
Sully (2016)
13 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

The film had very stiff competition this past Oscar season, so not being nominated for any major awards only makes sense. Having said that, "Sully" is a film that I think was largely overlooked or forgotten about this past year, and I'm not so sure it deserved that. Sure, it isn't Hanks or Eastwood's best, but even these men's "worst" work towers above the best efforts of most. These are masters at their craft doing fine work telling an actual true story that is far better executed and far more well written than the grossly overrated and similarly plotted "Flight" from a few years ago. If you want an actually gripping story about a pilot who crash-landed a plane, pick this one.

Logan
Logan (2017)
13 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

"Logan" was decent. First half was better than the second half. Can't really go into what my major problems were with it without going into spoiler territory, but let me just say that they repeated a mistake that they made in the third film in the poor way they treated a certain element of the series. Kind of baffles me, to be honest.
Pros: Best film representation of the Wolverine character by far. The R rating was necessary to show what a bloodbath his world really would be were he real. Glad they didn't pull punches, there.
The setting and pacing of the film was also perfect. Wilderness and uncertainty best suit this subject matter. The silly X doors and spandex suits of the typical films are gone; replaced by a gritty realism that heightens the tension.
It actually ends. No "next time on X-Men" after credits scene; no inappropriate sense of tying up every single loose end to satisfy the unsatisfiable fan boys; just an ending to a film that carries real weight and a sense of finality. It doesn't linger, and it doesn't tease. It just sends Hugh Jackman's portrayal of this character off in earnest. And on the whole, it was satisfying.
Cons: That aforementioned poor handling of a certain element of the series I can't risk spoiling.
The supporting cast was actually pretty bad. The main villain is a caricature; the informant character that gives the backstory is one dimensional and convenient, and the little girl running around shrieking all the time was annoying as hell to me. But the movie clearly thinks she's brilliant, so there is far too much of her.
It's a fine film. It's certainly the best X-Men film. But is it "The Dark Knight" of this franchise like one critic wrote? Not in my opinion. Saying "fuck" all the time and showing blood and guts does not on its own equal a "mature" film to me; real depth to character motivation and plot does. And at the end of the day, "Logan" is still a movie about bad guys doing bad guy stuff because they are bad guys, and though the hero might be an antihero in this case, he's still not too difficult to figure out-- no matter how much his co-stars act like he is.

Get Out
Get Out (2017)
13 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

What makes "Get Out" so genius is the layering it presents to the viewer. The deeper into the plot we go, the more of what is *actually* happening in the film's world we discover. However, even along the way when things are still uncertain and motives unclear, the dialogue, visual cues, events, setting, etc., are full of historical and social commentary that the more astute viewers will catch onto. For me, it worked.

What we have here is a film that has so many different levels of meaning, and yet at the same time is just a fun comedy-horror flick that would have been worthwhile on its own even without all the extra depth. But that extra depth elevates it from just being another "good horror movie" and makes it a standout film that works in multiple intellectual settings and across genres. It's a thinker's movie, for sure. The real-world poignancy is there, but Jordan Peele trusts his audience to find it on their own without spoon-feeding or hitting them over the head with the symbolism.

Best and most thoughtful horror film I've seen since "The Babadook."