Thomas O.'s Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Zodiac
Zodiac(2007)
½

A slow-paced thriller that relies heavily on dialogue, but one that also looks sublime. It is nothing less than gripping, but if you need fast-pace, explosions and a general lack of artistic sensibility, perhaps look elsewhere.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
½

Possibly one of the most riveting, gut-wrenching and graphic films I have seen - but I enjoyed every minute of it. Noomi Rapace is spectacular as Lisbeth.

No Country for Old Men

I came away from the film disappointed - I'm no stranger to slower paced films and, in fact, I often prefer them. But I can't help but feel that for all the build-up, there isn't really a climax to the film, which unfortunately fades away.

Seven (Se7en)

Strong performances from the whole cast, the film is gripping, sordid and uncompromising.

From Hell
From Hell(2001)

Visceral, gritty and a percolating sense of dread, it may not be scary but it is gripping.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2

A fittingly underwhelming climax to one of the most overrated fantasy franchises in memory.

Drag Me to Hell

The film looked to have promise, and have a few jumpy moments. It is important to acknowledge that the film is somewhat of a homage to the B-films of old but, unfortunately I didn't feel that it lived up to the hype - or it's potential.

A Nightmare on Elm Street

One of the great horror films, the film is darkly witty and relentlessly haunting.
The effects may not have stood the test of time, and the film may seem slightly outdated, but the idea remains just as terrifying.

Halloween
Halloween(1978)

Classic horror in one of it's finest moments, Carpenter's 'Halloween' was another film that set the benchmark for most that followed. Suspenseful with a percolating sense of dread, the film is both visceral and memorable.

Zombieland
Zombieland(2009)

Endlessly entertaining, it is funny throughout with solid performances from the entire cast. Buoyant, charming and infectious, it is hard not to love this film.

Carrie
Carrie(1976)

A unique horror film with an unfamiliar antagonist, 'Carrie' is truly a classic film. Though the film is not typically horrifying, it is touching and heart-breaking at times, and we are left genuinely considering who truly is 'the monster' of the piece: Carrie or 'The Crowd'.

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre

A landmark film, it's lasting impact resonates even today. It is smart and used the camera in innovative fashion, it remains relentlessly suspenseful throughout and offers a number of scares.
One cannot help but feel that it has become somewhat outdated, but the importance of this film cannot be stressed enough.

Shaun of the Dead

Marketed as the first "Rom-Zom-Com", it successfully places a romantic comedy narrative firmly in a world overrun with zombies - with hilarious consequences. Fans of 'Spaced' will love it - it showcases the same snappy editing, charming wit and comedy talents of Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.
Thoroughly enjoyable and quite possibly one of the funniest films of the past decade.

The Wicker Man

A horror film that does not strive to terrify us as opposed to unnerve us, 'The Wicker Man' is uncomfortably understated. It remains calmly restrained whilst the narrative descends into mystery.
This is not to mention one of the most disturbing and memorable endings in cinematic history.

Cronos
Cronos(1994)

A stylish and original take on the vampire sub-genre, del Toro's 'Cronos' never ceases to entice or captivate. I would not personally classify this as a horror film, though I'm not entirely sure how I would categorise it.
The film tackles vampirism as though it were a condition, an addiction if you will - with one particularly poignant scene that stuck in the memory.
Intriguing, dark and, at times, touching.

28 Days Later
½

Rich in metaphor and with a poignant political message, '28 Days Later' offers an innovative look at the zombie sub-genre at a time when it seemed to be fading away.
It is visceral, scary and, at times, laced with dark humour. This is certainly a film to watch if you are a fan of the genre.

The Shining
The Shining(1980)
½

An undeniable masterpiece of cinema and quite possibly Kubrick's finest hour, 'The Shining' is riddled with complexities that one could not fathom on merely first viewing. It is chilling, thought-provoking and has had a resonating effect on cinema.
There are so many possible readings of the film that another film, the eagerly anticipated 'Room 237', has the sole purpose of trying to unravel some of it's interwoven mysteries.

The Blair Witch Project
½

The film that spawned the popular 'Found Footage' sub-genre, 'The Blair Witch Project' is undoubtedly one of the most important films in cinematic history. This is not a film that belittles us with terrible effects, it does not intend to make us jump and it is not interested in a 'cheap scare'. It is, however, a harrowing and innovative piece of cinema. The horror comes from your own mind, and it is what you make of it.
My one piece of advice for watching this film is this: watch it alone, in the dark, at night. These are the conditions all horror is best suited to, as it removes you from the constraints of a social situation and allows you to fully immerse yourself in the film and its world.

Poltergeist
Poltergeist(1982)

Considered by many one of the classic paranormal horror films, 'Poltergeist' is a restrained - but nonetheless chilling - take on a genre that it is easy to get carried away with. This is not an outright terrifying film, and it is not full of moments designed to make you jump. It is, however, designed to plant a seed of doubt in your head as to whether you are really alone when you turn the lights out.
A well-crafted and efficient entry into the horror genre.

Avatar
Avatar(2009)
½

What can be said about 'Avatar' that is not overtly obvious?
It is yet another Hollywood Blockbuster that poured millions of dollars into making this film look spectacular - and there is no denying that it does. It is possibly the movie spectacle of the past decade.
But it willingly sacrifices any attempt at an original story - refer to 'Dances With Wolves' (1990), 'Pocahontas' (1995) and various novels including Paul Anderson's 'Call Me Joe' (1957) and Ben Bova's 'The Winds of Altair' (1983).
The sheer laziness of the story undermines the spectacle, and ultimately hampers the finished product.

Inception
Inception(2010)

Relentlessly ambitious, Nolan aimed to introduce a degree of intelligence to a genre that otherwise relies on big-budgets, spectacle and an over-indulgence of an outdated masculine ideology.
This is not to say that 'Inception' fails to offer a spectacle, a number of scenes in the film gleefully showcase the capabilities of modern technology. Thankfully, though, Nolan was more interested in creating an intellectually stimulating narrative - one in which you cannot simply switch off and passively absorb.
'Inception' is not 'simply' another heist movie, it is not 'simply' anything. It is a complex organism that possesses it's own internal logic; it does not strive to adhere to what is universally acknowledged as reality.
Engrossing, innovative and utterly captivating, 'Inception' is certainly an anomaly in an otherwise predictable genre. To say it is simply a "film about dreaming" is abhorrently incorrect - and somewhat insulting. It could be argued that this is a film about the nature of cinema itself, or perhaps one that compares cinema to the nature of dreams.
My evidence to back such a claim: would anyone care to explain how Cobb found himself on the beach at the beginning of the movie?

Closer
Closer(2004)
½

Stage-to-screen adaptions are not necessarily - in my opinion, and seemingly the opinion of many others - the easiest to pull off. But 'Closer', which is based on a 1997 play of the same name, is not far off. Written by Patrick Marber, who also wrote the aforementioned play, the film presents us with an insight into some of the complications of love - or is that lust?
The film will hardly change your perspective on life, but it certainly serves purpose if you are looking for a Drama that makes you thankful for what you have to deal with or, more likely, what you don't.

My Week with Marilyn

'My Week with Marilyn' is not a particularly challenging film, but it was a joy to behold. Williams is fantastic in the way she conveys the various levels of 'Monroe': the woman, the concept, the myth. Vulnerable but always offered to her audience as nothing short of a spectacle, the film could be taken as a comment on Hollywood Stardom in general. As she herself claims: "People always see Marilyn Monroe. As soon as they realise I'm not her, they run."
The film offers little in the way of groundbreaking insight, but it never claimed it would. It does, however, offer entertainment, fun and a superb way to spend just over an hour-and-a-half.

Gone Baby Gone

A sophisticated, brooding thriller that kept the audience captivated for its entirety. It offers so many possible suspects that you are kept constantly guessing and - to the older Affleck's credit - the film remains ambiguous enough to give nothing away, but the clues are certainly there on second viewing.

Shutter Island
½

Scorcese's adaption of Dennis Lehane's 2003 novel is, in my opinion, of the few films released in the past decade that will be looked back upon as a masterpiece. It is beautifully shot, it oozes intelligence, with a style that is a throwback to the Film Noir of old.
This is not a film you will fully appreciate until you watch it three-to-four times - and perhaps even read the book for further detail and clarity.
Approach the film as if you were Teddy Daniels himself: Take nothing as it seems, question everything, and draw no conclusions until you feel you have culminated all of the evidence.

Eden Lake
Eden Lake(2008)

There are a number of moments in this film that may make you jump, and the setting of the horror had potential. Unfortunately, Watkins decided that it would be beneficial to join the media crusade against 'hoodies' and make his antagonists exactly that.
A disappointing waste of a good opportunity to create a truly terrifying horror film, with an ending that attempts to make some sort of political message, but only succeeds in dragging the film to an even lower point then the rest of this unmemorable film.

Pan's Labyrinth

Director Guillermo del Toro sometimes refers to 'Pan's Labyrinth' as his 'daughter', and as a companion piece to his earlier feature 'The Devils Backbone' (2001, ESP). It is a film close to his heart, and it is easy to see why he is so fond of it.
'Pan's Labyrinth' balances a percolating sense of dread with a captivating mysticism that indulges the audience - presenting us with the very meaning of fantasy, and it is a spectacle almost nonpareil in contemporary cinema.
The parallel narratives offer two ideological perspectives on an element that remains fundamental to story telling: good vs evil.

Once
Once(2007)

In an age of high production values, 'Once' comes as a welcome reminder that budget does not translate as success. It is refreshingly honest in it's approach to the relationship of it's two leads.
The film is captivating, utterly endearing and easy-to-watch, and you can't help but feel that 'Before Sunset' may have inspired the director somewhat.

The Matrix
The Matrix(1999)

A film made before it's time, 'The Matrix' is rich in metaphor, allegory and a showcase of various martial-arts forms. It is absorbing and delightfully entertaining.

Batman Begins

The first of Christopher Nolan's epic trilogy, 'Batman Begins' had the duty of functioning as an origin story. While this can sometimes bring a film down, Nolan approached the Caped Crusader in an ambitious manner, and succeeded. It was sophisticated, dark, psychological and, most importantly, it was more than just a superhero blockbuster.

The Dark Knight Rises

It was impossible for Nolan's closing act of his monolithic trilogy to avoid comparison with another multi-million pound superhero blockbuster. But my comparisons will end at this: they highlight two ways in which you can tackle this genre. You can be ambitious and try to redefine its very nature, or you can play it safe.
I feel to truly appreciate this film, you have to strive - and admittedly it is a struggle - to expel from your mind the temptation to measure it against its predecessor. 'The Dark Knight' was a phenomenal film, and to create a film as epic would have been unfeasible. So Nolan made, what I believe to be, a smarter, darker and more psychologically driven film. This was never going to be to everyones taste, but when is that ever the case?
The biggest obstacle Nolan had to overcome was his own brilliance, and I feel he did just that.

The Dark Knight
½

I feel this film has shown just what cinema is capable of in the right hands. 'The Dark Knight' transcends the constraints of a 'comic book film', almost redefining a genre in the process.‚®It would be wrong to review this film and not mention one Heath Ledger, whose performance is nothing short of phenomenal - even to the extent that the rest of the cast are often over-looked.

Saw
Saw(2004)

I would be more inclined to call this first instalment a crime thriller than an outright horror. This is an intelligent take on a genre that was, at this point, running a bit low on steam. It is a shame the same cannot be said about the subsequent instalments.

Marvel's The Avengers
½

As a whole, the film fulfils almost every expectation that any fan could have had. It is a magnificent spectacle, with an enviable cast and it fully delivers. Unfortunately the story is hardly revolutionary, but did we ever want it to be?

Moonrise Kingdom
½

It's hard not to warm to this film, as with most of Anderson's outings. The film possesses a boyish charm, luring you in with a unique love-story that I can't recall being covered on a regular basis. A fantastic cast with fantastic performances all-round, particularly from the two young leads Gilman and Hayward, who expertly convey an innocent portrayal of young love. I would whole-heartedly recommend this to cinema-lovers and the general public alike.