Kevin Pantoja's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Get a Job
Get a Job (2016)
5 hours ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Strengths: Coming into this, I only knew Miles Teller (Will) and Anna Kendrick (Jillian) were the leads. That's enough to get me interested, as both are stellar. However, the supporting cast is filled with top notch names. Bryan Cranston (Roger), Alison Brie (Tanya), Brandon T. Jackson (Luke) and Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Ethan) are all very talented actors. Brie and Cranston stand out in their roles. That's not to mention the minor roles for people like John Cho, John C. McGinley, Jorge Garcia and Jay Pharoah. The chemistry between Cranston and Teller as father and son was a highlight. The movie doesn't take itself too seriously and that works in its favor.

Weaknesses: There are several weaknesses, but I want to point out that I'm surprised it was so poorly received. There are TONS of worse comedies. Right off the bat, as good as the cast is, a lot of them don't get a lot to work with. Kendrick particularly feels wasted without much of a story arc. I think more attention should've been paid to her character over some of the subplots involving Will's friends. They felt unnecessary and hurt the flow of the story. Honestly, Ethan and Charlie could've been cut out and I would've been fine with it. There are also some issues with the camera cuts at points. It's jarring and random, taking some of the fun out of things.

Overall: Not the kind of film that stands out, though not bad at all. Though it has a few plot problems, it never feels like a waste of time and is so short, it's okay to sit through the issues. I had fun watching it and that's all that matters sometimes. The tremendous cast is what makes this worth seeking out.

The Night Before
2 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Strengths: A big strength of this film was the cast. Ethan (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), Isaac (Seth Rogen) and Chris (Anthony Mackie) are all fleshed out characters led by talented actors. Levitt and Mackie are both great in the emotional beats of their roles, while Rogen gets the bulk of the physical comedy and is great with it. The supporting cast is just as good, with the highlights being Michael Shannon as Mr. Green, Lizzy Caplan as Diane and the hilarious James Franco cameo. Mr. Green's drugs being used as a way to pay homage to the past, present and future visions from A Christmas Carol was really cool.

Weaknesses: The concept behind this isn't that original. The story of people going out and having one wild night has been done before, as have things like Seth Rogen playing a stoner-type character. Also, while I did like a lot of the homages this paid to classic films, like Big and Home Alone, I don't think it did enough to make itself stand out as something special.

Overall: The performances and characters do more than enough to make up for the lack of an original concept. Gordon-Levitt is always great, Rogen was funny, Shannon was exceptional and everyone else was fun. It's not a classic, but a good holiday movie that I'm adding to a Christmas rotation.

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens
2 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Successes: There was a lot of hype leading up to this film. It had to succeed where the prequels mostly failed. It did. They did a masterful job of giving everyone the nostalgia moments while also mixing in a compelling story surrounding the new characters. Han Solo (Harrison Ford), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) and others from the original trilogy got great moments. However, the film's highlights are Rey (Daisy Ridley), Finn (John Boyega) and Kylo Ren (Adam Driver). The new characters are all engaging and well-acted. The big scene between Kylo and Han was an emotional gut punch. As always, the special effects were top notch and the score was phenomenal. There's a great story in here that works on its own and even better as the first chapter to a new trilogy.

Failures: There weren't too many of these. I did have an issue with some of this being too similar to A New Hope. Several scenes went beyond the idea of callbacks and felt more like retreads. I especially wasn't a fan of Snoke. I'm sure Andy Serkis will excel in the role going forward, but he wasn't given much to do here. Snoke may get fleshed out in later episodes, but for now, he just feels like the Emperor to Ren's Darth Vader and nothing more.

Overall: With high expectations, they went out and hit a home run. Despite a few too many similarities to Episode IV, The Force Awakens was a stellar film. The new additions to the cast were all tremendous and I found myself more interested in what they were doing than the stuff involving the iconic characters. This is the second or third best Star Wars film in my mind.

Welcome to Me
Welcome to Me (2015)
4 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Successes: Kristen Wiig. She stars as Alice Klieg and completely steals the show. Her portrayal is among the best work of her career, probably only second to being the lead in Bridesmaids. I don't know enough about this specific mental illness to say it was accurate, but it was enthralling. I found myself wondering what she'd do next and how the other characters would react. Wiig was good enough to make me care about a character who wasn't very likable.

Failures: The rest of the cast plays off Wiig well, but mostly feel wasted. With a lineup featuring Linda Cardellini, James Marsden, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Alan Tudyk, Tim Robbins and Joan Cusack (to name a few), I was hoping for top notch stuff up and down. Instead, a lot of them aren't given much to work with. Leigh walks out midway through the film and never returns, without much reason to care for her being there in the first place. I think neutering dogs scene was a bit much. It was uncomfortable and not in the funny way. I understand it was there to show that she'd gone too far, but there were probably more effective ways to do it. Lastly, I think the ending wrapped too nicely. It felt as if she had overcome her illness without much fight. I'm all for a happy ending, it just felt like there should've been more a struggle with something so serious.

Overall: The premise is original and very intriguing, but a lot of the scenes don't deliver the way you'd hope. The supporting cast isn't given much to work with and I cared about the protagonist because of the actor's performance, not because of how well she was written. Kristen Wiig makes up for several issues to allow for a solid, but unspectacular film.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
6 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Successes: First and foremost, the film gets commended for taking a story we originally took for granted, and finding a way to make it enthralling. Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is a tremendous character; one who is in competition for strongest female in the franchise. I say that and understand how well Princess Leia and Rey are received. She's great and Jones was fantastic in the role. The entire group of rebels is a diverse bunch that are all likable in their own ways. Chirrut Inwe (Donnie Yen) as a blind badass was one of the cooler characters, and I enjoyed his back and forth with his buddy Baze Malbus (Jiang Wan). K2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk) proved to be one of the better droid characters. He added a comic element to several scenes, while also getting one of the best moments in the climactic battle. Speaking of the big action scene in the end, it's a definite highlight. The scale is massive and the tension built throughout is excellent. You care about each group going through these battles. Honestly, all big action scenes deliver in spades, from the escape on Jedha City to the rain soaked battle on Eadu. Of course, everything is visually stunning. The last thing I wanted to touch on was Darth Vader. I know some were weary of his addition, but ever since the final moments of Revenge of the Sith, I badly wanted to see Darth in action again. We got that here and the scene where he destroys a bunch of guys brought out the excited kid in me.

Failures: Most of the casting in this is spot on, but I just couldn't get past Forrest Whitaker as Saw Gerrara. The idea to put a distinguished, veteran actor in the role was the right way to go. However, Whitaker is one of those guys who kind of sticks out. When I watched it, I saw Whitaker and not Saw. That was a major issue (among others) when I saw Will Smith in Suicide Squad. The CGI work on Princess Leia and Grand Moff Tarkin was also a bit distracting. The first act is also a bit too slow at points, with things only really getting going once they reach Jedha City.

Overall: Though it's not part of the official Star Wars episodes, this film is pivotal to the overall story. I know a lot of people accepted the Death Star plot hole, so this wasn't a needed story, but if you can put out a great movie, I say you go ahead and do it. It's a great story with tons of action and mostly original characters, with the right dash of nostalgia.