Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
Forgot your password?
Don't have an account? Sign up here
Already have an account? Log in here
and the Terms and Policies,
and to receive email from Rotten Tomatoes and Fandango.
Please enter your email address and we will email you a new password.
No user info supplied.
Mother is a fantastic film about how powerful a mother's love can be, even to the point of corrupting an otherwise good woman. From the first moments of the film, the viewer sympathizes with Mother as her difficulties with her mentally-challenged son are made exceedingly evident. Jin-Tae's corrupting and negative influence has clearly altered Do-Joon's way of thinking and his mannerisms, leading to a dangerously unstable blend of ignorance and lewd thoughts/behaviors. As we view much of the film through Do-Joon's perspective, the viewer is often 'misled' from the truth due to Do-Joon's mental capacity and his view of the world around him. Bong Joon Ho expertly subverts the audiences expectations with the final twist and the resulting brutality, leaving the viewer to question their own morality (a common theme in Bong's films). What was especially striking however, was the inclusion of Do-Joon's rationale behind placing the corpse on the rooftop, which was distressingly sympathetic. The viewer, and Mother, is left wondering what Do-Joon truly knows about his actions and the actions of those around him, leaving the entire film in doubt. Bong's directing was once again superb, getting the most out of each and every actor on screen, especially with more minor characters who, despite limited screen time, felt relatively fleshed out and 'real.' This is one of Bong's strongest cinematic efforts and a must-watch for anyone who enjoyed the mainstream (and simply masterful) Parasite.
The Deer Hunter serves as both a tribute to those who (un)willingly served in Vietnam and a condemnation of the war effort, a dichotomy that became more blurred in films such as Platoon and Full Metal Jacket. But for The Deer Hunter, it focuses on the psychological impact that the Vietnam War had on its young participants. For the first hour of the film, the viewer is introduced to a rambunctious group of fun-loving Pennsylvanian steel-workers who enjoy deer-hunting and tail-chasing. The wedding party scene serves as the perfect contrast for the drastic shift in psychology that the men undergo after their torturous (to say the least) experience in Vietnam. The film did not linger for long on the men's days on the battlefield and in captivity (at least when compared to other contemporary films), which I found refreshing. It serves as more of a character study than a 'war film.' Seeing the men broken down through a brutal game of Russian Roulette and watching poor Nicky eventually succumb to the game's torment was all the more heartbreaking. Speaking of Nicky, Christopher Walken truly gave the performance of his career and stole nearly every scene he was a part of. Like Charlie Sheen's Chris Taylor in Platoon, Nicky served as the metaphor for the loss of innocence that the Vietnam War became (in)famous for. The ensemble cast did extremely well and added to the immersion of this all-too-real and visceral tale. However, I did find faults with the film in its pacing and length. For a film to justify a 3 HOUR run time, it needs to be of exceptional quality and be properly paced. Unfortunately, The Deer Hunter could only fulfill the former. Scenes dragged for excessive periods of time and lingered on moments that added absolutely nothing to the overall narrative. I'm all for realism, but the wedding scene was absurdly lengthy, despite the message of the scene being clear in the first few minutes (it felt like a half hour - it may very well have been). The film could have been 2:15 hours and still have been just as effective. However, I don't think this spoils the experience enough to knock it down below its contemporaries. The Deer Hunter remains an essential Vietnam War flick watch, alongside Apocalypse Now, Born on the Fourth of July, Platoon, and Full Metal Jacket.
The Grand Budapest Hotel is a thoroughly fun, eclectic, and entertaining Wes Anderson flick. Wes Anderson truly hones in on his style of film-making (which is basically a genre of its own at this point) and utilizes a brilliant ensemble cast to craft a unique narrative about a fictional hotel during 'World War II.' Ralph Fiennes was simply brilliant and Tony Revolori was a revelation! Their deft interplay was evident from the first moments they shared the screen together. Every moment they shared on screen together was whimsical fun as the two got into quite a few precarious situations. The villains were perfectly cast as Adrien Brody's douchbaggery and Willem Defoe's terrifying mug made for completely reprehensible but thoroughly entertaining heels for the film. Cameo appearances were also aplenty, with Saoirse Ronan and Bill Murray stealing scene after scene. The set design was gorgeous and fantastical, with no detail left untouched. I will definitely have to watch the film again and again to catch all the little fun touches. The humor worked perfectly and complimented the outlandish plot, similar to the Coen Brothers in 'O Brother, Where Art Thou.' The prison scenes were especially entertaining as the resourcefulness of the characters made for a thoroughly entertaining sequence for an equally entertaining (and quite frankly, ridiculous) escape. The whole film felt at the same time serious and emotional and completely tongue-in-cheek. That is the true mark of a Wes Anderson flick and I am thoroughly excited to see what The French Dispatch has to offer. Overall, this is a must watch for any fans of Wes Anderson and of film in general and is a great way to immerse oneself in Anderson's eclectic filmography.
Argo is a great movie if you turn it off before the final climactic sequence of the film. Tension was well built, situations were believable, and the humor was well-placed and a welcome addition to the film. But soon enough, much like the titular joke of the film (Argo-f*** yourself), the movie became tedious and repetitive. The final sequence at the airport was a masterclass in how to overdo cliches and force tension where it did not need to be. The constant 'last-second' saves during the 'tense' airport scene were remarkably cliche and done to the point of boredom. I was just waiting for the next scene rife with frantic camera work and overacting instead of the heart-pounding effect the director and screenwriters intended. The humor in these tense scenes was completely misplaced and removes the viewer from the immersion of the scene instantaneously. The ending was also overly sappy and way too patriotic for my liking. Though the film did speak of some of the horrible truths of the US Government's involvement in Iran and the Middle East, it mostly glossed over them in an opening narrative and never touched upon them again. I felt the movie's cliches and poorly timed humor really undermined the fun and creative premise it offered for a thriller. Just watch a movie like Parasite to see how thrilling moments can be naturally produced without the 'last second' saves at every turn. What an overrated and over-hyped film that completely wasted a great premise and first half of a film.
Okja is a powerful and heartfelt social commentary on the current state of agricultural capitalism. It features excellent performances from a few of Bong Joon Ho's favorites (namely Tilda Swinton) and some newcomers as well (like Paul Dano, Jake Gylenhaal, Seo-hyeon Ahn). Bong did an excellent job of building up the loving and sympathetic relationship between Okja and Mija, who had tangible chemistry despite their considerable on-set limitations (Okja being animated likely had a lot to do with this). Nonetheless, I felt an instant emotional connection between the two through Bong's sometimes subtle, sometimes not-so-subtle development of their relationship. The whole film tugs at the viewers' heartstrings and implores people to see past the rough and ugly exterior of Okja the 'super-pig.' The entire film, like all of Bong's films, shares a deep connection with the ugly truths of the real world, which are not all too dissimilar from the worlds he crafts. Pigs and other loving farm animals are seen only as a commodity and treated as such. As someone who thoroughly enjoys a steady diet of meat, poultry, and fish, I still sympathize with the capitalist plight of animals. My beliefs of humane slaughter and treatment justify my consumption of these animals and that is the message I got from Okja. These animals were thoroughly mistreated, forced to breed, and at the end of their cruel torture, heartlessly slaughtered. Only when Mija provided her solid gold trinket was Okja's life spared and the next super-pig lined up for slaughter. I do wish there was a stark juxtaposition between the free-range, humanely treated animal farms and the conveyor belt-style slaughterhouse employed by the Mirando (surprisingly similar to Monsanto) in order to impart the message that there are morally 'right' ways to consume meat. However, I am still grateful for the overall message of the film as it falls right in line with one of, if not my favorite documentaries: Food Inc. This is an essential watch for those concerned with humane treatment of animals and animal rights in general. Overall, though Okja is one of Bong's weaker efforts (still better than Snowpiercer), its message is everlasting and all-important in an increasingly capitalist and callous society.
The Exorcist is a quintessential horror film and a must-watch for any horror fan or fan of cinema in general. A trailblazing film in many respects, it seamlessly meshed cutting edge special effects, great performances, excellent camera work, and true terror into one film. I was fortunate enough to see the Director's cut in theaters recently and felt as though every moment truly added to the narrative and immersive atmosphere of the film. With most director's cuts, the added footage furthers the director's vision but often detracts from the overall narrative and pacing of the film. I felt the use of quick cuts and short, pointed scenes made the longer run-time much more palatable than most director's cuts. Ellen Burstyn's performance was simply masterful, her pain and anguish on full display as the viewer witnesses a mother so desperate to help her beloved daughter that she was willing to go to the unthinkable. However, Linda Blair stole the show as with her physical and visceral performance of the poor possessed Regan MacNeil. Her brutal dialogue and emotional turmoil were evident and she stole EVERY scene she was a part of. Although the voice was dubbed masterfully by Mercedes McCambridge, Blair sold every line through her physicality and facial movements. The late (both) Jason Miller and Max von Sydow gave compelling performances as the priests giving their all to save Regan from her possession. What was especially notable was how well-fleshed out and well-written each of these characters was. The viewer feels confident in the abilities of Lankester Merrin and sympathetic for Father Damien, leading to an incredibly bittersweet ending when both perish at the hands of Pazuzu but succeed in saving Regan from the demon's clutches. Though it rarely crosses the mind, the use of a blue-tinted light and the cold that enveloped Regan's room created a bone-chilling atmosphere whenever a scene was filmed inside the makeshift prison for Regan and Pazuzu. The atmosphere of the film as a whole was unsettling and crafted a movie that, despite an unrealistic premise, felt tangibly frightening. Overall, The Exorcist is a classic that has stood the test of time and changed the landscape of horror forever.
Endgame is the culmination of the Infinity Saga's 10 year run of MCU films. It's a massive film, filled with amazing visual effects, tons of fan service, great action sequences, and a terrific sendoff for a beloved character. 'I am Iron Man' will forever be immortalized as the most badass superhero moment in the entire MCU, bar none. Once again, the Russo brothers did a fantastic job balancing tone throughout the film. Despite the gloom that completely enveloped the first 30 minutes or so of the film, they managed to add in a few lighthearted moments that set the stage for future tonal shifts in the film. I felt the humor was welcomed and, at times, downright hilarious. Steve Rogers v. Steve Rogers is a moment most soon won't forget. And that is most definitely America's ass (trademark). However, though the fan service was excellent, it severely detracts from the re-watch potential of the film. I was surprised, elated, and emotionally fulfilled from my first watch-through and the countless fan service moments will never have that same impact upon re-watching the movie (which is why I will likely never watch it again). The emotional moments were fully earned and I cried in the theater (it was the cheeseburger line), something that rarely happens to me. After 10 years of watching these characters grow and interact with one another, I felt that the arcs for Tony and Steve were perfect in every which way. Also, I'm proud to say that I predicted the final shots of the film between Peggy and Steve and I still get chills thinking about it. The Russo brothers created the perfect culminating film for the MCU but unfortunately, the over-abundance of fan-service makes this an impossible film to enjoy more than once and for me, detracts from the overall score. Nevertheless, this is still a great MCU film and the Russos have more than earned their rest.
Uncut Gems is an anxiety inducing thrill-ride from start to finish. From the first moments of the film, clever tracking shots create an anxious and claustrophobic feel for a film that largely takes part in the sprawling streets of New York City. The Safdie brothers deliberately kept cameras close and minimized any panning shots to further emphasize the frenetic tone of the film. Sandler gave an excellent performance as the gambling debt riddled Howard Ratner (I'd argue its this or Punch Drunk Love for his best performance) and his nervous energy was compelling to watch. The score was, as expected, original and creative, really fitting the 'club' vibe of the film. Ratner's downward spiral is expertly crafted through Sandler's thoroughly convincing performance and excellent writing that consistently showed the cracks in his plans to strike it rich, despite his own opinion to the contrary. But where the film really gets good is the message at its core; gambling addiction is a battle that can never be won. Now, while most gambling addicts generally don't end up with a bullet to the head, even in victory, Ratner lost his life. After winning the biggest payout of his life, likely enough to cover his current debts and continue his obsessive gambling, he still lost everything. I appreciated the dark ending and similar to Good Time, having a morally deplorable character get their just desserts is a bittersweet ending that the Safdie brothers have made part of their calling card. The final frantic minutes of the film truly elevated Uncut Gems past Good Time because for once, the stakes were high and felt palpable. And the payoff was oh so sweet once Ratner got exactly what many felt he deserved. Overall, Uncut Gems is a step above Good Time and I'm thoroughly excited to see what the Safdie brothers have in store.
As a child of divorce, this film is a remarkably realistic and visceral depiction of what divorce is truly like. Throughout the film, the viewer witnesses the good intentions of former spouses be ripped apart by the legal process of divorce and replaced with cruelty, apathy, and unequal conditions. Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson gave the best performances of their careers. From screaming matches to the small, intimate moments between the former couple, Driver and Johansson provided so much emotional weight for Noah Baumbach to work with. Laura Dern gave an excellent performance as the cutthroat divorce attorney trying to get her client everything she ever wanted, completely overriding any sentiment Nicole may have still had for Charlie. Despite Charlie's deplorable actions during their marriage, the viewer sympathizes his plight as his world is turned upside down and his son is permanently brought to L.A., a testament to Driver's incredible work with the character. While the apartment meeting scene is by far the most emotionally impactful, there were countless scenes in the film where Charlie and Nicole's pain, anguish, and resignation could be palpably felt. Baumbach did a fantastic job getting the best performances out of Driver and Johansson and his subtle camera shifts during purely conversational scenes helped sell the realism of the film. I was thoroughly overjoyed at the ending as in real life, divorce is not merely bitter arguments and loathing one another (at least in some cases). The love was still present between Nicole and Charlie, it just manifests itself through their mutual love of their son - which is how divorce should be. Overall, Marriage Story is an excellent movie and a testament to how impactful realism in the film industry can be.
This was an awesome movie and everything Marvel fans had been dreaming of for 10 years. As someone who had been following the MCU since its infancy, I was overjoyed at how all the heroes meshed so well together to face their most formidable foe to date. I felt that the Russo brothers selected the best groups of heroes to team up and found the chemistry between these rag-tag groups was off the charts. RDJ and Benedict Cumberbatch's deft interplay was especially entertaining as they vied for title of best Sherlock in the MCU. Their performances were especially impressive given the sheer amount of visual effects used throughout the film. And the visual effects, by the way, were absolutely tremendous. From the magnificent Dr. Strange and Thanos duel on Titan to the gorgeously rendered and realistic details of Thanos' being, Infinity War truly outshone all other Marvel movies as the most breathtaking work of cinema produced for any superhero movie. Josh Brolin's performance was excellent and lent a lot of humanity and sympathy to a character many saw as a psychopathic monger before this film. The choice to have Thanos' plan be one of perceived necessity and inevitability, instead of the hatred and resentment of Endgame's Thanos, truly lent an emotional weight to the character and his motivations. The ending of the film was also spectacular (if not just for the memes it spawned) and 'the dusting' remains one of the most emotionally impactful endings in superhero film history. Even if all those characters returned, it represented a monumental defeat for the Avengers and a beautifully dark ending that I have re-watched time and time again. Overall, this is the best MCU film and one of the best superhero films ever made.
A truly anxiety inducing film that was only outdone by the Safdie brothers' diamond encrusted hit, Uncut Gems. As someone who has lived in NYC, I can personally attest to the authenticity of the characters in the film. I really felt like I was stepping back into Queens during the course of the film. Everything felt authentic, from accents to set-pieces to the general attitude of everyone in the film. Close and tight camera angles create a claustrophobic and anxious atmosphere that is unrelenting. Robert Pattinson truly showed that he was more than just a Twilight vampire and gave an unpredictable, compelling performance that kept the viewer on edge at all times. However, for me, Pattinson's performance was unable to ascend the film to 'great movie' territory. The film is bogged down by a story with very little weight, despite the high stakes it tries to make you believe. I do think that Uncut Gems upped the stakes enough to earn its anxious and frantic tone. So for a first effort, Good Time is solid, if unspectacular. It's definitely not for the faint of heart or viewers who prefer a cohesive narrative. But for viewers who feed off of tension and anxiety in films, this is 100% the right movie for you.
The LEGO Movie is a pretty funny film with a tender, heartfelt message at its core. Chris Pratt, Will Arnett, and co. gave really convincing and hilarious performances, which lent so much life and enjoyment to the film. Without these inspired performances, the film would have felt like the corporate cash grab that so many feared it would be. The social commentary was especially solid, with Emmet's virtual invisibility in his personal life being something that many in the corporate grind can relate to. The over-saturation of advertisements and commercial products was also poked fun at, leading to an admirable amount of self-awareness present in the film. However, the overall message of the film was clearly pandering to parents and children that have a passion for Legos. I understand the necessity to emphasize this message (it is the LEGO Movie after all), but I felt it was a little too sappy for me, and likely most adult viewers, to enjoy. Overall, its a fun film for a one time watch and likely meant for a more youthful audience.
Snowpiercer is probably Bong Joon Ho's weakest work but still a solid action flick with welcome but on-the-nose social commentary. Chris Evans stole the show and flexed his dramatic chops as the strong and cunning Curtis, whose journey to the front of the Snowpiercer train was brutal, haunting, and beautifully directed. Bong Joon Ho, despite a short time spent in each cart, truly fleshed out the incredible disparity between the impoverished section of the train and the lavish amenities of the wealthy. However, the shortcomings of the film are quite apparent from the beginning. The dialogue is quite stilted at times (which could be due in part to this being Bong's first English language film - I felt Okja was much improved in that category) and the social commentary, as a result, is very on-the-nose. Very little is left up to subtle and metaphorical interpretation for the viewer, especially when compared to his masterpieces like Parasite and Mother. The action set-pieces were relatively well shot and choreographed, creating a claustrophobic atmosphere during every physical encounter. The ending, however, was a bit... flat. I'm all for Ed Harris as a villain (see The Truman Show) but I felt that his performance was almost unnecessary. Far too much exposition and explanation left the last minutes of the film feeling endless. The countless twists (Curtis' terrible acts, kids working the gears, Curtis being chosen to lead the train, Gilliam's cooperation) were far too numerous and completely undermined each other as they competed for emotional relevance in the final moments of the film. Two twists out of the four would have done the trick and served as an excellent emotional climax to the film. Or spreading the twists out over the course of the film, instead of everything being revealed at once in a sort of word soup. Overall, its a solid film that is heavily bogged down by its ending.
The perfect teen movie. It's vulgar, hilarious, touching (at moments), and a true coming of age tale for young people finishing their adolescence and trying to come to grips with the reality of becoming an adult. Jonah Hill, Michael Cera, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse have impeccable chemistry with one another and their deft interplay really lends to the realism of these teens. Far too often in teen movies it is clear that much older writers had far too heavy a hand in crafting the dialogue, which is generally clunky and unrealistic. I, and likely many other viewers around my age, felt that these were just like the kids I went to school with. We joked around the same way, in the same manner, and had many of the same struggles. The film manages to balance the realism of the teens with the absurdity of their night out on the town. Their reactions always felt genuine despite the increasingly chaotic circumstances they were put in. The humor was fantastic, a credit to the writing prowess of Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen. The awkward moments were surprisingly lighthearted and easy, due largely in part to the actor's terrific performances, solid directing, and excellent writing. Overall, it's an essential watch and is, in my opinion, one of the best teen movies ever made.
A fresh take on romantic comedies featuring a very fun, creative plot as the vehicle for which two people fall in love. Will Ferrell gives the performance of his career as a low-key, soft-spoken IRS agent whose mission is to woo the affections of a sassy, tattooed baker. Maggie and Will had solid, mostly believable chemistry, but the real star of the show was Dustin Hoffman's Professor Hilbert, whose somewhat unhinged and obsessed performance made his scenes the most lively and introspective that the film had to offer. Throughout the film, we see the growth of a character knowing he's destined to die and the brilliant ways in which the film sets up Ferrell's eventual 'death.' The computer animation and the (at-the-time) innovative way it was used in the film still holds up today and made his death seem at the same time inevitable and lighthearted. My biggest gripe with this film is its ending. Most (and I seriously mean MOST) American romantic comedies end in the same fashion each and every time. I finally thought that this was the one to break the mold and embrace the foreign film mantra that happy endings aren't at all necessary to fulfill the ambitions and narrative of a film. However, Stranger than Fiction became Familiar to Sappiness at the end of the film and that, to me, is unforgivable given the incredible setup that the film had to end on a somber but emotionally rewarding note. Overall, its a good film that could have really used a splash of foreign influence when composing its final moments.
Borat is arguably the best sociopolitical satire since Dr. Strangelove. Sacha Baron Cohen is at his creative and comedic peak with this vulgar, cackle-inducing, and downright shocking film that shows the worst of what America has to offer. Despite the hilariously backwards country of Kazakhstan that Cohen portrays in the beginning of the film, he demonstrates that supposedly 'higher-class' Americans aren't much better in that regard. Cohen's outlandish character is played as a real individual, creating a level of comfort among his 'documentary subjects' that enables them to show their worst side. From a cowboy's blatant homophobia to a remarkably sexist group of frat 'bros,' Borat shows that Americans aren't exactly a tolerant people, despite the egalitarian ideals that are so-oft compared to the 'backwards' nature of third world countries around the world. Besides the brilliant sociopolitical commentary, Borat is absolutely hilarious and manages to balance the more satirical elements with brazen, gross-out humor, a feat that very few, if any, films have been able to accomplish with such great success. Overall, Borat is a 'very nice' film that is an essential watch for anyone with a love for satire or for comedy in general.
A really dark, atmospheric, brooding film that has the viewer constantly thinking from the first moments of the film. I would say that upon reading into the deeper explanations and metaphors that the film centers around, it elevated the film. At first watch, it's a 'trippy' experience that likely jars many viewers (which explains the pitiful 3.01 average audience score) but the film is so much more than meets the eye. I highly recommend reading up on the film immediately after viewing and using that context as the lens for which to reflect on the film and its themes. Jake Gyllenhaal gives a captivating and creepy performance, which is only emphasized by his ethereal relationship with Frank the Rabbit, another remarkably unsettling character. Unsettling is probably the best way to describe this film, as the viewer is never truly comfortable with what is being shown on the screen. Though the special effects are a bit dated, the film's supernatural elements still retain their powerful effect on the viewer. Donnie Darko is exactly what is promised by the title, poster, and premise: a creepy, unsettling, introspective experience that warrants further re-watches and reflection on its true meaning.
A solid legal drama book-ended by a marvelously twisted performance by Edward Norton. With one of the best (and most well-known) twists in film history, Norton solidified his dramatic acting chops with his versatile, unhinged turn as the altar boy turned gruesome murderer. Richard Gere's hotshot personality is pushed to the limit as an open and shut case gets thrown wide open once Norton's deception comes into play. Besides Norton's magnetic performance, the film is a pretty typical by-the-numbers legal drama that includes a solid ensemble, decent directing, and a good, if not too melodramatic, score. What truly elevates this movie above a typical legal drama is the compelling and unique narrative that culminates in an epic, unexpected turn of events that leads the viewer to question key moments in the film. Overall, a definite must-watch for aspiring lawyers and fans of legal dramas but also an essential for fans of great twist endings.
The best Thanksgiving movie out there (at least that I've seen). Filled with witty banter, great dialogue, emotional moments that feel earned, and relatively high-brow comedy, the film truly sees Steve Martin and John Candy flex their comedic chops. The plot is clever and creative as it continues to come up with (relatively) reasonable explanations for the absurd struggles these two strangers have to put up with. We see the growth of a friendship throughout the film that is only further solidified by running gags and deft interplay between Martin and Candy. What first annoyed Martin came to be a great asset later on the film through the hilarious medium of shower curtain rings. The emotional climax of the film felt thoroughly earned and quite heart-wrenching despite the lighthearted tone of the film. Candy's pain is completely hidden by his jovial attitude towards life until it can no longer be kept a secret anymore. And the final scene of the film is emotionally rewarding and heartwarming, encapsulating the true meaning of Thanksgiving: being together with those who we care about, family or not. Overall, this is a must-watch during the holidays and contains a timeless message about friendship.
A solid goofy comedy film with great fourth wall breaks and instantly quotable dialogue. Leslie Nielsen is at his best when he's delivering not-so-serious lines with an incredibly serious tone and candor. The plot is completely forgettable and even a day after the film, I completely forgot what took place over the course of the film. But what's more important in a screwball movie is the performances and dialogue. And the film delivers quite well on those premises. However, I just don't find these premises strong enough to overcome a totally formulaic plot (even for a goofball comedy) and the somewhat mediocre performances by those not named Leslie Nielsen. Overall, this film is one diehard comedy fans should check out but those who favor structure and coherence should probably steer clear.