Art Stukas's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

The Counselor
The Counselor (2013)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Who wants to spend time with these ugly people? The sexist racist tripe that comes out of their mouths is bad enough but they're murderous drug dealers too. Ridley Scott is either a poor judge of audience tastes or he simply wanted to make people feel awkward and unpleasant. Really, a six minute dirty talking sex scene to open the film? Great. If there was any way to identify with Michael Fassbender's titular character, to feel the moral dilemma that resulted from his decision to engage in a high stakes drug deal, then maybe just maybe the film would have held some interest. But instead, it's a mess - and every once in a while it stops absolutely cold and characters utter the most ridiculous heavy-handed, scripted, and literary lines provided by Cormac McCarthy. Really I was incredulous. Bad judgment on everybody's part - you feel sordid afterwards. Good times.

Minbo - or the Gentle Art of Japanese Extortion
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

The last of Juzo Itami's string of hits (The Funeral, Tampopo, A Taxing Woman, A Taxing Woman Returns) focused on the Yakuza and resulted in the director subsequently being stabbed in revenge. I guess he hit a nerve. Perhaps it isn't surprising that the Yakuza might really succeed by using intimidation tactics aimed to embarrass in a country that is very concerned about politeness and appearances and not inconveniencing others (and would take offense at such an accusation). The Yakuza in this film (goons, all) are all bluster and veiled threats but they are effective in cowing their victims (the staff of a prestigious hotel) into paying "reparations". They don't cross the line that would allow the police to act by actually using violence or leaving evidence of their blackmail techniques. So, when the hotel hires Nobuko Miyamoto (Itami's wife and the star of all of his other hits), a lawyer specializing in Minbo (the Yakuza's technique of extortion), the baddies have more than met their match. The rest of the film follows the usual underdog defeats evil power script but the various extortion schemes seemed believable, as did the legal means to stop them. Although the style of the film is nothing flashy, I was engaged all the way through by the characters and the simple hydraulic plot. Sadly, Itami committed suicide a few years later, perhaps still affected by the violent response to this film (although he did make a few more subsequent to this one).

Charlie Chan's Secret
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Charlie's on his own - no number one or number two sons - and Warner Oland seems rather shaky as a result. The plot contains the usual elements - a murder, lots of suspects with good motives, and some supernatural hokum. The events take place at a spooky old house and comic relief is provided (or perhaps over-done) by British character actor Herbert Mundin. Of course, all things are relative and this is just a slightly less compelling entry in the still highly enjoyable series about the Chinese detective from Honolulu. As comfort food, the episodes are likely to be more-or-less interchangeable.

7 Up
7 Up (1964)
3 years ago via Movies on Facebook

Freedom versus discipline is suggested as one of the potential predictors of future differences in these 7 year olds from different backgrounds. We shall see...

Sorry to Bother You
3 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Black comedy that gets darker and darker (and crazier and crazier) as it proposes some "alternate reality" possibilities for late capitalism (with racial inequality simmering under the surface as a key concern). Cassius Green (LaKeith Stanfield) is a telemarketer who is seduced by the perks associated with being a "power seller" (a role he attains by using his "white voice" â" not just a nod to double consciousness but an actual voiceover by David Cross; Patton Oswalt lends his white voice to another black character). His financial success causes tension with his girlfriend, Detroit (Tessa Thompson), a local artist who also belongs to an activist group protesting against a new company, "Worry Free", who offer lifetime contracts (including food and shelter but no other wage) for their employees. That company is run by Steve Lift (Armie Hammer) who denies that he is dealing in slave labour (but Green soon finds that the power seller deals he seals are utilising Worry Free workers to make big profits for morally corrupt companies). His friends, also telemarketers (but not power sellers), are soon striking against the company in order to secure a living wage but Green remains a scab, until he stumbles onto a bizarre secret at one of Lift's parties. To say more is probably criminal â" you should enjoy the surprises this film has to offer on your own. Boots Riley may be new to directing but he has certainly grabbed the opportunity with gusto â" the film is bubbling over with (political) ideas, satire if you will, deep with meaning, but still so very freaky. Thumbs up!