Maria B.'s Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Chimera Strain
½

This is a deeply ponderous film that completely took me by surprise. It stars Henry Ian Cusick of Lost fame and Kathleen Quinlan in a small but important role as a evil scientist. Cusick plays a stem cell researcher whose wife had perished of a malady which has also afflicted his children. He wants to freeze them until he finds a cure and starts working on it thanks to his ex boss(Quinlan) who gives him the space and means but has ulterior motives. This is just scratching the surface and the film is deeply layered. The cinematography and acting are top notch, but the director should have cut some scenes- but that's just me.

Failure to Launch

This is a "How not to make a romantic comedy" guide film. Failure to Launch fails at more than just launching. It fails at romance and comedy. It fails to make the lead characters interesting and their love affair believable. And it fails to develop a consistent tone that would enable viewers to suspend their disbelief and be carried away by a simple tale of two people falling for each other. It's difficult to say whether the leads are miscast or whether the parts are badly written (likely a combination of both), but the pairing of Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew McConaughey generates as many sparks as a soaked match in a rainstorm. Not only are these two unromantic, but their characters are self-absorbed and dull. So it's left to the supporting characters to provide Failure to Launch's few, occasional pleasures. (Abysmal comedy romance fare).

Flight
Flight(2012)
½

In this film Washington plays a pilot addicted to booze and the occasional cocaine. An addict even on the day of a routine flight he wakes up after snorting cocaine the night before and mixes vodka in his orange juice aboard the plane. Not due to his fault the plane hits some issues and ends up floating upside down before being landed by him, an act for which he is considered a hero. However, upon drug test reposts it is realized that he was indeed inebriated and then the judicial system comes into play. This is a good movie and features a harrowing plane crash sequence. Washington is the soul of the film and even though he is not a good man, we side with him. Check it out.

Jeremiah Johnson
½

This film about a man leaving behind society to live in the wild is apt today when young men are getting disillusioned with society. In 1972 Robert Redford was at the height of his star power and he decided to make a film very close to his heart- Jeremiah Johnson is shot in his native Utah, in the wilderness and based on a real historical figure by the moniker of "liver eating" Johnson. Directed by his close friend Sydney Pollack this is a good film and it features one of my favorite fight sequences between the Indian gangs and Jeremiah. It is raw, realistic and very well edited. Redford is good as the titular character and the pacing is pretty good, if not a bit uneven. (Jeremiah Johnson is a film to admire).

Memoirs of an Invisible Man
½

Based on a novel which channels HG Wells's invisible man, Memoirs of an invisible man is briskly paced and well acted by Chevy Chase as the titular character who becomes invisible after a rogue accident at a lab facility. Sam Neill plays the bad guy and Daryll Hannah is the love interest. John Carpenter is a great filmmaker and this film is a testimony that he can handle any project- provided he adds his taste to the final product. I think this film deserves more than a viewing. It is the definition of cult.(Pretty underrated Carpenter film).

Taxi Driver
Taxi Driver(1976)

Taxi Driver is a good film, though a bit overpraised. It is the story of Travis Bickle- a lonely ex Vietnam soldier holed up in a tiny apartment in New York. He develops an infatuation with a woman he sees across the street and befriends a girl prostitute all within a span of time, which pretty much tells you his state of mind. To put it bluntly Travis is a sociopath- a volcano waiting to erupt. The acting is good, especially De-Niro whose works with Scorsese are always interesting but the film isn't all that great in the larger scheme of things. In other words, it's a decent watch but hardly a classic. (A classic though overrated in my opinion).

The Elephant Man
½

David Lynch is a tough act to get into and The Elephant Man is perhaps his most mainstream work. But even a mainstream Lynch film is abstract and The Elephant Man- based on the true story of John Merrick is filled with imagery and allegories that might bore the watcher. Make no mistake- this is a good movie and the performance of John Hurt as the titular character is so good I think it's a joke he did not win an academy award for it. Hauntingly photographed and well acted by everyone from Anthony Hopkins to Anne Bankcroft this is an artistic film and needs a certain mindset to be viewed. (A tough film to sit through).

L.A. Takedown

It is great to see a low budget version of a great film. Michael Mann's 1995 masterpiece Heat was actually conceived way back in the 80s by the director Michael Mann. He decided to make it then with the limited budget he had. The scenes and even dialogues are verbatim but it is great to see what a bigger budget can get- from better thespians of the class of Pacino and Deniro to some amazing locations. This is a good film for film students to sit and analyze. (earlier version of Heat).

Swades
Swades(2004)
½

Swades is a good film and the writer-director Ashutosh Gowarikar does a handy job of somehow making a long film not only watchable but also endearing. An Indian scientist returns back home and rediscovers his roots- this is the basic synopsis but the film is a lot more nuanced and features some good performances. The lead actor Shah Rukh Khan is a big star in India but here he plays it subtle which is what the performance desires. Gayatri Joshi doesn't have much to do but she is ravishing. This is one of the rare Bollywood films that makes one sit and ponder.(Great Bollywood film worth a watch).

Inglourious Basterds

With Inglorious Bastards Tarantino has proven once again why he is a master filmmaker and champion of cinema. His inspirations are many and immense, and yet he mashes the up to create something raw and unique. There are chapters and this is a fictionalized version of WW2, a fact I mention because the storytelling is so immersive one starts to question. The actors are all standout especially Christoph Waltz. If you haven't already, please watch Inglorious Bastards. Yet another Tarantino masterpiece.

The Notebook
The Notebook(2004)
½

Bring your hanker chef
Probably after Titanic the movie most adored by young girls- just a guess but I am probably correct. It is melodramatic, sentimental and even cliched but Gosling and McAdam's (who were an item whilst filming) are too good actors to let all that become obvious.