Keenan Sullivan's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Solaris
Solaris (2002)
20 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

I have yet to see the more acclaimed 1972 version. I have also never seen the 1968 made-for-television version, nor have I read the original novel. My sole experience with Solaris is the divisive 2002 version by Steven Soderbergh. That being said, what I found with the 2002 version is a beautiful, cerebral, emotionally-engaging, and melancholic exploration into loneliness, guilt, existentialism, the metaphysical, and so much more. When a space station goes silent near the planet, Solaris, therapist, Dr. Chris Kelvin is sent to investigate what happened based on a video recording sent by one of the crew members, asking him by name to come. Even a security team sent in before him never returned, so the trip is already looking uneasy. Upon arriving, he sees blood trails and very few signs of life. He finds two crew members - Snow, a strange and neurotic crew member, and Gordon, who is filled with paranoia and doesn't even want to come out of her room at first. The other crew members are dead, due to the unexplained phenomena that the crew are experiencing (Though, Dr. Kelvin does see a child, but is unable to catch him and talk to him). During his stay, Dr. Kelvin is awakened by his wife, Rheya, who thinks they are at home together. Dr. Kelvin is understandably taken aback by this...because she's dead. Dr. Kelvin's time on the ship becomes a time of emotional torment as old memories are awakened and as he and the surviving crew members try to figure out what exactly is going on around them...all while being trapped in the terrifying isolation of space. Solaris is a gripping, slow-building drama that really strikes a chord as Dr. Kelvin relives memories of his marriage to Rheya - the good times, the bad times, and the ugliest of times that resulted in tragedy. It becomes incredibly heartbreaking at times, but never in an overwrought way. Rather, the way it unfolds is shown to us in a more believable manner, making such scenes all the more crushing. What makes it worse is that whatever force that has taken the form of Rheya states that she only exists through his memories and how he remembers her, causing her torment as she experiences these things, trapping her in a never-ending existential nightmare. It's a film that ponders life with all of its ups and downs, as well as exploring the possibility of a higher power and forces beyond our control. I found it to be a superb film that had made me engaged from beginning to end. I wanted to know what was happening, I wanted to dissect the myriad themes, and I was also engaged emotionally, becoming invested in the turmoil of Dr. Kelvin's life. I think Solaris is one of the most underrated and best films of the 2000's. We need more sci-fi films like this.

Wassup Rockers
21 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Wassup Rockers is a strange film by a very unusual director. It doesn't have the hard-hitting edge of previous works like Kids, Ken Park, or Bully, but it still proves to be a very interesting and messy experiment by a director seeking new boundaries and topics. It's also strangely light-hearted, considering the director (though not entirely without moments of violence and some sexual content). The story follows a group of Latino boys from Los Angeles who like to skate and play punk rock music in a band. One day, they decide to travel by bus to Beverly Hills where they find themselves in a series of misadventures like running from the police, visiting a hot girl at her mansion and getting into a fight with preppy boys, and other bizarre scenarios. Amidst the frantic pacing, the film also takes time to tackle the issue of race as the boys are scrutinized for being Latino, as well as the issue of class. It doesn't dive deep into its subject matters, making it feel like a bit of a step back compared to the uncompromising, in-your-face tone by Clark's aforementioned films. But what really holds this film together are the cast who are interesting, funny, and feel believable. The film may be shaky on a story level, but as a character piece, it works quite well. In the end, Wassup Rockers is another enjoyable film by a controversial director. It may not have the bite of his previous work, but it remains a strangely compelling nonetheless.

Eragon
Eragon (2006)
21 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Yes, Eragon is a very cliched fantasy film that basically takes Star Wars, places it into The Lord of the Rings, and then adds some dragons for good measure. Everything about the plot follows a familiar framework. A farm boy finds a stone that turns out to be a dragon egg, which forever changes his future. There's an also an evil empire ruled by Galbatorix, who destroyed the dragon riders (The Jedis of this film), who wants to find the dragon and kill Eragon. It's also got elves, a wise old mentor, a mysterious rogue, yadda yadda yadda. You know exactly how it all plays out. And you know what? I still really enjoy this film. So much so, that my fondness for it has actually grown over the years. It's basically a cinematic version of comfort food to me that I could watch multiple times and never really tire of doing so. It's a fun, dopey, and thoroughly predictable film - an enjoyable guilty pleasure. It's got fun action scenes, enjoyably cheesy acting (Jeremy Irons as Brom and Robert Carlyle as Durza in particular are enjoyable. Plus, it's hilarious how John Malkovich makes no attempt at any sort of accent. The accents in this film are odd, to say the least for a fantasy striving to spoken with British accents). Eragon is not really a film I'd recommend unless you're a sucker for cheesy nonsense like I am. I found it pure fun from beginning to end and it will always have a weird special place in my heart.

Bully
Bully (2001)
23 months ago via Rotten Tomatoes
½

Bully is a film that walks a razor-thin line between gritty drama and sleazy exploitation. It's not a comfortable viewing. In fact, it may stay with you long after watching it because it is a very grim and frank study into the minds of troubled youth, empty existences with no future, living day to day by thriving only on vices and impulses, peer pressure, and the ugly truths about violence and vengeance. The story is inspired/loosely based on the real life 1993 murder of Bobby Kent by his friends because of the way he treats them. He is verbally abusive, physically abusive, exploits others for his own gain, and is also a rapist. Leading the charge is a girl named Lisa, the girlfriend of Bobby's longtime friend, Marty Puccio. Since Marty is unable to break away from Bobby, she comes up with the idea to kill Bobby, which slowly begins to snowball by recruiting other friends and a wannabe hitman. Egging each other on, they set their deadly plan into motion. None would do this by themselves, but with the peer pressure echo chamber enclosing them, anything becomes possible. Make no mistake, Bobby Kent is a vile bastard of a character - completely and utterly loathsome. However, his "friends" are not exactly winners, either. There's nobody you can call particularly likable, which will make this film a hard viewing for a lot people (People who pan a film solely because there are no likable characters...even if that was the point of the film). Sure, Bobby's done some vile things, but it seems that their actions aren't just revenge against him, but against society and how they feel their lives have turned out. He becomes the representation of all that they feel is wrong in their lives ("He's the source of everybody's problems," says Lisa at one point). I found the film to be a gripping, harrowing look into wasted lives, the ugliest aspects of peer pressure, and the grim nature of murder and the aftermath. Bully will also be an assault on your thoughts in other ways, with its unflinching depictions of graphic sex scenes and nudity (There's a crotch shot of the character Ali, that makes the famous Sharon Stone crotch shot in Basic Instinct look G-rated by comparison), abundant drug use, and visceral violence in more ways than one (Such as Marty's reaction to Ali saying she's pregnant and won't get an abortion, to which he grabs her so hard, he leaves bruises). It's an ugly and grim viewing, but a very visceral and engaging one nonetheless. It can rivet you, offend you, or you may find it to be trash masquerading as art. I think Bully is fantastic and Larry Clark's best film.

Sorry to Bother You
2 years ago via Flixster

Wow. Holy fucking shit. I just got back from watching one of the most bold, exciting, and daring films I have seen in years - both in the theater and overall. It's an intensely cerebral, thought-provoking, harshly truthful comedy that not only engaged me, but also made me laugh the hardest I have in years at a comedy. Cassius Green lives with his performance artist girlfriend, Detroit, in his uncle's garage in Oakland. Needing money and wanting a better life, he takes a job at Regal View Telemarketing after a hilarious interview where the interviewer compliments Cassius' fake trophy and awards, "You know what that trophy tells me? It shows that you have dedication...and that you can fucking read." Despite his lowly position, he is promised that if he makes enough sales, he could perhaps one day reach the status of "Power Caller" - telemarketers who make the bigger sales and even have their own private elevator. He struggles at first, until a fellow co-worker gives him the advice to use his "white voice" so that the potential customer feels more comfortable. Soon, with this new advice, Cassius begins making sales like crazy. However, the company treats its lower level employees like trash and soon the workers protest. Cassius, along with his girlfriend, and family and friends are part of that protest. But when Cassius is called into the office after a protest, he discovers that he is going to be promoted to Power Caller and cannot resist the offer. This alienates his fellow works, and especially his girlfriend and friends, which is only worsened when he describes his position on the protest as being "from the bench." Using his "white voice" and skills, he rises through the ranks again, and his lifestyle also reaches new heights with a new car, new apartment, new outfits, etc. Soon, his skills attract the head of the WorryFree company, which deals in human slavery by forcing their workers to work for them for life as part of their contracts, but it helps the economy by making products for a much cheaper price, such as building a car for as much as it cost to make a bicycle. But as Cassius rises through the ranks and enjoying his new lifestyle, he soon discovers a rabbit hole of utter insanity as he exposes dark corporate secrets, while the rest of the world enjoys watching the most popular show on television: I Got the S#*@ Kicked Out of Me - which is exactly as the title implies. I know, the plot sounds simple, but that's the simple summary. Giving a longer one would not only not give the film the justice it deserves, but even if I told you the spoilers (And they are crazy, mind-melting, jaw-dropping spoilers), you wouldn't believe me. It's a film that weaves race issues, race expectations based on prejudice, the dark side of capitalism and corporations, society's indifference to issues (Like watching cheap television programs and viral videos, while ignoring what's going on and hoping that it just goes away or we develop a tolerance for it until it becomes accepted), class, and so much more all rolled into a darkly humorous, surreal, and brilliant trip into the maw of madness. The film definitely lives up to its title, as it urges your attention in a most brash manner. It wants you to look, it wants you to look into yourself, to look at society, and pull back the curtain that hides these issues while we're too distracted by frivolous entertainment and indifference on that very stage. However, it's messages aren't always in your face, as it also hides clever, subtly hidden messages within its already varied social commentary. Sorry to Bother You is an important film. It's brutally honest and doesn't hold back. Even when it makes you laugh, it also wants you to think about the world around you and those issues you ignore out of convenience in your day-to-day life. It wants to provoke you and it wants you give a damn for once, rather than just being a protester on issues from "the bench." It's a brazen, in-your-face, "what the fuck are you gonna do about it?" kind of social commentary. It's not a plea, it's a demand made with harsh truths, but also comes from a passionate heart. I don't think I've understood all that Sorry to Bother You has to say (Believe, it has to say a lot), and I hope that didn't misconstrue any of its meanings, but it left one hell of an impression on me. It made me laugh, it made me think, it made me excited about a new film-making talent in writer/director, Riley Boots, and it also inspired introspection and more careful look at the world. This is not only among the very best films of 2018, but I think it is among the very best films of the decade. Hell, it may very well be one of the most important films of the century that I urge any serious film watcher to see. If this film goes unnoticed by audiences, it will be one of the great travesties of cinema. Don't let this film go unnoticed. See it, think about it, think about yourself, think about the world, and have plenty of good laughs, too. If this is a debut effort for Riley Boots, all I can say is, more, please. Absolutely motherfucking outstanding in every way.