Movie

Steve Jobs Review

Steve jobs is by no means a biography. It tells the evolution of Jobs as a person and less so as a computing innovator. It goes through only a few hours of his life at three different product launches that he was major part of, trying to paint a portrait of the man himself.

Michael Fassbender is captivating as the leading actor, with an excellent performance that provides great insight of the personality and way of thinking of Jobs. A tough task considering the very complicated and multi-dimensional person that he was. The cast is comprised of very good actors that give equally good performances, but Fassbender is the standout one, delivering that extra layer to his character that grounds the movie and allows the audience to get a better grasp.

Despite all the talk of great acting, that’s not where the real star of the film lies. The star of the movie is Aaron Sorkin. A man praised for his writing and considered by many to be one of the best scriptwriters around. That is no coincidence, he shows again with Steve Jobs why he is so widely respected with absorbing dialogue that overshadows the cracks and weaknesses of the overall story. The way the story of the movie unfolds, doesn’t allow much room for development of the characters through the narrative. It’s the smart and gripping dialogue that manages to provide the necessary evolution for Jobs, as we see him evolve before our eyes, through the way he carries himself with the people closer to him.

Danny Boyle directs the movie, with a clear idea of what he wanted to depict. The focus isn’t on making Steve Jobs look like a saint or a genius of his time. The magic of this film is showing the flaws and mistakes of the main character, no matter how successful he was, however without completely bypassing the great accomplishments that accompanied those.

Fascinating story with great dialogue that manages to take away the surrounding world.

7.5/10

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Creed Review

Creed tells the story of Adonis Johnson, son of legendary boxer, old rival and friend of Rocky Balboa, Apollo Creed. This time not written by Stallone, instead Ryan Coogler takes over the reign as writer/director.

Michael B. Jordan is in the lead of the movie, playing the troubled Adonis who has his mind set on becoming a professional boxer. Jordan not only bulked up physically to take on the role, he also gives a great performance that along with the fantastic writing, allows the viewer to really delve into Adonis’ mind set. Sylvester Stallone reprises his role as Rocky Balboa and even though he doesn’t get involved in the ring, he has other things on his mind and different kind of fights to tackle. Sly delivers one of his best performances ever, in the role that made him in the 70’s he comes to knock it out of the park some 39 years after the first Rocky came out. He knows Rocky inside out and the character has developed so much in front of our eyes, it’s an absolute joy to watch him once again.

Ryan Coogler has a new vision for the series. He brings in a new leading character to the scene and also some fresh ideas to a worn out genre. The directing is superb throughout the whole movie but it’s in the boxing scenes that it really excels. Boxing is as good as it’s ever been and probably more believable and more suspenseful. There is an extraordinarily shot boxing match which is done in a single take without cuts and is simply stunning.

The writing for the movie is perfect. The development of the main characters walks a fine line between clichés and originality and although many of the themes we have already seen before, they are very well carried out. The dialogue, especially between Adonis and Rocky is great and when it got emotional, I couldn’t help it but feel the lump in the throat myself.

Lastly Ludwig Goransson has written some of the best music of the year, in film. I would go as far as say it’s a masterpiece of a music score. It’s mindboggling to me, as to why it wasn’t at least nominated for an Oscar, and I know it reuses some of the old music but it’s ridiculous nominating Star Wars which has even more reused tracks, instead of this.

A rollercoaster of emotions for any fan and a great addition to the series, which can only be compared to the original Rocky in terms of quality.

8.5/10

Concussion Review

The movie follows a pathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu, portrayed by Will Smith, who investigates the deaths of former professional football players, trying to find the cause of death and any connection that it might have to suffering repeated concussions.

Will Smith reminds everyone why he is considered one of the best in the business, he does exceptionally well, without having a particularly good script. Everything good in the movie involves him, giving a great performance full of charisma. Albert Brooks gives this movie another breathing line, however only for a limited amount of time. Lastly Alec Baldwin does a solid job, but as usual he is cast in yet another generic role.

Peter Landesman decides halfway through, to stray away from telling the story of Dr. Bennet Omalu and focuses on the bigger picture. That could have been a good thing, however in this case it ends up hurting the development of the main character, which by the end of the film feels unfinished, and with Will Smith being the great actor that he is, that was a very bad call.

It’s not something that we haven’t seen before, one man, disliked by his peers, takes on “the world”, we’ve experienced that many times. That being the case, the film doesn’t do enough to get us invested in the people that it introduces. It doesn’t spend the time that would allow the viewer to believe they are real human beings and not actors, enable us to empathise with them and feel their pain and terror. In what is supposed to be dramatic movie, that is its biggest downfall.

6.5/10

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl Review

The title certainly hints at what the movie is about but to expand that a bit, it’s about Greg, a high school senior student, who doesn’t really socially interact with other people, except with his “co-worker” Earl.  Circumstances have it so, that he comes to meet a girl who might or might not be dying as you already figured out.

The script is excellent, it has everything in it and it all comes from the incredible dialogue and great narration, which is executed perfectly from our main guy Greg, portrayed by Thomas Mann.  It can be funny, sad, touching, and tense within one scene, emotions are so interchanging that you cannot settle for one moment.  All the clichés are brushed aside allowing a new narrative that we haven’t experienced previously, unravel before our eyes.

A mention needs to be given to Jesse Andrews who wrote both the novel and the impeccable screenplay for the movie and of course the director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon who brought the story and characters envisioned by Andrews, on film and did that exceptionally well.

The plot is unusual and the whole movie is made even more so by non-conventional filming, with shots from all different and irregular angles.  Where you would expect a close-up we get some odd-wide angles; the camera never sits still, it keeps moving all the time and it just helps intensify that feeling of perspective that the movie is all about.

One of the best movies of the year and a must watch for everyone.  It’s probably in contention for best adapted screenplay.  Film-making at its very best.

8.5/10

The Gift Review

The Gift is a movie about a young married couple that moves to California for a new start and run into an old acquaintance, who supposedly went to school with the husband.  He is peculiar to say the least.  Joel Edgerton wrote, directed and stars in the movie along with Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall.  Despite the great cast, and the solid performances all three delivered, the real star of the movie is the writing and directing by Edgerton in what is his directorial debut.

He wrote an incredible script, which creates an absorbing narrative and is paced to perfection.  The three main characters are very carefully and cleverly explored throughout the movie.  We keep learning more and more about them with each passing minute as more and more information comes to light, and it’s not until the final few scenes that the viewer can truly understand them and know more than just what they seem on first look.

Edgerton describes his movie as a “suburban horror story with no blood”, and although there are a few jump scares and a sense of terror is built as the story unfolds, it is more of a thriller and a good one at that, with great cinematography, music and sounds that enhance the suspense and can give you the creeps.

Not only is this a piece of high quality entertainment, it’s also a good study of real life situations whilst also delivering a strong message. There is great depth to the movie and Joel Edgerton gets the most out of his script with some impressive directing.

8/10

Spectre Review

Spectre is your regular James Bond movie; 007 is on a mission-leaves a mess behind, gets told off and we are off. The intro is great, accompanied by Sam Smith’s amazing “Writing’s on the Wall” (still not as good as the Skyfall intro but that was perfect), nothing less than what you would expect.

The directing is of top quality, Sam Mendes doesn’t have the best of scripts to work with, but he makes do with the tools he has at his disposal. With a great trademark car chase, great angles in hand to hand combat scenes, and some really great action sequences throughout that are masterfully shot. Except for the inclusion of the odd, tedious shaky camera effect, Mendes did an excellent job.

Daniel Craig is by now one of my favorite Bonds, if not my favorite. It’s the way he carries himself as James Bond, he embodies everything the characters should be about. He possesses the suave that the character is known for but he also adds the emotional side to it and not only when it comes to women. Whilst on the actor front, it’s worth mentioning that Christoph Waltz doesn’t disappoint, however, unfortunately, his screen time is limited.

The plot doesn’t particularly hold up to the Skyfall or Casino Royale standards. It doesn’t contain any major twists or unexpected outcomes, it’s very straightforward. It’s a bit of a classic James Bond movie in that regard, filled with over the top and impossible acts, cheesy and unrealistic conversations that are in place just to fit the plot and move it forward.

It might not be an Oscar contender for best picture, but it’s entertaining, intense and has everything you expect from a James Bond movie.

7/10

Black Mass Review

Black Mass is a movie that tells the story of James “Whitey” Bulger, one of the most violent criminals in South Boston during the 1970s and 80s and his involvement with the FBI.   It delves deep into his actions and criminal activities utilizing a great cast that carries out the task of bringing Bulger and those surrounding him to life on the big screen.

Johnny Depp is great as one would expect, with another trademark physical and mental transformation that turns him into Bulger and embodies his crazy and unstable personality.  Nevertheless it was Joel Edgerton who caught my eye with his performance as John Connolly and it might not have been as over the top as Depp’s but it was subtle and it was incredible.  One would assume they both have a good chance at an Oscar nod this year.

It really is a great depiction of the story, by the director Scott Cooper, he doesn’t depend on action scenes or suspense to get the attention of the audience, he chooses to rely on “Whitey” as the focal point of the movie and compel the viewer with the ruthlessness and unforgiving nature of the terrifying criminal that Bulger was (Johnny Depp can portray anyone with the charisma he possesses and Cooper takes full advantage of that).  Everybody was fearful of him, even his accomplices and that really becomes obvious throughout the film.

An Intriguing and gripping movie with very good performances.

8/10