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Flash Movie Review: Steve Jobs

Ugh not again; there they go repeating the same story for everyone. I do not know if this has happened to you but I know a couple of people who can take an entertaining story and pummel it down to the point where most people would have lost interest midway through the tale. One of these individuals will tell me a story, move on to something else for a moment and then come back to the original story to add some unnecessary element. I say “unnecessary” because once you give out the punchline the story is done. If you go back to add something else it never adds extra oomph if someone already knows the ending to the joke or story. At a party this person will go from group to group telling each one a particular story, dragging it out longer and longer as they make their way among the assembled people. It is easy to tell when a captive guest loses interest; their eyes keep darting from side to side after each blink as they are looking to lock in on someone to come save them from the storyteller’s discombobulated oratory. I may not be a great verbal communicator but I do know that a good story or joke needs to be quick and to the point. It is like a speech; there is only a finite amount of time one can hold onto an audience’s attention span before they drift off to someplace else. So here is today’s movie and it is the third film about Steve Jobs I have seen in a short amount of time. How many times do we need to hear about Steve and Apple Computer? Luckily they say the 3rd time is the charm because it was for this dramatic movie.    COME backstage during the launch of 3 major products during Steve’s tenure at Apple Computer. Directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours) and written by Aaron Sorkin (The Social Network, The West Wing-TV), this film was intelligent, smart and most importantly acted out brilliantly. The casting could not have been better with the likes of Michael Fassbender (A Dangerous Method, Shame) as Steve Jobs, Kate Winslet (Titanic, Divergent franchise) as Joanna Hoffman and Jeff Daniels (The Martian, Looper) as John Sculley; they were amazing in their roles. Michael completely obliterated any trace memory I had left of Ashton Kutcher’s poor performance as Steve in the film Jobs; there is a good chance Michael will be nominated for best actor this Oscar season. The script was so well done I can only imagine the actors must have really enjoyed digging deep into their characters. I enjoyed the mix of dramatic intensity and humor Aaron brought into the script. The fact the story only focused on three specific time frames I believe made this a stronger picture. Truthfully, I could easily see this film again and not get bored.

 

3 1/2 stars 

 

 

 

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Flash Movie Review: Trance

The corridor led to a dead end; I had to retrace my steps. Amid the muffled sounds were large popping sounds followed by squeals of laughter. I would see the image of another human for a second before it disappeared back into a kaleidoscope of twinkling lights. As I turned a corner a blast of cool air hit me in the face, momentarily forcing me to close my eyes. When they opened a silhouette of a person came at me from the side. A beam of light pierced the darkness revealing the person was a clown. I laughed as the colorful costumed character pointed to the glowing exit sign down the hallway. If they are not too crowded I get a kick out of going through amusement park fun houses. Usually covered in a fog of darkness, I enjoy how the houses are set up to manipulate the visitors with creative elements of surprise. It was the same way in this thrilling mystery of a movie. Director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting) created a taut sense of urgency with the more than capable actors. James McAvoy (X-Men: First Class, Wanted) played art auctioneer Simon. He became embroiled in a tussle with a gang of criminals led by Franck, played by Vincent Cassel (Black Swan, Irreversible), while trying to protect a valuable painting. Due to a blow to the head, Simon needed the assistance of hypnotherapist Elizabeth, played by Rosario Dawson (Seven Pounds, Sin City); in trying to retrieve the parts of his memory he had lost. This drama had just as many twists and turns as a fun house maze. I had to work at paying attention to see if there were any clues being revealed in the simmering story. The acting was intense and tight; with the actors totally submerged into their characters. I have no complaints with Danny’s directing; but I did not get totally immersed into this story like I have done with his other films. The issue for me became apparent as the movie moved closer to the ending. There were a few too many surprises that left me confused. Like a carnival fun house, this is the type of movie I need to see again…just not right away. There were a couple of scenes with blood.

 

3 stars

Flash Movie Review: Slumdog Millionaire

Along the same lines in my belief that there are no accidents, my thoughts on one’s destiny are evolving. For example, when you go to a different grocery store than the usual one and meet someone that becomes the love of your life; is it simply by accident? A friend of mine vacationing in Florida called me from a restaurant. A man at the next table was leaning back in his chair laughing. He kept tilting back until he toppled over onto the floor; he had died from a massive heart attack. Asking her for a description of the man; it  turned out the man was my uncle. This was how my mother and sisters found out about their baby brother. Coincidences or occurrences have always fascinated me. The magic in this Oscar winning movie came from a series of events that lead the characters on a path to their destiny. Dev Patel (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, The Last Airbender) played a poor orphan from Mumbai named Jamal Malik. The fact he was a contestant on a game show was amazing enough; however, when it appeared he might actually win, the producers had him arrested for cheating. They could not believe a poor uneducated boy could know the correct answers to the game’s questions. It was during Jamal’s interrogation that we learn how occurrences in his life led him up to this point in time. Director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, 127 Hours) did a brilliant job keeping the story interesting by using flashbacks. It was easy to follow the unfolding connections between the characters, though the scene with the boy’s eyes made me look away. Freida Pinto (Immortals, Trishna) was wonderful playing Latika, the little girl who Jamal never forgot. Besides feeding my belief of there being no accidents in life, I understood the message about not judging a book by its cover. A beautiful film that I was meant to see with a universal story that was no accident. Some scenes were spoken in Hindi with English subtitles.

 

3 2/3 stars — DVD 

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