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Monthly Archives: October 2015

Steve Jobs (2015)

jobsDIRECTOR: Danny Boyle

CAST: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg, Katherine Waterston, Makenzie Moss, Ripley Sobo, Perla Haney-Jardine, John Ortiz

REVIEW:

Steve Jobs is a bit to the late Apple Inc. founder and CEO as The Social Network (directed by David Fincher and like this written by Aaron Sorkin) was to Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, and while the laurels heaped on Danny Boyle’s character study hasn’t quite equaled that showered upon Fincher’s, one trait they share is that, just as The Social Network was able to shape such a seemingly dry and mundane topic as the founding of Facebook into a compelling character-driven drama, Steve Jobs does not require one to be an Apple aficionado or a particular fan of the real Steve Jobs to find this interesting viewing.  As brought to the screen by Danny Boyle, Aaron Sorkin, and Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs is not a dry docudrama, but a near Shakespearean morality play that leads us to reflect on the gift/curse of genius, the costs of limitless ambition, and the ways in which being a great mind does not necessarily equate being a great person. Continue reading

The Walk (2015)

walkDIRECTOR: Robert Zemeckis

CAST: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon, James Badge Dale, Steve Valentine, Clement Sibony, Cesar Domboy

REVIEW:

During their twenty-eight-year lifespan, New York City’s iconic Twin Towers were host to their share of newsworthy occurrences, including a 1993 terrorist bombing that did fairly little damage but in hindsight would serve as foreshadowing of their eventual demise.  A more uplifting (albeit death-defying) incident, and one of the most amazing spectacles they or any other building in the world had ever seen, came when the towers were still under construction, on the morning of August 7, 1974, when a French high-wire walker named Philippe Petit spent approximately forty-five minutes walking back-and-forth on a 200 foot cable suspended 1,370 feet above the ground, without benefit of net or safety harness.  Petit’s audacious stunt got him arrested (though he faced only a slap on the wrist), but also made him an international celebrity and helped make the new Twin Towers icons in their own right (before Petit’s stunt, many New Yorkers disliked the new towers, considering them oversized eyesores that towered over the city and blocked the sun, but Petit’s walk helped usher in their status as iconic NYC landmarks).  Petit’s walk was already the subject of a 2008 documentary, Man on Wire, directed by James Marsh and narrated by Petit himself, and now Robert Zemeckis has brought the story back to the big screen as The Walk, working off of Petit’s memoirs “To Reach The Clouds”.  While it’s debatable whether The Walk really brings anything new to the table that can’t be gleaned from Man on Wire (apart from recreating the titular walk through state-of-the-art technical wizardry), it serves as an entertaining and engaging, albeit flawed, docudrama and a love letter to not only Philippe Petit, but the towers he crossed. Continue reading

The Martian (2015)

martianDIRECTOR: Ridley Scott

CAST: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean, Kate Mara, Kristen Wiig, Michael Pena, Sebastian Stan, Aksel Hennie, Benedict Wong, Donald Glover

REVIEW:

Following in the footsteps of Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity and Christopher Nolan’s InterstellarRidley Scott’s The Martian, an adaptation of Andy Weir’s novel of the same name, is the latest in a trend of “hard sci-fi” movies that make serious attempts to give a reasonably realistic portrayal of space and the challenges that come with it (like the earlier films, the filmmakers consulted experts, with NASA involved as technical advisers during The Martian‘s script writing and production).  For Scott, whose prestigious name has taken a hit in recent years with unimpressive entries on an uneven filmography, this is a welcome return to form, and raises the argument that perhaps Scott is most comfortable with sci-fi Continue reading

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