Steve Jobs

During the preparations leading up to the public unveiling of three products – the Mackintosh in 1984, NeXT Computer in 1988 and iMac in 1998 – business “composer” Steve Jobs (Michael Fassbender) deals with the same handful of people and problems, including his friend and marketing associate Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslet), co-Apple-founder Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen), engineer Andy Hertzfeld (Michael Stuhlbarg), Apple CEO John Sculley (Jeff Daniels) and Chrisann Brennan (Katherine Waterstone), Steve’s ex-girlfriend and the mother of his potential daughter Lisa.
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Terms of Endearment

This review was originally written as part of my USA Road Trip series at French Toast Sunday.

Terms of Endearment tells the story of a mother and daughter, Aurora and Emma, played by Shirley MacLaine and, from adulthood onwards, Debra Winger. As a young girl, Emma’s father and Aurora’s husband passes away, leaving the two of them alone with one another. Aurora was always an overprotective mother, who also doesn’t seem to leave the house in order to make money, so her daughter is essentially the main focus of her life. Thus when Emma grows up, marries a young Jeff Daniels and has to move away, both her’s and her mother’s lives are forever altered.

Terms01

Terms of Endearment has a reputation for being a thoroughly depressing story. I knew very little about it, other than it featuring a mother/daughter relationship, so I was expecting an almost constant barrage of one sad thing after another, culminating in literally everyone dying, horribly and slowly. Image It’s A Wonderful Life, but instead of the upbeat ending, James Stewart drowned in an ocean of orphan’s tears. That’s how I imagined Terms of Endearment, so I wasn’t exactly looking forward to this viewing. As it turns out, whilst there is a certain degree of sadness to the story, there’s also plenty of uplifting and even funny parts too. Continue reading

Looper

Regular readers will know I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with Looper, the third film from writer/director Rian Johnson. I loved Brick, and even wrote a post expressing my excitement and fears for the upcoming film, but alas when I went to see the film the first time around I passed out half an hour in, for reasons as yet undetermined. There’s an entire team of doctors and medical students currently scratching each others heads just trying to work out what – or rather, how many things – are wrong with me. But failing to fully see the film first time around gave me an opportunity to see The Brothers Bloom, Johnson’s second film, before watching the rest of his third. I have now managed to successfully see the entire film, in one sitting, having paid for a total of four cinema tickets (me + girlfriend first time around, me + friend second time around, Aisha didn’t want to see it again). And, personally, I think it was worth it.
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There’s Something About Mary/Dumb & Dumber

Say what you will about directing brothers Peter & Bobby Farrelly (Kingpin, Me, Myself & Irene, Shallow Hal, Stuck on You, Hall Pass), but at times their combination of prat-falls, worst case scenarios, extreme gross-out humour and stellar casts of ensemble comic actors can occasionally work out well, with these two films being pick of the bunch. The humour may go a tad too far for some) laxatives, urine drinking, masturbation and an excruciating penis-in-zipper-moment), but by ensuring their actors play the roles straight, and staying just the right side of plausibility make sure these films serve their intended purpose, as light-hearted comedy. If anything, it’s the small moments that make these films excel, be it a disc-sanding pedicure in Dumb & Dumber or the infamous spunked-up hair-do in Mary, as well as simple yet spot-on puns and wordplay (“a rapist wit”), and the casting is such that the central actors could not be replaced without seriously jeopardising the characters they play. So yes, the Farrellys have made some duffers in their time, but they’re worth enduring if occasionally they crap out gold like this.
There’s Something About Mary Choose film 7/10
Dumb & Dumber Choose film 8/10

Speed

100th film! Although really I’d have preferred it to have been the 50th, seeing as it’s about a bus, rigged with a bomb that activates once the bus reaches 50 miles per hour, detonating should the buses speed drop below 50. The planter of the bomb is Dennis Hopper’s vengeful psychotic ex-cop Howard Payne, angry at Keanu Reeves and Jeff Daniels’ foiling of his first elevator-based hostage situation and eager for a paycheck he feels he’s been cheated. But you don’t care about the motive or who’s behind it, as Payne tells Reeves’ Jack Traven, “Your concern is the bus.” Whenever the film detracts from this central conceit, be it following the non bus bound cops trying to track down Payne or Hopper himself watching the action unfold on the ever present media, the pacing immediately slackens, so enticing is the central plot.