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.
fass logo Continue reading

Inglourious Basterds

In France during World War 2, SS Col. Hans Landa (Christoph Waltz) is known as the “Jew Hunter” for his propensity for catching Jewish fugitives hiding from the Nazi party. Meanwhile, Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) has been tasked with building a team of his “Basterds,” predominantly Jewish-American soldiers sent in to kill as many Nazis as possible. Finally, Jewish cinema owner Shosanna Dreyfus (Melanie Laurent) has caught the eye of war hero Private Fredrick Zoller (Daniel Bruhl), whose exploits have been made into a film, Nation’s Pride, which Zoller aims to have premier at Shosanna’s theatre, only for her to hatch a plan to take out as many Nazi officers as possible.
shosanna window 2 Continue reading

Shame

On the surface, Brandon has it all. He’s got a great job with colleagues he gets on with, a modern apartment in New York and a level of confidence and self-assurance that makes him a hit with the ladies. Plus, the dude looks like Michael Fassbender, which has to help a little bit. However, Brandon has a problem – several in fact. Firstly his work computer has just been taken away to repair a virus from all the porn he’s been downloading. Secondly, his messed up sister Sissy (Carey Mulligan) is about to fall back into his life. And thirdly, Brandon seems completely incapable of maintaining a relationship with anyone who doesn’t charge by the hour.Shame 01 Continue reading

12 Years A Slave

The Oscar nominations were recently announced and, as usual, I’ve seen precious few of the films that were mentioned. As in, of the nine Best Picture nominees, at the time of nomination I had only seen two (American Hustle and Gravity, neither of whom I’m particularly fussed about winning). Well, now I’ve seen four, as I saw Wolf of Wall Street recently too (potential review pending). And, not to put too big a spoiler on my opinions of this film, but as far as I’m concerned those other five pictures I’ve still yet to see will need to be pretty damn phenomenal if they’ve got a chance of beating 12 Years A Slave.?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Continue reading

300

300thmovie! Yes! Nailed it! This has been a plan from the outset, that the 300thfilm just had to be 300, and lo it has been done. Finally I can stop checking the count every day of how many films I’ve watched and just get on with watching more and writing posts (I won’t).
Based on the incredibly stylish graphic novel by Frank Miller (Sin City), it could be argued that this two-hour fight scene suffers from a severe case of style over substance, with a small squadron of 300 Spartan warriors heading out to take on the thousands-strong army of Persians out to conquer their land, but whilst there is some accuracy to this, there is quite enough story behind the oceans of cool.
The Spartans, led by Gerard Butler’s King Leonidas in a role that remains his calling card after six years of mostly forgettable romcoms and mindless shooters, have been trained since birth to feel no pain or mercy – or cold, judging by how little they wear – and all live to fight, and die, honourably in battle. One soldier, when questioned as to why he has brought his adult son along to fight, replies that he has others to replace him.
It’s impossible for a man not to watch this and feel inferior. Some may see it as a rabble-rousing celebration of what it truly means to be a man – fighting and killing, safe in the knowledge your son will carry on your name – but personally I see it as a reminder of the garage-worth of spare tyres congregating about my torso, and how I’ve managed to survive almost 25 years without so much as throwing a punch. I can almost feel my ovaries forming.
The combat, and believe me there’s an awful lot of it, is wonderfully choreographed, and director Zack Snyder utilises a deft blend of colour, lighting, slow motion, shadows and speeding up to showcase its full glory. At times it feels more like a videogame, as the quantity and skill level of the foes to be vanquished steadily increases.
The occasionally flits back to Sparta, where Leonidas’ Queen (Lena Headey) tries to convince their council to send reinforcements, do a good job of breaking away from the otherwise incessant violence, but some touches – the giant troll, a bizarre goat-creature – take away from the experience, and overly-pierced big bad guy Xerxes has a voice comically mismatched to his appearance.
Look out too for an early appearance from LifeVsFilm favourite Michael Fassbender as one of 
the 300.
Choose film 8/10

Fish Tank

Just another Kidulthood? Not so fast. Where Noel Clarke’s debut was all teen speak, yoof culture and multi-stranded east London ghetto-cool, Andrea Arnold’s second film, after her Oscar winning 2003 short Wasp and Cannes’ Grand Prize of the Jury awarded debut Red Road tells of a 15 year old girls attempt to make something of herself, with people coming at her from all sides.
Katie Jarvis plays Mia, picking fights and sneaking away from her neglectful mother and foul mouthed little sister (“cuntface”) to score cider and practice dancing in an abandoned flat in her tower block home. Her life is nothing but insults, confrontations and disencouragement from her family and her peers, until her mother starts dating Michael Fassbender’s Connor, a positive influence with a steady job and encouraging guidance, helping Mia to take her dancing onto the next step (pun intended). With some very strong language, unexpected dark turns and a scene where we watch a girl squat and pee on the floor this is at times a difficult watch, and its overall message, that role models are not what they seem and all dreams will be crushed in obvious ways, is a little hard to take. Best watched as a double feature with Little Miss Sunshine for their exactly polar opposite climactic scenes.
Choose film 6/10