Steve Jobs: Portrait of the Artist as an Asshole

steve-jobs-movie-posterAfter much sturm and drang getting it to the big screen, the Aaron Sorkin-penned biopic Steve Jobs finally in wide release, where it face-planted for reasons ranging from “Michael Fassbender isn’t a star” to “everyone just spent their money on The Martian and they’re done with movies for the month”. (That second one has a lot more to do with it than anything else.) It’s too bad Steve Jobs was ever taken out of the arthouse, its natural habitat, because it’s actually a really good movie that doesn’t deserve to be remembered as a failure just because general audiences weren’t into it. It’s an excellent character drama featuring stellar performances from Fassbender and Kate Winslet, and if Aaron Sorkin seems like the kind of guy who imagines he’s the besieged lord of the castle of good taste, well. It doesn’t make his dialogue any less entertaining. Continue reading “Steve Jobs: Portrait of the Artist as an Asshole”

Emily Blunt is Sidelined Action Heroine in Sicario

sicario posterI FINALLY caught up with Sicario after it managed to avoid me for a couple weeks, and while I’m glad I saw it, it did not blow me away. It’s a highly competent movie featuring highly competent actors, made by a bunch of highly competent people, but it’s only intermittently engaging and it does not offer any ideas or insights deeper than your average Nightline special. Directed by Denis Villeneuve (Prisoners, Enemy) and starring Emily Blunt, Sicario is basically Steven Soderbergh’s Traffic with a dash of Michael Mann’s inscrutability. With Roger Deakins working as the director of photography, this is a gorgeous movie to look at, and Villeneuve puts together a few really tense action sequences, but in between the action beats the film is curiously flat, with characters who are all so painfully cool—and one who is epically dumb—that they’re more like ideas of people dreamed up by a sixteen year old boy who thinks CIA agents and hitmen are like, totally awesome. Continue reading “Emily Blunt is Sidelined Action Heroine in Sicario”

Cooties is an odd-ball horror/comedy that excels at neither

Cooties_posterI have generally enjoyed Elijah Wood’s post-Lord of the Rings career as he’s largely retreated into genre and takes on interesting and offbeat projects like Wilfred and the Maniac remake—both of which are good, as is last year’s Grand Piano—but his latest movie, Cooties, of which he is both producer and star, is not up to his usual standard of oddball fare. (He also has movies with Vin Diesel AND Nicolas Cage coming up, which means that either he’s taking “ironic performance” to whole new levels or that LOTR money is running low.) Cooties is a zombie movie with the twist that it’s set at an elementary school and the kids are the only ones affected by a zombie virus outbreak, leaving their beleaguered teachers to fend them off or die trying. Continue reading “Cooties is an odd-ball horror/comedy that excels at neither”