Split

This one is tough to offer you a review of. The first hour is excellent. You see subtleties in McAvoy’s acting and M. Night’s directing that draw you in, entertain you, and even educate you about this mental illness. It’s all done in a respectful way. After that point, the movie becomes a slow trainwreck and culminates in the worst twist M. Night has ever offered.

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We get a glimpse into the field of psychotherapy in the first half of the film. It’s intriguing to watch a therapist demonstrate trust with a client and test the boundaries between personalities in this case. Many reviewers are asking “who was your favorite personality?” Most are naming the 9 year old child because he’s innocent and fun and it seemed he had the most screen time.

This film could have had an 8/10 from me and stood as an amazing view into multiple personality disorder. The problem is the second half along with M. Night’s signature “twist.” There is no twist in the actual film. There are some supernatural things that can’t be explained away without one though. Therefore, there is a twist. It’s like eating sushi and oysters on the half-shell when all of a sudden you’re force fed an oversized Snickers bar. M. Night, how could you make such a connection? I wanted to like this film but I have more class and style than that. I am really let down by the twist in this film, it eradicates the movie as a stand-alone film. It might as well have never been made, after such a twist. I can recommend the first hour, no more.

Steve Jobs

This was a daring second movie about Steve Jobs. The first, you may know, failed miserably. This film has an urgency and a sour tone to it making it impossible to look away from. It presents Jobs the man as a mess socially and in personal relationships. Despite that, it shows how he developed the incredible imac. Instead of trying to tell the whole story, it focused on a slice in time.

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The relationship with his daughter is the most notable here. It chronicles the beginning where he basically tried to deny she was his up to the end of the film that ends with the imac being unveiled. She holds out hope to really know her dad throughout the film but sadly, it is a very slow process of him accepting her. Some things he says about her are ice-cold, I found this part of the film very sad. I never knew this side of the man.

The film raises the age-old concept that geniuses are not good at personal relationships. In addition, it adds an element of Jobs being a shrewd businessman. Everybody knows shrewd businessmen aren’t good at relationships either. So, we are left with a vignette of a man who invented the Apple computer and alienated almost everyone around him. This film paints that picture and shows you a slice of time where you see how he was. It’s not a feel good film but it’s great nostalgia for computer lovers who lived through the 80’s Apple boom. I recommend this film as a drama with much to talk about over coffee afterward.

Watchlist Completed 1/13/2017

As has been my custom lately, I picked a week’s worth of films to watch and review. Here’s are the fruits of my labors. Two are absolutely amazing, some are medium and one is to be missed at all costs!

  1. The Walk 01/12/17 A stunning spectacle and how he made it happen. Fear of heights folks will be challenged!
  2. Krisha 01/12/17 This tried to be something with all its might, so I gave it 2 stars.
  3. The Confirmation 01/11/17 The best film I saw last week! Thoroughly enjoyable drama of father and son on a quest where both grow and learn.
  4. Margot at the Wedding 01/11/17  Wanted to … just couldn’t like this one.
  5. It Had to Be You 01/10/17 Quite excellent romantic comedy. I can’t fault it for anything! Great comedy presented in a somewhat similar way but with it’s own modern charm.
  6. The Infiltrator 01/14/17 1] Dud alert.

The Infiltrator

This is one of those stories about the guy in the background and what’s he’s all about. Despite the film centering on the Colombian drug lord, Pablo Escobar, it watches more like a “Where are they now” episode on Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston.

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Having seen all seasons of Narcos in their entirety, I was hoping this would be more on Pablo Escobar. It wasn’t, in fact, he wasn’t even in it. I actually thought from the trailers that Bejamin Bratt was playing Escobar and was oddly curious about that. As it turned out, Escobar never graces the screen and this film is just a jumbled mess we’ve seen the likes of before. An undercover writer and cop decides to take part in a sting that will take down Escobar. Namely, the undercover dude is Bryan Cranston, who incidentally looks way too old for the part.

There is some stuff like, I dunno bowling, drinking beer, a few scantily clad women which there are never enough of in bad films. There is very little character development and I say that because I don’t care what is happening to anyone throughout the film. I don’t recommend this film. Pass if you get the chance.

The Walk

People with passion give life and inspiration to the world. Philippe Petit is one of those passionate people. His story rocked Netflix audience a few years ago in the documentary Man on a Wire. Robert Zemeckis saw the opportunity to make this event a major motion picture and he did it, and it works!

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Speaking with an authentic sounding accent, Josh Gordon Levitt plays Petit and he nails the part. The film brings a theatrical aspect the biography didn’t have. Mostly, the film parallels the biography but there are times Zemeckis is able to do things the biography missed, like showing the walk itself. The biography stated that all movie footage was lost of the walk. There are only stills.

What I got from it was that we all have an idea of what we need to do with our lives. That can be as small as wanting to work in a certain trade or art capacity or it can be as big as wanting to be a astronaut. In Petit’s case, he is wirewalker and he wants to put his wire in amazing places. As I watched his story, I got very inspired t teach better, blog harder, treat people more kindly, and dust off my guitar once in a while. For that inspiration, I thank Petit and Zemeckis. The man on the wire is a microcosm of what we all our in our own universe.

Krisha

Different movies for different folks. I’m sure you would agree with that. This is a film I can get into a little bit but not fully. It’s an art project that delves into the discomfort of addiction. It takes its viewers there through the character of Krisha. Sound like a fun ride at the movies? It really wasn’t for me.

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As if we need more family members like this in our lives. Krisha gives us the tension of Thanksgving. When they are looking at the turkey, we see a fish-eye view replete with knives glistening in the kitchen light. The sounds of laughing in the house are almost deafening. I assume this is all meant to recreate Krisha’s perception of the day.

It’s a creepy transition into talking and conversing with people who seemingly have no use for her anymore. Still, she is reaching out to them. She’s been lost but doesn’t seem to want to be found. She carried a pill container the size of a tackle box and seems versed in when to take her multiple meds throughout the day. Is this existence even worth living? Sometimes the critics rally to praise a highly uncomfortable film, this is one of those cases.

I recommend this as a wobbly experiment in discomfort, all in favor go for it.

The Confirmation

How does a dad who’s seen as lazy and out of the picture for a reason win back his son’s respect and admiration? For starters, he offers to watch him while his mom goes on vacation. Two guys, hanging out. A kid and a woodworker who really should work more. This is a simple recipe for drama, and a fine one it is.

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When dad’s tools get stolen, the tension starts to build. Without the tools, dad cannot work. Here we see father and son set out to find the tools. Through this process we learn second-hand what dad’s life is like. The tools don’t turn up and father and son are left to spend time with each other and chat. There is a great scene where dad tells son what he thinks about religion. I couldn’t have put it better myself!

We see the son and father go through each his own transformation. That’s a sign of good writing. The significant particulars all happen for a reason that unfurls in the last 1/4 of the film. We learn the boundaries of this divorced family. Dad can coeexist with mom’s new husband.

This is a captivating story of a father-son relationship. I’d recommend it for anyone in or from a step-family. It’s also a story that shows the value in being a loving dad to your child. This was a surprise hit with me, definitely check it out.

Margot at the Wedding

I like artsy films that are just about people living their regular lives. Call me a minimalist. For that reason, I did enjoy this film. There is another caveat. However, there should be character development and some sort of a story. Both of those were lacking in this film.

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This is really a story of a woman who hovers over her child and journeys back to stay with her high school friend for a while after her divorce. You get to see how her over-protective and overly healthy take on everything affects her son.

I’m a big fan of Jennifer Jason Leigh and Jack Black but I felt the writing for them was disjointed and really didn’t create characters that lasted in my memory.

There is a conflict with a neighbor and some normal tensions that occur in a marriage with regards to flirting and such and then regretting it. The film really gives itself no reason to exist. It’s a shame a drama with such powerful actors never got off the ground. All I can guess is they were trying to make it like an independent film that has big names and that everybody loves even though it’s minimal. It didn’t work for me and I wouldn’t recommend it.

It Had to Be You

Once I realized I wasn’t seeing a gaunt Alyssa Milano in this film, I settled in and enjoyed a truly funny and modern love tale for our times. It wasn’t perfect, but the story was cute and it was a romance which always wins me points with my wife.

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So we have a female protagonist who is not ready to commit. This was seen last year in a big film by a stand up comedienne, it’s like that but totally different. This actress is younger and more unsure of her place in the world. That makes her more attractive I think. The couple in the film decide to give their relationship one last shot and there you have the basis for the plot.

Usually it’s the woman in movie that wants the man to commit. This is the other way around. They go through so much, and much of it is comical, to discover whether they are right or each other. He is a techie geek trying to get hired at Google. She is a music soundtrack artists doing whatever small ads and the like she can to pay the bills. When together, they shine like a post-modernist couple and I couldn’t help wanting to see them end up together.

This is a diamond in the rough as a date movie. If you can get a hold of it, you and your date will not be let down. I recommend it to fans of cutesy romances. It went over well at my house because my wife is very much one of those.

Watchlist to Complete by 1/14/2017

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My notes: I’ve been meaning to see the Bryan Cranston film for ages. Really glad to have it on my watchlist. The crimes of Pablo Escobar are significant and I’ve enjoyed other film takes on his life in the past. The Jack Black film looks good. I am atually half-way through it already. I love films about people and this one definitely paints a loely palette of several. There is an independent film in the bunch that also falls into the people category.

I’ve wanted to see the film on Petit and the twin tower walk for a while. I’ll report back on how it was of course. Finally, this Clive Owen film looks quite promising as well. I shall report back to you on or around the due date :)

My list on IMDb