Does being a “great” man mean you can’t be a “decent” one? That is the question that director Danny Boyle (28 Days Later, Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire) and Aaron Sorkin’s (The West Wing, The Social Network, The Newsroom) Steve Jobs asks. Eschewing a traditional fact-based biopic form, this film is a perfect storm of cinematic energy. Rather than lay out the complete career and/or life of the real Steve Jobs, the three-part film distills the man as a figure for “great” men as an essence, an interpretation if you will, from three pivotal moments of the actual man’s history. The film offers key snapshots that race along on a jovial pace and a propulsive momentum that never lets up. Yes, it’s Aaron Sorkin mapping out story, characters and dialogue so exaggerated in his personal style, that it almost seems like self-parody, but somehow it all works. Filled with strong performances and lively exchanges with the hindsight of history providing context, Steve Jobs is a genuine entertainment that does not rely on spectacle or sensationalism to excite us. Continue reading “Steve Jobs” – An Abstract Portrait on Greatness versus Decency
Despite making a career of playing the same manchild, Seth Rogen (together with longtime collaborator Evan Goldberg) has consistently used his broadness as a vehicle for laughing at the stuff that makes us uncomfortable: cancer (50/50), the apocalypse (This Is the End) and even Zac Efron’s abs (Neighbors). All kidding aside, Rogen & Goldberg written & produced films have always been unafraid to go places that most people won’t and The Interview marks the first time he goes to a place that most people actually can’t: North Korea.
Nicholas Stoller, the director of Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Get Him to the Greek, has mastered the art of blending absurd and over-the-top comedy rooted in very relatable human characters and situations. His latest film, Neighbors, has the same widespread appeal of his previous films. What made Forgetting Sarah Marshall so memorable was that it was a romantic comedy/break-up movie that both men and women can appreciate, likewise, Neighbors is a gross-out “BRO”/party film that both men and women including those who’ve outgrown the party scene will enjoy. The casting certainly helps with the film but the main source of its success is due to screenwriters Andrew J. Cohen and Brendan O’Brien, whose script is layered with equal attention to hilarity and humanity.