Movie Review – The Circle

The Circle

The Circle

 

Starring: Emma Watson, Ellar Coltrane, Glenne Headly, Bill Paxton, Karen Gillan, Tom Hanks, John Boyega, Mamoudou Athie, Patton Oswalt, and more.

Directed by: James Ponsoldt Screenplay by: James Ponsoldt and Dave Eggers Based on the Novel by: Dave Eggers Cinematography by: Matthew Libatique Music by: Danny Elfman

Premise: Thanks to a friend, Mae gets a chance to interview at the prestigious company The Circle. A social media giant, The Circle is pushing for 100% transparency across the world. As Mae embraces the culture of her new employers, she begins to see that total transparency can cut two ways. Her willingness to share all inadvertently affects others around her in negative ways. Are the company’s and her own ideas going too far? (Rated PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: A lot of new and familiar faces appear in this film. Emma Watson does a great job as Mae. Her suffering and helplessness with regards to her father’s illness really came across. Her open-eyed eagerness to embrace the ideals of the company, even as she scoffs at some of the directions they are heading in, were very well done. Tom Hanks and Patton Oswalt were slick as the company’s leaders. Karen Gillan as Mae’s friend Annie brought several angles to the tale as well as a lot of energy. John Boyega as Ty proves yet again that you can be alone in a crowd and not just when you’re by yourself. 😛 Major kudos to Bill Paxton and his portrayal of someone with MS.

2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: The film had tons of subtle special effects. The cool compound for The Circle when viewed as a whole. The user interfaces for the different pieces of software. The frames around the visuals to make the scene look as if it were being viewed through a camera. And let’s not forget all the neat pop-ups on the screen as you’d see on your phone screen. A lot of the comments were fun all on their own. (Some a little freaky too!) 😛

The section with the kayak in the dark, the fog, and the ship came out very well. The medical software was cool as well.

3) Plot/Story – Thumbs Up: This type of story can go terribly wrong, but luckily they treated it right. Both sides of the question were evenly weighed. Thus allowing the audience to see the pros and the cons rather than the film just picking a side and making the movie preachy or heavy handed. As with all power, the question that must always be asked is “who watches the watchers?”. Anything powerful enough to make a difference always runs the risk of being abused. The film is quite thought provoking.

4) Locations/Cinematography – Total Thumbs Up: Lots of lovely cinematography, especially of the Bay and The Circle compound. Tons of different sites in California were used to create the illusion of The Circle. There were some beautiful beach shots for our intro to one of the men controlling the company.

Conclusion: Good, thought provoking film. Both sides are shown evenly, leaving the audience to draw their own conclusions.

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

Movie Review – Inferno

Inferno

Starring: Tom Hanks, Felicity Jones, Omar Sy, Irrfan Khan, Sidse Babett Knudsen, Ben Foster, Ana Ularu, Ida Darvish, and more.

Directed by: Ron Howard Screenplay by: David Koepp Based on the Novel by: Dan Brown Cinematography by: Salvatore Totino Music by: Hans Zimmer

Premise: Robert Langdon wakes in a hospital in Florence, Italy. He has no memory of how he got there. A cryptic email from a friend and the fact someone tries to kill him make it clear that he’s gotten himself into some kind of mess. The weird hallucinations of blood and hell don’t help matters. Aided by the young doctor at the hospital, Professor Langdon tries to put the broken pieces back together. (Rated PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Tom Hanks reprises his role as Professor Robert Langdom for the third film of the series. He has great rapport with his rescuer Dr. Sienna Brooks. Felicity Jones does a great job as Brooks, showing multiple facets of her complex personality quite well. Irrfan Khan turns out to be a real treat in the film as the pragmatic Harry Sims. There’s some real sizzle between Tom and Sidse Babett Knudsen once some of the secrets are revealed. Great job from all parties.

2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: There are special effects of all kinds in the film. Lots of surreal imagery with lots of detail. There’s a painting in the Hall of the 500 in the Palazzo Vecchio which gets brought to life. Looked fantastic.

Rivers of blood running down modern city streets. Physical renditions of Dante’s Inferno as painted by Botticelli. Reality and myth all wound together in disturbing imagery. Tons of lovely work.

There are a couple of falling deaths that were well done. Both looked incredibly painful. The work on the second body and the closeup on the face were gruesome and poignant.

3) Plot/Story – Thumbs Up: Doors are a main theme. Those we open, those we close, and those whose frame we stand in. The play with the concept is rather fun and viewed in many angles. Love and its many facets are also explored.

I don’t want to say too much and inadvertently spoil several of the surprises in store. Watch for the ‘odd socks’ as they are hints. A thing or two that seem like mere plot devices are actually something else.

Overall, it all holds together pretty well. They do pound a couple of things more times than necessary, but didn’t prove overtly irritating.

4) Stunts – Total Thumbs Up: The film isn’t filled with them, but the few there are were well done. The knife fights were quick and well choreographed. A little shaky-cam was used during a water fight, but it didn’t detract too much.

5) Locations/Cinematography – Total Thumbs Up: One of the best parts of the Professor Langdon movies are the locations! Salvatore Totino has been involved in the cinematography of all three films. As you view the lovely exotic locations you’ll realize why. Several gorgeous panning shots of Florence and other locals will fill the screen. The aerial views from the drone in the park by the Palazzo Vecchio looked great. There’s a shot of Istanbul with a huge setting sun that was fantastic. Lots and lots of lovely vistas. I very much enjoyed all the shots of the historical places, especially the areas where normal visitors are not allowed. 🙂

Super loved the location for the climax. Looked so cool!

Conclusion: Inferno is a nice addition to the Professor Langdon historical mysteries. Another cool puzzle buried in historical trivia and awesome locations. Even has food for thought!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price)

Movie Review – Sully

Sully

Starring: Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart, Laura Linney, Valerie Mahaffey, Delphi Harrington, Mike O’Malley, Jamey Sheridan, Anna Gunn, and more.

Directed by: Clint Eastwood Screenplay by: Todd Komarnicki Based on the Book by: Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow Cinematography by: Tom Stern Music by: Christian Jacob and the Tierney Sutton Band

Premise: After landing flight 1549 on the Hudson River in NY, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger finds his life turned upside down. Immersed in a surreal environment; he must deal with PTSDs and self-doubt. But also fans, and several agencies hoping to prove his water landing was a mistake rather than a miracle. (Rated PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Tom Hanks continues to amaze with his developed acting skills. He’s a master at taking a average people and surprising you with unexpected depths of feeling when you least expect it. Laura Linney gave a wonderful performance as Sully’s wife. Aaron Eckhart, who played first officer Jess Skiles, did an amazing job as well. All the acting was top notch.

2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: I loved the subtlety of the special effects on the film. The nightmares as well as the actual landing looked real. Cool engine explosions as well.

A ton of kudos for actually using an interior of a plane that is realistic! Narrow aisles and all! lol. The deployment of the emergency equipment and the slow flooding and sinking of the plane looked amazing!

3) Plot/Story – Total Thumbs Up: The film starts in the middle of a nightmare – giving the audience their first hint of Sully’s PTSD’s and stress as he waits to meet with the different agencies to discuss the events of January 15th, 2009. As the story unfolds the audience is taken back and forth to learn more of the man and also the day of the event.

One thing I liked about how they told the story is the inclusion of the lives of others. While a standard film tactic in disaster films, it worked even better in this context.

We see the captain’s own doubts and fears as the media and other agencies try to wear him and his family down. And as the day gets relived in the film, we get to see the events unfold from all sorts of angles. A nice well rounded look at an amazing event.

One neat thing I realized later about the film is how they subtly acknowledged how the successful landing touched the lives of New Yorkers. This is a city that less than a decade before, had suffered a major disaster at 9/11. The fact Sully was able to avert another disaster from staining the city visibly touched the souls of those around him. The Manager at the Courtyard by Marriott shows this unspoken feeling more aptly than words ever could.

4) Stunts – Total Thumbs Up:  The chaos inside the plane, people jumping into freezing water or shooting down wet slides, showing the jobs of rescue personnel – the stunt crew did a great job on all of it. It is the efficiency of those doing their jobs as they would on any given day that makes the acts even more amazing.

Conclusion: “Sully” is a fascinating look at the man, the people and the events of flight 1549. The deed is easy, it’s the aftermath you have to look out for.

Rating: 4 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price of Admission)

**After you see the film or if you’re not going to see it, check out this cool website called 208 Seconds. 208 seconds is the interval of time from takeoff to landing in the Hudson. Mind boggling!**