Spotlight has been lauded by newspaper people for getting the reporting right – especially in an age of increasingly partisan, slapdash news presentation, this group is rightly depicted as heroes.
Paddington is a delightful mélange that never overpowers – its mix of live action and animation recalls Mary Poppins, as does its affectionate send-up of Britishness…
Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine has already upset some of the Apple faithful, but it’s mainly because Gibney was rude enough to collect and repeat many of the unflattering Steve Jobs anecdotes that have been circulating for years. Unfortunately, the film overreaches – Gibney posits that Steve Jobs was/is Apple, and by extension Apple customers are worshipping a false god.
All acting is mimicry – the trappings of speech and bearing are elemental building blocks for a performer. What’s intriguing about The Trip is that Coogan and Brydon are also mimicking themselves, even as they mimic others.
These are not necessarily the “best” movies; I recently realized I tend to watch these on a seasonal basis – they feel most right and comfortable at certain times of year. In many cases, my impressions intermingle with my recollections of first watching the films.
There’s exactly one reason to watch the movie, which is Anna Kendrick’s luminous performance as Cathy. Jeremy Jordan’s Jamie is weak tea; it doesn’t help that the authors’ conception of the character is beyond insipid (what idiot would whine about being married to Anna Kendrick?)
At first glance, Michael Showalter and David Wain’s Wet Hot American Summer looks like a beat-for-beat remake of Meatballs. It’s also sentimental, but it’s sentimental about dumb sex comedies, not about its characters. The send-up is so smooth and affectionate it doesn’t immediately register as parody.
Steven Spielberg’s first five movies are interesting because while Spielberg’s technical proficiency grows by leaps and bounds, his interest in character steadily declines. Perhaps the first doesn’t necessarily crowd out the second, but it might. Raiders of the Lost Ark, conceived with George Lucas, is the ultimate pulp homage by two men who see movies as a funhouse and little else.
Once upon a time, there was a director named Steven, a prince in the Kingdom of Hollywood. Stephen was very talented and successful, so the king allowed him to make whatever movies he wanted, no matter how much time or treasure they took. Steven thought it would be funny to make a film about a Japanese submarine threatening Los Angeles shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. The king thought this was a great idea and opened his vaults and instructed his courtiers to do whatever Steven wanted.
Spielberg’s technical proficiency, his skill in conceiving and framing images, his use of color as an expressive tool, make Close Encounters almost as awe-inspiring as the director intends.