Steve Jobs: Seth Rogen Should Do More Dramatic Roles

Steve Jobs

4/5

Written by Luke Barnes

This film is a testament to the writing prowess of Aaron Sorkin. The film is simply two hours of Steve Jobs, here played by Michael Fassbender, having conversations with people, however what could easily have become boring and lost in a sea of tech speak actually sparkles and flies by. Sorkin perfects the art of the conversation, and as we see these moments in various different eras of Job’s life we are taken on an emotional rollercoaster and learn and feel far more about the former CEO of Apple then we ever have before.

Moreover, this film reminded me what a talent Michael Fassbender is, he perfectly sinks into the role of Jobs to such a point where I started to believe he was him. Furthermore, Seth Rogen is wonderfully muted and impactful in his performance as Jobs’ long-time friend and jilted business rival Steve Wozniak. Rogen plays the role straight, not going for dumb laughs, and manages to prove to us all that he can be a talented dramatic actor when he wants to be.

Though the film may have too slow of a pace for some, I do believe the film is near perfect in terms of pacing. The film does not feel like it is on for just over two hours and mostly flies by as you are so engaged with the subject matter

Overall, a riveting  film that will easily entertain those who appreciate its slower pace.

Pros.

The writing

The sparkling conversation

Michael Fassbender

The near perfect pace

Cons

A slow pace that some may find off putting

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Son Of The South: Anyone Can Be A Hero

Son Of The South is a biographical drama film directed by Barry Alexander Brown. The plot retells the early life of civil rights activists Bob Zellner (here played by Lucas Till), showing his early struggles and triumphs.

There have been many films where Till has been good, but he never stood out enough with a film to deserve awards and to break through into wider Hollywood, this however is that film. Till deserves awards for this one, this is his breakout film or should be at least.

This film was near perfect in every way, there was only one slight issues with it, can you guess what it is? Anyone who has been following my reviews for a while know damn well how I feel about Lucy Hale, (she can’t act and ruins any film that features her prominently, with Fantasy Island being the one film that made me question that statement), and the same could have been true here: thankfully after the first half an hour this film ditches here. Her half an hour performance isn’t good, but that almost goes without saying.

This film is important as it shows that no matter where you come from in life, you can help to better the world. Zellner’s own grandfather was in the Klan and threatened to kill him for helping the civil rights struggle, but despite his family Zellner went on to help change history. We truly can all be heroes.

There were a number of powerful scenes here, including the lynching scene and the riot at the bus station, that hit hard and leave an impact; this was not long ago in our history and have we come all that much further since? Really? So a mixture of despair for the monster that is the human race, but also a hope that the good can beat the bad in our world to a point where words like the Klan and White Supremacy lose their meaning and can be forgotten about permanently.

Overall, I can’t recommend this film enough, please watch it.

Pros

Lucas Till

The powerful message

The emotional impact

It leaves you thinking after watching

Cons.

Lucy Hale

4.5/5

Reviewed by Luke

A Street Cat Named Bob: One For The Cat Lovers

A Street Cat Named Bob is a biopic, drama film directed by Roger Spottiswoode. The plot tells the real-life story of recovering homeless drug addict James (Luke Treadaway), and the cat that gave him a new lease on life.

I loved the book this was based on, so I went into the film with high expectations. The film seems far more down beat than the book, though the friendship and eventually turn around is inspiring and uplifting a lot of the moments along the way are deeply, deeply depressing. I have to say when the film ended I was left feeling bummed out.

I enjoyed seeing the bond between James and Bob (the titular street cat), I thought their relationship was very endearing, as someone who has had many cats over the years I can say that it is very effecting and will strike a cord with any cat owners.

Treadaway seemed convincing in the role, I enjoyed him and his characters emotional arc. However, I would say his Australian accent was inconsistent, it came and went sometimes you could hear it and it was believable but other times he seemed to forget to do it.

Overall, this film packs an emotional punch, if you can bare some of the more intense moments of despair then there is a beautiful film here.

Pros.

The James/Bob relationship

The ending

The emotion

As a cat lover I found it even more impactful

Cons.
It is very sad

Treadaway accent comes and goes

4/5

Reviewed by Luke

Ham, A Musical Memoir: An Ode To The Past

HAM: A Musical Memoir is a biographical, comedy, musical film directed by Andrew Putschoegl. The film serves to tell the story of Sam Harris’ rise to fame.

This is a very effecting film, in multiple sense of the word. While watching it I became fascinated with this persons rise to stardom, not only was I rooting for them I also became invested in them as a person.

During my time with the film I was frequently smiling, also there were quite a large amount of laughs to be had over the run time as well; not laugh out loud sorts of laughs but definitely a few strong chuckles. Moreover, the complexity of this film’s emotion transitions comedy and becomes something more. Quite a few times while watching I could feel the film pulling on my heart strings, I found the character plight effecting, the film did not need to be overt in this, it never felt manipulative with its emotional delivery, yet it had a strong impact.
I also enjoyed the musical elements of this film I thought they worked well and added a nice flavour to the standard biopic format. I think in many ways this film seems destined to change the format of the biopic genre as a whole or at least pump some fresh blood into it, as it takes the best elements of something like Rocketman and distils them into a more refined product.

Overall, a must watch, it will make you laugh it will make you cry and most importantly it is a great way to kill a few hours.

Pros.

It is funny

It nails the emotion

I was invested in the story

The musical elements work well

Cons.

The first act is quite slow

4/5

Reviewed by Luke  

Joy: The Rather Obvious Decline Of Robert DeNiro

Joy is a biographical drama film directed by David O’ Russell, the plot is based on the real-life story of the Queen of QVC Joy Mangano and her rise from struggling poverty to take the business world by storm.

This film is a very engrossing watch, you become fascinated by Joy (Jennifer Lawrence), and her mop business and begin to form an emotional attachment over the course of the film: one that desperately makes you want to see her succeed.

Was Lawrence’s performance worthy of an Oscar nod, no it wasn’t. She was an affable lead and one that was easy to root for, but another actor could have been just as good in the part at no point did I think she made the part her own as a result of this she would be easily replaceable.

I think the best scenes in the film were between Lawrence and Bradley Cooper (who played the head of the QVC network), I think though they only had a few short scenes together over the course of the film their on-screen chemistry was so strong that it stole the show.

On a different note as much as I love Robert DeNiro, I almost found him to be a distraction her with his overly hammy performance often taking me out of the film.

Another issue I have with this film is that it is bloated and could have been better served by a tighter edit.

Overall, an engaging and interesting film, however also one that received more praise then it deserved.

Pros.

The engaging narrative

Cooper and Lawrence have great chemistry

The personal connection you develop for the character

Cons.

Lawrence is interchangeable

DeNiro is too over the top

It has pacing issues

3/5

Reviewed by Luke

The Man Who Invented Christmas: Lay Off The Hallucinogens Charlie

The Man Who Invented Christmas is a Christmas themed biographical drama film focusing on Charles Dickins (Dan Stevens) as he creates his classic Christmas novel A Christmas Carol, we see the trials and tribulations that lead to one of the best-selling books of all time.

I enjoyed the presentation of this film, I thought the blending of standard biopic elements and more out there fantasy elements, as he talks and interacts with his own characters, was quite an inspired choice as it allowed the film to feel fresh and not like just another biopic.

Stevens was serviceable in the role; he can convey both sides of Dickens as a character and does a good job of making the character seem whole and rounded rather than a caricature. He is the best of the cast, though that is not a tall order as a lot of the other actors are bland and forgettable.

I thought the film had pacing issues and included a number of side plots and other stories that should have been cut, I understand the film was trying to show the motivations and scars of Dickins himself, but they could have done it in a more concise and audience friendly way, as it stands certain parts are far too exposition heavy.

Overall, through the choice of how it presents its story and its characters this film feels slightly above the standard biopic and is enjoyable, however a mostly bland cast and a few pacing issues stop it of being great.

Pros.

The fantasy and reality aspects

Stevens

It feels like a well-considered Christmas film

Cons.

The wider cast are bland

It has pacing issues

It goes too far in trying to explain what drives Dickins and relies too heavily on exposition

2.5/5

Reviewed by Luke  

Never Be Done, The Richard Glen Lett Story: A True Inspiration

Never Be Done: The Richard Glen Lett Story is a Canadian documentary film based on real events. The plot follows the fall of one of Canada’s most beloved comics at the hands of drug and alcohol abuse, and also how he managed to come back from his darkest point and turn his life around.

Inspiring, is a word that gets tossed around a lot. Often people use it either hyperbolic-ally or falsely when talking about feel good films they have seen, as few films are truly inspiring; though I suppose different films are inspiring to different people. However, this is one of the few films I would truly use that word to describe.

This film is a roller-coaster of emotions we go from dizzying heights, to soul crushing lows and all the while we follow this man and his struggle. The film does not shy away from showing the unpleasant side of addiction, in fact it displays it in all its infamy and for that I applaud it. Due to this we form a real bond with Richard as well feel like we are right there along with him.

I have to say this film brought me close to tears a number of times, it is not for the light of heart, or the easy to tears as there are some really harrowing moments here. The tears, I believe are proof of how much you end up caring about this man and his struggles.

Overall, this is a beautifully made film that is honest and raw and leaves you with a lot to consider afterwards.

Pros.

The beautiful message

The journey

The connection we form

The emotional impact

It is not afraid to show the dark side of addiction

Cons.

None

5/5

Reviewed by Luke  

A United Kingdom: One Of Africa’s Greatest Romance’s

A United Kingdom is a British biographical romance drama film directed by Amma Asante. The plot follows the real-life story of Sir Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo), and Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike) Khama, a king to be who defied the world and married a common English women. Their love was met with hate and strife at damn near every turn, but they kept fighting.

I think this film is a triumph, it was sweet, compelling, and also infuriating and a bit sickening at times. Film’s like this highlight how far as a society we have come, but also how much further we have to go.

I found the romance between Oyelowo and Pike to be entirely believable, they had a strong chemistry that carried throughout the film. Both actors gave incredibly good performance with Oyelowo’s maybe taking the cake. The part when he is speaking to his people and trying to convince them why he has brought an English woman to be there Queen and he has tears rolling down his face is nothing short of powerful.

My one complaint of the film would be that it has pacing issues, as is often the case with biographical film, I understand that it has a lot of history to tell as it doesn’t want to leave anything out, but it feels a lot longer than 111 minutes.  

Overall, a strong film that you need to watch. The love on display is compelling and proves that if we are ever to overcome hate we must all embrace the love we have for each other.

Pros.

Believable chemistry

David Oyelowo

Rosamund Pike

Powerful and effecting

Cons.

It feels much longer than it actually is

4/5

Reviewed by Luke    

Jungle: Lost In The Wilderness

Jungle is a biopic survival film directed by Greg McLean. The plot follows young Israeli explorer Yossi Ghinsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), who gets stranded alone in the amazon for three week, the film details his fight to stay alive.

This is a harrowing film especially towards the end when you can see the physical and mental tole the whole ordeal has had on Yossi; it makes you question just how much the human spirit can endure. Adding to that when it is revealed that Karl (Thomas Kretschmann), was not who he said he was and that he had taken other people out to the jungle before, with said people never coming back, it adds a whole chilling other tone to the film.

I think for his part Radcliffe is trying his best, he gives a strong performance especially with the physicality of it but is limited by a weak script. That would be my fundamental problem with this film, the way it is structed and set out from a writing sense. The bit up until Yossi is left behind feels like it goes on for ten years, it is painfully dull and takes up far too much of the film. Likewise the actual survival parts of the film, the interesting bits, feels far too short almost rushed.

Overall, I can only recommend the last half an hour of this film, as that is the only bit that is compelling and interesting. The rest feels torturously slow and drawn out being crippled by poor writing.

Pros.

Radcliffe

The very real feel of the survival parts of the film/ the physical transformation

Cons.

It is incredibly slow

The writing is bad

There is only half an hour of the film that is interesting

1.5/5

Reviewed by Luke    

Lucy In The Sky: The Reason Why Noah Hawley’s Star Trek Film Is ‘On Hold’

Lucy In The Sky is a drama film directed by Noah Hawley. The plot follows Lucy Cola (Natalie Portman), an astronaut who has a great deal of trouble returning to normal life on earth.

This film is the definition of the word pretentious; Hawley thinks that by using some cool transitions and fancy cuts that he can disguise the fact that he has a stinker of a film on his hands. I found the smugness or more aptly the self-importance of this film to be incredibly off-putting. I like Hawley’s TV projects, but yeah this bad, put your Star Trek film on indefinite hold kind of bad.

Portman is okay, she is clearly trying a lot with her performance, but her character come off right from the start of the film as loathsome. The film goes out of its way to try and make her sympathetic, but she just not. By the end of the film you want her to go to prison, she deserves it.

The worst crime of this film is how long it feels, yes it is on for just over two hours which is already quite long, but it feels double that. A lot of the section just feel needless drawn out as though they’re trying to kill time.

Overall, this may be the worst film of Natalie Portman’s career

Pros.

The artsy transitions are cool for five minutes

Cons.

It is boring

The lead is incredibly unlikable

It is smug and in your face with it

It has severe pacing issues

0.5/5

Reviewed by Luke