Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

GET ON UP (2014)
Involving biopic about James Brown, starring Chadwick Boseman in the title role. Boseman is very good, and I like the format; rather than following chronologically, we jump around in the man's life, with Boseman sometimes addressing the audience directly as he tells his story. Although I've listened to Brown's music, I didn't really know much about his personal life, and the movie paints an impressionistic portrait rather than a full one. Much of it hangs together on Boseman's excellent performance. I also thought Nelsan Ellis was very good as Bobby Byrd, and Brandon Smith has an small but memorable appearance as Little Richard. Great soundtrack, of course, but the film is a little shapeless at times. Apparently this project was Mick Jagger's baby. ***

JOHN WICK (2014)
Surprisingly enjoyable gun fu revenge flick. Keanu Reeves plays the title role, a retired hitman whose wife dies. Before she dies, she has a dog delivered to him as a way to reconnect him with his emotions so that he doesn't drown in grief. This movie... they really get you to care about that dog, and then when the dog dies in a robbery, and Wick starts down the path of vengeance, you don't waver from it the whole time. It plays a lot like a combination between old-fashioned revenge movies like Point Blank combined with an 80s Michael Mann sensibility and crossed with early 90s John Woo flicks. It's like if The Killer starred Lee Marvin or Steve McQueen, and Keanu Reeves has really become perfect for this kind of role. This is the kind of movie I think that, after Drive, many of us were hoping Only God Forgives was going to be. ***1/2

A gripping, at times scary movie that documents Edward Snowden's release of information about the NSA's surveillance program as it's happening. That was a surprise; this wasn't an analysis or a reconstruction of how it happened, but instead the real-time process of it and the impact it had. This is one of the best films I've ever seen when it comes to showing information as the weapon it can be, and that it's all real just makes it that much more chilling. ****


Roger Owen Green said...

Did you see Ed Snowden on John Oliver a few weeks ago? Quite worthwhile.

SamuraiFrog said...

Yes, I regularly watch the show. I think the interview with Snowden is probably the best thing John Oliver's ever done. By taking us through the exact process, I think Oliver got Snowden to explain the program better than it's been explained.