Monday, January 4, 2016

Quick Thoughts: "Sisters," "Legend" and "Steve Jobs"

Welcome to Quick Thoughts, which are some mini-reviews of movies I have seen recently.

Between celebrating holidays and watching as many movies at the end of the year as possible, it can be hard to get to a computer to write. So here are some quick thoughts on stuff I saw in those final days of 2015.

Sisters
When two close sisters (Tina Fey and Amy Poehler) reunite in their hometown in Florida because their parents sold their childhood home, it breaks them both. As they are cleaning out their rooms, they decide to plan one more party bash. A testimony to the home they believed they should have inherited and also one last hoorah before they really face adulthood. 

I really like Tina Fey and Amy Poehler a lot, and I find both of them horrifically funny. I have to admit that I didn't have high hopes for this. But its actually pretty funny, I laughed. I laughed quite a bit, to be honest. I laughed a lot more than I thought I would. Fey and Poehler are outstanding, but the biggest surprise here is actually John Cena. For the first time ever, somebody found a good character to play, and he runs with it. Seriously! Also be prepared to laugh at Bobby Moynihan, until your stomach hurts. While the story seems familiar, the movie works better and is far more funny that I would have expected.

FINAL GRADE: B

Steve Jobs
I saw the first Steve Jobs adaptation, simply called "Jobs" with Ashton Kutcher. I couldn't stand it. Kutcher was a horrid fit for Steve Jobs and it wasn't much of a biopic, but more of a greatest hits CD on Jobs' life. I can't stand biopic movies that feel like I am reading a Wikipedia page. I was hoping for something much superior when director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin sat down to make their movie.

I like "Steve Jobs" a WHOLE lot more than I did "Jobs." Michael Fassbender is a much better fit for Steve Jobs, much more mature and much more believable. I like that this story focuses on a specific part of Jobs' life and adds flavor to the movie by making Steve Jobs an actual human, instead of this Living God Gift to technology. Fassbender, Seth Rogen, Kate Winslet, Jeff Daniels, and Katherine Waterston. The thing is, this movie didn't completely blow me away. Make no mistake, Fassbender is off-the-charts awesome here, and he really elevates the movie. I kind of just felt that Aaron Sorkin's script could have been better, something I never thought I'd ever write. Its a little too talky for me, but still something worth seeing.

FINAL GRADE: B+

Legend

I love gangster movies, and before seeing "Legend," I didn't know much about Ronnie or Reggie Kray. They seemed like your standard, everyday gangsters. They ran the London criminal underworld during the 1950's and 1960's. Its set up like every other gangster movie and feels like every other gangster movie. The king(s) rise and the king(s) fall, just like most gangster movies. What pulls people into this movie is the double-play by Tom Hardy. He plays both Ronnie and Reggie Kray, these crazy men who did everything to hold onto their empire. Hardy has a different style for both Reggie and Ronnie and they are both masterful performances. Tom Hardy just had the best year of his career with this, "Mad Max" and "The Revenant." So much so that we can forget about "Child 44." There is also a great supporting cast featuring Paul Bettany, Christopher Eccleston, Taron Egerton and Emily Browning. The thing I wish was that it tried to pull forward from the rest of the gangster herd. But man, is Hardy good in this.

FINAL GRADE: B+ 



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