Thumbnails Sep 13
Jobs’ mercurial, irritating character is established at the beginning
when he coldly dumps his high school sweetheart after she becomes
pregnant, and continues to deny paternity. While the movie barely
mentions the Ipod and Iphone, Ashton Kutcher, who looks and walks like
he is Jobs’ twin, brilliantly captures Jobs’ drive and vision and allows
one to understand why his success was one in a million.
Frozen Ground (7/10):
Nicolas Cage’s better films, Vanessa Hudgens gives a sympathetic
performance as the lucky survivor of serial killer creepy John Cusack
reluctantly helping Cage bring him in, in this tale based on a true
story set in Alaska, diminished by annoying, dark cinematography.
yet another apocalyptic view of the future, this time mid-22nd-century,
2154. As with others of its ilk, it pictures the future bleakly. Earth
is overpopulated, controlled by computers and robots, a dusty, dirty
place teeming with people. The film has fine pace, the music by Ryan
Amon is especially effective, and Sharlto Copley gives a terrific
performance as a real bad guy, but I yearn for the days of yore to see
films with character development, sharp dialogue, thought, and no
special effects, like “All About Eve” (1950).
Father and the Man in Black (7/10):
the story of Johnny Cash through the eyes of his manager, Saul Holiff,
this documentary, produced and narrated by Holiff’s son, whom Holiff
psychologically abused, gives a completely new view of the troubled,
Fruitvale Station (7/10): Starting
with mobile phone camera film of the actual killing of unarmed Oscar
Grant (Michael B. Jordan) at the BART Fruitvale Station in Oakland, the
film then flashes back to develop the character of Grant so we know him
pretty well when he’s killed once again at the end of the film. First
time Writer/director Ryan Coogler doesn’t pull any punches as he paints
Grant as a hot-tempered drug dealer. The acting is exceptionally good.
While the first hour drags interminably, it is more than made up for by
the way Coogler stages the deadly confrontation and an ending that
leaves one in tears and with questions about our system of justice.
We’re the Millers (6/10):
a moderately entertaining screwball comedy that isn’t as funny as it
could have been. If only a director like Alan Dwan (“Getting Gertie’s
Garter,” 1945, and “Up in Mabel’s Room”, 1944) could have gotten his
hands on this material, it coulda been something!
Stretching one’s credulity throughout, when it comes to the nonsensical
climax it completely falls apart. The best thing about it is the music
(Junkie XL), that builds the tension this movie needs because the story
is so weak.
epitomizes how the wise-cracking buddy movie has changed since Butch
Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). From the clean, relatively
non-violent fun of Robert Redford and Paul Newman, it has now progressed
to terribly violent shenanigans of Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington
in a film filled with filthy language and F-bombs. Worse are
irresponsible scenes in which the stars shoot each other in allegedly
non-vulnerable areas of the body as jokes, when any gunshot can tear an
artery and be fatal.
Advertised as the true story of a White House butler, Eugene Allen,
renamed Cecil Gaines (Forest Whitaker), this is almost entirely fiction.
Only this is true: there was a black man who was a butler in The White
House from 1957 through 1986; he was married to one woman who died just
before the inauguration of Barack Obama in 2008. Everything else in this
film is made up. Director Lee Daniels stacks the books against the white
race at the outset. In reality Allen did not have his father shot by a
white man, who had just raped his mother, in front of him as a child,
did not have a son who was a Black Panther or a son who died in Vietnam,
and did not get his job as shown. There is little in this film that is
factual. It’s just an excuse to tell a racially biased, inflammatory
civil rights story. There is not one white person in the film who is
pictured sympathetically. Ronald and Nancy Reagan are derided for their
kindness in inviting Gene and his wife (Oprah Winfrey) to a State Dinner
as guests and not as a waiter. The entire incident in the film, and
Gene’s reaction, are totally inconsistent with the true story told in
Wil Haygood’s Washington Post article upon which the movie claims to be