I was very surprised to see the very low reviews on both IMDB (5.5) and Rotten Tomatoes (16%) for this movie. I thought this movie was about average but not overly bad. The message of this film is a very good one, “when has technology gone too far”, or “when do the good things about technology infringe too much on basic human privacy”. This movie stars Tom Hanks, who probably has about 6 scenes and 20 lines and Emma Watson who is the real lead actor of this movie, so the trailers are somewhat misleading. The late actor Bill Paxton also has a small role in this movie as Watson’s father, who has Multiple Sclerosis. I found it rather depressing to see Paxton in this movie so soon after he died of a heart ailment at only 61 years old. The actor John Boyega also has a relatively small role in this film as a disgruntled employee of the Circle but he seems to be a character that was added on at the last minute, rather than having any significant reason to be in this movie.
As this film progresses we see that this huge internet company called “The Circle” hires Watson and very slowly demands more and more of her personal information and private time and very quickly she is living in an insane world that believes that all information, regardless of how private, is everyone’s business. Tom Hanks plays the CEO of the Circle and early in the film, he introduces a new kind of camera the size of a marble that the company has placed all around the world. This sophisticated camera is not only able to create pictures from all around the world, but also record all aspects of the environment it has been placed in. Considering the small cost of creating such a small camera and the ease they can be placed practically anywhere, its obvious that a device like this can get out of hand very quickly.
I thought it was brave of the producers of this film to show the campus of the circle as looking almost exactly like the new Apple Campus that is opening this month, (see video below). As a producer, I would think that doing something like this would be too risky considering the possibility of litigation from Apple concerning the negative aspects of this story. I was impressed by the message at the end, which I thought was if the person who believes that all aspects of someone else’s private information are everyone’s business, how would they feel if that very same spotlight was turned on them? Another way of looking at something like this is; if the people who vote to send young people to war would have to go to war and get killed themselves, would they still vote yes?
Despite the obvious flaws in this movie, I give it a marginal recommendation.
The Circle – Book Amazon
The city of London in 1940, near the start of World War 2 had to be one of the most precarious places to live in this history of the world. The constant bombing of the city and the entire population of London was dedicated in some way to the war effort. At any moment your life or the life of any person you know can end because of a bomb or gunfire or a collapsing building or other injury related to a world war. I thought this movie should have been called “Precarious” rather than “Their Finest” and focused more on the real life dangerous existence of the people in London during 1940 by trying to understand how anyone can live a life that you know can end at any moment because of a bomb. There are moments in this movie of bombs going off and injuries, but considering that this is supposed to be at least in part a war movie there was not nearly enough of this reminder of harsh realities World War 2 and living in London.
The back story of this story is about a screenwriter, Catrin Cole played by
Gemma Arterton who has a boyfriend who is a starving artist and they live in the center of London. Through connections and some luck, Catrin is soon one of the screenwriters of a war movie with a famous movie actor Ambrose Hilliard, played by Bill Nighy. For me, what didn’t work here is that the mechanics and writing of a movie within this movie seemed contrived and rather boring and I was much more interested in what was going on with the war in London and less about the day to day problems with making a movie. One could argue that this film is more about the making of a World War 2 movie in London 1940 with some romantic side stories and less about the precarious life of Londoners who lived through World War 2 – and for that reason, this is really not a war movie at all. Bill Nighy provides some very good moments of humor during the making of the movie, but in my opinion, the best reason behind this story and the precarious life of anyone living in London during World War 2 were missed. The best line of this movie was when someone suggests to Catrin that she could not waste any life opportunity considering how quickly a person’s life could end at any moment. Very true considering the precarious times. There is a shocking scene at the end that was completely unexpected that did remind me of how quickly a person can lose their life during those horrible times of World War 2.
I give Their Finest a very marginal recommendation because although I considered the acting very well done, the back story about the making of a movie within this movie I found too long and boring to give this a strong recommendation.
So many movies have been made over the years that if you want to get a new movie idea greenlighted, it has to be different, sometimes very different. The challenge for any screenwriter, when you realize that so many movies have already been made about so many different ideas, is that you have to not only be different but also write a high-quality script. The movie “Free Fire” is without a doubt a very different kind of a movie when you recognize that the entire film is shot in a broken down warehouse after an illegal gun deal goes bad. What follows are people getting shot and killed and crawling around cursing at themselves and each other. I thought the dialogue throughout this film was interesting and unusual however not up to Tarantino standards. The action was good enough for this story but it’s impossible to make gunfire and injuries from gunfire any different that what we all have seen so many times in movies.
This movie stars Brie Larson who has made some pretty average movies since she won the Academy Award for best actress for Room 2 years ago, the most recent one was King Kong: Skull Island. Once you win the Academy Award and you’re at the top of the very fickle movie industry and in demand, it is so important to select high-quality movies. For this reason, I was surprised to see her in this film mainly because I thought it should be beneath not only her standards but below the standards of a very recent Academy Award winner. This movie also stars Armie Hammer, so perhaps there was some kind of a deal made to have 2 named actors in this pretty average movie.
This is a good movie as far as a violent gun play but there is not much of a real story here. The unusual differences with this film are not different enough to make me consider this as a good movie and for that reason, I am giving Free Fire a very marginal recommendation.