Posted in 2010-2019, Film Review

Yesterday (2019)

Image is property of Working Title Films and Universal Pictures

Yesterday – Film Review

Cast:  Himesh Patel, Lily James, Kate McKinnon, Joel Fry

Director: Danny Boyle

Synopsis: Struggling musician Jack Malik (Patel)  finds that he’s the only person on Earth who remembers the Beatles. Sensing an opportunity, he makes an attempt to pass their songs in a bid to achieve worldwide stardom…

Review: It’s almost inconceivable to imagine a world in which one of the greatest bands of all time had never existed, indeed the thought of such a world alone is a horrifying one. Given that two musical related biopics about two hugely influential British musical icons have recently graced the big screen, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is a Beatles biopic. Though that wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, this film is unique in that it’s not that, though the iconic music that Messrs McCartney, Lennon, Harrison and Starr created is front and centre.

Jack Malik is a talented musician doing little gigs here and there, desperately looking for his big break. He’s on the brink of giving his music career up but after a freak accident on his way home, he soon discovers that he’s the only one in the world who remembers the Beatles and their wonderful music. With this knowledge, he tries his best to reconstruct the iconic songs of The Beatles discography, and passes them off as his own work. As the whole world discovers this great music, seemingly for the first time ever, his popularity goes through the roof and he becomes an overnight superstar.

Of course the music of a great band alone, does not make a great film. With that in mind, screenwriter Richard Curtis crafts a very sweet story around this clever concept. Like any great song or piece of art, it all comes together (pun definitely not intended…) rather sweetly thanks to a very warm leading performance from Himesh Patel. He comes across as a very sincere, genuine hard working bloke just looking for that big break that he craves. However, as his career turns from pub singer to huge international superstar, it begins to test his relationship with his best friend/manager Ellie (James), who also gives a very sincere performance. Whilst at the same time, doubts begin to form in Jack’s mind as to whether he should admit the truth about the songs.

The screenplay blends the music of the Beatles with an insightful look at the music industry and what constitutes a successful career in that industry, with one current pop star in there for good measure. Danny Boyle on first glance might not seem the most obvious choice to direct a film like this, but he keeps everything moving along in a very light-hearted manner. Though the concept behind the film is extremely clever, it falls short in that certain things could could have explored in much more detail. In addition, it can’t help but be somewhat formulaic in terms of the ensuing drama and how everything plays out. It can come across as a bit saccharine, but if you are a fan of one of the Beatles, just let it be because Boyle and Curtis will sweep you along for a joyous ride.

No matter who we are, or what we do, music is an integral part of our lives, and our culture, and this film celebrates that in abundance. It just so happens to celebrate the music of one of the best bands to have ever graced our eardrums to tell its story, and you will find it difficult to not sing along and be smiling from ear to ear when the credits start to roll.

Taking some of the best songs ever recorded, and combining them with a sweet story about the music industry, and the end result is a charming, delightful ode to the Fab Four from Liverpool.

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Posted in 2010-2019, Film Review

Steve Jobs (2015)

steve jobs
Image is property of Legendary Pictures, Scott Rudin Productions, Mark Gordon Company, Universal Pictures

Steve Jobs – Film Review

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogan, Jeff Daniels

Director: Danny Boyle

Synopsis: An account of the founder of Apple Steve Jobs, focusing on three different points in his life, before the launch of 3 different new products.

Review: Chances are good that if you’re reading this, you have some sort of apple product at your home or in your office, be it an iPod, a Mac or an iPad. There’s little question the impact that Apple has had on this market, quite simply, it has revolutionised the industry. But with all the hype that surrounded the launch of these products, there were a few behind the scenes issues that confronted the company’s founder Steve Jobs, and this focuses on the challenges that he faced prior to the launches of these inventions, personal and political. The second film about the creator of Apple, and a film that does do the man some justice. It’s a tale of motivation, what pushes his buttons to bring these revolutionary products to market, and will they work?

With screenwriter Aaron Sorkin on board, a writer who managed to make a website about one of the biggest websites the world has ever seen, Facebook, insanely enjoyable and interesting. Similarly with the little details about numbers and maths behind a sport. He does provide once again some very fascinating and riveting dialogue as Steve Jobs battles with assistants and angry ex girlfriends about children that may or may not be his, or if the product launch is encountering a thousand and one problems, whilst also feuding with former employees who are demanding some of the credit for the products that Apple has created. The writing, as usual with Sorkin, is excellent. All of this stuff should sound very boring for many of us, but through brilliant writing, it could easily bore the audience to tears with a load of technical mumbo jumbo that could whizz over our heads, but it does not. That being said, with the film being dialogue driven, some of it does come off as less uninteresting than some other parts.

Therefore with mostly great screen-writing, you hopefully can expect some great acting, and everyone in this film is absolutely on point. Most of all is Michael Fassbender as the late Steve Jobs. He has the accent nailed, the look nailed, and he really gets into the role and plays him as tremendously well as someone with Fassbender’s insane talent can, and certainly much better than Ashton Kutcher did. Along with Fassbender, the rest of the cast also bring their A game. Kate Winslet as Jobs’ assistant and good friend Joanna Hoffman, who is supportive of Jobs while also frustrated at his stubbornness. Also venting his anger at Jobs is Steve Wozniak played by Seth Rogan who is unhappy that Jobs is not giving him credit where credit is due for what he believes is his contribution to the company of Apple.

The film is divided into three acts, each act set in a different time before Steve is unveiling different products and each act is shot in a different way, the earliest being on 16mm film, with the most recent act being filmed on digital. It was a very smart decision and reflected the way that the technology has changed as time passes through each act. However, despite the dialogue being very interesting, there are some parts that do drag, most notably the controversy between Jobs and a woman who is claiming that a girl is his daughter. It just feels a bit repetitive with her popping up every so often saying that Jobs owes her money for this, and for that, and it just gets a bit irksome. The technology behind these products is what is interesting but there’s just a bit too much focus on the family drama.

Nevertheless, the film remains very interesting to watch with some very good performances that could very well get some Oscar nominations for the acting and the writing. Boyle does a tremendous job with the directing as well, he gives everyone a chance to shine, from Jobs, to Wozniak, to Jeff Daniels’s John Sculley. It’s not quite on the level of The Social Network, or Moneyball in terms of a very riveting and very intriguing. Yet it does remain a very interesting and well acted dialogue driven movie, that gives its audience a glimpse into the life of the man who created one of the most successful companies the world has ever seen.

Despite some slow moments, the screenplay ensures the dialogue is for the most part very interesting, with assured direction, and the performances are all electric, that could get some awards nods.

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