War Machine tells the story of a U.S. General’s roller-coaster rise and fall as part reality, part savage parody – raising the specter of just where the line between them lies today. His is an exploration of a born leader’s ultra-confident march right into the dark heart of folly. At the story’s core is Brad Pitt’s sly take on a successful, charismatic four-star general who leapt in like a rock star to command NATO forces in Afghanistan, only to be taken down by a journalist’s no-holds-barred exposé.
Going into this film, I was a little excited as it boasted the Producer’s of The Big Short and Australian writer/director David Michôd from Animal Kingdom and The Rover fame. However, Netflix film seems like a waste of talent and money. Actor/Producer Brad Pitt used to be such a good actor but recently hasn’t been anything of note and just seems like a bad decision for all parties involved.
For a budget of USD$60million, it felt like nothing but a television movie. There was nothing creative about the film and everything about it is bland. One of the major issues is that the film is just flat, so generic, and failed to capture any of the magic of the Producer’s or David Michôd’s previous work. There’s no build up, nothing at stake, and all in all just very safe. With such heavy exposition, a big no-no for any writer and filmmaker, it’s no surprise the film didn’t turn out.
War Machine suffers from uneven pacing and scenes that just don’t make sense. It seems like the film was supposed to be comedic but just didn’t work out. It’s a mess that’s watchable.
By The Sea is set in France during the mid-1970s where Vanessa, a former dancer, and her husband Roland, an American writer, travel the country together. They seem to be growing apart, but when they linger in one quiet, seaside town they begin to draw close to some of its more vibrant inhabitants, such as a local bar/café-keeper and a hotel owner.
I was bored from the beginning of the film and the trivial aspects of their relationship and repetitiveness of the films flow made it seem drawn out and monotonous. And not to mention Brad Pitt hacks into his French lines like a blunt axe into wood.
What is of interest to me is the slow decline of the quality of films these two have attached their names to in whatever aspect they may, especially in that of the acting perspective. They are brilliant actors, shown in films like Fight Club for Pitt and Changeling for Angelina Jolie, but we haven’t seen anything of the like in recent years.
The first half of the film essentially shows nothing of interest – Pitt’s character going out to the local cafe-restaurant to get drunk, attempt to speak some French, and fail to write a single thing; and Jolie lounging about on the balcony, pouting underneath her bug-eyed sunglasses and huge hat, before sulking back into the hotel room to pry the apparently interesting life of the newlyweds next door through an old hole in the wall.
The second half of the film almost seems as pointless and unfulfilled as the first half. There does seem to be some sort of plot and direction as the newlyweds from next door become more apart of Jolie and Pitt’s lives but through poor writing, it quickly falls apart quickly.
By The Sea just seems like a reunion of a well known couple on screen for the first time since Mr. & Mrs. Smith that lacks any story or direction.
The Big Short tells the story of four outsiders in the world of high-finance who predicted the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s decide to take on the big banks for their lack of foresight and greed.
It’s been about seven years since the financial crisis that plummeted the world into financial turmoil that many countries still struggle to pull themselves from. Since then, how much has changed? Millions are still being made off the suffering of another with this wealth continuing to only remain in control of a select few.
Coming from a comedic director Adam McKay, you would hardly expect his take on the financial crisis to be a serious one – and it isn’t. It does have it’s serious moments but it’s an inspiring and fresh new take on a still relevant issue. Through comedy, it lets us see this issue from a completely different angle. McKay creates an energetic piece that holds your attention and if it loses you for a moment, it stops to explain the terms that bankers and those of the stock market tend to confuse us with. It’s almost as if it has to be comedic because there’s hardly another way to deliver this almost unbelievable world that us regular mortals would hardly come into contact with or really understand.
Even though it’s a break from McKay’s previous work and the first film without buddy Will Ferrell, it’s a great step into an entertaining direction of serious topics in the future.
Allied tells the story of an intelligence officer in North Africa in 1942 encounters a female French Resistance fighter on a deadly mission behind enemy lines. When they reunite in London, their relationship is tested by the pressures of war.
This is a film that has received mixed reactions no matter where you look for advice on wether or not you should see this film. Let me help you with that — don’t see it. If you still go ahead with this and continue to see the film, you might understand this mixed reaction. Allied is not a bad film, per say, as screenwriter Steven Knight has some really amazing work under his belt like television show Peaky Blinders, which in my view is the better British version of Boardwalk Empire, single location film starring Tom Hardy in Locke, light hearted The Hundred Foot Journey, and small indie film Dirty Pretty Things. Much like Burnt, Allied suffers from failing to be a lot more then the trailer promised it to be, which was something that would be more epically moving and thrilling and focusing on the tension of finding out that the partner you’d married and started a family with is a German spy. To be honest, this is what drew me into the project and ultimately disappointed me in the end.
Don’t get me wrong, Allied has a visually stunning aesthetic that portrayed the period it was set in but that is not good enough without a decent script and that’s what failed this film in the end. Sure there are some great moments with beautifully intimate scenes but the ending seemed to draw heavy comparisons to Casablanca and the controversial ending did absolutely nothing for me. I absolutely hated it.
The screenplay and pacing was uneven as it clearly lacked plausibility in places, especially when the missions were concerned. It seemed overly padded because the writer, Steven Knight, didn’t know what to do with the idea that he’d come up with and failed to properly flesh out what could’ve been an extremely interesting and edge of your seat thriller. If there’d only been more focus on the lead’s relationship, there might have been more something more there then overlong scenes that adds little to nothing to the film. The emotional scenes were overdramatic and lacked the subtlety needed. So much more could’ve been done and I think that’s what frustrated me the most.
Allied’s superfluous scenes pulled the film back from what it could become. It has the inklings of what could make it a great film but many things got in the way of fulfilling it’s goal.