Director: Matt Johnson
Writer: Matt Johnson, Jacquie McNish, Matthew Miller
Cast: Jay Baruchel, Glenn Howerton, Matt Johnson
Synopsis: The story of the meteoric rise and catastrophic demise of the world’s first smartphone.
The film’s build isn’t any different from what you typically see from a biopic of this nature. A reeling Jim Blasillie (Howerton) just got fired from his job but saw some potential in Mike and Doug, and he pitched working for them. Of course, he hid the fact that he was fired and talked them into giving him the job. His early involvement in the product showed his ability to sell, but not sell the product in a way that Mike could.
You invest in these characters within the first thirty-forty minutes of the film, but not as much as I wish I would’ve been. We all know how the story ends, but it’s the writers’ job to highlight these characters in ways that I hope to root for. However, regardless of the writer’s struggle early on, you have a second act that knocks your socks off. Much of this is because Glenn Howerton is delivering what I believe is his best performance to date. We are used to seeing Glenn be that funny guy, but my goodness, does he knock your socks off as this slick, quick-witted businessman. I loved Jay Baruchel, who, like Howerton, isn’t known for these more meaty roles and delivers the goods.
Overall, I liked Blackberry quite a bit, but it does suffer from being like most of the other biopics of its nature. Because of that, I didn’t fall in love with the film. It’s definitely worth checking out for the information and Howerton’s performance, but I would temper expectations.
Director: Benjamin Millepied
Writer: Loïc Barrere, Alexander Dinelaris, Lisa Loomer
Cast: Paul Mescal, Melissa Barrera, Elsa Pataky
Synopsis: Benjamin Millepied’s complete reimagining of CARMEN tells a story through an experimental dreamscape featuring an original score and songs.
I wasn’t aware of what Carmen is based on when heading into watching the film. But you understand this is Benjamin Millepied’s take on Bizet’s 19th-century opera. So I did a little research and got a jist of what it was about, and I was interested to see how Millepied would merge these two words.
The one thing that stood out more than anything was the absolutely breathtaking cinematography work from Jörg Widmer. Carmen is one of the most stunning films I’ve watched this year, with several shots that will take your breath away. Widmer and Millepied’s collaboration is something that I hope we get again in the future. Of course, being based on this 19th-century opera, Millepied wisely brought on one of the best composers, Nicholas Britell, to bring the score to life. Brittell continues to reinvent himself in ways that blow me away with each project he works on.
My biggest takeaway from this film is that Melissa Barrera continues proving she is a star. Her range is something that impresses me as she can delight in Scream IV while bringing this more grounded and vulnerable performance to the table in Carmen. She’s got that “IT” factor that not everyone has and showed it off throughout this film. Mescal playing opposite of her was rather good too.
Overall, I liked Carmen for the pieces that I mentioned, but it’s far from perfect. Some moments don’t fit together like you would hope they would, and you fall in and out of connection with the characters. That said, I am impressed with Benjamin Millepied’s work behind the camera enough to hope we see more from him in the future.
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