Entries tagged with “Aaron Sorkin”.


Americans love the true crime genre. The big bookstores in the US have dedicated true crime books sections. Many of the Hollywood or independent films are based on true crime stories, biographies and memoirs of people who walked on the wrong side of the law. Good and bad books, good and bad films. Molly’s Game (written for the screen and directed by  and based on the auto-biographical book written by ) is a good example of how short is the distance between the good ones and the bad ones.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4209788

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4209788

 

is a real person, born in 1978. She spent much of her childhood and teen years in sports training, she was a skier and Olympic aspirant, but jer sports career was cut short by an accident. Shortly after that event she became involved in the high-stakes poker games, at the edge of the law. While the money that the games she organized went up, her life spiraled down, she became involved in a big scandal and lawsuit involving the mafia, accused of money laundering and organizing illegal gambling. The whole operation fell apart during a big FBI crush-down on illegal games and gambling. The film describes her ascending and downfall, the inquiry and the trial during which she refused to become a state witness, preferring to plead guilty and eventually avoiding a prison sentence.

 

(video source

 

Much of the film relies on acting performance of . She does a find job in describing a woman of character and ambition, who makes the wrong choices at several moments of her life, but finds the inner strength to assume responsibility and change the path of her own destiny. Unfortunately, Chastain’s acting is not enough to save the film. Much of the screen time (which exceeds two hours) is spent in legalities and technical details about poker. You can follow these for a couple of times by a couple of minutes, but here they come back for almost all the duration of the movie. The second aspect that I did not like was the way the film describes the building of the relationship between Molly and her lawyer. There are several dialogs written by script author that filmed director liked so much that he forced the actors to declaim them at high pace, almost with no break for breathing. They looked to me theatrical and not credible. Another weak part in the script was the psychoanalytic explanation of Molly’s choices which we get in a teary scene by the end of the film that contains a discussion between the hero and her father, who happens to be a clinical psychologist. The fact that the role is played by  did not help either, this is for Costner another bad choice among many that he made in his career.

Molly’s Game is probably close to the book and may be faithful to the real events which happened quite recently. They may have actual resonance which may be enough for a TV documentary drama but it is not enough to make of it a good feature film. Hints to real persons, actors or other celebrities are not relevant, especially for for international audiences. In the absence of true drama or characters evolution, we are served with a lot of legal and poker technicalities, and with a conventional and melodramatic view of the whole story. The result is verbose and boring, and seems even longer than its 140 minutes of screen time.

The second film in the mini-festival of Steve Jobs movies that I enjoyed last Friday was also the better one. , the director of Trainspotting, Sunshine, and Slumdog Millionaire may have hit gold again, as his Steve Jobs started to collect awards at the Golden Globe ceremony last night, and became lead contender to the magic statuette to be awarded for Best Actor on February 28. What is the secret?

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2080374/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2080374/

 

The film based on a script by (who also brought to screen the character of Facebook’s Zuckerberg) is very different from the other biopic (‘Jobs’) or from the documentaries dedicated to the man and the entrepreneur who was Jobs. It catches three half-hours prior to three major announcements in the career of Jobs, but does not deal almost at all with the technicalities – they deal with the atmosphere (ordered chaos we can call it), with the encounters of Jobs with people who are close to him – his technical partner Wozniak, his business partner John Sculley, and especially his estrange wife and his daughter, whom initially he refused to recognize in one of these attitudes who built his negative perception as a father and human in the eyes of the public. The situations repeat and escalate, but the relationship with his daughter provide the missing human dimension. We may not understand more of the hi-tech genius of Jobs, but we gain more understanding about the man and father he was.

 

(video source Zero Media)

 

Besides the smart script, acting is the second winning card that makes ‘Steve Jobs’ the better Jobs film. Michael Fassbender avoids replicating the physical characteristics of Steve Jobs and focuses on his personal life and the relations with his partners and close ones (as close as he let them be). Kate Winslet builds the character of Joanna Hoffman who was the right-hand of Jobs but gets a much more extended role than she played in reality. You may not recognize her at first sight, as this role is pretty far from her usual gallery. A Globe is hers already, other awards may follow.

By focusing on a specific segment of Jobs’ personality this movie succeeded to give a better view of the whole. Yet, it’s only one facet of a huge personality that remains from many other points of view an enigma, and maybe character for more movies.