Entries tagged with “Tom Hanks”.


Îmi amintesc o discuţie la care am asistat, purtată acum vreo două decenii, poate puţin mai mult, în birourile companiei de hi-tech în care lucram. Compania trecea printr-una din acele schimbări de identitate rezultate din procesele de ‘Merge and Acquisitions’ (M&A) foarte uzuale în branşă, în care companii mai mari cumpără companii mai mici pentru tehnologiile acestora, sau pentru clientelă şi acces la noi pieţe de desfacere, sau companii cu profiluri şi expertize care se completează unele pe celalalalte se unesc pentru a forma o companie nouă. Invitasem un expert în ‘identitate corporatistă’ (există o asemenea expertiză!) şi acesta ne explica rolul esenţial al semnelor grafice care ajung să reprezinte companiile şi produsele lor în ochii consumatorilor. Simbolistica corporatistă nu este de altfel o disciplină complet nouă, litera ‘M’ rotunjită a simbolizat pentru consumatori burgerii lui MacDonalds mult înainte ca ‘f’-ul lui Facebook să însemne ‘reţele sociale’. La modă în acea perioadă erau săgeţile (neapărat spre dreapta, de preferinţă în sus, dar niciodată spre stânga sau în jos!) şi Cercul. Chiar am lucrat şi eu o vreme la o companie al cărei simbol era un cerc roşu.

 

  sursa imaginii http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4287320/


sursa imaginii http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4287320/

 

Cercul este şi simbolul şi numele companiei care apare în filmul “The Circle” (“Cercul”) regizat de James Ponsoldt, inspirat de cartea cu acelaşi nume a lui Dave Eggers, cu Emma Watson în rolul principal şi Tom Hanks într-un rol cheie secundar. Câteva cuvinte despre principalii realizatori ai filmului. Născut în 1978 în Georgia, James Ponsoldt nu este foarte cunoscut. Acesta este al cincilea său film, dar primul pentru marile studiouri şi cu actori foarte cunoscuţi în rolurile principale. Filmele sale precedente aparţineau categoriei ‘indie’ (independente, realizate de studiouri mici), trei dintre ele au fost prezentate la festivalul major al genului care are loc în fiecare an la Sundance în luna ianuarie, şi se ocupau de teme romantice sau de problemele adolescenţilor. Dave Eggers în schimb este un nume destul de cunoscut în literatura şi publicistica americană, articolele şi cărţile sale abordând teme sociale, legate de actualitatea imediată. Cartea “The Circle” din care s-a inspirat filmul (al cărui co-scenarist a fost Eggers) este primul său succes de public. Emma Watson a devenit celebră întruchipând-o pe Hermione în seria ‘Harry Potter’ şi şi-a consolidat recent statutul de vedetă jucând rolul Belle din ultima versiune cinematografică a clasicului “Frumoasa şi Bestia”. Tom Hanks nu are nevoie de nici o prezentare.

 

(sursa imaginii http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4287320/mediaviewer/rm2659976448)

sursa imaginii http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4287320/mediaviewer/rm2659976448

 

“Cercul” din romanul lui Eggers şi filmul lui Ponsoldt este numele unei companii din Silicon Valley, o poveste de succes imaginară dar în care recunoaştem cu uşurinţă profilul, structura şi modul de a opera al unor giganţi ai industriei hi-tech cum ar fi Google, Apple sau Facebook. “Cercul” este însă mai mult decât un nume, este şi un concept pe care se bazează întreg ecosistemul format din produsele companiei. Întreaga lume este conectată la “Cerc”. Utilizatorii au acces nelimitat la informaţie, dar şi informaţia despre utilizatori este fără limită şi accesibilă tuturor. Compania are un succes enorm, peste 80% din întreaga populaţie a Americii şi procente însemnate din populaţia lumii fac parte din “Cerc”. Atât de omniprezentă este compania, încât o propunere de a transformă sistemul de vot american în sistem obligatoriu, bazat pe înrolarea (tot obligatorie) a tuturor cetăţenilor în rândul clienţilor companiei nu pare de loc deplasată. În definitiv “Knowing is Good. Knowing Everything is Better.” – “A cunoaşte este bine. A cunoaşte totul este şi mai bine”. Aşa sună unul dintre sloganurile companiei. Oare?

 

sursa imaginii http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4287320/mediaviewer/rm1570374912

sursa imaginii http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4287320/mediaviewer/rm1570374912

 

Cercul este o formă geometrică perfectă şi perfecţiunea sa îi atrage pe creatorii de simboluri identitare. Dar cercul este şi o formă geometrică închisă, oricât de mare ar fi raza sa. Cercul este o formă geometrică simetrică şi aparent democratică, dar are un centru, şi dacă centrul nu joacă după aceleaşi reguli ca punctele echidistante de pe circumferinţă, atunci democraţia este doar aparentă. Cititorii rubricii CHANGE.WORLD vor recunoaşte în problematica filmului teme familiare. Una dintre ele, cea principala, este echilibrul între avantajele comunicării permanente şi riscurile acesteia pentru siguranţa informaţiei şi protejarea vieţilor private ale utilizatorilor reţelei Internet. Lui Mae Holland, eroina filmului i se întâmplă lucruri aparent minunate după ce reuşeşte să se angajeze la una dintre firmele cele mai prestigioase din Valea Siliconului. Muncă este interesantă, i se oferă asigurare medicală permanentă (adică 24 de ore din 24 şi complet monitorizată) nu numai ei ci şi tatălui său suferind de o boală degenerativă în evoluţie pe care nu îşi putea permite material să o trateze, devine parte nu numai dintr-o companie dar şi dintr-un sistem de relaţii complex care la un moment dat îi salvează viaţă, poate contribui şi simte că poate schimba lumea în bine. Care este însă preţul acestor avantaje şi realizări? Abandonarea completă a oricărei intimităţi, expunerea vieţii personale, a familiei, a prietenilor unei supravegheri permanente. O întâlnire cu amplificare exponenţială între o reţea socială (din nou Facebook pare modelul cel mai apropiat) şi ‘Truman Show’, filmul în care Jim Carey îşi trăieşte viaţa ca un ‘reality show’ vizionat de întreaga planetă.

 

sursa imaginii http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4287320/mediaviewer/rm338572800

sursa imaginii http://www.imdb.com/title/tt4287320/mediaviewer/rm338572800

 

Tema secundară dar nu mai puţin acută şi actuală a filmului este cea a vieţii sub presiune permanentă în mediul corporatist. Poziţii precum cea în care reuşeşte să se angajeze eroina filmului după un interviu neconvenţional şi nemilos care mi s-a părut a fi una dintre cele mai bune scene ale filmului, sunt dintre acele locuri visate de aproape orice locuitor al acestei zone de mare densitate a tehnologiilor avansate din California, şi de aproape orice inginer, programator, expert în domeniile calculatoarelor şi comunicaţiilor din lume. Se cer celui care a ajuns în această poziţie nu numai calităţi profesionale remarcabile, dar şi un tip special de relaţii cu colegii de lucru, cu care se află în echipă dar şi în permenta competiţie. Viaţa celui care lucrează în acest mediu se contopeşte cu viaţa companiei, frontierele între viaţa particulară şi cea profesională sunt şterse, şi ca ore de lucru, şi ca priorităţi. Înţelegerea scopurilor economice şi sociale ale companiei, adeziunea personală şi sprijinirea acestora prin faptă par cu atât mai paradoxale cu cât cei mai mulţi dintre experţii din domeniu nu rămân cu aceeaşi companie mai mult decât câţiva ani. Chiar dacă reuşesc, chiar dacă şi-au creat o carieră plină de realizări profesionale şi avansări, ei vor schimba locul de muncă peste câţiva ani, uneori traversând stradă la unul dintre competitori, sau căutând noi căi de a-şi diversifica palmaresul personal şi a evita să fie consideraţi ‘plafonaţi’. Apropos, această abordare este foarte diferită la companiile americane în comparaţie cu cele japoneze de pildă, unde este cerută o adeziune similară cu scopurile companiei, dar în care este apreciată loialitatea şi stabilitatea, şi în care de multe ori compania în care începe cariera unui expert este şi cea de la care el (mai rar ea, în Japonia) iese la pensie.

“The Circle” s-a bucurat până acum de o primire destul de rece din partea criticii. Am şi eu destul de multe observaţii în legătură cu viziunea regizorală care mi s-a părut prea plată, ratând ocazia de a crea o imagine vizuală expresivă pe măsura ambianţei pe care o descrie, şi despre unele scene şi personaje secundare care caricaturizează prea gros aspecte reale din viaţa corporatistă. În liniile sale principale însă “The Circle” mi-a plăcut. Emma Watson a fost excelentă – ambiţioasă dar vulnerabilă, gata să-şi asume riscuri personale dar nu şi să-şi trădeze idealurile. Tom Hanks schiţează în câteva tuşe imaginea creatorului de industrie după modelul marilor nume din hi-tech, inclusiv complexitatea rolului de leader, de factor de schimbare, dar şi aspectele întunecate legate de scopurile mediilor de afaceri care în cele din urmă trebuie să genereze profit. Filmul evita să ia poziţii clare, spectatorii sunt lăsaţi să îşi formeze propriile lor opinii şi cred că asta este bine, deoarece problemele aduse în discuţie sunt probleme complexe, care nu au toate un singur răspuns ne-echivoc, sau cărora li se caută încă răspunsurile.

 

(articolul a aparut in revista culturala Literatura de Azi – http://www.literaturadeazi.ro/ )

It’s interesting to watch the evolution of the heroes that  brought to screen in his acting and directing career. His first serious impact was with the spaghetti western style heroes of the 60s, followed by the sometimes rotten, sometimes idealistic cops in the action movies of the 70s. Later as he turned to directing and built a solid career as an accomplished director his heroes were polarized in super-achievers or rhetoric failures. Some of them continued to use their fists or guns. Other were inspiring leaders or great inspiring movers. They never were conventional. Which is the main problem with Sully. The hero of this film is so predictable. Even his dilemmas and the way they are solved are predictable.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3263904/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3263904/

 

You will tell me that this is a true story, we know the ending, it happens to be a happy one, this also happens in life. Maybe so. Reality however does not always provide the best promises for great art, and realism is just one of the possible styles in cinema (and not necessarily the one I prefer). Good movies were made based on true stories and biographies of real heroes. They succeeded however because they could find new dimensions to the stories and the characters, not because they followed the beaten tracks. Even in Sully the best parts are the ones that describe, almost as against the story the conflict between self confidence and doubts. Should we trust the heroes that become overnight media sensations. The instinctual answer is ‘no – be cautions’ but this is not the obvious answer here. The problem is that the envelope is so conventional, full of platitudes and melodrama, of small and insignificant side threads (the calls with the wife) that add nothing to the substance of a story that is quite thin already.

 

(video source Warner Bros. Pictures)

 

It is interesting as well to watch the evolution of the heroes that  acted on screen. If there is one thing that made his career exceptional it’s the fact that he never made the expected, his next role was an exception, a different character that built himself as a live and true character on screen, no matter if he was playing a Central Asia refugee or an American astronaut. This is not the case here. If there is one performance that director Eastwood succeeded in this film, it was making actor Hanks look bored and boring for the first time in his career.

‘Landing on the Hudson – The Movie’ (my personal title) is not the best film of either Clint Eastwood (as director) or Tom Hanks. It brings however some interesting questions about the careers of the two exceptional film personalities in the film industry and America of 2016.

Here is an interesting situation. I love cinema and I like the ‘movies about movies’ genre which I believe has provided some of the best films in the history of the seventh art. Saving Mr. Banks is however a film about a movie that I did not like – Mary Poppins. I was a kid when it was released but I was already disliking melodramas and I failed to be captivated by musicals unless they included my kind of favorite music which was pop and rock. I am still looking for a film by the Walt Disney studios that is credible and contains enough emotion and less sugar to make me feel good during the screening and after it. Director ‘s film about the making of Mary Poppins could not change my mind. From my point of view the film inherits many of the flaws of the original. Of course, fans of the original may like Saving Mr. Banks as well, but I do not belong to the category.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2140373/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2140373/

 

The period is the early 60s, the action takes place in London and California, but do not expect anything about the emergence of the pop or hippies to show up in screen. The background is actually exactly the world against which the pop and hippie movements revolted. Famous British writer P.L. Travers goes to Los Angeles to work on the screen adaptation of her novel by famous producer (and theme parks owner, and author of the most charming animated cartoons in history) Walt Disney and his studios. The cultural clash between the two personalities although filled of stereotypes is the funniest part of the film, with the feelings of the estranged author surrounded by what she considers the Californian kitsch superbly brought to screen by . I like much less the parallel story line about the childhood of the author where the authors of the script of Saving Mr. Banks sought the ‘deep’ motivation of the novel and the resulting film. All this parallel run of the stories looked to me melodramatic and superficial. The scene that is supposed to be the emotional peak, with Walt Disney () flying to London to reverse the decision of the author and obtain the screening rights includes a short speech that is close to ridiculous.

 

(video source Movieclips Trailers)

 

We all know the end of the story. Mary Poppins was eventually made, it was the first ‘serious’, big stars, big screen movie of the studios which have achieved in the decades after a front range position with combinations of the animated and actors movies, becoming champions of the ‘family films’ genre. The film about its making gathers a lot of acting talents, beside Hanks (who must have put about 15 extra kilos for this role) and Thompson we have in the role of the loving but failed father of the writer and in a charming supporting role of the only Californian that P.L. Travers ended by really liking.

‘Saving Mr. Banks’ eventually delivers what some people and the producers expect from it – squeezing tears. It does it however the same way the original ‘Mary Poppins’ film did – using the melodrama tools. So it’s a melodrama about the making of a melodrama. Nothing more, a little less. Mary Poppins had the music.

 

 

So after sharks, dynos, extra-terrestrials, WWII, Holocaust, Olympics terrorism, future, Lincoln and handful of other themes, it’s the turn of the Cold War to be processed, re-created and brought to screen in the vision of Steven Spielberg. ‘Bridge of Spies‘ inspired by the historical character of James B. Donovan, defender of the Soviet spy Rudolf Abel and then main negotiator in the spies exchange that set him free for the US pilot Gary Powers downed while in a mission over the USSR, is also the first movie in the political thriller genre directed by Spielberg.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3682448/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3682448/

 

Had the script of this film been written by Ken Follett or the late Robert Ludlum, I would probably have accepted much easier the outcome. However, when brothers Coen are two of the three authors of the script I would have expected more than a smooth narrative structure and well written dialogs (in many moments). There is almost nothing of the sparks or daring insolence of many of the scripts in the films directed by the two. The story is roughly divided into two parts, and the tentative to synchronize the two threads (Abel’s story and Powers’ story) fail not only because they were separated in time by five years but also because it is only the first that has interesting material and consistency. The lawyer who does the right thing defending the rights of a criminal who presumably caused harm to his own country in time of what some perceived as war is too gross an analogy to the contemporary fight against terror viewed from a liberal point of view. The second part is more like the classical East Berlin spy stories, but here again the schematic description of East Berlin and of the Eastern German policemen and even officials lacks authenticity and complexity.

 

(video source 20th Century Fox UK)

 

We are left with enjoying two formidable performances by as James B. Donovan and especially by and Rudolf Abel. I am looking forward to the nominations for the Academy Awards and I hope that Rylance will get at least an Actor in a Supporting Role nomination. His act here is my favorite from all 2015 movies I have seen until now. On the other hand the political messages that this film tries to convey are much too obvious. Yes, they are important, but important messages are not well served when the style gets that close to propaganda. Actually the genre this film is closer than other is the Western. One lonely hero fights for justice against the whole world and wins against all odds. It’s just that the century is the 20th and the hero is not using his gun, but is a lawyer. Problem is that the analogy does not work very well in this recent film of Spielberg.

 

There are a few good reasons for me not to like Captain Phillips.  I am not a big fan of ‘stories inspired by real events’, especially when they try to follow closely the ‘real events’. This film is based on real events, was made only a few years after the events occurred, and according to many accounts is quite accurate in following the real story. Yet the story does not get lost at any moment and tells much more that a docu-drama. It is a real strong drama by itself. I also dislike stories where unarmed and empty-handed heroes succeed to subdue armed and superior forces. There is no such thing here, the fight that is taking place (and there is a hell of a fight) is much more about psychology and about the power of will and spirit than the power of muscles and arms. Here is an American anti-hero rather than an American hero who survives and overcomes because of his anti-hero forces.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1535109/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1535109/

 

I did learn a few things about modern piracy that I did not know. Commercial ships – it appears – are not carrying arms and their crews look more like a gang of corporate technicians (they even are organized in unions), even when they sail oceans infested by pirates. This makes the boarding of a huge American commercial ship by four machine guns armed Somali fishermen turned into pirates and the subduing of the American crew of 20 possible (I avoid using ‘credible because’ it really happened). The resulting confrontation which becomes a thriller at sea makes Captain Phillips a well paced and smartly filmed action movie, and the suspense is in the air all the time. Even as we know how it ends we are curious to understand how director Paul Greengrass (who directed both the real facts inspired United 93 as well as part of the fiction Bourne films) will lead us to that end.

 

(video source JoBlo.com)

 

One of the reasons of the success is no doubt named Tom Hanks. He can do no wrong and we all know it. He does even more here. If there was no concept of super-anti-hero before he just invented it. There is much more in his facing of his captors and the dialog with their leader who is so well acted by Barkhad Abdi that I had to go to Wikipedia to make sure that he is indeed a professional actor and not a fisherman from the coast of Somalia, maybe even one turned pirate. What we have here is a reflection about power. Who has the power? the guy with the gun? the guy with the bigger boat? What are the limits of having at hand the best technology and the best army, being able to launch satellites, send helicopters and deploy the best armed forces – does this ensure the safety of your (our!) mode of life? Great questions, and there are no definite answers in this piece of real history brought to screen, but the film has the huge merit of asking them.

I belong to a small and despised minority. I like Dan Brown’s novels and I declare it openly. Yes, I came out of the closet as they say. I liked ‘The Da Vinci Code’ book (not so much the film) and I said it. I was immediately buried under tons of sarcasm, irony, pity. What can I do? Historical mysteries are one of my preferred genres since I read Jules Verne’s books or Constantin Chirita’s ‘Ciresarii’ (Romanian speakers may know what I am talking about).

source www.imdb.com

‘Angels & Demons’ the book was written before ‘The Code’, but the movie comes after, so there is no need to explain too much about the expertise of professor Langdon (Tom Hanks) or why he is called to solve historical mysteries with religious symbols implications. It’s good that it’s so, because the last thing the script in this film has is credibility. Yes, I enjoy historical riddles, but they need some plausible justification to be inserted in the script, and this justification lacks here completely. Luckily I buy easily the conventions of such movies, so I sat back in my chair and enjoyed the action, which is a combination between James Bond and ’24′ with Rome and papal intrigues replacing Los Angeles (or New York in the last ’24′ season) and the US presidency, but with corpses popping up each round hour. Moreover, seeing again the beautiful setting of the streets of Rome one and a half month after my last vacation there was also cool.

(video source blacktreemedia)

This certainly does not make enough for a great film, or even for a great action film. My main problem with Ron Howard’s ‘Code’ was the fact that he turned the great actors that are Hanks and Tautou unto just good but not very interesting actors. Here Hanks  still looks at least as amazed to be in this movie as his character is to be in the middle of all this action, while his partner is now the Israeli actress Ayelet Zorer, which I respect very much for other roles, and I am happy that she got such an opportunity to play with Hanks in a blockbuster but I do not think that they let her use it too well. Maybe in the next film in the series Hanks will be more lucky with a partner to be of interest to him :-) Overall, not a bad action film, not the best either, at parity with ‘The Code’.