For today’s film, I chose a film that had a lot of buzz back in the time that it was released in 2015, but I never had the chance to see it then till now. Joel Edgerton (Warrior) pulls triple duty for The Gift which he wrote, directed, and starred in. Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn (Rebecca Hall) have just moved from Chicago to LA to try and start a new life in a new setting. One day the couple run into an old acquaintance of Simon’s named Gordo (Edgerton) who randomly starts bringing the couple gifts. One of those gifts is that he unwraps a secret from 20 years before that is going to affect Simon’s relationship with Robyn for the worst as details start to unravel. The film also stars Allison Tolman (Krampus) as Lucy, Tim Griffin (Star Trek) as Kevin, Busy Phillips (White Chicks) as Duffy, Adam Lazarre-White (War Of The Worlds) as Ron, Wendell Pierce (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 2) as Det. Mills, Beau Knapp (Southpaw) as Det. Walker, Nash Edgerton (Star Wars: Episode III- Revenge Of The Sith) as Frank Dale, and Mirrah Foulkes (Sleeping Beauty) as Wendy Dale.
First of all I have to start this paragraph with how much I enjoyed Joel Edgerton’s performance as Gordo the Weirdo (That is what Bateman’s character calls him). At times, he seems as innocent as can be then there are times where he can start to look really weird. What I can tell you is that the twist in the end is something I should have seen coming, but I didn’t. I am obviously not going to give away what the twist is just in case you were looking to watch the film. Jason Bateman is as brilliant as usual as he delivers a serious performance as the manipulative Simon. Rebecca Hall does great as well as the woman who begins to put the pieces together when she cannot get the answers from the one source she needs. The film has suspense at times during the film, but it really starts to kick into overdrive in the last 10 minutes of the film. I however did enjoy the writing because the story was pretty solid in my opinion and the filmmaking aspect of the film was solid as well. Joel Edgerton did a pretty good job for someone who was directing his first feature length film and the overall aesthetic/tones of the film was dark. I am starting to see the maybe Hollywood is starting to go with more original ideas which gives me hope for filmmaking. I enjoyed the film, you know exactly what you’re getting when you watch it. That is why I am going to give the film an B+ for a final grade.
When I saw on my guide that Transcendence was going to be on the television, I took the opportunity to check this film out. With an estimated budget of 100 Million, the film was kind of a box office failure in 2014. Nevertheless, the film stars Johnny Depp (Edward Scissorhands) as Dr. Will Caster, the utmost authority on Artificial Intelligence who is trying to create the ultimate A.I.. Little does Dr. Caster know that there are people that are against what he is doing and they go as far as poisoning him with radiation on a bullet that he was shot with. Looking to continue his research, Caster’s wife Evelyn (Rebecca Hall) and longtime friend Max Waters (Paul Bettany) will ultimately load Will’s consciousness into the computer to create the ultimate A.I. before he dies. What they don’t realize is that there action takes on dangerous implications. The film also stars Morgan Freeman (The Shawshank Redemption) as Joseph Tagger, Cillian Murphy (In Time) as Agent Buchanan, Kate Mara (The Fantastic Four) as Bree, Cole Hauser (Dazed And Confused) as Colonel Stevens, Clifton Collins Jr. (The Stoned Age) as Martin, Josh Stewart (The Collector) as Paul, Cory Hardrict (American Sniper) as Joel Edmund, and the film was directed by Wally Pfister (The Dark Knight).
As I said in the above paragraph, the movie was a complete flop as it only made about 23 million dollars in the box office. I remember the film being in and out of the theaters in no time so I avoided seeing the film. I had seen bits and pieces of it, but never the full film fro start to finish. I can certainly see why it was never successful, but that’s not to say that the film was completely bad. It like most films, had it’s ups and downs with Depp being Depp which equals awesome, but at times it was rather boring. The trailers made you believe or think that as an A.I. he was able to destroy things, but that really isn’t the case. He rather regenerates things and makes them better and has his minions destroy things for him. The film is just more commentary on how social media and computers have taken over our lives and how someday it may come to this when we are launched back into the stone age or at least the 1970’s when there were no cell phones or computers. Rebecca Hall, who I loved in The Town, does a pretty good job being the wife who is blinded by the love of her husband and Paul Bettany who is the friend that eventually sees the error of his ways. Yes, we’ve seen that all before in other Sci-F drama films. Check out the film at your own risk, but I’m telling you that it wasn’t bad. I am going to give the film an B- for a final grade.