Author: Blake Goble

Steve Jobs

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Universal | R | Danny Boyle
Pictured:
 The artist in all his smug ignominy.

7(Note: The following review was originally published at Consequence of Sound.)

“Computers aren’t art,” bellows Woz.

“Fuck you,” retorts a hostile Jobs.

Eventually, Steve Jobs won this argument, but in the moment, Jobs (Michael Fassbender) and Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogen) aggressively disagree in a garage over the creative potential and purpose of home computing. Jobs may have likely been a pain in the ass, a bully, a Machiavellian prince of the modern age, but man did he get to put his name on some important technology. Steve Jobs, the new production from Aaron Sorkin and Danny Boyle, purports that Jobs’ greatness was inherently at odds with his bad-guy qualities, and damned if it doesn’t make for some soapy theatrics. Steve Jobs subverts the biopic genre by approaching it as a whip-smart play told in three acts, which opts not to glorify its lead subject. In lieu of delicacy, the Jobs of this film is a real bastard, which makes Steve Jobs all the better. Devils usually make for more salacious stories than saints, after all. Just look at The Social Network. (more…)

He Named Me Malala

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Fox Searchlight | PG-13 | Davis Guggenheim
Pictured:
 The new face of progress.

4(Note: The following review was originally published at Consequence of Sound.)

Have you seen the Malala Yousafzai Daily Show interview? She’s an amazing person and a fantastic subject, with such a passionate voice. Yousafzai’s deep and meaningful true story about her struggle against the Taliban is shocking, but she brings with her a message for world peace, gender rights, and the value of education. The teen activist doesn’t so much grab our attention as she commands it. She speaks in such spirited rhetoric that it seems like a really great documentary could be tailor-made for her.

It’s a shame, then, that He Named Me Malala will not be regarded as that great doc. (more…)

The Walk

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Sony | PG | Robert Zemeckis
Pictured:
Come on, bro. Seriously. Seriously come on. It’s not funny anymore.

8(Note: The following review was originally published at Consequence of Sound.)

Look, we all agree, Man on Wire is incredible. A Hollywood adaptation was never necessary. But The Walk is here, and that’s that.

Maybe that sounds bitter, but this film’s release is not a bad thing at all. How about this: The Walk has arrived, and it’s an outrageously likable crowd-pleaser. Here’s a love letter to the preposterousness of dreams that actually smiles its way out of the question of why anyone would tightrope across two 110-story buildings. The Walk is a considered and caring continuation of Robert Zemeckis’ body of work as a daring digital portfolio. (more…)

The New Girlfriend

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Mars Distribution | R | Francois Ozon
Pictured:
Mysteries abounding, all the time.

9(Note: The following review was originally published at Consequence of Sound.)

Look at how clever that title is, and how we’re immediately asked to test our often limited terminologies for understanding gender, identity, and sexuality. Girlfriend, in the most general sense (or primarily the American), is a term we affiliate with a woman in a relationship with another person. Right? Or, what if it’s a kind of 1940s gal pal usage, like our grandmothers would often do? The New Girlfriend thinks it can be both, and that’s so cool. (more…)

Everest

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Universal | PG-13 | Baltasar Kormakur
Pictured:
He outran cold in The Day After Tomorrow, only for it to catch up.

4(Note: The following review was originally published at Consequence of Sound.)

Welcome to Dude Mountain. It’s a special place where men go to die, but not before wearing kicky and colorful clothes, made possible by Patagonia, Hally Hansen, and other nature emporium purveyors. Dude Mountain, where the fellas climb high and the women stand by the phones to hear their men die. Dude Mountain. They brought up one woman and you practically have to move mountains to get her some dialogue. (more…)

The Perfect Guy

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Screen Gems | PG-13 | David M. Rosenthal
Pictured:
“Why, yes… I would love peas… and murder.”

(Note: the following review was originally published at Consequence of Sound.)

2You guys remember The Boy Next Door? You know the one, that nutso, but kind of maligned domestic thriller?

Anyway, the best that could be said of The Perfect Guy is that it makes The Boy Next Door look like a masterpiece. Same premises, basically. One woman’s post-relationship fling begets devastating results as scorned men lash out in hot-headed, highly dramatic, and dangerous ways.

But last January’s Jennifer Lopez vehicle was so much more fun than the newly openingThe Perfect Guy, a perfectly blasé fall thriller. In 2015, if you’re going to make a house and garden chiller, you have to either ace your storytelling, and ratchet tension, or, you have to go well beyond reason and screw with your audience as to leave them gob-smacked.The Boy Next Door’s inept shock moments allowed camp status to be bestowed on that film and it made for compulsive popcorn watching. J. Lo was embarrassingly teaching The Odyssey (“and its themes”) to high school, and that movie’s teen villain practically had staring contests with the camera. That movie elicited a certain trashy tittering, a distinctionThe Perfect Guy could have gained from. (more…)

Turbo Kid

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EMA Films, Timpson Films | R | Anouk Whissell, François Simard, Yoann-Karl Whissell
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(Note: the following review was originally published at Consequence of Sound.)

7How to make a Turbo Kid: in a blender, add mixed 1980s genre elements (preferably stale sci-fi), grindhouse chaff, BMX money shots, and the scent of Cannon or Troma films. Whip. Then add toys and souvenirs from your friends’ and grandparents’ basements. Cassette players, View-Masters, and those tacky little pens that undress ladies with ink will do.  Blend more. Add Capcom sound effects, some Power Rangers-grade costumes, and some Indiana Jones goofballs. Pulse. Throw in ample sweeteners and at least a few buckets of corn syrup blood. Take the blender outside to either a quarry or your friends’ backyard. Those’ll bring out the best in the recipe. Play electronic music in the vein ofJohn Carpenter, while continuing to blend those prior elements for upwards of 90 minutes. Garnish with a lawn flamingo or gnome on top.

Voilà. Turbo Kid: a chunky, colorful, Salvation Army-textured kitsch-splosion. (more…)

No Escape

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BOLD, TWC | R | John Erick Dowdle
Pictured:
“Say ‘wow’ to me one more damned time.”

(Note: the following review was originally published at Consequence of Sound.)

6Owen Wilson, Mr. “Wow” himself, in a deadly serious geopolitical pulp film whipping his daughters across rooftops? What a terrible big moment to promote, too. No Escape’s ads have either been too intense (shaky camera work and loud screaming), or too vague (shifting release dates and even titles). Yet in the actual, final, now-released movie, Owen Wilson’s father character being forced to fend off vicious coup rebels in the hope of saving his family … let’s just say that the daughter toss, that fluid, stylized, quite literally over-the-top image, is among the least of his character’s worries.

Ransackings, machetes, machine guns, public executions, explosions, and an overwhelming sense of bad timing and even worse luck pervade No Escape, yet somehow the film works for what it is: a late-summer potboiler. Sitting down with this film and experiencing it in full is a chilling, challenging rush. In John Erick Dowdle and Drew Dowdle’s No Escape, that scene where Wilson throws his daughter elicits stomach-dropping gasps. (more…)

Hitman: Agent 47

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20th Century Fox | R | Aleksander Bach
Pictured:
“Sun’s out? Guns out.”

4

(Note: the following review was originally published at Consequence of Sound.)

Wasn’t Hitman just a post-Matrix drip anyways? Like, are teenagers still enraptured by jet-black attire, cyber-punk imagery, and slow-mo gunplay? Given the advent (and profitability) of first person shooters, probably, but still. Here we are with a reboot, or remake, or some such thing coming from Fox’s 2007 Hitman, a glorified shoot ‘em up, based on a digitized shoot ‘em up, about a cue-balled killer with a barcode on the back of his head. What is this Hitman’s (Rupert Friend) motivation? To shoot ‘em up. Pew pew, headshots, R-rating, game over.

However, to Hitman: Agent 47’s credit, once you get past the jittery exposition, the game tutorials, if you will, the thing has a certain dummy game logic amusement to it. It’s all in the tone, the Euro-style, and the B-movie zeal. I’m saying that at some point the film stops giving a shit and that’s when the fun, the littlest amounts of it, happen. (more…)

Phoenix

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Sundance Selects | PG-13 | Christian Petzold

Pictured: “Baby I’d kiss you if this floating text wasn’t in the way.”

(Note: the following review was originally published at Consequence of Sound.)

8Oh, the profound questions that Phoenix asks.

If you’ve ever been in love, or even just emotionally involved with someone, you may have earned and received a nice “I love you.” Or better yet, the gift of attention. Or remembrance. It’s the little things that count, right? Noticing single details, like the color of hair in a certain light, or how an outfit looked on a certain day. By expressing those things to other people, we create reassurances. We build a case for fondness with constantly re-submitted proof. But how do we validate those compliments’ integrity? Are these words just details, reflexive memories of what to say in order to avoid getting in trouble? (more…)