The story of 7 people on trial stemming from various charges surrounding the uprising at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, Illinois. (IMDb)
It’s a dialogue-heavy courtroom drama with all the humour, high-stakes intensity, and fiery one-liners (“What’s your price?” “My life”) of an action film. The script and editing masterfully ramp up the pre-, during-, and post-protest tension simultaneously (adding in Abbie’s stand-up was a cool touch) and the cast is excellent (Rylance and Cohen are standouts). The prominence then disappearance of Seale’s poignant sub-plot is the only real misstep here (the ending is schmaltzy but effective).
Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane’s successful attempt to assemble a baseball team on a lean budget by employing computer-generated analysis to acquire new players. (IMDb)
It’s got the surface stuff for dramatic greatness–an intriguing premise, a solid cast, entertaining dialogue (see Billy’s flurry of calls at the trade deadline), and slick editing that smoothly incorporates lots of flashbacks and archival footage–but the story holds it back in a couple ways: Billy’s personal life often feels like an unnecessary inclusion, and the intellectualism of the sports narrative seems to get replaced in the third act with a more typical underdog/pep-talk type feel.
7.5/10 (Really Good)
Steve Jobs takes us behind the scenes of the digital revolution, to paint a portrait of the man at its epicenter. The story unfolds backstage at three iconic product launches, ending in 1998 with the unveiling of the iMac. (IMDb)
Artfully filmed, the pre-product launch setting blends nicely the personal and vocational aspects of Jobs’ life (though it does start to feel a little contrived the third time around), adds a thrilling sense of urgency to the proceedings (highlighted by a barrage of whip-cracking dialogue), and makes for a uniquely and appreciably focused biopic that aims to capture his character instead of his whole life story (it certainly hits its mark, but its focus is compromised a bit with the flashbacks).
7.5/10 (Really Good)