Whale of a Tale Productions

A Post Production Company
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Steve Jobs by Danny Boyle, 2015

I was really looking forward to this as I loved Aaron Sorkin’s The Social Network, and I am a huge Apple fan. Not only have I read every Steve Jobs biography, but I have been a lomg time Apple user. I first took computer lessons on Apple IIE’s then got my first computer at age 7, an Apple IIC. After that all my friends had Mac’s, and eventually I got a Mac Classic, though long after using many Mac Pluses at school. And I have stuck with Mac all the way through the dark years, to Steve Jobs return and his death, and Apple dropping of expandability in it’s pro machines. So even with the film doing awful, I was excited to see it, but all my hopes were horribly dashed by this awful film! And I think Michael Fassbender is a great actor, but not here. It makes me long for Ashton Kutcher, whose Jobs movie was mediocre, but he really seemed to capture Jobs, unlike Fassbender who seems nothing like him. And the script is just awful, playing fast and loose with the truth, to the point of absolute lies, saying the only plan for the NEXT computer was to sell it to Apple. This computer does not capture Jobs nor his relationships, and it’s concipt of taking place before each of his 3 biggest product launches also does not work. It is really too bad just how bad this film is as Jobs story is an interesting one, but this film is not his story, and should not have been made. A complete waste! Skip It!

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This purports to be the story of Steve Jobs just before each of his 3 biggest product launches, the Mac, the Next Cube and the iMac, all shot on different formats, and his interactions with his marketing exec, Joanna Hoffman (Kate Winslett wose accent seems to grow as the film goes), the Pepsi CEO John Scully (Jeff Daniels) who he brought in to help him, but ousted him, and the was ousted, the man who created the Apple and Apple 2 Steve Wozniak (Seth Rogan) his ex wife Chrissan Brennan (Katherine Waterston) and the daughter he never wanted to admit to Lisa (Perla Haney-Jardine, Ripley Sobo, and Makenzie Moss). Of course most the events never happened and it never.

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The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Co-written and directed by Guy Ritchie

After how much I loved the Kingsman, I was hoping that this swinging sixties spy adventure would be right up my alley, but instead it is a total dud, with only one good laugh. Of course I really haven’t liked a Guy Ritchie film since Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barells and Snatch, so I don’t know why I expected more. Nothing works here, the action is lame, setup set pieces like a race track are never used, the characters don’t have enough charm to be likeable, and twists can be seen from a mile away. And they seem to be trying so hard to make a series that they don’t bother making this film any good.

Instead of straight remake, Ritchie decided on an origin story for the TV series. In it we have womanizing theif turned CIA operative Napoleon Solo (Henry Cavill) rescuing the beautiful mechanic Gabriella Teller (Alicia Vikander) from East Berlin, to get her to help find her missing Nuclear Scientist father. They are chased by the ridiculously superhuman Russian counterpart Illya Kuryakin (Armie Hammer). Solo escapes with Gabi, but is quickly teamed up sith Kuryakin to stop the nuclear threat from Nazi’s that could destroy the world.

Review Contains Some Spoilers…

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Mr Holmes by Bill Fondon (2015)

Ian McKellen is awesome in the titular rold of Sherlock Holmes. In this film Holmes exists and is retired, but his novels were fictional retellings by his partner Watson. The problem is in his old age and retirement his mind us begining to slip, and he can’t even rememeber why ge retired. It is only the son of his surley maid (Laura Liney) Roger (Milo Munro) who draws him out, and not the potions he travels as far as Japan to get to restore his faculties, so Mr. Holmes can write a true account if his final adventure.

A lovely, if slow (very much a British Masterpiece style piece) film that deals with the ravenges of age, losing ones memory, and how shere logic cannot help understand a person, emotion must ebe involved and even lies can be good things. McKellen is at his best and his age makeup is perfect. If you are a fan of masterpiece style stories, this is a great one and well worth seeing.

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Pride by Mathew Warchus (2014)

A lovely Historical dramedy about the British Miners strike in 1984 where a London based Lesbian and Gay group rallies in support of one town of miners when the police use illegal tactics to crack down on them. The miners don’t want the help of gays to start, but eventually cherish their help, and even bring all the miners to the next years Gay Pride parade. This is a lovely film with some great performances, that makes you love these characters from townies played by Paddy Considine, Imelda Staunton and Bill Nighy, and London gays and Lesbians including Dominic West, Andrew Scott and Menna Trussler.

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Gone Girl by David Fincher (2014)

Ben Affleck plays Nick Dunne a failed writer, whose wife Amy (Rosamund Pike) goes missing and quickly he is deemed the prime suspect.

There was a lot of hype for this dark psychological thriller from Fincher, and for me it didn’t pay off. I just didn’t like any of the characters, both Ben Affleck’s and Rosamund Pike’s characters are so unlikeable, that I wonder why anyone would care, and the big payoff just doesn’t work for me. Overall I was let down. I just didn’t feel this film, but I also didn’t like Fincher’s girl with the Dragon Tatoo, so Fincher has been more miss than hit for me of late. It looks great, but just didn’t work for me.

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Sabotage, co-written and directed by David Ayers (2014)

I have said I am a fan of Swarzenegger, and have been watching his post-Governator films on Netflix. And this is a decent action film. The story works, it has a decent cast with Sam Worthington, Olivia Williams,  Mireille Enos, Joe Manganiello and Terrence Howard,  and it is cool to see Swarzenegger so grizzled and doing a dark turn. A decent action drama overall.

Swarzenegger plays the leader of the elite DEA strikeforce, but after his wife and child are killed by a drug lord, he leads the team to steal the drug lords money, but it is stolen from them and the team is suspended.

Review contains some spoilers…

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A Walk Among The Tombstones written and directed by Scott Frank (2014)

Liam Neeson proves himself the king of the gritty crime thriller with this dark and enjoyable film. So it isn’t just Taken, Neeson is really good in these films, and this story of an ex cop working to recovery kidnapped wives of drug dealers really works. From Dan Stevens as a drug dealer post Downton Abbey to the father son relationship Neeson character has with the young Brian Bradley. This is a good dark thriller, and well worth checking out. Frank is a good screenwriter, and with this proves himself a very competent director. Well worth seeing.

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Kill Me Three Times by Kriv Stenders (2014)

Honestly I rented this film to see Simon Pegg as a hitman, but I wish I had not wasted my time. Even Sullivan Stapelton (who is so great in Strike Back) can’t help make this black comedy thriller any better! None of the characters are likeable as everyone is cheating on everyone else or trying to kill each other, and tellings parts of the film out of order doesn’t help make it any better either. Honestly it just doesn’t work ans ia not worth seeing.

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Horns by Alexandre Aja (2014)

A mediocre film with some moments of brilliance. Daniel Radcliff is fantastic as a man in a small town accused of killing his fiancee, who grows huge devil horns that force people to speak only truth to him, but the script lets him down. There are many too long flashbacks, that (especially the childhood ones) don’t hold up, and many parts that drag or don’t make much sense. Still the people’s reactions too the horns are hysterical and brilliant, and the thriller twist works, as with how crazy the film, I really didn’t know what happened. Still I bet the original book was a hell of a lot better!

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Maggie by Henry Hobson (2015)

I like Arnold Swarzennegger, i have fond memories of action films, and now that he is back from his stint as The Governator, I Netflix his films, even though most are pretty bad, but this is an exception. This is a very different Zombie film, about a father dealing his daughter (Abigail Breslin) who has been bit by a zombie, and will guaranteed turn, and go after her own family, and all the better for it. Swarzenegger is great here in a non action dramatic roll, as is the whole cast. And I think both Henry Hobson and screenwriter John Scott III will go far if this films is any indication of their skills.

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Ant Man by Peyton Reed (2015)

Paul Rudd stars as Scott Lang, an engineer turned criminal straight out of prison. Scottwants to go straight and reconect with his daughter, but is recruited by scientist Hank Pym (Michael Douglas) and his daughter Cassie (Evangeline Lilly) to use the Ant Man armor, and steal his former protege Darren Cross ( Corey Stoll) new Yellowjacket armor based on Pym’s shrinking technology which as military technology could plunge the world into chaos!

Another decent Marvel Comic Book movie, and this from a decidedly C list super hero. Sure the Villain, Darren Cross is ridiculous with no motivation, and seems to be affected by his brain damaging suit before he uses it. And there are some added characters who serve only as comic relief, and could have easily gone. Still the shrinking effects are great, and even better in 3D, and Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly are enjoyable. And the theme of parenthood and redemption do work. Plus it was nice to have a, no pun intended, smaller Marvel film, after Age of Ultron which was just too big for it’s britches! Still I do wish I could have seen Edgar Wright’s version which was in develoment for so long, as I think is by far the superior director, and much more stylish. And I can think of a lot of superheroes I would rather have seen films of, but I still enjoyed the film.

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No Escape, co-written and directed by John Erick Dowdle (2015)

This xenophobic 2015 thriller is a definite pass. The story is thin to non-existant, the setup drawn out and borring, and some characters make no sense whatsoever. Sure there are some good moments of parents doing anything to save their kids, but it doesn’t make up for the shoddy screenplay, xenophobic depictions of asians ( as either brutal killers or gun fodder), and mediocre direction. Not worth seeing at all!

Review Contains Some Spoilers…

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Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation, written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie (2015)

Another mindless, over the top action film in the Mission Impossible franchise. Mostly fun enough while you are watching it to forget about how much you hate Tom Cruise. And the plane stunt is pretty cool, though the most impressive stunt, and it is over too quick right at the start. Of course it is ridiculous, and the plot has huge holes, but it is a fun summer action blockbuster with some cool stunt sequences. You won’t see it again, but some fun if you totally turn your brain off.

Tom Cruise returns as IMF agent Ethan Hunt (seemingly no longer married) is on the trail of anti IMF called the syndicate, and is captured by it’s leader (Sean Harris). Meanwhile the CIA director Alen Hunley (Alec Baldwin) jousts with IMF agent William Brandt (Jeremy Renner) at a congressional hearing, that defunds the IMF!

Review contains some spoilers…

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Going to try out Shorter Reviews

A quick update. I just haven’t had the time to do full reviews, so my reviews have slowed to a trickle (sorry about that). So I am going to do some shorter reviews with going over the plot of the film.

Furious 7 by James Wan (2015)

Now I have been a huge fan of the Fast & Furious films since the very beginning. They were stupid, but had heart and great racing, and really great characters that you really grow to love. Sure the second film was pretty stupid, but Justin Lin really turned the series around, and parts 5 and 6 were really excellent heist films. And I know the death of Paul Walker really hurt this production, and made them scramble to keep Walker’s last performance in the film, but with the finished product I think that maybe that was the wrong decision and they should have started over and not had his character Brian O’Conner in the film. Honestly despite all the great reviews of this film I feel like it really jumped the shark here, and lost it’s focus on driving. The end is just so stupid and ridiculous, and even steals one of the idiotic stunts from the Transporter series. This movie tries to be something that the series is not, and it does not pay off. I know they wanted to top the other films, but it should have been straight car stuff, and not the spy idiocy here. And the script is just laughably bad, and makes no sense whatsoever, and has moments that are just so stupid they hurt. Plus so many side characters just become caricatures, like Roman Pearce (Tyrese Gibson) who is just a joke here. I did enjoy the little ode to Walker at the end, but what led up to it was just so dumb that I couldn’t stand it. What a huge letdown.

Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) is back in the US living with this family at his old house, with Brian O’Conner (Paul Walker) chafing at his life as a father, driving a mini van and craving some action. Letti Ortiz (Michelle Rodriguez) still hasn’t recovered her memory and is pulling away from Dom. They get a package from Tokyo, which blows up their house. It is from Deckard Shaw (Jason Statham) the brother of Deckard Shaw who they previously defeated, and who is comatose in a hospital. We see a ridiculous destruction scene, as Deckard leaves his brother at the hospital, which he has basically destroyed (showing what a bad ass he is supposed to be I guess), and he is the one who killed Han (Sung Kang) who was killed in the 3rd film, but the sequels have happened before then. Deckard found out about Dom by breaking into Hobbs (Dwaye “The Rock” Johnson) office and battling him, before destroying the office and putting Hobbs in the hospital.

REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS…

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Avengers: Age of Ultron, written and directed by Joss Whedon, 2015

I am a big Marvel fan, and see every one of their movies on opening weekend, and I am a huge Joss Whedon fan, and always will because of Firefly. So I wanted to see this opening weekend, and Kelly and I went to the TCL Chinese to see opening weekend in 3D Laser Projection IMAX. That was my first time there since the refit since TCL renamed it from Mann. I didn’t realize how much the theater has changed. It is now assigned stadium seating and we got really bad seats up to close. And a word of warning for anyone with lactose intolerance, it seems their popcorn has butter on it without your putting butter on it! The new projector was impressive though, not so much for Avengers, but a preview scene of Tomorrowland looked absolutely amazing. Like 70 millimeter or better! Wow! As for the movie. I enjoyed it. I didn’t love it like I loved the Avengers, but I enjoyed it. There might have been a bit too much going on, and some parts feel obviously cut down too much, like what happens to Thor. And the dream sequences that delve into each characters past are interesting, but do seem to not serve much of the storyline. It is big and exciting though, even if it is a little bit downbeat and depressing. Still it is winding down some of these characters story lines, and leading into the Marvel Civil War, so of course it will be a bit darker and more downbeat. And yes it does go very different from the comic in many ways, but this Marvel Universe is obviously not the comic universe at that point, and with the ongoing new Secret Wars, it seems the Marvel Universe is completely changing now anyway, so I am OK with that. Overall I did enjoy it, but not love it. Worth seeing, but not amazing, and maybe a little too big for it’s own britches.

The Avengers, Steve Rogers AKA Captain America (Chris Evans), Tony Stark AKA Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Natasha Romanoff AKA Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Bruce Banner AKA the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Clint Barton AKA Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) attack a Hydra outpost let by Baron Wolfang von Strucker (Henry Goodman) to retrieve Loki’s scepter. They are intercepted by two enhanced humans that Strucker has created with the scepter, Wanda Maximoff aka the Scarlet Witch (Elixabeth Olsen) with telekinetic and hypnotic powers, and her twin brother Pietro Maximoff AKA Quicksilver the Speedster. The Avengers manage to capture Strucker and get the scepter.

Stark and Banner at Avengers tower start to study the Scepter before Thor returns it to his homeland of Asguard, and see that it seems to contain a power Artificial intelligence, and Stark wants to use it for his Ultron Global Defense Program, using Iron Man Armor robots to stop any big threat, and save humanity from a threat as big as the Schitari from the last film. They use Stark’s own AI J.A.R.V.I.S. (Paul Bettany) to work on the alien AI, but it defeats J.A.R.V.I.S., taking over, and Ultron (James Spader) is born. Utron decides that to stop war and violence it will eradicate the human race, and it will take over.

REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS…

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