Thursday, November 12, 2015

Riske Business: In Case You Missed Them

by Adam Riske
I’m finally caught up on September and October releases. Let’s discuss some of them!

Bridge of Spies – I was sort of dreading this movie (I don’t usually like Cold War stories) despite being a super-fan of both Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks but I’m so glad that I finally saw Bridge of Spies. It’s tremendous. I love how idiosyncratic the movie is. At first, you think it will be a courtroom movie and then it’s not anymore and it turns into basically Spielberg’s riff on The Third Man. Hanks is so great in Bridge of Spies, as are Mark Rylance and Scott Shepherd. Just like he did with Catch Me If You Can, Spielberg takes an inherently dramatic story and injects it with smart dialogue and just enough humor to make the experience an absolute joy to sit through.
Burnt – One of the most average movies I have ever seen in my life. It’s about as stock of a story as stories get – the bad boy on his way to redemption – but the performances are really strong from an excellent cast that includes Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller, Omar Sy and Daniel Bruhl. Plus, the movie has a pretty cool twist that I didn’t see coming. Surprisingly, for a movie about food, I didn’t get very hungry during Burnt. The food looked too fancy to me to be appetizing. I’m uncultured.

Goodnight Mommy – Although well made, I don’t get what all of the fuss is about with Goodnight Mommy. I thought it was a little gross but it didn’t scare me exactly and the payoff sort of renders the movie as a one-time deal instead of a movie you can watch over and over again IMHO. I didn’t hate it by any stretch, but I can’t believe the hype this one is getting while superior efforts like Tales of Halloween or Bone Tomahawk are flying under the radar on VOD and not able to get much of a theatrical booking.
Goosebumps – I was hoping Goosebumps was going to be a fun romp, a la Hocus Pocus. It’s not. But that doesn’t mean it’s terrible, either. I had some fun with Goosebumps, and after a shaky first couple of acts I got into the spirit of the movie and ended up having a good enough time with it to remember the movie fondly.

The Martian – A very good movie that is, just maybe, a little boring in how very good it is. I’m having trouble reconciling my feelings about The Martian. It’s terrifically made and the cast is almost universally strong but something about it just seems too easy. It’s like it took what worked from Cast Away and Apollo 13 and just freshened it up. I could easily sit and watch The Martian again but I’d be lying to say that this was a movie that’s stuck with me all that much since I’ve seen it. That being said, all movies should be this good.
Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse – I can’t really review this one. I walked out after 22 minutes because I found it to be unbearably obnoxious.

Sicario – Holy shit is this movie great! I love movies like Sicario that are so confident in their filmmaking and storytelling that they just look easy and not like a movie baiting for an Oscar. Emily Blunt once again proves she’s a solid anchor for an action movie and this is the best work Benicio Del Toro has done since maybe Traffic. Sicario is intense and exciting and one of my favorite films of the year. I love Denis Villeneuve movies!
Sleeping with Other People – Not original at all (it borrows heavily from When Harry Met Sally...) but infectious and charming all the same. Alison Brie is fantastic as the female romantic lead and she brings out a sensitivity I’ve never seen before in Jason Sudeikis that is very appealing and hopefully something he continue to draw upon for the future. For a romantic comedy, I didn’t laugh a whole lot during Sleeping with Other People but I did think the movie was really sweet and cute and will easily be one I return to in the near future.

Steve Jobs – I can’t believe how poorly this movie did in wide release. It’s too bad, because I thought it was very impressive. The dense Aaron Sorkin screenplay is out of this world good, as is Michael Fassbender as Steve Jobs. Is Steve Jobs as good as The Social Network? No, but it’s more electric and entertaining than most action movies and I love how the movie works as a piece about what it’s like to work for an asshole. A brilliant asshole, but an asshole all the same and how sometimes you need to have someone be an asshole in order to push the boundaries that nice people can’t.
The Walk – This was a movie that completely got lost in the shuffle of too many movies being released in October. Did you miss anything? Yes and no. No, because The Walk is just fine. It’s not one of Robert Zemeckis’ best and it has a particularly slow first two acts up until the actual high wire walk by Philippe Petit between the two World Trade Center towers. That portion of the movie is sensational. But I do think many people missed out in one particular sense and that is the 3D. I saw The Walk in 2D and was kicking myself the entire time because I could just tell that it would have really been something to behold in IMAX 3D. But that opportunity has passed and I’m afraid we won’t be able to replicate anything close to it on home video. This is a perfectly decent movie that deserved a better fate than it received.

I want to know what you think of these movies. Leave your comments below. Thanks!


  1. I found The Walk extremely entertaining all the way through. I had so much fun and the 3D was undoubtedly the best I have ever seen. I'm a big fan, but I know I'm pretty alone on that.

    The Martian is good! It just didn't connect with me much on a deeper level. But Matt Damon is incredible. So is Jeff Daniels.

    I loved Goosebumps as a kid and I sure enjoyed Goosebumps a lot. Its actually might be the funniest comedy of the year for me. I don't care for most comedies.

    I didn't like Sicario. Its brilliantly acted, brilliantly directed, beyond brilliantly shot, and pretty poorly written. In my humble opinion, the story was a jumbled mess and all the dialogue was completely uninteresting. Who knows? Maybe I'll come around on it one day. But I was sure dissapointed

    I thought Scouts Guide was the disgusting, soulless, and annoying version of Night of the Creeps. Everyone watch Night of the Creep instead.

    Thanks for the article! I need to see Bridge of Spies and Steve Jobs so bad.

  2. Cool! Thank you, Adam, I love these articles. I want to see Steve Jobs now based on what you wrote (the part about it being about what good an asshole boss can do). Conflicted and controversial powerful people. I always like stories about them. Would've skipped it after it got so many bad reviews.

    I enjoyed Bridge of Spies a lot. But I wondered if what I was watching wasn't kind of adorable. To be fair, hours before, I had just watched Tom Hanks play Kid Theater on Jimmy Fallon's show, so I was already in the "Tom Hanks is synonymous with adorable" mindset.

    I want to see Hail, Caesar! badly.

  3. Great reviews! Now I want to see Bridge of Spies...I know it was inappropriate, but I was smiling and even laughed with joy during Sicario because I was just so happy to be seeing such a great film in the theater- something I hadn't done in some time! As a movie fan you live for these experiences and it just rarely gets this good!

  4. I found The Martian very entertaining, very well directed,acted, shot, designed and edited, but I think that I also forgot most of it two days after having watched it.
    So, yeah, all movies should be that good - but a bit more memorable.

    Sicario – That movie was fantastic. Different than I thought it would be, but just great. I loved the fact that Emily Blunt is as unknowing to what happens around her, as is the audience. Great cinematography by Roger Deakins, great acting all around, perfect direction. I left the theater with a big smile on my face.
    I love Villeneuve movies, too!

    Steve Jobs – As a fan of everything Sorkin, I hope to watch that next week when it starts here in Germany.
    And I´m also looking forward to Bridge of spies, which starts in two weeks here.

  5. Saw Spotlight last night. I was underwhelmed. The movie did a couple neat movie-ish things that played out at the end, in regards to Michael Keaton's character, but other than that I'm pretty sure I would have been just as entertained and interested reading a book about the same subject. The pacing of the revelations - which I thought is like of paramount importance in a journalism story - was jumbled up. Super slow beginning, then major revelations fall on them almost haphazardly. I guess there was SO much subject matter and so many important sub-stories they could have gone on, it was probably hard to make a satisfying movie on this in less than 2 hrs.

    I still like the trailer for Hail, Caesar! My sister would say it's because I love crafts. True! It's why I wish I could sit through Baz Luhrmann's movies- because he obviously loves crafts, too.

  6. When Harry met Sally is right up there for me so ill certainly check out Sleeping with other people. Cheers

    I sometimes feel like im sleeping with other people when I also listen to KillerPov, but I have enough love for you all ;)

  7. I'm finally getting around to seeing Sicario today. I can't let something that could crack my top 10 pass by, especially if it's from a director who has a permanent place on my radar now.

    1. I have a feeling you'll like it if you are a fan of the director's work.

    2. I have really found his work well made and compelling, at least in the moment. Prisoners is one of my favorite movies as of late that I'll probably never watch again.

    3. I thought it was excellent! You're right about the awesome filmmaking. It's probably one of Villeneuve's most accessible movies, and the one I think I would rewatch the most. Plus, the performances from Blunt and Del Toro are great!

  8. I think I feel the same way you do about The Martian Adam. It was a good movie but just didn't like it as much as I wanted it too. By time I saw the movie I had already heard Matt Damon say he was Scientist the Shit out of it 40 times. Also Donald Glover's character in his first scene was dreadful.

    Sicaro was excellent

    Steve Jobs was amazing. People keep putting social network above it but I'm not so sure.

  9. I forgot The Walk. I saw it in Imax or LieMax and it was ok. JGL did a good job I think. I know some complained about his accent but I didn't have a problem with it. I think the movie does what it sets out to do. Its a Biopic for the family. The was they have JGL narrate the film in character gives the movie a happy nostalgic vibe. Its a man sharing the best moments of his life. Also the way they treat the world trade center was well done. They didn't over do it.

  10. Just saw Bridge of Spies this afternoon and really responded well to it. I loved the period piece settings and the way that the Coens' script had such subtle and wonderful humor. Spielberg made some brilliant directorial choices too- the film opens with Abel looking at himself in the mirror while painting a portrait of himself. It's such an incredibly great visual metaphor for what the character does professionally. As soon as I saw the 2 faces next to each other in the shot, I knew he was a spy.

    I'm also a complete mark for any movie where a lawyer makes a principled stand, It's my version of Adam's "I'll watch any corporate thriller."