REVIEW: THE INTERNSHIP

Starring

Vince Vaughn (The Break-Up)
Owen Wilson (Zoolander)
Josh Brener (Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
Dylan O’Brien (American Assassin)
Tiya Sircar (The Good Place)
Tobit Raphael (Saint George)
Rose Byrne (Bad Neighbours)
Max Minghella (Horns)
Aasif Mandvi (Movie 43)
Josh Gad (Frozen)
Eric André (2 Broke Girls)
John Goodman (Red State)
Jessica Szohr (The Orvilel)
Rob Riggle (21 Jump Street)
Joanna García Swisher (Ameircan Pie 2)
Will Ferrell (Get Hard)
Gary Anthony Williams (I’m Sorry)
Chasty Ballesteros (Final Destination 5)

Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in The Internship (2013)Salesmen Billy McMahon and Nick Campbell’s employer goes out of business, and Billy applies for Google internships on their behalf. They are accepted due to their unorthodox interview answers, despite a lack of relevant experience. They are the only interns not of traditional collegiate age. They will spend the summer competing in teams against other interns in a variety of tasks, and only the members of the winning team will be guaranteed jobs with Google. Billy and Nick are teamed with other interns seen as rejects: Stuart, who is usually engrossed in his smart phone; Yo-Yo, who was homeschooled by his tiger mother; and Neha, an enthusiast of nerd-related kink. The team leader Lyle constantly tries to act hip to hide his insecurities. Another intern, Graham, bullies Billy and Nick’s team. Roger Chetty, the head of the internship program, also expresses his doubts about the older men’s abilities. Stuart, Yo-Yo, and Neha see Billy and Nick as useless during a task focused on debugging and send them on a wild-goose chase for the fictional Charles Xavier at Stanford University. But later, during a game of Quidditch against Graham’s team, Billy rallies his team to a comeback that unifies them as a team, despite ultimately losing after Graham cheats.Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in The Internship (2013)When the teams are tasked with developing an app, Billy and Nick convince the team to indulge in a wild night out. At a strip club, Neha admits to Billy that, despite her rich fantasy life, she has no real world experience and is nervous. With his support, she decides to stay. Nick gets Yo-Yo to break out of his shell by drinking and receiving lap dances. Encouraged by Billy, Lyle approaches one of the dancers, Marielena, who is also a dance instructor at Google on whom he had developed a crush. She is charmed by him, but another customer challenges Lyle for her attention and they fight, getting the team kicked out. Before sunrise, Stuart learns to appreciate his surroundings while overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, and Lyle’s drunken antics inspire the team to create an app that guards against reckless phone usage while drunk. They win the task by earning the most downloads.Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson in The Internship (2013)Meanwhile, Nick has been flirting with an executive, Dana, with little success. When he begins attending technical presentations to impress her, he develops an interest in the material. While the teams prepare to staff the technical support hotline, only Billy feels at a loss. A Google employee, “Headphones,” who always wears headphones and never socializes, approaches Billy and tells him that the way he interacts with people is special. He tutors Billy on the technical information. Dana agrees to go on a date with Nick, and she invites him in at the end of the evening. During the task, Billy is comfortable with the material, but his team receives no score because he failed to properly log his calls for review. Dejected, Billy leaves Google to pursue a new sales opportunity with his former boss. The final task is announced as a sales challenge. Teams must sign the largest possible company to begin advertising with Google. The team is stunned when Nick tells them that Billy has left, and they declare that they do not want to do the task without him. Nick convinces Billy to return, and Billy leads the team to show a local pizzeria owner how Google can help him interact with potential customers and thereby expand his business, while remaining true to his professional values.Chetty is about to announce that Graham’s team have won, when Billy, Nick, and their team arrive to give a dynamic presentation about their new client. Chetty recognizes that although the pizzeria is not a large business, its potential is limitless because it is expanding via technology. Graham protests and is dressed down by Headphones, who turns out to be the head of Google Search. Nick and Billy’s team win the challenge and the guaranteed jobs. Graham berates his team, who finally reject him. As the students depart, Nick and Dana are still seeing each other, as are Lyle and Marielena. Stuart and Neha have formed a romantic connection as well with Stuart promising to see her in person rather than texting her, and Yo-Yo asserts himself to his mother. Billy and Nick toast their success.Not the funniest movie around, but fun nonetheless. Highly recommended if you want to take a sneak peak at Googleplex and some of its cool features, and if you love Vaughn-Wilson combination.

REVIEW: THE SOCIAL NETWORK

 

CAST

Jesse Eisenberg (Batman v Superman)
Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spider-Man)
Armie Hammer (The Lone Ranger)
Justin Timberlake (Friends With Benefits)
Rooney Mara (Her)
Dakota Johnson (Fifty Shades of Grey)
Rashida Jones (I Love You, Man)
Josh Pence (The Dark Knight Rises)
Malese Jow (The Vampire Diaries)
Lacey Beeman (Power Rangers Time Force)
Jason Flemyng (Snatch)
Jessie Heiman (Chuck)
Riley Voelkel (The Originals)
Joseph Mazzello (Jurassic Park)
Barry Livingston (Argo)
Max Minghella (Horns)
Brenda Song (Dads)
Oliver Muirhead (Like Crazy)
Caleb Landry Jones (Get Out)

MV5BZmRiMzA2MzAtNzAxZC00M2EyLTg1NDctODJkOWQ1MGEyM2UzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzY5MzAxMDc@._V1_David Fincher’s The Social Network is a business procedural played with the intensity of a thriller and the ingenuity of a screwball comedy. It’s something of a departure for the filmmaker, whose pictures lean toward visual pyrotechnics and darker, more disturbing themes. Handling a screenplay by Aaron Sorkin that consists primarily of people in rooms talking, and in which the violence is purely psychological, he curbs his occasional excesses and cooks up his most satisfying film to date. Though mining (with some significant departures from the official record) the origin story of Facebook, a presumably of-the-moment phenomenon, Fincher and Sorkin have made a movie that is about more than its ostensible subject. Yes, The Social Network examines, at least implicitly, the cultural moment that precipitates the explosion of a site that aims specifically to make the social experience a virtual construct. But where the film strikes oil is in understanding the kind of guy who would want to create that experience.His name is Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), and the opening scene that introduces him is a whiz-bang Sorkin special–a flurry of rat-tat-tat dialogue and cranked-up interplay in which characters talk non-stop while revealing themselves only accidentally. Zuckerberg, a smug Harvard sophomore obsessed with the university social hierarchy that he cannot penetrate, is out with his girlfriend Erica (Rooney Mara); he clearly sees himself as smarter than her (she attends lowly Boston University), but she’s so adroit at conversational maneuvers that before he realizes it, she’s broken up with him. Depressed and half-drunk, he goes back to his dorm, blogs some hurtful things about her, and concocts a website called “facemash” that pulls pictures from campus sites and lets students rank the women against each other. Fincher gives this embryonic sequence the finesse and energy of an action scene–particularly as he intercuts the rich and powerful “club” kids living the life Mark longs for, the velvety seductiveness of the haves in sharp contrast to the laptop tappings of the have-nots.MV5BYjUyYzEzNTMtYzVlYS00ZDJlLWE0MzAtZDU0ZWM2YjE3NWU4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzQ3Nzk5MTU@._V1_The program crashes Harvard’s server and gets him called on the university carpet, but it also catches the attention of would-be power broker Divya Narenda (Max Minghella) and irritatingly entitled rich twins Tyler and Cameron Winlevoss (both played by Armie Hammer). The trio approaches Mark with an idea for a new networking site–“The Harvard Connection,” a school-wide apparatus for profiles, pictures, and so on. Mark jumps in, but decides almost immediately that he can do this thing better than they can; he builds on the concept, hits up his best friend–and occasional conscience–Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield) for a grand or so in start-up funds, and launches his version, “the facebook.”The complex saga of the rise of Facebook (and of Zuckerberg) is told in interlocking depositions (“I’m currently in the middle of two lawsuits,” Mark explains, somewhat impatiently), which sounds like the dullest imaginable framework for a narrative. But the picture gets a kick from Sorkin’s distinctive conversational rhythms and considerable skills as a wordsmith. The Social Network is a whirlwind of talk–invigorating, intelligent, fast-paced dialogue, from the throwaway lines to the occasional loquacious show-stopper. Every Sorkin script has one (Nicholson’s “You can’t handle the truth” bit in A Few Good Men is the obvious example, though Baldwin’s “I am God” speech in Malice is nearly as quotable); here, it comes when the Winlevosses’ lawyer asks Mark, “Do I have your full attention?,” unleashing a perfect storm of Sorkinian attitude, snark, and barely-contained impatience. “You have part of my attention–you have the minimum amount,” Mark snaps. “The rest of my attention is back at the offices of Facebook, where my colleagues and I are doing things that no one in this room, including and especially your clients, are intellectually or creatively capable of doing. Did I adequately answer your condescending question?”Performances are universally strong–Andrew Garfield (The Amazing Spiderman) is immensely likable and marginally heartbreaking, Hammer’s double-playing is simple but effective, and Timberlake, as the well-connected but semi-flaky Parker, handily sells his multi-layered portrait of the guy who knows all the angles but can’t quite hide his own rough edges. But Eisenberg’s is the breakthrough performance; as good as he’s been as shy, stuttering, would-be intellectuals in Adventureland and Zomiebland, this is a darker and more complicated piece of work. His performance here is somehow both showy and deftly underplayed–you get the sense, from that very first scene, that he’s already tired of always being the smartest guy in the room.Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network (2010)When The Social Network was announced, it seemed such an oddball project that snickers and jeers were the prevailing response (. But from the unveiling of its mesmerizing trailer, it was clear that this wasn’t just “the Facebook movie,” any more than Citizen Kane was a film about newspapers.

REVIEW: THE IDES OF MARCH

CAST

George Clooney (Out of Sight)
Ryan Gosling (Gangster Squad)
Philip Seymour Hoffman (The Master)
Paul Giamatti (The Amazing Spider-Man 2)
Evan Rachel Wood (Thirteen)
Marisa Tomei (The Wrestler)
Jeffrey Wright (Source Code)
Max Minghella (The Internship)
Jennifer Ehle (Zero Dark Thirty)
Gregory Itzin (Adaptation.)
Michael Mantell (Secretary)

MV5BMTkxMTU3MTY4Nl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTMwODQ3Ng@@._V1_SX1500_CR0,0,1500,999_AL_Clooney’s story  is set during the week of the Ohio primary race for the Democratic presidential candidate, which has basically come down to a two-man contest between Senator Ted Pullman (Michael Mantell), whose campaign is run by shrewd Tom Duffy (Paul Giamatti), and Governor Morris (Clooney). Morris’s campaign manager is longtime operative Paul Zara (Philip Seymour Hoffman); Stephen Meyers (Gosling) is his number two man. The decisive race in Ohio is close, which much riding on who will get the endorsement (and delegates) of Senator Franklin Thompson, who is angling for a cabinet post. In the midst of all of this, Stephen begins a campaign trail romance with intern Molly (Evan Rachel Wood), who turns out to be the daughter of the head of the DNC. And then things get complicated.The film’s early scenes are its best. The script talks plain and names names, throwing around smart political talk; Meyers and Duffy’s conversation about learning to how to play the game from Republicans is sharp and lucid, while Morris’s comments from the stump about taxation and “socialism” (as well as Zara’s crack that the Republicans “can’t find a nominee that’s not a world-class fuck-up”) are tartly timely. Though some of the details of the campaign stretch credibility (no candidate could proclaim himself as indifferent to religion as Morris does and actually survive a primary for either party), its portrayl of primary politics and their backstage byplay feel authentic;  Gosling and Wood’s two-scenes have a nice zing to them (reminsicent of the screwball comedy homages in his underrated Leatherheads), Clooney’s offhand sense of humor is disarming–see Hoffman and Gosling’s offstage compliments after the first debate, or the business with Wood and Gosling’s tie the morning after their first date–and he draws out some nice directorial flourishes, like the way he handles a late scene with Hoffman going into an SUV.Every member of the cast is utterly convincing. Clooney’s smooth persona has rarely been better employed–both his playful charm and his steely directness. Gosling gets a good, hard arc to play, and he wails on it; the speed which his idealism loop-the-loops into cynicism is dazzling . It’s a memorable turn, even if he calls up a wide-eyed, manic look that will make Drive viewers fear he’s about to break out the hammer. Hoffman gets a showcase scene in his hotel room, a footlights monologue that betrays the film’s stage roots, but he’s so compelling you don’t notice the scaffolding; the way he pivots from cool contempt to utter rage is what good screen acting is all about. Wright is underused, but Clooney juggles the rest of the ensemble cast with ease.

REVIEW: HOW TO LOSE FRIENDS & ALIENATE PEOPLE

CAST

Simon Pegg (Hot Fuzz)
Kirsten Dunst (All Good Things)
Megan Fox (Transformes)
Danny Huston (30 Days of Night)
Gillian Anderson (Hannibal)
Jeff Bridges (Iron Man)
Brian Austin Green (Terminator: TSCC)
Chris O’Dowd (St. Vincent)
Thandie Newton (Mission Impossible 2)
James Corden (Into The Woods)
Hannah Waddingham (Game of Thrones)
Miriam Margolyes (Romeo + Juliet)
Max Minghella (horns)

 

how-to-lose-friends-alienate-people.20190201000000How to Lose Friends & Alienate People is a toothless satire raised from plain-jane mediocrity to legitimately pleasant all-rightness entirely by the performances of Simon Pegg and Kirsten Dunst. Director Robert Weide’s adaptation of the famous book is a hit-and-miss half-assery of star-skewering and romantic comedy fluff that fails to dig deep enough to draw blood despite ample opportunity, and yet its watchable. Pegg plays Sidney Young (an interpretation of the book’s real-life author Toby Young), the creator of the supposedly scathing British tabloid the Post-Modern Review. One of his former idols is Clayton Harding (Jeff Bridges, sporting an incredible wig), who has gone on to be the editor-in-chief of Sharps Magazine in New York City, where Sidney feels he’s lost his bite. After Sidney ruins one of Clayton’s fancy parties by crashing it with a pig in tow, Clayton gives Sidney a call and offers him a job at Sharps. Seeing an opportunity to bring some cutting criticism back into Clayton’s work, Sidney accepts, flying to the States to start cracking heads. Instead, however, he finds himself under the watchful eye of co-worker Alison Olson (Dunst), whose current assignment seems to be keeping Sidney in check.The main problem is the film’s fear of being truly caustic, despite it literally being Sidney’s goal to do so. It’s clear that Weide and screenwriter Peter Straughan worry that giving Sidney the teeth to tear into someone could also make him an unlikable jackass, but if there’s anyone in the world who could have balanced the anarchic with the amicable it’s Simon Pegg. Instead, Sidney bluntly nags an actor about their sexual orientation, and the joke falls flat because not only is the line of questioning more unwise than outrageous, we’ve got no bearing on the “actor” in question. A real-life recognizable face might have packed a stronger punch. Similarly, while Max Minghella’s pretentious, ego-trip director has considerably more screen time, the film never aims below-the-belt. The character is merely dazed and distant, when it’s a perfect chance to stick it to both abstract artistes and David-O.-Russell-style directorial explosions.The remaining plot tracks the love-hate Alison and Sidney’s love hate-relationship, which reeks of a Hollywood book-to-film adaptation. Could these two actually have something in common? Boy, I wonder! And yet there’s Pegg and Dunst, generating crackling romantic and comedic chemistry, both exceptionally charismatic and appealing from the first frame to the last. Props for Pegg are expected, as he continues to elevate everything he’s in, but I want to shine a light on Dunst’s performance, Her career of late is faltering more than she deserves, and while Alison’s character arc is no great shakes, she still imbues it with more life and charm than many actresses could muster. This includes the exceptionally boring Megan Fox as the exceptionally boring Sophie Maes, a movie star who is probably not interested in Sidney, no matter how much he prays. Her fake Mother Teresa biopic is chuckle-worthy, but it’s got nothing on Downey Jr.’s Satan’s Alley from Tropic Thunder.MV5BNDE1OTM2ODU1NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNDIzODE0NA@@._V1_

How to Lose Friends & Alienate People is the kind of movie you’d enjoy on television and forget by the end of the week.