Founder, The (2016)

FOUNDER

Directed by: John Lee Hancock

Cinematography: John Schwartzman

Starring: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll LynchLinda Cardellini

Runtime: 1h 55m

Genre: Biography, Drama

Rating: ♣♣♣

“The Founder” follows Ray Kroc, played by Michael Keaton, as he transitions from a milk shake maker salesman to ‘founding’ the biggest name in fast food.  His duplicitous behavior helped bring him riches beyond his wildest imagination, but at the cost of both business and personal relationships.  The director, John Lee Hancock, straddles the benevolent nature of big business by showcasing Kroc’s success through self-fulfilling perseverance and blatant disregard for anyone else.  His desire to maintain forward momentum left many behind him in his wake in order for one the best business models to date to flourish.  Good, wholesome, intentions overpowered by greed and pride is at the heart of this film.  Did Richard and Maurice McDonald lack the follow-through to execute a venture on this magnitude or were they just steamrolled by an ambitious cutthroat?

Continue reading “Founder, The (2016)”

Love & Mercy (2014)

Directed by: Bill Pohlad

Cinematography: Robert D. Yeoman

Starring: Paul DanoJohn CusackElizabeth BanksPaul Giamatti

Runtime: 2h 1m

Genre: Biography, Drama

Rating: ♣♣♣♣

 

I am both a Paul Dano fan and a Beach Boys fan, especially in regards to Pet Sounds.  So, I was biased going in to this film from the onset.  Part of the reason I enjoyed Love & Mercy so much is the same reason I enjoy “Pet Sounds”, it challenges my thought process on life and forces introspection.  This album contributed to my psyche and I feel this film adequately conveyed Wilson’s vision.  The opening line of the movie passes by so quickly you might miss it.  Paul Dano, as young Briand Wilson, says, Continue reading “Love & Mercy (2014)”

Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, The (2007)

Directed by: Andrew Dominik

Cinematography: Roger Deakins

Starring: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Rockwell, Mary-Louise Parker, Brooklynn Proulx

Runtime:  2h 40m

Genre: Drama

Rating: ♣♣♣♣

This film is not just a biographical drama, but a psychological roller coaster. Each role is well written and complex, allowing the actors to really dive in and take the viewer along for the ride.  We learn to love characters we should hate and learn to hate characters we should love.  From the title alone the audience knows where the film is going.  As we get to know the difference between Jesse James the man and Jesse James the myth it becomes challenging to root for his survival or demise.  At the same time, Casey Affleck’s performance is tremendous and conjures up ambivalence that teeters back and forth until the credits.  It is rare that the protagonist in a film is also the antagonist.  In addition to that, the cinematography was stunning and vibrant. Although this film seemed to fly under the radar when it was released, perhaps it was just overshadowed by its contemporaries: There Will be Blood and No Country for Old Men.  I highly recommend this movie.