Friday, February 13, 2015

“Imitation Game” (2014) Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode

Directed  by Morten Tyldum
Written by Andrew Hodges and Graham Moore

This is an educational movie, with a powerful performance by Benedict Cumberbatch, who portrays mathematician Alan Turing during his World War II code-breaking years.  To witness how a team of geniuses break down the structure of the enigma code is fascinating.  We share the frustration of the team, and Turing’s obsessional passion to solve the impossible puzzle of the code.  It’s mind-blowing to realize that chances are one in millions to break a code which changes every 24 hours.  We watch as Turing’s brilliant mind creates a mechanical mind to process possibilities.  In fact, this machine shows us the beginnings of computer technology.  What makes it all work is that it’s an emotional journey, told through the framework of human frailties and challenges.  We sympathize powerfully with Cumberbatch’s character, and admire Keira Knightly’s glowing kindness and loyalty to him.  A wonderful story of geek heroes, beautifully told.  A definite recommend.

IMDB page:
TAGS:  Imitation Game, Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Charles Dance, Matthew Goode, Morten Tyldum, Enigma, World War II, Code-Breaking 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

"Into the Woods" (2014) - Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Anna Kendrick, Chris Pine; directed by Rob Marshall

 I can see why Meryl Streep was nominated as Best Actress in this one.  There are always two or three moments when Meryl does something that WOWS us.  In this one, despite being a witchy villainess, when she sings and begs her daughter not to leave her, it's heartbreakingly real and you feel her desperate pain.  This is a movie with visual and musical delight!  Emily Blunt can SING!  It would have been a stronger movie if the fairy tale wonder had remained whimsical and fun!  Unfortunately, towards the end, we suddenly realize that the title, "INTO THE WOODS," is an allegory about REAL life... about entering that dark, shadowed place where life isn't happily ever after and daily events lead to the eventual loss of the "wonder" in fairy tales.  I admire why the director chooses to do this, but, ultimately, it weakens the impact of the film.

TAGS:  Meryl Streep, Emily Blunt, Chris Pine, Anna Kendrick, Christine Baranski, Rob Marshall, Fairy Tale, Jack in the Beanstalk, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood