Again, I am late to this show, but I just finished watching the first two episodes Apple TV series ‘Defending Jacob,’ and it is riveting. I read a little bit about the show, to be honest, so I had more or less an idea of what to expect. Basically the story revolved around a family. The father, played by Chris Evans, plays a district attorney whose son is accused of murder, and he ends up defending his son. It’s a pretty intense set up, and based on the first two episodes, is s pretty intense show.
My first takeaway – Evans is fantastic here. I always thought he was a very handsome presence, but have not thought of him more as an ‘actor’ until now. He pretty much carries the burden of the story here (he executive produced the show) and carries it with aplomb. I am mighty impressed. The show is filmed in a blue-ish hue which gives it a specific feel – a small town ravaged by a gruesome murder. The show certainly held my interest, and I actually don’t want to binge it all at once as I want to savour it more.
We should have more Murder Mystery Movies, so I welcome Rian Johnson’s ‘Knives Out.’ As a film, and especially as a comedy, I thought it was pretty entertaining. AndGod knows it has a cast from the heavens. Well, maybe it’s too big of a cast that I felt some characters were neglected. For example, I wanted more Toni Collette, but then again I *always* want more Toni Collette. The film moved briskly and has twists and turns for mystery fanatics. As a mystery, I wasn’t really bowled over, but then again I may not be the best judge of that/ An observation: why does Chris Evans – as gorgeous as he is – looks so waxy in some scenes? Too much foundation?
I think I saw the trailer of ‘Gifted’ numerous times, and frankly, it should have appealed to me more, but it didn’t because the trailer seemed like one of those that almost gives the whole movie away – it practically gave away most of the storyline, and it doesn’t take a genius for one to see how it will turn out.
But Chris Evans’ allure won. For him, and just for him, I went to see this and you know what? It wasn’t as bad as thought it would be, and actually it was kind of good. This story has been told a thousand times – gifted kid struggles on having a normal life vs being treated as some kind of machine. But what sets this film is the acting, which makes gives you the feel like you are seeing this story for the first time. Specifically, Chris Evans plays a more down to earth super hero here. As Frank Adler, he has been taking care of his little niece Mary (McKenna Grace) since his sister’s death. We get to learn that Mary comes from a line of geniuses in Mathematics – both his mother and grandmother have shown genius in the field. But he believes that his sister would have wanted a ‘normal’ childhood for Mary, and is hell bent on making that happen. Enter grandmother (Lindsay Duncan) who tells him that the gift cannot be wasted. The director Marc Webb sets up both sides fairly, and the audience gets caught in the tug and pull. Duncans’ Evelyn is just a bit too one-sided so you do pull for Frank, because Evans gives his character an honest and charming performance, the his chemistry with Grace is appealing.
Sometimes all you really need is a good story, even though familiar, to have an engaging film. ‘Gifted’ has one, and is one.
I thought “Before We Go” was the movie I have been waiting to see. It sounded like a good rip-off of Richard Linklater’s “Before Sunrise,” and it is set in NYC, and it stars Chris Evans. I mean, on paper, it has all the elements of something that will make me fall madly in love, right? ( There’s even a quote here I loved: “Do you ever feel when you meet someone that this person will be an important part of your life?” )Too bad I barely liked it. This movie, which marks Evans’ directorial debut, mostly misses the mark. All in all, I felt the whole premise hokey – in this day and age, losing a cell phone/having it die on you is simply not the worst thing in the world (As resourceful as Evans’ character seemed to be, couldn’t he find a place where he could charge his phone?) But sure, I can suspend disbelief. Still, there just wasn’t chemistry between him and Alice Eve’s character. And they spent most of the time talking about each other’s other loves, which takes away from having them connect with each other – and the audience. Both actors have spades of charm, but even that wasn’t enough. Maybe because I know this milieu well – they even meet at Grand Central Station, which used to be across the street from my workplace. New York City acts as the third major character here, but they couldn’t even capture the magic of how it is called the city that never sleeps. It was very frustrating for me, as I was almost predisposed to liking this film, and perhaps this is why I am more critical of it. I should really steer away now from all these “emotional” movies – maybe a nice blow ’em up action movie is in order next.