The Circle

Emma Watson is great in James Ponsoldt’s “The Circle,” which thoughtfully shows how good intentions through technology can still corrupt.

As Emma Watson drives up to the campus of The Circle, the fictional, Google-like, Silicon Valley tech giant in James Ponsoldt’s film of the same name, the exterior is a massive, circular stone wall stretching to infinity on an island unto itself. It looks like a fascist fortress straight out of “The Hunger Games.” Even though the interior is a sort of millennial utopia, it’s not a stretch to ask, “I wonder if these guys turn out to be evil?”

“The Circle,” based on Dave Eggers’s novel, takes aim at the consequences of an overly connected, internet-obsessed digital culture. And like any movie warning of the dangers of technology, it can’t help but be cheesy. When every Bourne and Bond and HBO sitcom has taken on Big Brother, “The Circle” already looks a bit outdated.

Watson however has the idealism and innocent demeanor in her performance that actually makes you believe and embrace the Silicon Valley ideology. In Watson’s real life, she’s grown to resist taking photographs with fans and values her privacy. So she’s interesting casting as Mae, a girl who starts out as a “guppy” in a massive pond, only to become someone who broadcasts her every waking moment to the world. Continue reading “The Circle”

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

There’s something a little silly about the fact that as all hell is breaking loose just outside your window during the apocalypse, the best thing you can think to do is whisper sweet nothings into the ear of the girl you just met.

This is both the strength and the crutch of “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World,” essentially just a romantic comedy but with the fortune and misfortune of being set at the end of days.

An asteroid is destined to hit the Earth within weeks, and Dodge’s (Steve Carell) wife literally runs off as soon as the news breaks. He’s left depressed and aimless until he meets Penny (Keira Knightley). The two escape their home during a riot and agree to help each other get to Penny’s family in England and Dodge’s high school sweetheart. Continue reading “Seeking a Friend for the End of the World”

Young Adult

Jason Reitman reteams with Diablo Cody in this intriguing dramedy starring Charlize Theron.

Mavis Gary is a bitchy, entitled slob stuck in her high school glory days. She is so convinced she is better than the world she left that she’s blinded.

Although in this day and age, what’s wrong with that?

“Young Adult” presents us with a character so unlikeable and progressively horrible that from its first moments it challenges us to even feel pity for this woman. It’s a deliciously intriguing black comedy that considers leaps and bounds about nostalgia, cynicism and happiness in the 21st Century.

Mavis’s (Charlize Theron) goal is to return to her small, hick hometown and win back the love of her high school flame Buddy Slade (Patrick Wilson) by breaking up Buddy’s happy marriage and newly formed family.

We’ve maybe heard this story, but you’re wrong if you think she’ll warm to her quaint hometown. You’re wrong if you think she’ll grow up and catch the difference between never leaving home and living in the past. You’re wrong if you think she’ll ultimately fall for the old high school nerd she always ignored. You’re wrong if you even think she’ll leave a better person.

Because you’re wrong is what makes “Young Adult” so right. Continue reading “Young Adult”