For November, there are 4 films in the film fight.
First up, Spectre is the latest in a run of underwhelming Bond films. While the grittier tone is where the series needs to be, it is constantly undermined by nonsensical plotting and terrible, cheesey, contrived ideas. The opening sequence is fairly impressive (a long tracking shot through a busy crowd, into a hotel) and Mendes has an extraordinary eye for framing; some of the stills are genuinely stunning. However, the action scenes are muddled and lack excitement. Coupled with one of the worst final acts in Bond history, there is very little to like here. Avoid. (See my Spectre Twitter review).
Kill Your Friends is similar in tone to American Psycho, and that’s not a bad thing. Here we see a dark satire of the cutthroat nature of the music industry through the eyes of an A&R man who doesn’t really care for music. Brutal, dark, and funny, the subtle shifts in mood as the protagonist begins to crack keep us engaged. Worth seeing. (See my Kill Your Friends Twitter review).
While many that knew him say this account of the man is very inaccurate, Steve Jobs is reasonably good as a film. The performances are at its heart. Fassbender and Winslet are excellent, delivering the fast and tight dialogue we expect from Aaron Sorkin’s work. The wider cast are generally good (Seth Rogen surprising in a serious role), with only Job’s daughter coming off as weaker. That said, the film is far from perfect: the drama feels contrived to fit into the three-act structure, with much of the emotional content consequently coming across as hollow. Solid, but somewhat flawed. (See my Steve Jobs Twitter review).
Finally, The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay, Part 2 wraps up a series that has been hit-and-miss. Part 2 is a far better film than Part 1, in so far as it is a complete film. It has some fairly exciting action moments, but they are let down by some of the flattest character moments in the series so far. Far too many of the loose ends being tied up don’t serve the story. They’re really there to pad out a reasonable runtime into epic grandeur, a move that falls flat by ruining the pace. If you’ve seen the rest, then you’ll see this. Otherwise, it’s not worth the time. (See my The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay, Part 2 Twitter review).
The winner is Kill Your Friends, as the most entertaining, well-paced film of the month.