REVIEW: “HIDDEN FIGURES” (2016) 20th Century Fox

hidden-figures
Standard

Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe), are more intelligent as children than most. But sadly, they have the wrong skin color for America of the 1960s, so educational opportunities aren’t as readily available to them as to most. And luckily for all of us, they don’t let it stop them.

“HIDDEN FIGURES” – written & directed by Theodore Melfi, is based on the true events of these three women’s accomplishments of beating the odds in a time when those odds were almost insurmountable. Although all three are working at NASA, they are widely under-ultilized, stuck in a mundane employee-temp circle with other African-American women. It is only when the ‘space-race’ heats up and NASA is concerned with the fact that Russia might beat us to manned space travel that they even get considered and their abilities are brought to light. But it is still a long journey to get from the temp pool to the point of where now-famed astronaut John Glenn (Glen Powell) had her double-check the numbers against a ‘new’ computer machine before his now-legendary orbit around the earth.
hidden-figures-2
The film does do well in summarizing the story and making the period of the early 60’s space-race look exciting. Melfi succeeds in revealing the perspective of the people who made it possible for a human being to be brought into an orbit were chiefly physicists and, above all, mathematicians. Making it truly special is the fact that three of these essential figures were not only women, but African-American women. In a time where different races were still strictly separated in everything from the bathrooms, to yes, even the coffee pot and how they had to fight not only to assert themselves into the circles of white, male-dominated NASA, but also with the colour of their skin.
hidden-figures-4
In addition, we have a decent supporting cast with Kirsten Dunst as Vivian Mitchell, head of the white secretarial pool and chief scientist, Al Harrison (Kevin Costner), who while blind to all the bias at first, gradually begins to notice Johnson’s intelligence and how she is being treated by her white, male co-workers and steps up to the plate. Jim Parsons, Mahershala Ali, Aldis Hodge, Olek Krupa just to name a few, are great additions to the supporting cast.
hidden-figures-7
Performances are all above par here and not being Costner’s biggest fan, he comes off very well here in one of what is surely one of his more likeable performances. Hands down winner for me though is Octavia Spencer, who not only steals the show, along with hopefully not only a nomination, but a win from this performance.

Finally, do I think some liberties might have been taken here with the story-line or some of the characters, most likely, and it’s in these spots that the film lags, but it is also very simple to just look up history and see this is accurate in the frame of what these women did at/for NASA and what they went on to do in leading the way for so many to follow is even more impressive.

HIDDEN FIGURES is emotionally stirring cinema and should leave a lasting impression on viewers.

Grade: B
@pegsatthemovies

Media Review Screening: Monday, November 21, 2016 ~ Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
In Limited Release: Sunday, December 25, 2016
NATIONWIDE RELEASE: Friday, January 6, 2017

REVIEW: “EVERYBODY WANTS SOME” (2016) Paramount Pictures

everybody
Standard

“Everybody Wants Some” consists of little more than film of a bunch of overly-competitive jocks joking with each other, partying, and trying to get laid over the course of three days before school starts.

With the countdown on, the opening of the film doesn’t even attempt to describe what’s going to happen and the end of the film barely describes what happened beforehand.

The cast of the film (i.e., the 12 guys who make up the group of athletes) Nesbit (Austin Amelio), McReynolds (Tyler Hoechlin), Jake (Blake Jenner), Roper (Ryan Guzman), Willoughby (Wyatt Russell), Finnegan (Glen Powell), Plummer (Temple Baker), Dale (J. Quinton Johnson), Beuter (Will Brittain), Jay (Juston Street), Brumley (Tanner Kalina), and Coma (Forrest Vickery) are baseball players, yet there is no baseball played until the very end. They are basically just on one big continual lookout for stimulus in the largest and tiniest things…and really whatever kind of stimulus they can get their hands on whether it be getting stoned, constantly drunk or high.
everybody 1
Story-wise, it unfolds over almost every part of the 80’s era, which is, as far as I could tell, undefined yet each night takes us to a different flavor of the time: disco, punk, you name it…which makes the soundtrack very listenable..and the best part of this lackluster film.

Featuring bad frat-boy dialogue or a narrative that tries to hard with a cast of guys that look to be in their late 20’s & early 30’s vs. college age, this is Linklater’s new film and his signature style slightly suffering from the post-Boyhood effect with people noticeably walking out within 20-30 minutes. As the lives and summers of eternal youth unfold: partying, billiards, male competition, table tennis, loves, pinball machines, pranks, disco, dance music. And of course girls, all about the girls. For the boys “this is the best day of their lives – until tomorrow.”
everybody 2
This is not even a close comparison to Dazed & Confused which is a classic and as with most Linklater movies..they tend to run an hour to long ~ this one is no exception.

Grade: D
@pegsatthemovies

Review Screening: Monday, March 28, 2016 ~ Courtesy LAFILM-TV
In limited release ~ Friday, March 30,2016 ~ Nationwide Release: Friday, April 8, 2016