Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Riz Ahmed’

Riz Ahmed

“SOUND OF METAL” My rating: B (Amazon Prime)

120 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Ruben (Riz Ahmed) lives for music.

He tours in a two-person heavy-metal band with his girlfriend Lou (Olivia Cooke); she sings and plays screeching guitar;  he pounds the drums.

They live in an RV that also serves as a recording studio. Life is good.

At least until the gig when, in the middle of setting up their CD sales table at a venue, the conversations around Ruben go muffled and indecipherable. He’s able to get through the gig on sense memory, but it’s clear that something is seriously wrong.

Darius Marder’s “Sound of Metal” is about coming to terms with a change so complete and final that it traumatically divides a person’s life into before and after segments. This film is  often painful to watch; it’s also deeply moving, thanks to a couple of killer performances.

A trip to the audiologist confirms that Ruben is rapidly losing his hearing. Whether the cause is his and Lou’s eardrum-shredding music or something more organic really doesn’t matter.  There’s not much that can be done.

Ruben’s crisis heightened by his being a recovering addict. Lou senses — probably rightly — that he’s likely to turn to drugs as a coping mechanism.  That’s why she gets online to find a rehab program aimed specifically at deaf people.

And so Ruben finds himself enrolled in a community operated by Joe (Paul Raci, absolutely incredible), a deaf man who offers a crash course in sign language while keeping his clients clean. Ruben is welcome…but like a G.I. in boot camp he must send Lou away and dump his cell phone. He has to learn a lot in a limited time.

(more…)

Read Full Post »

rogue-one-at-act“ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY” My rating: C+

133 minutes | MPAA rating: R

After nearly 40 years of Wookies, Jedis and Imperial storm troopers, am I finally over the whole “Star Wars” thing?

The sad truth is that I was underwhelmed — sometimes flat-out bored — by “Rogue One,” the latest addition to the “SW” universe.

And here’s the thing…it’s  not a bad movie.  Certainly not bad like the three George Lucas-driven prequels were.

“Rogue One” is reasonably well acted and technically flawless. Moreover, it’s an attempt to make a more adult, racially-diverse “Star Wars” film, a stand-alone tale that is darker both thematically (it’s like an intergalactic Alamo where everyone goes down fighting) and visually.

Nevertheless, “Rogue One” is emotionally lifeless. I didn’t care.

Director Gareth Edwards and the producers and writers have worked so hard to hit familiar buttons of “Star Wars” mythology that the resulting film feels generic, as if it were directed by a committee rather than a single visionary individual.

The plot, for those who have been living in the spice mines of Kessel, follows the efforts of a team of rebel spies to steal the plans for the Death Star, an enterprise that will result in the destruction of said moon-sized weapon by Luke Skywalker in the original “Star Wars” movie.

Our heroine is Jyn (Felicity Jones), whose scientist father Galen (Mads Mikkelsen) was taken from her to develop the Death Star.  After years of crime and imprisonment, Jyn is given an opportunity by the Rebel Alliance. She will be part of a team tasked with finding Galen and getting those precious plans.

They’re a mixed bag of idealists and pragmatic warriors.

Foremost among them is Cassian (Diego Luna), the ostensible head of the team who, unbeknownst to Jyn, as been secretly ordered to assassinate her father, lest his genius bring the Death Star to completion.

Chirrut (Donnie Yen) is a blind swordsman who relies on The Force to battle enemies. A pretty obvious nod to a subgenre of samurai films, he’s got a grouchy partner (Wen Jiang) who fights with a monstrous hand cannon.

Bodhi (Riz Ahmed) is a pilot who knows his way around the Empire’s military outposts.

Best of the bunch is  K-2SO (voiced by Alan Tudyk), a towering droid made by the Empire but reprogrammed to serve the Rebel Alliance.  Apparently K-2SO also was given a microchip for sarcasm and irony, which he exercises regularly at the expense of his human cohorts. (more…)

Read Full Post »