The Social Network

The Social Network” is a movie about Facebook.  There’s been a lot of hype about it, since that’s pretty much the first mainstream movie about the modern Internet and the social networking.  And Facebook having half a billion registered users doesn’t sound like geek-only territory anymore.  But on top of that, what added plenty to the hype was that the film is not a documentary.  There is plenty of fiction in it.  Not in the sense that things didn’t happen, but in the sense that they didn’t happen exactly as shown, and they weren’t as important as shown.  Have a look at this Wikipedia page for more on that.

I was interested in seeing this movie for a number of reasons.  First of all, I am much involved with social networking and the modern Web.  And even though I don’t find Facebook particularly interesting for my personal needs, I do consider it to be paramount for the current state of the Internet.  Secondly, I wanted to see how the filmmakers will balance the geeky nature of the story.   And thirdly I wanted to see if I could disconnect from my technical bias and see this film as pure entertainment, without passing judgement to its authenticity.

So, here’s what I think about it.  I was able to see at as a “normal person”.  The film is not very technical, and it not being too accurate historically, I really didn’t have any other option.  It’s similar to how “Inglorious Bastards” are not a historical World War II movie.  So I had no problem with it.

The film is entertaining.  I think the character of Jesse Eisenberg who played the found of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg was interesting.  I was surprised as to how many technical details were allowed in a mainstream movie – Perl programming, web scrapping, security concerns over Apache directory listings, etc.  And yet, how all these technical tidbits were not at all important for the film.  I knew what they were talking about it, but I could in a very similar way had no clue and it wouldn’t have affected my perception of the film.

But even though the film was interesting and entertaining and wasn’t a waste of time by any means, I am still disappointed.  I think that there is a lot of cool stuff going on with and at Facebook.  I think there are plenty of cool people in and around it.  And I think that the real history of Facebook creation or milestone episodes of that history would have made a way better film.  It doesn’t have to be less entertaining, but it does have to be more accurate.  After all, it does have half a billion of registered users. After all, it is one of the most successful business on the Internet. After all, it is a social phenomena.  And I think that makes the history of Facebook and people who are involved with it very interesting.

I won’t however allow my personal wishes for this movie to interferer with what this movie is.  And what it is a good entertainment bit.  My rating overall – a 4 out of 5.

Black Snake Moan

I just watched a really powerful movie – “Black Snake Moan“.  High quality, and I’m not talking about the DVD copy.

I liked this film from the first seconds.  Before it even started, it positioned itself as a blues movie.  And I love blues.  Gladly, the blues vibe, the atmosphere, and the soundtrack lasted through the whole film.  Some great stuff there, with the “Black Snake Moan” song scene being one of the best music scenes I’ve seen in the movies.

I liked the story and the way it was told.  It was very worked through.  Sometimes predictable, sometimes unexpected, but really followed through.  Probably the fact that the director Craig Brewer was also the one who wrote the script has something to do with it.

Also, there was really good acting.  Samuel Jackson played a character who was (or at least looked) much older than he is.  He did a really good job at that.  Christina Ricci, that little girl from the “Adams Family” … well, she’s not little anymore.  And she’s steaming hot. But not only that, she is a good actress too.  Her character in this movie was rather complicated, but she managed it just fine. Justin Timberlake pleasantly surprised too.  I just recently watched a film with him, and he is so different here that I didn’t even recognize him until the closing titles.  This guy too can act. And he seems to be picking up quite a lot of practice recently.  Also, there were quite a few good supporting actors in the film, so that the whole thing felt like real, like they are indeed inhabitants of a small rural town.

This film, although entertaining, is not purely entertainment.  It feels like it was done, because the filmmaker had something to say, something to show. There are a few things to think about during and after the movie…

Overall, a really nice film.  Strongly recommended for any fans of good acting, drama, and or blues music. 8 out of 10.

Alpha Dog

I just watched “Alpha Dog“.  It wasn’t the movie I was looking for, I just grabbed it by accident.  It had a cheesy title, way too many people on the cover, and an overall B-movie feel to it.  I got it anyway, just to have some extra movies to watch over the weekend.  I’m glad I did.

I think there should be more movies like this. And then, hopefully, there will be fewer cases such as the one shown in the film.  Nobody wanted for things to go bad.  But those people who could have kept the situation under control, weren’t near enough.  Then things started spinning down.  Then they continued.  Then nobody knew what to do and how to get out.  The result – dead teenager and a few more broken lives.  Who’s fault?  Everybody’s. The kids themselves are guilty of what happened.  Most of their parents are guilty.  The society as a whole has the part of that guilt…

The film like this, with all its messages, thoughts, and story developments could have easily survived with weaker technical sides.  Gladly, the film was done excellent on all levels.  The cast was very good, and even though Bruce Willis, Sharon Stone, and Justin Timberlake are in, they aren’t the highlights of the film. OK, maybe with the exception of Justin.   The photography was very interesting at places, and helped to create the atmosphere (especially that scene with parents waiting for the kidnapped child at home).  The soundtrack was great too.

Overall, a strong 8 out of 10.  A must see for parents with kids, fans of criminal drama, and those who simply like good movies.