Weekend Viewing Roundup: The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015) + SULLY (2016)

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How was your weekend everyone? It’s been a busy one for me, but a productive one. I actually did go to the movies, which is rare actually for me as I usually go to press screenings on week nights. But after dinner my hubby and I felt like checking out the new AMC theaters with the new reclining seats, which are indeed awesome! SULLY was the only one we’re interested in that is less than 2 hrs long, though it felt a bit eerie watching a plane crash scene in NYC on the weekend of 9/11.

In any case, on Friday night, we also rented a movie we’ve been curious about for some time…

The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015)

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The story of the life and academic career of the pioneer Indian mathematician, Srinivasa Ramanujan, and his friendship with his mentor, Professor G.H. Hardy.

I have to say that being terrible at math, I’m not that familiar w/ the subject of this biopic. But Of course, just checking on Wikipedia, he’s an extraordinary man whose math theories are still being used today.

Stories about geniuses are popular biopic subjects in Hollywood, i.e. A Beautiful Mind, The Imitation Game, etc. The film traced his humble beginning in Madras, India and how he ended up at Trinity College, Cambridge in the 1910s. Dev Patel bears no resemblance to the real Ramanujan, but he seems to be the only actor of Indian descent working the British film industry could think of to cast. He’s a likable actor, and I think he’s quite believable in the role.

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Jeremy Irons plays G.H. Hardy, Ramanujan’s mentor who invited him to Cambridge to the first place. The film began with Hardy’s voice over saying how much he owed Ramanujan, which suggests there’s a deep friendship between the two. The rapport between the two characters is a bit of a slow built. The main friction between the two is that Hardy refuses to publish Ramanujan’s theories without proofs, whilst Ramanujan’s convinced all his theories add up. There’s also the fact that Hardy didn’t seem sensitive enough to the challenges Ramanujan faces at Cambridge, including his sense of alienation the fact that he’s an Indian studying amongst British intellectual elites.

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As far as biopics go, this one is pretty straight forward. Though the subject matter deals with theorems and formulas, I wish the film is less um, formulaic. The film could’ve been really engrossing under a skilled/experienced filmmaker, but this is director Matt Brown‘s sophomore work, so overall it’s pretty dry. It’s an intriguing journey about a brilliant person, but yet I just wasn’t as involved or moved by his story as I expected. The performances are pretty good, though I’ve seen more impressive work from everyone involved, including Toby Jones as J.E. Littlewood, one of Ramanujan’s advisers. Stephen Fry barely made a dent though as he only appeared briefly in the film.

I do appreciate the spirituality aspect of the protagonist who’s a devout Hindu. Contrast that with Hardy who’s a professed atheist, there’s a few interesting banters between them. Ramanujan said at one point that “An equation for me has no meaning unless it expresses a thought of God.” He still prayed regularly when he’s at Cambridge, so faith certainly played a big part in his life. The film also showed his selfless nature that he hid his illness from his friend. The fact that the university was being used as a hospital during World War I, he also felt that his condition just wasn’t bad enough as the soldiers that he deserved care.

I suppose the film is still worth a look if you’re curious about Ramanujan’s story. Though it wasn’t a great film, I’m still glad I saw it and the protagonist no doubt has a story worth telling.

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SULLY (2016)

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The story of Chesley Sullenberger, who became a hero after gliding his plane along the water in the Hudson River, saving all of the airplane flights 155 crew and passengers.

The last Clint Eastwood-directed film I saw was Invictus which was back in 2009. It also happens to be the shortest film he has directed at 96 minutes, which is the reason we picked this one when my hubby and I was deciding on which new release movie to see on Saturday night.

It really is quite a feat that a film where the ending is well-known, given that it happened only seven years ago, still manages to be quite riveting. Of course Eastwood got the best man for the job, there’s practically no other actor of his stature who’s as skilled AND as likable as Tom Hanks. He’s the perfect actor to play the quiet hero whose selfless and humble traits are something to aspire to. I also think Aaron Eckhart is pretty good here, though I wish Eastwood had given someone as talented as Anna Gunn more to do.

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I didn’t see this movie in IMAX but it was filmed with IMAX cameras so I bet it looked even more spectacular on screen. The plane landing scene on the Hudson river is as suspenseful as it is stunning to watch. Kudos to Eastwood and screenwriter Todd Komarnicki for keeping SULLY afloat when it could’ve easily been a tedious based-on-a-true-event types of movie. Just remember this is a film, not a documentary. There’s likely a great deal of creative license taken in the way the NTSB investigations played out.

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So that’s my weekend recap. What did YOU watch this weekend, anything good?

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32 thoughts on “Weekend Viewing Roundup: The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015) + SULLY (2016)

  1. Not much this weekend. Major Dundee and Tusk as I just posted a review of the latter as that took me days to watch. If you saw it on YouTube, there’s a good reason why it took me a long time.

  2. I’ve never heard of The Man Who Knew Infinity before, not sure if it’s something I’ll watch. Didn’t see anything at the theater over the weekend. Watched Spectre again on Saturday and also finally saw High-Rise. Not sure what to make of that film, Wheatley seemed to have a lot of things to say but it sort of became incoherent mess in the second half. I did enjoy the performances by the actors though, especially the two supposed future 007, Tom Hiddleston and Luke Evans.

    1. Hi Ted! Yeah I think The Man Who Knew Infinity was very much under the radar. I generally like British biopics but this one is a bit too formulaic to be memorable. What do you think of SPECTRE on rewatch? I still haven’t had the interest to rewatch it again. As for High Rise, I’ve read mixed reviews of that, but luckily it’s on Netflix so if it’s too weird/violent for me I can just turn it off.

      1. I still feel the same about Spectre, I liked it but definitely a mess. Missed opportunity to close out Craig’s last Bond picture, if he’s indeed done with the franchise.

        High-Rise wasn’t that violent, just way too sleazy. I feel like I needed a shower after watching it, as now I think Wheatley is still a director that has a lot of style but not enough substance. Let’s hope Free Fire will be something more entertaining. Like I said, there were a lot of things going on in High-Res and it’ obvious he has something to say about our society but it became so incoherent in the last 40 minutes that I just didn’t care.

        1. Oh I don’t think Craig is really done w/ Bond yet, no matter what he’s said in the press. Money talks louder than words 😉

          Hmmm, sleazy? Ugh that doesn’t sound like something I’m keen in watching. Well luckily it’s on Netflix, as I don’t think I want to pay to see it.

  3. This weekend I went to an early screening of the new animated movie Storks. I enjoyed it for the most part. It was cute and funny but lacked any emotional depth. I also saw Sully and enjoyed it more than I thought I would.

    I had thought about seeing The Man Who Knew Infinity when it was playing here a few months ago but missed it. Maybe I’ll catch it if it’s on Netflix or Amazon Prime sometime

    1. Hello Steven! I can’t honestly remember which one STORKS is, boy there’s a ton of animated films this year, isn’t there? Glad you like SULLY too, I think it surprised everyone how entertaining it was.

      The Man Who Knew Infinity is worth a rent, but even better if you don’t have to pay extra. So yeah, just wait ’til it’s on Netflix or Amazon Prime.

    1. Hi Khalid! I certainly wasn’t anticipating SULLY, in fact I remember rolling my eyes when it was first announced. But the film ended up surprising me in a good way.

  4. Two films I’ve been curious about so I’m glad you reviewed them both. It seems hard to make a good biopic, yet in the last few years they’ve been popular but falling flat (The Danish Girl, The Theory of Everything) oops, well, maybe it’s Eddie. I did enjoy “Love and Mercy”. Anyway, I’m sorry this one is mediocre. Poor Jeremy, he seems cursed.
    As for Sully, I’ve heard it’s solid entertainment. Clint Eastwood seems to know what to give the people.

    1. Hello Cindy! I think The Theory of Everything is a more memorable film than The Man Who Knew Infinity, though both men made a huge impact in their respective fields. Ahah, I don’t think Jeremy is cursed, he’s still fun to watch but not given much to do here.

      Yes, it’s amazing how entertaining it was, it really was quite a feat as it could’ve been really boring. I haven’t seen any film Clint’s directed in a while but he’s on top form here.

  5. I’m excited to see Sully! The trailer made me really emotional for some weird reason and I can’t forget about it now.
    I’m so behind on film watching lately! All I managed to do this weekend was re-watch the new Jungle Book with my family, which I enjoyed even more than the first time 🙂
    – Allie

    1. Hi Allie! Oh you’ll be emotional watching this too! I knew some people would be upset about some of the plane crashing scene though, you’ll know what I’m referring to when you see it.

      Ooooh The Jungle Book would be a fun rewatch, I certainly wouldn’t mind doing that soon!

  6. rockerdad

    Awesome, thanks for the reviews. I’m listening to Walter Isaacson’s bio of Einstein on my commute so I bet I would enjoy Infinity.

    1. Hey Jordan, I think I’m as surprised as most people watching Sully. But Clint is on top of his game and of course you can’t go wrong w/ Tom Hanks as a captain 🙂

      1. Yeah I love Hanks, especially since Bridge of Spies. I didn’t even know this was Eastwood until I read this… I didn’t like American Sniper, but that was more because I didn’t agree with how Kyle was portrayed. They left a lot of the truth out, heh.

        This just sounds like good, solid entertainment. It also sounds like it is well edited too

        1. Hanks is perhaps one of the most reliable (AND likable) actor working today! I haven’t seen American Sniper, all I kept hearing about is that fake baby! Well Clint doesn’t really care much about facts in SULLY either, as the whole bit about the NTSB investigations differs so much from the real deal.

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