Tag Archives: Jesse Eisenberg

American Ultra

americanultraDirected by Nima Nourizadeh, American Ultra follows Mike Howell, played by Jesse Eisenberg. He is clerk at an all-night convenience store in rural West Virginia. He is laid back because he smokes his pot and spends a great deal of time writing a graphic novel about a superhero monkey. Phoebe, played by Kristen Stewart, is his anchor. She is sweet and loving as his girlfriend while she accepts his unconventional outlook on life. It’s all too perfect for Mike. Something is amiss, not quite right.

Mike is part of a failed experiment to form a force of super-soldiers.   Victoria, played by Connie Britton, ran the experimental program and decided to shut it down after critical psychological side effects were exhibited by the super-soldiers. She let Mike live and gave him a new identity after erasing his mind, then adding new memories.

Victoria discovers that Mike is set for extermination by an associate, Adrian Yates, played by Topher Grace. Victoria turns up where Mike works, says a phrase code and reawakens his previous training. Mike catches Yates team trying to bomb his car. Mike becomes super-soldier once again. The movie takes off in an R rated fashion with action-packed combat and brutal over-kills.

The movie shows tenderness and some humor. It is not super funny, but laughing is part of watching the movie. A neat and surprising twist at the end wraps up the movie nicely. The movie is not your typical action story, but it is pleasurable to watch and is entertaining. If you are a Stewart or Eisenberg fan, then you will definitely like the movie.

The End of the Tour

The End of the TourDirected by James Ponsoldt, The End of the Tour brings to life the true story in 1996 when Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky, played by Jesse Eisenberg, and writer David Foster Wallace, played brilliantly by Jason Segel, hang out together for five days.

Some might call it an intellectual movie, a road movie or dramedy.  The movie begins in 2008, when we are informed that Wallace has committed suicide. Lipsky is invited to present a tribute on NPR.  Here he slowly flashes back to 1996, when Wallace’s book Infinite Jest is released with worldwide praise, including a citation from well-read magazine as one of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to 2005. Lipsky thinks it would be a great idea to interview Wallace and pitches it to his editor. He agrees that it is about time Rolling Stone did a piece on a gifted writer and off Lipsky goes to Ohio for his interview.  How the story plays out is what the movie is all about, and I rather not spoil it for you. Though, there are some interesting points about the movie I’d like to point out.

The movie is based on Lipsky’s memoir Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself.  Published in 2010, the book was well-received by his peers.   Wallace and Lipsky hit it off right away, and engage in philosophical conversations about loneliness, love, writing, fame, and the meaning of life. In other words, they spend time looking for the answers to life that plaques them.  Clearly, the movie is not for everyone. It lacks action-packed drama that populates our movie theaters today.

Jason Segel is very good as Wallace, and this role is quite a contrast to his other characters in movies like The Muppets and The Five Year Engagement. Watching him in this movie is pure pleasure because there is so much depth to Wallace as a sovelist, short story writer, essayist, and college professor.

The sound track by Danny Elfman is brilliant and engages the story.  Elfman adds a bit of spice to the movie with songs from REM and Tindersticks, an English indie rock band.

If you don’t know about Lipsky and Wallace, then it might be difficult to understand and follow the movie.  It is worth watching, though, for the acting is great, including the supporting actors.