Thursday, 22 September 2016

Leadership in Films lives on

I am hooked as I can't seem to give up seeing the leadership themes in contemporary movies... (but I am going to stick to the short form posts!)

Jason Bourne is rather tedious and left me rather unsatisfied: it just didn't have the edge of the original films. The narrative seemed engineered to tick various boxes. A sequel too far. Leadership theme: beware distractions.

Suicide Squad has been rather burned by the critics and so I was not expecting much (the film was my son's choice!) But actually I quite enjoyed it. Even though the narrative is somewhat predictable and chaotic (can it be both?), it was satisfying in a schlock dark super hero kind of way. Leadership theme: given the right context, all people can discover their integrity and leadership potential.

Hell or High Water is a crisply made film with some excellent cinematography and superlative acting. It feels very authentic: you can almost taste the dust and smell the sweat. This is an unforgiving film about anti-heroes and unaccountable villains. Go see when you get a chance. Leadership theme: sometimes there can be no closure no matter how much it is needed.

Court is an intriguing film set amid the Indian legal system, although maybe system is stretching it to a level of coherence and logic that maybe makes the word inapplicable. Like the legal processes in India (as depicted) this is a slow film, but also an intensely engrossing one as well. The acting is understated but all the more powerful because of it. Leadership theme: never underestimate the power of patience.

Captain Fantastic is an unsettling film that will make you question what you think you know about parenting. It is a quirky story about a man and his six children who live in a dense Oregon wood from which they have to emerge into the screaming daylight of suburban America. Acting and narrative is top notch: you will not forget this film. Leadership theme: it isn't just conventions that hold society together, it is far far more than that.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a sublime peach of a movie that will have you crying, laughing and gripping the edge of your seat in equal measures. Fabulous acting by all concerned. This is a must, must see film! Again the core themes are parenting and challenging conventions. And New Zealand looks amazing! Leadership theme: to arrive somewhere, you have to leave somewhere else first.


Blogs 196 to 201: in my 2014/15/16 series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I began doing this (with updates at the end of 2014 and 2015). Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.


Sunday, 4 September 2016

Leadership in Films: drawing the curtain

I have got to a point and although it may change, I am going to stop this series of blogs where I discuss movies from the point of view of leadership. With the 12 brief reviews below, I will have got to 195 movies reviewed and squeezed for a leadership theme.

This is not to say, that I will not do the odd one, now and then, but I think it is time to call a halt as it is not exciting me anymore. That is always a good time to stop....

But as my swan song, here are some brief reviews of the movies I have seen recently:

Absolutely Fabulous is absolutely brilliant and they managed to transfer well onto the big screen with some big screen locations. Many of the old gags are there adequately and nostalgically revamped for the movie. A good one to see. And leadership theme: running away is not an appropriate way of showing responsibility (but since when was AbFab about responsibility anyways?!)

Ghostbusters is great and I preferred it to the original series of movies. Heresy I know to say this, but this is a very successful re-imagining of the story line with a mainly female cast and updated to boot. Terrific fun, I hope they do the other movies too. Leadership theme: technology is nothing without good solid teamwork.

The BFG is a beautiful crafted film by one of the best filmmakers around: scrumdiddlyumptious CGI and magical acting by all concerned. Roald Dahl would have been very happy, I believe. Leadership theme: with courage, trust and humility in good measure, leaders can achieve almost anything.

Finding Dory is a thoroughly charming film which will have you believing in talking fish and octopuses being able to drive lorries... ridiculous really! Good narrative which will take you through some twists and turns. Leadership theme: never lose hope of a good outcome.

Star Trek: Beyond is almost all that one hopes a trek film should be: good action, good humour, a narrative that pretty well holds together, a little nostalgia and some ludicrous things that could never really happen. What is lacked was a dollop of philosophy to top it off. Leadership theme: never underestimate serendipity

Up for Love is an enchanting French film about a woman who agrees to meet a man after he finds her mobile phone, following a flirtatious telephone conversation. She then discovers he is about a foot shorter than her and the film follows the path of their relationship. It will keep you smiling and guessing. Leadership theme: size does matter but not in the way that you might think it does... 

Nerve is a tight thriller that will make you feel like you are on the back of motorcycle travelling at speed. The plausibility of the story line is mainly what makes is so shocking and compelling: are you a player or a watcher? Go see this sometime. Leadership theme: all leadership involves some gambling, but do you know what your limit is?

Swallows and Amazons is just a bit too clunky for my taste: the acting is wooden and the story (though probably true to the original) is disjointed. Great scenery though! Leadership theme: the path to a goal is not always a straightforward one.

War Dogs starts really well but then seems to trail off as if the writer, actors and director all got bored. It is a true story but I think a little more tension could have been injected to keep it pacey. Leadership theme: always know in detail what you are getting into...

Bad Moms is a laugh out loud movie: I thoroughly enjoyed its raunchy humour, and satire on American school PTAs and some of the people involved in them. Go see this! Leadership theme: stopping doing things for people can be very empowering, for both parties!

Mechanic: Resurrection is a tedious movie with about much narrative complexity as an Enid Blyton book for ten year olds. True there are some clever set pieces but the story is decidedly pedestrian: I almost walked out. 
Leadership theme: be careful of alluring distractions which can take you away from your main focus.

Pete's Dragon, on the other hand is a peach of a movie with a strong story and great cameo parts. It is obviously directed at a young audience but it is richly satisfying for an old geezer like me too! Leadership theme: never let anyone deny what you have seen with your own eyes.


Blogs 184 to 195: in my 2014/15/16 series of blogs about leadership ideas to be found in the movies of our time. You can read here as why I began doing this (with updates at the end of 2014 and 2015). Please subscribe to this blog if you want to read more. Thanks. Click the label 'film' to see all the others.