The Circle Preview

With his cadre of Rambos leading the way, Patrick enters the BMTverse. He breathes in the dull, uninspiring air and a part of him knows it’s home. The old rickety Rambo crouches down, his knees giving off loud popping noises, and tastes the earth. “Your brother, he’s been here.” The young spry Rambo with the sad eyes tastes a different spot, “another was with him. The man in black.” At that the older garbage Rabmo hisses, “Vampiro.” Patrick steps forward, “Which way did they head?!” At that the youngest of the Rambos replies bluntly, “No.” But Patrick pleads “I need to get to him before it’s too late. Please!” The Rambos nod, “OK.” At that they head off. From the few monosyllabic statements the Rambos make Patrick is able to glean that Vampiro is a Dracula who has been sucking the BMTverse dry in some mysterious scheme and that Jamie is in grave danger. “So what is the scheme Vampiro has set up?” Patrick asks, and immediately the Rambos point to a large building dominating the skyline of New Angeles. The sign reads, “The Square.” Patrick doesn’t want to say anything but to him The Square looks pretty hip. That’s right! We’re watching the 2017 classic The Circle starring Emma Watson and Tom Hanks about a big ol’ company that totally spies on you. Sound the Ointment Alarm, cause this movie is topical. Let’s go!

Meanwhile, the man in black backflips from his skateboard and and grabs Jamie by the throat. He squints at him, “You really don’t remember me, do you?” Jamie looks closer and notices the sharp Dracula teeth of the Dracula that turned him into a Dracula at Dracula School a year ago. “Vampiro,” he wheezes. “Let him be, baby,” a young sexy voice says from behind Vampiro and four beautiful bodacious beach bunnies come out from the steam. “Sticks and Stone will not be happy if you kill him, Vampiro,” the sexiest of them coos. “Call me Buford, baby,” He replies. That’s right! We’re going for the only Jim Hanks vehicle in history, Buford’s Beach Bunnies. Tom Hanks’ bro plays the titular Buford being titillated by the titular Beach Bunnies. It should be a hoot and in no way sad probably. Let’s go!

The Circle (2017) – BMeTric: 56.8 

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(Ooooooo for a film like this low-5s is incredibly incredibly low, that is promising. And very consistent across the years as well. Interesting.)

RogerEbert.com – 1.5 stars –  When the story turns into something akin to a nightmarish cousin of “The Truman Show” or “Network,” or the kid sister of Cronenbeg’s “ExistenZ,” you want it to get bigger, wilder, more outrageous, more frightening, and it’s too nice and reasonable and conscientious to do that. The result feels undernourished in just about every way, although Hanks’s performance, John Boyega’s brief role as a founding programmer, and a couple of frightening action sequences break through the tedium.

(Yeah I would have expected it to go very broad in the end … it is pretty concerning that it doesn’t. Like what is this movie about then?)

Trailer – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUlr8Am4zQ0/

(Watching that trailer and I’m thinking Firewall starring Harrison Ford. Reading the review above it … and I’m getting whiffs of The Space Between Us. Which is concerning because that movie was boring.)

Directors – James Ponsoldt – (Known For: The Spectacular Now; The End of the Tour; Smashed; Off the Black; BMT: The Circle; Notes: Went to Yale, and then got a Masters in Fine Arts from Columbia.)

Writers – James Ponsoldt (screenplay by) – (Known For: Smashed; Off the Black; BMT: The Circle; Notes: Is writing and directing a film about “wild animals in Los Angeles” called Wild City.)

Dave Eggers (screenplay by & based on the novel by) – (Known For: Where the Wild Things Are; A Hologram for the King; Promised Land; Away We Go; BMT: The Circle; Notes: Actually an amazing story concerning his parents both dying when he was a young man, and he dropped out of school to raise his youngest brother who was 8 at the time. It became the subject of his fictionalized memoir, the acclaimed A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius.)

Actors – Emma Watson – (Known For: Beauty and the Beast; Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2; Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix; Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets; Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince; Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1; The Perks of Being a Wallflower; This Is the End; Noah; My Week with Marilyn; The Bling Ring; The Tale of Despereaux; Future BMT: Regression; BMT: The Circle; Razzie Notes: Nominee for Worst Actress for The Circle in 2018; Notes: She’s going to be in Little Woman later this year, obviously most famous for her roles in the Harry Potter films where she played Hermoine.)

Tom Hanks – (Known For: Toy Story 4; A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood; Forrest Gump; The Green Mile; Saving Private Ryan; Catch Me If You Can; Toy Story; Toy Story 3; Cloud Atlas; Sleepless in Seattle; Cast Away; Cars; Road to Perdition; Toy Story 2; Sully: Miracle on the Hudson; The Post; Apollo 13; Bridge of Spies; Saving Mr. Banks; Big; Future BMT: He Knows You’re Alone; Larry Crowne; Inferno; Ithaca; The Da Vinci Code; Angels & Demons; BMT: The Circle; The Bonfire of the Vanities; Notes: Ya’ll know Tom Hanks! He’s getting Oscar buzz for his role as Mr. Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.)

John Boyega – (Known For: Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi; Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens; Pacific Rim: Uprising; Detroit; Attack the Block; Half of a Yellow Sun; Imperial Dreams; Junkhearts; BMT: The Circle; Notes: British. You can hear his natural sccent in Attack the Block.)

Budget/Gross – $18 million / Domestic: $20,497,844 (Worldwide: $20,497,844)

(Hmmmm, given the budget that isn’t actually that bad I suppose, but it is a box office disappointment. Their Netflix distribution may have made a bit more of that back since. I’m a little surprised it could be made for so little.)

#55 for the Young-Adult Book Adaptations genre

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(Our 8th BMT film of this genre. Came right as these types of films stopped making money. Weirdly, not even close to the worst box office we’ve seen beating out The Darkest Minds, Midnight Sun, The Seeker: The Dark Is Rising, and Vampire Academy)

#52 on the Worst Openings – Super Saturated chart

Rotten Tomatoes – 15% (20/135): The Circle assembles an impressive cast, but this digitally driven thriller spins aimlessly in its half-hearted exploration of timely themes.

(Yeah that sounds about right. Float through something significant, but straddle the fence and make it as milquetoast as possible. This is indeed what I expect. Reviewer Highlight: The Circle is a big honking sloppy mess of a movie, one that flops around so aimlessly that it’s baffling so many intelligent people had a hand in making it. – Will Leitch, The New Republic)

Poster – Corporate Sklog-vallience (C+)

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(It’s artsy in the framing and the color is fine. Font makes me sad. At least make the C in Circle be the company’s logo. Not just block bullshit.)

Tagline(s) – Knowing is good. Knowing everything is better. (A-)

(Do you know what’s better than a billion dollars? A gazillion dollars. While I don’t support the message of the tagline I can still recognize that it’s a good tagline.)

Keyword(s) – video surveillance; Top Ten by BMeTric: 82.3 Halloween: Resurrection (2002); 79.5 The Devil Inside (2012); 67.8 College Road Trip (2008); 65.7 Captivity (2007); 65.5 Pulse (I) (2006); 60.4 Maid in Manhattan (2002); 60.2 Sliver (1993); 56.8 The Circle (I) (2017); 52.5 Everly (2014); 52.2 Bangkok Dangerous (2008);

(This is a pretty interesting keyword. Like is that really what Halloween: Resurrection has? College Road Trip? This seems to be one of the rare ones where it is a central theme to the film.)

Welcome to Earf (HoE Number 20) – The shortest path through The Movie Database cast lists using only BMT films is: Tom Hanks is No. 2 billed in The Circle and No. 1 billed in Bonfire of the Vanities, which also stars Bruce Willis (No. 2 billed) who is in The Whole Ten Yards (No. 1 billed), which also stars Natasha Henstridge (No. 4 billed) who is in Ghosts of Mars (No. 1 billed), which also stars Jason Statham (No. 3 billed) who is in In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Seige Tale (No. 1 billed), which also stars Leelee Sobieski (No. 4 billed) who is in Here on Earth (No. 1 billed) => 2 + 1 + 2 + 1 + 4 + 1 + 3 + 1 + 4 + 1 = 20. If we were to watch Angels & Demons, and The Glass House we can get the HoE Number down to 12.

Notes – Bill Paxton died before the film’s release. Glenne Headly, who played his wife in the film, died the same year after the film’s release. (What? I knew Pacton died, but I didn’t realize Glenne Headly died.)

Re-shoots took place four months before release, aimed at making Emma Watson’s character more appealing, but test audience reactions were even worse than previous test screenings. (Jesus THAT was their attempt at making her MORE appealing? She’s insane in the movie)

The scene where Annie video calls Mae was shot by Karen Gillan’s crew while they were filming Gillan’s feature film; The Party’s Just Beginning (2018) in Scotland. (Wow that is interesting)

In the U.K. this film did not get a cinema release but went straight to streaming service Netflix. (Yeah I noticed)

The logo of The Circle was created before the Uber redesign, despite them looking very similar.

The lead role of Mae was first offered to Alicia Vikander, which according to her, was one of three roles offered simultaneously, alongside the roles of Maria in Assassin’s Creed (2016) and Heather in Jason Bourne (2016). Due to fan factor, she opted to do Bourne, thus the producers moving on to casting second choice Emma Watson.

Received a “D+” CinemaScore, which is quite rare. [Variety 2017] (Not surprised)

This is the second time that Tom Hanks has a role in an adaptation of a novel by Dave Eggers. The first was A Hologram for the King (2016). (Never heard of it)

The auditorium scenes were filmed at Citrus Community College’s Haugh Performing Arts Center in Glendora, California.

Opening bridge shot is Dumbarton Bridge in Northern California near Silicon Valley. Fake image of the Circle building located on the Coyote Point recreation park.

The ending was changed significantly for the film adaptation. In the novel, Mae, fully believing in The Circle’s goals and mantras, betrays Ty in his attempt to bring down the company and he is effectively silenced. (WHAT?! THAT IS CRAZY)

Awards – Nominee for the Razzie Award for Worst Actress (Emma Watson, 2018)