Can we just add this film along with Spotlight to the genre of movies starring Mark Ruffalo exposing people who knew things and let it happen? Because so far, it's been a great genre.
I totally missed this movie when it first came out. Why? Well, there were other films that were out roughly the same time that, even though they didn't star Leonardo DiCaprio, looked far more interesting than a crime drama about one of the world's most problematic FBI Agents. It was subsequently released without much press at the AFI Film Festival in the November of that year and I'm not gonna lie - it was like crickets for some reason. The best I could hope for was the movie poster on the back of an Empire Magazine issue from round about that time. It was then released six days later in the cinemas and even though we had a little bit more of a marketing campaign, I think with the grittiness of the trailer juxtaposed with the lightness of Christmas, nobody really noticed it was on TV for thirty seconds or so. The movie itself should've been released in the summer so that it could've had a wider audience, but with a budget of $35M and a profit of $84.9M, I think the film did do pretty well on its own given the fact that it wasn't pushed so much. I think people were watching it because Leonardo DiCaprio was in it.
LBJ (2016) is not a bad film by all means, but what we're going to look at here is why critically, it isn't really that great of a film either. Directed by the same man who made This Is Spinal Tap, it fails to live up to prophecy with its confusing over-the-top dialogue and its lack of substance. Not to mention how the Kennedy brothers actually look and sound nothing like the actual Kennedy brothers. When we look at the movie through the eye of entertainment, we can see that yes, it is fairly entertaining. But, as a biopic it doesn't really hold up on its own and has been compared to other films about LBJ's presidency which are, in fact, better and more thorough.
The story behind the so-called Torture Report is a strange and fascinating one. The comedy history podcast The Dollop brilliant captured the absurdity contained in the report in a 2016 podcast called The Torture Psychologists. In that podcast comedians Dave Anthony talked about the strange duo that the CIA turned to in their bizarre and futile attempt to justify torturing supposed terrorists.
Adam McKay has quite the career for himself, serving as writer and producer for various comedies over the years. However, he surprised everyone in 2015 with The Big Short, a serious drama that delved into the 2008 housing crises and the men who bet against the banks and profited off of it. Now he's back with another topical, based-on-a-true-story, biopic about George W. Bush's Vice President Dick Cheney. All around, it's an interesting look into the infamous politician's life and rise to power, but fails to maintain a consistent tone.
When Halloween III: Season of the Witch released it did not fare well. After two prior Halloween films, Halloween meant Michael Myers to its fans. This is not all that dissimilar to Friday The 13th: A New Beginning which introduced a new killer, replacing Jason. You toy with fan expectations and you get shunned. However, now the film is something of a cult classic and deemed at least original compared to the lackluster Halloween sequels. Personally, I have no problem with the lack of Michael Myers. The main problem comes from its dare I say, the ridiculous leftist, liberal narrative. Granted, I am no conservative at all. Still, this film relies on lame, old liberal tropes on American conservatism.
When I heard that American Factory would be the first project released by the Obamas' Higher Ground Productions partnership with Netflix, I knew this would have to be good. But film makers Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert's documentary about the Chinese takeover of an abandoned GM plant in Dayton, Ohio eclipsed any expectations I had going in. Enveloped within this exploration of labor, trade, and the challenges of globalization is a stunning narrative of humanity. As is life, the story is hopeful, tragic, messy, and yet remarkably simple all at the same time.
With the release of the Seth Rogen-Charlize Theron political romantic comedy, Long Shot, the Everyone's a Critic Movie Review Podcast chose to look back at a relic of political comedy past, Robert Redford's The Candidate. In doing so, I did not expect to find that Long Shot, an ostensible stoner romantic comedy would demonstrate sharper political barbs than the 1972 film that is remembered mostly for sharp elbowed politics. That perception some have put forward over the years anyway.
Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists, the new documentary on HBO, is lots of things. A paean to an age of journalism (Breslin would say "reporting," as this movie tells us) which is either gone or transmuted into another form, depending upon whom you listen to. A story of New York City, which, also, is either dead or transformed. But definitely a story of two uniquely gifted writers who indeed worked on a deadline, the deadline of timely reporting (i.e., at most, last hour's or yesterday's news, not last week's).
The new movie Brexit, released 13 days ago on HBO, provides some important lessons for America, in the parallels of what led to the Brexit win in the UK referendum and the election of Donald Trump President of the United States in the Electoral College. That difference—success in a straightforward plebiscite verses a complex and indirect electoral college, in addition to Trump's opponent winning the popular vote in the US—points to a crucial way in which the two exercises in democracy are not comparable. But let's look at the similarities, first.
Strong and intense was the experience I found with Peterloo. Based on the Peterloo massacre that occurred in Manchester, 1819, writer and director Mike Leigh presents to us a tale of true sorrow and shocking repercussions, displaying one of the most truly horrible events in the darker side of Britain's history.
Published about a year ago
Charlie Chaplin, one of the great film figures of the 20th century and known for his silent work in film, took a great leap of faith and showed moral courage by his performance parodying Adolf Hitler in The Great Dictator. This film was the first one where Chaplin had any actual dialogue even though he had been in numerous silent films in previous decades from the 1910s through the 1930s. By that time of the late 1930s, Chaplin had achieved worldwide success and critical acclaim as an actor and a comedian but at that tumultuous time in world affairs, he knew he had the responsibility to speak out about growing militant nationalism that was surging in both Europe and Asia.