‘The Post’ reminds you of the greatness and power of newspapers

Hanks, Streep, and Spielberg knock it out of the park

Advertisements

Newspapers used to mean something. They held politicians accountable, informed the public, and kept a lookout over the world. In short, they were a big deal in this nation’s foundation of hope, trust, and doing things the right way, but somewhere along the way, they lost their sex appeal.

Steven Spielberg’s The Post will remind you of that greatness, when freedom of the press was championed and not negotiable. When protecting the people’s right to know was more important than protecting the bottom line of a company. It’s an expertly crafted film that will make you feel good at the end, and you’ll buy a newspaper after you leave the theater because of it. Continue reading “‘The Post’ reminds you of the greatness and power of newspapers”

‘Molly’s Game’ grabs your attention and never lets go

Bravo, Aaron Sorkin!

Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain) made a living off the addictions of the world’s most powerful men, and that was after she was an Olympic level skier. Coming from a family of genius minds and DNA gold, Bloom ran the most exclusive poker game for years before it all came crashing down, leading her to adopt the services of Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba), “the cleanest attorney in town”. She did us a favor in writing a book that became Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut, Molly’s Game.

Bloom’s story is a riveting one and a perfect match for Sorkin’s Jedi-styled writing style. This is a rise and fall story juiced up on adderall and steroids, highlighting the luxurious yet dangerous life that one woman led without much brakes or hesitation. Instead of adding fuel to the fiery life of a powerful woman, Sorkin just lets her story do the heavy lifting.

Bloom was an Olympic level athlete before one unfortunate accident ended it all, defeating the high hopes set by a demanding father (Kevin Costner, better than ever), yet setting up a different career that didn’t include boring law school. She broke off a taste for the gambling life with Jeremy Strong’s sleazy Dean Keith before going all in on her own, with the likes of Player X (Michael Cera, rumored to be blending together Tobey Maguire and Ben Affleck here) and several of Hollywood’s elite. Continue reading “‘Molly’s Game’ grabs your attention and never lets go”

‘Wonder Wheel’ is Woody Allen at his worst

Try not to fall asleep during this flick.

Ginny (Kate Winslet) dreams of the movie star life, a bittersweet medicine that temporarily relieves the pain of her life that seems to be passing her by. Married to a theme park worker, Humpty (Jim Belushi, chewing scenery but effective), Ginny is trapped in a never-ending cycle of robotic family life. She cooks, cleans, deals with her troublesome son, and briefly departs into the fantasy land of the movies. Living next to the Boardwalk in Atlantic City doesn’t seem to help.

When two people, Mickey (Justin Timberlake) and Carolina (Juno Temple), enter Ginny’s life, the seemingly boring life that Ginny dreaded suddenly becomes full of drama.

Woody Allen’s latest, Wonder Wheel,  left me dreaming about what I could have gotten done with the two hours I spent watching this tiresome melodrama. A film where all the characters have faults and thorns sticking out of their sides, which means nothing will end well, and the movie will end coming to a sudden halt before the credits roll. Continue reading “‘Wonder Wheel’ is Woody Allen at his worst”

Five Things I know

Ford, aging, cold, and Kaczynski teasing.

Wake up, god damn it! A little Petey Greene for you this morning. If you don’t know who I’m talking about, track down the wonderful yet underrated Don Cheadle film, Talk to Me.

Now that I have your attention, let me provide a few thoughts that are rumbling around my head this not as cold Tuesday. There have been some favorable responses to the rants as of late, so perhaps I’ll drop a few more unfiltered takes here. Merciless prose bombs unfit for Midwestern house husbands and fulfilled yoga instructors.

Without any more bullshitting, here are five things I know:

5. Harrison Ford was a killer movie star once upon a time. He’s 75 years old these days, and while he hasn’t lost all of his swagger, there’s nothing like the timeless badass from Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and Blade Runner. I liked his recent reprisals of two of those legendary roles, but as I re-watch those older flicks, I have to admit the man had a star quality that few actors have these days. The man was Humphrey Bogart if he fought Nazis and cracked a whip while rocking a fedora. He even drove a fast ship.

A pure cinematic pleasure who didn’t have to put on 15 pounds of muscle or change his appearance to convince you he could take your woman and save the day all in the same night. Just watch The Fugitive, where he plays down the hunk appeal and goes chasing waterfalls while trying to prove his innocence. I think I’ll watch the Presidio and Witness next.  Continue reading “Five Things I know”

‘All the Money in the World’ doesn’t live up to the hype

Christopher Plummer isn’t bad, but the entire movie seems arbitrary.

Money can’t buy happiness, or even a good movie at times.

Midway through Ridley Scott’s new film, All the Money in the World, J. Paul Getty (Christopher Plummer subbing in for the departed Kevin Spacey) is asked what he’ll pay for the safe return of his grandson, Paul Getty III (Charlie Plummer), and his answer is succinct: “Nothing”. That is also what I’d advise you to pay in order to see this movie.

I went into this film wanting to like it all for the wrong reasons. Scott made a courageous gamble in recasting Plummer six weeks before the release, yanking the ugly storm cloud that Spacey would have brought the film. It was a risky move and while the finished product isn’t a bad film, it is quite forgettable. Continue reading “‘All the Money in the World’ doesn’t live up to the hype”

2017 Movies: The great, good, bad, and ugly

Before I break into the good, bad, and ugly of the 2017 year in film, let me put this out there: this was an incredible year for the movies. I am talking about a versatile array of cinematic pleasures that ranged from the boldly adventureous (The Shape of Water) to the pulse-pounding thrills of music and car chases (Baby Driver) to a journalistic trail blaze (The Post).

Filmmakers didn’t have to rely on old tricks or recycle favors from decades before, instead exploring new ground with wide-eyed results (look at The Big Sick combining laughs and tears without forcing it). 2016 put out some fine films, but I felt like it got started very late and couldn’t hang with this year’s slate. Like a flashy looking car with a great engine, but a driver who can’t hang on the backroads or badlands of make-believe.

Let’s no waste anymore of your time, and get to the best and worst films of 2017. First, I will put out my top film of 2017 and then list the rest, before delving into the bottom of the barrel. Pour the coffee and let’s go.

THE BEST FILM OF 2017: THE POST

Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, and Meryl Streep got together and made a film that couldn’t be more timely or affecting. At a time where the free press are having their dignity trashed by a scared President, this drama covering the Washington Post’s uncovering of documents which linked the government’s negligent actions during the Vietnam War hits you in the head and in the heart. Streep blows a torch for powerful women with her portrayal of Katherine Graham, a woman thrust into a leadership role that she was ill-prepared for. She ended up owning the night and Nixon.

Spielberg takes Liz Hannah and Josh Singer’s wiz script, and doesn’t waste a second of your time, painting the war room at the paper like the beaches at Normandy, where writers and editors had to decide if the last voice in the room would belong to the President or the people. Similar to Spotlight, Spielberg’s tale is diabolical in its accuracy. He filmed this in less than a year, showing what you can do when an important idea possesses you. Hanks gives a bravura performance that we have come to expect, but don’t sleep on Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul) or Sarah Paulson, This film gets better every time.

*Opens in St. Louis on Jan. 12, 2018 Continue reading “2017 Movies: The great, good, bad, and ugly”

2017: The end of the year rant

2017 represented so many things that it’s hard to put it into words, but I’m going to try. Donald Trump took office, Hollywood’s elite took a blow, the Patriots won another Super Bowl, the NFL became less popular, a versatile fleet of film took over cinema, and the Astros won a World Series. Anybody hear much about the NBA? Me neither.

Now, this won’t be your grandfather’s yearly rundown. What I say will most likely offend Star Wars fanatics, political maniacs, and civil minds. But, if you hang with me and keep an open mind, you’ll understand where I stand in the end. So, without much order or pre-existing thought, let’s look back at 2017.

TRUMP and POTUS

Thanks a lot, Hilary. The Democrats really screwed the pooch here. Clinton is a war criminal, liar, and deplorable idea for a President, so it was only fitting that a clueless billionaire got the keys to the office. Trump doesn’t have an iota of knowledge about running a country, and being that more than a few of his business ventures have failed, he may not be as sharp with money as some seem to think. He takes Twitter more seriously than foreign policy, and will probably end up getting us all killed. But hey, Barack Obama was so bad, right?

The Democrats should go get their shoe shine box and think about what they have done to our country. They have four years to come up with a better plan than albino calf Hilary. Continue reading “2017: The end of the year rant”