Currently browsing the "Tom Wilkinson" tag.

Denial

I hate to get political in a review, but it’s hard to watch Denial and not think about what’s happening in the current election cycle. A guy with an inflated ego and a propensity for spouting lies and crazy theories manages to convince others that he is being wronged. Sound familiar? That’s sort of what happens in Denial. The film is based on the true story of a legal battle between American historian Deborah Lipstadt (Rachel Weisz) and British historian David Irving (Timothy Spall). In 1996, Irving sued Lipstadt for libel after she called him a liar in her book, “Denying the Holocaust”. Irving claimed the Holocaust never happened, and that the gas chambers at Auschwitz were merely storage units, or used for disinfection. Uh-huh. You’d think that with history and truth on Lipstadt’s side, the law would be too. But it’s not that simple, especially in London, where the burden of proof is on the defense, i.e. Lipstadt.

Snowden

Unless you never watch the news or have been hiding under a rock for several years, you’ve probably heard of Edward Snowden. A gripping documentary called Citizen Four was made about him in 2013 and won the 2015 Oscar. Here’s what I said about that film:

In January of 2013, filmmaker Laura Poitras began receiving emails from a mysterious person who only identified himself as “citizenfour” and who had information about US government surveillance on a scale unheard of in history. A few months later, after a number of encrypted email exchanges, Poitras headed to Hong Kong along with journalist Glenn Greenwald to meet the sender. The rest is history. Waiting for them in a hotel room was Edward Snowden who would hand them evidence of massive citizen surveillance and data mining by the NSA and other government agencies, and would expose our global cyber-spy program.

Oliver Stone’s new movie Snowden begins in that hotel with Poitras (Melissa Leo) and Greenwald (Zachary Quinto) and flashes back to Snowden’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) tortured path to this clandestine meeting. The film succeeds in telling its story without becoming a typical Oliver Stone polemic. Whether that is a good or bad thing is up to you.

The Choice

What can I say? It’s a Nicholas Sparks movie! The Choice is yours to make. As I’ve written many, many times in the past few years, if you’ve seen/liked any or all of the other romantic dramas adapted from Sparks’ sappy best-sellers, then you’ll probably like this one too. It’s not the best (The Notebook kind of set the bar) and it’s not the worst (I lean toward Safe Haven for that honor). But it does fill a gap in the box office for the contemporary romdram.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

In his latest fabulously outrageous film The Grand Budapest Hotel, Wes Anderson introduces us to Gustave H (Ralph Fiennes), the concierge to end all concierges who takes enterprising lobby boy Zero Moustafa (Tony Revolori) under his wing. The movie is visually stunning and laugh out loud hilarious, and what totally sold me was its witty use of language and music to give another layer to its story set in a first class hotel in a fictional eastern European country in that elegant era between the wars. And the chemistry between the older, wiser hotelier and his young protégé is delicious! What begins as a mentoring relationship quickly turns to a zany buddy romp when one of the hotel’s wealthy guests (Tilda Swinton) is murdered and Gustave is thrown in jail. And only Zero can save him.

The Lone Ranger

Too long. Too boring. Too convoluted. There you have it. The Lone Ranger in a nutshell. I really tried to like this movie, at least a little bit. After all, I don’t have anything against westerns, I’m pretty forgiving when it comes to Johnny Depp shtick, and I think Armie Hammer can be quite endearing. And yet, I just could not get into this big-budget, big-screen take on the legendary masked lawman (Hammer) and his Native American sidekick, Tonto (Depp). The Lone Ranger is “Pirates of the Caribbean in the Wild West” – sans the ‘fun factor’ that made the Disney/Depp Pirates franchise such a huge success.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

There are movies that only the British seem capable of pulling off, populated with non-caricatured older people who have depth and interesting stories to tell. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is one of those films. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that those old people are played by some of the most talented actors in the world, Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, and Tom Wilkinson, and directed by John Madden who brought us Shakespeare in Love. It is funny and sweet with just the right amount of romance and a bit of drama tossed in to make it a thoroughly entertaining ride.