November 17, 2015

 Specter  Spectre 007

The latest James Bond 007 spectacle does not disappoint. It is big, brawny, clever and relentless. Let’s start with the opening credits highlighted by the opening song sung by the incredible Sam Smith. Where do some of those notes come from? Look for an Oscar nomination for Best Song. But I digress.

The story line is dynamic. The cinematography is unbelievable, like you are on the set for the entire ride. More Oscar fodder here too. Plenty of bad guys, some really good bad guys. Christoph Waltz is at his best. And let’s not forget the requisite Bond girls, this time two and they are really good. All modes of transportation, virtually non-stop action with more twists and turns than the Hollywood freeway. Daniel Craig has never been better.

Rating: 4 GlobesTrumbo

Trumbo

Depending on your age, you may or may not recall the Hollywood Blacklist of suspected Communists from 1946 until 1960. In this film, Dalton Trumbo, Screenwriter, and then the most highly compensated writer in the industry, is called before the “House Un-American Activities Committee” to testify before Congress as to his political beliefs and the beliefs of others in the entertainment industry. He refused, was held in contempt and was imprisoned for 11 months.

After his release, he was unable to find employment and was shunned by most everyone in the industry. He, and his associates, began writing scripts for low budget movie producers and finally authored a couple of Oscar winning scripts. Eventually, times changed and Mr. Trumbo was finally recognized for his tenacity and perseverance.
Bryan Cranston plays the lead character with zeal. Director Jay Roach carefully recreates the period and the political climate of the day. Helen Mirren’s portrayal as Hedda Harper alone is worth seeing this movie.

Rating: 4 GlobesBrooklyn

Brooklyn

This is a classic immigrant story set in 1951 about a young Irish girl who journeys to America for a new life leaving her Mom and sister behind. The poor thing is at first naive and unhappy, lives in a boarding house with other Irish women and struggles as a salesclerk in a department store.

She meets a young Italian man at a dance, they fall in love… She gets a call one day and feels compelled to go back to Ireland. You can probably fill in the blanks so I won’t tell you anymore, but there is a reason it is called “Brooklyn”.

All that said, it is a beautifully crafted film. Just the right amount of everything. It is well acted,visually satisfying, just the right mix of angst and humor even though it logs in just over two hours.

Rating: 3 Globessuffragette

Suffragette

Set in England of the late 1930s, this is based on true events about the movement to win the women’s right to vote. What came as a surprise was how violent and oppressive the culture was in that period. While the movement spanned all socio-economic classes, this story has a focus toward the lower labor class and the huge challenges as a result.
Directed by Sarah Gavron, starring Helena Bottom Carter and an extraordinary Carey Mulligan. Meryl Steep has a brief appearance as Emmeline Pankhurst, the leader of the suffragette movement forced underground.

Overall, it was an interesting glimpse at history and a reminder of a very different time less than a hundred years ago. Tidbit Fact: woman in Switzerland didn’t get to vote until 1971!

Rating: 2 Globes

Steve Jobs

First, I must confess. I was not interested in seeing this movie. I saw the documentary shortly after Job’s death and chose not to see the rendition staring Ashton Kutcher because it just didn’t sound realistic. That said, after hearing good things about the current film and seeking a second movie on a double feature day thanks to rain, I acquiesced and I am so glad I did.

This was more like a play than a movie. Michael Fassbender is exceptional as Jobs. And a big surprise, Kate Winslet is almost as extraordinary as Job’s Marketing Director. It is the combination of the screenplay by Aaron Sorkin and the delivery by Fassbender and the rest of the cast that makes this movie great.

I will also admit, I did not like Mr. Jobs or the way he conducted himself. There can be no denying his deficiencies or his genius. There just might be another Oscar or two when the season comes around.

Rating: 4 Globes

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