Oliver Stone bring us his docudrama/thriller of Edward Snowden, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and the story behind the discovery and leak of classified data collected by the US government on foreign governments, terror organizations and anyone using any form of digital communication.
The film is told almost exclusively from Snowden’s point of view. It reminds the viewer that this was real. It is still unfinished. Snowden remains in exile and still wanted for numerous felonies associated with his actions.
There is a surprisingly large cast including solid performances by Shailene Woodley, Zachary Quinto, Nicolas Cage, Tom Wilkinson and Rhys Ifans. This film is well worth a look.
Special note: If this topic interests you, seek out the Oscar winning documentary Citizenfour released in 2014 shortly after Snowden leaked NSA documents to the press. Snowden speaks for himself first hand. Riveting!!
Kubo and the Two Strings
This animated feature film tells the story about a young Japanese boy, his Mom and a romp through the spirit world. It is clever, unique, sometimes dark, sometimes confusing, always a visual delight, charming and insightful.
The voice overs include the young Art Parkinson as Kubo, Charlize Theron as Monkey, Matthew McConaughey as Beetle and Rooney Mara as The Sisters. The animation is from the studios of Laika (remember last year’s The Boxtrolls and earlier Coraline?). Directed by Travis Knight, film producer, former rapper and lead animator.
This will probably get an Oscar nomination although it looks like this year will be chock-a-block crowded with lots of new animated releases still scheduled for this Fall and Winter.
Bridget Jones’s Baby
The new chapter of the Bridget Jones franchise is an interesting evolution of the character. Bridget, Rene Zellweger, is now over 40 and single once again. Billed a a Romance/Comedy, it is a bit light on both counts.
Nonetheless, it is still worth a look. The acting is solid. The script is pretty crisp. The humor is a bit off beat but funny. Emma Thompson, the Doctor, is a hoot. She also co authored the Screenplay.
The competition between the Demsey and Firth characters is also well done. I imagine they had a blast doing these characters. The always great Jim Broadbent has a bit part.
Overall, the critics liked it a tad more than we did. So if you have a free afternoon or want a couple of hours to fly by on a plane ride, give this film a look.
Author: The JT LeRoy Story
This is a remarkable, if not extraordinary, documentary about a San Francisco author, Laura Albert, posing as the fictional author by the name of JT LeRoy who is HIV positive, ex-prostitute transgender male.
His/her books are a massive literary success with the entertainment industry and the literary public at large around the world. This film is the authors explanation of what really happened from her perspective.
What is so fascinating about this story is everything is both real and fictional at the same time. Mix in snippets of Winona Ryder, Courtney Love, GusVan Sant, Bono, Dennis Cooper and Asia Argento and you have all the ingredients for an unbelievable story.
At almost two hours, it is both amazing and exhausting.