Movies: Foxtrot, The Death of Stalin, Game Night


This is a unique film that is not easy to watch from the onset.  The parents of a young Israeli soldier are confronted by other military personnel with the news of their son’s death at a remote checkpoint.  The response by the parents is poignant and powerful.

Next the camera acts as a flashback to a remote checkpoint where four young Israeli soldiers (including the deceased) are stationed to monitor a border crossing used mostly by Palestinians and the occasional camel.  This part of the film plays with the audience, challenging the viewers to sort out absurd events acted out in physical comedy and discomfort.

The actors are limited to the minimum.   Lior Ashkenazi delivers a painful portrayal as the grieving father.  Sarah Adler is equally effective in the role of the Mom.  Their son is played by the excellent young israeli actor Yonathan Shiray.

The film is rated R for some sexual content including graphic images and brief drug abuse.  The genre is listed as Drama with a run time of 114 minutes.  Hebrew with English subtitles.  (Having visited Israel and several neighboring countries, we felt a powerful connection to this film.  It is a less than perfect picture of the country yet still worthy of seeing.)


The Death of Stalin

This political satire film about the death of Stalin in 1953 has a lot to chew on.  The power vacuum that follows is a reminder of real history, global dangers and radical swings that occurred all too often.

Scottish Director and Satirist, Armando Iannucci delivers a stunning visual interpretation of the events immediately after Stalin’s sudden death.

Clearly a comedy, the brilliant acting and strong script allows the production to charge head long using biting one liners and irreverent satire.

The casting is genius.  Steve Buscemi is a perfect Nikita Khrushchev.  Jeffrey Tambor plays Georgy Malenkov.  Simon Russell Beale plays Lavrentiy Beria, Paddy Considine is Comrade Andryev, Rupert Friend is over the top as Vasily Stalin and Jason Isaacs is a perfect Georgy Zhukov.

What results is a wicked comedy, that is also a hilarious farce, and audacious enough to not be taken too seriously.

It is rated R for language, violence and some sexual references.  It is noted as a Comedy, Drama.  Run time is 107 minutes.


Game Night

This film was released before we went to Europe.  It was playing in Europe but we could never seem to fit it into our schedule.  Finally today the stars aligned and we saw this movie.

This story starts out pretty wimpy.  Lame dialog from weak characters comes off corny.  Then incrementally the story, acting and the production quality gain momentum that peak at just the right times making for a satisfying movie experience.

Rachael McAdams and Jason Bateman are hilarious together.  Jesse Plemons is perfect as the neighborhood policeman.  Kyle Chandler and Michael C. Hall are excellent bad guys along with another dozen actors that round out the cast.

Yes, there are corny moments and ample deadpan humor.  But it does not drift off course.  It incrementally delivers and then just adds a bit more for good measure.

It is rated R for language, sexual references and some violence.  It is listed as a Comedy, Mystery & Suspense.


One thought on “Movies: Foxtrot, The Death of Stalin, Game Night”

  1. Sometimes I think it suffices to read your review and then skip the films!

    The snow has already melted and the grass is green again!


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