It’s Playoff Time–Here Are Six Movies to Consider!



As with Dunkirk, the film focuses on a handful of individuals and their roles and experiences in the context of that critical battle in the War in the Pacific. A well-made historical war film, the Midway story shows how (as in Imitation Game) intelligence gathering–not merely firepower–turned the tide.  The special effects were thrilling, and the experience of a lower-tech war fought with what are now mostly relics as war machines made for an engaging movie and history lesson. They did well to consider the perspective and sensibilities of the Japanese, perhaps, more than in past films on WWII.



The Irishman

Martin Scorcese’s 3 1/2-hour long saga of a teamster turned mob insider stars three heavyweights of American gangster films: Robert DeNiro, Joe Pesci, and Al Pacino.  The film traces the life of Frank Sheeran (DeNiro), who slowly becomes a confidante and fixer for a powerful mob boss, Russ Bufalino (Pesci), but who also becomes the mob’s inside link to Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino). As the film posits, Sheeran might have been the last person to see Hoffa alive.

I could have watched the film for the acting–I thought Pesci’s role was the most compelling–but the history, the cars, etc. were worth the ride. Though Scorcese will be credited for making an important film here, there was an unintended (?) effect that came with The Irishman: American gangsters are no longer glamorous.  In fact, after watching the film, I was disgusted with the idea that this country, this system, had been so badly corrupted.


Knives Out

Knives Out had a fun cast and was amusing enough, but the film was mostly, for me, unremarkable. Most any mystery can capture the attention of the audience–and this one did that, though I suspected the trick early on.  It was an amusing film and it was fun to see so many familiar famous faces on the screen. Daniel Craig managed his Kentucky accent and role as the sleuth. Ana de Armas is a rising star.




Dark Waters

This corporate scandal/legal film is little different from a classic good-and-evil drama epic. The problem, though, is that the representatives of the Good and the Evil are not based in myth or fantasy. This makes the film frustrating when Evil has the upper hand, but worth the pain when Good lands a blow.  Mark Ruffalo was solid and the chemical firm DuPont (later Dupont de Nemours)  was classic (but predictable) as the corporate villain. Enjoyable movie and now I know what “forever chemicals” are and can’t un-know it. Last comment: No one was ever so wrong as Mitt Romney was when he declared that “Corporations  are people.”  The big public companies are powerful, purposeful, and remorseless machines that bend people to their will.



Richard Jewell

Clint  made a good movie here. There were some Oscar-winners in the solid cast, but the main character, Paul Walker Hauser, stole the show. I only vaguely remembered the real events of the story, and so got to be in suspense as to how the plot would unfold. I have enjoyed Sam Rockwell in most of his work, and always liked acting from Jon Hamm, Olivia Wilde, and Kathy Bates. There’s a line in the film about the two most powerful forces in our society: the government and the media.  Hmmm.




The Report

This film went to Amazon Prime quickly. It was, like the previous film, probably cheap to make but worth watching. Adam Driver played the lead, Annette Bening played Diane Feinstein, and Jon Hamm showed up again as a key intelligence official. Also based on a true story, it chronicled the creation of a 7000-page report on torture (Enhanced Interrogation Techniques), compiled for the Senate Intelligence committee from a basement room in the CIA. The last three reviews were based on (or suggested by) real events where powerful institutions  run amok and wreak havoc on individuals’ lives and freedom.

I need to see some comedy….



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