I felt like I was drinking a 40 oz in the auditorium, because this film has a whole lot of Olde English.
Based on William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth,” “Tragedy” was written and directed by Joel Coen, with Denzel Washington playing the titular character. The film is a fairly straightforward retelling of the story, with Washington’s Lord Macbeth having a vision of ascending to the throne of Scotland.
That prophecy becomes fulfilled, and as the story goes, Macbeth’s reign turns out to be a difficult one. Soon after he takes the crown, he becomes paranoid and begins taking actions that only lead to more trouble.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Technically sound ‘Tragedy of Macbeth’ too inaccessible at times”
It’s easy to love “I Love Lucy.” But that’s not the case with “Being the Ricardos.”
The film stars Nicole Kidman, who portrays Lucille Ball, the actress well known for the series “I Love Lucy.” The movie picks up during a week of filming the “I Love Lucy” show, where the production has been impacted by some recent news.
Rumors are swirling around Hollywood about Ball possibly being associated with communism during the height of the Red Scare. The film follows how this affects production, and Ball’s marriage to her husband, Desi Arnaz (Javier Bardem).
Continue reading “REVIEW: Biopic ‘Being the Ricardos’ drops the Ball”
Al Pacino hasn’t been in a family this intense since the Corleones.
“House of Gucci” follows the famous fashion family from the late 70s until the dynasty fell apart in the mid-90s. The movie’s main focus is on Patrizia (Lady Gaga), a woman who in 1978 met and married one of the Gucci heirs, Maurizio (Adam Driver).
From there, the movie follows how the two maneuvered to gain more power in the family. Their efforts to do so put them in conflict with other members of the family, and eventually, each other.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘House of Gucci’ grabs a viewers’ attention, despite flaws”
Diana, Princess of Wales, has been portrayed on screen for decades, in everything from TV movies to the critically acclaimed series “The Crown.”
Perhaps no film has featured a portrayal as intimate and powerful as the one in “Spencer,” though.
Kristen Stewart stars as Princess Diana, who’s joining the rest of the British Royal Family in Norfolk at the Sandringham Estate for the holidays in 1991. The film follows Diana closely, from Christmas Eve through Boxing Day, showcasing her strained relationship with the rest of her family, her struggles with mental health and commitment to be a strong parent for her sons.
Where “Spencer” differs from other biopics about Princess Diana and other films about the royals is the hyper-focus. The movie centers nearly exclusively on Diana, and what she has to go through.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘Spencer’ is a master class character study”
Ridley Scott’s historical epics have been rather disappointing, with 2014’s “Exodus: Gods and Kings” and 2010’s “Robin Hood” missing the mark.
Sadly, Scott’s latest effort, “The Last Duel,” doesn’t get in the win column.
“The Last Duel” is set in France during the 1300s and follows three characters, two of them being the knight Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) and the squire Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver), who served on the battlefield together. The third lead character is Marguerite de Carrouges (Jodie Comer), Jean’s wife.
As fellow warriors on the battlefield, Jean and Jacques not only have respect between each other, but a friendship as well. The friendship begins to strain, though, as Jacques begins enforcing rules set by the local Count Pierre d’Alencon (Ben Affleck), which Jean finds unfair. The situation reaches a boiling point when Marguerite accuses Jacques of rape. As a result, the two warriors are set on a path toward a deadly showdown.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Scott’s ‘Last Duel’ is a dull, callous film”
This biopic starts by showing Tammy Faye’s youth, and she just happened to share the hometown of yours truly.
Before her career as a television evangelist, this film shows Tammy (Jessica Chastain) growing up in the small northern Minnesota town International Falls (Go Broncos). From an early age, Tammy loves the energy and music of the church and it leads her to attending North Central Bible College in Minneapolis.
There, she meets Jim Bakker (Andrew Garfield). The two quickly fall in love and soon get married. Rather than continue the college route, the two decide to be preachers on the road. Their talent soon get them picked up on TV and from there, build their own media empire. Unfortunately, it’s all too good to be true for the Bakkers.
Continue reading “REVIEW: By the numbers biopic about Tammy Faye salvaged by cast”
For many Americans who lost loved ones on September 11, the impacts were long lasting, partially because of the ensuing financial matters.
In “Worth,” audiences are shown the government program set up to provide monetary support to those families.
In this film based on a true story, Michael Keaton stars as Ken Feinberg. A DC lawyer, Feinberg volunteers to helm a government program designed to provide funding to families who lost loved ones in the attacks, as well as survivors.
As part of the program, Feinberg and his team form an algorithm, determining how many dollars each family is set to receive. However, the algorithm is met with criticism for how it appears to value each life differently based on income.
The main criticism is driven by a widow-turned-activist, Charles (Stanley Tucci), who lost his wife in the attacks. The film follows how the two try to resolve their differences and improve the program.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Pros outweigh cons with 9/11 drama ‘Worth’”
Aretha Franklin was a powerful force in music and Civil Rights, and this movie certainly touches on both of those aspects.
One just wishes the quality of the film had been above that of a standard biopic.
“Respect” mainly follows Franklin’s (Jennifer Hudson) childhood and roughly the first 10 to 15 years of her career. The film opens with Franklin losing her mother and the impact the death leaves on her.
From there, it follows how music helped Franklin open up again after her mother’s death. Then, the picture focuses on how Franklin went from a lead singer at her father’s (Forest Whitaker) church to a struggling singer, and then finally breaking through to success.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Hudson’s stunning performance not enough to fully salvage generic ‘Respect’”
The spy game is always a dangerous one to to play. It’s Benedict Cumberbatch’s turn to learn that lesson in this new historical drama.
Cumberbatch plays Greville Wynne in “The Courier,” a film that takes place during one of the most tense periods of the Cold War. Wynne is British salesman who often travels for work. Along with visiting neighboring countries, Wynne also travels to some Eastern Bloc nations.
Because of his ability to do business in the Soviet area, Wynne is recruited by the CIA and MI6 to go to Russia and meet with an informant. He’s told by the agencies that he is only to visit the informant, Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze), and return documents to MI6, appearing as just a regular salesman conducting business However, with the Cuban Missile situation nearing, surveillance of what Wynne is doing begins to increase.
Continue reading “REVIEW: ‘The Courier’ is an interesting, but not game changing spy thriller”
There are many politicians, musicians and others who deserve good biopic movies. There are also a lot of not so good biopics out there about interesting people.
Unfortunately, Billie Holiday meets the former and this film fits the latter.
“The United States vs Billie Holiday” follows the titular singer (Andra Day) mostly during her career in the 1940s, with a heavy focus on her song “Strange Fruit.” The song references lynching and came not long after an anti-lynching bill was rejected by the United States Senate.
Early on in the film, the FBI is shown as being paranoid of the song to the point where they fear the music will encourage the Civil Rights movement more. Driven by this, the agency targets Holiday, mainly by going after her on drug charges, as Holiday was using substances during her career.
Continue reading “REVIEW: Despite strong lead performance, ‘U.S. v Holiday’ doesn’t hold up”