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November 2015
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Monthly Archives: November 2015

Spotlight (2015)

DIRECTOR: Tom McCarthy

CAST: Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Brian d’Arcy James, Stanley Tucci

REVIEW:

While the true stories they chronicle have little in common, Spotlight might appeal to those who enjoy the likes of Zodiac; like the earlier film, Spotlight is an unvarnished, no-frills docudrama which places its focus on the details of investigative procedural without relying on overdramatic embellishments or histrionics.  To that end, it’s compelling viewing (at least for those who appreciate this kind of movie, which won’t be everyone) and chronicles the origins of the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal we surely all remember seeing on the news. Continue reading

Spectre (2015)

spectreDIRECTOR: Sam Mendes

CAST: Daniel Craig, Lea Seydoux, Christoph Waltz, Ralph Fiennes, Naomie Harris, Ben Whishaw, Dave Bautista, Andrew Scott, Monica Bellucci, Rory Kinnear, Jesper Christensen

REVIEW:

After taking iconic super spy James Bond back to the nitty, gritty basics in 2006’s Casino Royale and 2008’s Quantum of Solace, the “new” rebooted 007 film series slowly worked familiar Bond ingredients (Q, Moneypenney, the Aston Martin, more liberal use of the Bond theme) back into the mix with 2012’s Skyfalland now with Spectre, director Sam Mendes and star Daniel Craig, reuniting from Skyfall, have brought Craig’s Bond full circle with his most “traditional” outing yet.  Of Craig’s four Bond films, Spectre has the most “classic Bond” feel, but admittedly part of the strength of Casino Royale and Skyfall was that they eschewed the conventional Bond formula, or at least used it with restraint.  Spectre is entertaining, but it lacks the freshness of Casino Royale and the emotional depth of Skyfall.  In resurrecting the shadowy global domination organization Spectre, last seen as a recurring villain in Sean Connery’s Bond films of the ’60s, the “classic Bond” pieces have nearly all clicked into place, but the movie lacks a certain spark.  There’s a by-the-numbers feel here that makes Spectre an entertaining Bond adventure but, unlike Casino Royale and Skyfall, not one that transcends the genre. Continue reading

Brooklyn (2015)

DIRECTOR: John Crowley

CAST: Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Domhnall Gleeson, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters

REVIEW:

Brooklyn is a handsomely-crafted, old-fashioned, nostalgic period drama of the type we could have imagined being made in the 1950s (it’s not quite wholesome; there’s a small smattering of profanity and a not particularly graphic sex scene, but it’s close).  Based on the book by Irish author Colm Toibin and adapted from page to screenplay by Nick Hornby (About a Boy, High Fidelity), it’s both a romance and a character study of a 1950s Irish immigrant leaving behind everything she knows for an uncertain future in America. Continue reading

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