(4/5) docu-drama, bio-pic
Reviews: Roger Ebert | IMDb External Reviews | Rotten Tomatoes 93% | Metacritic 84%
In Milk, Sean Penn inhabits America’s first self-identified gay politician, Harvey Milk. As with Frank Langella in Frost/Nixon (2008), within seconds I ceased focusing on Sean Penn the actor and was carried away with his brilliant performance as Milk.
Penn is one of the finest actors of his generation. The characters he convincingly plays in, for example, Milk (2008), I Am Sam (2001) and Dead Man Walking (1995) couldn’t be more different. There are only a few actors capable of his astonishing range – Ed Norton being another.
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(2.5/5) crime drama
Reviews: Roger Ebert | IMDb External Reviews | Rotten Tomatoes 45% | Metacritic 40%
I hadn’t heard of Best Laid Plans (199) until it showed up as a Reese Witherspoon Wishlist option on my TiVo. Reese is one of my favourite contemporary actresses. Josh Brolin, who I was impressed with in the recent W. (2008), also plays a supporting role. On the basis of that star-power I set my TiVo to record it.
I was initially disappointed with the movie and was about to delete it. As my finger was hovering over the delete button, a rather surprising plot twist occurred. The twist extended my interest enough to watch it to the end. Unfortunately, while the twist made the movie initially more interesting, the script was poor, the less-than-credible plot unravelled, and the movie hobbled across the finishing line.
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(3.5/5) political drama
Reviews: Roger Ebert | IMDb External Reviews | Rotten Tomatoes 56% | Metacritic 56%
W. is Oliver Stone’s take on the life of George W. Bush. The advertising for this movie is misleading. I was half expecting a lampoon-style, slapstick comedy but I got a drama.
Not as blatantly, over-the-top, biased or revisionist as some of Stone’s prior work (JFK, Platoon, Nixon), but still riddled with cheap shots – such as the multiple, and disingenuous, uses of famous Bushisms (or DubyaSpeak) taken out of context. Nonetheless, the movie is a surprisingly sympathetic and engaging portrait of George W. Bush.
The huge cast is destined to yield Oscar nominations. Josh Brolin embodied Bush. He was absolutely terrific. Richard Dreyfuss (one of my all-time favourite actors) as Cheney was superb. Scott Glenn as Rumsfeld and Jeffrey Wright as Colin Powel were very good. Elizabeth Banks was enjoyable as Laura Bush.
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