There are movies that come out all to rarely, that make the script the total star. The new western, Hostiles, is one of them. This stars Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, and they are great in concert with a real nice supporting cast. But with respect, it makes no difference. The star of this movie is the writing.
This is set in the American West in 1892. Without giving you too much info, because that's part of the magic of seeing this, this is the story of a small band of people, representing all walks of life making a long journey through the perils of the West at the time, and how they survive - together. This movie skillfully addresses every single incredible issue of the era, and the horrific experiences of the lawless west. It helps you understand from all sides the social issues of the day, and the conflict that raged within many during this painful time of history.
They may call this a "western" but it's not in the realm of Unforgiven, Wyatt Earp, or Tombstone. This is far more direct and graphic. This develops characters extremely well, and makes you feel thier emotions. It makes many great decisions on what they choose to show you and what they don't. In short, this is simply terrific.
Hostiles. Very adult, and very, very good. Not to be missed.
This is another true story that is at the movies right now, and this is way better than I thought it was going to be. This time of the year can be the junkyard of movies, but this is worth a ticket. A very good cast led by Micheal Shannon and Chris Hemsworth give us a story worth telling.
This is the recently declassified story of 12 soldiers who carried out the first real attack on the Taliban in the Middle East after 9/11. Not only are the circumstances very interesting surrounding this mission, but it had to be carried out - on horseback. And against all odds.
This gets a ton of points from me right out of the gate as it's a story we don't know, and have not seen before. The script is smart, and slick, that lets the action and pictures tell the story, plus it does develop characters well for a movie like this. I was concerned about this initially, as I wanted it to be good as we honor some very brave soldiers, and it is.
12 Strong. Lots to like here. Makes you feel good about many things.
Den Of Thieves
Here comes Gerard Butler in a new police thriller that forgets all that is possible, probable and doable in today's world. Right up front, even though this has a ton of problems, this would have been way better, as is, 30 minutes shorter. This was a pretty good idea that gets in its own way.
It's the story of a bunch of really bad guys who want to rob The Federal Reserve Bank in California, and an equally bunch of really hard nosed cops who want to stop them. There is some to like here, and I think this will find a following, but so much of this is so far fetched, son ridiculous, and much of this could never happen in today's world, what were these storytellers thinking?
Plus, there are a few story lines that have nothing at all to do with the plot, I have no idea why they bogged us down with them. This is action based, and the action is not that great to be honest. This just stumbles time after time, and becomes it's own worst enemy.
Den Of Thieves. Wait, stream or rental.
When you toss two huge stars together and have Steven Spielberg directing it, you should have a great movie. But here, you only have a good one. Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep star in the new flick, The Post.
It's based on a true story that takes place in the early 1970's, with the landmark case of the Washington Post printing deeply classified Pentagon papers, essentially proving the Vietnam War was a sham, and the government had been lying to the public for 35 years. There's a court case too, and it's basically a First Amendment movie. There is nothing really wrong here, there just should have been a lot more right.
Hanks and Streep are fine, and there a moments in this that are really moving. It's a period piece and we are transported back in time nicely. There's just something missing. I think it's the lack of really strong dialogue, instead of a bunch of average speak. It's a bit too long and a bit to - average, with a ton of potential, but that's where it ends.
The Post. Rental, or stream in a couple months.
The Darkest Hour
This is simply fantastic. And right up front, Gary Oldman gives one of the best performances I have ever seen. He stars as Winston Churchill in the incredible movie about the early and dark days of WWII in England, and his defiance of Hitler and even members of his own government.
Oldman should win about every award there is for this. It's one thing to transform and invent a fictional character for a movie. It's quite another to take on the awesome responsibility to play maybe the most important historical figure of the 20th century. Oldman is amazing, and totally unrecognizable as he becomes Churchill. In this, Churchill is real, good, fallible, and human.
The script is incredible, and the amount of dialogue that Oldman delivers is insane. And he delivers it with unmatched skill. His performance alone is not to be missed.
The Darkest Hour. Fantastic.