William Sherak

William Sherak

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Truth Review

Excellent

That generic title obscures a surprisingly complex exploration of the real-life events surrounding the fall of iconic American newscaster Dan Rather in 2004. And while the film's script is rather talky (it's like Aaron Sorkin's The Newsroom crossed with George Clooney's Good Night and Good Luck), it's strongly made point is too important to ignore. And it features yet another storming, intelligent performance from Cate Blanchett.

She plays Mary Mapes, a producer at the classic CBS news programme 60 Minutes, who just a few months before the 2004 presidential election is working on a story about incumbent George W. Bush's shady National Guard service during the Vietnam War. She has an ace team of investigators (including Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid and Elisabeth Moss), plus the nation's top news anchor Rather (Robert Redford). But after the story airs, Mary is attacked with questions about the authenticity of a series of memos that trace irregularities in Bush's service record. Her boss (Bruce Greenwood) applies plenty of pressure as the controversy gains more traction than the story itself. And the media storm that follows catches everyone by surprise.

This account is based on Mapes' own memoir about these events, which gives the film a personal, as opposed to journalistic, tone. It hints heavily at both government and corporate efforts to discredit the story, putting Mapes and her entire team in an impossible situation. The film also makes it clear that those memos were indeed real, and that the controversy was actually just misdirection. What brings this to life is the revelatory acting from the ensemble cast, led beautifully by Blanchett, who gives Mary a passion for the truth that's fuelled by her inner demons. And the entire supporting cast adds layers of wit and insight, although Redford kind of relaxes on his easy charm as the engaged, engaging Rather.

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William Sherak, James Vanderbilt , Bradley J. Fischer - Los Angeles Industry Screening of 'Truth' - Arrivals at Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills - Los Angeles, California, United States - Monday 5th October 2015

William Sherak, James Vanderbilt and Bradley J. Fischer
William Sherak, James Vanderbilt and Bradley J. Fischer
William Sherak, James Vanderbilt and Bradley J. Fischer

William Sherak, Adam Lilling, Greg Silverman and Jamie Patricof - Celebrating the launch of SHYP (shyp.com) held at a private residence in Beverly Hills at Beverly Hills - Los Angeles, California, United States - Wednesday 20th May 2015

William Sherak, Adam Lilling, Greg Silverman and Jamie Patricof
Jamie Patricof, Kely Sawyer Patricof and William Sherak

The Burrowers Review


Very Good
Though it's been compared to the 1987 creature feature cum comedy flick Tremors, J. T. Petty's The Burrowers is a subtler, creepier effort that is rewarding both as a horror film and a period piece.

Ostensibly a Lovecraftian creature flick set in 1870s Dakota Territories, the film's monster plot is housed in a gorgeous Malick-like picture of homesteaders and Indians lost and wandering in the vastness of the American plains. And while it might have been tempting to get all political, the film eschews rough ideology for sweeping vistas, rugged men, tribal mythologies, and downright creepy flesh-dissolving grasshopper men.

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Harold Review


Bad
Late in the inept comedy Harold, the title character (Spencer Breslin) arrives at a friend's house, and the pal's father comes to the front door. A close-up lingers on the dad as if to say "Check it out, a really fun cameo!" The only problem is we have no idea who this actor is. And that's because he's not an actor -- he's the director's brother. If you think putting an unknown sibling in a movie is funny, stick around.

Despite Harold being remarkably amateurish, the concept is there, as you'd expect from a long-time Saturday Night Live veteran like director/co-writer T. Sean Shannon. A teenage kid named Harold has a bizarre case of early baldness and an attitude to match. He dresses horribly, walks with a hunched, old-man shuffle, and loves Murder, She Wrote. He's a cranky version of 14 Going on 74.

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Bangkok Dangerous Review


Bad
Oh brother, here we go again. A professional killer, years into his callous career, suddenly develops a conscience. He decides to take a shady street kid who has already proven to be naïve and unreliable under his wing. Vowing to end his life of secret crime, he commits to one more series of deadly assassinations. With each murder, he finds himself more and more lost. When the last hit goes pear-shaped, he must defend his honor while deciding whether it is better to be the highly paid hunter, or the common everyday prey. Oh yeah, and for an added maudlin effect, there's a deaf girl love interest who makes the hitman pine even harder for that elusive, simple life.

Why the Pang brothers (Danny and Oxide) wanted to remake their 1999 cult favorite Bangkok Dangerous into a mindless, droning Hollywood hack job has only one viable answer -- the interest of former Oscar winner/current paycheck casher Nicolas Cage to play the lead. As Joe, we are treated to Method mediocrity, the kind of performance that finds our systematic slayer following strict protocols and certain succinct rules as a substitute for depth or actual personal dimension.

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The Messengers Review


Bad
While the marketing may seem enticing, The Messengers is nothing more than a run-of-the-mill haunted house movie, and a poorly made one at that. Columbia/Screen Gems would have you believe it's all about gifted children with supernatural visions (a la The Sixth Sense), but this slow-mover is aimed squarely at teens that get their chills from the Grudge movies -- American or Japanese, either will do.

A murdered family sadly haunts the home in which they met their demise, wreaking havoc on the life and mental state of a teenage girl, as she and her baby brother are the only ones that can see these not-so-grisly apparitions. Why can't their parents (Dylan McDermott and Penelope Ann Miller) catch a glimpse? That's not explained -- if it were, there might have been more meat on these bare bones.

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Darkness Falls Review


Terrible
The title Darkness Falls is incomplete. Several other things fall as this 76 minute monstrosity lumbers along, including (but not limited to) your hopes, your interest level, and finally, your eyelids.

Actually, Darkness Falls is the name of a small Maine town that's cursed by a vengeful spirit. One hundred years prior, Matilda Dixon played tooth fairy for the community's little ones. For her troubles, Dixon was hanged from the gallows and burnt to a crisp on the charge of suspicion when two children disappeared. From that point on, Dixon's ghost has haunted the youth of Darkness Falls, claiming their baby teeth in the dead of night.

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William Sherak

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William Sherak Movies

Truth Movie Review

Truth Movie Review

That generic title obscures a surprisingly complex exploration of the real-life events surrounding the fall...

Harold Movie Review

Harold Movie Review

Late in the inept comedy Harold, the title character (Spencer Breslin) arrives at a friend's...

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Bangkok Dangerous Movie Review

Bangkok Dangerous Movie Review

Oh brother, here we go again. A professional killer, years into his callous career, suddenly...

The Messengers Movie Review

The Messengers Movie Review

While the marketing may seem enticing, The Messengers is nothing more than a run-of-the-mill haunted...

Darkness Falls Movie Review

Darkness Falls Movie Review

The title Darkness Falls is incomplete. Several other things fall as this 76 minute monstrosity...

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