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.
Continue reading: Truth Review
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, 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
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.
Continue reading: The Burrowers Review
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.
Continue reading: Harold Review
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.
Continue reading: Bangkok Dangerous Review
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.
Continue reading: The Messengers Review
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.
Continue reading: Darkness Falls Review
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The title Darkness Falls is incomplete. Several other things fall as this 76 minute monstrosity...