Gov. Nathan Deal’s trade mission to Hollywood in 2015 evidently continues to reap benefits. Deal announced the film industry generated $9.5 billion of economic impact for the fiscal year that ended June 30. That’s up from the $7 billion in economic impact for the previous fiscal year.
To be absolutely blunt about it, “Their Finest” is one of the finest films of the year thus far.
The title is a play on Winston Churchill’s famous, “This was their finest hour” speech, which he made to Parliament in 1940 as a way to rally the British and strengthen their resolve to finish off Hitler and his Nazis.
In “Tommy’s Honour,” the greatest hazard facing Tommy Morris – the 19th-century golf prodigy who won the equivalent of the British Open four times before he turned 21 – wasn’t sand traps or rough weather. It was the wretchedly rigid class system which decreed, no matter how well he did on the course, off the course he wasn’t a gentleman and thereby ineligible for acceptance into the inner circle at Scotland’s august St. Andrews. The highest he could aspire to was being a caddy.
“Get Out” pulls off a pretty impressive balancing act. It is simultaneously funny as all get out and scary as all get out.
The brainchild of Jordan Peele (best known as the shorter half of the Peele and Key comedy duo), “Get Out” has been hanging on in theaters for weeks now. No wonder. It’s an eminently satisfying film, combining sharp social satire with a horror flick’s incremental sense of dread.
It’s one thing to buy a zoo, as Matt Damon did in the 2011 movie. It’s quite another to keep the remnants of a zoo up and running after the Nazis have goose-stepped into Poland, as Jessica Chastain does in “The Zookeeper’s Wife.”
Based on a true story, the movie follows the quiet heroics of Antonina and Jan Zabinski (Chastain and Johan Heldenbergh). Not only did they do their best to keep the few animals that survived the initial Nazi invasion alive; they also used their decimated zoo as a means to hide Jews who’d escaped the infamous Warsaw Ghetto.
Kristin Stewart and her cell phone co-star in “Personal Shopper,” a ghost story for the cyber age. Since Stewart always looks slightly haunted, you could almost say it’s typecasting.
However, the typecasting here is of a different sort. As she did in “The Clouds of Sils Maria,” Stewart is again playing the personal assistant to a powerful woman. But while the core of “Sils Maria” was the give-and-take between her and Juliette Binoche (the self-absorbed actor who employs her), the boss in “Personal Shopper” is more a plot device than anything else. This movie is all about Stewart; thankfully, she’s such an intriguing actor, she can handle it.
Recently, there was a full-page ad for “Lion” in the Sunday New York Times. Given that the film has been nominated for six Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress, this isn’t especially surprising.
What is surprising is, instead of the usual critics’ quotes, the ad features ringing endorsements from former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and UNICEF.
“Patriots Day” is apparently what locals call the day of the Boston Marathon.
It also makes a most fitting title for this tautly told movie about the Boston Marathon everyone remembers: The one in 2013 when a pair of bombs went off near the finish line, killing three and injuring over 250.
Despite all the bad stuff we experienced (reel and real), 2016 deserves respect for bringing so many important – and often little-known – true stories to the screen. Among them, “Free State of Jones,” “Jackie,” “Loving,” “Hacksaw Ridge,” “Whiskey Tango Foxtrot,” “Sully,” “Snowden,” “Masterminds,” and “The Birth of a Nation.”
Now add to that list the very affecting (and effective) “Hidden Figures,” about some African-American math whizzes who were crucial to NASA in the early ‘60s. Given that NASA was still stationed in Langley, Va., and Virginia still had strictly enforced segregation laws, this was not business as usual.