“The Post” attempts high-stakes drama with history

Steven Spielberg’s “The Post” recalls a pivotal time in 1971 when Katherine Graham (Meryl Streep) invokes the First Amendment right to freedom of the press while publishing top secret government conspiracy papers in The Washington Post.  Despite threats of jail time and bankruptcy, Graham stands by her paper and the reporting.

While the First Amendment may be important here, it’s actually Graham’s role in history that strikes a weightier chord.  Unfortunately, the narrative doesn’t make the significance as apparent as it should.  It becomes necessary for Tony Bradlee (Sarah Paulson, wasted here) to spell it out.  Her job isn’t just to make it clear for her husband Ben (Tom Hanks) within the context of the movie, but for the audience as well.  And, if a movie can’t make its own point without utilizing a character for this purpose, then how successful has it really been?

“The Post” certainly attempts to create high-stakes drama and lays out the history well.  In fact, the film relies heavily on an alternating blue/yellow color palette to this end.  For more about “The Post” and how these colors are used specifically, take a look below:


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All photos courtesy of 20th Century Fox.

THE CIRCLE Review & Analysis

The Circle is based on the 2013 Dave Eggers novel of the same name.  When Mae (Emma Watson) begins working at the technology giant the Circle, she doesn’t quite believe it’s as amazing as her co-workers claim.  As she becomes more ensconced in life at the Circle, she begins to believe the company’s claims.  At the Circle’s helm is Tom Hanks, an ideal casting that capitalizes on his Every Man persona.  While we as an audience have been conditioned to trust his every word, the trust is at odds with the movie’s message.

Voyeurism and technology are the core of The Circle.  These themes have long been the subject of dystopian novels as well as Hollywood fiction.  When we’re watched, are we at our best or at our worst?  Mae thinks she behaves better knowing she’s under constant observation from the Circle’s ever-present wireless cameras. What is it that makes the concept of observation both a threat and a judge?

In a world–our world–where technology allows for a shared experience, the concept of not sharing equates to keeping secrets.  And secrets are lies.  That’s Mae’s mantra from the moment she, too, begins to buy what the Circle is selling.

For more about The Circle and other movies with similar themes, take a look below:

—>Keep in touch with Zoe Hewitt on social media @RealZoeHewitt on Twitter and Instagram.  Looking for the direct link to the video?  Click here.

INFERNO *Movie Review & Analysis*

This week I review INFERNO.  This is the third movie starring Tom Hanks as professor Robert Langdon, the character from the Dan Brown book series which includes THE DA VINCI CODE and ANGELS AND DEMONS.  There’s always a female sidekick and this time it’s Sienna, played by Felicity Jones who is probably best known for her Oscar-nominated role in THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING.  This time around, Robert Langdon is working to find the hiding place for a biological agent that will kill half of the world’s population.

On a basic level the movie was fine: the plot was clear and it was complex enough to be interesting without getting bogged down in too many details.  The music and acting were fine and the special effects were really good.  The biggest problem is that it’s the same movie as THE DA VINCI CODE and ANGELS AND DEMONS.  The book series is suffering from the same thing that the movie is and that’s that there are only so many ways to change up this theme of “professor decodes things on the run”.  In other franchises where you’re pretty much watching the same thing again and again, you get more complicated stunts or bigger explosions or intricate fight sequences.

For more about the movie, including the email address where you can email Robert Langdon directly (and get a reply) take a look at the video below:


—>Looking for the direct link to the video?  Click here.

SULLY Review & Analysis

SULLY is based on the true story of a US Airways flight that did a controlled water landing in the Hudson River on January 15, 2009.  The flight was piloted by Captain Sullenberger, affectionately known as Sully, played here by Everyman Tom Hanks.  It’s directed by Clint Eastwood and co-stars Aaron Eckhart.

A movie like this could have gone in two directions.  It easily could have become a bit of a sensationalistic disaster movie causing the audience to rethink ever boarding a plane without Sully at the helm.  Instead, it was handled more deftly and uniquely as the story of a man who was thrust into the spotlight for a single decision at the end of 42 years of flight experience.  The choice to follow the storyline in this way elevated the movie and turned it into nuanced filmmaking.  That said, there’s no doubt that this movie is solely and completely about Sully and his actions.  The bits of humanity that are injected into the passengers are the weakest point in the story.  They’re expected, right down to the mother with the baby on her lap.

The only spot that it disappointed me was Aaron Eckhart’s character, Sully’s co-pilot.  He doesn’t have a lot to say in the movie and while his acting is good, he’s more a living prop than anything else.  

Casting Tom Hanks was as expected as it was imperative.  There’s no other actor who plays Everyman as well as he does, almost to his detriment.  I believed every second of his performance, every grimace, every questioning look and every ounce of relief at hearing everyone survived.  But, it becomes difficult in separating the good acting from the actor himself.  Tom Hanks is so tied to his image and indeed his reputation of the kind Everyman that I didn’t quite known if I was watching Tom Hanks or if I was watching the most amazing performance ever. 

There’s a great scene of Tom Hanks’ Sully talking to his wife on the phone and questioning if he did the right thing in landing on the Hudson.  It’s shot with half of his face in shadow, a great bit of cinematography and direction showing exactly what he’s going through at that moment.  In fact, the entire movie is well done. 

For more about SULLY including eagle-eye details to watch for, take a look below:

—>Looking for the direct link to the video?  Click here.

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