The Post

The true story of The Washington Post’s release of the Pentagon Papers.

What’s great about The Post is, despite Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks getting top billing, it really feels like an ensemble piece showing how different members of the Washington Post’s team contributed to the story. It helps that director Steven Spielberg chose great actors like Michael Stuhlbarg and Bob Odenkirk for even the smallest of supporting roles. Everyone gets at least one scene where they’re the central character, and I love that. In addition, I appreciated how Spielberg and editors Michael Kahn & Sarah Broshar present conversations by not needing to switch back and forth between the different characters talking at several points in the film. The aspect ratio and film stock that was used to shoot the movie also give it a timely look. I highly recommend it.

All The Money In The World
The story of the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III and his mother’s attempts to save him, with his grandfather, J. Paul Getty, refusing to help pay for the ransom.

A lot of the attention around Ridley Scott’s new film has been about Christopher Plummer replacing Kevin Spacey just a month before the film’s release. Plummer did give a good performance, showing someone who was cold-hearted but didn’t scream “I’m an evil businessman”, which was something I was worried about when I saw Spacey in the original trailer. But in terms of truly great performances, Michelle Williams and Romain Duris are the most notable, the latter managing to stand out in the star-studded cast, making the kidnapper feel like a real human instead of a fictional villain. Scott and his regular DOP Dariusz Wolski give us several beautiful shots. Unfortunately, Charlie Plummer, who plays Paul Getty, isn’t given much to do, even though he really is trying with his performance, and Mark Wahlberg doesn’t bring anything different compared to past performances. The film, despite some really good scenes, suffers from many moments where the pace drags. It’s a bit of a disappointment in my opinion, given the talent and the source material.

Insidious: The Last Key

Elise Rainier returns to her childhood home when someone calls for her help.

The best thing about The Last Key for me was the design of the central monster Key Face, played by the amazing Javier Botet, and Lin Shaye is great as always. Unfortunately, everything else doesn’t work for me. The comic relief in Elise’s sidekicks Specks and Tucker is very forced and awkward, and her brother and nieces don’t get much screen time to get us to care about them. There are out-of-nowhere romances and plot reveals. We suddenly are stuck with one of Elise’s nieces, Imogen, for a decent part of the film, and the scares are very generic. If this is the last of the Insidious films (which I highly doubt, given the box office numbers), it’s a very disappointing end.

Proud Mary

A hit woman takes care of a young boy after killing his father.

Proud Mary should work, as Taraji P. Henson owns the role as the title character. Unfortunately, despite that and the 70s feel, the film is let down by mediocre direction, poor editing, and an all-around rushed feel (the film is only 1 hour and 28 minutes). We don’t get to spend much time to see how the young boy, Danny, was affected by his father’s death, as the film skips ahead one year immediately after the killing. The rest of the cast doesn’t fare much better, with even Danny Glover looking tired throughout the film. The sound mixing is also atrocious, and the use of music is strange, going from an upbeat 70’s song to a sad orchestral score within seconds. As good as it is to see a woman of color as the lead in an action film, it’s a shame it couldn’t be backed by a better script and director.