Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House (2017)

Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House
Director: Peter Landesman
Writer: Peter Landesman
Based on: Mark Felt‘s autobiography (written with John O’Connor)
Cast: Liam Neeson, Diane Lane, Marton Csokas, Tony Goldwyn, Ike Barinholtz, Josh Lucas, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Kate Walsh, Brian d’Arcy James, Maika Monroe, Michael C. Hall, Tom Sizemore, Julian Morris, Bruce Greenwood, Noah Wyle, Eddie Marsan
Seen on: 15.11.2017
1-gif-review

Plot:
Mark Felt (Liam Neeson) expected to be promoted to the head of the FBI when J. Edgar Hoover stepped down. Instead FBI outsider L. Patrick Gray (Marton Csokas) is. But even though he feels resentful about being passed over, it’s Gray’s handling of one of his first cases – a surveillance operation based, apparently, on unofficial orders from the White House – that really sours things for Felt. He decides to bring the information about the Watergate case anonymously. to the public.

Mark Felt: The Man Who Brought Down the White House shows that spying and whistle-blowing can be absolutely boring affairs. So boring, it’s astounding. I am honestly still in a state of disbelief how that happened.

Continue reading

Re-Watch: Alive (1993)

Alive
Director: Frank Marshall
Writer: John Patrick Shanley
Based on: Piers Paul Read‘s book Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors
Cast: Ethan HawkeVincent SpanoJosh HamiltonBruce RamsayJohn NewtonDavid KriegelKevin BreznahanIlleana Douglas, Josh Lucas
Seen on: 6.1.2015

Plot:
A Uruguayan rugby team is on its way to Chile for a game. But as they fly over the Andes, their plane is experiencing trouble and they crash. Those who are not killed instantly face intense cold, hunger and still have to deal with the injured. As more and more time passes, it becomes increasingly less likely that a rescue mission can find them – they will have to save themselves.

I saw Alive when I was a kid and I was deeply impressed by it and the story back then. So I wanted to revisit it 20 years later to see if it still holds up to scrutiny. The result is rather mixed.

alive Continue reading

Boychoir (2014)

Boychoir
Director: François Girard
Writer: Ben Ripley
Cast: Garrett Wareing, Dustin HoffmanKathy BatesEddie Izzard, Josh Lucas, Debra Winger, Kevin McHale, Joe West
Seen on: 9.9.2015

Plot:
Stet (Garrett Wareing) comes from a difficult family background that turns even more difficult when his mother suddenly dies. His biological father Gerard (Josh Lucas) has no interest whatsoever in him. Pressured by Stet’s school principal Ms Steele (Debra Winger) who sees a singing talent in Stet, Gerard does take him to a school famous for its boy choir and makes Stet’s admittance happen with the help of a generous donation. There Stet starts to train with Master Carvelle (Dustin Hoffman) who demands much of his students but also gets results.

Boychoir wasn’t exactly a bad film, but from a pedagogical stand-point it is highly questionable. So questionable, in fact, that I couldn’t really enjoy the film anymore. But at least the music is pretty.

Boychoir

[SPOILERS] Continue reading

Little Accidents (2014)

Little Accidents
Director: Sara Colangelo
Writer: Sara Colangelo
Cast: Boyd HolbrookElizabeth BanksJacob LoflandJosh LucasChloë Sevigny
Part of: Viennale

Plot:
Amos (Boyd Holbrook) is the only survivor of a coal mining accident that wreaked havoc in a small town. Among the victims that didn’t survive was Owen’s (Jacob Lofland) father. Owen and Amos both are desperately trying to make sense of things and go back to normal, Amos despite his injuries and the fact that the decision about re-compensation hinges on his testimony. Also on the line is mine manager’s Bill Doyle’s (Josh Lucas) career, another strain on his marriage to Diane (Elizabeth Banks). When their son JT (Travis Tope) goes missing, it is unclear whether there is a connection to the disaster.

Little Accidents was a beautiful and touching film with a few weaknesses, but only very few.

little-accidents

Continue reading

J. Edgar (2011)

J. Edgar
Director: Clint Eastwood
Writer: Dustin Lance Black
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Armie Hammer, Judi Dench, Naomi Watts, Dermot Mulroney, Josh Lucas, Zach Grenier, Jeffrey Donovan, Lea Thompson, Ed Westwick, Stephen Root

Plot:
John Edgar Hoover (Leonardo DiCaprio) dreams of a bureau of invesitgations that is based on scientific principles and used against the bolshevik threat he sees for the country. He gets his chance to start such a bureau and with the help of his trusted secretary Helen Gandy (Naomi Watts) and his soon to be second in command/love of his life Clyde Tolson (Armie Hammer) he is soon very successful. But once risen to power, Edgar clings to it desperately, not caring much for concerns like legality.

I really liked this movie very much and nobody is as surprised about it as I am. I mean, a Clint Eastwood movie that’s not boring? How did that happen?

Continue reading

The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

The Lincoln Lawyer is Brad Furman‘s adaptation of Michael Connelly‘s novel, written by John Romano, starring Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy, Josh Lucas, John Leguizamo, Michael Peña and Bryan Cranston.

Plot:
Mick Haller (Matthew McConaughey) is pretty much the definition of a sleazy lawyer. But then he takes on the defense of Louis Roulet (Ryan Phillippe), a rich kid accused of murder. Together with his best friend, private detective Frank Levin (William H. Macy) he digs into the particulars of the case. Pretty soon he discovers that the story Louis is telling can’t be quite true – and there might be a connection to one of Mick’s old cases.

The Lincoln Lawyer is basically the cinematical equivalent of fast food. There’s some nurtitional value to it, it will satisfy your hunger – but only for a little while. Is it a culinary delight? Well, no. But it does its job without leaving much behind, good or bad.

Continue reading

The Deep End (2001)

The Deep End is a movie by Scott McGehee and David Siegel, starring Tilda Swinton, Goran Visnjic and Jonathan Tucker.

Plot:
Margaret Hall (Tilda Swinton) is worried: her son Beau (Jonathan Tucker) has an affair with night club owner Darby Reese (Josh Lucas). Not willing to discuss his sexuality with her son, Margaret rather goes to Darby and tells him to stay away. But Darby goes to Beau anyway and the two guys get into a fight. After Beau leaves, Darby stumbles and dies. The next morning, Margaret finds his body, assumes that Beau has killed Darby and decides to cover it all up. But things are far from over: Alek (Goran Visnjic) turns up and tells Margaret that he has evidence of the affair between Darby and Beau and he tries to extort her with that knowledge.

The Deep End is a thriller, noir style. That’s not really the kind of thing I usually like. But even if it was, it still would only be an average film with a mixed cast, some logical fallacies and problems with the pacing. If you like thrillers, I guess you could do worse, but it’s not a must-see.

[Minor Spoilers]

Continue reading