1) OUR BRAND IS CRISIS (R)
Sandra Bullock and Billy Bob Thornton star in “Our Brand is Crisis” a fictionalized political satire based on the 2002 Bolivian election. In that contest, consultants from the U.S. were imported to implement American-style political dirty tricks to help a wealthy businessman defeat the socialist candidate.
And Billy Bob Thorton and Sandra Bullock are terrific. And the subject matter is fascinating. Both get my vote. But the execution, well that's a different story. Which is too bad because this really is an intriguing story hampered by poor execution.
The cast is appealing and the movie has moments that hit the satiric bull’s-eye, but director David Gordon Green doesn’t seem to have the right touch for this sort of acerbic, cynical comedy, so the tone is all over the place. “Our Brand is Chaos” would have been the better title.
It isn't chaotic. But it does waste a perfect opportunity to dig deeper. Here's the catch-22. The movie relies heavily on Sandra Bullock and she doesn't disappoint but it's also the movie's weakness that she carries the load. Lost in all of this are two terrific performances by
Anthony Mackie and Ann Dowd. Really wanted more of them. If the plot were more focused "Our Brand Is Crisis" would have been one for the people. As it stands not sure this one get a majority of the electric.
RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 3 Popcorn Bags
2) TRUTH (R)
What is truth? After seeing the movie “Truth,” you probably won’t still know the answer. “Truth” is a compelling but troubling adaptation of journalist Mary Mapes’ book about her ill-fated experience at CBS News.
Actually "Truth" is a mess. It takes a fascinating story and makes it terribly boring. And it's one-sided structure dilutes any potential "Truth" had to be a hard-hitting drama.
Cate Blanchett gives an impassioned performance as Mapes, whose career came to a screeching halt after a botched story questioning the military service record of George W. Bush. Her missteps led to career ruin for Dan Rather, played with stoic dignity by Robert Redford. It’s fascinating, but somehow lacks the honest introspection “Truth” demands.
I found the acting stilted and forced. Cate Blanchett fairs better than Robert Redford who was never believable as Dan Rather.
RUSS: 3 Popcorn Bags
SHAWN: 2 Popcorn Bags
ALSO OPENING THIS WEEK:
-"Burnt" is a comedy about a nasty rock star chef. Bradley Cooper stars.
- “A Ballerina’s Tale” is a documentary about Misty Copeland, the KC born African American woman who became principal dancer with the American Ballet Theater.
-“The Second Mother” is an acclaimed Brazilian drama about a girl, raised by relatives, who is reunited with her birth mother.
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