Tag: Jessica Chastain


Miss Sloane

November 16th, 2016 — 1:08am

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This is an exciting and engrossing drama about the dark world of government lobbying. Just as James Bond is not based on a real-life character, it is possible that some version of Mr. Bond or Ms. Sloane’s story might really have occurred. In the case of this movie, we are given a view of what could happen when high-powered lobbying firms are hired to battle over pending government legislation on gun control. Would it surprise you to learn that perhaps in such a situation “anything goes”? We meet a very determined, perhaps brilliant woman, Madeline Sloane (Jessica Chastain) who not only desperately wants to see her client triumph with winning legislation but will do just about anything to get the United States Senate votes needed to accomplish her goal.

As is the case with any good movie, there are twists and turns that you will not see coming but which will add to your appreciation of the film. There are some excellent performances by Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alison Pill, Michael Stuhlbarg, Sam Waterston and John Lithgow. However, the main focus is on Jessica Chastain and she certainly does deliver. We heard that this actress met with a dozen female lobbyists in preparation for this part and picked their brains to master this role. She also copied their black nail polish that several of them did use. We were certainly mesmerized by this character but being students of psychic determinism, we would have liked more insight into the background that made Ms. Sloane tick.

The story behind the making of this movie is quite intriguing. We met the screen writer who created the story. This is Jonathan Perera who graduated law school in England and after working for a few years as an attorney to pay his school debts, he took a job teaching English in China and then in Korea for a total of two years. It was in this somewhat isolated setting on his own, he conceived and wrote this, his first script which was picked up and set up to be made into this major movie directed by veteran filmmaker, John Madden. This is a remarkable accomplishment and we expect to see many more films by this talented writer. The film is two hours and 12 minutes but time will fly which is the sign of a very good movie, (2016).

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama

The Martian

February 20th, 2016 — 11:52pm

Screen Shot 2016-02-20 at 8.48.35 AM****

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We were late in catching up with this highly acclaimed film and decided to watch it on television at home “on demand?” As we were starting to view it, SB commented, “Isn’t it going to be boring watching an entire movie of a guy stranded alone on Mars.” It is a fair question but you obviously know the answer since as of this moment the film has won golden globe awards for best picture and best actor for Matt Damon and then seven Academy Award nominations.

Veteran director Ridley Scott worked with a very skillful production team that used special effects, green screen, and reproduced Mars in a studio in Budapest and in the desert in Jordan. The screenplay by Drew Goddard was based on a first novel by Andy Weir. Anyone with a knowledge of the outer space exploration would have heard of the Goddard Space Center named after Robert H. Goddard the father of rocketry. We haven’t been able to find out if Mr. Drew Goddard is connected in any way to the space pioneer although we see he grew up in Los Alamos which is known for nuclear research as well as space research. Maybe there is an unconscious connection.

Of course the star of the film is Matt Damon who plays the stranded astronaut Mark Watney who is left behind on Mars because his crew thought he was killed in a big Martian storm. He becomes our hero. We root for him. You will get caught in his plight and the 2-hour and 24-minute movie will fly by. You will see lots of familiar faces who do a great job in their respective supporting roles. These includes Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor (remember him from 12 Years A Slave) and many other fine actors. It is of note that we hear barely one sentence about who the lost astronaut is connected to back on earth and who he yearns to see if he makes it back home.

The underlying attraction of this very well done film is that it captures the human spirit. It is summed up in the song played at the end of the film by Gloria Gaynor recorded in 1978. Listen to it , catch the line at the beginning about being back from outer space, buy the song on iTunes and go see the film. Click here to hear the song – and then click the first video screen(2015)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama

Zero Dark Thirty

January 8th, 2013 — 11:44pm

****

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The last time Director Katherine Bigelow and Screenwriter Mark Boal collaborated they made the Hurt Locker which was one of the finest war  films we have ever seen. Since the subject matter this time was the story of the tracking down and killing of Osama ben Laden, it seemed like a natural for them to duplicate their great work.  They ended up doing a very good  job but in our opinion it wasn’t a “repeat”. They initially tug on our emotions by starting the film with frantic phone calls coming from the doomed World Trade Center on 9/11. We then are exposed to the United States  waterboarding suspects who might lead us to Osama ben Laden. This element while uncomfortable to watch, may not be telling the complete story in regard to how key this was to what was to come. The film centers around Maya (Jessica Chastain) a CIA agent who doggedly persists when all the other CIA honchos have their doubts including Leon Panetta CIA director (James Gandelfini)  We are told in the credits that she is a real person who can’t be identified since she is still an active agent. It is too bad that we couldn’t know anything substantial about her other than to watch her determination  despite no one believing her. Nevertheless Ms Chastain carries the film with her riveting portrayal of this American heroine. There also was a great deal of mumbo jumbo on the radio, agents talking back and forth, numerous Arab names mentioned as suspects or people who might have known people. You were never really given enough information to appreciate who they were and what role they played. We also never really get to know the numerous CIA agents, Bureau Chiefs, operatives or whatever. Even the Navy Seal team stays a team and they all blend together in their military fatigues and being viewed through night vision goggles. We will admit that the 2 hours and 40 minutes did go by quite quickly and it was exciting to watch the attack on the compound. It was quite authentic and you felt and thought you were there.  If the real Maya ever writes a memoir, we will be sure to read it and get to know what she was really like and how she brought about the slaying of this dragon. (2012)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Action, Drama, History

The Debt

August 4th, 2011 — 6:53pm

*****

The Debt-sp – When you start with a plot that has the Israeli mossad tracking down the “Surgeon of Birkenau”  who is in East Berlin working as a fertility gynecologist, you can be pretty sure that you are going to have an exciting movie. Then when you have veteran Academy Award winning actress Helen Mirren  playing the lead along with Jessica Chastain,  an engaging new  actress who has starred in several movies which are coming out over a six month period, it becomes obvious that this is a movie which also deserves your attention. These two outstanding actresses are complimented by Tom Wilkinson, Marton Csokas, Ciaran Hinds and Sam Worthngton  This is a film that will not disappoint. It is thriller with fast action, great tension along with a story that you may think you understand but it will take you for ride and challenge you in an  ethical dilemma which the characters eventually face. Director John Madden expects the audience to be alert and you may miss a few fine points of the plot but in the end you come away still thinking about the story and the repercussions of it. What else can you ask for? (2011)

Comment » | 5 Stars, Action, Drama, Thriller

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