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Tracing the rocky creation of Citizen Kane, David Fincher’s superb drama may actually win more Oscars than the legendary film it’s about.
While Gary Oldman is top-drawer as boozy screenwriter Herman Mankiewicz, the best performances can be found out around the edges.
Arliss Howard is a wily weasel as studio boss Louis Mayer, while the very-underrated Amanda Seyfried soars as actress Marion Davies, a box office star whose career was tainted by unfair comparisons to an untalented Kane character.
Ultimately kinder, and smarter, than her companions, she’s the bright, beating heart in an otherwise icy affair.
He is not at peace.
Not with himself. Not with the world. And definitely not with God.
Racked with guilt over his son’s death, an alcoholic who openly questions his faith, the preacher played by Ethan Hawke is a man unmoored.
No one seems to be listening to him, and he struggles to find the hope necessary to rekindle his belief.
So, not a lot of laughs, this one.
Unflinching, in tone and when the preacher wraps himself in barbed wire, this is writer/director Paul Schrader, he of Taxi Driver fame, delivering another beautifully-harsh assessment on the burden of sin.
Open your heart.
Approach this jukebox musical, or ABBA, with the slightest bit of cynicism, and you’re in for a slog.
Thankfully, a lot of folks seem to get the appeal of the Swedish super group, which makes my own love easier to admit.
Here, their music fuels the (admittedly paper-thin) tale of a young woman — Amanda Seyfried at her most winsome — trying to track the identity of her father.
Mamma Mia redefines light ‘n frothy, but that’s not a bad thing.
It has a good beat, and you can dance to it, and sometimes that’s more than enough.