Vice is a biographical comedy/drama written and directed by Adam McKay. It is the second theatrical film to depict the presidency of George W. Bush, following Oliver Stone’s “W” and the third collaboration between Bale and Adams, following The Fighter and American Hustle. The plot follows Cheney in his pursuit to become the most powerful Vice President in American history. All I can say is, this film is brilliant and well put together and true.
**** SOILERS ****
Vice is narrated by Kurt (Jesse Plemons), a fictitious veteran of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars and opens with Dick Cheney (Christian Bale) along with White House officials responding to the September 11 attacks. The film then flashes back to Wyoming, 1963, where Cheney finds work as a lineman but struggles with alcoholism, which led him to drop out of Yale. After a traffic cop stopped Cheney for driving while intoxicated, his wife Lynne Cheney (Amy Adams) convinces him to clean up his life, using powerful verbiage and ultimatums. The film then flashes forward to 1969 when Cheney finds work as a White House intern during the Nixon Administration. Working under Nixon’s economic advisor Donald Rumsfeld (Steve Carell), Cheney becomes a savvy political operative as he juggles commitments to Lynne and his two daughters Liz (Lily Rabe) and Mary Cheney (Alison Pill). While working at the White House, Cheney overhears Henry Kissinger (Kirk Bovill) discussing the secret bombing of Cambodia with President Richard Nixon (himself on film), which revealed the true power of the executive branch. Rumsfeld’s abrasive attitude leads to a suddal detachment between the two men from Nixon that worked in their favor; after Nixon’s resignation, Cheney rises to the position of White House Chief of Staff under President Gerald Ford (Bill Camp) while Rumsfeld becomes Secretary of Defense.
After Ford is voted out of office, Cheney runs to be representative for Wyoming. After giving an awkward and uncharismatic campaign speech, Cheney suffers his first heart attack. While he recovers, Lynne campaigns on her husband’s behalf, helping him to win a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. During the Reagan Administration, Cheney supports a raft of conservative, pro-business policies favoring the fossil fuel industries. Cheney next serves as Secretary of Defense under President George H. W. Bush (Sam Rockwell) during the Gulf War. Outside of politics, Cheney and Lynne come to terms with their younger daughter Mary coming out as gay. Though Cheney develops ambitions to run for president, he decides to retire from public life to spare Mary from media scrutiny.
During the presidency of Bill Clinton, Cheney becomes the CEO of Halliburton while his wife Lynne raises golden retrievers and writes books. A false epilogue claims that Cheney lived the rest of his life healthy and happy in the private sector and the credits roll, only for the film to continue. Cheney is invited to become running mate to George W. Bush during the 2000 United States presidential election. Recognizing that the younger Bush is more interested in pleasing his father than attaining power for himself, Cheney agrees on the condition that Bush delegates “mundane” executive responsibilities like energy and foreign policy to him. As Vice President, Cheney works with Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, legal counsel David Addington (Don McManus) and Chief of Staff Scooter Libby (Justin Kirk) to exercise control of key foreign policy and defense decisions throughout Washington.
I especially enjoyed Vice because I am sort of a political junky. I th0ught Vice was well thought out and outlined Cheney’s agenda as close to the truth as possible. For those who are not that political, Vice was easy to understand and delivered it’s message for all to process. 44 year old Christian Bale had to gain 40 pounds for the role of Cheney and was barely recognizable. I’ve provided a picture of the transformation from Bale to Cheney — now that’s dedication. I think Vice is worth seeing, you will learn a lot of not so good historical events such as the rise of the Islamic State of Iraq, caused by Cheney. There is also a monologue at the end of the film you wouldn’t want to miss. Vice will probably be nominated for an Oscar. Check it Out!
[Vice is Oscar nominated for BEST: Picture, Supporting Actress, Actor, Supporting Actor, Director, Original Screenplay, Makeup and Hairstyling and Best Film Editing]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS, STREAMING
Tagged adam barley, aidan gail, alex macnicoll, alfred molina, alison pill, amy adams, antonin scalia, Bill Camp, cailee spaeny, christian bale, colin powell, colyse harger, condoleezza rice, david addinton, dick cheney, don mcmanus, donald rumsfeld, eddie marsan, edna vincent, fay materson, frank luntz, george tenet, george w bush, gerald ford, henry kissinger, jesse plemons, jillian armenante, joan, joseph beck, justin kirk, karen hughes, karl rove, kirk bovill, kurt, lily rabe, lisa Gay Hamilton, liz cheney, lynne cheney, mary cheney, matthew jacobs, naomi watts, paul perri, paul wolfowitz, sam rockwell, scooter libby, shea whigham, stefania lavie owens, stephen adly guirgis, steve carell, trent lott, tyler perry, vice, violet hicks, wayne vincent
The Book of Henry is drama directed by Colin Trevorrow and written by Gregg Hurwitz. The Book of Henry is about an 11 year old genius who has taken on the role of an adult including concocting a plan to save a young girl living next door from abuse. This film is not what the title implies but instead a beautiful story with multiply messages that says a whole lot about our society, our youth and gives us insight into some real soul searching.
The Book of Henry takes place in a small suburban town called Hudson Valley, where an 11-year-old boy genius named Henry Carpenter (Jaeden Lieberher) and his younger brother, Peter (Jacob Tremblay), are being raised by their single mother, Susan, (Naomi Watts) a waitress who is also working on writing children’s picture books. Henry uses his intellect to invest in the stock market and has built up a very substantial portfolio for his family. Henry is also very close to his brother, protecting him from the school bully as well as building Rube Goldberg machines in their tree house. Henry doesn’t have a whole lot of friends but is fond of his next-door neighbor, who is also his classmate, Christina Sickleman, (Maddie Ziegler) who he noticed has recently become withdrawn. One day, while looking through his bedroom window, Henry discovers the reason for Christina’s mood change. She is being abused by her stepfather, Glenn Sickleman, (Dean Norris) who is also the local police commissioner. Henry reports the abuse to social services and the school principal, Mrs. Wilder (Tonya Pinkins) but Glenn has connections throughout the local government, and Principal Wilder is reluctant to challenge the commissioner without “conclusive evidence”. Henry is unable to get the authorities to launch a serious investigation that would protect Christina but keeps a red notebook in which he documents his thoughts, somewhat like a diary.
From this point on, The book of Henry takes on a whole different approach with a turn of events you’ll never see coming. This film flew way under the radar and most likely, in real life, never would have happened the way it’s portrayed in this movie. The message is so profound I think it’s worth seeing by any means. More than how it all comes together, it shows us how we, as a people, react in a situation when we should step up or get involved but let our fears hold us back. This film is thought provoking, informative, inspirational, inspiring and emotional. Most of all, The Book of Henry had a somewhat satisfying ending that made it all worth seeing. You can get this film on DVD and Blu-Ray — Check it Out! You won’t be sorry.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged christina sickleman, dean norris, glenn sickleman, henry carpenter, jacob tremblay, jaeden lieberher, maddie ziegler, mrs. wilder, naomi watts, peter, susan, the book of henry, tonya pinkins
Confusing is not the word for the new category of “the world has ended” movies. Usually the youth are shut out, which causes them to fight the older population for any information that can lead to their freedom and a better functioning world. Their goal is a world that will allow them the right to make their own decisions with less stringent rules and a more flexible future for all. Included in these world ending series where people are also categorized by class, is the Maze Runner/Scorch Trails, The Hunger Games trilogy, Tomorrowland, The Giver, District 9 and Elysium. I found myself getting confused and overlapping stories, making Divergent and Maze Runner fitting nicely together as one story. Having pointed out Hollywood’s new obsession, let me add that it isn’t all bad. While these movies are dealing with similar themes, some are doing it better than others. I like the Maze Runner series better than the Divergent series. I found the Hunger Games to be a little over the top, given the ending. In this third installment of the Divergent series, we find Tris (Shailene Woodley) and Four (Theo James) along with her brother Caleb (Ansel Elgort) and Peter (Miles Teller) running away from their home. No one is allowed to approach the wall which is heavily secured by members of Evelyn’s (Naomi Watts) coalition. However, they manage to get through and are greeted by an unknown army. The soldiers take the them to the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, a highly advanced city where they learn the truth about their society. Many years ago, the government believed that society’s problems were caused by “bad genes”. In an attempt to create a better society, they began to modify people’s genes, with disastrous results. The government set up “experiments” in an attempt to repair this mistake, establishing isolated cities across the remains of the United States. The hope was to raise enough genetically pure Divergent individuals to fix the “genetic damage” left in the wake of the Purity War. The bureau is headed up by David (Jeff Daniels) who deems Tris to be a pure Divergent and is therefore suited to help him get funding from the council he reports to in order to extend his experiments that will ultimately include the destruction of Chicago. Of course there is much more going on, but as usual, I don’t want to give away any more of the plot. Allegiant concludes with some very good turn of events. In my opinion, Allegiant is the best of the trilogy. The director (Robert Schwentke) ties events together quite nicely bringing good closure to this final sequel. Great acting and great special effects. There’s lots of adventure and the story is interesting and will keep you guessing.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged allegiant, ansel elgort, caleb, chicago, david, divergent, Evelyn, four, jeff daniels, miles teller, naomi watts, peter, shailene woodley, theo james, tris
Birdman tells a powerful story about a has been, washed up actor who was renown as a super hero called The Birdman. Michael Keaton (The Birdman/Riggan Thomas) played the heck out of this role. Riggan, a father and divorcee is feeling the pain of age and abandonment of a once robust and exciting crowd, known as his world, and so decides to show the world that after 20 years, he’s not washed up but a big time Broadway theater director putting on a play of the short story, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love” that was written over 60 years ago. Everything was going south, mostly because he hadn’t cast a good enough actor in the lead role. In comes Ed Norton, who saves the day with his super talented acting abilities. Of course, extraordinary comes with a price. Between Riggen’s screw-up of a daughter (Sam) played by Emma Stone, the critic (Tabitha) played by Lindsay Duncan, who could render his play it’s doomsday exit on the very first day and Ed Norton’s shenanigans, Riggan has his hands full — perhaps more full than he can handle. Birdman is an extremely well acted movie with a touch of crazy that makes for an entertaining day at the cinema. Naomi Watts (Lesley) gave a brilliant performance as the love interest for Ed Norton and the lead actress in the play. I don’t want to reveal anything that would be considered a spoiler so I’ll just say the ending was my only pet peeve. Things were not clear enough for me but I loved that I could use my imagination. It’s possible that Birdman could get an Oscar nod. Since this movie has flown under the radar, it’ll be out on DVD soon. Pick it up and see what I’m talking about — it’s worth your time.
[BIRDMAN is nominated for Best Picture, Best Directing, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, Best Actress, Sound Editing, Cinematography, Sound Mixing, Original Screenplay (writing)]
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged birdman, broadway, critic, director, ed norton, emma stone, has been, lesley, lindsay duncan, michael keaton, naomi watts, play, riggan, sam, tabitha