Before the Age of Exploitation

Christine (2017) D: Antonio Campos. W: Craig Shilowich. DP: Joe Anderson. Starring: Rebecca Hall/Michael C. Hall/Tracey Letts/Maria Dizzia/J. Smith-Cameron/Timothy Simons/Kim Shaw/John Cullum. Last month saw some sleeper releases. Hidden gems amid the flurry of Oscars season. With heads clearing from Sunday night’s madness we might be finally able to get back into what’s on at…

One Mean Burger

The Founder (2017) D: John Lee Hancock. W: Robert D. Seigel. DP: John Schwartzman. Starring: Michael Keaton/Nick Offerman/John Carroll Lynch/Laura Dern/B.J. Novak/Patrick Wilson/Linda Cardellini. The anti-hero roles for Michael Keaton continue with his new turn as McDonald’s Corporation founder Ray Kroc in the film The Founder. Even if you are ignorant of the bulldozing story…

The Presidential Widow

Jackie (2017) D: Pablo Lorraín. W: Noah Oppenheim. DP: Stéphanie Fontaine. Starring: Natalie Portman/Billy Crudup/Peter Sarsgaard/Greta Gerwig/John Hurt/Richard E. Grant/Caspar Phillipson/Beth Grant/John Carroll Lynch. As we head into the Academy Awards this weekend it cannot be denied that this cinematic year has included many heavy hitters. Part of this community is Jackie. The film is…

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A First Lady Film

The trailer of the moment seems to be the new Jackie Kennedy biopic merely titled Jackie. From Chilean director Pablo Lorrain, Jackie stars Oscar winner (for Black Swan) Natalie Portman in what looks to be an operatically creative profile of the iconic first lady. Hitting all the high profile festivals, the film will bow in the theaters in…

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Another Boxing Movie

Here we go again. From humdrum to hero and against all odds here is Miles Teller (The Spectacular Now, Whiplash, Fantastic Four) as World Champion Boxer Vinny Pazienza in the first trailer for Bleed for This. No need to tell you the story as the trailer for the biopic tells all. Also starring Aaron Eckhart, Katay Sega,…

A Matriarchal Underdog

Joy (2016) D/W: David O. Russell. DP: Linus Sandgren. Starring: Jennifer Lawrence/Robert De Niro/Bradley Cooper/Édgar Ramirez/Virginia Madsen/Diane Ladd/Isabella Rossellini/Elisabeth Rohm/Dascha Polanco. January is one of the best months for movies as there is a mad rush towards award season despite the pretense that filmmakers do not care about awards. A fun and debatable topic, this…

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Star Treatment

Since its premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival the Hank Williams biopic, I Saw The Light, has not been talked about. Pushed from its original award season release, Sony Pictures Classic has finally given us a trailer. Starring Englishman (AKA Loki) Tom Hiddleston as arguably the grandfather of country music as it is known…

One Man Compass

Steve Jobs (2015). D: Danny Boyle. DP: Alwin H. Küchler. W: Aaron Sorkin. Starring: Michael Fassbender/Kate Winslet/Seth Rogen/Jeff Daniels/Michael Stuhlbarg/Katherine Waterston/Sarah Snook/John Oritz. (NOTE: Based on Walter Isaacson’s book ‘Steve Jobs’) Forgive me for never making time for the Ashton Kutcher staring 2013 film, Jobs. Now with this newer, fancier, somewhat biopic film, Steve Jobs, I…

Too Big for its Britches

The Program (2015). D: Stephen Frears. DP: Danny Cohen. W: John Hodge (Based on David Walsh’s book Seven Deadly Sins and My Pursuit of Lance Armstrong) Starring: Ben Foster/Chris O’Dowd/Jesse Plemmons/Dustin Hoffman/Guillaume Canet/Lee Pace/Elaine Cassidy/Laura Donnelly. Oh the biopic. As I mentioned in my review of Straight Outta Compton the biopic has a tempestuous history…

Rebel Hearts

Suffragette (2015). D: Sarah Gavron. DP: Eduard Grau. W: Abi Morgan. Starring: Carey Mulligan/Helena Bonham-Carter/Anne-Marie Duff/Meryl Streep/Ben Wishaw/Brendan Gleeson/Romola Garai/Natalie Press/Adam Michael Dodd. As award season looms the first of many strong contenders hits theaters. Suffragette bowed at the London Film Festival and enticed domestic violence protesters to lay down on the red carpet and…

A Celluloid Story

Life (2015). D: Anton Corbijn. DP: Charlotte Bruus Christensen. W: Luke Davis. Starring: Dane DeHaan/Robert Pattinson/Ben Kinsgley/Joel Edgerton/Kristian Bruun/Alessandra Mastronardi. As the leaves begin to change, fall is upon us and once again its time to get through the slog of films and gear up for another award season. Life has made it over here…

This Is a Game and It’s Ruthless

Straight Outta Compton (2015). D: F. Gary Gray. DP: Matthew Libatique. W: Jonathan Herman & Andrea Berloff. Starring: O’Shea Jackson Jr./Corey Hawkins/Jason Mitchell/Neil Brown Jr./Aldis Hodge/R. Marcus Taylor/Paul Giamatti/Tate Ellington. Already the highest grossing R rated opening for the month of August in the US, Straight Outta Compton has put the biopic back on the…

A Powerhouse Goodbye

Amy (2015). D: Asif Kapadia. E: Chris King. Featuring archived footage and new audio.  Deep into my dissertation writing on faux musical biopics, it is quite fitting that a documentary project like Amy should be released. Directed by Asif Kapadia whose previous project, Senna, brought him attention and awards, Amy is a distinct experience. Amy…

Electric Eccentricity

Mr. Turner (2014). D/W: Mike Leigh. DP: Dick Pope. Starring: Timothy Spall/Paul Jesson/Dorothy Atkinson/Marion Bailey/Ruth Sheen/Lesley Manville/Sandy Foster/Martin Savage. Amidst other biopics of the year emerges Mr. Turner. The film chronicles the latter half of British painter J.M.W.’ Turner’s life as he lives eccentrically and paints in the nineteenth century. Balancing between his travels for…

When the Stars Align

The Theory of Everything (2014). D: James Marsh. W: Anthony McCarten. DP: Benoît Delhomme. Starring: Eddie Redmayne/Felicity Jones/Charlie Cox/David Thewlis/Emily Watson/Maxine Peake/Harry Lloyd/Simon McBurney. (based on Jane Hawking’s book, Traveling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen) This winter film season is flush with dealing with the dueling biopics. The Theory of Everything and The Imitation…

Persecuted Brilliance gets a Biopic

The Imitation Game (2014). D: Morten Tyldum. DP: Oscar Faura. W: Graham Moore. Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch/Keira Knightley/Matthew Goode/Charles Dance/Mark Strong/Allen Leech/Rory Kinnear/James Northcote/Matthew Beard. (Based on the 1992 book “Alan Turing: The Enigma” by Andrew Hodges). As the Oscar predictions begin to roll in, there is nothing like a decent star-turning biopic to get people…