The Post (2017): Eerily Relevant (Review)

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The Post is a biopic that deals with a governmental coverup and a president who bans reporters from the Washington Post from the White House and it seems eerily relevant. Despite being set in the early 1970’s, the film feels all too familiar. With the current climate in America and a POTUS that screams about fake news at the drop of the proverbial hat, the film seems almost prophetic.

Co-written by Liz Hannah  and Josh Singer and directed by repeat Oscar winner Steven Spielberg (owner of no less than three golden statues) The Post covers a time period of American history where scandal erupted within a tight window, encapsulating the Vietnam war as well as Watergate. The country was reeling from student protests and ever increasing numbers of young men were being sent into a war that was unpopular with the public. 

Spielberg’s biopic drama takes a leaf from other films dealing with this time period in America like “All the President’s Men” and has more than a little in common with the 2015 “newspaper film” Spotlight. All these films deal with coverups and a government, or powerful agency, trying to keep the truth from the public.

At its base, The Post is about Kay Graham (played by Meryl Streep), the first female publisher of a huge brand name newspaper. It is also about freedom of the press, the right to protect sources and how the press serve the people and not the government. (Something the current POTUS seems to have either forgotten or never learned.)

Apart from the story itself, the film benefits from two masters interacting seamlessly in their scenes together. Streep and co-star Tom Hanks work brilliantly as examples of just how actors should work with one another. Their characters mesh perfectly and it is not too much to say that one could watch these two read their laundry list and still be enthralled.

There are a number of familiar faces in this film: Bob Odenkirk and Alison Brie from “The Disaster Artist” and Michael Stuhlbarg (from “The Shape of Water“). Pat Healy, Carrie Coon and Sarah Paulson are part of a cast that includes “Hostiles” actor Jesse Plemons. Spielberg has gathered a group of highly capable artists to deliver his take on the 1970’s threat to the American press. 

The Post is trotted out like a thriller, all tense music and heightened emotions, and one does feel the tension behind the “true” storyline. Hanks and Streep prove that “less is more” with their wonderfully restrained performances, as does Odenkirk.

Everyone plays their parts perfectly and the sets, along with the costumes, throws one right back into the late 1960’s and early ’70’s. This is a film that works brilliantly on many different levels.

Spielberg’s direction, the performances of his cast and the story itself literally come together for a perfect Oscar sweep: Best Film, Screenplay and performance can almost be seen as fait accompli. Streep and Hanks for the top award and Odenkirk for best supporting actor seems likely with a few nods to the rest of a more than capable cast.

The Post may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it is a solid 5 star effort that keeps the audience glued to the screen. At just under two hours the movie cracks on with a pace that may not be adrenaline charged throughout but it definitely does not drag or bore.

The film will hit cinemas with a limited release on 22 December and a broader run 12 January 2018. Check this one out, it is an obvious Oscar contender and it manages to tick all the right boxes.

The Golden Globes, Hugh Laurie and Meryl Streep Two Heroes (OpEd)

Meryl Streep at the Golden Globes

Last night, purely by accident, I watched the vast majority of The Golden Globes. I rarely watch awards ceremonies anymore. They invariably annoy, what with enforced time schedules that force recipients to rush acceptance thank you speeches and hosts that are not all that funny.

(There are exceptions, however, Chris Rock is and always will be “rolling in the floor” funny. And yes, I am referring to Mr. Fallon and his flat impression of Chris…)

Nothing really stood out, until Hugh Laurie made his oh so dry joke about being on the last ever broadcast of The Golden Globes. He too, like Meryl Streep, mentioned the foreign press, referred to the president-elect and the strained relationship between Hollywood and the orange man who will be sworn in on January 20th.

Laurie’s remarks were on point.  Sadly his dry English wit was lost on a few folks. Laurie is a very funny chap who made his point about Donald Trump via humor.

Meryl Streep, however, did not ape Jimmy Fallon or Hugh Laurie she got straight to the point.  Zeroing in on the most detestable thing about this country’s soon-to-be new leader, she let Trump have it with both barrels and did not even need to mention his name.

The reaction, which everyone knew was coming,  was swift and childish.  Trump’s followers reacted by saying that “overpaid celebrities” should stay out of politics.

All this would be fine and good if they practiced what they preach.  Ms. Streep is a very talented performer, hardly anyone in the trade can master accents like Meryl or completely inhabit a part like she can. Her celebrity status is from years of hard graft, learning her trade and art while fine tuning her performance continuously.

Trump’s only real talent seems to be the ability to disappear when his employees need paying. Although it could be said that his other talents include going bankrupt, lying and tweeting out his nether region…

Granted, Trump is himself something of a  celebrity or “star.” Reality television made the man a household name and reality TV, and the networks who continue to produce this tripe, can also be held accountable for grooming the American public into believing that these odious people actually have some sort of validity.

Regardless of the responses from Trump and his deluded, and disturbing, supporters, both Meryl Streep and Hugh Laurie were two of the heroes who took last night’s opportunity to take a closer look at the new president elect without the racist, misogynistic, and avaricious glasses that his proponents wear.

The disturbing news that Trump is aping Adopt Hitler’s first moves is not the first sign that this individual cares nothing for the country he is about to lead. As Meryl Streep pointed out, the man is a bully who is  surrounding himself with likeminded people.

While Ms. Streep pointed out the vileness  of what Trump did to a reporter during his march to the white house, she neglected to mention the fate of bullies in general. They may well bluster and use their power to run roughshod over those less fortunate, in this case the constituents of the United States, but most of these disgusting power mad animals do, eventually, get their comeuppance.

Dictators, something that Trump clearly aspires to be, do not fare well in the long run.

Hitler, supposedly, committed suicide, Mussolini was hung by his own people in a petrol station, Gaddafi hid in a culvert until he was found and killed, Saddam Hussein was led up a ladder and hung. Others, like Pol Pot died of “mysterious” circumstances.

Certainly there are those dictators who manage to rule for long periods of time, with little to no recriminations,  but these occur in countries where the average educational level is less than that of America.  Although, disturbingly, the US has opted to elect the snake oil salesman rather than run him out of town on a rail…

Getting back to the Golden Globes and the award’s ceremony; La La Land was the big winner of the evening. A modern musical set in Hollywood. It seems ironic that a fantasy was the real winner on the last “proper” awards program before the inauguration. (The People’s Choice Awards is a bit of a “Johnny come lately” having started in 1974, while the “Globes” have been around since 1944.)

Hollywood stars have always been the voice of conscience in this country. Somewhat ironically, however, this time the stars are warning of an evil that is not just in America’s backyard but one that will be running the country all too soon.

Supporters of Trump may be celebrating but unless they are members of the monied and privileged classes they will soon learn that there is little to celebrate.

It also bears mentioning that, via the auspices of supporting a free press, Ms. Streep took the journalistic community to task as well. Reminding the news crowd that their job is to present the truth, not to “normalize” misbehavior or to ignore the wrongs and injustices committed by those in power.

May God grant that they listen and then tell the truth.

 

Patricia Arquette Kicks the Hornet Nest of Equality

Patricia Arquette kicked the hornet nest of equality at the Oscar ceremony during, and after her acceptance speech. Inadvertently, she also released a storm of controversy over her calls to minority and the LGBT community to join her glorious fight. This call to arms then sparked a row over just how racist the Academy Awards ceremony was on Sunday, “Did you see how many white people won?”

Read the rest of the article on Viral Global News…

The Homesman: Tommy Lee Jones in Another Offbeat Western (Review/Trailer)

The Homesman: Tommy Lee Jones in Another Offbeat Western (Review/Trailer)

The Homesman, written and directed by Hollywood A Lister Tommy Lee Jones, is another offbeat western by the man who brought the world The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada, although that was a modern day western and his most recent offering is actually a period piece. Set back in the days of sod houses and farmers trying to survive the harsh Nebraska winter on the plains, the film is a western mainly due to its locale and time. Jones directs the feature and co-wrote the screenplay with Kieran Fitzgerald and Wesley A. Oliver based on the book written by The Shootist author Glendon Swarthout.

Taylor Swift Dresses Down to Be on Tonight Show (Video)

Taylor Swift Dresses Down to Be on Tonight Show (Video)

Taylor Swift is a lot of things, beautiful, talented, a singer who rules the charts and whose fans adore her, she is now proving that she might just have a talent for comedy when she dressed down to be on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show. The 24 year-old singer is playing dressup, or down, to appear on the comedy sketch “teen show” EW! and she’ll be joining the ranks of Seth Rogen and Zac Efron who have already shown up on the “program.”