When was the last time Aaron Sorkin really did anything to justify his sterling reputation? Yeah, he won an Oscar for The Social Network and he gave one of those annoying, “Daddy just won an Oscar so go to bed now, my daughter” speeches. And then he was nominated for Moneyball. Since he didn’t win, he was not allowed to use his daughter as a prop for a second speech.
He also gave us The Newsroom, a misogynistic television program that was so smug and tone deaf in its coastal elitism that it was probably a contributing factor to the election of Donald Trump. Sorkin also wrote an “open letter” to his daughter after the election, one that pretty much read like a parody of limousine liberalism.
In short, if Sorkin’s going to continue to be known as a great whatever he is, he needs to start delivering. His latest attempt will be Molly’s Game, which he not only wrote but directed as well. That’s right — no longer will Aaron Sorkin have to deal with meddling directors saying stuff like, “But all your female characters are portrayed as being simpletons who need a man to save them and tell them what to do…”
On the plus side, Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba are in the movie.
The Florida Project is the latest film from Sean Baker, who was responsible for last year’s acclaimed Tangerine.
The Florida Project, which was critically acclaimed at Cannes, has a much larger budget than Tangerine, a bigger star (in the form of Willem DaFoe), and some very real Oscar hopes. Let’s just hope that A24 doesn’t get so busy promoting The Florida Project, Baker, and DaFoe that they end up forgetting about The Disaster Artist and James Franco.
I admit it —at first, I was planning on reviewing The Hunger Dogs as part of this “Kirby Month” series I’ve got going, but about halfway through writing that appraisal, it occurred to me that there were any number of fine essays devoted to that graphic novel available online already, and since one of my goals with this entire enterprise has been to shine a light on some of the lesser-discussed works in The King’s canon, I quickly decided to shift my attention elsewhere — although I’m not going that far away.
By way of explanation, in 1984, DC’s post-Carmine Infantino regime of Jenette Kahn and Paul Levitz brought Jack Kirby back into the fold in a big way, wisely deciding to finally allow him to “finish,” albeit in truncated form and after a lengthy hiatus, his legendary Fourth World epic. Right off the bat it was clear that…
The Death of Stalin is not a film that’s been getting a lot of attention but, since it was directed and co-written by Armando Iannucci, I’m looking forward to seeing it. Iannucci, of course, created both Veep and The Thick Of It and it should be fun to see him turn his satirical sights to death of one of history’s greatest monsters.
Incidentally, in high school, I wrote a short story about a history student who was haunted by the ghost of Josef Stalin and a host of other dictators. Unfortunately, no one in the class knew who Stalin was so they didn’t really understand the story. Oh well. Story of my life…
When a secret service agent’s investigation into a supposed counterfeiting ring instead leads to him discovering a plot to smuggle illegal aliens into the United States via airplanes, the agent ends up plummeting several hundred miles to his death. Realizing that they need someone who can go undercover and infiltrate the smuggling ring, the Secret Service recruits Lt. Brass Bancroft (Ronald Reagan). Bancroft is a war hero who is now a commercial airline pilot. He is also good with his fists, has an innate sense of right and wrong, and a sidekick named Gabby (Eddie Foy Jr., giving a very broad performance as the movie’s comic relief). But before Brass can win the trust of the smugglers, he will have to establish a firm cover story and that means allowing himself to be arrested on fake charges. In order to save the day, Brass will have to first survive prison.
If Secret Service of the Air is remembered today, it is because it featured future President Ronald Reagan in an early starring role. In the role of Brass Bancroft, Reagan gives a performance that can be best described as being amiable. He may not be anyone’s idea of a good actor but he is likable, a trait that served him well when, 26 years later, he ran for governor of California. As for the rest of the movie, it was obviously cheaply made but it is also only an hour long, which means that there is rarely time for a dull moment. It plays out like as serial, with a new cliffhanger ever few minutes. Though Reagan was dismissive in the film in his autobiography, Secret Service of the Air was enough of an unexpected success that he would play Brass Bancroft is two sequels.
I had a completely different music post scheduled for today, but with all the strife and hatred going on right here in our country, I thought I’d share Timmy Thomas’ #1 global smash “Why Can’t We Live Together”, an impassioned plea for peace and unity that’s (sadly) as relevant today as it was 45 years ago. No further words from me are necessary, just watch the video: