Monday, November 23, 2015

"Spotlight" & "Brooklyn" - Reviews

Starring Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Brian d’Arcy James and Stanley Tucci, "Spotlight" tells the riveting true story of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe investigation that would rock the city of Boston. And what was the story? It was the incredible kept secret and crisis involving one of the world’s oldest and most trusted institutions – The Catholic Church and Faith.
With the newspaper’s tenacious “Spotlight” team of reporters we watch as they delved cautiously but with dogged determination from one allegation to multiple allegations of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church. The movie tells the year-long investigation of uncovering the shocking decades of systematic cover-up at the highest levels of Boston's religious, legal, and government establishment, touching off a wave of revelations around the world.

CONCLUSION: Spotlight is clearly one of the best films for 2015 and I have no doubt that it will be nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Screenplay and possibly several Best Supporting Actor Nominations, with special note to Mark Ruffalo and Michael Keaton.

The strength of this film is its ensemble of fine actors working as a team together  in the highest form of acting collaboration, as no one actor has a singular leading role in this unique film. And while there is no real crescendo moment in “Spotlight” it is very reminiscent of the procedural style found in the 1976 Best Picture nominated film “All the President's Men”.  The true story of the President Nixon White House and the array of operatives working there who were involved  in the scandal of covering up the Watergate break in and the  Washington Post reporters who broke the story starring actors Dustin Hoffman and Robert Redford. 
Just like its predecessor, “Spotlight” takes us down a path we already know where we are headed in regards to its conclusion. But as was the case in 1976  and now with "Spotlight" what is really fascinating to see as film viewers is what good journalistic investigation looks under the cinematic microscope, as well as what personal human commitment looks like to getting to the unquestioning result that they are all tirelessly working to achieve -  THE TRUTH.

4 Stars



"Brooklyn" tells the profoundly moving story of Eilis Lacey (Saoirse Ronan), a young Irish immigrant navigating her way through 1950s Brooklyn. Lured by the promise of America, Eilis departs Ireland and the comfort of her mother’s home and her adoring sister for the shores of New York City. The initial shackles of homesickness quickly diminish as a fresh romance sweeps Eilis into the intoxicating charm of love. But soon, her new vivacity is disrupted by her past, and Eilis must choose between two countries and the lives that exist within.         

CONCLUSION: Based on a novel of the same name, “Brooklyn” is well acted and has a quiet beauty that is easy to become enchanted with its old style exactness to its direction which makes it appropriate for the time period it is portraying.  It also has a lot more humor in it that was a pleasant surprise, especially involving discussions of the seemingly antiquated social mores and customs involving males and female relationships i.e. touching each other and the overall matters and awkwardness of tentative romance.

Eventually the film does turn from its classic romantic style into something weightier involving issues of marriage and culture that seemingly holds true even by today standards. And while it never offers up any real dramatic surprises to its story it does work on the level of telling a story about love, family, culture, intimate relationships with an abundance of old style wit, charm, poignancy, tenderness and nostalgia as any film in recent memory.

“Brooklyn” works well in the finest sense of just solid movie making and therefore I believe will be nominated for Best Picture, as well as a strong possibility of securing a Best Director nomination for John Crowley and a Best Actress nomination for Saoirse Ronan and her beautiful performance of the love torn “Eilis”.

“Brooklyn” is an elegant film with dream like qualities to its story that everyone can relate to with a superb direction that makes it a real pleasant joy to have experienced.

4 Stars  



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