The Post (2017)

Directed by Steven Spielberg, this matter of fact film couldn’t have been released at a better time. Its making and release was perhaps orchestrated to highlight what the American nation is currently going through.

Art has always been used to say a truth that may have been drowned or obliterated by history or power. What Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep give is one of their ordinary performances, doing an extraordinary service to the American people.

Sorry to side track in a review, but remember ‘WMDs’? Weapons of mass destruction which didn’t exist, leading to the invasion and ruination of so many countries. Were the leaders who did that held accountable? No.

This film speaks of a time when leaders were served justice, and history should and will repeat itself.

3/5

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The Circle (2017)

Director James Ponsoldt shows us a world where technology and creativity work together to create an illusion of transparency.

An interesting concept, it would work more as a short film rather than a full length feature, as many sub plots were left unexplored.

Performances are dependable with Tom Hanks being his usual charismatic self, in a character that has little gray area. Emma Watson is more nuanced in a role that shows the vulnerability, ambition and intelligence of her character.

A decent flight watch!

2/5

Inferno (2016)

Rarely are movies better than books, this being one of them. I usually read Dan Brown’s books in a day or two, Inferno took a few months as it was written for a film. It was obvious from the beginning why this and not ‘The Lost Symbol’ was made into a movie.

Ron Howard has done full justice to the visually morbid and disturbing masterpiece by Dante. The film moved fast, keeping all but one main plot point intact. Tom Hanks is his usual dependable self, the only actor who can play the patient, knowledgeable and quick witted Robert Langdon. Felicity Jones is the strong and smart Dr. Brooks. Irrfan Khan has the unenviable task of playing Harry ‘The Provost’, an effortless act done with charm.

In the end, I was left with an experience of having watched a film but not having connected with it. It was all words and fury with none of the emotion or revelation that should have accompanied it.

2/5

Sully (2016)

Clint Eastwood directs a riveting biographical drama, ‘Sully’, giving us insights into what led up to the miraculous landing of a civilian aircraft in the Hudson River in 2009.

Captain Sully, is played delicately by Tom Hanks, where he brings a responsible quality during a very challenging emergency. Aaron Eckhart plays his able co-pilot, who supports him during unprecedented circumstances.

The result? A gripping tale, well edited, told with dignity, building appropriate tension in its short running time. A clean, crisp film which doesn’t get melodramatic.

3.5/5

Bridge of Spies (2015)

Talk about Magic in the Muggle world! Steven Spielberg surely is a magician!

He weaves and creates Cold War USA and other locations with unerring ease. He builds a drama at a leisurely and rich pace. With the piercingly honest Tom Hanks he brings to the fore the nuances of a brilliant actor. Mark Rylance brings a mysterious clarity to his role, and a host of supporting actors add to the crisply edited proceedings.

Rooting his drama in history and fact, we are quickly unaware that we are watching a film. Every frame is authentic, there is massive attention to detail alongside a firm grip on the plot and screen play.

A cinematic experience, a sensitive decisive movie which is a treat for the senses!

4/5

Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

Director John Lee Hancock, who made the Blind Side (Sandra Bullock got her Oscar for playing super mom), amongst many other films, has dared to tell this tale which speaks of an author’s journey and a dream maker’s challenge.

Serving us a slice of history which many may not know about, Walt Disney has been pursuing writer of the famous Mary Poppins, Mrs. P.L. Travers, for two decades. Once she signs over the rights of her beloved nanny story, he can fulfil his promise to his daughters of making her come alive on screen.

We have an author who won’t give up her story, and a dream maker who wants to make people of all ages happy. Their battle, whilst the author fights her own memories, moves this film on a leisurely pace, to match the era it is set in.

For an aspiring author like me, this film is a magical insight into the psychology of such a celebrated writer, enacted brilliantly by Emma Thompson. Tom Hanks has been given his trade mark monologue in the film at the end, where his voice and expressions tell us everything he was trying to hold back.

Collin Farrell does full justice to the role of young Traver’s father, the source of her inspiration as a writer, as he indulges her imagination and is pretty theatrical himself. A very unlikely role for an actor of his repertoire.

The film has its humour and drama, ending with a sense of accomplishment and evolution, for both the characters and the audience, summed up eloquently in a line by Walt Disney:

“Life is a harsh sentence to lay down for yourself.”

3.5/5