Hello, everyone! I trust you’re enjoying the last days of summer—probably the best part of it, with things a tad cooler, right? Anyhow, movies! You know I always tell you the truth, and this weekend, choices at the theater are unfortunately few — unless you’re a dyed-in-the-wool fan. Let’s take a look and you’ll see why.
First, if you follow the news in any way, shape or form, you don’t need to see this. Second, CITIZEN FOUR directed by Laura Poitras is a far, far, far better choice. I’m not sure what Oliver Stone was attempting to do. What went wrong here?
Stone’s version goes as far back as before Snowden’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) position at the NSA: he did some special forces training. Then we’re put through the girlfriend (Shailene Woodley) bit, their fights, and—yawn!—how they made up. Now if these things were significant in the whistle-blowing, then yeah, such a dissection would be warranted. But as far as we know, they weren’t. OK, so let’s say we’re such a cool and forgiving audience, we’re willing to suffer through the unnecessarily long and detailed biopic for the payoff at the end… only there’s none.
Remember, this is one hell of a story. Put yourself in Snowden’s position: you’re blowing the whistle on the NSA. What comes into focus? Now I don’t know about you, but the first thing that comes into my mind is, how am I gonna get away? This is the counterpart of the chase scene in an action flick, and the reality must have been insanely tense and terrifying. You’re dealing with a villain that’s literally all-seeing, all-knowing, and with tremendous resources at its fingertips (hello, Ultron?). So you can imagine what it was like when he got desperate enough to walk into the UN and asked for asylum. He also tried to go to South America. Our talented Mr. Stone chooses to show these crucial moments as a montage. And he makes no effort to show us why the villain is so fearsome. What’s so scary about the NSA? Exactly—their power to put anyone under a microscope. Stone glosses over this vital fact—and with that he takes away the fear factor, destroys any sense of urgency we might feel, and consequently loses our interest. Some big stars are there in supporting roles (Melissa Leo, Nicholas Cage, Zachary Quinto, Rhys Ifans, Tom Wilkinson), trying valiantly to rescue this dud.
As Snowden himself put it, “it’s not about me.” It’s about our privacy, why it’s so important, why he did what he did, and what changed as a result. These vital issues are not addressed in the movie. SNOWDEN is certainly an accurate portrayal of the events, but you know where you can also find that? Wikipedia. Here’s the trailer:
BRIDGET JONES’ BABY
Renee Zellwegger’s certainly looking fabulous these days! Her turn in this installment of BRIDGET JONES is nothing short of stellar. Too bad BABY’s sorta like comfort food. It tastes good, you know exactly what you’ll get, and… well, that’s about it. Bridget’s (Zellwegger) now 43, a TV producer, at her goal weight, and has just broken up with Darcy (Colin Firth). As she mourns the death of her love life, she happens upon a hot American fella, Jack (Patrick Dempsey). Hello, baby daddy… or… no? All things considered, BABY’s definitely better than EDGE OF REASON—they’ve cut out that god awful slapstick, the script is good, and all three actors are top-notch. If you’re a fan, it’s a must-see. If not, meh. Here’s the trailer:
See you at the movies! And do say hi sometime!