For everyone wanting a respite from the American political scene, "Our Brand Is Crisis" dramatizes a fictitious presidential campaign in Bolivia. However, savvy evaluations of what voters want matter more than what a candidate believes and underhanded tactics and dirty tricks depict an all too familiar scenario: selling candidates like products; winning is all that matters.
George Clooney made a noble effort to tell the story of soldier/scholars sent by President Franklin Roosevelt to save the culture of Europe near the end of World War II. A noble effort, however, does not immediately translate to a fine film.
As "Gravity" opens, astronaut Commander Matt Kowalski works over 300 miles above Earth on the Hubble Telescope with his co-worker, medical engineer Ryan Stone. Quickly and unexpectedly, disaster strikes when debris from a communications satellite destroyed by Russia hurtles toward them at phenomenal speed. And through the 3-D magic created by director/co-writer Alfonso Cuarón, a breathtaking film begins.
As 2011 ends, the best films deserve applause. Here are the films for which I welcome repeat viewings.
The title—The Ides of March—alludes to Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and its nefarious literal and figurative back stabbing in that political world. George Clooney's film of that title portends equally grim, venomous double-dealing. The good news is that it delivers as a dramatic, gripping morality tale echoing contemporary scandals in this adaptation of Beau Willimon's play Farragut North.