based on a true story tagged posts

The Founder

Director: John Lee Hancock

Writer: Robert Siegel

Cast: Michael Keaton, Nick Offerman, John Carroll Lynch, Laura Dern

Cert: 12

Running time: 115mins

Year: 2016



What’s the story: In 1950s America, fifty-something milkshake machine salesman Ray Kroc (Keaton) convinces the McDonald brothers to allow him to franchise their burger restaurant across America. But, Dick and Mac McDonald (Offerman & Lynch) soon realise Ray’s ambition may be difficult to contain.

What’s the verdict: Birdman was tiresome Hollywood self-congratulation. But, one positive that emerged from the navel gazing was the revitalisation of Michael Keaton’s career. With Spotlight and now The Founder, Keaton is again becoming one of Tinseltown’s most exciting faces.

He clearly knows a juicy role when he sees it, sink...

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Jackie (2016)

Director: Pablo Larraín

Writer: Noah Oppenheim

Cast: Natalie Portman, Peter Sarsgaard, Billy Crudup, Greta Gerwig, John Hurt, John Carroll Lynch, Caspar Phillipson

Cert: 15

Running time: 100mins

Year: 2016


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What’s the story: Weeks after the assassination of President John F Kennedy, a journalist (Crudup) is granted an interview with Jacqueline Kennedy (Portman), who recalls moments of her life as First Lady.

What’s the verdict: From the opening close-up of Natalie Portman’s pinched, pale face and the strings of Mica Levi’s woozy score, it is clear Jackie aims for something beyond a standard soup-to-nuts biopic.

Director Pablo Larraín (who had a better 2016 than most with this and Neruda) and writer Noah Oppenheim (a long way from his scripts for Allegiant and The Maze Runner) con...

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A United Kingdom

a-united-kingdom-posterDirector: Amma Asante

Writer: Guy Hibbert

Cast: David Oyelowo, Rosamund Pike, Jack Davenport, Terry Pheto, Tom Felton, Nicholas Lyndhurst, Vusi Kunene

Cert: 12A

Running time: 105mins

Year: 2016

 


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What’s the story: While studying in London in 1948, Seretse Khama (Oyelowo), King of Bechuanaland (modern day Botswana), falls in love with local office worker Ruth Williams (Pike). But, their relationship is opposed by her family, the people of Bechuanaland, and an imperialistic British government.

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What’s the verdict: If star ratings could be awarded for good intentions, then A United Kingdom would be a five star movie...

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Anthropoid

anthropoid-posterDirector: Sean Ellis

Writer: Sean Ellis, Anthony Frewin

Cast: Cillian Murphy, Jamie Dornan, Toby Jones, Charlotte Le Bon, Anna Geislerová

Cert: 15

Running time: 120mins

Year: 2016



What’s the story: In 1942, partisans selected by the London-based Czechoslovakian government are tasked with aiding the Czech resistance in the assassination of high-ranking SS official Reinhard Heydrich, Himmler’s second-in-command.

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What’s the verdict: The plot against Reinhard Heydrich has been filmed numerous times previously, notably in 1943 by Fritz Lang as Hangmen Also Die, and again in 1975 as Operation Daybreak by Spy Who Loved Me director Lewis Gilbert.

Anthropoid was the real name of the operation to assassinate Himmler’s no.2, the man known as “the Butcher of Prague...

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Elvis & Nixon

Elvis-&-Nixon---posterDirector: Liza Johnson

Writers: Joey Sagal & Hanala Sagal and Cary Elwes

Cast: Michael Shannon, Kevin Spacey, Alex Pettyfer, Colin Hanks, Evan Peters, Johnny Knoxville

Cert: 15

Running time: 86mins

Year: 2016

 



What’s the story: In December 1970, Elvis Presley, determined to battle the drug crisis he sees threatening American youth, meets with President Richard Nixon to discuss becoming a self-styled “Federal Agent at Large”.

Elvis-&-Nixon---Michael-ShannonElvis-&-Nixon---Michael-Shannon,-Kevin-Spacey

What’s the verdict: Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon have been portrayed on film often enough to have mini-film festivals dedicated to the two of them. And Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey’s fun and finessed performances make this a great bridging film.

Fun and finessed are also apt words for Liza Johnson’s movie, along with nuanced, smart, surprising an...

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Miss Hokusai

Miss-Hokusai-posterDirector: Keiichi Hara

Writer: Miho Maruo, Hinako Suguira (comic)

Cast: Anne Watanabe, Yutaka Matsushige, Shion Shimizu, Kumiko Aso

Cert: 12

Running time: 93mins

Year: 2015



What’s the story: In 1814 Edo (now Tokyo) 50 year old artist Tetsuzo casually produces masterpieces, assisted by his daughter O-Ei. Using the vibrant city, its inhabitants, the seasons and superstitions they create works of art revered to this day.

Miss-Hokusai---O-Ei,-magic-hourMiss-Hokusai---O-Ei,-painting-society-woman

What’s the verdict: Don’t worry if you have never heard of Japanese artist Tetsuzo, or his most famous assumed name Katsushika Hokusai. You will be familiar with his wood block print The Great Wave Off Kanagawa. It’s that striking flat perspective view of a giant blue wave engulfing fishing boats that adorns everything from mugs to mouse pads to many a student bed...

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Spotlight (2015)

Spotlight-posterDirector: Tom McCarthy

Writer: Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer

Cast: Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, Stanley Tucci

Cert: 15

Running time: 128mins

Year: 2015


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What’s the story: Boston, 2001. The Spotlight team, investigative journalists at The Boston Globe, uncover decades of child abuse and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese. What will it take to bring the truth to light?

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What’s the verdict: Spotlight opens in 1976 at Christmas time. But, there’s scant reason to be merry in this sober, shattering account of abuse in the Catholic Church.

A journalism film on par with The Insider, Salvador or, yes, All the President’s Men, this is also a lament/clarion call for factual reporting in an age of opinion...

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The Revenant (2015)

The-Revenant---posterDirector: Alejandro González Iñárritu

Writer: Alejandro González Iñárritu, Mark L. Smith, Michael Punke (source novel)

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, Domhnall Gleeson, Forrest Goodluck

Cert: 15

Running time: 156mins

Year: 2015



What’s the story: 1823, the Great Plains of the American Midwest. Following an attack by warriors of the native Arikara tribe, a company of fur trappers flee across the harsh terrain for the safety of their fort. But, matters turn even darker when Hugh Glass, their guide, is mauled in a bear attack.

The-Revenant---Leonardo-DiCaprio,-gunThe-Revenant---Tom-Hardy,-Will-Poulter

The full verdict: Alejandro González Iñárritu is better with bears than with birds. After the teeth-grinding self-satisfied Birdman, he delivers a survival movie guaranteed to have you cancelling that Lake District camping trip.

Not that ...

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Trumbo (2015)

Trumbo-posterDirector: Jay Roach

Writer: John McNamara

Cast: Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren, Diane Lane, Elle Fanning, John Goodman, Louis C.K , Stephen Root, David James Elliott

Cert: 15

Running time: 124mins

Year: 2015



The lowdown: In post-World War 2 America, celebrated screenwriter and Communist Dalton Trumbo finds himself at the centre of the House Un-American Activities Committee’s witch hunts. Blacklisted, unable to work and facing jail, he decides to fight back.

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The full verdict: America’s Red Scare witch hunts of the 40s and 50s remain a tarnish on Tinseltown’s sheen. Given the opportunity to enact its favourite story and stand up for the little guy hounded by villainous bullies, Hollywood buckled to HUAC, blacklisting artists and naming names.

And with flames of fear and paranoia agai...

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Steve Jobs

Steve-Jobs-posterDirector: Danny Boyle

Writer: Aaron Sorkin (screenplay) Walter Isaacson (book)

Cast: Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet, Seth Rogen, Jeff Daniels, Perla Haney-Jardine, Ripley Sobo, Makenzie Moss

Cert: 15

Running time: 122mins

Year: 2015



What’s the story: Wonder and warts and all account of the legendary Apple CEO, unafraid to show the at times shockingly cold heart of a man who revolutionised the communication age. Fassbender, replacing Leonardo Di Caprio and Christian Bale, delivers a layered, balanced performance as the mercurial Jobs, with Kate Winslet similarly impressive as his Marketing partner and all-round conscience Joanna Hoffman...

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