Gordon & Barbara in Paris

Gordon & Barbara in Paris
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Friday, February 12, 2016

Bridge of Spies

Bridge of Spies—2hrs 21 mins/directed by Steven Spielberg/ screenplay written by Matt Charman, Ethan Coen and Joel Coen/starring Tom Hanks,Mark Rylance/Alan Alda/music Thomas Newman/ PG-13

Bifocal Reviews written by Ageless1der Barbara Rich & The Other Guy

(BR):  This movie was intriguing. Any movie that is based on a true story always gets my attention. The generation where this takes place is without the technology that is familiar today. Bridge of Spies takes you back to a time when simple communication methods were used, which only made the movie more exciting and realistic. Things like not having a cell phone at your disposal, waiting for the phone to ring, running from and to phone booths and the sound of air raid sirens brought back waves of a strange nostalgia. Tom Hanks, playing the good guy was very convincing, as usual. Playing the real life James Donovan (his memoir is the basis for this film) he defended a real life enemy of the state, but the old fashioned “everyone deserves a fair trial” attitude that seems to have also gone by the wayside. In fact, James Donovan received a lot of opposition for his defense stance, but in the end his methods were not only kind, but successful in achieving the ultimate goal, which was the exchange. Donovan was eventually given the credit for being the hero that he deserved. I give this movie four out of five binoculars, and wished I had seen Bridge of Spies long before and in place of four or five other loudly touted films which did not live up to a Best Picture standard, but are also nominated.

(OG): I guess I should not be surprised that Steven Spielberg, with Thomas Newman music, a script co-written by the Coen brothers with Matt Charman and starring actors of Tom Hanks’ caliber would be an Oscar contender, but somehow this movie snuck up on me. I never saw this Best Picture contender coming. This was billed as a Soviet Cold War thriller that lacked any special effects or attempts to bombard the senses with chase scenes or mind numbing explosions. Hanks plays an insurance lawyer who is picked to first defend a communist spy in the midst of Soviet/Nuclear hysteria, then negotiate a very complicated prisoner exchange. He tries to convince everyone, including the audience that he is NOT the right man for either job. By the end of the film, however, you cannot see how anyone else but he could have accomplished either task. As for the script, I liked especially how doing the right thing took precedent over political-expediency and in the end, everyone wins. I give this film five binoculars out of five.

The Revenant

The Revenant—2 hrs 36 mins/Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu/starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy/
Screenplay by Alejandro González Iñárritu, Mark L. Smith from a Story by: Michael Punke/rated R

Bifocal Reviews written by Ageless1der Barbara Rich & The Other Guy

(BR): Finally, a movie I feel is totally deserving of a Best Picture Oscar! I feel that a movie, to get a best picture nomination (let alone award) should be a cut above the rest. Some of the other nominees were good, and some were downright mediocre. The Revenant checks off all categories as top notch. Leonardo DiCaprio gave a compelling performance and is also most worthy of the best actor Oscar. I loved everything about this film. One of the most engaging examples of human survival instinct, as Leo’s character, first survives a bear attack and then, while hanging onto life by a thread, under the most unsanitary conditions imaginable, was driven by blind rage to ignore his wounds and pursue his son’s killer. While Leo’s character has little dialogue his acting ability says more than any words could express. The other actors are also good, the scenery is spectacular, but this is definitely a DiCaprio showcase. I give this one five out of five binoculars.

(OG): I’m not sure what this award-year will bring, but I have to reiterate that without a movie like The Revenant, the Best Picture category would be pretty sparse for me. This film was interesting, and a joy to watch from beginning to end, from multiple directions. I was drawn into the film with the opening battle and subsequent fightscenes’ realism. The director, Iñárritu, slowed things down enough to show how, on a battlefield, chaos often reigns. Guns were discharging accidentally and combatants were shooting their own men. In hand-to-hand bouts, with heavy padded clothing, fighters often run out of energy before anyone really wins or loses. Then, there was the bear attack. That was brilliantly shot, acted and recreated. I could not see a single seam between live and computer generated action…assuming there were any. There was no wasted scenes. Everything was paced perfectly. This was the first time this year that a movie was this long and felt SHORTER than the actual running time for me. I give this one five binoculars.