Some are born to bear the brunt of the biopic. Director Tom Hooper made a name for himself with the application of camera to history, and he did it well. The King’s Speech was solid work, and his turn to musicals with Les Misérables still offered the period piece iconography that had turned his work into something mesmerising and, crucially, entertaining. John Adams falls to the former, its mesmerising achievement here is capturing the story of the eponymous founding father. His rise to the presidency and inability to rise even higher. Detractions and deductions pave the road of Adams’ life, and with Paul Giamatti in the titular role, the core of this miniseries is complete. It is the perfect rendition of a life spent in government.
Out of all the film’s director Clint Eastwood has crafted, Mystic River is the most frustrating and spectacular of all. It has such great moments within it, but they are wrapped in a blanket of oozing, horrendously thought-out intentions. Where great characters come together, they stumble through their fixations. Childhood friends with dark and gritty lives, people who have outgrown one another yet are changed, for better or worse, by another tragedy that brings them back together. Mystic River is in good hands, it has horrible intentions and strikes a chord with them clearly and quickly, but those darker moments are never mused on effectively even with such great performers at the helm.
Hard-pressed to name one other book from David Baldacci, Absolute Power will have to do. Not because it is widely passed around through circles of friends to read and discuss, but because Clint Eastwood thought he’d be a great Luther Whitney. He is not entirely wrong. A master thief who may be the key to unlocking a criminal investigation involving the President of the United States, this late-1990s feature from Eastwood plays with its title rather nicely. What is there to be done when the absolute power of office is abused to cover up a cold-blooded murder? The confusion and hushed words that make themselves apparent in this thrilling script are a nice touch and the important key to unlocking Eastwood’s intentions.
Despite a light touch from director Peter Weir, it is hard to forget how monumental a film The Truman Show is, not just for Jim Carrey, but for the narrative expectancy of comedians adapting themselves to other genres. Now, it is a commonplace event. To see some funny guy or gal from the stage manoeuvre them to pastures new, usually in the chase for awards glory or fulfilment of a larger role. That is The Truman Show for Carrey, and while Batman Forever surely helped, it is not the critical and beloved darling that can have such a monumental impact. The Truman Show has an inherent comedy underlining it, but a deep and quite horrifying message within.
Before we explore the mysteries of the jungle, our technology will expand so far into the future that we’ll be able to arm Bruce Campbell with a laser capable of cutting through leaves and not much else. Congo is stupid, let us get rid of the idea that it could be anything more than that almost immediately. With that in mind, the Frank Marshall-directed piece must clamber to the right side of stupid, it must present effective, fun moments with gore and engaging characters. That is a hard task to manage, and the hilarity is prevalent even when it shouldn’t be. Such is the effect of our modern culture and the impact Tim Curry can have on a screenplay. Fear not, for Congo is now the cult classic we have all needed in our lives, it is a necessary, big-budget car crash that finds solace in its unintentional humour and aversion to science.