The Fifth Estate: WikiStinks

by Ethan Alter October 18, 2013 6:00 am
<i>The Fifth Estate</i>: WikiStinks

Now that the last two Twilight movies are safely in his rear view, Bill Condon is making a bid to recover some of the artistic cred he perhaps sacrificed by agreeing to close out that sneeringly-regarded (if financially lucrative) franchise. Frankly though, the "Team Edward"/"Team Jacob" nonsense that drove Twilight is more entertaining and nuanced than the "Team Daniel"/"Team Julian" conflict that's at the center of The Fifth Estate, an attempt at a modern-day All the President's Men that instead plays like a non-comedic version of the Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams-do-Watergate picture, Dick. It's amusing that the real Julian -- as in Assange a.k.a. That WikiLeaks Guy -- has been so up in arms about the movie's release when he actually comes out looking fairly good, all things considered. And besides, he can take heart in knowing that nobody is going to see this thing anyway.

Rush: Faster, Thor! Kill! Kill!

by Ethan Alter September 20, 2013 6:00 am
<i>Rush</i>: Faster, Thor! Kill! Kill!

Ron Howard's 22nd feature film, the Formula 1 racing drama Rush, also has the distinction of being his first independently financed vehicle since his days toiling for self-made B-movie king, Roger Corman. But don't get too excited, sports fans -- Opie hasn't gone all Harmony Korine on us. Although produced outside the studio system within which Howard has been ensconced since the early '80s, Rush (which is being distributed in the U.S. by a major) is as mainstream a movie as they come. Still, if it isn't exactly innovative on a formal or narrative level, it does remind you that, when gifted with a particularly strong piece of material, few journeymen directors can craft more skillful commercial crowd-pleasers than the maker of Splash, Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind.

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