Monday, November 2, 2015


James Vanderbilt’s debut as a director, Truth, is a stiffly earnest film that features a fine performance by Cate Blanchett but surprisingly inert turns by the rest of the cast. Blanchett stars as Mary Mapes, a producer for 60 Minutes who spearheaded the program’s 2004 investigation into President George W. Bush’s military record and reported that he had received favorable treatment as a member of the Texas National Guard. The news story was based on documents passed along to Mapes by a former military officer (Stacy Keach) who vouches for their authenticity. Though Dan Rather (Robert Redford) has concerns about the story, his confidence in Mapes leads him to green light the piece even while CBS fact checkers raise red flags. In the end, the story is discredited, the officer who leaked the memos recants some of his remarks to Mapes and the reporting team and anyone associated with the piece is canned. The film is based on Mapes’ account of the affair and attributes the debacle that led to Rather’s resignation from CBS to a convergence of haste, hubris and corporate cowardice. Sections of the film reflect a preachy self-satisfaction that rings dully because the aftermath was so devastating.

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Queen & Slim

In the soon to be iconic photograph from Melina Matsoukas's distressing Queen & Slim, stars Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith...