Saturday, April 9, 2016

Eye in the Sky and Hello, My Name is Doris.

Gavin Hood's morality play Eye in the Sky about a multinational anti-terrorist operation led by the British (Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman) and supported by American drones asks important questions about the value of a single innocent life when the possibility of even greater loss resulting from inaction is nearly certain. Both Mirren and... Rickman play steely military commanders who want to take out a terrorist unit in Kenya in the worst way -- even though members of the suicide bomb squad they have been tracking include both British and American citizens who have been radicalized by Islamists. Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad) plays the drone pilot whose reluctance to fire without full confidence collateral damage is at an acceptable level begins a fascinating (and frustrating) dialectic on the price of war. Highly recommended.

Michael Showalter's sweetly delightful Hello, My Name is Doris asks questions about the value of human life in an entirely different way. Sally Field plays Doris, a meek though colorful data enterer in New York, who takes the ferry over from her family home on Staten Island and two trains to get to her office. She's a lonely hoarder of other people's refuse who is taken by her company's new ad director John (Max Greenfield), who notices her and treats her kindly. That's just enough attention to lead Doris into some benign cyber-stalking with the granddaughter of her best friend (Tyne Daly). Doris and John become friends but the spinster's desiccated social life and over-stimulated imagination leads her into some fairly cringe-inducing moments that are handled brilliantly by Field, Greenfield and director Showalter. The film can be either funny or sad, depending on your age, or both, if you are close to your own humanity. Highly Recommended.

Queen & Slim

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