Eppler: Catching up on movie reviews

Eppler: Catching up on movie reviews

With the holidays and Golden Globes, we've gotten a little behind on movie reviews. Here's a look at six I've watched over the last couple weeks. 

"Downsizing" is proof that talented filmmakers working with a smart premise can still completely whiff on it. This satire written by Oscar winners Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor about shrinking people to help save the environment is a baffling mess and completes a hat trick of bad movies for Matt Damon in 2017 after "The Great Wall" and "Suburbicon."
     
"The Greatest Showman" is refreshing in that its an original musical written for the big screen, although it'll also work nicely on Broadway. It's Hugh Jackman's passion project, starring as circus founder P.T. Barnum. While the movie thinks it's about a rags to riches hero who empowered others, I see it more as about a con man who got rich exploiting the disabled. But it's beautifully directed and staged, and some of the songs are catchy. See it on the big screen.

"Darkest Hour" is about a true hero - Winston Churchill - as he takes over as British Prime Minister with the U.K. threatened by Hitler. It's a very entertaining political strategy film with an impressive performance by Gary Oldman who disappears into the role with the help of some outstanding makeup. This is more of a character profile than a good narrative, but there are some genuinely powerful and moving moments.

"The Post" is Steven Spielberg's best movie in more than a decade - telling the story of the The Washington Post and The New York Times printing the Pentagon Papers. Admittedly, I'm an easy mark for journalism movies, but this is a very good one. Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks are excellent, of course, but the real standout is Bob Odenkirk as a dogged newsman chasing down leads.

"Molly's Game" is the fascinating true story of Molly Bloom - played by an incredible Jessica Chastain - an Olympic-level skier who ran high stakes card games in LA and New York which got her arrested. Aaron Sorkin wrote the screenplay and directs, and his picture moves as fast as his character talk. 

"I, Tonya" is one of the best of 2017 with Margot Robbie dynamite as controversial figure skater Tonya Harding. This pitch dark comedy is part sports biography, part crime caper. You'll have to decide whether you believe the narrator's versions of the story. "I, Tonya" is a hoot when its not horrifying - a searing satire about class and celebrity that points a finger at the audience to say "You Too." 

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