Eppler: Three political movies in theaters - FOX34 Lubbock

Eppler: Three political movies in theaters

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In this hyper politicized environment we've created for ourselves, politics is prevalent even at the movies, and sometimes it's in unexpected ways. There are three movies in theaters right now that tackle politics from different angles. 

"Vice" is the story of Dick Cheney's rise to power that is certain to divide audiences on political lines: liberals will watch nodding in agreement and conservatives will write it off as a Hollywood smear-job. It's most readily comparable to Oliver Stone's movie about George W. Bush, but where that film was a rather sympathetic portrait, "Vice" is an angry movie - outraged at its subject. 

It's a satire that also wants to be taken very seriously, which is a tough thing for writer and director Adam McKay to pull off. There are some very clever, funny moments but his work on "The Big Short" was much sharper. But the cast here is tremendous. Christian Bale eerily good as Cheney under prosthetics and makeup. But the characterization, unfortunately, is only skin deep. 

Skin color is the political focal point of "Green Book," which is telling the true story of a unique friendship. A plumped up Viggo Mortensen is an Italian club bouncer hired by Mahershala Ali's cultured concert pianist for a tour through the southern U.S. 

The movie goes as one might expect with each man having to learn a lesson with the help of the other. But Ali and Mortensen are sublime - especially the latter turning a cartoonish caricature into a living, breathing person. 

"Green Book" has a troubling nostalgic view of American racism wrapped in an otherwise very enjoyable picture. It's a crowd-pleaser, which is kind of the problem. 

We know politics is ugly and in "The Favourite," it's downright nasty as cousins played by Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone compete for the attention and affections of Queen Anne, played by an excellent Olivia Colman, who is sure to win an Oscar. 

Don't let the 18th century setting, fancy wigs and dresses fool you. This is not a stuffy, well-mannered period piece, but rather a down and very dirty tale of posturing, profanity, back-stabling and scandal. The witty script crackles like fire and Director Yorgos Lanthimos maintains his rep as a provocateur - even challenging the audience with the final frames.

EPPLER'S RATINGS: 

Vice: * * 1/2

Green Book: * * * 

The Favourite: * * * * 

RATING SCALE

* * * * * Incredible - One of the best of the year
* * * * Excellent - Touches greatness with only minor quibbles
* * * Good - Plenty to like, definitely worth seeing
* * Mediocre - You can do better
* Awful  - The worst, an insult to movies

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