Author: <span class="vcard">Andrew Emerson</span>

Reviews - DVD/Streaming

Image courtesy of Aviron Pictures.

** ½ (out of 4)

Marie Colvin was a journalist whom even Donald Trump would be hard-pressed not to admire. Throughout the 1990s, she provided on-the-ground coverage of conflicts in Chechnya, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, and East Timor, documenting in graphic detail the toll that combat took on civilians. Even after she lost an eye to a grenade in 2001, moreover, Colvin refused to call it quits. After reporting on the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, she almost got beaten to death during the 2011 protests in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. And when civil war erupted in Syria, she snuck into the rebel stronghold of Homs, eventually meeting her demise in an artillery attack that was deliberately orchestrated by the Syrian government.

Given that Colvin was such a daring and colorful character, Matthew Heineman’s new biopic of her, A Private War, could easily have been an adrenaline-boosting thriller à la Raiders of the Lost Ark. Instead, the defining mood of A Private War is one of overwhelming, funereal despair.

Reviews - New Releases/Festivals

Image courtesy of IFC Films.

** ½ (out of 4)

In what looks to be the beginning of a trend, several well-known actors have recently decided to turn their energies to directing. At the start of October, for one, Bradley Cooper offered a messy, self-contradictory, and lazily nostalgic remake of A Star Is Born. Two weeks later, Jonah Hill recounted a familiarly “gritty” coming-of-age story in Mid90s. Now, IFC Films has released Paul Dano’s Wildlife, a film about a boy named Joe (Ed Oxenbould) who’s forced to witness the gradual dissolution of his parents’ (named Jeanette [Carey Mulligan] and Jerry [Jake Gyllenhaal]) marriage.

Reviews - New Releases/Festivals