Tag: 2018

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 Fox Searchlight.

**** (out of 4)

Lee Israel was a writer whose life story is at once cautionary and perversely compelling. Although her books had once been New York Times bestsellers, Israel found herself struggling to pay rent by the 90s. Desperate, she turned to forgery, writing and selling what she claimed were authentic letters by luminaries like Noël Coward and Edna Ferber. The FBI eventually tracked Israel down and slapped her with a five-year probationary sentence. But she ultimately got the last laugh: her exploits provided the basis for a fairly well-received memoir, and two of her forgeries even appeared in an official collection of Coward’s letters.

Israel’s life is the subject of Marielle Heller’s new biopic, Can You Ever Forgive Me? If you hadn’t actually seen it, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the film is meant to be a sort of comedy.

Reviews - New Releases/Festivals

Reviews - New Releases/Festivals