Tag: Stanley Tucci

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

* ½ (out of 4)

When I last visited my relatives in China, I was asked by a group of them to play something on the piano. Since I had not touched a keyboard in several months, I decided to play Sergei Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C-sharp Minor, a piece that I thought would sound impressive enough to save face. I hadn’t even gotten halfway through the large, banging chords of the climax before all my relatives started breaking out into exclamations — and by the time I was done, I found myself inundated with compliments on my playing. Never mind that my “interpretation” had no expression, or that I had obviously messed up some notes. To them, loud and big were sure signs of greatness.

On a visceral level, the new live-action version of Beauty and the Beast often feels like it’s trying to do what I did then: dupe its audience into admiration by assailing it with noise.

Reviews - New Releases/Festivals