In 1971, the New York Times published a series of articles based on top-secret documents about America’s 30-year involvement in the Vietnam War. These came to be known as the Pentagon Papers. In the late ’60s, Daniel Ellsberg (Matthew Rhys) worked for the RAND Corporation, consulting on the war and, in the face of Defense Secretary Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood), had leaked the papers to the Times.
Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), the ambitious executive editor of the Washington Post, knows the Times was on to a big story—and he wants in on it. The owner and publisher of the Post, Kay Graham (Meryl Streep), is on the verge of taking the company public to raise its profile and influence.
Just when the Justice Department halts the Times from publishing anything further, a shoebox of leaked documents is dropped off at the Post. Now Graham, who loves the paper, faces a dilemma. If the Post publishes stories based on the documents, they could face charges of treason. For Bradlee, who cannot abide government officials lying, there is no question about freedom of the press. Suddenly, Graham is inundated by men: Bradlee pushes her, McNamara warns her, and her all-male board and attorneys tell her no. Graham listens, discerns, and makes the decision of a lifetime.
Director Steven Spielberg tells a powerful story based on true events. Although the action takes place mostly in offices, newsrooms, and Graham’s home, the suspense grows as each moment passes.
The Post is Graham’s story. She was a woman in a man’s world and did what she thought was right—for the truth, for the freedom of the press, and for the legacy of her family’s newspaper. Streep gives a compelling, understated performance that is sure to gain awards attention.
A-3, PG-13 ♦ Mature themes.
Some time ago, Paddington (Ben Whishaw), an orphan bear from Peru, sailed to London. Now he is living happily with the Brown family. Popular in his neighborhood, he is known for his marmalade sandwiches and for seeing the good in everyone.
As Paddington ponders what to get Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton), the bear who cared for him in Peru, he discovers a rare pop-up book about London in an antique store. Paddington decides to work extra jobs so he can save up to buy the book for Aunt Lucy. But the greedy and narcissistic Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant), an actor in dog commercials, steals the book and Paddington is blamed for it.
It is a sad day in Windsor Gardens when the innocent Paddington goes to prison. But his good character and optimism win over the hardened criminals who become his friends, led by the cook, Knuckles McGinty (Brendan Gleeson). They conspire to escape and clear Paddington’s name.
Paddington 2 is the quintessential family film that had me smiling throughout. The cast is a veritable cavalcade of top British actors. Themes of kindness and doing the right thing flow through the live-action/CGI-animated film. It may be a bit long for very young children, but with its diverse cast, humor, and humanity, it is a film for our time.
Not yet rated, PG ♦ Some peril.
In 1892, when most Native Americans are living on reservations out West, renegade Comanches attack a rancher and his family. Only the mother, Rosalie (Rosamund Pike), survives. At a US Army fort nearby, Captain Joseph J. Blocker (Christian Bale) is tasked with escorting the dying Chief Yellow Hawk (Wes Studi) and his family to Montana so he can die at home.
When Blocker and his team come across a shocked Rosalie, they take her with them. The journey is fraught with peril for all, with racial tensions and memories of brutal murders underlying all of their interactions. A transformation of sorts occurs during the journey for the main characters, but that seems insignificant compared to the carnage that awaits them.
Hostiles demands that the audience imagine much of the characters’ backstories. It wants to be profound—to show how people of different ethnicities can learn to get along. But it is told predominantly from the white man’s perspective, leaving it uneven with a patronizing ending.
Not yet rated, R ♦ Pervasive, intense violence, off-screen rape.