Dramas were the order of the week for renters and included a quartet of excellent releases that were grounded in realism.
TRUMBO – This biography of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo is a must see for Hollywood history fanatics. The story follows his blacklisting as Hollywood merged with anti-communism fervor and sought to police its own industry. The film charts the impact of this disaster as well as the creative ways writers got around it by ghost writing or using fronts.
Lots of humor keeps this from getting too grim . A phenomenal cast is topped by Bryan Cranston’s performance in the titular role. The supporting actors include Helen Mirren(as gossip guru Hedda Hopper) and Diane Lane as Trumbo’s spouse. John Goodman, Louis C.K., and John Getz also appear.
THE 33 – Another true account makes for superb drama in this story of 33 Chilean miners who were trapped underground for 69 days by a cave-in. Once again a solid cast is assembled with Lou Diamond -Phillips, Antonio Banderas, James Brolin, and Juliette Binoche starring. This is a true testament to human endurance as these guys were stuck under a boulder the size of the Empire State Building and had little in the way of food . Add an indifferent political regime and it is a wonder any rescue operation even got started.
STEVE JOBS – Another biography finds Michael Fassbender starring as digital pioneer Jobs . This effort traces his remarkable success and culminates in his unveiling of the Imac in 1998. Though many have challenged whether it strictly adheres to the truth it sails by thanks to a fine screenplay by Aaron Sorkin(The West Wing).
PRESSURE POINT – This week’s retro release is yet another drama and a fine one at that. Sidney Poitier stars as a prison psychologist who questions his ethics when he must counsel a bigoted inmate with ties to the American Nazi Party. What follows is an unsentimental treatment of racism and healing that avoids cliché . Great low key stuff with a sharp performance by singer/actor Bobby Darrin as the hateful patient. Peter Falk(Colombo) also offers up some fine work as a physician/mentor for Poitier’s character.
Tom Doty is a columnist for The Floyd County Times.