Darkest Hour (2017)
I have to admit that prior to seeing this film, my history knowledge of Winston Churchill was a little fuzzy.
Gary Oldman is a wizard when it comes to his ability to become whoever he is supposed to be portraying on screen. I became more interested in seeing Darkest Hour after I found out that Oldman was nominated for a Best Actor Oscar, even though I am fed up with the Academy Awards.
Darkest Hour is based on the true story of when British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill was forced to decide whether or not to negotiate with Adolf Hitler when all of Western Europe was being threatened by the Nazis in 1940.
The movie was directed by Joe Wright and the noteworthy cast includes Gary Oldman, Ben Mendelsohn, Lily James, Kristin Scott Thomas, Stephen Dillane, Nicholas Jones, and David Strathairn.
Gary Oldman successfully transformed into Winston Churchill. He was a mumbling, bumbling, blabbering, grumpy old man. It is hard to believe that anyone else could have done half as good a job as he did in his role.
The U.K. in the 1940s was duplicated convincingly and artistically in Darkest Hour. Watching the movie, it was very easy to be pulled into that time and place. It was as if you were there witnessing Winston Churchill make history.
It is always interesting to me how movies with similar subjects get made around the same time. It is no accident that Dunkirk (2017) came out the same year as Darkest Hour. Hollywood likes to capitalize on one concept by showcasing similar movies in the same year. I guess that they assume that if one movie does well, everyone will be curious about the other movie of the same type and will go to see it while the idea is still fresh.
Darkest Hour is about what is going on behind the scenes while Dunkirk is happening. In this case, the two movies do make good companion pieces to each other.
The problem with Darkest Hour is that everyone in the movie besides Gary Oldman felt like an afterthought. His character development improved as the movie went on, but there was not much care placed on the other characters.
The other main thing that was wrong with the film is that it just felt like it took way too long to make its point. It probably could have been 30 minutes shorter. I think that this would have made it more enjoyable.
It felt historically accurate and Oldman’s performance was superb. Without him, this movie would have really struggled.
The film felt a little bit like The King’s Speech (2010). This is not one of those movies that you will want to watch over and over again. It was tasteful and informative, but I will be OK with only seeing it once.
Darkest Hour is a well put together World War II period piece. It is a good depiction of some historical events, however it is overly drawn out and therefore falls a little short.
I rate this movie an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:
The King’s Speech (2010)
Leon: The Professional (1994)
True Romance (1993)
Schindler’s List (1993)
The Pianist (2002)
The Imitation Game (2014)
The Aviator (2004)
Cinderella Man (2005)
J. Edgar (2011)
The Best Movies of 2012
Below is my list of the best movies that I have seen that were released in 2012 (even if some were made in 2011). I have included trailers for each movie. Click on the highlighted titles for my full reviews of each of those films. The movies that are not highlighted, I have not reviewed yet, but I still highly recommend them. I will continue to add to this list if I see any more movies from 2012 that are worthy of this list.
The Grey (2011)
21 Jump Street (2012)
Dark Shadows (2012)
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Movies that were good, but did not quite make the list are:
The Bourne Legacy (2012)
Total Recall (2012)
The Expendables 2 (2012)
The Post (2017)
Steven Spielberg directing Hanks, Streep, Odenkirk, Greenwood, Plemons, and Brie should make a lot of money and be a high quality movie, right?
The film is about The Washington Post Newspaper it 1971. It chronicles how the press defies the government as they want to release loads of classified documents pertaining to the Vietnam War.
The movie was directed by Steven Spielberg and the noteworthy cast includes Tom Hanks, Meryl Streep, Bob Odenkirk, Bruce Greenwood, Jesse Plemons, Alison Brie, Sarah Paulson, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, David Cross, Zach Woods, and Michael Stuhlberg.
The Post is dry as the desert sand. Bright, but also burned out.
The movie was a little hard to follow in the beginning. It has a slow start. Almost every scene seemed drawn out. Because some of the scenes drag on, it takes away from the storyline. You either lose interest and it makes it harder to remember small details that do not matter until later on.
Like many political dramas, the stars come out to play. However, often there are too many stars in the sky, so to speak. There is not enough movie to go around. That is exactly the case with this film. There was this kind of detachment from the main characters.
Odenkirk was probably the most entertaining part of the film and it felt like he was hardly in it. Hanks was likable, but his performance was nothing special. Streep’s character started to develop about halfway through. I feel like the movie had plenty of time for us to become attached to the characters, but it just never gets there.
The entertainment value that we have come to expect from a Spielberg directed film, was hard to find. The spark was just was not present. The scenery was great. It felt like the right time and place that it was depicting. There was not a shortage of acting ability. The Post just falls short of all expectations.
It is a likable overrated, underachieving, sluggish, and detached film. It is worth a one-time rental.
I rate this movie a 6 on a scale of 1-10.
If you liked this film then you might also enjoy:
Bridge of Spies (2015)
Lions for Lambs (2007)
All the President’s Men (1976)
Don Jon (2013)
I have always been a fan of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. I grew up watching his films and television shows. When I was a little kid, I liked him in the films Angels in the Outfield (1994), Beethoven (1992), A River Runs Through It (1992), and the television shows Family Ties, Murder, She Wrote, and Roseanne.
As I grew older, I watched Gordon-Levitt grow up and his roles slowly mature. When I was a teenager I enjoyed his part in the movie 10 Things I Hate About You(1999), and I liked him in the television shows That ‘70s Show, and 3rd Rock from the Sun.
Shortly after 3rd Rock from the Sun ended in 2001, Gordon-Levitt started accepting edgier roles. For the most part, he stuck with low-budget independent films until the blockbuster Inception (2010) boosted him to superstardom.
Ever since Inception, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been on fire. He was excellent in the film 50/50 (2011), The Dark Knight Rises (2012) speaks for itself, he made Premium Rush (2012) watch-able, Looper (2012) was awesome, Lincoln (2012) was a film of epic proportions, and he has returned to his roots of independent, edgy filmmaking with Don Jon.
Don Jon marks an impressive new milestone for Gordon-Levitt. It is the first film that he has written, directed, and starred in. Also, he bulked up a lot for the movie.
Don Jon is an atypical dysfunctional drama that hits on a touchy topic, porn addiction. Jon (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a New Jersey man who seems to have all of his priorities straight except that he is a total ladies man and he is addicted to pornography. When Jon meets Barbara (Scarlett Johansson), the most beautiful woman that he has ever seen, she changes him. He is forced to confront his porn addiction and how he treats women.
The movie is definitely an adult drama. It tackles the subjects of pornography, masturbation, and addiction. There is a lot of nudity and language.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt has a very solid track record when it comes to acting and I was very excited to see Don Jon because of his writing, directing, and starring credits. He does not disappoint. The film was delightfully different from the norm. It touches on topics that people tend to shy away from and it throws them in your face. Although it will be considered a controversial movie and it proves that Gordon-Levitt likes to takes risks, Don Jon has a lot of heart.
I saw Don Jon two nights ago and I have been thinking about it ever since. It stuck with me. The more I think about it, the more that I like it. It’s a good date movie if you have an open mind.
The cast is awesome! Gordon-Levitt was a rockstar both on and off camera. The chemistry between Johansson and Gordon-Levitt was perfect. They also had their accents down wonderfully. Moore was a great addition to the movie and it was fun to see Danza and Headly acting again.
Don Jon deserves a few Oscar nods, in my opinion. Joseph Gordon-Levitt should be recognized with a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Actor or Best Director, or both, and the film should be nominated for Best Picture. Johansson and Moore also gave Oscar worthy performances.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt has proved himself to be a very capable filmmaker. I’m excited to see what he will do next.
I rate this movie a 9 on a scale of 1-10.
Buy, rent, or run? Buy.
Note: The first movie that I remember seeing Joseph Gordon-Levitt in was Angels in the Outfield (1994). That film was also the first movie that I remember seeing Tony Danza in. It’s interesting to me how almost 20 years later Gordon-Levitt has gone on to be a superstar and Danza’s career has tanked. If this movie does not revive Danza’s career, then nothing will. If Danza suddenly pops up in everything, it will be because of his comeback in Don Jon.