Archives for posts with tag: tom wilkinson

So, I’m pretty sure that the impetus behind this film was that Tom Cruise saw a photo of Claus von Stauffenberg and thought, “I am doing humanity a disservice if I do not make a film about this man.” Also maybe felt that his résumé was lacking a movie where he got to thwart Nazis. Of course, he doesn’t actually get to thwart any Nazis. The Valkyrie plot failed, and nobody got to kill Hitler but Hitler, pace Quentin Tarantino.

mv5bmtg3njc2odeyn15bml5banbnxkftztcwntawmzc3na-_v1_ux182_cr00182268_al_Valkyrie is however a pretty good movie.  While Cruise as Stauffenberg gets to do a lot of jaw-jutting moralizing, the logistical problems–not to mention those of spinelessness–are well handled by everyone else.  Eddie Izzard (Fellgiebel) and Tom Wilkinson (Fromm) in particular waver and falter and smoke nervously in very convincing ways. Tom Hollander (Brandt) is as usual excellent in an as usual ungrateful part.

The film’s main strengths are the small things, though. A switchboard operator has to decide whether to put through the communiqué from the Wolf’s Lair or from the coup leaders, and his face eloquently says how far this is above his pay grade. Thomas Kretschmann, handsome as always and filled with ennui as the commander of a home guard division, likewise is never sure whether it’s a drill or whether the sky is falling and he should arrest Goebbels. Stauffenberg’s a.d.c. (Jamie Parker) is welcomed into the office with an offer of risky involvement in high treason and shrugs a yes. You actually watch the movements of the explosive-laden briefcase with some trepidation.

It’s not subtle. Goebbels (Harvey Friedman) and Goering (Gerhard Haase-Hindenberg) are sneering, evil cartoons. Hitler himself (David Bamber) is insufficiently mad for July of 1944, but still just awful. The ominous mass of greatcoats and jackboots hangs over the film. On the other side, Stauffenberg loves his wife, his children, and Jesus. The Stauffenberg children are relentlessly blond and play soldiers to the accompaniment of a phonograph playing Wagner and Tom Cruise’s agonized eyes. When the members of the plot are all rounded up and shot (spoiler alert!), Terence Stamp as Ludwig Beck gloriously observes, on learning that he is to be spared, that he’d like a pistol. For personal reasons.

And just in case you were wondering if it’s as hell-for-leather awesome as Tom Cruise movies usually are: he is blown up not once but twice within the first six minutes and then has to wear an eyepatch.

Director: Bryan Singer
Rating: PG-13
Length: 121 minutes
Score: 4/5

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Tcheky Karyo makes every movie about nine thousand percent better, and this is no exception. Between Karyo and Jason Isaacs chewing scenery, you are almost able to forget about Mel Gibson’s painful earnestness.

Look, you definitely think this movie is stupid and refried Braveheart. You are not wrong. But this movie is also tremendous, because somehow all the emotional beats hit, and also America is awesome.

Which is what it comes down to. The plot is silly, and the romances are unremarkable, and the Brits are ludicrously cartoonish, and Donal Logue recovering from his terminal racism is almost insulting, but…I cry every time Susan speaks to Benjamin, and I love America.

Stray observations:

  • Just…shoot him again, Gabriel. Don’t be dumb.
  • Can someone just make a supercut of all of Jean Villeneuve’s sick burns and mic drops? “I want accuracy and precision!” “If I die, I will die well dressed.”
  • Chris Cooper doesn’t lack for knives in the gut either.

Director: Roland Emmerich
Rating: PG-13
Length: 165 minutes
Score: 1,000,000/5

You are probably thinking, “What possessed you to watch a rom-com, starring Katherine Heigl, about a lesbian wedding?”

I’m not sure, and I regret it.

It’s not a complicated story: Jenny (Heigl) wants to marry Kitty (Alexis Bledel), but her family (Tom Wilkinson, Linda Emond, Grace Gummer) doesn’t know she’s gay. There are some bumps.

And you probably have some other questions, like:

  • Why is Tom Wilkinson in this movie?
  • Why doesn’t Kitty have a personality?
  • Why does everybody’s character jag wildly between ludicrous bigotry and tearful humanity?
  • Why is everyone in this movie with the possible exception of Jenny’s brother (Matthew Metzger, probably) just the biggest dillweed?
  • Why can’t Grace Gummer water a lawn without having a heavy-handed epiphany?

I counted zero laughs.

Director: Mary Agnes Donoghue
Rating: PG-13
Length: 94 minutes
Score: 1/5

All your favorite old British people–Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Celia Imrie, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton, and Ronald Pickup–go to Jaipur. Dev Patel is also there.

I laughed once, when Judi Dench chugged a G&T, thinking it was water.

Director: John Madden
Rating: PG-13
Length: 124 min.
Score: 1/5.