Mark Felt: The man who brought down the White House

I was a teenager when I saw Mike Stivic and Archie Bunker fight over the Watergate scandal in the deliciously topical sitcom All in the family. Then a few years later, I saw All the president’s men, about Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s investigation that uncovered the corruptions of the Nixon administration. In the film we see the journalists meeting in a dark garage at night with an informant they called “Deep throat”. We now know that “Deep throat” was Mark Felt, the Associate director of the Federal bureau of investigation (FBI). The film start as Mark Felt (Liam Neeson) learns about the death of FBI director J. Edgar Hoover (he headed the bureau from 1924 to 1972). As interim director Nixon names “yes man” Patrick Gray (Marton Csokas). Mark Felt does not get along with Gray, as he feels that he should have been appointed. Then on June 17, 1972, the Watergate break-in happens. The investigation starts at the FBI, but Gray receives orders from the White house to stop the investigation and cover it up. But Mark Felt wants to sticks to the principles of the FBI as an arm’s length organisation untouched by political interference. In his personal life, Felt and his wife, Audrey (Diane Lane), are looking for their missing daughter. Mark Felt: The man who brought down the White House is interesting mostly for the history lesson and the similarities to what is happening in Washington in 2017. Liam Neeson, who is in every scenes, has a somber and commanding presence. The cast of characters are well-played, but no one else than Neeson is notable. According to the director, Diane Lane gave what he termed an “electric performance”, but most of it was cut from the finished film. As it is, it’s a thankless part. Although the film is interesting to see because of what we learn, it suffers a lot from a slow tempo and a lack of energy. The Daniel Pemberton score helps to keep the suspense and tension boiling. I liked it enough to recommend, but you should also see Alan J. Pakula’s All the president’s men.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

 

Mark Felt: The man who brought down the White House

 

Directed by:
Peter Landesman

Screenplay by:
Peter Landesman

Starring:
Liam Neeson
Diane Lane
Michael C. Hall
Maika Monroe
Julian Morris
Marton Csokas

106 min.

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On the milky road (На млечном путу)

There is so much happening in Emir Kusturica’s On the milky road that you lose the points that the film tries to make, if any. It takes place during the Bosnian war (1992 – 1995). Kosta (Emir Kusturica), a milkman, tries to avoid the bullets while he delivers the milk from a nearby farm. Everyone  in the village seems to have been traumatized by war. Even the farm animals behave in peculiar ways. Some soldiers at the front spend the time making omelette. In the middle of the craziness, Kosta falls in love with a beautiful Italian-Serb woman (Monica Bellucci) who is hiding from the British NATO general who wanted to marry her. At the end the British arrive, burn the farm and the village, kill all the the humans and the animals (animal lovers be warned). Our lovers escape. Follows a series of futile romantic images. On the milky road‘s directions is frantic and full of energy. But there is frantic and FRANTIC. I know that Kusturica is very popular at film festivals, and that I am supposed to kneel down and kiss the ground he walks on. Oh yeah, and the other reason I should like his films is that they are the antithesis of the Hollywood films. I’ve heard all that before. Despite the violence and the body counts, On the milky road is meant to be funny, and it is, but only in the early scenes. After a while it just becomes tedious. I think one of the point might be “War is hell!”. Yes, I know. But do I have to sit through it?

Rémi-Serge Gratton

On the milky road (На млечном путу)

 

Directed by:
Emir Kusturica

Screenplay by:
Emir Kusturica

Starring:
Emir Kusturica
Monica Bellucci
Sloboda Mićalović
Predrag Manojlović

125 min.

In Serbian and Italian with English subtitles.

Woodshock

I find that the worse films are not the overblown Hollywood blockbusters, but the pretentious independent films.Additionally, Woodshock is boring and confusing. It stars Kirsten Dunst as Theresa, a woman with a profound depressive (and depressing), blank stare. In early scenes we witness Theresa as she put a few drops of a mysterious liquid from a mysterious vial into a bag of marijuana, rolls a joint and gives it to her sick mother. Mother smokes it and then dies. Since then, Theresa has been walking around the house in a near-vegetative state. Her boyfriend, Nick (Joe Cole), tries to help her, but he is unable to pull her out of her depression. They live in a house next to the woods. Theresa works at a marijuana store. It is confusing because everything around them (sets, costume, music, cars) seems to say they live in the 70s or 80s. Unless there were marijuana stores back then and did not know about it. Whatever was in that vial kills two more people, but when Theresa smokes it, she gets psychedelic visions, the likes I haven’t seen since the good old days of hippies movies. And she also goes to the woods to levitate. If bad movies makes you laugh, then go. It just did not do anything for me. Boring and annoying.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

Woodshock

 

Directed by:
Kate Mulleavy
Laura Mulleavy

Screenplay by:
Kate Mulleavy
Laura Mulleavy

Starring:
Kirsten Dunst
Pilou Asbæk
Joe Cole

100 min.