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"Hell or High Water" is a modern day Western with themes of family and brotherly love, even if loving your brother means robbing banks and killing innocent victims. Yet to dismiss "Hell or High Water" as a senseless shoot-em-up would mean missing one of top films of 2016. With a stellar cast headed by the always wonderful Jeff Bridges and a believable Chris Pines, this intense, fast-paced film grapples with common issues families face today - money, kids, divorce and loyalty. In true Old West style, it's all played out on a beautifully gritty backdrop of speeding cars and gunfire. Actor Gil Birmingham in the role of Native American Comanche Alberto Parker adds heart to the film.
Eye in the Sky Review for Rotten Tomatoes
By Celeste Winters
"Eye in the Sky" is an intense look at ethics and consequence in an age of conflict, world politics and cyber technology. Intense and frighteningly real, "Eye in the Sky" shows a young Kenyan girl putting her Hula Hoop down to sell bread at Nairobi's outdoor market. Determined to remain until the last loaf is sold, the child is unaware that a bombing is planned nearby to kill a female terrorist.
Helen Mirren is fierce as a UK Colonel determined to kill or capture a British citizen-turned-radicalized killer. She favors the bombing and is willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish her mission. Military leaders weigh in on the decision; two young military personnel must put their own feelings aside to follow orders.
Barkhad Abdi (who played the Somali pirate from "Captain Phillips") remains
on-ground at the market to oversee the complex mission. Abdi is particularly effective in the film, lending depth and practical actions to changing circumstances.
Determined to bomb the marketplace where a British woman is believed to be hiding, Mirren's character knows the little girl selling bread could become collateral damage. In an especially effective scene, military figures, world leaders and young military personnel tasked with the job of launching the bombs all weigh in on the PR impact of killing an innocent child.
This was one of Alan Rickman's last roles before his death, and he deserves consideration as a Best Supporting Actor Academy Award nomination (which he has never received). As the Lt. General representing the military's interests, Rickman is at the top of his game as he debates pros and cons of how propaganda could impact the mission's outcome.
Despite shooting "Eye in the Sky" on location, cast members were isolated from one another and their scenes shot separately. In fact, cast members never met during filming - a tribute to the talents of each actor.
"Eye in the Sky" is a film for our times and a worthy topic for discussion in a Presidential election year.
"Bridge of Spies" is a fascinating behind-the-scenes walk into the Cold War era. This is not the Fabulous Fifties of "American Bandstand". It's behind-the-scenes political maneuvers involving Russia, Germany and the United States. While young Baby Boomers hid beneath school desks during air raids, the real intrigue was far more subtle. Spies didn't drink martinis and wear black tie...they wore glasses. created oil paintings and listened to classical music.Thanks to masterful direction from Steven Spielberg, stunning cinematography by Janusz Kaminski, and the writing of the Cohen Brothers and Mat Charman, "Bridge of Spies" embodies a 1950s' attorney and family man portrayed by Tom Hanks. High-level international intrigue unfolds amid mundane bureaucracies.Yet Hanks' insurance lawyer maintains an unflinching desire to do the right thing, even when it's hard to know the difference in a gray, cold world as frigid as its politics. Mark Rylance gives a solid, nuanced performance as the spy caught between countries. He is torn by his art, his wife, and political loyalties. The friendship that evolves between Hank's attorney Jim Donovan and Rylance's Rudolph Abel serves as a metaphor for the confusion and fear that Americans and Russians must have experienced during the Cold War era. That's the funny thing about common ground. It does bring clarity...even in the cold. Oscar nominations are likely for Actor, Director, Cinematography and possibly Best Supporting Actor.