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Oh, Pig the cat, and Trig in their flying car

“HOME”  My rating: B- (Opens wide on March 27)

94 minutes | MPAA rating: PG

Now and then voice talent can provide the make-or-break factor in an animated feature.

It’s hard to imagine “Aladdin” or “Finding Nemo” without the vocal contributions of Robin Williams and Ellen DeGeneres. Jim Parsons provides a similar service in “Home.”

Parsons, a multiple Emmy winner for playing a scientific genius/social idiot on TV’s “The Big Bang Theory,” provides the voice of Oh, an alien creature who has come to Earth along with about a million of his fellow Boovs.

The Boovs are a species of six-legged creatures with trashcan bodies, frog-like faces, prehensile ears and a chameleonic ability to change their skin coloring to fit their emotions (red for angry, blue for sad, yellow for fear…).

Though they overnight seize our world — banishing the human population to camps in the Australian Outback that are part suburban subdivision, part carnival midway — the Boovs aren’t particularly scary. They don’t kill or physically harm the dispossessed humans. They’re like a herd of shy pre-schoolers.

Except for Oh, who in comparison to his brethren is a radical rugged individualist.  Aggressively garrulous and outgoing, he irritates his reticent comrades, who dread his friendly incursions into their personal space.  He’s a well-meaning boor upsetting an otherwise sedate environment.

FOR THE REST OF THIS REVIEW VISIT THE KANSAS CITY STAR WEBSITE AT http://www.kansascity.com/entertainment/movies-news-reviews/article16302596.html

Charlotte Gainsbour, Mastroiani

Charlotte Gainsbourg and Chiara Mastroiani…sisters in love with the same man.

“3 HEARTS” My rating: C+ (Opens March 27 at the Glenwood Arts)

106 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

The human heart is a tremendously fickle organ, at least in Benoit Jacquot’s “3 Hearts,” a heavy-sighing melodrama about a soulful taxman torn between two sisters.

Marc (Benoit Poelvoorde) has missed the last train to Paris.  He asks a woman he encounters on the street — she is played by the ever-blue Charlotte Gainsbourg — to suggest a decent hotel in this provincial burg.

But the two spend the entire night walking and talking, and by sunrise they have agreed to meet at a prearranged time in a Paris park.

The screenplay by Jacquot and Julien Boivent doesn’t make it easy for them.  For starters, the two potential lovers fail to exchange their names and phone numbers. It’s an early sign that this movie may not be unfolding in the same world the rest of us live in.

And when they fail to rendezvous (he’s delayed by a tax audit with a couple of Chinese businessmen who speak no French) the woman — her name is Sylvie — takes the train back home.  Her marriage is shaky, but she nevertheless follows her husband to a new job in the U.S.A.

A few weeks later Marc is back in town on business and is approached at the tax office by Sylvie’s sister Sophie (the eternally sad-eyed Chiara Mastroianni).  She needs advice regarding her family’s antique store.

Wouldn’t you know it? She falls for Marc.  Before long she has left her husband, married Marc, and started a family.

Continue Reading »

as the "holy family"

Tool Kiki, Ibrahim Ahmed and Layla Walet Mohamed as “Timbuktu’s”  “holy family”

“TIMBUKTU”  My rating: B+ 

97 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

Superficially “Timbuktu” resembles one of those old WWII dramas about the Nazi occupation of a peaceful village.

The difference is that the occupiers in “Timbuktu” are the gunmen of ISIS, and that writer/director Abderrahmane Sissako eschews propaganda for an insightful and thoroughly humane study of both the oppressors and the oppressed.

“Timbuktu”  is a Mauritanian film that  was a nominee this year for best foreign language Oscar (and which cleaned up at this year’s Cesar Awards). It is set in a desert region of Mali,  which shares a border with Mauritania in northwest Africa.

It opens with gorgeous footage of a gazelle bounding across an arid landscape. The animal is being chased by a truck flying the black flag of ISIS while passengers fire their guns — a stark example of natural simplicity compromised by human cruelty.

(right) as the ISIS leader

Abel Jafri (right) as the ISIS leader

This is followed by a scene of beautiful wooden tribal effigy figures being used for target practice.

ISIS fighters go through a village (the buff-colored buildings are reminiscent of the pueblo architecture of the American Southwest), using a bullhorn to announce the rules of the occupation: Music is forbidden. Smoking is forbidden. All women must cover their heads and wear socks and gloves.

Sissako and co-writer Kessen Tall don’t provide one through story. Rather, they give us moments from daily life as experienced by numerous characters.

One story line centers on the nomadic herdsman Kidane (Ibrahim Ahmed), who lives in a tent with his beautiful wife Satima (Toulou Kiki) and their daughter Toya (Layla Walet Mohamed). Despite a few modern conveniences like cell phones, Kidane’s family are at peace with their environment, basking in life’s simple pleasures. (They remind of Bergman’s “holy family” of actors in “The Seventh Seal.”)

But their little Eden won’t last.  The local ISIS leader, Abdelkerim (Abel Jafri), covets Satima. And Kidane’s dispute with a neighbor will have tragic repercussions.

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Ronit Elkabetz and Menashe Noy

Ronit Elkabetz and Menashe Noy

“GETT: THE TRIAL OF VIVIANE AMSALEM” My rating: B+ 

115 minutes | No MPAA rating

One could hardly find a better way to observe Women’s History Month than with “Gett: The Trial of Viviane Amsalem,” a journey down the rabbit hole of Israeli divorce court that gives patriarchal attitudes a swift kick in the tush.

Civil marriage and  divorce don’t exist in Israel. Both are under the jurisdiction of rabbinical courts which will acknowledge a divorce only after a husband officially grants one.  In certain circumstances — if he’s committed adultery or physically abused his wife — a man may be compelled by the court to divorce.  Mostly though, the rabbis advise patience and try to get warring couples back together.

It’s a system stacked against women.

In “Gett” (the Hebrew word for divorce), middle-aged Viviane (Ronit Elkabetz) has already lived three years apart from her husband of 30 years, Elisha (Simon Abkarian). Now she is seeking a divorce.

But the passive-aggressive Elisha isn’t cooperating.  He won’t even show up for a hearing.  Eventually he’s jailed for contempt to force him to appear. Even then he’s totally uncooperative.

Viviane has always been unhappy in a loveless marriage. But technically she hasn’t got much of a case. Simply being miserably married doesn’t qualify.

In the meantime she’s steered clear of other men and continued with certain of her wifely duties, cooking meals that are delivered to Elisha and their youngest child (two older offspring already have moved on).

Still, Elisha stubbornly insists he wants her back. It’s less about love than about control, and to punish Viviane for her temerity in not recognizing his superiority.

Like the hapless defendant in Kafka’s “The Trial,” Viviane’s ordeal will go on for years and years through one absurd situation after another.

Elkabetz, a quietly luminous actress, wrote and directed the film with her brother Shlomi Elkmbetz, and they have employed a rigid visual and presentational format that is hugely effective.

The entire film takes place either in the courtroom or a nearby waiting room — vague, featureless  environments with white, undecorated walls and bland industrial furniture.  Most of the characters dress only in black and white. The entire movie is monochromatic, with  color provided mostly by human flesh. When late in the film a defiant Viviane shows up in a fiery red dress, it’s like a slap at the bearded jaws of her judges.

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gunman-starring-sean-penn-released“THE GUNMAN” My rating: C

115 minutes | MPAA rating: R

In “The Gunman” (a prime contender for the year’s least creative movie title) Sean Penn spends a good deal of time shirtless, displaying bulging biceps and ripped abs that would be impressive on a college student, much less a guy who soon will qualify for a senior discount.

Penn’s walking testimonial to the personal training industry is about the only noteworthy thing in this empty shoot-’em-up. It’s all too clearly an attempt by the two-time Oscar winner to tap into the graybeard action-hero market so effectively explored by Liam Neeson in the “Taken” series.

Heck, “The Gunman” has even been helmed by “Taken” director Pierre Morel.

But lightning does not strike twice.  It barely flickers.

Penn plays Jim Terrier, a professional killer.  As the film begins he and his team are living in the civil war-ravaged Congo, posing as security contractors for a big firm building a jungle airstrip.

But when the minister of resources threatens to nationalize the country’s mines, shadowy corporate interests order the man’s assassination. Designated the triggerman, Jim kills with a perfect sniper shot, then is whisked out of the country.

FOR TH REST OF THIS REVIEW, VISIT THE KANSAS CITY STAR WEBSITE AT http://www.kansascity.com/entertainment/movies-news-reviews/article15274910.html

| Robert W. Butler

spring-fb-11“SPRING” My rating: B (Opens March 20 at the Alamo Drafthouse)

109 minutes | Np MPAA rating

For about 15 minutes “Spring” looks like it’s going to be a searing psychological study of a young man who has just lost his mother to a terrible disease.

Then it becomes the story of that same young man on the run from the law and his adventures in Italy, where he lives the life of a backpacking tourist.

He meets a girl, and then it becomes a love story.

And then, 30 minutes in, like a sucker punch out of nowhere, “Spring” turns into one of the weirdest (and weirdly affecting) horror stories encountered in many a full moon.

Gotta give credit to the writing/directing team of Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead — they may occasionally fumble one of the many balls they’re trying to keep up in the air, but their ambition seems to have no limits. Here they move from the utterly realistic to the spectacularly fantastic in a heartbeat.

And if the supernatural elements they have concocted seem far fetched, those lapses are balanced against two terrific performances and a tonal palette that is erotic, mysterious and genuinely moving.

Continue Reading »

Jack O'Connell

Jack O’Connell

“’71” My rating: B (Opens March 20 at the Glenwood Arts)

99 minutes | MPAA rating: R

The soldier trapped behind enemy lines has long been a staple of the war film, but the new British release “’71” gives it an original and singularly deadly spin.

The place: Belfast. The time: 1971.

Private Hook (Jack O’Connell, looking about 10 years younger than he did in “Unbroken”) finds himself deployed to Northern Ireland.

“You are not leaving this country,” an officer reassures. Technically, he’s correct, for Belfast is part of the United Kingdom. But for all practical purposes Hook might as well be stationed on an alien planet filled with wildlife bent on killing him.

His immersion into the “troubles” is sudden and deadly. Doing house-to-house searches in a Catholic neighborhood, his unit is mobbed by furious locals hurling stones. Hook is surrounded and beaten, barely escaping with his life.

Meanwhile, his unit has scrambled back into their trucks and hightailed it for their barracks.  Hook is alone in enemy territory.

Here’s the problem: As a newcomer Hook can’t tell the difference between a Catholic neighborhood, where the locals would happily kill him, and a Protestant one where — in theory anyway — he can find shelter.

Continue Reading »

cinderella“CINDERELLA”  My rating: B

112 minutes | MPAA rating: PG

Don’t go to Disney’s new live-action version of “Cinderella” expecting post-modern irony, a feminist perspective, or even psychological realism.

The makers of this movie take their fairy tales straight up and undiluted by any such intellectual folderol.

In last year’s “Maleficent” the Disney Studio reinterpreted its 1959 “Sleeping Beauty” from the evil fairy’s point of view.

But “Cinderella” director Kenneth Branagh and screenwriter Chris Weitz have no use for such revisionism. The fairy tale is enough for them. They aim for the heart, not the head.

Darned if they don’t pull it off.

This isn’t precisely a remake of Disney’s acclaimed 1950 animated version, but fans of the original will see plenty of references, from the evil stepmother’s pampered cat Lucifer to the fat mouse Gus.

(Now if only they’d had Helena Bonham Carter’s Fairy Godmother sing “Bippity Boppity Boo”…well, can’t have everything.)

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Viacheslav Fetisov (center) and teammates bring the Stanley Cup to Moscow

“RED ARMY”  My rating: B 

76 minutes | MPAA rating: PG

You needn’t be a hockey fan or even a sports enthusiast to appreciate “Red Army,” Gabe Polsky’s documentary about the heyday of Soviet ice hockey.

It’s got plenty of hockey action, sure, but it’s also about history, politics, the Cold War, and a whole lot of other stuff.

From the 1970s until the fall of the Soviet Union in the late ’80s, a winning national hockey team — run by the Red Army — was viewed as proof to the world not only of the USSR’s athletic excellence but also of the irrefutable superiority of the Soviet system.

This doc gives a fine overview, from the days when head coach Anatoli Tarasov designed the system, studying the training programs of the Bolshoi Ballet and Soviet chess masters to create an intricate passing game in which a collective approach trumped individual ego, in which teamwork was paramount.

Indeed, watching footage of Tarasov’s squad in action is like witnessing some high speed modern dance of astounding grace and sublime coordination.

Tarasov was beloved of his players, a fat, grandfatherly figure to pre-teen boys who joined the team after national tryouts and thereafter pretty much lived and breathed hockey.

Unfortunately, Tarasov ran afoul of the leadership and was replaced by Viktor Tikhonov, a KGB operative who took Tarasov’s design and ran with it, in the process turning the Red Army team into a sort of gulag.

Continue Reading »

Justin Peck

Justin Peck

“BALLET 422″ My rating: C+

75 minutes | MPAA rating: PG

Hard-core dance fans may take some pleasure in “Ballet 422,” a documentary about the making of a new piece.

The rest of us will be underwhelmed.

The subject of Jody Lee Lipes’ film is promising. A couple of years ago Justin Peck, 25, a dancer with the New York City Ballet, was given the opportunity to choreograph a new work for the company. A member of the corps de ballet, Peck was less a star than a grunt, but he had shown such promise at a choreographing workshop that he caught a big break.

“Ballet 422″ looks at the creation of “Paz de La Jolla” set to Czech composer Bohuslav Martinu’s 1950 “Sinfonetta La Jolla.” Continue Reading »

The usual suspects reunite

The usual suspects reunite

“THE SECOND BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL”  My rating: C-

122 minutes | MPAA rating: PG

Ideally, a sequel gets made because there’s more to explore in the story or characters.

Most often, though, the sole motive is money.

And you can hear the spare change clanking incessantly beneath the dialogue of “The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”

The first film was a sleeper hit, thanks to its stellar British cast (Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Judi Dench), the exotic Indian setting and its amusing blend of expatriate adventure and cheeky septuagenarian sexuality.

It never added up to much, but it went down easily, especially with the gray-haired crowd that rarely gets to see itself portrayed with any sort of dignity on the big screen.

But though this follow-up was made by the same people — director John Madden, screenwriter Ol Parker and the returning players — all the charm seems to have evaporated. It’s a paint-by-numbers effort.

The screenplay gives each of the retiree residents of the Marigold Hotel [added:] in Jaipur a crisis to overcome — usually a romantic one. Contrasting against those late-life liaisons are the impending nuptials of young hotel operator Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel) and his beloved Sunaina (Tina Desai).

Fortune hunter Madge (Celia Imrie) has two well-heeled Indian gentlemen on tap but can’t decide which one to marry. Nighy’s Douglas is smitten with Dench’s Evelyn, but he’s too shy to jump and she won’t commit.

Bon vivant Norman (Ronald Pickup) fears that he has inadvertently put out a mob hit on his girlfriend, Carol (Diana Hardcastle).

Muriel (Maggie Smith) grumpily lectures Americans on how to make tea and quietly nurses her concerns when a medical checkup doesn’t go as planned.

These subplots circle a larger story.

Continue Reading »

Focus-2015-Movie“FOCUS”  My rating: C 

104 minutes | MPAA rating: R

The key to pulling off a scam, according to master con artist Nicky, is to throw off your mark’s focus.

Tap the poor slob on his right shoulder while you remove the Rolex from his left wrist. Misdirect. Confuse.

The same can be said of long-con movies (think “The Sting”), which bluff the audience to deliver a big “Gotcha!!!” payoff.

That’s the goal anyway. The problem with “Focus” is that, well, it has no focus.

Not the characters. Not the fuzzy plotting. Not the halfhearted stab at romance.

Oh, there’s some diversion to be found in the high-roller settings: New Orleans when it hosts the Super Bowl,  Buenos Aires during a Formula One race.  It smacks of an old James Bond flick with a dash of “Thomas Crown Affair” slickness.

But this tepid “thriller” mostly coasts, offering a couple of minor diversions (it’s amusing to see how professional scammers go about their nefarious business) without ever delivering that “wow” moment.

Continue Reading »

Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan

Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan

“FIFTY SHADES OF GREY” My rating: C+

125 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Great literature often defies cinematic adaptation. Bad novels, on the other hand, are right up Hollywood’s alley.

Those who take reading even halfway seriously agree that E.L. James’ best-selling Fifty Shades of Grey is wretched stuff.  A page-turner, perhaps. But wretched.

And yet the movie version — the first 45 minutes or so, anyway — is actually kinda fun, embracing a tongue-in-cheek (no pun intended) sensibility that finds unexpected humor in James’ heavy-panting tale of fabulous wealth and kinky sexual proclivities.

One only wishes that director Sam Taylor-Johnson (whose only previous feature was her young-John-Lennon biopic “Nowhere Boy”) had gone whole hog in slyly subverting the whole “Fifty Shades” phenomenon.

As it stands she’s taken a safe middle ground — nothing to outrage the novel’s loyal fans, but enough wryness that a non-believer can find the experience mildly amusing. And, thank heaven, the movie doesn’t force us to wade through James’ purple prose.

Credit for the film’s strong first half rests largely on Dakota Johnson (daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith), who plays college student Anastasia “Ana” Steele as an adorably dweeby girl-next-door.

She agrees to fill in for her ailing editor roomie for a newspaper interview with Christian Grey (former model Jamie Dornan), the 27-year-old billionaire industrialist. There’s a great deadpan comic moment when she pulls up to the Grey House in downtown Seattle, finds a parking spot right in front of the entrance (religions have been founded on less) and stares up at the phallic skyscraper with open-mouthed awe.

Continue Reading »

Jude Law as a treasure-hunting submarine captain

Jude Law as a treasure-hunting submarine captain

“BLACK SEA” My rating: B- 

115 minutes | MPAA rating: R

“Black Sea” is preposterous, but hugely entertaining.

This latest from director Kevin Macdonald (“The Last King of Scotland”) is a claustrophobic heist movie about a bunch of down-on-their-luck salvage operators who buy a rusty old Soviet sub and use it to locate and loot a German U-Boat that sank during World War II with millions in gold ingots aboard.

Jude Law stars as Robinson, who just lost his job working for a big international salvage company. His long absences at sea pretty much ruined his marriage, and he’s got nothing to live for. So when a well-suited mover-and-shaker (Scoot McNairy) plays intermediary between Robinson and a rich dude willing to bankroll the project, our man is all too ready to bite.

He assembles a crew of old salts, half Russian and half British, who take no time at all to be at each other’s throats. It doesn’t help that one of the Brits, a deep sea diver played by Ben Mendelsohn, is a paranoid crazy who gets it in his head that if he can kill off a few of his crewmates, that’ll leave more gold for the survivors.

Continue Reading »

Channing Tatum, Steve Carrell

Channing Tatum, Steve Carrell

“FOXCATCHER” My rating: B

129 minutes | MPAA rating: R

Funny guy Steve Carell dons prosthetic teeth and nose for “Foxcatcher,” transforming himself into the fabulously wealthy and seriously unhinged John du Pont,  a convicted murderer who died in prison in 2010.

He’s flanked in the film by Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo, both of whom give career-high performances.

Yet despite this terrific acting (or because of it), “Foxcatcher” is a squirm-worthy experience. We know going in that it will end badly, but Carell — with director Bennett Miller (“Capote,” “Moneyball”) and writers E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman — ups the ante by creating a mood of queasy uneasiness that slowly builds in intensity until you want to jump out of your skin.

Which puts this critic in the weird position of subtracting points because the movie was too effective. At the risk of seeming a philistine, it is difficult to wholly recommend a movie that makes one feel so uncomfortable for two hours-plus.

The story begins in the mid-’80s with wrestler Mark Schultz (Tatum), who with his older brother Dave (Ruffalo) was a big winner at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

While Dave is a family man with a decent gig teaching and coaching at a university, the unmarried, solitary Mark seems to be circling the drain, a not-terribly-bright jock whose glory days are behind him. He’s reduced to donning his gold medal to give talks to elementary school kids for a few bucks.

Enter the mysterious John du Pont, a ferret-like individual who invites Mark to become part of his Team Foxcatcher, a privately funded wrestling community the multimillionaire maintains on his vast estate.

Continue Reading »

american-sniper-trailer-bradley-cooper
“AMERICAN SNIPER” My rating: B+

132 minutes | MPAA rating: R

In more than 40 years of directing, Clint Eastwood has become a master storyteller.

That is overwhelming evident in the first half-hour of “American Sniper,” Eastwood and screenwriter Jason Hall’s adaptation of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle’s memoir about his experiences as the most deadly sniper (160 confirmed kills) in U.S. military history.

They waste no time in plunging us into the action: A street in Iraq. American soldiers searching door-to-door.  Watching from above is Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), new to the war and positioned on a rooftop.

Suddenly Chris spots movement — an Iraqi mother and her young son are approaching. The mother produces a rocket-propelled grenade from her clothing and gives it to her son, who rushes toward the Americans.

In seconds Chris must decide if his first kill will be a child.

From that hair-raising intro, the film sends jerks us back to Chris’ childhood: reared as a hunter (and possible proto-survivalist) by his father, a misspent youth as a rodeo rider, the decision to enlist in the best military unit in the world, the SEALs.

Continue Reading »

selma-bridge“SELMA”  My rating: B+ 

127 minutes  | MPAA rating: PG-13

“Like writing history with lightning.”

That was President Woodrow Wilson’s reaction to a 1915 White House screening of the Civil War epic “Birth of a Nation,” a film whose artistic ambitions were matched only by its racism.

A century later, director Ava DuVernay has given us “Selma,” a docudrama about a pivotal campaign in the fight for civil rights for black Americans. You could say this film writes history not so much with lightning as with compassion.

“Selma” often gets the details wrong (shuffling chronologies and geography, for instance), but its emotional heft is undeniable. In re-creating the 1965 protest marches from Selma, Ala., led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., the movie captures the epic sweep of social upheaval, but also the way it played out for the individuals — famous and anonymous — who made it happen.

David Oweyolo as the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

David Oweyolo as the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It’s as close to being there as most of us will ever get.

The screenplay by Paul Webb (his first) cannily begins with three scenes that establish the film’s breadth of focus and what is at stake.

In Oslo, Norway, the Reverend King (David Oyelowo, who like most of the lead players is British) accepts the Nobel Peace Prize.

In Selma, black housewife Annie Lee Cooper (Oprah Winfrey, one of the movie’s producers) attempts to register to vote. A sneering clerk orders her to recite from memory the preamble to the U.S. Constitution. When she does so flawlessly, he tells her to come back when she has memorized the names of all the county judges in Alabama.

And in Montgomery, Ala., four black girls are killed when a bomb planted by racists goes off in their church during Sunday services.

King and other civil rights leaders focus their efforts to register black voters in Selma, a burg so racially backward and with such thuggish law enforcement that it perfectly meets their needs.  With the media focused on the situation — dignified protestors being abused by white cops and racist mobs — the federal government will be forced to get involved. Continue Reading »

Benedict Cumberbatch as early computer creator Alan Turing

Benedict Cumberbatch as early computer creator Alan Turing

“THE IMITATION GAME” My rating: B+

114 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

With his monumental forehead and widely spaced eyes, Benedict Cumberbatch more resembles the Star Child from “2001” than a movie sex symbol.
Nevertheless, he has his own army of groupies (the self-proclaimed “Cumberbitches”) and his unconventional looks pay off handsomely in roles as brainy outsiders.
Having already put his stamp on Sherlock Holmes for the BBC and PBS, Cumberbatch now takes on Alan Turing, the mathematician and inventor whose genius — he was instrumental in defeating the Nazis and is considered the father of the computer — wasn’t enough to keep him from running afoul of Britain’s draconian laws about “deviant” sexuality.
This film from Norwegian director Morten Tyldum (maker of the nifty thriller “Headhunter”) resembles an extremely good installment of “Masterpiece Theatre,” right down to the familiar actors.
But Cumberbatch’s central performance is so overwhelming that it elevates this historical drama into the realm of Shakespearean tragedy.
In early World War II this Turing is recruited to help crack Enigma, the Nazis’ allegedly unbeatable system for sending coded messages throughout the Reich’s war machine.
Denniston (Charles Dance), the brittle naval officer in charge of the effort, is not impressed with Turing, who seems indifferent or, worse, smug. (“Mother says I can be off-putting…”)
In fact, Cumberbatch gives us not just a brilliant eccentric but an autistic individual.  He avoids eye contact. He’s incapable of reading other people’s emotions. He doesn’t “get” humor.

Continue Reading »

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