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Posts Tagged ‘John Lee Hancock’

Michael Keaton

Michael Keaton

“THE FOUNDER”  My rating: B- 

115  minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

“The Founder” is like a Big Mac concealing a piece of broken glass.

John Lee Hancock’s film about the creation of the world’s most successful fast food chain starts out as a playful story of capitalist innovation and gung-ho drive.

But it leaves us thinking that nobody rises to the top of the corporate heap without screwing over a good many people along the way.

We first meet Ray Kroc (Michael Keaton) delivering his pitch directly into the camera.  Like most good salesmen he believes success is less dependent upon the peddled product (in this case industrial-strength milkshake makers) than on the personality and persuasion of the seller.

Except it isn’t working. Kroc spends his weary days traipsing across the Midwest of the mid-1950s, visiting Ma and Pa drive-in restaurants whose owners can’t see the point in a machine that makes six shakes at once.

But a side trip to San Bernardino, CA and the drive-in run by the McDonald brothers — Mac (John Carroll Lymch) and Dick (Nick Offerman) — is an eye opener.

Mac and Dick have created an operation capable of delivering an order of burger, fries and drink in just 30 seconds.

Everything is streamlined in a “symphony of efficiency.”

The McDonalds have instituted a kitchen assembly line that would make Henry Ford proud. There’s no dining room. No utensils or plates. Everything is wrapped in disposable paper. No girl on roller skates to deliver the food to your car (customers have to shlep up to the order window).

But the food is great and business is hopping.

Ray Kroc has seen the future.

 

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Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers

Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers

“SAVING MR. BANKS” My rating: B+ (Opening wide on Dec. 20)

125 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

“Saving Mr. Banks” — a serio-comic look at Walt Disney’s tireless courtship of “Mary Poppins” author C. L. Travers — can be viewed either as a charming explanation of how one of the best family films of all time came to be made, or as an infuriating example of corporate self aggrandizement.

While cognizant of the latter, I’ll go with the former.

The latest  from director John Lee Hancock (“The Rookie,” “The Blind Side”) is set during Travers’ two-week visit to L.A.  in the early 1960s, arranged so that Disney — who more than two decades before had sworn to his wife and daughters that he would bring their favorite heroine of children’s literature to the screen — could coax, canjole and charm the dubious author into signing over the movie rights to her books.

Disney was nothing if not determined. Without authorization he had been working for years on the a screenplay and his in-house tunesmiths — brothers Robert and Richard Sherman —  already had written the songs for what would be one of the greatest movie soundtracks of all time.

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