Sienna Miller

Sundance 2015: Ben Mendelsohn is the jackpot in otherwise middling ‘Mississippi Grind’

The first shot of the film is a rainbow: The rainbow becomes a sort of plot device for Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn), a down and out gambler who strikes up a friendship with drifter Curtis (Ryan Reynolds) and the two head out on a road trip through the South to win back Gerry’s losses in writers/directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck’s character driven road trip. For them the rainbow is a symbol of their friendship, a sign of good luck for bets, and ultimately what both are searching for – the beauty after the rainy storm both of them are experiencing.

‘American Sniper’ stumbles, but Bradley Cooper shines

After unsuccessful forays into musicals and political biopics with Jersey Boys and J. Edgar, Clint Eastwood returns to more traditionally masculine material usually associated with his filmmaker persona. With American Sniper, he tackles the drama and real-life accounts of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle, but as compelling as the on-the-ground combat is, the real story worth telling is largely ignored for the pyrotechnics.

TIFF 2014: ‘Foxcatcher’ a dark spin on the American dream laced with engrossing uses of sound and performance

With Foxcatcher, Bennett Miller (Capote, Moneyball) directs a tragic tale of American ambition gone awry. It’s a grave and stately undertaking that’s based on the real story of John du Pont, heir to one of the richest families in America, who dreamed of building a wrestling team around the talents of two gold medal wrestlers that came from modest means. The inequality of power pushes the tension between the three over the edge. Although the film isn’t an awe-inspiring achievement as a whole, the performances and atmosphere stimulate the senses and hold a firm grip on the viewer’s attention.

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