LC 05 2021

Page 12


Larchmont Chronicle

MAY 2021


Fools and heroes of politics and wars, questionable assassin Coburgo-Gotha), the granddaughter of Britain’s Queen Victoria, as she is sent to Paris to take part in the negotiation of the Versailles (peace) Treaty that signaled the official end of WWI. We see the fools who were responsible for the nonsensical war now bumbling their way to a horrible agreement that set the stage for Hitler and WWII. Lloyd George (Richard Elfin) and George Clemenceau (Ronald Genery) are aptly closed-minded and obstinate. But the guy who really destroyed the peace ac-

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Tony Medley cords was the Democrat racist Woodrow Wilson (Patrick Drury) who is shown to be the arrogant, haughty alazon he really was. But this movie is about Queen Marie. Lupo gives a performance for the ages. She is in almost every scene and steals the movie. She even looks like the real Queen Marie. Something’s wrong if this lady does not receive an Oscar; if not for this (well, it was released in 2019), at least sometime down the road. She is enormously talented and beautiful. Once again, though, it would have been nice if brilliant director Alexis Sweet Cahill had provided a postscript on what happened to the characters, especially Queen Marie. From what I know, though, you can take most of this to the bank, which is unusual for a biopic. VOD (Audiences can purchase it from one of the video platforms — iTunes, YouTube, Amazon, etc.. Just to explain, SVOD — Subscription Video On Demand — would be Netflix, Prime, Hulu, etc.) May 7. Dateline – Saigon (9/10) 96 minutes. NR. Back in the day,

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these writers were the bad guys. They weren’t, and this movie proves it. This is a terrific film, and it’s told mostly through archival interviews with each of the journalists who tell their fascinating personal stories years later. I hope lots of people can see it, especially those who lived through those years. The Virtuoso (6/10) 105 minutes. I am tiring of movies about cold-blooded, stoic professional assassins who have hidden feelings of compassion. If a person is a killer, it’s unlikely that person thinks much about the injustice or moral consequences of the act. Here, Anson Mount is a professional assassin working for Anthony Hopkins, a military buddy of Mount’s deceased father. Mount is given a vague assignment and has to guess whom to kill in a small hamlet in the Pocono Mountains, Pa., where it was filmed along with Santa Ynez, Calif. But Mount is bothered by “collateral” damage he has inflicted in the past. That’s a difficult pill to swallow, exacerbated by Mount’s shallow performance. He meets a plethora of suspected targets in a diner, along with Abbie Cornish, a pretty waitress who gets the hots for Anson. Directed by Nick Stagliano from a script by James Wolf with help from Stagliano, the film is too long and very slow, although it has its share of violence. Cornish does a good job, but Mount has about as much charisma as my driveway, which makes the slow parts virtually devoid of the tension required in a thriller like this. It might have been helped by better music. Rated “R” (for violence and because Cornish does display her magnificent breasts), this would be a great star vehicle for someone like Bogey or Steve McQueen. Of those actually still alive, I’m thinking that Cillian Murphy or Mark Wahlberg or Hugh Jackman might be able to pull it off, somebody with sex appeal who also can show that he has a screw loose somewhere (think of Bogey in “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre” and “The Caine Mutiny”). As it is, Mount plays it like a dead man walking.


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I trusted our government. That articulate good-looking womanizer JFK wouldn’t lie to us, would he? His cabinet was called The Best and the Brightest. Well, it turns out they were The Worst and The Dumbest, led by his Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, former Tex Thornton Whiz Kid of WWII. This documentary about the youthful newsmen who covered the start of the Vietnam War in the early ’60s opens with a shocking picture of U.S. troops in a trench watching an atomic bomb test blast just a few miles away. These poor troops were ordered by their government, which they trusted, to be stationed dangerously close to the detonation site, soaking up deadly nuclear waves. This mindless government faux pas is an allegorical prelude to the story that follows — how a few young newspaper correspondents, Malcolm Browne, Peter Arnett, Horst Faas (AP photographer), Homer Bigert and David Halberstam of the “New York Times” and Neil Sheehan of UPI, were sending back reports of what was really going on in Vietnam while the government and the Army were lying through their teeth. There is a telling clip of a JFK news conference where he is asked flat out if the U.S. military was engaging in hostilities, and JFK replies categorically, but weakly, “no,” when, in fact they were. And another where the Viet Cong wiped out a village, and a four-star general lied about it, calling it a “victory,” even though he had never been to the site of the battle. Written and directed by Thomas D. Herman and narrated by Sam Waterston of “Law and Order” fame, this film shows how these young newspaper correspondents were voices crying in the wilderness as they wrote the truth to the lies of the army and the government about what was going on in Vietnam, while generals and unprincipled politicians closed their eyes to the truth and told lie after lie to the people. Most Americans, including me, believed the government and thought

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Queen Marie of Romania (9/10) 105 minutes. NR. This is a movie! It tells the probably mostly-unknown story of the Queen of Romania (Roxana Lupo) after WWI. Production designers Nora Dumitrescue and Laura Russu should get awards because there is no green screen here. It’s all shot on location in Romania and Paris, and the locations are gorgeous and lovingly shot; kudos to director of photography Gabriel Kosuth. The film tackles the task of Queen Marie (whole name was Maria di Sassonia-