The West Wing remains my favorite of Aaron Sorkin’s creations on the big screen or small. It stands, especially in these times, as an idealistic vision of what government could and should be. It’s populated by wonderfully developed eccentric devoted public servants, each of which is so fully-realized and distinct from each other that they feel like old friends more than characters on the screen. This same treatment is extended to even minor characters and, in the show’s first two seasons, no minor character was as much fun as Mrs. Landingham (Kathryn Joosten), President Bartlet’s wonderfully cryptic and acerbic assistant, gatekeeper, and confidante.
In the show’s first Christmas episode, “In Excelsis Deo”, the show takes two characters, Mrs. Landingham and Richard Schiff’s Toby Ziegler, and has them deal with the ghosts of the Vietnam War while the rest of The White House prepares for Christmas festivities. The two stories come together in a stunningly powerful final scene for the episode: one of the best Christmas episodes in dramatic television.
Aaron Sorkin has written Emmy-winning TV shows (Sports Night, The West Wing, The Newsroom) and Oscar-winning films (Moneyball, The Social Network), but Molly’s Game is the first one of his scripts that he also chose to direct. What does an Aaron Sorkin-directed film look like? Well, it’s a lot like his scripts as it turns out. It’s fast, it’s smart, it’s funny, and it’s brilliant. Throw in the performance of Jessica Chastain’s career, an astounding true story, and Molly’s Game is one of the best films of 2017.
Continue reading Movie Review: Molly’s Game (2017) *Go All In on Sorkin’s Latest!*
Each Thursday we look at what is going to be coming out in theaters this weekend, show you the trailers for the big releases, predict the box office winner and just generally give you enough of a carrot to pull you through the rest of the work week. This weekend sees another Oscar contender go wide and three 2018 films, two of which definitely scream JANUARY RELEASE: BEWARE! Continue reading In Theaters This Week (1/12/2018): Paddington 2, The Commuter, Proud Mary
Each Thursday we look at what is going to be coming out in theaters this weekend, show you the trailers for the big releases, predict the box office winner and just generally give you enough of a carrot to pull you through the rest of the work week. This weekend one awards contender goes wide and one tired horror franchise kicks off 2018’s slew of upcoming franchise installments. Continue reading In Theaters This Week (1/5/2018): Insidious 4
There are no new, wide releases on the final weekend of 2017. I did neglect to include three films in the 11 movies the opened around the Christmas weekend. Molly’s Game (written and directed by The West Wing’s Aaron Sorkin), All the Money in the World (directed by Ridley Scott), and The Phantom Thread (Daniel Day-Lewis’s final movie) all opened on Christmas Day, and I have placed their trailers below.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi repeated at the box office, but with 11 new competitors and mixed fan reaction, it’s total barely stayed in triple digits at $101 million (though that number is in contention; some have it at $99 million). This was enough to make Episode VII already #3 in 2017 domestic box office and it will pass Wonder Woman for #2 this weekend. Internationally, the film has made $815 million, and will likely move from #10 to #4 for the year by weekend’s end. We’re one weekend away from a 47-5 record for the year and a 90% prediction rate so I’m staying with The Last Jedi for at least one more week, but this weekend will be where we see just how the split in the fan base affects the box office.