Published on: October 23, 2015
Steven Spielberg's new film, Bridge of Spies
is exactly what you'd expect from the director - a high-minded popular entertainment with plenty of suspense, strong acting, and a respect for the audience that translates into a movie that is both solid and special. If there is a Spielberg "tell," it is that his movies know how to tell a compelling yarn ... and I mean that as the highest possible compliment.Bridge of Spies
, based on a true story, takes place during the Cold War, as a New York insurance lawyer named James Donovan, who once served on the prosecutor's team at Nuremberg, is asked to defend a captured Russian spy ... and later, to trade the spy for Francis Gary Powers, the US spy plane pilot who has been shot down over Russia.
As played by the reliably excellent Tom Hanks, Donovan is a believer in the US Constitution and that even foreign spies are entitled to their rights under what he calls the "rule book." That doesn't make him popular with the government, with the general public, or even his family ... but as one would expect from a Hanks character, he sticks to his guns, believing that he must make ethical decisions even in the face of danger. And the Russian spy is placed by the remarkable Mark Rylance, who seems to be doing nothing and yet accomplishes a great deal with his implacable demeanor and knowing, sad eyes.Bridge of Spies
plays out from the courtrooms of New York City to the back alleys of East Berlin, which in the film has just been cordoned off; there are no explosions, no superheroes, no car chases ... just a solid, suspenseful spy film made by adults for adults.
Go see it.
This weekend on the Hallmark Mystery Channel, Tom Selleck returns as Robert B. Parker's troubled small town police chief, Jesse Stone, in a new movie, Lost in Paradise
... and I can tell you that it is a worthy addition to the series.
The jesse Stone movies always have existed in a kind of parallel universe to the books, which originally were written by Parker and now are written by Reed Farrel Coleman. The movie Stone is older and even more troubled than the book version, and Selleck - who co-writes and produces the movies - always has emphasized that exploring Stone's personality is more important than whatever mystery he has to solve.
In Lost in Paradise
, Stone, having done a great job of cleaning up the coastal Massachusetts town of Paradise, offers his services to the Boston Police Department to work on a serial killer case; he knows that when he has nothing to do, he gets bored, and starts to drink too much, and becomes self-destructive. And so in Lost in Paradise
, he's walking a kind of emotional tightrope, the archetypical American lawman looking to impose a sense of justice on the situation in which he finds himself.
The acting is uniformly excellent - especially by William Devane as Stone's shrink - and Los in Paradise
unfolds as deliberately as a forties detective movie. Which, in essence, it is.
Check it out.
When I was growing up, I always yearned to be able to go to a baseball game for my birthday.
Alas, baseball was always over by November 4. Perpetual disappointment.
But not, potentially, this year … when Game 7 of the World Series is scheduled for November 4.
With age comes wisdom, though. I no longer need or want baseball on my birthday. But a ticker tape parade for the New York Mets through New York City's Canyon of Heroes would be nice….
That's it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.