The true story of Molly Bloom, who ran high-stakes poker games in New York and LA. Excellent drama, balanced by a fine central performance and swaggering writing, chronicling a perhaps typical rise and fall-style story, but done with class and confidence.
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A black policeman goes undercover to investigate the Klan. Hugely impressive true story, expertly linking the early 70s with the contemporary USA. Highly recommended, with great playing from its leads.
A modest biopic of Lyndon Johnson, focusing on his succession from Kennedy. Straightforward and sympathetic to its protagonist, with good performances from a quality cast – Richard Jenkins comes off best – and only marginally-distracting (though excellent) prosthetics.
A power struggle ensues in the USSR when Stalin dies suddenly. Frantic black comedy which plays totalitarianism as a dark farce. Hugely impressive, with a great cast clearly having fun throughout, while making a few satirical points along the way. Recommended.
The story of Barry Seal, who smuggled for the CIA and the cartels in the 80s. Swaggering rise and fall biopic in the GoodFellas mould; hugely impressive and entertaining, while offering a reminder of another of the US’s recent murky pasts.
Another perspective? Here’s Lemonsquirtle’s take.
A dramatisation of the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III. Well-acted, good-looking though insubstantial retelling of a famous case; not quite a serious drama or a straightforward thriller, and the weaker for the indecision.
An account of the first Earth orbit with a spacewalk, the 1965 Voskhod 2 mission with Alexei Leonov and Pavel Belyayev. Excellent true-life drama; a counterpart to The Right Stuff and Apollo 13 in its mix of mythic modern heroism and actual space danger. Recommended.