Saving Mr Banks is a merciless film. It hits you with every sentimental low blow it can think of. Then it pounds you again. And when you’re down, it jumps on you. It makes shameless use of Emma Thompson weeping for a soggy fifteen minutes, and while you know the trick is remorseless you’ll end up crying, too. Don’t blame yourself: It is permitted to weep at dreadful films, so long as you lament for the exploited audience.
You won't even notice Tom Hanks's awful Boston accent
Paul Greengrass could make the most mundane human activity—slouching in a work cubicle, napping in a hammock—feel dramatic. In the opening scene of the English director's latest frenetic film, Captain Phillips, we find the titular hero, Richard Phillips (Tom Hanks), leaning intently over a desk in his Underhill, Vermont, home—on March 28, 2009, to be exact. Phillips rifles through documents, clicks around his computer, locates his work badge, and checks his watch.
It’s very hard to watch “The Road We’ve Traveled,” 17-minute documentary the Obama campaign released Thursday night, and not be impressed by its underlying premise, which is that the president inherited a terrible set of crises, and that we’re in far better shape thanks to his efforts. The video succeeds in recreating the clammy terror of the financial crisis, and in calling up the sense of relief you felt when this obviously serious and composed young president spoke so fluently about how we’d get out of it.
Steve Jobs By Walter Isaacson (Simon & Schuster, 627 pp., $35) I. In 2010, Der Spiegel published a glowing profile of Steve Jobs, then at the helm of Apple. Jobs’s products are venerated in Germany, especially by young bohemian types. Recently, the Museum of Arts and Crafts in Hamburg presented an exhibition of Apple’s products, with the grandiloquent subtitle “On Electro-Design that Makes History”—a good indication of the country’s infatuation with the company.
Why is this picture called Larry Crowne? Is it because the filmmaker and star, Tom Hanks, buys into the limp orthodoxy that he is an American everyman figure? Is it because he has vague hopes that this is a story about everyday, good-natured American stick-at-it-ness, in the league of Jerry Maguire or Erin Brockovich? Or is it because no one involved in the making of it really knows what the film is about? Just think for a moment how the film’s attitude toward us, and its sense of purpose, might shift if the title was, For Example, Larry Crowne? And why not?
How do you make a sequel to a blockbuster when the star of your film declines to return for a second go-round? I refer, of course, to Tom Hanks’s hairdo in The Da Vinci Code. Slipshod and plodding though that film was, the mullety muss adorning Hanks’s pate was a source of nearly inexhaustible amusement.
The basic idea of The Terminal, Steven Spielberg's new film, comes from the story of an Iranian citizen who became trapped in a Paris airport with an invalid passport. He could neither enter France nor go home. With this fact as base, Sacha Gervasi and Jeff Nathanson have fashioned a screenplay for Spielberg--original story by Gervasi and Andrew Niccol--set in the international terminal of Kennedy Airport in New York. That basic idea is stimulating. Airports, as experiences, are haunting.