Biopic

[7] Director Adam McKay (Vice, Don’t Look Up) adapts Michael Lewis’ bestselling novel about the men who predicted the 2008 mortgage implosion and near-collapse of the world economy. If this sounds like dreary, heady, political stuff, that’s because it is. But McKay tackles the material with enough irreverence and off-beat humor to make it palatable… or as palatable as the triumph of capitalist greed can …

[8] George Stevens (Gunga Din, A Place in the Sun) directs this romanticized tale of an American western legend — Annie Oakley, the woman sharpshooter who could beat any man at gunplay. While the real Annie Oakley was surely rougher around the edges, Barbara Stanwyck carries this first film adaptation of Oakley’s life with strength and compassion. The screenplay centers around Oakley’s romance with a …

[7] Sissy Spacek took home the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Loretta Lynn in this dramatization of the country singer’s rags to riches story. Tommy Lee Jones co-stars as her husband ‘Mooney’, who encouraged her to pick up the guitar, sing, and produce records. Their relationship, warts and all, is the heart of the film. It’s tested through poverty, young marriage, several children, …

[7] Director David Fincher (Fight Club, Zodiac) makes a socio-political hero out of Herman J. Mankiewicz in this biopic that chronicles the boozy screenwriter’s tribulations writing Citizen Kane. Gary Oldman plays ‘Mank,’ who we first meet laid up in bed with a broken leg, tasked with writing Kane during sixty days of physical and alcoholic recovery. Flashbacks uncover the inspiration behind the script, based on …

[7] Daniel Day-Lewis (My Left Foot, There Will Be Blood) won his third Oscar for his convincing portrait of America’s 16th president during the final months of the Civil War. Lincoln is a decades-long pet project for director Steven Spielberg, who chose Angels in America scribe Tony Kushner to make Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln the foundation …

[8] Adrien Brody (The Pianist, The Thin Red Line) plays a ’50s Hollywood detective investigating the mysterious death of actor George Reeves, played by Ben Affleck (Gone Girl, The Town). Hollywoodland is based on the true story of Reeves, who struggled to claim fame on the big screen but ended up finding it as the star of television’s The Adventures of Superman. Brody and Affleck …

[5] Mark Ruffalo must really have it out for the DuPont company. First he co-starred in 2014’s Foxcatcher, an examination of the scandal behind John du Pont’s hosting of Olympic wrestlers that ended in tragedy. And now he plays lawyer Rob Bilott in Dark Waters, the true story behind DuPont’s attempts to cover-up their pollution of the environment and the poisoning of thousands of people. …

[7] Christian Slater and James Franco star in this true story about rival gay porn producers fighting over a rising star named Brent Corrigan (Garrett Clayton). Slater gives Corrigan his start, but when Corrigan learns he’s being paid peanuts compared to what his videos earn, he tries to escape Slater — and his contract. The legal battle gets ugly, eventually outing the two to family …

[7] Near the end of the silent film era, Carl Theodor Dreyer (Vampyr) would deliver one of the medium’s most powerful titles — The Passion of Joan of Arc. Maria Falconetti stars as the nineteen-year-old French heroine who fought to rescue France from English domination during the Hundred Years War. But she was eventually captured by the English, and Dreyer’s film focuses on her trial …

[7] With all due deference to his accomplishments, Steve Jobs’ career isn’t something I thought I needed to see a movie about. Faithful biopics generally make for uneven films, and how the hell can a dork making computers make for an exciting movie? Well, leave it to eminent screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, The Social Network) and maverick director Danny Boyle (Trainspotting, Sunshine) to …

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