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Bridge of Spies Courtroom Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Scott Shepherd, Amy Ryan, Sebastian Koch, Jesse Plemons, Domenick Lombardozzi, Steven Spielberg

Bridge of Spies: an all-American lawyer must represent a Soviet spy in court; then broker a deal in Berlin to trade him for a captured American pilot. This movie has got crazy Mad Men levels of period nostalgia, so much so that it feels deliberately aimed at older generations: bowler hats, vintage suits, cars, produce, umbrellas, briefcases, Nescafe – all from the good old days when you at least knew who your enemy was (Ivan the Russki, obviously). Everyman Hanks is on everyman form but, as the award shows have reflected, Rylance completely steals the film – even with his best Mrs Doubtfire accent – and they have some cracking scenes together. It’s also funnier, and more upbeat that you’d expect, although not all laughs hit the mark (like the huge hotel breakfast). With Spielberg directing, The Coen Brothers writing, Tom Hanks & Mark Rylance starring, and a remarkable supporting cast… the biggest disappointment is that it’s not a ‘great’ movie. Other than the ‘old-timeyorchestrated score, you’d hardly even know you were watching a Spielberg film; the drama and emotions are kept at arm’s length, and it could have done with a bit more drama or tension – like not knowing if the accused was or wasn’t a spy from the first scene. It also feels fragmented; not just in that the it’s two separate stories; but it’s part legal drama, part cold war, part family, part political… Overall, it feels like less than the sum of its parts, but as you’d expect, a ‘satisfactory’ Spielberg movie is as good as most people on form. Bridge of Spies is two interesting Cold War tales, told in a very matter-of-fact, flat and peril/drama-free manner – that fails to suck you in to the story.

Score: 7/10

Bridge of Spies Glienicke Bridge Checkpoint Charlie Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Scott Shepherd, Amy Ryan, Sebastian Koch, Jesse Plemons, Domenick Lombardozzi, Steven Spielberg

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The Heist The Maiden Heist Christopher Walken, Marcia Gay Harden, Morgan Freeman, William H. Macy, Breckin Meyer

The Heist (aka The Maiden Heist): three security guards plan to steal artworks that they’ve become too attached to over the years, before they’re shipped to a new museum in Denmark. The three lead actors are all great: Walken does his Walken thing in all of its Walken-glory, William H Macy does an ex-para caricature, and Freeman leads the pack as a flamboyant eccentric. The wife unfortunately feels like she’s in the wrong movie – played far too slapstick / old-timey, and really emphasising the play/theater direction and campy vibe of the movie. Famous and respected actors serving up some good acting, which is unfortunately counter balanced with weak script and pale direction. The story also feels quite familiar, and plays out exactly how you think it will. Although it’s a straight-to-DVD film, it’s still better than much of the mush that gets properly released, and with a cast like this, I’m surprised it never hit the big screens. The Heist is a perfectly fine, inoffensive, light-hearted, upbeat movie – but with Walken and Freeman on the box, the bar’s perhaps set a little higher than what the film delivers.

Score: 4/10