August 16, 2017 | Rome, Italy | °C
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Action

The Enemy Below

Thanks to Mitchum, Jürgens and a tight script, one submarine movie always resurfaces.

Biopics

Christine

Antonio Campos' take on the Christine Chubbock suicide is all about the stunning Rebecca Hall.

Love & Mercy

Bill Pohlad's tribute to Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys bites off more than it can chew.

Comedy-Romantic Comedy

Radio Days

Twenty-five years later, Woody Allen's ode to radio and Brooklyn hasn't lost its sheen.

Drama

On the Beach

Stanley Kramer's uneven post-apocalyptic film retains nerve endings from the nuclear era.

Facing Windows

Director Ferzan Ozpetek's highly acclaimed 2003 film epitomizes his affection for melodramatic themes.

The Beguiled

Sofia Coppola's remake of "The Beguiled" fails to live up to its considerable promise.

Thrillers

Split

M. Night Shyamalan seems well on his way to a comeback movie when he loses the plot.

Science Fiction

Embers

Clare Carré's dreamy debut has lofty aims but ends up going around in tedious circles.

H.

If apocalyptic atmosphere is your cup of tea, check out Rania Attieh's and Daniel Garcia's tribute to Homeric tidings.




Date: 2017
Directed by: David Leitch
Starring: Charlize Theron, John Goodman, James McAvoy, Roland Møller, Sofia Boutella

Atomic Blonde

"Atomic Blonde" has the action verb soul of "Dick and Jane," the popular postwar American reader in which a plain Jane was always doing something ("See Jane run!"). In the 2.0 version busybody Jane is British secret agent Lorraine Broughton, stylishly incarnated by Hollywood Amazon-in-chief Charlize Theron. So, see Charlize walk; see Charlize run; see Charlize shoot; see Charlize wear shades, stilettoes and generally dress to kill, and kill often. To the point, see Charlize.

Director David Leitch's movie, appropriated from a graphic novel by Antony Johnston and illustrated Sam Hart, is a fashion-statement cum spy thriller set in messy 1989 Berlin, a grungy, Weimar backdrop whose primary purpose is to give a pulsating heroine room to make like a predator. Theron is a perfect choice, if not the perfect choice. She's tall, feline, supple and infinitely physical, a deftly female battering ram that also knows how to flirt. The story, set after the fall of the Berlin Wall, focuses on MI6 field agent Broughton, the bisexual 007 who teams up with CIA against KGB bad guys in possession a list of double agents (when is there not a list of double agents?) Dialogue is unimportant. This is not Le Carré's disheveled Berlin. It's more like graffiti Berlin as imagined by Yves St. Laurent (with an assist from Banksy) on behalf of Vogue's voyeur friendly action franchise, if it had one. It's "John Wick" with a girl at the core. Charlize's MI6 superspy exists to be posed and ignited again and again. She's as compulsively watchable as the storyline is flimsy.

If you want gritty Cold War fare, fish out "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold," but if you feel like beholding one of the world's most stunning actresses performing pseudo-erotic cartwheels while heating up all she wears and cruising through male-style action (a trifecta fantasy in its own right), this is your flick. Theron, now 41, is the gold standard for thermonuclear Girl Power, which makes the title all the more apt.

Reviewed by: Marcia Yarrow
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