February 23, 2018 | Rome, Italy | °C
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Biopics

Christine

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

Drama

Mother!

Darren Aronofsky's latest concoction can feel like Rosemary's Baby meets Apocalypse Now.

Lady Bird

Greta Gerwig's "Lady Bird" gets fine work from Soarise Ronan, but ultimately flubs the script.

Rome Adventure

Delmer Daves' 1962 film, while no "Roman Holiday" or "La Dolce Vita," possesses its own small pleasures.

Zodiac

A decade later David Fincher's serial killer film still stands tall as a study in administrative futility.

Phantom Thread

Paul Thomas Anderson's dives into the British fashion world of the 1950s, and creates an difficult romance.

American Made

Tom Cruise is in top form in Doug Liman's sly take on the life and times of one Barry Seal.

Lucky

John Carroll Lynch's ode to veteran American actor Harry Dean Stanton is a small-town masterpiece.

Horror

It Comes at Night

Trey Edward Shults' low budget thriller links a killer plague with human mistrust and fear wins out.

Thrillers

Double Indemnity

Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck are gifted actors but they can't dance the sizzle.




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
Day and Boarding International High School in the Heart of Rome

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