Three new reviews from Don Shanahan on Every Movie Has a Lesson



Mesmerizing describes the film as a whole and its incomparable lead performance from Academy Award winner Natalie Portman playing First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in the immediate hours and days following her husband’s 1963 assassination.  Far from a biopic and more of a psychological examination, Portman and Larrain sear the screen with emotion and imagery that is as captivating as it is difficult.  It is astonishing that it takes a foreign director to create the most empowering portrait of American history put to film in years.


In some political circles, “lobbyists” are the advocates that “get things done.”  In others, the job title is a dirty word than many are quick to refute or redefine.  When Hollywood screenwriters decide to lionize the role of the lobbyist, they hop on the #NastyWoman bandwagon, cast Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain, and give you “Miss Sloane.”  For all of the sound bite talk about “draining the swamp” to kill the metaphorical mosquitoes, doing so leaves the carnivores behind.  Make no mistake, “Miss Sloane” showcases a true apex predator.


The micro-budgeted indie film “Hunter Gatherer” is the directorial debut of art director Josh Locy.  The filmmaker has cut his teeth creating the visual palettes of independent fare such as an art director on David Gordon Green’s “Prince Avalanche” and Peter Sattler’s “Camp X-Ray.”  His film, led by a charismatic performance from Andre Royo, shows the egotistical plight of a recently released con trying to reinsert himself in his old South Central Los Angeles neighborhood.


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