Brian Thompson reviews “7 Days in Entebbe” and “The Death of Stalin” for The Young Folks

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7 DAYS IN ENTEBBE

After three fictionalized accounts and at least twice as many documentaries, Operation Entebbe (also known as Operation Thunderbolt) has long been included in the annals of pop culture. Within a year of the highjacking, you could choose between experiencing the story dramatized by either Anthony Hopkins and Burt Lancaster or Peter Finch and Charles Bronson. Now, the story is being recounted once more in José Padilha’s (2014’s Robocop remake, the Elite Squad films) 7 Days in Entebbe, caught somewhere between 21st century update and vintage throwback. Boasting a cast of international A-listers, this reimagining of the sobering hostage negotiation strives to balance its conflicting worldviews with modern-day cultural sensitivity, often through the use of interpretive dance.

THE DEATH OF STALIN

If anyone can turn the reign of an oppressive dictator into an uproarious farce, it’s Scottish writer/director Armando Iannucci (VeepIn the Loop). His latest project, a cynical political spoof, makes great strides in further cementing the filmmaker as one of the most biting satirists of our time. Based on the controversial French graphic novel of the same name, The Death of Stalin handles a period of unparalleled brutality with crisp, dry humor, performing a skilled tightrope walk that manages to give credence to each of its conflicting tones.

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