Film Reviewer

Jessica Chastain is the “go to” girl who always brings her A-game to any role and her latest triumph was playing the lead role in Molly’s Game where she aced the role.  Dashingly directed by award-winning film and television screenwriter Aaron Sorkin who made an impressive directorial debut!  Chastain aced the role!  These two are an unbeatable pair and throw in Idris Elba and you have a winning hand!  This fast paced movie is based on Molly’s Game from Hollywood’s elite to Wall Street’s Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker by Molly Bloom and thrills from start to finish.  Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain), an Olympic-class skier who was sidelined from a freak accident on the slopes and moved to Los Angeles where she got a job working as a personal office assistant by day and a poker hostess by night on her way to becoming the Heidi Fleiss of poker.  The Poker Princess ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game for a decade before being arrested in the middle of the night by 17 FBI agents wielding automatic weapons.  And like the Hollywood Madam, her players included Hollywood royalty, sports stars, business titans and finally, unbeknownst to her, the Russian mob. Her only ally was her criminal defense lawyer Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba), who learned that there was much more to Molly than the tabloids led us to believe.  The two dazzle as they unravel the mess Chastain has wound up in and viewers are in for a fantastic ride filled with elegance, sophistication and lots of style — the same thing you got from her as she graced the red carpet of the New York premiere at the AMC Loews Lincoln Square attended by Sorkin, Bill Camp, Molly Bloom, Jeremy Strong, Michael Cera and Madison McKinley.  Molly’s Game is produced by Mark Gordon, Amy Pascal and Matt Jackson; and stars Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Chris O’Dowd, and Bill Camp with gripping music by Daniel Pemberton and panoramic cinematography by Charlotte Bruus ChristensonMolly’s Game was distributed nationwide on December 25, 2017 by STXfilms.  (Photos by Getty Images)

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Playing Winston Churchill is one of Gary Oldman’s finest hours

From Focus Features comes one of this year’s best films, Darkest Hour, which sheds light on the dynamic leadership of the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill brilliantly played by Academy Award nominee Gary Oldman.  During the early days of World War II, with the fall of France imminent, Britain faces its darkest hour as the threat of invasion looms.  As the seemingly unstoppable Nazi forces advance, and with the Allied army cornered on the beaches of Dunkirk, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the leadership of the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill who must face one of his most turbulent and defining trials – exploring a  negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation.

Darkest Hour star Gary Oldman in production shot

As the unstoppable Nazi forces roll across Western Europe and the threat of invasion is imminent, and with an unprepared public, a skeptical King, and his own party plotting against him, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of world history.  While maneuvering his political rivals, he must confront the ultimate choice: negotiate with Hitler and save the British people at a terrible cost or rally the nation and fight on against incredible odds.  Grippingly directed by Joe Wright, and written by Anthony McCarten, Darkest Hour is the dramatic and inspiring story of four weeks in 1940 during which Churchill’s courage to lead changed the course of world history.  This hair-raising and inspiring true story stars Oldman who is joined by Kristin Scott Thomas, Lily James, Stephen Dillane Ronald Pickup and Ben Mendelsohn who are equally superb in their supporting roles.  Darkest Hour was released nationwide by Focus Features in December, 2017.

Anthony McCarten, Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn, Joe Wright at Darkest Hour New York premiere at Paris Theatre

The original Darkest Hour screenplay is by Anthony McCarten (The Theory of Everything).  McCarten and Lisa Bruce (The Theory of Everything) are producing Darkest Hour with Working Title co-chairs Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner, and Douglas Urbanski (Nil by Mouth), reteaming with Focus and Working Title following Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, for which Oldman was a Best Actor Oscar nominee.  (Photos by Getty Images)

By Audrey J. Bernard

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