Archives for posts with tag: Benedict Cumberbatch

I hadn’t seen a good Cold War spy thriller in a while, so I was interested in viewing “The Courier” (2021). It trundles pithily down a familiar, based-on-a-true-story path, with little, tiny spy cameras and Benedict Cumberbatch as a salesman recruited to serve as the West’s go-between to a Soviet colonel concerned about Khrushchev. Then comes the Cuban Missile Crisis and things take a dark turn, with KGB agents, dark prison cells, and Cumberbatch looking wan on the Capital A Acting diet. It’s not bad, just jarring. Spoiler alert: We all didn’t die in a nuclear holocaust 60 years ago.

Most romances set in wartime England are so tortured, they’re gag-worthy. “Atonement” (2007) takes this conceit to another level, becoming so blessedly, agonizingly depressing as to make you want to jump off the white cliffs of Dover. Or should I say takes it to new depths (depths deeper than a grave and ultimately just as morbid)? A little girl’s lie sets off a chain reaction that triggers so many spoiler alerts, I don’t know how much more I can say about this film, other than that the Oscar-winning score is excellent. Based on a novel. Better to read than watch.

Finally, toward the end of “Zoolander 2” (2016), I laughed out loud. I don’t know whether it was that particular gag or just the absurdity of the whole thing that finally got to me. This movie is stupid. It knows it’s stupid. It knows that you know it’s stupid. It wasn’t trying not to be stupid. In fact, because it knows that you know it’s stupid, it doubled down on stupid until stupid became absurd and I laughed out loud. Just like the original, there’s dopey male models and world-saving hijinks. Thank god Penelope Cruz has a sense of humor.