January 12, 2018

R: January 5th, 2018 | R: 116 minutes | R: PG-13

ALL THE PRESIDENT'S MEN meets SPOTLIGHT in a Spielberg hot take on journalistic idealism. Meryl Streep gets the MVP in an already overcrowded cast as Katharine Graham, the Washington Post publisher who played a critical role in reporting leaked classified documents about the Vietnam War against the U.S. Government's instructions. THE POST, a docudrama set in 1971, is centered around one scene: a company party hosted by Graham is in the middle of a toast when a call interrupts the hostess's speech. The call, as it turns out, was the decisive moment in which Graham would decide whether to publish the story that would put the whole newspaper in jeopardy.

Spielberg accomplishes to transport viewers to a different era through great production and costume design, as well as effective makeup and hairstyle. This is a staple of good period pieces and THE POST successfully pulls off the look that it needs to convince us Streep and Tom Hanks (as Ben Bradlee) lead the Washington Post's Pentagon Papers investigation. The two of them serving as compelling leads, but ultimately over-qualified for the purpose of what THE POST intends to tell.

The comparison made in the first line of this review fits this film like a glove, except THE POST is neither as nuanced nor emotional. Spielberg plays it safe, letting Streep do most of the legwork to bring audiences into a climactic finish. In the age of "Fake News," this film feels at least incisive, if not prophetic.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Gerardo Gerardo (Contributor) is a film student living in Philadelphia. He usually prefers independent and classic films, but he will watch anything in theaters.
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Monday, December 18th was Steven Spielberg's 71st birthday. To celebrate -- and as an assignment -- I went to screen his new picture, The Post. My affections for Senor Spielbergo were blossoming before I was even born.
I wouldn't enter this world until nearly a decade after Steven directed my favorite film of all time -- Jaws -- and was subsequently ROBBED by the Academy Awards when they announced nominations for Best Director. To be fair, Milos Forman won for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, which I GUESS is okay...
But I digress.
It's safe to say that Steve-o Spielberg has an impressive track record. He's since picked up seven Best Director statues from the Academy, so he bounced back just fine.

In The Post, Kay Graham (Streep) has inherited The Washington Post -- previously run by her father and then her late husband. In the Vietnam era, written word and the free press had the final say in goings-on around the world. Practicing caution in their outspokenness with a desire to deliver the truth to the news-hungry citizens of the world, Kay struggles with the pressures of maintaining the success of the paper.

While The Washington Post wasn't the most sought out paper on the stands, it was a publication whose team was earnest and hard-working.
Kay's hard-nosed, no-nonsense editor, Ben Bradlee (Hanks), is always scrambling to break the next big scoop before The Times or any of their many competitors.
When one of their journalists, Ben Bagdikian (Odenkirk), gets wind of a lead on a huge story involving scandal that spanned over two decades -- and details ways in which the United States sorely mishandled relations in the Vietnam War -- The Post will be faced with a nearly life or death decision.
Running an operation that had previously only been governed by folks of the male persuasion, Kay has the final say in whether or not The Post will show the world the truth or not, and run the Pentagon Papers.

This movie boasts a robust cast and a hearty dose of feminism. As much as I enjoyed those two things, however, not even seeing David Cross and Bob Odenkirk side-by-side on-screen could jostle me from my yawning.
It's a slow mover telling an important story that doesn't quite engage the audience until we near the crux.
Believe me when I tell you that Steven Spielberg and John Williams have enriched my life immeasurably. Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks are two of our most precious resources and should be protected at all costs. Cross, Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Sarah Paulson, Bradley Whitford, Allison Brie, Pat Healy -- the players are heaven!

The story just didn't grab me by my lapels and shout, "Can you believe this?!" in my face, which tends to happen in most movies bearing Spielberg's name. I do understand that they can't all be Jaws, and will say that after we get into Act III, things amp up in a rapid fashion.
While The Post isn't my favorite of the year, it does tell a rather interesting story, integral to our country's past and even newsworthy here in 2017. See what I did there? Anyway, the movie will hit theaters in January. So if you need your Streep/Hanks jollies and would like to see the millionth film in the history of time to feature a scene with soldiers in Vietnam set to a classic rock song, check it out!

Rating: 3 out of 5

Katie Katie (Contributor) is a cinephile and Chicago native who has been reviewing film for nearly a decade. Her heroes include Roger Ebert and Jay Sherman -- it stinks!
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