Screen Savors: Hemingway, Amy, Sully, Buffett

A host of big movies are airing on the small screen.

January 26, 2017 15:47
3 minute read.
Hemingway & Gellhorn

CLIVE OWEN and Nicole Kidman star in ‘Hemingway & Gellhorn.’. (photo credit: HBO)

Starting on January 31, HOT VOD will be making a number of HBO films available to viewers. These include the 2012 movie Hemingway & Gellhorn, starring Clive Owen as Ernest Hemingway and Nicole Kidman as Martha Gellhorn, the war correspondent who became the author’s wife. In spite of the star power, this movie isn’t very convincing, with neither Owen nor Kidman doing their best work.

This is strictly for devotees of literary history on film and won’t captivate anyone else enough even to encourage them to open a Hemingway novel.

The 2015 HBO documentary Amy, which won an Oscar, is a chilling portrait of the extraordinarily talented singer Amy Winehouse, who died in 2011 of drug abuse.

While this movie won’t give you too many new facts or insights about the singer if you followed her career, it does show how badly she was let down by those close to her, who kept pushing her to perform more even as she was near collapse from her addictions.

Gia, an early HBO production from 1998, stars Angelina Jolie in a biopic about model Gia Carangi, a free-spirited model who, like Winehouse, was a drug addict, and died very young of AIDS. It was a breakout performance for Jolie, who is mesmerizing in the role. She had a natural, untamed quality then that makes her almost unrecognizable as the extremely thin, carefully coiffed star she is today.

Another HBO movie from a few years back, Real Women Have Curves, stars America Ferrera as a young Mexican-American woman whose family doesn’t understand her burning desire to get an education.

It’s a very enjoyable movie, and Ferrera is appealing in the lead.

Clint Eastwood’s film Sully just started showing on YES VOD. It’s certainly not a masterpiece, but it does tell a great story. Tom Hanks is his usual, likable self as Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, the pilot who landed his plane on the Hudson River in January 2009 after a flock of birds flew into it, disabling both engines. Dubbed “the miracle on the Hudson,” the incident put Sullenberger in the headlines. He was widely celebrated for his quick thinking and the fact that no one died in the landing. Amazingly, there were only minor injuries to the passengers and crew.

Eastwood has a real challenge here. Everyone already knows the outcome, and the real drama in the story spanned less than three minutes. He solves those problems by focusing on a commission that looked into whether Sully acted correctly. Apparently, the director exaggerated the drama in that commission, and there is a lot of detail about a simulation that will prove whether or not the plane could have landed at a New Jersey airport. But what really works in the film is the painstaking recreation of the flight, which is scary and thrilling to watch. You should see this movie on as big a screen as you can.

YES Docu has an especially strong slate of movies coming up in February, starting with Becoming Warren Buffett, which begins airing on YES VOD on January 31. It will be shown on YES Docu on that date at 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., and on February 4 at 10:30 p.m.

You could make a case that master businessman Buffett, aka the Oracle of Omaha, who has a net worth of over $60 billion, is the anti- Trump. In spite of his wealth, he continues to live a modest lifestyle and made the largest charitable donation in history, about $30 billion dollars in shares of his company, which he gave to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in 2006. He drives himself to work, eats in fast-food joints and is famous for quotes such as “I want to give my kids just enough so that they would feel that they could do anything, but not so much that they would feel like doing nothing.”

There’s no gold and marble in Buffett’s Omaha office, but it is fascinating to see how such a seemingly regular guy can be a genius when it comes to business. If you want to see the true master of the art of the deal, check out this documentary.

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