Fracking, the controversial process to used to release
natural gas for collection, drives the narrative of the new Gus Van Sant
film, written by co-stars Matt Damon and John Krasinski, but the issue,
which widens the already cavernous divide between Democrats and
Republicans, never truly takes center stage.
If you only see one movie this year, Charles Ferguson's financial meltdown documentary is the one to see. Matt Damon narrates this essential soup-to-nuts explanation of the Wall Street and government players whose illicit methods brought down the global economy. Grade: A.
Charles Ferguson's latest blood-boiler, 'Inside Job,' tackles the most important topic of our time: the Wall Street meltdown of 2008. Ferguson and crew (including narrator Matt Damon) give us an accessible, long-lensed view of a complex topic and its 30-year trajectory — from Ronald Reagan's 1980s-era laissez-faire, trickle-down economics to the Clinton administration's repealing of the Glass Steagall Act to the further relaxing of financial regulations and enforcement in the George W. Bush era to the unfortunate post-crash, business-as-usual hiring of the Obama economic team.
This adaptation of Rajiv Chandrasekaran's book 'Imperial Life in the Emerald City: Inside Iraq's Green Zone' follows Chief Warrant Officer Roy Miller (Matt Damon) as he and his team search for weapons of mass destruction and end up exposing a massive and damaging cover-up that, while fictionalized here, feels like non-fiction with a heaping dose of action heroics thrown into the mix for good measure. Grade: A-.
Morgan Freeman and Clint Eastwood's 'Invictus' could mistakenly be considered the story of Nelson Mandela's first days as president of South Africa. It's not that story at all. In typical Eastwood fashion, he has produced and directed something more basic and elemental than that because the film is nothing more than a bare recounting of a country and its first inspired steps toward unification. Grade: B plus.
Conventional wisdom recognizes that 'The Informant' is a breezy take on the case of Mark Whitacre (Matt Damon), a whistleblower from the early '90s who ratted out his global agri-business firm to the FBI. Never one to fuss over his appearance, Damon simply settles into the look and feel of his version of Whitacre and never lets us forget that the man is an unhealthy blend of intelligence, foolishness and certifiable mental instability. It's a highly informed performance from an actor at the top of his game. Grade: A.