Tag Archives: poitras

Does ‘The Post’ Seek To Glorify The Press In The Era of Fake News?

Steven Spielberg’s latest drama, The Post, may be a celebration of the free press, but in the age of “fake news” it feels more like an attempt to glorify the press rather than focus on its habit of misrepresentation. The Post tells the story of the The Washington Post and its publishing of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. The Pentagon Papers (as they came to be called) was a series of documents detailing the extent of the US involvement in the Vietnam War. Upon learning of the atrocities of the war, military analyst Daniel Ellsberg secretly copied and leaked the documents to the press in the hopes that the public would be made aware of the truth.

Kay Graham (portrayed by Meryl Streep in Spielberg’s film) was the acting publisher of The Washington Post at the time. She inherited the role of sole proprietor following her husband’s untimely death by suicide. Graham not only faced a board of all-male stock holders who were ready to oust her at any moment, but also a more hostile-than-friendly editor named Ben Bradlee (portrayed by Tom Hanks), who reportedly informed her that he’d give his left nut to run the Post, himself. Shortly after Graham came into her new position, Martin Weil (Better Call Saul‘s Bob Odenkirk) was sent to meet with Ellsberg to collect the top secret documents in Boston and transport them safely back to Washington. Continue reading

Laura Poitras’s Julian Assange Documentary ‘Risk’ Is Now Playing In Theaters

After six years of production, research, and documentation, filmmaker Laura Poitras‘s personal look at the minds behind Wikileaks, a documentary called Risk, is now playing in theaters. Risk is not so much an investigation into Wikileaks, itself. Rather, Poitras walks the audience through a series of character studies surrounding the organizations’ founders and chief players, specifically Julian Assange and Jacob Applebaum. Early on in her investigation, the filmmaker views the acts of Assange and Applebaum as courageous and heroic. Over the course of her six-year endeavor, however, her work and personal life became irreversibly interlaced with Wikileaks. She went to Applebaum (whom she has had a personal relationship with) for advice on how to handle information provided by a top secret informant, who we now know was former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. She also co-founded the Freedom of the Press Foundation to raise money for Wikileaks, an organization that she goes back and forth with in terms of legal journalism and moralistic integrity, which she explores in the new documentary. Continue reading

Oliver Stone’s New Biopic ‘Snowden’ With Joseph Gordon-Levitt Now Filming

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Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Edward Snowden in upcoming Oliver Stone biopic Snowden (2015).

Director Oliver Stone has presented some pretty controversial biographical films in his career, JFK, Nixon, and W. just to name a few. His latest project, again simply titled Snowden, about NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden is now filming with actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) in the lead role. More specifically, the plot follows Snowden from his time in the US Army in 2004 to his groundbreaking interview in Hong Kong with documentarian Laura Poitras (whose documentary film, Citizenfour, about that very interview, just won an Oscar for Best Documentary), during which he exposed top-secret NSA documents before fleeing to Russia for asylum. The script comes from two primary sources: author Luke Harding’s The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man and Anatoly Kucherena’s Time of the Octopus (Kucherena is Snowden’s Russian attorney), which were adapted for the film by Stone and screenwriter Kieran Fitzgerald. Included in the supporting cast are actors Shailene Woodley (Divergent, The Fault in our Stars), Scott Eastwood (Texas Chainsaw 3D, Fury), Nicholas Cage (Face-Off, Matchstick Men), Timothy Olyphant (Live Free or Die Hard, Justified), Zachary Quinto (American Horror Story, Star Trek Into Darkness), and Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton, The Exorcism of Emily Rose). The film is scheduled for release Christmas Day 2015. Stay tuned for more news.

Upcoming Edward Snowden Biopic From Director Oliver Stone In The Works

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A new film on the life of Edward Snowden, the infamous whistleblower who leaked highly-classified documents from the National Security Agency to the press, is in the works from historical (yet controversial) director Oliver Stone (Platoon, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps). Stone and screenwriter Kieren Fitzgerald (The Ballad of Esequiel Hernandez, The Homesman) are expected to adapt the script from author Luke Harding‘s The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World’s Most Wanted Man, and Anatoly Kucherena‘s (Snowden’s Russian lawyer) upcoming memoir Time of the Octopus. Actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt (Inception, The Dark Knight Rises) is expected to take the lead role in the film, and recent news has actress Shailene Woodley (White Bird in a Blizzard, The Fault in our Stars) joining the cast in the role of Snowden’s girlfriend. The most recent film to be released on the Snowden controversy was the documentary film from Laura Poitras and Glen Greenwald, Citizenfour, which featured footage and material from Poitras’ interview with Snowden in Hong Kong. Stone’s new film is expected in theaters sometime in 2016, so we’ll keep an eye out for more news.

‘Fury’ Claims Top Spot At Box Office During Opening Weekend; ‘CitizenFour’ Opens To Limited Release

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The new World War II drama, Fury, with Brad Pitt and Shia LaBeouf opened last weekend and effectively knocked Ben Affleck’s Gone Girl from the top-spot to a close second. The film hit theater audiences with just under $24 million in opening weekend box-office sales alone, and the pace doesn’t seem to be slowing down. The highly advertised, but apparently unpopular animated feature The Book of Life with Channing Tatum only brought in $17 million, also falling behind Gone Girl‘s third week of release. This week will see another set of uninteresting features, including the Keanu Reeves action flick John Wick (no rhyme intended), and the new horror movie Ouija. There are some pretty interesting projects coming out, however, that will unfortunately only see limited releases. One of these include director Greg Araki‘s dramatic thriller White Bird in a Blizzard with Shailene Woodley, Eva Green, and Christopher Meloni, but the more intriguing release is the documentary Citizenfour, which features interviews with Edward Snowden in Hong Kong with documentarian and reporters Laura Poitras, Glen Greenwald, and Ewen MacAskill. “Citizenfour” was the alias used by Snowden when he contacted Poitras in 2013 via encrypted emails containing Snowden’s evidence of the NSA’s covert surveillance program. Wiki-leaks founder Julian Assange is also featured in the documentary. So if you don’t want to waste your money on another terrible movie about ghosts or featuring Keanu Reeves, put these down on your list. Other limited features to look out for include writer/director Justin Simien’s dramatic comedy Dear White People, the high school football drama 23 Blast, and directors Wai-keung Lau and Andrew Loo’s Revenge of the Green Dragons, a crime-drama following young men involved with the Chinese mafia in 1980s New York City. Enjoy!