Freeze Frame: “Civil War” (R), “La Chimera” (Not rated), “Scoop” (PG-13)

Contemporary political divisions and paranoia add an uneasy edge to filmmaker Alex Garland’s chilling speculative nightmare, “Civil War.” Kirsten Dunst is solid as a famed photojournalist who races with colleagues to get to Washington, DC before rebel forces attack the White House.  And KC native Stephen McKinley Henderson scores as an aging reporter. “Civil War” is an extremely well made and violent thriller that doesn’t make any political statements except to imply that our Union may not be as secure as we think.

“La Chimera” is an acclaimed entry that blatantly screams ‘Italian arthouse movie.” It is a nominee for Best Film at this year’s Donatello Awards, the Italian equivalent of the Oscars. In Alice Rohrwacher’s cinematic fable, Josh O’Connor plays a troubled British archeologist in Tuscany who joins with thieves to rob ancient graves. They’re looking for fortune, he’s looking for a route to the underworld to reconnect with his dead lover. “La Chimera” is deliberately paced and rife with symbolism and will appeal mainly to lovers of the avant-garde.

“Scoop” is a Netflix behind-the-scenes journalism drama about the leadup to Prince Andrew’s notorious 2019 BBC interview in which he implicates himself as a part of the Jeffrey Epstein sex trafficking scandal. Billie Piper plays the reporter who worked to secure the interview and Gillian Anderson is the Newsnight anchor who grilled the prince. While it’s a sufficient drama, it isn’t particularly insightful. Don’t expect “All the President’s Men.” For greater impact, just watch the actual interview.

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