Oscar-winning filmmaker Aaron Sorkin offers one of the year’s finest movies, “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” This surprisingly timely drama covers the infamous case in which peace activists were tried for allegedly inciting riots at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Sasha Baron Coen, Eddie Redmayne and Mark Rylance are part of a great cast that skillfully delivers Sorkin’s sharp, incisive dialogue. The movie’s pace is very lively and it’s unusually funny for a historical courtroom drama. The verdict on “The Trial of the Chicago 7” is ‘compelling,’ beyond a reasonable doubt.’
“Clouds” is a Disney+ drama that tells the true story of Zach Sobiech, a teenager suffering from terminal cancer who released the hit song “Clouds” a few months before his death in 2013. Actor/musician Fin Argus fits the role of Sobiech like a glove and the earnest cast helps mitigate some of the movie’s manipulative aspects. “Clouds” is a four-hankie tearjerker. Thankfully, the pathos is somewhat balanced by the movie’s upbeat humor.
“The Secrets We Keep” is a modestly effective post WWII thriller. Noomi Rapace plays a Romanian woman living in a small American town who thinks she recognizes a German soldier who committed brutal war crimes against her and her family…and decides to exact revenge. This is the sort of suspense drama that Alfred Hitchcock or Orson Wells might have successfully tackled back in the day. There are some dubious aspects to this story, however, that sap “The Secrets We Keep” of some of its potential power.
“Martin Eden” is a self-consciously arty but smart and intriguing Italian adaptation of Jack London’s classic novel. Luca Marinelli gives a sly performance as a poor sailor who educates himself to fulfill his dreams of being a writer but is ultimately disillusioned. Filmmaker Pietro Marcello’s attempts at philosophical discourse are interesting, but unfocused.
Your local art house theaters are offering online viewing options for a number of intriguing movie titles. More information is available at nelson-atkins.org, Screenland.com, fineartsgroup.com and drafthouse.com.