Deeply misguided “Churchill” puts the “wince” in “Winston”

churchill

We’re awash in Churchills right now in pop culture. There’s John Lithgow scowling away on Netflix’s “The Crown,” and later this month Gary Oldman will pile on the prosthetics in “Darkest Hour.”

But if there’s an actor who seems most suited to play the gruff but charismatic bulldog, called the greatest Briton of the 20th century, it would be Brian Cox. And he wouldn’t even need much makeup or prosthetics, having arrived to the set pre-jowled.

So it’s baffling, almost angering, that the movie “Churchill” so completely wastes Cox’s performance as Churchill. Cox’s performance is just fine in the movie (out now on DVD from Cohen Media Group). But the movie itself is so incredibly misguided, so willfully ignorant of the history both as it was and as the audience perceives it to be. It fails as drama because it fails at history.

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“God’s Pocket”: A great place to watch, but you wouldn’t want to live there

GODS POCKET

“God’s Pocket” opens Friday at Sundance Cinemas. R, 1:28, three stars out of four.

I’ve seen “God’s Pocket” twice now — the first time at the Sundance Film Festival, a couple of weeks before its star, Philip Seymour Hoffman, died of a drug overdose, and again three months later. The first time I thought it was a good movie. Now I think it’s essential.

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