comedy drama

Lobbying and Debauchery: December 9's New Movies

Friday, December 09, 2016 Rob Samuelson

This weekend is light on wide releases, but the two we're getting are certainly intriguing for different reasons. Let's see what awaits us at the ol’ multiplex, folks.

Photo credit: Miss Sloane/Facebook

Miss Sloane
Director: John Madden
Writer: Jonathan Perera
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong, Gugu Mbatha-Raw

A decade ago, we got a movie about a lobbyist who was wretched and sold his soul to the tobacco industry in order to make a point about how effective lies can be and about how free speech is important or something, especially when you can twist it to give yourself an excuse to sell cancer. That was the wonderfully satirical Thank You For Smoking. Since then, lobbying has gone nowhere in American politics. Now, given the weaponized lie machines and fake news that may or may not have swayed the election, the persuasive speech of lobbying gets another look in a decidedly chillier looking movie, Miss Sloane, from Shakespeare in Love director John Madden. Jessica Chastain stars as a Washington smooth talker who takes on a crusade to institute stricter gun control laws in the country. Jessica Chastain is great. Shakespeare in Love is pretty dang good, too. These are strong ingredients, even if Miss Sloane looks a little too cool for school based on its trailer.

Office Christmas Party
Directors: Josh Gordon, Will Speck
Writers: Justin Malen, Laura Solon, Dan Mazer, Jon Lucas, Scott Moore, Timothy Dowling
Starring: Jason Bateman, Olivia Munn, T.J. Miller, Jennifer Aniston, Kate McKinnon

Until 2015, I had never experienced a traditional holiday party. While it was not as cinematically debauched as Office Christmas Party promises to be, I did have a hangover at about 11 p.m. Then I went to a midnight screening to review Star Wars: The Force Awakens for this here website. You’re welcome for my commitment to my craft. Anyway, this movie takes some famous faces like Jason Bateman and Kate McKinnon, makes them part of a plot that involves them throwing a holiday party (not Christmas, McKinnon says in the trailer, despite the movie’s name) in order to land a client and save their company. It looks a little flimsy, to be honest. But I like pretty much everyone involved here, as I suspect many of you readers do, too. That’s not a bad way to spend an evening during a December weekend.

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