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Up To Date

Up To Date's Indie, Foreign & Doc Critics' 'Three To See,' December 27-30

Benoit Delhomme
CBS Films
Actor Willem Defoe has won the Volpi Cup for Best Actor and is currently nominated for a Satellite and a Golden Globe award for his potrayal of the artist Vincent Van Gogh.

Biopics capturing the true essence of people and the life around them are drawing in viewers as the New Year approaches.  Actors gracing the big screen are channeling roles as political leaders, royalty and a tormented artist. The latest recommendations from Up To Date's indie, foreign, and documentary Film Critics do more than just take you back in history, they provide myriad views on turmoil from the political to the personal.

Steve Walker

"Vice," R

  • Christian Bale uncannily channels Dick Cheney in this occasionally chilling black comedy that also gives Amy Adams and Sam Rockwell plum roles as Lynne Cheney and George W. Bush.

"The Favourite," R

  • This delightfully vulgar, lavishly designed romp from director Yorgos Lanthimos stars Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone as ruthless ladies-in-waiting vying for the attentions of a maladjusted Queen Anne, played to the hilt by Olivia Coleman. 

"At Eternity's Gate," R

  • Artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel is at this helm of this vivid, picturesque biopic of Vincent Van Gogh, played by a ravaged-looking Willem Dafoe. 

Cynthia Haines

"Roma," R

  • Academy Award-winning director and writer Alfonso Cuaron brings us his most emotional project to date. Drawing on his own childhood, he explores political turmoil and social strife through the narrative of a single family.

"The Favourite," R

  • In the early 18th century, a fragile, yet tempestuous Queen Anne reigns. But behind her throne are two women who tend to her health and calm her bouts of rage. Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz bring this period piece to a modern audience with witty dialouge and spicy rivalry. 

"At Eternity's Gate," R

  • Willem Defoe mesmerizes as Vincent Van Gogh in this journey through the later years of the artist's life. It's not a straight-ahead biopic, but provides glimpses of experimental beauty in vision and sound.
Since 1998, Steve Walker has contributed stories and interviews about theater, visual arts, and music as an arts reporter at KCUR. He's also one of Up to Date's regular trio of critics who discuss the latest in art, independent and documentary films playing on area screens.