Review: Wanted (dir. Timur Bekmambetov, 2008)

wantedIf no one had told you that Wanted was based on a series of comic books, you probably could have guessed it. The film occupies a very familiar space between the sublimely silly and the oddly profound, using lots of visual razzle-dazzle to trick you into lowering your expectations and settling for little more than a fun ride, and then it hits you with plot twists that make you think, “Whoa.” Or at least, “Huh!”

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Review: The Last King of Scotland (dir. Kevin Macdonald, 2006)

Don’t let the title fool you. The Last King of Scotland takes place not in the Highlands but in Uganda, and the title refers not to some European monarch but to one of the most notorious African dictators, Idi Amin. So why do this film — and the Giles Foden novel on which it is based—bear this title? Partly because “King of Scotland” was one of the many titles Amin gave himself during his brutal eight-year reign; another was “Conqueror of the British Empire.” Amin, who rose through the ranks of the British colonial army under the patronage of Scottish officers before Uganda became independent, was a fan of all things Scottish, and sometimes wore kilts in public.

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