Four of the five actresses who have earned Oscar nominations this year have been supported by well funded publicity campaigns.
The exception is Andrea Riseborough who starred in a little seen film called TO LESLIE. She plays an alcoholic on a downward spiral, trying to stay alive in a Texas small town. Riseborough is astonishingly good in this role, but when the film’s producer didn’t come up with the money to publicize her performance, more than a dozen famous Hollywood actors and celebrities who admired her work waged a social media campaign on her behalf. And now she’s a well deserving Best Actress nominee. Six years after winning $190,000 in a lottery, Riseborough as Leslie is a perpetual drunk, a barfly who has gone through all her money and abandoned her son. She begs, borrows, and steals to keep drinking, but she hits rock bottom before she finally stops drinking. Fortunately, TO LESLIE has an uplifting ending. Otherwise, I wouldn’t recommend it in spite of Riseborough’s Oscar worthy acting. You can rent TO LESLIE for $6.99 on YouTube, Amazon, and Apple TV.
A HAUNTING IN VENICE is the most recent of more than twenty movies based on the works of mystery writer Agatha Christie. Kenneth Branagh directs and stars as detective Hercule Poirot for the third time (after MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS and DEATH ON THE NILE). The movie is a modest entertainment given a lavish treatment. It’s got a great cast and creative cinematography, but the whodunnit plot is a bit confusing and a little hard to believe. It’s the kind of film you will likely enjoy but forget about in a few weeks. There’s more than a little supernatural suggestion throughout this movie, but to call it A “HAUNTING” IN VENICE is a stretch. This is an old fashioned murder mystery not a horror film..... If you missed my review of OPPENHEIMER and want to see it, you can find it here: https://youtu.be/PZnROOaPH7Q