3 items from 2016
There’s no more obvious candidate for directing a Edward Snowden biopic than Oliver Stone, the reigning king of conspiratorial left-wing political thrillers. However, the definitive movie about Snowden’s dramatic leak of Nsa files already exists: Laura Poitras’ Oscar-winning documentary “Citizenfour.” Stone’s “Snowden” recounts the same events, using them as a framing device to recount the young character’s radicalization. As a result, “Snowden” largely becomes the CliffsNotes “Citizenfour,” now with a Hollywood gloss.
We find the defector (Joseph Gordon-Levitt, whose monotonous intonations echo Snowden’s own) meeting with a camera-wielding Poitras (an underutilized Melissa Leo), along with former Guardian reporters Glenn Greenwald (an overzealous Zachary Quinto) and Ewen MacAskill (Tom Wilkinson on autopilot). That interrogation shapes “Snowden” as it flashes back from the 2013 encounter to 2004, then works its way toward the present, as the »
- Eric Kohn
Let’s be honest: Oliver Stone hasn’t made an Oliver Stone movie that mattered in more than 20 years. The firebrand urgency that once defined his name — the way he directed films that seized the zeitgeist, that drove the conversation, that inspired controversy because of how they leapt into the drama of history — has, for too long, been trapped in the past. Which is not to say that Stone hasn’t tried. He has made films that bent over backwards to be topical, like the earnest and sentimental 9/11 requiem “World Trade Center,” or the goofy provocative political cartoon “W.,” or the cautionary-but-behind-the-curve financial thriller “Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps.” One or two of these movies “found an audience,” but none found a purpose; even when they managed to connect at the box office, they disappeared from the public consciousness like puffs of smoke.
But Stone’s exile in the desert »
- Owen Gleiberman
Oliver Stone does not find the Pokemon Go phenomenon to be light-hearted fun, to say the least.
During a panel for his new movie “Snowden” in the first day of San Diego Comic-Con 2016, the director was asked about the app, and called it “a new level of invasion,” and said it could lead to totalitarianism.
“They are data mining every person in this room,” he said. “It’s what they call surveillance capitalism.”
He also commented that the app could help usher in “a robot society.”Stone is not the first to raise concerns about Pokemon Go and data collection. After the now wildly popular app gained traction, many pointed out that Pokemon Go requires access to a user’s entire Google account on iOS, including location data, email and browsing history.
Niantic, the developer behind Pokemon Go, said it “fixed the Google account scope” in a statement attached to »
- Stephanie Panisello and Alex Stedman
3 items from 2016
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