Spielberg's 'The Post' revives the thrill in political thrillers

Meryl Streep Got Medical Marijuana For Christmas

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While publisher Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) prepares to take the cash-poor paper public, editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) tries to play catch-up with the Times' reporting.

Steven Spielberg took the script by Liz Hannah and Josh Singer and directed a movie that will hold up over time.

The study was commissioned by former Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara (Bruce Greenwood), a close friend of Graham. It's 1971, and the drama of the day concerns the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret history of the United States' disastrous involvement in Vietnam and the lies the government told the American people along the way. The story is as much about the personal, professional and political fallout of the newspaper as it is about Kay's growth, from a reluctant heir to one of the most powerful women in journalism.

Streep had previously told The Washington Post following Sunday night's ceremony: "She launched a rocket tonight".

Soon enough, we also meet Post editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), who's sick and exhausted of his newspaper getting beat to stories of substance by The New York Times.

Not surprisingly, both Streep and Hanks are terrific. She was thrown into the deep end without any training or experience. They are convincing as colleagues who don't always agree but who always respect each other. And part of that plan involves going head to head with the "paper of record", the New York Times.

The elephant in the room is Alan J. Pakula's classic 1977 Watergate film All the President's Men, which infamously reduced Graham's integral role at the Post to an off-color joke. But then the Justice Department gets an injunction against the Times to prevent further publication, the first time in American history that the government has presented the press from publishing a story.

Given what we know, the picture does a reasonable job of generating suspense as Bradlee and his team scramble to get their hands on a copy of the report so the Post can become a player by picking up where the Times left off. Graham, the boss, is caught in the middle.

But the scenes in the newsroom feel flat and underwhelming, the staffers featured seemingly clueless as they struggle with what to do next.

One of the few missteps is a sappy scene featuring the publisher and her grown-up daughter.

Stream No. 2 reveals the evolution of Graham, the rare woman running a media company, who was looked down upon by her own board.

Next up, in The Devil Wears Prada, Meryl Streep played a fashion magazine editor largely believed to be based on Anna Wintour, real-life editor in chief of Vogue magazine. The ensemble around them is nearly too good, including Carrie Coon, Tracy Letts, Sarah Paulson, Pat Healy, Michael Stuhlbarg, and even Odenkirk's "Mr".

T.H.R.'s latest report also reveals how much Robert De Niro will make for starring in David O. Russell's new mafia show on Amazon: the Oscar victor will collect $750,000 per episode, for a total of 20 episodes.

This week, the two stars from The Post stopped by The Ellen DeGeneres Show and of course the show's host, Ellen DeGeneres, had one of her fun games ready for them.

But "The Post" isn't a valediction to a vanishing era, but a call to arms for the new one.

Freedom of the press issues, behind-the-scenes journalism, and a landmark court battle that never appears onscreen are not typical narratives for a major Hollywood film. And a reminder that everyone needs to be welcomed, and listened to, in the fight.

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