As per the TV show thread, have managed to watch a few recent films while on leave:
Eye in the Sky - 9/10
I really enjoyed this thriller starring Helen Mirren. It has a great cast - Alan Rickman (his last film, I think?), Aaron Paul, Iain Glen (Sir Jorah Mormont from GoT), with a nicely laid out story. It follows the people involved in a Joint Forces drone mission to capture a suspected terrorist, including a British National. The film follows the different groups of people, operating at different locations, and communicating to carry out the mission. There's the mission control room where Helen Mirren plays a British Colonel in charge of the operation, politicians providing political oversight with Alan Rickman as the General liaising with the operations team, the ground forces acting in a support role, field operatives providing intelligence, and the drone strike crew. The film unfolds as the mission evolves and parameters change, and along the way it highlights the philosophical quagmire of remote operations and collateral damage, communication (and miscommunication), and chain of command issues (including the reluctance to take a decision). It becomes almost farcical as people progressively push decisions further and further up the chain, demonstrating either a desperate desire to avoid responsibility, or a misunderstanding of the place of delegated command. In all, an excellent, highly watchable film.
Snowden - 8/10
It's interesting to watch a film based on recent events. With something like the information released by Edward Snowden, I was only aware of bits and pieces, and that only from the general media. While this film is described as a "dramatisation" of events, and only represents one perspective of the event, I still found it fascinating and informative. I have a soft spot for "spy films", and this manages to insert a measure of the spy film genre, with some background scenes showing the spycraft of modern espionage. The evolution of the story, revealed as flashbacks recounted by Snowden holed up in a hotel in Hong Kong with Glenn Greenwald and other journalists he is cooperating with to get his story out, is well managed. It shows a nice character arc for Snowden; one thing in particular I noticed was that the way I recalled the media portrayed Snowden was as a NSA contractor - I didn't realise how deeply involved he was with the intelligence community. It was interesting to see how the media (deliberately or otherwise) downplayed the role that Snowden played in intelligence (though, equally, the film may have exaggerated his involvement - I don't really know).
The cast is pretty good. I quite like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and he does well as Snowden. Nicholas Cage provides a good background character, and Shailene Woodley does well as Lindsay, Snowden's girlfriend. Another good, watchable film.
There are a few more films to review, will post them as I have time.