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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

Lantern adds another Oscar winner: ‘Vice’

As I pointed out recently, the Magic Lantern is offering a refresher course on several of the Academy Award-nominated films from 2018. And the lesson continues on Friday as the theater opens the feature film "Vice."

"Vice" is Adam McKay's take on the life and times of former Vice President Dick Cheney. McKay, as you might know, directed the 2016 Oscar-winning feature "The Big Short."

By contrast, "Vice" — though it was nominated for eight Oscars — won only the award for Makeup and Hairstyling. Which is only natural, since the transformation of Christian Bale (who plays the title character) is remarkable.

As for the film itself, it's an exercise in how to blend bio-pic reality with the kind of fantasy usually reserved for comedy. And "Vice" does boast its share of humor, but … well, that's likely going to depend on your politics.

Whatever, here are some critical comments:

Leah Pickett, Chicago Reader: "You cannot simply sit and absorb this movie. Love it or hate it, you are one of its characters."

Peter Howell, Toronto Star: "The singular achievement of Vice may be its depiction of Cheney as more than a punch line and more than the mwah-hah-hah plotter behind George W.'s 'What, me worry?' demeanour."

Peter Travers, Rolling Stone: "Adam McKay's flame-throwing take on Dick Cheney, played by a shockingly brilliant Christian Bale, polarizes by being ferociously funny one minute, bleakly sorrowful the next, and ready to indict the past in the name of our scarily uncertain future."

Let's hope that Travers' final three words aren't prophetic.