Thanks to a marvelously full-bodied performance by Michelle Yeoh and a complementary one by David Thewlis, The Lady overcomes its own obstacles -- principally ones of pacing -- to present a moving portrait of courage, resilience and conviction.
The key here is the mix of tones Spurlock achieves: a blend of boyish gee-whiz fascination and a winking sense of the absurdity of grown-ups devoting their lives to this sort of fantasy and role-playing.
It's not as if this sober, subtle spy film was ignored -- it was one of the most acclaimed films of the year and received three Oscar nominations. But I think the stock of this remarkable achievement is going to rise steadily.
The Island President may already be too late, in terms of the changes it hopes to effect. But Nasheed remains a courageous and inspiring figure, particularly now that he's been forced from office by stand-ins for the kind of forces he has been trying to combat.
Hollywood has told this story endlessly -- but always about boys, almost never about girls (at least not without a tragic component). Think Porky's. Think American Pie. Think any sex-drenched teen comedy of the past 30 years.
This film that will keep viewers, even the millions who have read the books and know the outcome, at the edge of their seats. And if the storyline doesn't grab you -- unlikely as that is -- the special effects and the portrayal of the Game arena is enough to intrigue most.
While Hill, writer Michael Bacall and directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller want to spoof cop procedurals, they also want to make an actual cop-action film. That blend of comedy and action is a tough one, almost as tough as romantic comedy.