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00000179-cdc6-d978-adfd-cfc6d8380000Nominations for the 90th Academy Awards were announced Tuesday, and KMUW Movie Reviewer, Fletcher Powell, reviewed quite a few of them this past year. We've gathered them here for your enjoyment.Fletcher reviews a new movie every Thursday. You can hear them on air at 89.1 FM or online at kmuw.org.

Movie Review: 'Molly's Game'

I doubt you can say much about Molly’s Game without talking about Aaron Sorkin. 

Sorkin is, of course, the mind behind high-impact, fast-talking tv shows like “The West Wing,” as well as the writer of such movies as The Social Network and A Few Good Men. He’s pretty much as big a name as you can find when it comes to screenwriting. But Molly’s Game is the first time he’s directed anything, which is pretty surprising, as there aren’t a whole lot of people in Hollywood who can become household names just because of their writing.

And it turns out, he’s not a bad director! Or, at least, he knows how he wants his writing to look on the screen, and he’s able to execute it. Molly’s Game is the apparently true story of Molly Bloom, played here by Jessica Chastain, who rises from the ashes of her failed skiing career to run an exceptionally lucrative high-stakes poker game in New York City. How she got there we see through flashbacks, as Molly talks details with her lawyer, played by Idris Elba, while she’s being investigated for a number of gambling and financial crimes, not being helped by the fact that some of the high rollers at her regular poker table maybe kind of might be members of the Russian mob.

The movie crackles with plenty of momentum, but I’m hazy on some of the details, and for a very particular reason—Aaron Sorkin’s writing is a solid wall of words. His dialogue comes at you hard and fast, and it’s easy to get lost amongst all of the jargon and verbal jousting. It’s sort of like it left me with a sugar high. It’s exciting while it’s happening, it’s sort of exhausting when it’s over, and then—zap—the whole thing is gone.

And I don’t mean to say it’s an empty experience: The acting is spot-on and I think there is some emotional weight to what happens, it’s just that it all washed past me so quickly that I’m not sure I had a lot to hold onto when it was all over. But that’s sort of what you get when you’re dealing with Aaron Sorkin, and you just have to decide if the in-the-moment experience is enough. For me, at least this time, I think it was.

Fletcher Powell has worked at KMUW since 2009 as a producer, reporter, and host. He's been the host of All Things Considered since 2012 and KMUW's movie critic since 2016. Fletcher is a member of the Critics Choice Association.