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Is 'Vice' worth a watch? Depends on your political beliefs

Matt Shiverdecker Special to the American-Statesman
Christian Bale plays Dick Cheney in "Vice." [Contributed by Greig Fraser / Annapurna Pictures]

Here is an interesting new release available now from cable and digital providers as well as a title that has recently become available for streaming.

Video on Demand

"Vice": Nominated for six Golden Globes and eight Academy Awards, Adam McKay takes on the life and times of former Vice President Dick Cheney in this blistering satire masquerading as a biopic. It's hard to say who the target audience for this film really is. Conservatives were generally resentful and skeptical of the film's bias, and liberals didn't really want to sit through a 132-minute film about a person they hate. As a result, it took off during awards season but struggled at the box office. While it came up short with Oscar wins, it deservedly took home the award for best makeup and hairstyling. So, is it worth watching? Your own political beliefs are going to be the biggest part of that answer, but I will argue that it is worth taking a look at due to the strength of the actors involved. Christian Bale once again completely disappears into the role (and gained 40 pounds) to play Cheney. Amy Adams was nominated for best supporting actress for her depiction of Lynne Cheney, and she shines in the brief screen time she has, but this isn't Lynne's story, so she isn't a focus of the overall story. Other highlights of the cast: Jesse Plemons is great as the film's narrator, Steve Carell is spot on as Donald Rumsfeld and Tyler Perry is a revelation as Colin Powell. Just as with "The Big Short," McKay takes some unusual chances with the storytelling, and some of them pay off (a false ending halfway through the movie is hysterical) while some fall flat (breaking into Shakespearean dialogue for a full scene). All in all, your mileage may vary in terms of enjoyment, but now that it is available to watch at home it may very well find more of an audience than it did in theaters. (Cable and digital VOD)

Also on streaming services

"Shoplifters": Acclaimed director Hirokazu Kore-eda had his biggest hit in America with this phenomenal film about a struggling and dysfunctional Japanese family. They utilize a sophisticated system (including young kids) to steal food and other goods from local shops in order to survive. One night while on their way home, they discover a young girl in the neighborhood who is being neglected and abused by her parents. They bring her back to their already crowded home and are unsure what to do once they see on the news that the child has been reported missing. Winner of the Palme d'Or at Cannes, this was also nominated for best foreign language film at the Golden Globes and the Oscars. (Hulu)