Charlie Wilson's War 

You really can't go wrong in any modern film by featuring Oscar winners Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts or Philip Seymour Hoffman. So, then, what could better than a true story featuring all three?

It's the early '80s and Texas Rep. Charles N. Wilson (Hanks) is a good old boy who just loves the company of attractive young ladies, which is why his office staff is all female. He's whip-smart but prefers a glass of whiskey to a House vote ... until he's asked to visit an Afghan refugee camp and he decides he'll use his office to help win the Cold War.

Hanks and Roberts perfectly capture their respective roles as a newly-resolute Congressman and a Southern beauty queen turned political activist—yet the offbeat Hoffman steals most of the scenes he's in as a street-wise CIA agent. His Oscar nomination comes as no surprise.

Director Mike Nichols (The Graduate, Primary Colors) capitalizes on Aaron Sorkin's bitingly clever script based on the book by George Crile. Sorkin scripted loads of episodes of critically-acclaimed TV shows Sports Night, The West Wing and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and his experience shows.

Typically, politically themed films are lengthy but at a succinct hour and a half, this one's got more than enough content. In addition to an interesting story full of colorful characters and great performances, there's quite a bit of fascinating history in there, albeit rather recent history. The movie's even more unexpectedly timely because it foreshadows the War on Terror in which the U.S. in currently embroiled.

This video courtesy of Hollywood Video, 590 Broadway Ave., 208-342-6117.
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