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The Agony and the Ecstasy

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Though they’re ubiquitous in rental stores, VHS copies of the new-to-tape biopic Surviving Picasso, starring Anthony Hopkins, aren’t exactly flying off the new-release shelves. Why would they? The movie portrays a towering creative talent as a nasty old man and hardly brings his work alive. If you’re up for a more artful film about a great painter, we suggest you white out Picasso and brush up on one of these tortured-artist flicks. Just don’t expect photorealism.

The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)
Portrait of: Michelangelo Dilodobico Buonarroti Simoni (Charlton Heston) circa 1508-12. Missing from this picture: Michelangelo’s gay love life. Heston makes him blustery and macho — and sexless. Neatest visual motifs: Under Carol Reed’s direction, Heston reaches and strains his arms in dynamic contrappunto poses just like those of his Sistine Chapel subjects. B-

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