The worst: Leaving aside the question of whether a putative thriller about George W. Bush’s murky military record is worth the bother, James Vanderbilt’s loftily titled “Truth” shills obligingly for former “60 Minutes” producer Mary Mapes, who, along with Dan Rather, was fired for flawed reporting of gaps in Bush’s army service. Adapted (not loosely enough) from Mapes’ memoir, the movie careens between lionizing the Mapes-Rather dream team and indulging in boozy self-pity over the fall from grace of a show that has done more than most to accustom us to the newshound as rock star. Worse yet, it drags an overcooked performance out of Cate Blanchett, gifting her with what must be the year’s most hapless line of dialogue: “We’re ‘60 Minutes!’” she shrieks. “We’re the gold standard!”
Empty prestige: Speaking of shoddy journalism, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has succumbed without a murmur to “The Hunting Ground,” placing on its documentary feature shortlist a loaded piece of agitprop that plays fast and loose with statistics and our sympathy with victims of campus sexual assault. With death-defying leaps of logic on the basis of skimpy and distorted evidence, Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering’s film does violence to both the legitimate fight for women’s rights and the honorable cause of advocacy filmmaking.