Wednesday, January 17, 2018
Sunday, January 14, 2018
In Molly's Game the rise and fall of Molly Bloom plays out. As a fallen Olympic athlete, she applies her intelligence and drive to running high stakes poker games. She does very well until things get messy. The second half of the film is Molly pulling herself together and figuring out her future. Both stories are rich and satisfying.
A journalistic adventure reenacts the events around the publishing of the Pentagon Papers in The Post. When word of the Papers gets to the Washington Post there are scrambles to get them, read them, understand them and decide whether to publish them.. The government had been lying to the public about the Vietnam war and the paper is ready to make it all public. The drama revolves around the law and the decision. Good film.
Saturday, January 13, 2018
Watching small children left on their own, The Florida Project takes us through their days on summer break. They are poor, and the adults in their lives are constantly striving to find ways to pay the bills. The manager of the motel they live in acts as a gruff uncle, but keeps an eye out for all of them. Subtle and detailed, I liked this film.
The 9th installment of Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a satisfying addition to the franchise. We follow some familiar characters across the galaxy and meet a few new ones. There is humor, adventure, peril, space chases and oh those light saber battles. Carrie Fisher's last appearance is poignant, and her daughter delivers a nice tribute performance to Leia. The music and visuals are thrilling. Well done.
Through a dozen characters and a series of monologues, Manifesto is art commenting on art. Cate Blanchette gives a collection of performances that are powerful and nuanced. Jim Jarmusch adds his gorgeous style throughout the film. An interesting film.
Friday, January 12, 2018
The early career of Thurgood Marshall found him working for the NAACP fighting for civil rights. The film Marshall is based on the events of one of these cases. A man wrongfully accused of rape is defended by an assigned lawyer and Mr. Marshall acts as his advisor. The film unfolds like a crime procedural. The ending addresses the accuser's situation, but they leave you hanging on an issue of domestic abuse. I found that a bit unnerving. This is a good rental.
Thursday, January 11, 2018
Sunday, January 07, 2018
If the events depicted in I, Tonya are true, Tonya Harding is truly a survivor. The movie begins when Harding is 4 years old and all she wants to do is skate. Her mother bullies her way into a class and the rest is history. According to the film, her mother was brutal to her, yet she put everything she had (which wasn't much) into her daughter's skating career. Harding's tenacity is front and center when it comes to skating. She perseveres through beatings from both her mother and her husband. The bumbling actions around the Kerrigan assault are ridiculous and played for a laugh. I wonder how much of it is true.
I took my father to see Dunkirk and he said that he wanted to see the strategies behind the decisions. This made taking him to see Darkest Hour a no-brainer. This film focuses on the short time that Winston Churchill had to make decisions about military strategy against Germany as the new Prime Minister of England. The performances are very good, but politics and war are ugly businesses.
Saturday, January 06, 2018
Pixar is good at tugging our heartstrings and Coco is no exception. Miguel has a passion for music, but his family suffered an emotional loss at the hands of a musician generations ago and refuse to let him follow his dream. On a search for that dream, through his grandfather, he ends up in the Land of the Dead and works to bring closure to his family. The story has a lot of ins and outs and a bit of a morbid tone with story lines of mortality, abandonment and deceit, but the charm of the characters, the music and the animation add levity. I liked this film, but I think a few of the story lines would be too much for little ones.
Friday, January 05, 2018
Film critic April Wolf recommended The Lure as one of the most overlooked films of 2017. She described it as a "vampire, mermaid, disco film." I knew I had to see it. Two sisters, who transform to mermaids when they come in contact with water. are discovered by a strip club owner and he adds them to the musical act. They become a sensation and enter relationships with humans. This would be very Beauty and the Beast if they did not eat their paramours. Well filmed and very original. Cool film.
Wednesday, January 03, 2018
Harry Dean Stanton shows his masterful acting in the film Lucky playing a man riding out his life in a small town, with a set routine. As we follow Lucky through his days and interactions, it is Stanton's performance that makes it interesting to watch. A fitting last act for a wonderful actor.