Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Goodbye Christopher Robin

I thought Goodbye Christopher Robin  would be a sweet story, but boy was I wrong. The misery of post-war life comes to the screen again. When A.A. Milne is looking for inspiration for a marketable writing project, he turns to his son's toys. With the success of the characters the boy creates, the exploitation of him in the marketing was a bit sad. The relationships in the family become more businesslike than a child should have to deal with. A melancholy story. A good rental.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Ferdinand

The animated film Ferdinand goes for the heartstrings. With about 15 minutes of editing, this would have had me. Near the end of the film a few of the little ones were running up and down the aisles in the theater, and I wanted to join them. The peril of the bull fight was a bit unnerving for me. The animation was lovely and Ferdinand is a sweet character, but there was no need to drag it out.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

All the Money in the Wiorld

For all the controversy surrounding the film All the Money in the World I was not prepared for the disturbing story that this film is based on. My take away from this film is that J. Paul Getty was a cold hearted bastard. This film was so sad. Michelle Williams gave it her all. I understand the Oscar nomination for Christopher Plummer, but what an awful man he played. This film left me cold.

Friday, January 26, 2018

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Deadpan conversations and a romantic filming style sets an ominous tone in The Killing of a Sacred Deer. When the actual premise kicks in it is disturbing and menacing. This modern horror film is disturbing but creative. Glad I saw it, but this one stayed with me for a while.Pretty creepy.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Paddington 2

I enjoyed the first film about Paddington bear, so when Paddington 2 came out to great reviews, I was in. The story is sweet and concise. There is a bit of adventure, a bit of peril and a lot of love and laughs. This story has a lot of heart and has a great visual aesthetic. Fun film.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Phantom Thread

The ending of Phantom Thread leans toward kink. When the world of a fussy fashion designer is turned upside down by a new lady love, she takes matters into her own hands. Reynolds Woodcock is overbearing and oversensitive, haunted by the only woman he's ever really loved, his Mother. When his new love and muse speaks her mind, he doesn't quite know what to do. She does. And he goes along. People do not treat each other very well in this story, but the coping mechanisms are interesting. Beautifully shot with and outstanding score and sumptuous costumes. Good film.

Mudbound

Post-war struggles and racism haunt the stories in Mudbound. Beautifully shot, Dee Rees brings the stories of poverty and PTSD to life in a powerful film. The family is held in high regard, and dealing with the mental traumas of war and alcoholism with no resources weighs heavy. Good film beautifully shot.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Bound

After watching Bound you will never complain about neighbors again. An ex-con is working renovating an apartment and the next door neighbors end up in trouble with the mob. There is intrigue, lust and lots of blood. The bumbling mobsters are no match for the ex-con and her disgruntled lover. Solid rental.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Loving Vincent

In Loving Vincent, we follow the story of the artist's friends as they cope with losing  him through the eyes of a young admirer. This film is made in a painted style of animation mirroring the style of Van Gough. A lovely film.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Lady Macbeth

The film Lady Macbeth is a dismal tale of lust, anguish and betrayal. Thoughtfully shot, well acted we see a young woman trapped. Her way out is shocking and violent. This film is well done, but the subject matter is disturbing.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Molly's Game

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.

The Post

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

The Florida Project

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.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

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.

Manifesto

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

Marshall

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

Patti Cake$

An aspiring rapper struggles to realize her dream in Patti Cake$. The tone is set in her entrance to the local pharmacy early in the film. The story is about dreams, survival, confidence and friendship. I liked this film a lot.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

I, Tonya

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.

Darkest Hour

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

Coco

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

The Lure

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

Lucky

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.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Favorites of 2017

I have finalized my list of favorites from the 2017 film year. This was a year with refreshing, new takes on story telling. Click the titles to see what I thought when I saw it. Here's to the 2018 film year!

Get Out
The Shape of Water
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, MO
The Big Sick
Lady Bird
Colossal
Baby Driver
Wonder Woman
Call Me by Your Name
It
mother!

Honorable mentions? Paris Can Wait, Wind River, Battle of the Sexes, Victoria and Abdul, Wonderstruck, The Little Hours, Loving Vincent and Molly's Game.