Friday, December 28, 2018

Network (1976)

I had not seen the movie Network in many years. I saw it in the theater when it came out, and I feel like we must have rented it back in the days of VCRs. After hearing several people on podcasts refer to the film I decided it was time for another look. Boy does this movie hold up. The portrayal of corporate networks and reality TV in the interest of profits is still relevant. The writing and performances are outstanding. Great rental.

Thursday, December 27, 2018

American Animals

As a heist story American Animals is fascinating. Teenage boys discover valuable books right under their noses and decide this is their easy road to wealth. They are mistaken. Things do not go according to plan and the bumbling buys them a world of trouble. This is a true story and it is well done. This is a pretty good rental.

Monday, December 24, 2018

If Beale Street Could Talk

My Christmas Eve film this year was If Beale Street Could Talk. I had the opportunity to go to The Angelika Film Center in NYC to experience this lovely film. The story of Tish and Fonny is sweet and tender, yet fraught. The depiction of the 70s is nostalgic, especially in the costumes. Beautifully shot, sincerely performed, the words of Baldwin are done proud. This film deserves more than one viewing.

Saturday, December 22, 2018

The Christmas Chronicles

In The Christmas Chronicles Kurt Russell gives us a version of Santa Claus that is confident, funny, creative, macho and funky.The story of a sister and brother who stow away on Santa's sleigh is a fun take on what could happen on Christmas Eve. I liked this little slice of holiday fantasy. Well done.

Friday, December 21, 2018

The Spy Who Dumped Me

The story in The Spy Who Dumped Me is nothing special. Bad guys chasing innocents for a flash drive with spy information on it. The reason to see this film are Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon's performances. Talented and funny, these two light up every lame situation. They give it their all. Though it is so poorly written, I enjoyed watching these two work. This is an OK rental.

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

In The Miseducation of Cameron Post we meet a young girl with same-sex attractions. Her guardian decides that this will not do and sends her to a conversion therapy facility. The more depictions I see of this practice, the more disturbing I find it. The young actors in this film give very genuine performances. Some events are jarring, but I liked the way it ended. Hopeful. Good film.

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Small Foot

The story of yetis thinking that humans don't exist is a cute twist in the animated film Small Foot. The yeti Migo sets out to prove it to his tribe. The story is clever, the animation is solid and I really liked the music. Pretty funny too. A good time family film. Solid rental.

Friday, December 14, 2018

Itzhak

In the documentary Itzhak we experience the music and the joy that personifies Itzhak Pearlman. From his young start, to his education, to his marriage and family, to his performances, to his education camps, to his travels, we see the diverse life of a man grounded in music. The enthusiasm, energy and humor in his life is inspiring. I enjoyed a segment of the film where he is driving through Tel Aviv talking about Jewish history and Pearlman says, "Jewgle could explain Jewish history." And then there are his performances. Inspired and gorgeous, the man and his violin become one as soon as his bow hits the strings. A lovely film, a lovely life.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Colette

Colette was a breakout artist in Paris at the turn of the century. The film Colette celebrates her life and career on that rise. As an author and actress, she was productive, creative and sensual. She was bold, and spoke up for her rights as well as the rights of others. She was passionate in her sexuality and did not adhere to the norm. Her story is as relevant today as it was in her day. The dialog in this film is sharp. Near the beginning of the film she says to her husband, "I can read you like the top line of an optics chart." This film is so well done.

Sunday, December 09, 2018

Private Life

Conception should not feel like work. In the film Private Life we follow a couple who is having to work to conceive. It is a story many people can relate to. In this film it is told with heart, honesty and compassion. I liked this film.

Green Book

The point of view for the film Green Book is a bit off. The story of a successful black musician hiring a bodyguard /driver for a concert tour in the south in the US in the 60s should be told from the point of view of the musician. This film dips its toe in that POV ever so slightly, but does not commit. For me, this made it feel like we are not getting the whole story. The scenes are almost treated like stand-alone anecdotes with little resolution. It plays a bit like a buddy road movie, but misses that mark as well. Disappointing, as this is a good story that could have made some important points.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Bohemian Rhapsody

The rise and fall and rise of the rock band queen is told in the movie Bohemian Rhapsody From the formation of the band, to their negotiations with record executives, to Freddy Mercury's departure from the band, to their triumphant performance at Live Aid, this film covers a lot of ground. Some details are glossed over in an effort to touch on everything. The music is fun to relive and the performances are sincere. I liked this movie more than I expected to.

Friday, December 07, 2018

Revenge

A romantic rendezvous gone awry makes Revenge an intense thriller. There is blood, there is rape, there are guns. This movie is shot great, the action is intense and the performances are strong. This film borders on horror. Good job by all.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

The Happytime Murders

The raunchy comedy The Happytime Murders is a disappointment. The story of crime in the land of puppets and humans had so much potential, but so much of the story and dialog fell flat. Such a shame.

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

The Conjuring 2

I liked The Conjuring quite a bit, so I thought I would like The Conjuring 2 as well. The story of the investigators traveling abroad to investigate a demon was OK, but I did not get the same feeling of suspense that I got in the first film. It was almost melodramatic and was shot too brightly. An OK horror film.

Sunday, December 02, 2018

The Ballad of Buster Skruggs

In The Ballad of Buster Scruggs we are told 6 stories set in the old west. Joel and Ethan Cohen put their dark twist on each of the stories. I parceled them out over a couple of days. I liked the first one, with Buster Scruggs the best. An interesting anthology.