Thursday, January 31, 2019

Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict

I first became aware of Peggy Guggenhiem as an art aficionado in the film Pollock. She commissioned the artist to paint a mural for her and the piece spoke to me. In the documentary Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict I learn more about her art acquisitions and influence on the art world. A fascinating person, this film is charming, lovely and full of great art. Good rental.

Wednesday, January 30, 2019


The crazy horror film Baskin was recommended on the podcast Who Shot Ya? The story goes down a rabbit hole filled with demons and disgusting acts of depravity. It goes around a corner and down a road in a wild, weird way. Good horror film.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Christopher Robin

I rented Christopher Robin because it was nominated for an Oscar for visual effects. As much as I love the Winnie the Pooh characters and stories, exploring a grownup Christopher Robin is boring. I really did not care about his dour outlook on life. The visual effects are good, but I could not get into the story. An OK rental.

Sunday, January 27, 2019

Cold War

A fated love story lies at the center of the film Cold War as two people fall in and out of each others lives over a period of years. They are not good for each other, but their chemistry makes the attraction irresistible. A tragic love story. The period is depicted well and the cinematography is excellent. Good film.

Ready Player One

I rented Ready Player One because it is nominated for an Oscar for visual effects. I was skeptical about this film, but it was much better than I expected. It is set in the world of video games, so that loses me from the beginning, but characters are presented well and the visual effects are pretty awesome. I'm sure people half my age would enjoy this film more than me, and I thought it was OK.

Saturday, January 26, 2019


The theme of family is strong in the Japanese film Shoplifters. Not only does a family with limited resources stay together as best they can, they also take in strays. The concept of chosen family is heartwarming. They get creative when it comes to acquiring life's essentials. In desperation, they commit acts that are not legal in the interest of survival. In the end, it is about family and noodles. Food is prevalent in this film. I went to a noodle restaurant the day after to satisfy the craving the film created. Good film.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Old Man & the Gun

In The Old Man & the Gun we meet a serial criminal. He can't seem to help himself from committing robbery. Even a jail sentence does not avert him from his life of crime. After a while I started to think he's just an asshole, especially when he involves others in his activities. A very unlikable character to me, who is presented as charming. I did not find him charming at all. This is a decent rental as it is amazing what this guy got away with.

Friday, January 18, 2019

The Bookshop

In The Bookshop a town looks down its nose at the local bookstore. There are struggles and alliances. The performances are excellent, the characters endearing and the love of books defended. Good film.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Madeline's Madeline

Acting takes an extreme turn in Madeline's Madeline as an actress embodies her character on and off the stage. A strange story about a strange actor going to a strange place. Worth renting if you like stories about artistic process.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Desk Set

"Be on time. Do your work. Be down at the bar at 5:30." This is the work ethic proclaimed by the boss in Desk Set. As the staff struggles to accept new technology that can replace them, we are treated to clever turns at humor. The love story plays out in a very satisfying way as well. This is a great film to watch at the holidays. A true classic.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

On the Basis of Sex

After loving the documentary RBG, seeing the film On the Basis of Sex was a no-brainer. The film is very specific to Ruth Bader Ginsberg's first discrimination case. She is portrayed as smart, assured and relentless. I would recommend seeing the documentary first.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

What They Had

The heartbreak of dementia is explored in the film What They Had. As the Alzheimer patient moves through her struggles, the family has theirs as well. It plays out with honesty and compassion. This film hit close to home and is very well done.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Monsters and Men

The film title Monsters and Men refers to the police in  a racially charged environment. The treatment of young African American men is atrocious. This is an important film.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Mid 90s

Coming of age in the film Mid 90s is painful physically and emotionally. A young boy struggles to be heard in his family as well as at school. He struggles to find friends and to relate to those friends in skater culture. The performances of the young actors in this film are excellent. Well done.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

They'll Love Me When I'm Dead

The documentary They'll Love Me When I'm Dead chronicles the film career of Orson Wells. His struggles and triumphs throughout his film making career are chronicled in clips and narration. Good documentary.


A family and their domestics in Mexico share the screen in the film Roma. There is a distance in the relationships until survival kicks in. Though shot in black and white, this film is warm and full of depth and emotion. There are characters in conflict. There are characters in love. This is a beautiful film with a lot to say. Well done.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

Bird Box

When a mysterious force drives people to suicide in the film Bird Box we see survival techniques in overdrive. The back and forth in the time-line establishes tensions and dread. The solution? Blindfolds. I get it, though it's a bit melodramatic. This film is a good addition to the future-alien-apocalypse genre (is that a genre?) Since it's streaming on Netflix I'm sure I'll watch it again.

Friday, January 04, 2019

A Wedding

The bizarre nature of family and ceremony is explored in A Wedding to a comic degree. Though the situations are exaggerated for comedic effect, you could see a lot of these things happening at a wedding. Maybe just not all of them at one wedding. Very funny film that is worth renting.

Thursday, January 03, 2019

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

The Finish tale Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale of the whereabouts and movements of Santa Claus is interesting. The discovery of a community of Santas along with an edgy twist is entertaining and satisfying. And oh those elves! I'm adding this one to my list of Christmas favorites. I really liked this film.

Tuesday, January 01, 2019

Mary Queen of Scots

Costumes for Mary Queen of Scots were on display at The Angelika Film Center in NYC when I was there on Christmas Eve. This whetted my appetite for this period film about the rivalry between Mary Queen of Scots and her cousin Elizabeth. All of the costumes in this film are sumptuous. Makeup and hair are well done also. In travel scenes, the horses set a rhythm for the action. It almost feels choreographed. The power struggle between men and women is explored as well. At one point one of the men exclaims, "I am more than a sire to a mare." Dramatic and heartfelt, I liked this film a lot.