Sunday, March 31, 2019

Gloria Bell

I so wanted to like Gloria Bell, but I think it hit a little too close to home. A single, middle aged woman looks for happiness and does a good job satisfying that. When she meets a man who seems to be a good fit, he tries to make her responsible for his happiness as well. He hurts her. He's not emotionally fit to be in a relationship. The third act does not make a lot of sense, but there is one very satisfying scene near the end. The performances are very good, this story just wasn't for me.

The Invitation

Grief can have strong consequences. In The Invitation a group of friends gather for what we think is a dinner party. As the conversation and evening evolve, we learn it is much more. The less you know going in, the better. This film is bizarre, creepy and very well done. If you like something different with a twist, this is a good film.

Thursday, March 28, 2019


Superheroes go underwater in Aquaman in this Shakespearean-style drama. The best parts of this film are the world building, visual effects, even a sharknado! The worst parts are the battle scenes. There are too many of them and they go on and on.  There is also a constant harping on the fact that Aquaman is a half-blood. Got it the first ten times. This is an OK rental with decent performances.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Instant Family

Foster care and adoption are addressed in the movie Instant Family. It comes off a bit cheesy and cut and dried, but the portrayal does get messy sometimes, and that's where it shines. The young actors that play the kids are very good. This movie has a big heart and good intentions. A decent rental.


Monday, March 25, 2019

Operation Finale

War criminals are brought to justice in the film Operation Finale where a group of spies hunts down Adolf Eichmann.The pace of this film is slow, but the story is important. War criminals do not always get what they deserve. Performances are excellent.

Friday, March 22, 2019


The film Us has all the creepy you would want. A parallel universe makes its way into the real world and chaos ensues. This one is a mind-bender and the less you know going in the better...

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Somebody Up There Likes Me

Watching Somebody Up There Likes Me I notice that many boxing films follow the same path. The true story of Rocky Graziano is more interesting than most. The support of his family is very important. The response to the title line "Somebody up there likes me." is "Somebody down here too." Perfect.

Sunday, March 17, 2019

How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World

Returning to the world of dragons in How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World was such a pleasure. Hiccup is determined to find a place where they can live in peace with all of the dragons. The visuals of the swarms of dragons are amazing. The characters have their quirks and our hero fights valiantly. The villain's transport made me immediately think Dragon Drone. There is action, adventure, humor and heart. All of this is accompanied by a beautiful score. The closing credits have some very entertaining drawings that allude to what is being credited.Wonderful end to this heartfelt trilogy.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Apollo 11

I was 12 when the US put a man on the moon...and brought him back. I remember being so worried about the astronauts. In the documentary Apollo 11 all of the footage is authentic, much is from the spacecraft itself. In ways that is comforting. In ways that is terrifying. Going behid the scenes with NASA is amazing. At the end of this film I felt like I had been to the moon and back. This is a dynamic documentary.

Withnail & I

I tried to watch Withnail & I years ago and it was too much of a chore. I gave up. Being charmed by Richard E. Grant in Can You Ever Forgive Me? this year I decided to give it another look. This film is a delightful road trip with 2 friends. One wackier than the other. It is fun and philosophical. I really enjoyed it.

Friday, March 15, 2019

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

I have heard many claims that The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is a classic. In the opening scenes the color and music made me realize that I was watching something special. This is a classic love story. A young couple falls in love, but he must go off to war for 2 years. Things happen in those 2 years and the lovers must deal. The entire film is sung and the music was familiar to me. I think when the film came out the tunes must have been on the radio,. The performances are excellent, the set design and costumes great and the story sincere. It is worth spending the time and attention with this film. Well done. A true classic.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Captain Marvel

I enjoyed Captain Marvel more than expected. Knowing nothing of Captain Marvel this origin story movie was perfect for me.We also get some back story on Nick Fury. The action is good, the characters bizarre and the humor throughout is well used. The homage to Stan Lee in the opening was great. Stay through all the credits, there are 2 scenes worth seeing. This movie sets up Avengers: End Game well. Good addition to the Marvel universe.

Saturday, March 09, 2019

Creed II

I so enjoyed Creed that I was looking forward to Creed II. Unfortunately, this chapter is a collection of boxing movie cliches. The performances are still good, but the actors are given very little to work with. This is an OK rental.

The Green Book: Guide to Freedom

I was happy to learn of the documentary The Green Book: Guide to Freedom because I am pretty disappointed by the popular film Green Book. This documentary chronicles use of the travel guide travel for African Americans from the 30s through the 60s through interviews and vintage footage. Very well done. A nice pallet cleanser for me.

Thursday, March 07, 2019

Vox Lux

The film Vox Lux follows the rise of a young pop-star. There are unusual circumstances and she's got a rough edge...and a child. The style of this film is very disjointed and abstract. The camera work and acting are OK, but this was a miss with me.

Sunday, March 03, 2019


In the film Paddleton a man finds out that he has terminal cancer. He decides not to wait for the disease to do him in and takes matters into his own hands. The story is about him taking a friend along for moral support. The friend wants to be supportive because of their friendship, but he is saddened and conflicted about the goal. This is a good road-trip-buddy film with a very somber theme.

Saturday, March 02, 2019

The Catcher Was a Spy

The story behind The Catcher Was a Spy is interesting. A professional baseball player becomes a spy for the government. The problem? This film jumps from spy work, to personal issues, to baseball anecdotes. This film had trouble holding my interest. It was an OK rental.


In Suspria it first seems political. I thought the power dynamic being established was based in the world of dance. It then became apparent that there was a supernatural element that takes the scenes off the rails. The performances in this film are outstanding. It is also stunning to look at at times. The dance sequences are well filmed. A crazy ride, though much too long. I'll bet this looked great in the theater. A decent rental.