Home / 2018 / December

Monthly Archives: December 2018

Ben is Back

Lucas Hedges plays Ben Burns, who on Christmas Eve shows up unexpectedly at home to spend 24 hours with his family; the reason he gives is that his sponsor said he was doing so well that he could take a day away from his drug treatment facility. His mom (Julia Roberts) is happy but also conflicted. The film is the story of his 24 hours at home and the various twists and turns the visit takes. I have mixed feelings about the film. Julia Roberts gives an emotionally intense performance in what is probably one of the best of her …

Read More »

At Eternity’s Gate

Willem Dafoe plays Vincent Van Gogh in the later and more prolific years of his life. Julian Schnabel, who has brilliantly featured the lives of artists in previous films, does an amazing job of helping us to imagine what it would have been like to be inside the mind of Van Gogh during periods of his life that were incredibly dark and tormented. Dafoe gives a brilliant, award-worthy performance that may be the best of his career. He looks like van Gogh, and it is amazing to see the character that Dafoe commands through is eyes and facial expressions. Schnabel …

Read More »

Mission Impossible: Fallout

Tom Cruise continues as Ethan Hunt, a secret agent whose last mission went wrong and set in motion a sequence of events that will lead to nuclear catastrophe if he doesn’t correct his wrong. This installment is completely entertaining even if the plot is a bit ridiculously predictable. The action scenes are long and harrowing – it seems that Hunt finds himself in one extremely precarious situation after another, with nary a pause, and the director shoots the film in a way that keeps the suspense going from the beginning to the very end. I was never bored and completely …

Read More »

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs: This is the latest from Joel and Ethan Cohen is an anthology of six vignettes that relate various perspectives on the Old West in American. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, probably the funniest, tells the story of a feared gunslinger. In Near Algodones, James Franco robs a bank that sits literally in the middle of nowhere. In Meal Ticket, Liam Neeson drives a young thespian with no arms and no legs from town to town. Gold is the theme of All Gold Canyon. In The Girl Who Got Rattled, Zoe Kazan plays a young woman …

Read More »

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

I wasn’t totally sure about this movie – an animated version of Spider-Man that was reviewed well, but I couldn’t imagine how this could top the other Spiderman films (especially my favorite, Spider-Man 2). Well, I think this has become my favorite. This movie is incredible. First, it has exceptional animation, and it is filmed in such a way that you feel like you are inside a moving comic book. Every scene is fresh and takes you somewhere you don’t always expect to go. The film follows the traditional Spiderman story but brings to it a fresh twist with a …

Read More »

White Boy Rick

Newcomer Richie Merritt plays Richard Wershe, who everyone knows as “White Boy Rick”. This is a story based on a memoir by Wershe, who became an FBI informant at around 15 years of age to avoid prison and then turned to selling cocaine later and ended up serving a 30-year prison sentence for dealing.  The film depicts his family – a sister, who is addicted to injection drugs, and his father, played brilliantly by Mathew McConaughey – and the circumstances that led him to a prison sentence. The film overall is not terribly bad. The acting is really strong, especially …

Read More »

Roma

(Spanish with English Subtitles). Alfonso Cuarón’s newest film takes place in 1971 in the Roma district of Mexico City. The social, political, and family lives at that time are seen through the eyes of Cleo, who is the maid for a fairly well-to-do family with four children. The film, shot in black and white, is a visual masterpiece. The black and white gives a feeling of reminiscent love the children had for the women who cared so much for Them. The close-ups are amazing, as are the wide-angle shots that have so much going on and provide a richness and …

Read More »

The Favourite

This film is the newest from Yorgos Lanthimos, who is the director for the Lobster and Sacred Killing of Deer. His films are an acquired taste for many, and this is no exception. Set in the 18th century, England and France are at war. England is headed by Queen Anne (played by Olivia Colman in a masterful performance), who is sickly and rules England primarily through her friend/lover Lady Churchill (played by Rachel Weisz). One day, Abigail (Emma Stone in a brilliantly devious performance), who is Lady Churchill’s cousin, shows up and soon captures the affections of Anne. The movie …

Read More »

The Green Book

Don Shirley (Mahershela Ali) was a brilliant pianist who headed the Don Shirley Trio. In 1961, he decides to take his band into the deep South and hires Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortenson), a bouncer, to drive him. Shirley had hoped that his concert tour would help change the racist practices. “Inspired by true events”, the movie tells the story of the friendship that develops between Shirley and Vallelonga. There has been a fair amount of controversy surrounding the film, given that the director admittedly did not consult with Shirley’s family to verify the events portrayed in the story (and the …

Read More »

Bohemian Rhapsody

Rami Malek stars as Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen. The film provides, through selected songs, the story of how the band became and retained its fame. Malek gives an incredibly strong and convincing performance as Mercury – at times, I sort of just felt like I was watching Mercury and not Malek performing Mercury. I enjoyed listening to the music and remembering again just how talented the band was. There were also scenes, especially those between Lucy Boynton, who played his life-long love Mary Austin, and those that showed Mercury’s loneliness, that were very powerful. I thought the film …

Read More »
Skip to toolbar