Home / Tag Archives: 4.5 Stars

Tag Archives: 4.5 Stars

Burning

(Korean): Burning tells the story of three people. Lee, an unemployed writer, and recent college graduate, accidentally meets up with Shin, a young woman who is working at a department store. Shin claims she knows Lee, but Lee seems rather disinterested, yet he agrees to have dinner with her. They have sex, and she soon goes away on a trip to Africa; she asks Lee to watch her cat. Shin comes back with Ben, a guy who seems to come from a lot of money and who she met while stranded in an airport. The film is about the odd …

Read More »

Never Look Away

(German) This film is described as being loosely based on the life of abstract artist Gerhard Richter. It tells the story of Kurt Barnert’s life over about 30 years, beginning when he was a little boy just as the Nazis were coming to power and his beloved Aunt Ellie was taken away, through the beginnings of adult life in communist East Germany as a painter of propaganda murals, his falling in love with and marriage to Ellie, and his later years once his art career began to take off. I loved the film. The cinematography is breathtaking, and the score …

Read More »

If Beale Street Could Talk

The story is based on the book by James Baldwin of the same name, and concerns two young people, Tish (played by KiKi Layne) and Fonny (Stephan James), an aspiring artist. Both grew up together and are in love. Just as they were ready to start their lives together, Fonny is arrested and sent to jail for the rape of a woman on the other side of town. This is a wonderful film and enhances Barry Jenkin’s (director of last year’s Best Picture Oscar winner Moonlight) reputation as a beautiful storyteller and someone who extracts great performances from his actors. …

Read More »

Logan

Hugh Jackman plays Logan in the year 2029. Most of the mutants are gone now, and Logan, Professor X, and Caliban are hiding in the desert. All of them are getting sick and losing their abilities to heal themselves. One day, a woman approaches Logan with a request to protect a young girl by taking her to North Dakota. Reluctantly, Logan agrees only at the insistence of Professor X. I did not watch the two other Wolverine films, so I am sure I have lost parts of the backstory; however, it turns out that the film stands on its own. …

Read More »

The Other Side of the Wind

This film is a restoration of the final film by Orson Welles, “The Other Side of the Wind”, a Hollywood satire. Jake Hannaford (played brilliantly by John Huston) is a fading director who is attempting a comeback in this final film, one that would be considered an arthouse film today. The movie has three different stories going on: The film itself in which you are the viewer, the making of the film, and the critique of the film (and a critique of the critique of the film). Each of these is interwoven into a satire-laced commentary on Hollywood and how …

Read More »

Happy as Lazzaro

(Italy, English Subtitles): Lazzaro works alongside a couple of dozen other people as sharecroppers on a tobacco farm owned by an oppressive Marchesa de La Luna, who everyone calls “the Queen of Cigarettes”. Lazzaro is a young man who appears gullible and naïve while helping others with whatever they need or want. Lazzaro strikes up a friendship with Tancredi, the son of the Marchesa, and they orchestrate Tancredi’s abduction. I won’t say much more about the story since any more description would risk giving away the main plot twist. I loved the film. It is beautifully filmed, well-acted, and the …

Read More »

Capernaum (Chaos)

(Lebanon, English Subtitles): The film opens as Zain, who is “about 12 or 13”, is being examined by a doctor. Next, we are taken to the courtroom, where Zain and his attorney are suing his parents for “giving him life”. The rest of the movie tells the story of how Zain ended up in the courtroom. The director takes us on a journey through the lives of these people who live on the fringes of society in Lebanon, people (adults and children) who struggle to meet their basic needs and struggle for survival. The film is gritty and at times …

Read More »

Shoplifters

(Japanese, English subtitles): The film opens with a man and a young person exchanging brief hand signals, which is followed by both of them shoplifting groceries. On the way home from a shoplifting expedition one night, they happen upon a little girl, Juri, who appears to be abandoned on a porch. They take her home to their family living in a flat – Grandma, the dad’s wife, and his sister-in-law. The film serves as an exploration of a group of people who live “under-the-radar” of the larger Tokyo society. I loved this film and its series of surprises and twists …

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 »

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 »
Skip to toolbar