Home / Tag Archives: 5 Stars

Tag Archives: 5 Stars

When They See Us (Netflix Mini-Series)

In 1989, 5 young African American and Latino boys, ages 14-16, were accused of beating and raping a white jogger in Central Park New York. After serving between 6 and 13 years in prison, they were exonerated after a fellow prisoner serving time with one of the five confessed to the crime.  In this Netflix mini-series, Ana DuVernay provides a perfect complement to the Sarah Burns documentary Central Park Five from 2012; DuVernay presents the story completely from the viewpoint of the 5 teenagers. She takes us up close and personal into what it was like for these boys to …

Read More »

They Shall Not Grow Old

Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings Trilogy fame creates a technically marvelous documentary by using 100-year-old footage from World War I and telling a story about what it was like for the soldiers who enlisted and went to the front lines. He does this in a very innovative way by colorizing the film (the scene where he switches to color is breathtaking), slowing it down to real-time, and overlaying stories told by WWI vets in the 1960s and 1970s. His team also incorporates many of the posters of the era and overlays moving footage, which creates a very unusual …

Read More »

The Guilty

(Denmark):  Asgar has been assigned from patrol to a desk job answering 911 calls. He clearly doesn’t want to be there, has a chip on his shoulder, and doesn’t seem to care about the fate of the callers. Then a woman named Iben calls and claims she has been abducted. The entire film is shot in the police station where he takes the calls, and for almost the entire movie, Asgar is the only one you see. This is an amazing piece of film crafting. The film most closely resembles Locke, shot entirely in the car as Locke is driving; …

Read More »

Cold War

Polish, English subtitles: Wiktor is a musician who travels post-War Poland to assemble a touring group who will perform Polish folk songs throughout the country. He discovers Zula, a headstrong young woman with a beautiful voice. The movie, inspired by the director’s own parents, follows their love affair across multiple countries – Poland, Russia, France – in Cold-War Europe. The film is a masterpiece in every way. The cinematography is gorgeous; as in the director’s previous film Ida, every scene is by itself an exemplar of light and shadow and composition. The use of black and white helps bring a …

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 »

Free Solo

This documentary film tells the story of Alex Honnold’s success as the first person to scale El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without ropes. This is an amazing, multilayered film that gives us much more than just the big climb. We get to really know Alex, who is rather quirky, what drives him to climb, and the ways his love of the sport impacts his relationships. We get to see how cameramen who are also experienced climbers prepare to film a dangerous event of such magnitude and the psychological aspects as well; they all know that they could be filming …

Read More »

2001: A Space Odyssey

This film has been re-released in a 70 mm format created from the original negatives. The result is supposed to be a film that looks like it did when it first came out. I don’t remember seeing it when it first came out, but I have to say that I was completely blown away by the beauty and intensity of the film. The basic story begins with a story of the dawn of man when apes first became upright. A mysterious black box appears in the landscape. Cut forward to the future when a spaceship is headed to Jupiter to …

Read More »

The Rider

This is a wonderful contemporary cowboy-western film set in the South Dakota Badlands region. Brady Blackburn (played by Brady Jandreau) is a young rodeo star, who rides broncos. One day, he has a terrible accident that has left him with a metal plate in his head.  Suddenly, he finds that he cannot ride or train horses, and he must find a new sense of purpose in his life. There are so many really great things about this film. The cinematography is gorgeous; the film is beautiful to look at from start to finish.  I did not realize until I did …

Read More »

You Were Never Really Here

You Were Never Really Here: Joaquin Phoenix is Joe, an emotionally and physically scarred man who makes his living finding missing girls. His latest assignment involves the teenage daughter of an elected official who has been seen in a prostitution house.  The film is a technical marvel. The director expertly moves from inside of Joe’s head, and his memories, to the present day and back; the flashback scenes are jarring and add to the depth of the damage done to Joe as a kid and as a war veteran. The script is 89 minutes, and there is not a single …

Read More »

Loveless

(Russia with English Subtitles): The story centers on two parents, Zhenya and Boris, who are divorced after what clearly was an extremely bitter separation. They both still live together formally, although each has taken on new relationships. In the middle is their 12-year-old son Alyosha, who one day goes missing. This is an expertly executed film. The acting from everyone is terrific. The two parents are about the most despicable, self-absorbed and “empty” people I have seen on screen; actors have to be excellent to be this bad. The boy who plays Alyosha is only in a few scenes, but …

Read More »
Skip to toolbar