Anthony Hopkins breaks our hearts in the Father, as a once vital man descending into dementia. Olivia Colman plays Hopkins' daughter, a woman moving on with her life who must soon find some one or some place to care for him. The production takes us into Hopkins mind, as it begins to play tricks. Although not an easy story to watch, those who do will remember Hopkins for yet another award worthy performance.
Friday, February 26, 2021
Thursday, February 18, 2021
Nomadland captures contemporary life on the road. Newly widowed Frances McDormand sells most of her possessions. She packs her essentials into a van, and takes off for the open road. Working from temporary job to temporary job, she joins the American nomad community. Scenes in a potato warehouse or Amazon packing floor show the unglamorous truth. However, has capitalism and the social network failed her and others like her, or does the call of the open road satisfy something deep. That's what I like about Nomadland. It leaves you plenty to ponder. David Strathairn delights as a friend and possible love interest, whose fate comes with shades of gray. Much of the story has a documentary feel, including actual members of the Nomad movement. Now streaming on HULU, and favored to win the Oscar for best picture, best director, and best actress. Nomadland is something you need to watch.
A Korean family moves from California to Arkansas in the 1980s to pursue the American dream in Minari. Family head Steven Yeun hopes to grow Korean vegetables and sell to the emerging Korean food and spice vendors in nearby cities. Writer-director Lee Isaac Chung bases the story on his own rural Arkansas childhood, an immigrant Korean in the rural south of the 1980s. With their marriage floundering, the mother played by Yeri Han brings her mother to live with the family. Viewers have focused on the performance of Yuh-Jung Youn as an eccentric Korean grandmother who almost dooms and ultimately saves the family. Minari has the ring of truth especially in encounters with the locals, many of whom befriend and help the newcomers. Will Patton comes through as a fundamentalist farmhand turned friend and supporter. Mostly in Korean with some English, Minari tells a universal story worth your attention.
Wednesday, February 17, 2021
Jean Seberg - 1 Star - PRIME - Dull biography of American born French new wave actress hounded by FBI for her civil rights activism. Not Kristen Stewart's best.
A "issue" film based on the shocking 2015 memoir Guantanamo Diary, The Mauritanian reminds viewers of America's torture of suspected terrorists. Jody Foster plays driven ACLU attorney Nancy Hollander, who takes pro bono the case of Mohamedon Ould Slashi, whom authorities held fourteen years without formally charging. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the government attorney, shocked by his discovery of the government's lengths of enhanced interrogation. Tahar Rahim brings wit, anger and nuance to the lead. Recent events have brought other issues to the forefront. The Muraritanian provides a reminder of another wearisome subject that does not belong in our rear view mirror. .
Friday, February 12, 2021
Judas and the Black Messiah shines a light on the story of Fred Hampton, Chairman of the Black Panther Party in late 1960's Chicago. An unrecognizable Martin Sheen as FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, plants a mole in Hampton's organization, intent on undermining the natural born leader. The FBI forces small time criminal William O'Neal (LaKeith Stanfield) to betray Hampton. Daniel Kaluuya makes a convincing Fred Hampton in scenes displaying his ability to sway a crowd. The portrait of Hampton completes with a touching portrait of his life partner Debra Johnson (Dominique Fishback.) Judas and the Black Messiah plays as a noir thriller, with O'Neill betraying Hampton even as he comes to embrace Hampton's work, addressing hunger, education, and police harassment. The conclusion roars to a shocking gut punch.