Monday, April 19, 2021

Movie Guide

Nomadland - 4 Stars - HULU - Frances McDormand packs her possessions in a van and goes on the road, moving from one temporary job to another. You can decide if she's left behind by American Capitalism or living and loving the open road?  

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom - 4 Stars - NETFLIX - During a tense recording session in 1920's Chicago, jazz artist Viola Davis crosses swords with ambitious horn player Chadwick Bosman, who produces several spine tingling moments.  

Soul - 4 Stars - DISNEY PLUS - Another Pixar delight, with Jamie Foxx as a would be jazz musician who lands in the great beyond with the assignment to mentor a troubled would be soul played by Tina Fey.  Wonderful animation and a touching story.  
   
Hamilton - 4 Stars - DISNEY PLUS - The film of Lin-Manuel Miranda improves on his ground breaking musical biography of Alexander Hamilton.  The camera directs the viewer's eye to a more understandable experience.  One medium improves on another. 

Kajillionaire - 4 Stars - AMAZON - Evan Rachel Wood tries to break free of a family of grifters in a delightful always surprising comedy. 

Miniri - 3 1/2 Stars - THEATERS - Korean family pursues the American dream in 1980's Arkansas with dramatic and unexpected results.  

Judas and the Black Messiah - 3 1/2 Stars - HBO MAX - Daniel Kaluuya as Fred Hampton, Black Panther Chairman, betrayed by William O'Neal, portrayed by Lakeith Stanfield, who infiltrates for the FBI.  

News of the World - 3 1/2 Stars - Tom Hanks returns a young girl to civilization in a perilous journey through post Civil War Texas.  

Promising Young Woman - 3 1/2 Stars - STREAMING JANUARY 15TH(?) ---Carrie Mulligan revenges her best friend's gang rape one hypocrite at a time.  

MLK/FBI - 3 1/2 Stars - AMAZON PRIME - Fascinating documentary history of Martin Luther King and FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover's obsession with him.    

Mank - 3 1/2 Stars - NETFLIX - Gary Oldman breathes life into the story of the man who created the script of CITIZEN KANE while railing at the Hollywood system that rewards the mediocre. 

Boys State - 3 1/2 Stars - APPLE - 1000 outstanding Texas teens build an imagined government from scratch, engaging in some of the worst excesses of our time. 
 
The Personal History of David Copperfield - 3 1/2 Stars - PRIME - Beautiful reimaging of the Dickens classic with Dev Patel and a diverse and memorable cast.  
  
The Trial of the Chicago 7 - 31/2 Stars - NETFLIX - Aaron Sorkin's script recreates the infamous 1969 trial of the leaders of the demonstrations at the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention.  Sasha Baron Cohen, Jeremy Strong and Frank Langella help recreate the circus like atmosphere of this hard to believe event.  

First Cow - 3 1/2 Stars - HULU/PRIME - Two woodsmen make their way in the far northwest of two hundred years ago.  A scheme to sell biscuits made with stone milk goes terrible wrong.  This one leaves you pondering.  

The Assistant - 3 1/2 Stars - HULU - Julia Garner will have your stomach tied in knots as a young woman in her first job as a low level go-fer to an abusive entertainment executive.  We never see the men she works for, we only feel her stress in a plot that delivers a gut punch.  

Sound of Metal - 3 1/2 Stars -  AMAZON PRIME - Punk rock drummer loses his heading and finds himself. 

White Tiger - 3 Stars - NETFLIX - Impoverished servant rises to the top in India - a story right out of Dickens with a touch of Hitchcock.  

I'm Thinking of Ending Things - 3 Stars - NETFLIX - Creative genius Charlie Kaufman dreams up a shaggy dog story that beings with a couple driving to visit his parents and morphs into a metaphor and then a ballet.  With Jesse Plemons and Jessie Buckley.  Tired of the usual?  Try this. 
 
Emma - 3 Stars - PRIME/HULU - Playful remake of the Jane Austen comedy of manners.  Anya Taylor-Joy is a delight.  

Bad Education - 3 Stars - HBO MAX - Hugh Jackman plays against type as a talented school superintendent with a taste for the high life brought down by a high school journalism student. And the whole thing is TRUE. 

One Night in Miami - 2 1/2 Stars---Based on the play.  Recreates the 1964 meeting between Malcolm X, Cassius Clay, Sam Cooke, and Jim Brown to discuss their role in the Civil Rights struggle.  Wanders from preachy to exhilarating.  

The Mauritanian - 2 1/2 Stars - IN THEATERS - Powerful indictment of torture at Guantanamo based on Guantanamo Diary - w/Jody Foster, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Tahar Rahim.  

Blow the Man Down - 2 1/2 Stars -  AMAZON PRIME.  Sisters cover up murder in a fish village full of characters, including whorehouse madam Margo Martindale.

Paris Exit - 2 Stars - Trophy Wife/Widow  Michelle Pheiffer pulls her son Lucas Hedges out of school and runs through her money in Paris.  Auntie Mame did this a lot better.  

The Little Things - 2 Stars - HBO MAX - Denzel Washington and Rami Malek hunt serial killer Jared Leto in 1990's LA.  

Pieces of a Woman - 2 Stars - NETFLIX.  Vanessa Kirby gives a strong performance in a hard to watch family drama.   

WW84-Wonder Woman 1984 - 2 Stars - HBO MAX - Gal Gadot continues to dazzle, but the script's the same old same old, including a cheesy Donald Trump impersonator and Kristin Wiig as a newly impowered super woman. Two hours and twenty minutes you'll never get back.       

The Midnight Sky - 2 Stars - NETFLIX - Scientist George Clooney stays behind as Earth disintegrates.  Bummer. 

I'm Your Woman - 2 Stars -  AMAZON PRIME - Rachel Brosnahan as mob wife on the run.  A slow murderous downer showing a different side of the "Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" actress.   

On The Rocks - 2 Stars - Light comedy with Bill Murray as Rashida Jones's playboy father. 

Hubie Halloween - 2 Stars - NETFLIX - Adam Sandler in his usual story of loveable loser turned winner.  Somehow the usual plot is a little easier to take this time. 

Thunder Force - 1 Star - NETFLIX - Melissa McCarthy fights crime, while falling in love with half crab half man Jason Bateman.  Some chuckles but not many and slow getting started.  

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.