Sunday, April 28, 2024

Movie Guide

Mark Rylance stars in The Phantom of the Open

Steve Martin:  A Documentary in Two Pieces - 4 Stars - APPLE - March 29, 2024.  Steve Martin receives the documentary he deserves, divided into his rock star days, film career, and current third act.  Delightful.  

Oppenheimer - 4 Stars - STREAMING - THEATERS - July 21, 2023 - The rise and fall of a great man.  In this case, J. Robert Oppenheimer, father of the atomic bomb ending WWII.  Ambition, guilt and genius build him up and tear him down.  A brilliant true life epic. 

Perfect Days - 4 Stars - December 1, 2023 - THEATERS - STREAMING - A beautifully simple story of a Tokyo public toiler cleaner and why he chooses the life he leads.  Will stay with you long after watching. 

The Zone of Interest - 4 Stars - THEATERS - STREAMING - February 2, 2024.  The Commandant of Auschwitz and his wife live a beautiful life while millions die on the other side of their garden wall.  Powerful and un-nerving.  

Maestro - 4 Stars - NETFLIX - December 1, 2023 - Bradley Cooper recreates 20th Century icon Leonard Bernstein, with music, dance, and exuberance.  The great man is seen through the eyes of Cary Mulligan as long-suffering wife and muse.  Portrait of a not very nice genius.  

May/December - 3 1/2 Stars - NETFLIX - November 10, 2022 - Natalie Portman as actress visiting notorious couple Julianne Moore and Charles Melton to prepare for a film on them.  Moore had sex and a child by Melton when he was 13.  The new triangle upsets this apple cart.  

American Fiction - 3 1/2 Stars - STREAMING - THEATERS - December 22, 2023 - Jeffrey Wright stars as a frustrated writer who challenges outdated stereotypes of the Black community in ways both thoughtful and funny.  

Nyad - 3 1/2 Stars - NETFLIX - October 20, 2023 - Thriller chapter of swimmer Diana Nyad's quest to swim from Cuba to Key West after turning 60. 

The Holdovers - 3 1/2 Stars - STREAMING - November 10, 2023 - Paul Giamatti plays prep school professor assigned to watch over students left behind for the holidays.  Teen Dominic Sessa proves his match. 

Flora and Son - 3 1/2 Stars - APPLE TV - September 29, 2023 - Irish single mother struggles with her 14-year-old son.  They bond over music including online guitar lessons from a surprising Joseph Gordon-Levitt

The Burial - 3 1/2 Stars - AMAZON PRIME - September 11, 1023 - small businessman Tommy Lee Jones hires charismatic lawyer Jamie Foxx to take on the giant corporation trying to buy him out.  Delightful David and Goliath tale.  

Past Lives - 3 1/2 Stars - STREAMING - June 7, 2023.  Childhood sweethearts break apart when her family immigrates to America.  He stays, reconnects, they stop, and then they meet.  Wistful and thought provoking.  

You Hurt My Feelings - 3 1/2 Stars - STREAMING - May 26, 2023 - Julia Louie Dreyfus delights in a post Woody Allen Manhattan centric comedy of marriage and manners.  The plot revolves around an unexpected word of truth.  

Killers of the Flower Moon - 3 Stars - NETFLIX - October 20, 2023 - APPLE - Moments of brilliance recreate story of 1920s murder of Osage Indians for their oil wealth.  Martin Scorsese takes too long and tacks on a jarring ending. 

Dream Scenario - 3 Stars - STREAMING - November 10, 2023 - Nicolas Cage can't figure out why he shows up in everyone's dreams.  A fun, bizarre, trip through fame and ill fortune.     

Theater Camp - 3 Stars - HULU - July 14, 2023 - Spinal Tap style mockumentary of theater summer camp on the brink of bankruptcy until an unknown saves the big show.  

Barbie - 3 Stars - MAX - July 21, 2023.  Greta Gerwig lampoons and celebrates the iconic doll with barbed and insightful humor.  As Barbie, Margot Robbie delights.  

Saltburn - 2 1/2 Stars - THEATERS - November 17, 2023 --- Oxford student makes friends with rich kid who brings him home for the summer.  A slow build to a scorching ending.   

Boys in the Boat - 2 1/2 Stars - THEATERS - December 25, 2023 - depression era rowing team goes to the Olympics.  By the numbers inspiring sports story.  

Wicked Little Letters - 2 Stars - THEATERS - March 29, 2024.  Olivia coleman and Jesse Buckley do their breath to breathe life into the slight story of a proper English woman who receives vile expletive filled letters and blames her neighbor.  Slight stuff for two great actresses.  

Poor Things - 2 Stars - THEATERS - December 8, 2023 - Update of Bride of Frankenstein, this time she discovers sex.  Big Oscar winner, but not for me.   

Anatomy of a Fall - 1 Star - STREAMING - October 13, 2023 - Mentioned as Oscar contender but not in my book.  Dull mystery of unhappy wife accused of killing her husband.  In Franch/English. R