Sunday, December 3, 2023

2023 Movie Guide

Mark Rylance stars in The Phantom of the Open

Maestro - 4 Stars - THEATERS - December 1, 2023 - Bradley Cooper recreates 20th century icon Leonard Bernstein, with music, dance, and exuberance.  Seen through the eyes of Carey Mulligan as long-suffering wife and muse.  A dazzling tour de force.  

Oppenheimer - 4 Stars - 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. 

May/December - 3 1/2 Stars - November 10, 2022 - NETFLIX - 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.  

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 - NETFLIX - 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 - THEATERS.  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 - 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 - THEATERS - 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.  

Air - 3 1/2 Stars - THEATERS - April 7, 2023 - Matt Damon and Ben Affleck recreate Nike's decision to create the Air Jordan sneaker for Michael Jordan.  Viola Davis steals the movie s Michael's mother. 

You Hurt My Feelings - 3 1/2 Stars - THEATERS - 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 - 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 - THEATERS - 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 - THEATERS - July 21, 2023.  Greta Gerwig lampoons and celebrates the iconic doll with barbed and insightful humor.  As Barbie, Margot Robbie delights.  

The Lost King - 3 Stars - THEATERS - March 31, 2023.  Sally Hawkins delights as the quiet shy determined woman whose research leads to the bones of King Richard the third - under a parking lot.  Based on a true story. 

BlackBerry - 3 Stars - THEATERS - May 12, 2023 - The rise and fall of the mobile phone that never saw Apple coming.  Hilarious and a bummer. 

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.   

No Hard Feelings - 2 1/2 Stars - THEATERS -June 23, 2023 - Helicopter parents hire Jennifer Lawrence to bring their sheltered son into adulthood.  She's 35 and he's 19.  A little icky but often funny. 

Asteroid City - 1 Star - PEACOCK - August 11, 2023, THEATERS - May 23, 2023.  1950's New Mexico village hosts a UFO and assorted characters.  Looks great.  Boring story. 

Anatomy of a Fall - 1 Star - THEATERS - 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


Still:  A Machael J. Fox Movie - 3 1/2 Stars - May 12, 2023 - Still documentary of Michael J. Fox's life and his current struggle with Parkinson's disease.  
Flamin' Hot --- 2 1/2 Stars - June 9, 2023 - HULU - Eva Longoria directs the story of the janitor who convinced the Frito company to make Cheetos spicy.  Jesse Garcia plays the dreamy janitor - Tony Shalhoub the big boss who gives him a break.  Fun and funny and not quite true but whatever.