• Happiest Season

    Happiest Season

    ★★★

    Surprisingly emotional, and occasionally funny. I get why it's important, a mainstream LGBT Christmas movie. I was on board but the turnarounds are too extreme and unrealistic, the movie forgets in real life you face continuous obstacles and recurrent quarreling. I wanted more back story and detail, besides roommates, to understand why they are a couple to begin with? The film excels when Abby meets Harper's family during the holiday season, especially under these awkward circumstances when everyone is supposed…

  • Falling

    Falling

    ★★★

    Viggo Mortensen's directorial debut which he also wrote is very well-acted, speaking hard truths about love, intolerance and child-parent dynamics. Lance Henriksen in a powerful, award worthy performance. In the closing credits, Mortensen dedicates the film to members of his own family.

    If you have a difficult relationship with a close relative, the interactions hit home, family attacking your life choices is never easy. Presenting verbal abuse, questioning how the recipient should react, especially if the words are said by…

  • You People

    You People

    ★★½

    Culture clash rom-com, often feels like a sitcom with its TV aesthetic. Passes the time, the only boring sequence happens when they go to the basketball court. I'm not hip enough to connect with the Drake and Juice nods. The fish out of water aspect is a running joke, the white family curious about black culture without really understanding it. You can't research someone from your armchair and expect to be part of their community, it's called trying too hard.…

  • The Nice Guys

    The Nice Guys

    ★★★½

    Ryan Gosling gives it his all, competently delivering physical humor. The ironically titled The Nice Guys often favors comedic violence, ala Tarantino. Not laugh out loud, probably funnier when watched with an audience. Good chemistry between Gosling and Crowe who play anti-heroes. Occasionally reminded me of other films, such as the fish tank scene. What I gravitated towards the most; the witty dialogue by Shane Black and Anthony Bagarozzi. Clever wordplay a cut above most modern comedies.

  • Murder on the Orient Express

    Murder on the Orient Express

    ★★★★

    Foolish decision to commit a crime when you are fully aware that a great detective is among the passengers on a train. Why not postpone until another opportunity? Also, if this was a grittier non-series, Hercule may have been dispatched because he knew too much. Albert Finney is outstanding as Poirot. Suspenseful with a surprising resolution.

  • A Man Called Ove

    A Man Called Ove

    ★★★★

    I didn't fully appreciate this Swedish dramedy a few years ago, finding it too depressing. On rewatch, I was able to relate to the characters on a deeper level and chuckle at the countless tragi-comic situations. Rolf Lassgård's performance is simply perfection, I see no point in remaking with Tom Hanks in the recent A Man Called Otto.

  • The Net

    The Net

    ★★★

    A suspenseful cyberthriller that doesn't quite add up, why would she stubbornly hang on to the floppy disk? Especially as "they" promise to give Angela her life back. If this was for real, ends after the phone call at the 47 min mark. Hitchcockian innocent on the run plot, done a hundred times before, yet enough twists and turns to keep me entertained.

  • A Place in the Sun

    A Place in the Sun

    ★★★★

    On second watch, the developments are a bit too sign-posted even though there is ambiguity. Montgomery Clift's powerful performance is one for the ages though. The key scene on the lake reminds me of a newspaper article about a woman (Minna Michelsen) who got stuck in a bog near Nykøbing Falster, Denmark.

  • Flee

    Flee

    ★★★½

    Makes sense why the Academy took notice, an oscar friendly story about hope, war, and inclusion. Important to document the suffering and dangers refugees face. Took a while to get going and I almost quit after 20-30 minutes. The remainder is much more impactful.

  • Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

    Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery

    ★★★

    By great movie standards, it's merely okay. Didn't fully believe the cast as old friends, barely any chemistry between the group, and not enough back story. But Ed Norton and Daniel Craig are entertaining. Enjoyed the mystery, told with suspense and surprises. Unnecessary, distracting cameos. Colorful sets,props, and costumes light up the screen; mystery boxes, glass statues, paintings, and red furnature, filmed at the Amanzoe, a luxury hotel near Porto Heli, Greece,you can pause and admire the decoration. A story…

  • The Burnt Orange Heresy

    The Burnt Orange Heresy

    ★★½

    Picturesque location, for unknown reasons moving the setting of Charles Willeford's 1971 neo noir from Miami to Italy.

    Music in the trailer suggests an intense thriller, which is confusing, as it isn’t, except for the last half hour.

    The mystery about the painter keeps you watching.

    Decent but forgettable.


    Quotes:
    ”You treat serious things as if they were trivial, and trivial things as if they are serious”

    “one can either feel tormented, or learn to endure their presence” “I obviously carry mine less gracefully than you”

  • Romantic Comedy

    Romantic Comedy

    ★★★½

    Documentary, clips from over 160 romantic comedies, musician and writer Elizabeth Sankey’s deconstruction of the genre is certainly welcome, entertaining, well-edited, providing observations on the joys and shortcomings of rom-coms. A video-essay from a fan’s perspective, even if 78 min isn’t enough to cover all the bases.

    I’m uncomfortable with generalizations, the cherry-picked examples often align with the points she is trying to prove. But an interesting comparison of female characters from different eras, who according to Sankey expressed more…