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HERSELF (AMAZON PRIME) & PIECES OF A WOMAN (NETFLIX)

Two ambitious films excavating the lives of women, justifiably, “on the verge of a nervous breakdown”. “HERSELF” directed by Phyllida Lloyd, starring writer and actor Clare Dunn, focuses on abused wife/mother “Sandra”; she is destitute, living on state benefits, residing in a hotel with her two young daughters (enchanting depictions by Molly McCann and Ruby Rose O’Hara), eking out a ... Read More »

MINI MUSINGS TO BID SO LONG, FAREWELL, AUF WIEDERSEHEN, ADIEU TO 2020

“THE TRIAL OF THE CHICAGO 7”  (NETFLIX) Director Aaron Sorkin once again uses his magical might in creating a pristine reminiscence of a bleak period in American history; 1968, Democratic National Convention disrupted by factions against the Vietnam War: Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen, physical facsimile); Tom Hayden (Eddie Redmayne); Mark Rylance and Frank Langella are expert renditions of William Kunstler and ... Read More »

YEAR END MUSINGS: WORTHY WATCHING

“MANGROVE”            AMAZON PRIMEDirector/writer/ artist Steve McQueen perpetually stuns with his historical films, based on egregious tales of injustice; Mangrove, a restaurant in west London and the trial of nine black activists in 1971 is blatantly honest, radiantly performed with a prescient message more vibrant today than yesteryear. FOUR & ½ STARS!!!! “NOCTURNAL ANIMALS” (2016)  NETFLIX Jake Gyllenhaal’s performance is enormous; paired with Amy Adams and stunning contemporary art, acutely satisfying. ... Read More »

WONDER WOMAN 1984 (HBO MAX) VS. THE PROFESSOR AND THE MADMAN (NETFLIX)

Traditionally, Christmas Day is movie mania, in my household; redundancy accomplished, at home, in pajamas with leftovers and my adult pacifier, the remote. “Wonder Woman 1984” was a wonderous flop, “unsalvageable” by Gal Gadot, Chris Pine; Kristin Wiig as the scatterbrained sycophant, “Barbara/Cheetah” phenomenally miscast (perpetually locked in “Bridesmaids” mode) served as comic relief,  guffawing, fawning until her “wish” is ... Read More »

THE MIDNIGHT SKY (NETFLIX)

I have an innate prejudice when it comes to dystopian, apocalyptic films; acknowledging their technological wizardry, the aftermath leaves me in a queasy, dissatisfied, jetlagged fug: “The Road”, “Total Recall”, “Mad Max”, “Oblivion”, “Children of Men” and in particular “The Lobster”, were so systemically oppressive, depressive; no matter the ills of the twenty-first century, it is a “far better world” than these futurist prognoses; ... Read More »

AMERICAN UTOPIA (AMAZON PRIME)

A Covid Cure for 2020 and beyond; joy unexperienced since the world closed it doors, windows; shrinkage of entertainment venues and the intimacy of darkened halls, resurrected by  “American Utopia” a visionary reminder of what once was and will rise again; palpable hope oozes from its prognostic pores; visionary David Byrne, a stylistic revivalist, an Elmer Gantry, preaching his code ... Read More »

MA RAINEY’S BLACK BOTTOM (NETFLIX)

Chadwick Boseman’s (1976-2020) electrifying, meteoric, candescent depiction of “Levee”, a high strung, volatile trumpet player in August Wilson’s (1945-2005) award winning “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”, is pragmatically the “Virtuoso” of male performances this year; his physical diminishment, resulting in the magnification of a role, regardless of his health, written in the stars; crushingly grand is his every sentence, lithesome movements; ... Read More »

AMMONITE (AMAZON PRIME)

Profoundly poetic. Director Francis Lee’s achingly pure love tale, starring Kate Winslet as paleontologist Mary Anning (1799-1847) and Saoirse Ronan as her lover, Charlotte Murchison is beautifully unsettling; the rawness of a landscape, accommodating to ancient fossils, unsympathetic to earthlings, intensifies the relationship between two outliers; misfits that bond over weeks spent probing for artifacts long dead, tainted only by ... Read More »

THE PROM (NETFLIX)

Universally panned, especially James Corden for his stereotypical portrayal of a gay Broadway performer, which I did not find offensive; the major criticism heralded from the LBGT community on his interpretation (Director Ryan Murphy applauded) of “Barry”, Corden is straight. Desperately seeking positivity in this pejorative, superfluous imitation of a Broadway musical, focusing on four (including the aforementioned “Barry”) “over- ... Read More »

Citizen Kane

My nascent exposure, in the mid 1980’s, to Orson Welles’ Homeric epic, “Citizen Kane” did not resonate as an iconic, monumental film destined, for archival prominence; almost forty years hence, with a matured aptitude, my sensitivities now grant it the lionization it has always deserved and for the most part received. Viewing “Mank” (previously reviewed) and knowing the war of ... Read More »

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