There is lots to like about The Queen's Gambit, particularly the remarkable performance from the female lead, but I was especially taken aback by its portrayal of Russia and the Russian people. I expected the typical cartoon characters and gray brutalist cityscapes, which have become commonplace in Hollywood films, but that was not the case. They didn't actually shoot in Russia, but it was refreshing to see Moscow portrayed as the beautiful city that it actually is. In The Queen's Gambit, Moscow had sunny skies, and there was a glimmer of the incredible art nouveau architecture you can still find there. Perfect ending.
The Wonder 2022
I really appreciated the film's eerie old-world atmosphere that supports a leisurely tale about how systematic traumas caused by capitalism, imperialism & organized religion manifest among the poor and working classes. More evidence that Florence Pugh is one of the best actors working at the moment.
The Night Of 2016
This was a nice reminder that John Turturro is a national treasure. It also features the best use of a cat since Inside Llewyn Davis.
Manchester by the Sea 2016
I would have liked this so much more if it had no soundtrack, was called Maintenance by the Sea and we spent the entirety of the film watching Casey Affleck's character unplug toilets, fix sinks, shovel snow and get in occasional bar fights.