• All the Money in the World

    All the Money in the World

    ★★½

    What starts off as a taut, intense thriller, somehow loses it's focus and momentum and becomes a confusing political thriller that goes on for way too long. The performances are good. Christopher Plummer is reliably fine as always. And it was refreshing yet also strange to see and hear Michelle Williams talk above her usual whispery vocal style (although I haven't a clue about her character's accent. Was she southern? Was she a yankee? Because her accent, when it was…

  • Victoria & Abdul

    Victoria & Abdul

    ★★★

    Judi Dench beautifully recreates her version of Queen Victoria, twenty years after playing the monarch in "Mrs. Brown." While her performance here is not as forceful as it was in the first film, she is still damn good here. And while the premise of this film is basically "Mrs. Brown" with a Muslim rather than a Scotsman (more or less), this film is just as good while also quietly and deceptively, packing a bit of a punch.

    What I love…

  • Burlesque

    Burlesque

    Predictable, clichéd, yet one-hundred percent fun & completely entertaining musical film about a pretty, small-town girl (Christina Aquilera, not bad as the stereotypical & unbelievably innocent babe in the woods) who moves to LA & becomes a singing sensation at a high-class burlesque club run down the indomitable Cher.

    This is not high art people, but you know what? Who fucking cares? The story is threadbare, Cher is being Cher, the songs aren't bad (both divas get their own dramatic songs so they…

  • Rules Don't Apply

    Rules Don't Apply

    ★★

    I saw it with a theater that was maybe 40% full. At 44, I was far & away, the youngest person in the theater. When it was over, I heard at least 3 senior citizens saying that they fell asleep in the film. “Don’t worry,” another lady said to one of them. “You certainly didn’t miss anything.”

    That’s the perfect review for this film, one of Warren Beatty’s rare failures as a writer/director. The editing in the first hour is so…

  • Moonlight

    Moonlight

    ★★★★

    Evocative, poignant, urgent, realistic, brilliant. Are just a few of the superlatives I could use on this film. This absolutely riveting drama is a breakthrough for writer/director Barry Jenkins, who deserves every award out there for this masterwork about a young black man's childhood, teen years and eventually, adulthood in a way that is more involving and better thought out than it's highly over-rated white counterpart "Boyhood." It doesn't matter if you're black, white, yellow, straight or gay. This is easily one of the best films out there currently playing and it would be a shame for eyes and ears to miss out.

  • Loving

    Loving

    ★★½

    It's not this true life story of the hard-won fight for interracial marriage in America is a bad movie, because it is not. It is rather, a laboriously earnest, slowly paced two hour film that feels like three. In fact, this would have worked better as short film because, when you get down to it, the story itself is really 45 minutes that has been stretched out needlessly to two hours. Joel Edgerton & Ruth Negga give fine performances here, but…

  • W.E.

    W.E.

    ★★

    What starts off as a promising and intriguing love story about the real life Wallis Simpson and the King of England, who left his throne for her, (She left her husband for him, so I guess they were even.) devolves into a passionless, lackluster, through highly stylish film that leaves one wanting more. Throughout its running time.

    Written and directed by Madonna, yes, Madonna, who as an interesting eye visually, but writing scripts is, judging by this, not exactly her…

  • Nuts

    Nuts

    ★★★½

    Barbra Streisand acts with a capital A throughout this rich and compelling courtroom drama about a newly divorced woman in her 40's who is making her living as a high-class prostitute as a result of her very dysfunctional childhood. Now, I must say, as a Streisand admirer, in the first hour or so, Ms. Streisand does come across way too strident, which turns a lot of people off, however, if you stick with the film, Ms. Streisand ends up delivering…

  • Up the Sandbox

    Up the Sandbox

    ★★★

    This is easily the one film in the Barbra Streisand canon where she gives her most un-Barbra Streisand performance. Meaning, she doesn't rely on her kooky, zany, Brooklyn-esque patter to try to win over the audience. No, here she plays a young mother and housewife who fantasizes, literally, of making her life more exciting and interesting. It has been said that it is hard for some people to figure out what is real, and what her character imagines. But if…

  • For Pete's Sake

    For Pete's Sake

    ★★★

    Extremely silly, yet quite funny, throwaway Barbra Streisand film where her character does what she can to try to make life better for she and her husband Pete, played by the charming Michael Sarrazin.

    Not Ms. Streisand's finest hour, but much, much better than people let on and certainly better than the films she made after 1996. That's for sure.

  • All Night Long

    All Night Long

    ★★★

    Gene Hackman is a devoted company man, who gets demoted to working in his company's all-night drugstore in suburban Los Angeles. Pointed and occasionally funny look at one man's mid-life crisis, played skillfully by the always reliable Mr. Hackman. One wishes he had made more comedies in his career.

    His character does fall for a sort-of family member on his wife's side, played, unexpectedly by Barbra Streisand, who, for all the criticisms thrown at her over the years, gives an…

  • The Good Mother

    The Good Mother

    ★★½

    Anna Dunlap (Diane Keaton) is a recently divorced, sexually repressed woman who falls for, and becomes somewhat sexually liberated, by a charming rogue of a sculptor (Liam Neeson). She has a somewhat precocious young daughter, who at first, resists Mr. Neeson's character, and then, of course, she falls for him to, which only results in disaster, once she asks Mr. Neeson's character when he is getting out of the shower if she can touch his penis. (Don't worry. It is…