RSS feed for irajoel
  • The Manchurian Candidate

    The Manchurian Candidate

    ★★★★★

    The Manchurian Candidate 1962

    Set down among the large scale epics, the down home family movies and the silly comedies of 1962 was a small black and white extraordinary cold war paranoia noir thriller that came in on the heels of the Cuban Missile Crisis and a few months before the assassination of a young president, this was a movie that made some of us sit up and scream.
    This movie had the look of reality because of the way…

  • Wind River

    Wind River

    ★★★

    For most of its running time, Wind River which I watched last night is a tough and pretty good murder mystery that is set in God's country Wyoming. It begins with a young girl running for her life in the snow and we soon learn that she is a native American and how and why she was running for her life is the basis of the story. Set mainly on a Native American reservation the film stars Jeremy Renner (wonderful…

  • Call Me by Your Name

    Call Me by Your Name

    ★★★★★

    A Sun drenched voyage to a small town in northern Italy that tells the story of a 17-year-old boy coming of sexual age during a 6 week visit by a strapping handsome sexually stunning American. Played with delicacy and charm by Timothee Chalamet as the 17 year old Eilio who is experimenting with his sexuality during a warm summer of 1983. He is ripe for this experimenting and does so with a lovely young Italian girl but his longing is…

  • Beach Rats

    Beach Rats

    ★★★½

    Small intimate and sensual. This is Eliza Hittman’s second film and once again she explores teenage sexuality and the perils and landmines that goes with it. In her first film 2013’s “It Felt Like Love” she took us into the South Brooklyn life of a young female teen and her confused attempts at sexuality.
    In her latest film “Beach Rats” we are still in the area of South Brooklyn, which by the way is where I grew up and still…

  • Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

    ★★★

    Go ahead try saying this title three times fast, I dare you. Here we have a rather grim movie about vengeance and redemption with some black humor thrown in the dark mix about a mother Mildred Hayes played with magnificence and aplomb by Frances McDormand, one of our great actresses.
    As the film opens Mildred is still waiting after many months for the killer to be found and brought to justice for the rape and brutal killing of her daughter.…

  • Maudie

    Maudie

    ★★★½

    ira joel haber Maudie 2017


    Well lord lord lordy Miss Maudie. Small gentle little movie about the real life self taught artist Maude Lewis who suffered with rheumatoid arthritis all her life as she lived in a small town in Nova Scotia in the 1930’s with her nasty aunt. She always loved to paint and her strong determination is at the heart of this moving film. Acted to the hilt by the wonderful Sally Hawkins Maudie answers an ad for…

  • Lady Bird

    Lady Bird

    ★★★★

    No this is not a biopic about Lady Bird Johnson but a smart funny sometimes sentimental little movie about a young teenager pushing against boundaries and borders that surround her young life. That young life lives in Sacramento circa 2002 and is the Lady Bird of the title. Her given name is Christine but she insists on being called Lady Bird and this 17 year old has a mind of her own. Played by the sublime and great 23 year…

  • Wonderstruck

    Wonderstruck

    ★★★

    In spite of the problems I had watching this movie the other day, I can definitely give this one a pinch on its cheek and a big hug. I related to this dual story of childhood because I was raised in New York City and loved movies, and the city and Coney Island (this place is not in this movie but in another "Wonder" movie opening soon, and I went to museums at an early age and had my own…

  • Rebels of the Neon God

    Rebels of the Neon God

    ★★★★

    Rebels of The Neon God 1992

    As sharp and dangerous as a double edge razor blade. Made in 1992 this is the film that put Tsai Ming-liang on the map of the international film scene and with good reason. Recently restored to its deeply saturated neon colors, this is a swift and sharply focused film that concerns the lives of 4 troubled young people living in Taipei in various degrees of despair and disgust. Two of the young men are…

  • A Ghost Story

    A Ghost Story

    ★★★★

    All ghost stories (I'm talking movies here) are sad. Well maybe not some of the comedies but as a kid I was very sad when "Hold That Ghost" was over, and since it was on million dollar movie I could re-watch it a million times.
    I should say that I love ghost movies, they are one of my favorite sub genres and I think I've seen most of the really good and even not so good ones. That said the…

  • In the Mood for Love

    In the Mood for Love

    ★★★★★

    In the Mood For Love 2000

    In the mood for swooning. Set in a never seen Hong Kong of 1962 the film directed by Wong Kar-Wai is an unrequited love story, one told and seen many many times, but never like this. A man and a woman separately take small apartments really just a room in a crowded boarding house for them and their spouses.
    The place is run by Rebecca Pan a good natured landlady, Pan who in her…

  • Columbus

    Columbus

    ★★★★★

    At first I thought this little gem of a movie might be about Christopher Columbus or Columbus Ohio where I lived for 3 months in 1983 when I was a visiting artist at OSU, but it turns out to be set in Columbus Indiana and is about this place as much as it is about it’s characters. This was the birthplace of the horrible Mike Pence but we won’t dwell on that fact. It is also a hub of great…