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  • Blade Runner 2049

    Blade Runner 2049

    ★★

    Why is Ryan Gosling acting like a robot? Oh, because he is a robot. Well what about everyone else? Oh, some of them are robots too. Well what about the ones that aren't? Well, um.... Oh, thank god, Harrison Ford just arrived and is showing everyone how to act. Just look at the flood of emotions on his face. He's the only real human being in this whole film. Man, I wish he had a bigger role. Why did it…

  • The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years

    The Beatles: Eight Days a Week - The Touring Years

    ★★★★

    The world didn't need another Beatles documentary, but the way this focuses on their life as live performers instead of the music is actually a refreshing take on Beatlemania. The hard working boys basically got too big for public life - before the music industry caught up to the enormous scale of rock and roll. The DVD offers a bonus disc that is basically another full length documentary that is more about their early life and their music. It is well worth watching too.

  • Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

    Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

    ★★★

    A biopic that's only interesting because of its connection to the Wonder Woman comic book (and I'll never think of Wonder Woman the same way again). It's a period look at what was considered perversion in the 1930s and 40s, but seems very modern in its attitude, theme, and dialogue. The performers are all terrific, esp. Rebecca Hall as Marston's progressive wife, but the whole film is a bit too academic and reserved, and since it spans over a decade, it skips over significant bits of their lives leaving me with questions. The message is loud and clear, but the drama could use more sizzle.

  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    Star Wars: The Last Jedi

    ★★★

    Despite the Nazi allusions, the Empire has pretty much represented the Republican party ever since Dick Cheney, and this new rebellion with it's multi-cultural cast is clearly the Democrats. This is why the most interesting moment in the story is the thought that Ren and Rey will put aside the old struggle and join together to start something fresh and new, which is needed more than ever right now, both in Star Wars and the real world. It's an idea…

  • The Shape of Water

    The Shape of Water

    ★★★★

    It's a good if predictable romantic fantasy in the Tim Burton mold, nice to look at, and easily the most relatable film I've seen from Guillermo del Toro. I can't say it worked for me emotionally though. I can't feel for Gill Man the way I felt for Edward Scissorhands, but then I can't feel for my goldfish the way I feel for my cat (talk about scissor hands). Maybe some people out there have a fish fetish, but Gill…

  • Phantom Thread

    Phantom Thread

    ★★★★

    It's a smart movie. It's an intriguing movie. It's an impeccably well made movie. The acting is rich and flavorful. It evokes 1950s glamour beautifully. It's got a great soundtrack. It's nice seeing Paul Thomas Anderson narrow his focus down to three characters. Everything about this is great, but I can't help feeling it's not a very deep movie (unlike "The Master", which probably isn't as deep as it seems). It may take a second watch to determine how much I really get out of these characters and their relationship, but I liked it.

  • Darkest Hour

    Darkest Hour

    ★★★

    It's true that this needs to be intercut with Nolan's Dunkirk, and it would improve both films. Darkest Hour would also work better if it weren't so overblown and over-dramatic, since it undermines all the good political intrigue going on. I could tolerate all of it though until horrible underground scene. Even though Churchill apparently did sometimes go out in public like that, the whole scene is just so forced and bad it really undermines the film. The only reason to see this is Gary Oldman's chewy performance and to get a better perspective on history than Nolan offers.

  • Call Me by Your Name

    Call Me by Your Name

    ★★★★

    A lovely gay coming-of-age fantasy with perfect young men who live idyllic lives in beautifully rustic Northern Italy and are cultured far beyond their years (and yet are still hip enough to be fans of the Psychedelic Furs). I was far less interested in their slowly percolating romance than I was in their languid existence. Kick back and relax: This is a poor man's substitute for a trip to Italy, and Armie Hammer is an ideal specimen of a man. Who wants a story when you're on vacation?

  • Lady Bird

    Lady Bird

    ★★★★

    It seems heavily biographical and authentic in relating Gerwig's experience growing up, although I kept wishing it was funnier. Despite heaps of praise it's received, it's not significantly better than any of the other of coming-of-age films. Perhaps I expected more? The most appealing thing about it is Saoirse Ronan's performance, who at the moment stands poised to become one of the great actresses of film history. Time will tell.

  • The Way Back

    The Way Back

    ★★★★

    A group of political prisoners escape from a Siberian gulag and make their way on foot in a grueling journey across Asia. It's a good, brutal survival film but despite spending two hours focused on a group of people, they sure don't have much personality. Only the two movie stars - Ed Harris and Colin Farrell - do anything interesting with their characters. Is that because I recognize them or because they're better written? Saoirse Ronan shows up as a…

  • Woman of Straw

    Woman of Straw

    ★★★

    Ralph Richardson plays a despicable human being who gets away with it because he's filthy rich, while his nephew Sean Connery grooms nurse Gina Lollobrigida to be Richardson's wife so he can get the inheritance. A low-key thriller that simmers but never really cooks despite Richardson and Lollobrigida overplaying the melodrama. Connery matches the cool mood better in his first post-Bond role, and it's worth watching just for him. The story is so intensely focused on the three characters that it could really use a subplot to complicate things, and it sorely lacks the brisk pacing of all the other Dearden films.

  • All Night Long

    All Night Long

    ★★★★★

    Richard Attenborough is a swank London millionaire who's getting his friends together for an all night jazz party, and those friends happen to include such celebs as Dave Brubeck and Charlie Mingus (playing themselves). The guests show up and start jamming when... Othello happens... and it's awesome, largely because of Patrick McGoohan's terrific Iago (and he can play the drums pretty well too!) The ensemble cast is stellar, the music is simultaneously a soundtrack and a live event (kinda like…