• Dune

    Dune

    ★★★½

    With its Star Wars aesthetic and 2001 sensibility, Dune will put willing viewers under a sci-fi trance. The movie—a second attempt to adapt Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel, after David Lynch’s disastrous 1984 Dune—rumbles and buzzes in your ears while presenting vast alien landscapes and massive, levitating spacecraft before your eyes. There’s a tactile quality to the film—the way softly glowing lamps float alongside characters in dark hallways or fabrics drape around them and flicker violently in the wind—that makes everything…

  • No Time to Die

    No Time to Die

    ★★★

    Second viewing, this time with my wife, so I could tip her off on the perfect time for a bathroom break. (During the Nordic car chase/forest fight/Ewok shenanigans, obviously.)

  • O Brother, Where Art Thou?

    O Brother, Where Art Thou?

    ★★★★

    Took notes for the second installment of the TC Movie Club. What's the TC Movie Club? bit.ly/3iX84kg

  • The Portrait of a Lady

    The Portrait of a Lady

    ★★★½

    Reteaming with screenwriter Laura Jones (An Angel at My Table) to tackle another literary subject, Jane Campion makes an unruly costume drama out of the 1881 novel by Henry James. That approach is a good match for The Portrait of a Lady’s main character—or at least who she is when we first meet her. A lively young American abroad, Isabel Archer (Nicole Kidman) rebuffs various proposals (Richard E. Grant, Viggo Mortensen, Martin Donovan, all uniquely enticing) because of the “chances”…

  • Lamb

    Lamb

    ★★★★

    Lamb, about an Icelandic farming couple who take in a half-human, half-sheep baby mysteriously born to one of their livestock, is deadly serious. And that choice by first-time feature director Valdimar Jóhannsson—to not even tiptoe toward anything that could be construed as a wink—is why the movie works. From the opening image, a deceptive POV shot that subtly turns the tables on what we perceive to be the threat, to the stone-faced performances from Noomi Rapace and Hilmir Snær Guðnason…

  • No Time to Die

    No Time to Die

    ★★★

    No Time to Die is, indeed, a James Bond movie. But mostly it’s a movie about the most recent Bond movies.

    www.larsenonfilm.com/no-time-to-die

  • The Piano

    The Piano

    ★★★★★

    Ada McGrath is “difficult.”

    Unmarried, with a child, and mute, Ada (Holly Hunter) is sent by her father to marry a Scottish colonist in 1850s New Zealand. She insists on taking her massive piano. The trip isn’t easy (Ada vomits upon arriving on the wild and windswept shore) and neither is she. When her new husband Alisdair (Sam Neill) is late coming to meet her, the captain offers to let her return to the ship. Speaking via sign language to…

  • Frankenstein

    Frankenstein

    ★★★★

    Revisited for the annual "Christian Defense of Horror" episode of the TC podcast (out soon).

    www.larsenonfilm.com/frankenstein

  • The Damned Don't Cry

    The Damned Don't Cry

    ★★★★½

    What a feast for Joan Crawford! The Damned Don’t Cry’s Ethel Whitehead/Lorna Hansen Forbes is like three great Crawford parts rolled into one. As Ethel, the beleaguered mother and housewife who escapes from her controlling husband (Richard Egan) in the wake of a family tragedy, she combines the maternal instinct of Mildred Pierce with the class aspirations of Marian Martin in 1931’s Possessed. Once Ethel makes it to the city, she plays her cards as a single woman with the…

  • Titane

    Titane

    ★★★½

    To be discussed on Friday's Filmspotting.

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  • An Angel at My Table

    An Angel at My Table

    ★★★★

    Far more staid than Sweetie, her debut, Jane Campion’s second film nevertheless dramatizes the life of New Zealand poet and novelist Janet Frame in a way only Campion could: with an eye for the poetically evocative detail and an intuitive understanding of the way gender can function as a trap.

    Next up as part of our Jane Campion Oeuvre-view on Filmspotting: www.filmspotting.net/campion

  • Nine Perfect Strangers

    Nine Perfect Strangers

    ★★★

    Doubt there'll be better romantic-comedy chemistry this year than what we get from Melissa McCarthy and Bobby Cannavale in this.

    Discussed on the TC podcast in the context of spirituality and wellness: youtu.be/u2mqm2ISWqA