• Finding Vivian Maier

    Finding Vivian Maier

    ★★★★★

    The surface story could be enough -- the photographs could be enough.
    But then there are all of the corridors we wander down. From the first neighborhood "haunted house" you and your friends "investigated," you have been hoping to uncover something like this.

  • Silent Night, Lonely Night

    Silent Night, Lonely Night

    This film knows it's about to be the 70s. A sad brown made-for-TV holiday picture of the type we used to call Adult Drama. Jones and Bridges flirt icily through a holiday weekend as they trickle out their life stories in a New England inn.

    Chloris Leachman shows up to do her hot-to-trot routine, and watch for baby Jeff Bridges in a flashback.

    Realism points for no one in Massachusetts clearing snow off their cars.

  • Repeat Attenders

    Repeat Attenders

    ★★★★

    Full Disclosure: I saw Come From Away 5 times, including 3 days in a row during the Boston run. I don't think I have the same passion and purpose as these superfans, but I do see how it can happen.

    The section on stalking when from a comment from a psychologist to a long interview with a convicted stalker pretty quickly, leaving the juxtaposition hanging unfairly.

    I would have liked to hear from spouses, from young Mignon, from more actors. I hope that these fans can see the film as supportive of them; if they can't, that would be heartbreaking.

  • Steve Jobs

    Steve Jobs

    ★★★½

    I'm giving a lot of credit to the structure of Aaron Sorkin's script, for narrowing its scope and not explaining too much (though some things still felt a little "signaled" to the audience). No one can explain what happened to Winslet's accent, but I have to say it made me pause the movie to see if I could find someone who would. If you take out all the parts of her role that involving being a Stage Manager, she has about 1 good speech. Rogen is the underrated hero here, just like Woz himself. As for Fassbinder, he's completely compelling.

  • It Grows on Trees

    It Grows on Trees

    ★★★½

    Irene Dunn's last picture is a pleasant little yarn, amusingly told. When you are finished tsking at the infantilization of women, you can enjoy the absurdly low prices of everyday things.

  • The Girls in the Band

    The Girls in the Band

    ★★★★★

    Great storytelling, rich interviews, footage and audio. You don't have to know anything about jazz going into this film, and you will know a lot more coming out. Start building your playlist.

  • To Be Takei

    To Be Takei

    ★★★½

    Interwoven biography with Takei (and Brad's) daily life, finding new opportunities while still dining out on the one sure thing: Being Takei.

    He is a man of some flaws - mostly interpersonal ones - and I can never figure out whether this Shatner/Takei hissing match is real, though it certainly seems to be here.

    This is enjoyable. No big reveals. If it sparks curiosity about "Allegiance," seek it out. It's more meaningful.

  • Ant-Man

    Ant-Man

    Visual effects are fun, and probably exciting on a full screen (I watched it at home) but the plot is full of holes. Lang's crew are very entertaining. It's a movie-movie.

  • Hilda Crane

    Hilda Crane

    ★★★½

    Where was THIS film in the Women in Cinema class?

    Once the Modern Women has failed at career and at marriage (twice) what is left? Not the company of women, where the splinters in the sisterhood are sharp.
    Better make a good match and keep up appearances.

    But how to choose between the man who loves you and the man you lust for?

    Lots of surprising turns, including unfortunately an out-of-nowhere unsatisfying ending.

  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

    20,000 Leagues Under the Sea

    ★★★½

    This may be a hard sell for your kids, but give it a try. It drags in some places, but then it turns out to have a 21st century Save the Planet message you didn't remember among the squids and the island warriors. The action scenes hold up, and this cast is making an adult picture.

    No, there are no girls after those whores in the beginning who do not speak.
    Yes, the island warriors are cannibals.
    Ok, a dancing…

  • Parasite

    Parasite

    ★★★★½

    It is unusual for me to find a film truly "transporting," so it leaves a strong impression when I do. This film brought me in right away. The suspense was almost overbearing, even within the merriment that accompanies a heist + con storyline.

    When things turn bloody -- and oh my do they -- it is so completely out of hand you remember that it is a Korean horror film after all. But the way it finally breaks the tension…

  • The Baroness and the Butler

    The Baroness and the Butler

    It's an absurd premise with some good speeches and screwball gags, and one central fatal casting flaw. Annabella is simply terrible, even for this period of acting. The company are all fun to watch, Powell is forever flawless, and the leading lady is an f-l-o-p.

    What is discussion worthy is a film about the class struggle in 1938 Europe. when Mother/Daughter baronesses trade stories about slumming, and the prime minister fires the butler because his concerns for the working poor are affecting proper tea service.

    PS: directed by the Woody Woodpecker guy, and I don't even have a joke about that.