‘Cause who has the time?
I am the cofounder of a social network. If it was up to me, I’d be writing film reviews in my pajamas, but running a social network is very demanding. So here goes a quick list of movies I’ve seen but haven’t had the chance to write about. Some of them may be a bit long in the tooth but coming soon to streaming or cable near you:
The Farewell. A nice concept, but a flimsy, underbaked film, about not telling grandma that she has a terminal illness. I wanted to like it much more than I did.
Black KKKlansman. The best work Spike Lee has done in years. Spirited, funny, and righteously outraged. This is the movie that should have won the Oscar, instead of stale, corny crap like The Green Book.
The Favourite. Gorgos Lanthimos’ best English language movie so far, with three actresses who bring it, and then some. Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz are fantastic as the ladies in waiting of a pathetic queen. Olivia Colman utterly kills as Queen Anne, a monarch with very little power. Lanthimos shows he can direct someone else’s screenplay without losing his sense of the bizarre.
The Green Book. This movie makes Driving Miss Daisy look like Chekhov. Mahershala Ali’s fantastic performance can’t rescue this movie from its own oblivious triteness. It’s painful to watch great actors at the service of banal, superficial, sentimental horseshit.
A Star Is Born. Well, I’ll be damned. I have always disliked Lady Gaga immensely, but her work in this movie made me dislike her a lot less. Bradley Cooper sings (our modern day “Garbo talks!”) and does not do half a bad job directing this classic tearjerker about the perils of fame and success.
Disobedience. Sebastián Lelio handles this story of forbidden love among orthodox Jewish women with elegance and tact. Rachel McAdam is fabulous and so is Rachel Weisz. Alessandro Nivola is convincing as an orthodox Jew.
The Insult. A great Lebanese movie about an everyday drama escalating beyond comprehension in a country where sectarianism imbues every human interaction.
The Rider. Chloe Zhao’s transfixing, beautiful, heartbreaking movie about rodeo riders, with real people.
RBG. It made me cry. Talk about someone inspiring. The Notorious Ruth Bader Ginsburg should live and — stay in that seat — until 120.
Three Identical Strangers. Excellent documentary about this bizarre, terrible story about triplets separated at birth.
On Chesil Beach. I thought this jewel of a book was unfilmable, but this is a valiant effort. Close to the Ian McEwan book in spirit, though not as brittle and devastating. Once again, Saoirse Ronan can do no wrong.
American Animals. Fun, dispiriting, well crafted, a rare American film that investigates failure.
Leave No Trace. A moving film, with wonderful performances by Ben Foster and young Thomasin McKenzie, about a veteran in a crusade against the system and what this means for his teenage daughter.
Isle Of Dogs. The story meanders and doesn’t make much sense, but the visuals are magnificent, just a feast for the eyes. And the movie is very dark. The music by Alexandre Desplat is fantastic.
Capernaum. Brutal Lebanese film about immigrants in Beirut. It has a dark sense of humor and a harrowing story, but the use of young children, including the best baby actor ever, made me a bit queasy. Director Nadine Labaki could have used a touch of restraint. A tough movie to watch.
Tully. I liked this bitter, heartfelt comedy about motherhood. I loved the twist that everyone hated. It’s about women believing that they do not deserve to ask for help. Excellent acting all around.