Monthly Archives: December 2015

//December

Carol – 8

December 31st, 2015|

A splendid period piece and a beautiful companion to Brooklyn, as the story of a young woman coming into her identity, here, her forbidden sexuality. Rooney Mara was wide-eyed and as captivating as she was captivated, her resemblance to Audrey Hepburn unmistakable in shot after shot. Cate Blanchett was elegant and austere, and if she seemed […]

The Big Short – 6

December 28th, 2015|

A financial primer on the 2008 mortgage meltdown dressed up as a movie, with outsized performances, frenetic cutting and comic asides apparently intended to spice up a subject the movie-going public either wouldn’t understand or would find too dull. The worst were the two goofballs from Colorado, but blustering Steve Carrell and how-weird-can-he-be Christian Bale […]

Noma – 5

December 28th, 2015|

This was more of a press release than a documentary, as there was no story, unless you count Noma’s regaining its position as #1 restaurant in the world in the unexplained but totally unscientific annual contest now sponsored by San Pellegrino. Potential subplots emerged – how “Nordic cuisine” was invented from locally sourced ingredients; how […]

In the Heart of the Ocean – 6

December 28th, 2015|

Ersatz to the heart would be more like it, starting with Chris Hemsworth’s take on Matt Damon’s Boston accent, running through every painted backdrop and whale sighting and going ultimately to the movie’s core – the idea that Moby Dick emerged from Herman Melville’s late-night interview of the last survivor of the Essex. Once again, historical details […]

Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict – 6

December 19th, 2015|

It would be hard to make a dull movie about Peggy Guggenheim’s life, what with her eccentric family, love affairs with artists and, finally, her world-class museum of Surrealist and Abstract Expressionist art in beautiful Venice, but this effort teetered. It started with the worst opening credits I have ever sat through, spread out over […]

Bridge of Spies – 7

December 19th, 2015|

A Spielbergian look at a Cold War incident, replete with recitations of the Constitution and what it means to be an American. Who better to present the message than uber-vanilla-good guy Tom Hanks, who, alas, seemed very unlikely as a tough-lawyer negotiator. Not only was I not convinced that his character could have pulled off […]

Janis: Little Girl Blue – 6

December 19th, 2015|

Janis Joplin was a phenomenon of a time and place – specifically, San Francisco USA in 1969, give or take. Unfortunately, viewed in retrospect, I don’t really like her music, her looks or her persona. While much the same could be said of Amy Winehouse, that documentary had a societal depth that Janis lacked and a […]

Creed – 7

December 2nd, 2015|

No boxing-movie-cliche goes unturned in this Rocky sequel, but the film is so genial and so devoid of any pretense of originality that you really don’t hold that against it. Stallone, especially, is so subdued – an actor with nothing to prove, probably more invested in his producing – that he’s good company onscreen. Michael B. […]