Monthly Archives: December 2016

//December

Neruda – 7

December 31st, 2016|

A poem of a film, with a fat Communist in the lead and a wispy Gael Bernal Garcia as foil and narrator. By constantly using backlighting, director Pablo Larrain conveys the mood and spirit of the 1940s and half the fun is experiencing the people, politics and costumes of that era in Chile (when the […]

Elle – 8

December 31st, 2016|

A twisted story with neat directorial touches in every nook and cranny. Every character was driven by sex – and that means “every,” major or minor, old or young. While that may not have seemed totally realistic, it did seem, well, French. Whereas many thrillers fall apart when viewed in retrospect, the more I thought […]

Fences – 7.7

December 29th, 2016|

A powerful drama, lifted almost intact from the stage. This seemed a problem at first – the staginess of all the action transpiring on the backyard lot, the declamations in place of conversation – but the sheer humanity of the characters, and their problems, won us over. When Denzel Washington defended his affair by saying, […]

La La Land – 6.7

December 29th, 2016|

A cotton candy confection of a film: pretty, sweet, airy, but not much there. Rather than playing real people, Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling seemed to be playing Debbie Reynolds and Gene Kelly, or Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney. The film embraced its derivative core in such meta moments as the characters’ dream dance sequence […]

The Handmaiden – 7

December 20th, 2016|

Two-thirds a good movie, as I thought we were witnessing, Rashomon-like, two different views of the same events, a chamber piece told with Asian elegance and stunning beauty. Then came chapter three, which took the beauty and trashed it, removing the mystery as well as one character’s fingers. The plot that played out made less […]

Loving – 7.5

December 20th, 2016|

The election of Donald Trump has infected so much of my outlook it is not surprising that it dampened my enthusiasm for Loving, which would otherwise have been a hopeful, inspiring story of two regular people and a couple of young ACLU lawyers bringing down Virginia’s hateful anti-miscegenation law. Just look at how backward and racist […]

Arrival – 7

December 6th, 2016|

The whole movie begs for explanations and answers: who are these aliens, what do they want, how do they communicate, how will humans understand them, and can humans cooperate when faced with a crisis? It is, therefore, a bit of a disappointment when none of these questions are satisfactorily answered – not that there could […]

Mifune: The Last Samurai – 5

December 6th, 2016|

Good fun to be reminded of Toshiro Mifune’s roles, especially in Kurosawa classics, and get some sense of what made him a star. Otherwise, there was nothing particularly compelling or unique about this documentary.