Top Films by Year

First Love – 8

This kind of hilarious, over-the-top gangster flick is probably common in Japan (indeed, the director Takashi Miike has made almost 100 movies himself), but its sensibility is a rare treat for a New York audience (not to mention Santa Barbara). The casual violence (heads literally rolling), the tough-guy gangster attitude, the all-out gang war are […]

Judy – 4

The last 60 seconds of “Over the Rainbow” brought tears to my eyes, but was that worth two hours of unrelieved misery, watching the pill-popping, self-destructive Judy Garland spiral in late career toward her death? Renee Zellweger’s tight face was painful to watch, her children were an embarrassment, and the attempt to make Judy sympathetic […]

The Farewell – 3

So painful to watch I left after 55 minutes. The acting is labored, the pace is halting, the story is devoid of subtlety. In all, the most amateurish movie I’ve seen this year, starting with Awkwafina’s “acting.”

Ad Astra – 7

Visually stunning trip through space – and probably even better if the viewer is high, too. Once you suspend your disbelief and buckle up for the ride, there are lots of close-ups of Brad Pitt’s face and color saturations of red and blue, plus a healthy dose of soundtrack and silence to wallow in. Tommy […]

Downton Abbey – 7.8

Loved every minute as all the characters we grown to love took a final spin on stage. The “plot” was preposterous – cramming an entire season’s worth of crises into a compressed few days – but it was the people, and their clothes, and their customs we came to watch. Everybody came out happy in […]

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