Top Films by Year

The Father – 8

A gem of a movie, narrow in scope but enlarged by the great acting of Anthony Hopkins and Olivia Colman. By confining the set to, basically, two rooms and a hallway, we were forced into the mind of the father, struggling absent-mindedly with dementia. The film is mercifully short, as we get the picture early […]

Dear Comrades – 7.5

A retrograde anti-propaganda film, if such there be, taking down Soviet Communism for its top-down bureaucracy that creates inequality, inertia, oppression and distrust. Filmed in black-and-white and recalling Russian cinema of the late ’50s (The Cranes Are Flying, Ballad of A Soldier, etc.), Andrei Konchalovsky’s take on a 1962 workers’ strike that was brutally suppressed is […]

The Mole Agent – 8

This was a charming journey inside a senior citizens center in Chile, reminiscent of Laura Gabbert’s Sunset Story but with less plot. In fact, what plot there was seemed to be a set-up: I don’t believe there was a client concerned that her mother was being mistreated; I think that was a ruse to get this […]

Better Days – 8

While this was more effective as a romance than an anti-bullying message film, what most sticks in mind is the brutal picture of life in China for high-school seniors. Made in Hong Kong in 2019 (but up for an Academy Award this year), could it have been intended as a critique of mainland education, which […]

Oscar Wrongs and Rights

People frequently ask for my Oscar predictions or preferences, so I will hazard the latter. The New York Times, among others, takes the fun and guesswork out of the former by polling voters and announcing results that tend to be more accurate than they are for the political elections. To my mind, Trial of the Chicago […]

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