Top Films by Year

My Octopus Teacher – 7.5

Stunning photography, both above and underwater, made this a pleasure to watch, and the novelty of an octupus’s life, up-close and personal, made it fascinating. Like almost all nature docs, there was a fair amount of anthropomorphism: I submit that the title character was acting on (animal) instinct, not employing “intelligence” to teach his human […]

The Trial of the Chicago 7 – 8.5

Pure catnip: an Aaron Sorkin drama with pithy dialogue, clearly drawn characters, a hopefully moral universe and a healthy dose of politics, past and present. Being in my personal revisit-Vietnam moment helped. Having just watched Platoon, the Ken Burns 10-part documentary, Da 5 Bloods and having read Oliver Stone’s and Randy Hobler’s memoirs, this moment of […]

Time – 6.5

If nothing else, this film immersed me in an unfamiliar world, Black life in Louisiana. Maybe there was nothing else. The story covered 20 years between Sibil and Robert’s failed bank robbery and Robert’s long-awaited release from jail.  Without any other facts, though, no points were made about the justice or incarceration systems. Most remarkable were […]

Baghdad Central – 8.5

A charmingly unprofessional six-parter set in post-invasion Iraq, with political and ideological overtones overlaying the conflicts: Arab-Western, British-American, Arab-Arab. Waleed Zuaiter excels as the unflappable former Iraqi inspector who navigates the political shoals while trying to find one rebel daughter and get medical help for the other. (Rather like the hero in Trapped.) Corey Stoll […]

Trapped – 8.5

A worthy 10-episode drama for its Icelandic scenery alone, but the characters made returning to it night-after-night as welcome as the hearth in a storm. Best of all was Olafur Darri Olafsson as the bear of an unflappable small-town police chief, but the rest of his team, Hinrika and Asgeir, were also notable for their […]

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