Still Alice – 8

A lovely movie, much less mawkish than commentators led me to believe (perhaps they considered Julianne Moore’s role too Oscar-obvious?). Julianne Moore was much of the reason, and her performance was touching without being pathetic. We felt for her but we were never uncomfortable in her presence. But if she was one-half the movie, the other half carried its weight, as well. The family dynamic was realistic and Kristen Stewart was bravely unglamorous. Most of all, it raised the question, common to so many of us, of how to deal with Alzheimer’s, in our loved ones and ourselves.

Mr. Turner – 6.5

In this consistently bizarre portrait of the artist, we get no insight into J.M.W.Turner or his art. Instead, we get a character study of Timothy Spall as a grunting, lecherous, antisocial individual who walks as if his legs are stilts protruding from his hips. The movie is a montage of short vignettes, each cut short before its finish, each unrelated to the one that follows. Together they produce an impression – but of what? Actual historical figures are thrown in, as are some of Turner’s famous paintings, but how they came to be there is as much a mystery at the end of the film as its outset.