Eagle Huntress – 5

The story, and the telling, were too pat for a documentary: more often than not, it seemed like scenes were being staged for the camera, rather than that the camera  happened to be there. The affectlessness of Aishorplan, the 13-year starlet, didn’t add to the convincing. But I can never get too much of those Mongolian steppes and life in a yurt.

Moonlight – 6

Certainly an interesting movie covering a subject not often seen in movies and brand-new actors, but it was long and slow and not a lot of fun to watch. The main character(s) were quiet, repressed, not attractive in physical appearance or choice of lifestyle (i.e., drug-dealing). There wasn’t much of a story – just three chapters in a life; and it was nigh impossible to see how the Chiron of chapters 1 and 2 morphed into Chiron chapter 3.

Allied – 5

Hard to believe, after Inglorious Basterds, that someone else would cast Brad Pitt as an American (ok, Canadian) who could pass himself off as a Frenchman/German behind German lines. Any relationship between his French accent and that of the Parisian he was supposed to be was entirely coincidental. Of course, he was no more convincing as an RAF Wing Commander or Marion Cotillard’s lover. His acting, in general, would not have passed muster with the Ensemble Theatre here in Santa Barbara. But he did wear nice clothes.

The plot was nonsense; the whole film came across as a film exercise. We had no emotional involvement with any of the characters; we just watched, with some interest, how director Robert Zemeckis constructed his film. It did give you things to talk about when it was over.

Doctor Strange – 6

The sci-fi stuff was not that interesting, and the fights of fancy were absurd excesses of computer cinematography, but Benedict Cumberbatch was superb in a role he was born to play: arrogant but funny.

Aquarius – 4.5

If I’m going to sit through a long, boring movie I want it to at least have a central character I like, or at least enjoy looking at. Here, by contrast, the focal figure, Dona Clara (played by Sonia Braga), was the least attractive person on view: stubborn, haughty, insensitive, selfish, living lazily on her pension. All her relatives, their friends, her landlord, the lifeguard, even the gigolo were much pleasanter, more reasonable and better looking. Maybe this was a brilliantly subversive movie, designed to challenge the viewer’s expectations that we would root for a widow being forced out of her apartment by a greedy developer. Otherwise, and this is the way I read it, the movie was a misfire.