Black Panther – 7.9

Is it okay to say you liked this movie because it gave such good roles to such talented and beautiful black actors, while whites were assigned the roles of bad guy and token helper? Breaking another stereotype, the women were strong and smart, more convincing than in Wonder Woman. The message was uplifting, cinematography gorgeous and costumes provided a mini-course in African art. On the minus side, the action scenes went on too long for me, and the story had major improbabilities, such as the planet’s most technologically advanced society choosing its ruler based on hand-to-hand combat. When all was done, I felt good, as well as entertained.

Game Night – 7.5

Tremendously appealing actors – Justin Bateman and Rachel McAdams – star in a game of a movie full of twists and turns that make for a fun evening.

Leaning Into the Wind – 7

A worthy sequel to Rivers and Tides, although its novelty and relative innocence made that one more memorable. Andy Goldsworthy’s art subverts nature as much as celebrates it, but when he connects it’s a home run. I would have appreciated more art and fewer extended close-ups of the artist; the appearance of his attractive daughter was a relief. Despite all the talking, I don’t really feel that I got inside the artist or his art.

Death of Stalin – 3

An Absurdist take on Soviet history that left us wondering, Is this the worst movie we will see this year? We expected funny, but it never showed up. Steve Buscemi as Khrushchev was absurd, of course, but to what point? Making a farce out of executions in a police state makes for queasy viewing, and the uninteresting, unpleasant characters hardly helped.