Entries by Bob Marshall

Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris – 6

Call me stonehearted, but I wasn’t touched by Mrs. Harris or her story. The good guys were too sweet, the bad guys too ugly and nothing met the plausibility test. Individually, however, the characters were charming, especially Natasha, and the clothes were almost worth the price of admission.

Where the Crawdads Sing – 7

Much better than I expected.  The action takes place from 1953 to 1969, and the film feels like it. When was the last time we saw a hero as decent, sincere, handsome and blond as Tate? The story is just as implausible as it was in the book, but the imperfect crime at its climax […]

Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song – 7.8

The title acknowledges the film’s duality – one part about the man, the other about the song. The former is interesting but leaves the singer as inscrutable as he was going in: ladies’ man? Zen monk? fraud victim? poet? The story of the song is more satisfying, and the song is great. I wonder, however, […]

Flux Gourmet – 3

An absurdist comedy about a “culinary collective” that was too far off the mainstream for me. One of those films where you feel the director has a cult of 17 followers, and you’re not one of them.

Nope – 3

I fear for the movies, when this is counted as the major release for the month, and the four trailers previewed are all for horror films that seemingly favor special effects over real people or situations. A thriller(?) depending upon an alien spaceship is especially hard to take seriously at the same time we are […]

The Gray Man – 2

How many people can you kill without any discernible justification or plausibility seems to be the calling card of this Netflix franchise-wannabe, featuring Ryan Gosling in the Bourne/Bond role and a slew of other actors who are either bad (e.g., Rege-Jean Page as Carmichael) or as cliched as the plot.

Official Competition – 8

Hilarious! Antonio Banderas steals the movie, as well as the movie-within-the-movie, in a master class of actors acting at acting–all very meta. A bewigged Penelope Cruz is perfection as a dominatrix director, and Argentinian actor Oscar Martinez holds his own against showboat performances from his Spanish co-stars. The plot is a stage for a string […]

Watcher – 7

A tight and satisfying little horror film. The bloody denouement doesn’t really make sense–this isn’t Hitchcock or Wait Until Dark–but the more realistic tension is in the marriage: how can the husband bring his bride to Bucharest, where she knows no one and doesn’t speak the language, and ignore her isolation? Santa Barbara-born Maika Monroe is […]

Elvis – 4

A ridiculous cartoon version of Elvis Presley’s life that, amazingly, is neither fun to watch or listen to. The real Elvis was sexy, dangerous and larger than life; Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis is mild, pretty and vanilla, a seeming leftover from the cast of Beverly Hills 90210. Elvis’s stage presence and movements were electric; Austin Butler’s […]

Good Luck to You, Leo Grande – 6

A one-joke movie (if you can call it a “joke”) that proceeds slowly, in a direct line, without subplot or supporting cast (maybe a Covid project?). As adroit as Emma Thompson’s acting is, her character is scarcely believable, from premise to finish. If, on the other hand, you take this as a Disney fantasy, and […]