Entries by Bob Marshall

Parasite – 5.5

Bizarre. Part absurdist comedy, part horror film, part sociological commentary, none of it strikes an emotional chord or makes you think too much. The vibe is similar to Jordan Peele’s movies (Get Out and particularly Us), but there’s no one to root for and the story is full of holes: e.g., how can the son end […]

The Sound of My Voice – 8

A total upper of a movie. Her current Parkinson’s aside, Linda Ronstadt was presented as having a charmed life: great voice, wonderful friends, happy relationships, good career moves. And with it all, she was humble. None of the preening, drugs, breakups, bad managers and falls from grace that marked every other rock bio seen lately. […]

Theater Thumbnails

We gambled on eight not-yet-reviewed plays/musicals as the fall 2019 season kicked off on and near-Broadway. Four were total successes and four not so much. Linda Vista was the most traditional of the bunch, in structure and production. Totally enjoyable, lots of humor – both intelligent and bawdy – and characters you could discuss and […]

First Love – 8

This kind of hilarious, over-the-top gangster flick is probably common in Japan (indeed, the director Takashi Miike has made almost 100 movies himself), but its sensibility is a rare treat for a New York audience (not to mention Santa Barbara). The casual violence (heads literally rolling), the tough-guy gangster attitude, the all-out gang war are […]

Judy – 4

The last 60 seconds of “Over the Rainbow” brought tears to my eyes, but was that worth two hours of unrelieved misery, watching the pill-popping, self-destructive Judy Garland spiral in late career toward her death? Renee Zellweger’s tight face was painful to watch, her children were an embarrassment, and the attempt to make Judy sympathetic […]

The Farewell – 3

So painful to watch I left after 55 minutes. The acting is labored, the pace is halting, the story is devoid of subtlety. In all, the most amateurish movie I’ve seen this year, starting with Awkwafina’s “acting.”

Ad Astra – 7

Visually stunning trip through space – and probably even better if the viewer is high, too. Once you suspend your disbelief and buckle up for the ride, there are lots of close-ups of Brad Pitt’s face and color saturations of red and blue, plus a healthy dose of soundtrack and silence to wallow in. Tommy […]

Downton Abbey – 7.8

Loved every minute as all the characters we grown to love took a final spin on stage. The “plot” was preposterous – cramming an entire season’s worth of crises into a compressed few days – but it was the people, and their clothes, and their customs we came to watch. Everybody came out happy in […]

Aquarela – 7.5

Extraordinary photography from around the world captured a dozen unrelated vignettes, except all had water, which isn’t much of a connection. The photography, augmented by the powerful, mostly dialogue-free soundtrack, forced you to think about, if not feel, The Power of Nature; The Crisis of Climate Change; and Man’s Insignificance. It was also, perhaps, the […]

Honeyland – 5.5

A rather bizarre quasi-documentary, in which we suspect nothing will ever happen, but then it does, but it isn’t much. There seemed something condescending about making a movie star of a poor Macedonian woman who kept bees and took care of an ailing mother, but maybe that is just me. Was the moral, even a […]