Entries by Bob Marshall

The Last Dance – 8.8

A remarkable ten-episode study of Michael Jordan and his championship Chicago Bulls teams – remarkable both for the inside look it offers at professional athletes and the ambivalent picture it provides of the man who offered this access. I was neither a fan nor particular follower of MJ during his career, but this documentary clearly […]

My Brilliant Friend – 9

Brilliant, indeed. Elena Ferrante’s novel, the second of the quartet, is brought to life by the subtlest of expressions on Lila and Lenu’s faces. Lenu, in fact, makes a total of two short speeches in the course of eight episodes, yet we feel we know what she is thinking every moment. Lila, by contrast, is […]

Da 5 Bloods – 7.5

A hit-and-miss affair from Spike Lee–nowhere as polished as BlackKklansman, but provocative in its looks at race, Vietnam, friendship, greed–remarkable in its aspirations if not its execution. First off, I should say that Delroy Lindo should be a lock for an Oscar nomination, at least, for his performance. Next best was having a range of […]

When the Levees Broke – 6.5

“Requiem” is a better term than “documentary” for Spike Lee’s four-part history of the people, mostly Black, who suffered through Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. There was little forward momentum in the film: Lee sat us down and made us wallow in the misery of the poor residents and the incompetence and inattention of the […]

Normal People – 7.6

They say the course of true love never runs smooth, and this sure was a rough ride for Marianne and Connell, so obviously meant for each other but forever finding ways to confuse the issue. The series’ length rather taxed the viewer: C’mon, why are you messing around with that other person, we kept saying. […]

Inside Bill’s Brain – 7.5

Getting such a close-up, personalizing look at one of the major figures of our time alone makes this a worthwhile watch. The succinct, clear elaboration of the three projects addressed in the three episodes – public sanitation, polio eradication, and nuclear power – is skillful. Ultimately, though, the takeaway is a negative one: Bill Gates […]

The Painter and the Thief – 3

This documentary is sort of like Normal People, except the people are unattractive, uninteresting, inarticulate and not erotically charged. Barbora is a better painter than interviewer and it’s never clear what she’s looking for or finding in Bertil, who was so drugged he can’t remember why he stole her painting or what he did with […]

The Restaurant – 6.5

If by having Calle proclaim his undying love for Nina, though they’re both married to others, in the final scene, the makers of The Restaurant hoped to hook me for Season 2, they were sadly mistaken. Manipulate me once, shame on you; manipulate me every five minutes, forget it! What started out as a new and […]

Lost Girls – 8

What a relief, after watching soaps that have no ending (most recently, The Restaurant), to watch a 90-minute movie that has a premise and characters, develops them, builds dramatically and has a resolution – even if, as the opening credit warns us, it’s an “unsolved” mystery. Amy Ryan is sensational as the obsessed, albeit very […]

Sanditon – 8

Much of the charm is supplied by the charming Rose Williams’s expressive face, voluptuous body and bottomless pit of dresses, which materialize out of the blue. The rest comes from the smoky Theo James as Sidney Parker, the love/hate cynosure of Rose’s Charlotte. We get to know a dozen other denizens of, and visitors to, […]