Entries by Bob Marshall

Better Days – 8

While this was more effective as a romance than an anti-bullying message film, what most sticks in mind is the brutal picture of life in China for high-school seniors. Made in Hong Kong in 2019 (but up for an Academy Award this year), could it have been intended as a critique of mainland education, which […]

Oscar Wrongs and Rights

People frequently ask for my Oscar predictions or preferences, so I will hazard the latter. The New York Times, among others, takes the fun and guesswork out of the former by polling voters and announcing results that tend to be more accurate than they are for the political elections. To my mind, Trial of the Chicago […]

Another Round – 7

A baffling subject, at least for this non-Scandinavian: drinking alcohol, on the job and eventually to excess. Rather than condemn the practice, the movie seemed to show that it helped some, while killing others. So maybe the subject was really about mid-life (turning 40) crisis, or male bonding, with the booze as catalyst, or backdrop. […]

Crip Camp – 5

Not my cup of tea. There was a transition from home-video clips of a summer camp for handicapped teens to the fight for civil rights of the disabled leading to the ADA, but I was asleep and missed it.

Quo Vadis, Aida? – 8.5

A true story about the Serbs’ 1995 massacre of Bosnians in Srebenica is told in sidelong fashion by focusing, instead, on the motherly desperation of Aida, a Bosnian translator working for the UN in its “safe haven,” to protect her husband and two sons. Jasna Duricic is sensational as the competent and fiercely determined translator, […]

David Attenborough: A Life on Our Planet – 7.5

It’s hard to “rate” a beautifully made film on the end of the world as we know it, just as it is hard to watch it. I don’t need to be reminded what humans have done to climate, habitat and the cause of biodiversity in the last 70 years, but Attenborough’s personal testimony, measured and […]

Made You Look – 7

A workmanlike talkumentary about the Knoedler Gallery’s sale of 60 forged AbEx paintings, in which all sides are presented but only one is credible. There was nothing here I hadn’t read in ArtNews, but it was interesting to see the characters in person, especially gallerist Ann Freedman, whose icy but unconvincing resolve that she wasn’t […]

Promising Young Woman – 6.5

This is either (1) a biting critique of sex-hungry men (i.e., all men) who take advantage of defenseless women and the women who enable them; and/or (2) a horror film about a psychopath who seeks revenge on all around her through a series of impossible actions. The climax is so implausible that you realize you’d […]

Minari – 5.5

Undoubtedly a worthy film deserving its accolades, but it just didn’t connect. I thought the child actors were lame, the burning barn a melodramatic plot device, and Mr. Yi’s ability to build a working farm almost singlehandedly while holding down another full-time job too unlikely. But what most bothered me was the way every scene […]

I Care A Lot – 4

This New York Times “Critics Pick” allegedly ” seesaws between comedy and horror,” but being neither funny nor scary, what is left? A cartoonish battle between an icy abuser of senior citizens and a Russian mafioso who exploits mules to traffic drugs. Do we care who wins or survives? Not really. There could be a […]