Recent Reviews

 

Best Films 2018

When it comes to the list, I have no proclivity to win popular tastes. I have a few hits, a few misunderstood titles I want to defend, a few obscure titles and a few I am predicting will be discovered with cult devotion decades down the line […]

 
 

If Beale Street Could Talk

The romantic love swoons mighty and rapturously in the opening minutes of If Beale Street Could Talk, an adaptation of the 1974 James Baldwin novel that is one of the best films of the year. Tish and Fonny have known each other since childhood […]

 
 

Roma

The shimmering, but overlit cinematography is what beckons attention – it screams ART. Beneath the look of the film, there’s a little something there, in what should be looked at as a personal little ditty for director Alfonso Cuaron (“Gravity”). The main character of Roma (Mexico, in English subtitles) is a servant […]

 
 

The Favourite

Yorgos Lanthimos has become a fierce force of high provocative filmmaking (“The Lobster,” “The Killing of a Sacred Deer”), and now he has made a costume period drama that elevates the new standard of what a costume period drama could or should be. The Favourite takes place in eighteenth century England […]

 
 

Green Book

A race relations picture set in 1962 that’s also a road movie. Green Book crosscuts two formulas but it’s not a forced crosscut. It’s based on a friendship that really happened, one between bouncer and father Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen) and black musician Doc Shirley (Mahershala Ali). Doc needs a driver and […]

 
 

Shoplifters (Japan)

Initially absorbing, then a little scattered. In Shoplifters (Japan, in English subtitles), what appears to be a middle class father in his weekend clothes goes supermarket shopping with his son is actually a well-rehearsed inventory theft – dad has taught his boy all the tricks […]

 
 

Widows

Steve McQueen, the director, has thought of a different way to do a heist thriller. Widows is an intricately plotted drama where the surviving wives of dead criminals out of realistic desperation have to steal millions to settle a score. Two million has been stolen from the political campaign […]

 
 

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

There is a highly worth watching new Coen Brothers’ western that is comedy/drama/satire/tragedy that is simultaneously being released into theaters and onto Netflix streaming. It’s not going to endure as one of their classics you obsess with, but it is terrific here and there. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs has vistas so gloriously generous […]

 
 

Bohemian Rhapsody

Even as a casual fan of the momentous band Queen which rocked the ’70’s and ’80’s, I can tell when the music biopic Bohemian Rhapsody is filtered or watered-down, or just plain lying to me. Rami Malek is at times electric as Freddie Mercury […]

 
 

The Hate U Give

It’s a welcome footnote, and antidote to these politically ugly times, that we get a compassionate youth novel turned big screen movie in the name of The Hate You Give and that it becomes a minor breakout hit and talking point on racism […]

 
 

First Man

First Man has a stunning, auspicious opening – the kind that leads you to believe this is going to be a very good movie! – as Armstrong is seen breaking the atmosphere with a rocket plane, with a few moments of him losing control, being short on fuel, and possibly getting drifted into outer space […]

 
 

A Star is Born

It’s the showbiz melodrama that is injected with such pitch-perfect delivery and wide-eyed perception that it blows away comparisons. A Star is Born features practically perfect performances by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper (who also directed), who both time and time again miraculously find the essence of the moment […]