Category Archives: Movies

BOMBSHELL: THE HEDY LAMARR STORY: the world’s most beautiful woman and her secrets

Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story is the riveting biopic of a glamorous movie star who invented and patented the precursor to wireless technology; that’s amazing enough, but Bombshell delves deeply into how Lamarr’s stunning face, her Jewish heritage, and mid-century … Continue reading

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Stream of the Week: LOUDER THAN BOMBS – an intricately constructed family drama

Norwegian writer-director Joachim Trier’s new film Thelma is rolling out, so it’s a good time to check in with his recent – and overlooked – American movie Louder Than Bombs.  All of Trier’s work (with his writing partner Eskil Vogt) … Continue reading

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WESTERN: alienated man goes native

In the evocative and thought-provoking German drama Western, a crew of German hardhats sets up a construction camp on a remote Bulgarian mountainside to build a water power plant.  They aren’t cultural tourists and certainly not diplomats, and they see … Continue reading

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THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI: raw emotion and dark hilarity

In Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, a powerful combination of raw emotions and dark hilarity, Frances McDormand plays Mildred, a small town woman consumed by the unsolved murder of her daughter.  Mildred doesn’t have the power to solve the murder … Continue reading

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LADY BIRD: genuine and entirely fresh

In Greta Gerwig’s triumphant debut as a writer-director, Lady Bird, Saoirse Ronan plays Christine, a Sacramento teen in her final year of high school. I’ve seen lots of good coming of age movies and lots of high school movies, but … Continue reading

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THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES (NEW AND SELECTED): who cares and why?

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), writer-director Noah Baumbach’s latest family comedy, is entirely character-driven (usually a very good thing). We really don’t see anything on screen that isn’t intended to reveal something about a character – a man’s lack … Continue reading

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LBJ: a Cliff Notes portrait of LBJ, traced through three relationships

Woody Harrelson captures the essence of Lyndon B. Johnson in Rob Reiner’s LBJ.  The best thing about this movie is the main character – probably the most complex and self-contradictory in American history. LBJ was amazingly talented, aspirational, mean, charming, … Continue reading

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MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS: moderately entertaining lark

Although I love mysteries, I have never warmed to Agatha Christie’s fictional detective Hercule Poirot.  In this year’s remake of Murder on the Orient Express, Kenneth Branagh actually made Poirot marginally appealing to me.  Branagh, who also directed, brings to … Continue reading

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DVD/Stream of the Week: SMOKE SIGNALS – Native American roadtrip to laughs and a long-buried secret

The smart and bitingly funny dramedy Smoke Signals is a film about Native Americans written and directed by Native Americans.  Evans Adams plays Thomas Builds-the-Fire, an Indian nerd, a character type almost certainly unique in cinema.  Adam Beach plays his … Continue reading

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Paul Manafort ripped from the headlines in GET ME ROGER STONE

So this week’s biggest news has been the indictment of former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort.  The indictment comes out of special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s probe of the Russian hacking of last year’s presidential campaign.   Earlier this year, Netflix released … Continue reading

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