Movies: Split, The Handmaiden, Toni Erdmann

Oscar News!

As you undoubtedly know, the 2017 Oscar nominations were announced this week.  Most of the nominations did not come as a surprise to us.  It was quite a busy year in the movie industry.

There were a few big omissions that caught our attention including:

  • Tom Ford, Nocturnal Animals, Screen play
  • Amy Adams, Arrival, Best Actress
  • Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane, Best Actress
  • Jake Gyllenhaal,  Nocturnal Animals, Best Supporting Actor
  • Tom Hanks, Sully, Best Actor
  • Elle, Best Foreign Film

The Academy Awards will be presented February 26 this year.  Unfortunately we will be in the Rajasthan desert of India that day unlikely to have Television access.  But fear not!  We will post our Oscar Predictions Ballot before we leave next Thursday, February 2.

Happy viewing.   J&J


This film was written and directed by the prolific M. Night Shyamalan.  As with most of his movies, there is a contemporary supernatural plot.  This one is especially creepy, intense and somewhat mind boggling.  The focus is on a man with dissociative identity disorder (split personalities).  In this case 23 personalities.

James McAvoy is brilliant as the kidnapper.  The young victims are played well by Haley Lu Richardson, Jessica Sula and Anya Taylor-Joy.   Betty Buckley shines as the psychologist.

It is rated PG-13 but we suggest it is not appropriate for young children.  It is scary and quite unsettling.  It is listed as a Thriller/Drama with a running time of 1 hour 57 minutes.

This is arguably the best film Mr. Shyamalan has delivered in recent years.  “He’s back…”


The Handmaiden

Let’s start with the good.  This film is visually stunning.  The story has more twists and turns than a bag of pretzels.  The acting overall is very good to excellent.  It is a throw back to the grand cinema productions with its fable of love, betrayal and tragedy set in Korea of the 1930’s.

That said, it is broken into three different versions of the same story line, each revealing a different aspect of the plot.  This takes almost three hours to unfold. There are copious scenes depicting erotic fantasy, love and betrayal, and…lots of sex.  OK, call me a prude, but this is just an artsy fartsy porn movie.

The critics loved this film and gave it one of the highest ratings of the year.  The film was released without a rating.  Can you guess why?  Obviously, children should not see this film (and we would suggest adults shouldn’t either!).  Korean and Japanese with English subtitles.


Toni Erdmann

This is a most unusual film.  Toni Erdmann lives in Germany.  He is the estranged father of his career driven daughter who is working in Bucharest as a business consultant.

She is not happy when her Dad unexpectedly shows up and inserts himself, and his copious pranks, into her daily life.  Again the critics are raving about this movie.  Again garnering some of the highest ratings of the year.

Don’t get me wrong.  There are plenty of funny moments.  Unfortunately, much of the humor comes from silly antics and slap stick routines popular years ago.  That said, there is a charming quality to much of the material.  (Many of the scenes of Bucharest brought back warm travel memories too.)

Sandra Huller is exquisite as the daughter.  Peter Simonischek perfect as the goofy father.  Ingrid Bisu shines as the assistant.  There is a large cast of actors playing as business associates and regional locals.

It is rated R for nudity (there is a party that is too funny!) and adult material.  It is not suitable for youngsters.  Here is another 2 hour 42 minute run time.  English, German, Romanian with English subtitles.


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