Movies: Marshall, Darkest Hour, The Shape of Water


Every once in a while a movie is made about real events, real people and history in the making.  This film is perhaps the best example of those characteristics this year.

It is the story about Thurgood Marshall in 1941.  He was the first African American lawyer for the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) and its leader of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.  He was the first black Supreme Court Justice appointed in 1964.

This film has a great screenplay and excellent actors, most notably Chadwick Boseman as Thurgood Marshall.  Kate Hudson plays the socialite Eleanor Hudson.  Josh Gad is superb as the Jewish Defense Attorney.  There is an impressive performance by Sterling K. Brown as the accused rapist.  Dan Stevens is the smug prosecuting attorney and James Cromwell is the grizzly Judge.

It is rated PG-13 with mature thematic content, sexuality, violence and strong language.  It is listed as a Drama/Biography running 1 hour, 58 minutes.  There is a lot of Oscar chatter about this movie and we think it deserves it.


Darkest Hour

This true story is about Great Britain’s entry into World War II while Nazi Germany is sweeping across Western Europe.  The options boil down to negotiate for a peace treaty or hold the course and risk of massive casualties at Dunkirk.

The acting is superb.  Most notably are:  Gary Oldman morphs into Winston Churchill.  Ben Mendelsohn is King George VI.  Lily James is perfect as Churchill’s Secretary.  Kristin Scott Thomas transforms into Clementine Churchill.

This film was strategically released Friday, December 8 to qualify for potential Academy Awards and to benefit from the demand for holiday season films.  Gary Oldman may just have a lock for Best Actor.  Other likely nominations include Best Picture, Cinematography, Screenplay and Costume Design.

It is rated PG-13 for some thematic content.  The genre is Drama/History and runs 2 hours, 5 minutes.  Our favorite scene:  Churchill’s first “subway” ride meets everyday Brits and seeks their opinion about the war.  Genius!


The Shape of Water

Oh my gosh!  What can you say about such a unique, quirky, artistic, sensual film about a mute cleaning lady, a merman from the Amazon (South America, not warehouse) and a cold war bureaucrat/scientist bully.  It is set in 1962 Baltimore.

The acting makes the film plausible.  Michael Shannon is the crazed government scientist.  Doug Jones is unrecognizable but fascinating as the creature.  Sally Hawkins is brilliant as the cleaning lady.  The always amazing Octavia Spencer shines as the friend Zelda.  Richard Jenkins is hilarious as the neighbor Giles.  There is another dozen actors rounding our the cast.

This incredibly creative story manages to weave seemingly conflicting themes together.  The cold war meets an unknown species, weaves in a love story, a cover up becomes a romance and an escape attempt.  Sometimes a bit creepy, occasionally unexpectedly shocking, often charming and totally surprising.

It is rated R for sexual content, graphic nudity, violence and language.  No surprise the genre is noted as Drama, Science Fiction, Fantasy and Romance.  It is absolutely not suitable for children.  It runs one minute short of two hours.

If you are looking for something different, this one is it.  There may be some Oscar material here including Cinematography, Costumes, Visual Effects and more.


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