Nowhere Special, The Golden Hour, Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

Movie 1: Nowhere Special

This is a heartfelt, touching and beautifully made British film. A young father has a terminal illness and is determined to find a home for his 4-year-old son. James Norton, currently at the top of the list to replace James Bond, gives an achingly tender performance. While the title is Nowhere Special, this movie is very special indeed. In limited theatres now, but should be streaming later this summer.


Movie 2: The Golden Hour

This is a very good Dutch thriller six part series currently on Netflix. After a terrorist attack in an Amsterdam market, the lead detective finds himself the prime suspect as he chases a childhood Afghan friend. Really well done. Each episode is about 50 minutes. A second six part series is currently being filmed. In Dutch, but we watched the dubbed English version.


Movie 3: Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace

In theatres for its 25th anniversary, we found this Star Wars rather dull and boring. Meant as a prequel to the original 1977 Star Wars, but unfortunately, the special effects just don’t hold up and seem rather amateurish compared to where the industry is now. Probably better watched on TV, even though worldwide it has raked in a lot of money in one week.


The Fall Guy, Baby Reindeer, We Grown Now

Movie 1: The Fall Guy

This action packed romantic comedy is wonderfully good fun. This is an homage to Hollywood stuntman past, present and future. Inspired by the Lee Majors TV series of the 1980’s, Ryan Gosling is perfect as a down on his luck stuntman. His chemistry with Emily Blount is filled with good humor. Grossing $11,000,000 in its first two days and opening to rave reviews, this is a fun movie to sit back and enjoy.


Movie 2: Baby Reindeer

This is a Netflix six part limited series based on the real life of the main actor. This dark drama/comedy is at times difficult to watch yet totally compelling. A female patron in a bar stalks and terrorizes the male bartender. There is a lot going on here, from sexual abuse to sexual identity. Set in a London pub with a very good British cast.


Movie 3: We Grown Now

This coming of age story is set in the early 1990’s in the infamous Cabrini Green Housing Projects in Chicago. The story of two young friends unfolds slowly, yet poignantly and nostalgically. Good acting all around. Personal note: growing up in Chicago in the 60’s, I had a good friend who was bussed each day from Cabrini Green to my high school on the southwest side.


The Beast, Challengers, Alien 45th Anniversary Re-Release

Movie 1: The Beast

This is a romantic drama thriller set in the near future, near past and we suppose the present. Whatever decade it is in, we found it totally confusing. Which is a shame because the young cast is usually very, very good and the main reason we went to see it. It is two and half hours long and after two hours we finally walked out (it took us that long to wake up from a very nice nap). We should be fair though and say most national critics found this art film very good. English and French, with English subtitles.


Movie 2: Challengers

This is a love triangle drama that seamlessly shifts time between the present and the past. While tennis is the main thread that binds them all together, there is a lot going on here. We found the acting, script and especially the cinematography really well done. While the two main male actors could probably have been better cast, Zendaya shines.


Movie 3: Alien 45th Anniversary Re-Release

This is one of the first horror sci-fi movies and after 45 years it still holds up pretty well. A space crew is returning to earth but find themselves with an unwanted creature on board. Some of the earliest work by a cast of very good actors and writer/director Ridley Scott. Periodically on TV over the years, it’s great to see it on the big screen. Currently in re-release worldwide.


The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare, Abigail, Civil War

Movie 1: The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare

This World War II true story is based on recently released declassified British documents. A small group of fighters try and destroy the Nazi supply lines to their North Atlantic submarines. This is another fun movie by Guy Ritchie. While not exactly sticking to actual events, this action comedy/drama is very watchable and enjoyable.


Movie 2: Abigail

It seems there’s never an end to horror films. This one has a kidnapped vampire ballerina killing, decapitating and eating her kidnappers. Not great filmmaking by any stretch, but still pretty well done.


Movie 3: Civil War

This is a stunning and frighteningly realistic movie about the next American civil war. It follows journalists and war photographers as successionist troops from California and Texas make their way to Washington DC to overthrow the government. Excellent acting, writing and directing. The best movie of the year so far. We’ve seen it twice.


Anna, Sasquatch Sunset, The First Omen

Movie 1: Anna

This is a 2019 Cold War action thriller with lots of twists and turns. A young Soviet woman is recruited to infiltrate the CIA. We very much enjoyed this Netflix movie. Three months after this 2019 movie was released, the very similar Red Sparrow, starring Jennifer Lawrence was also released. Helen Mirren, Cillian Murphy, Luke Evans have very good performances.


Movie 2: Sasquatch Sunset

This is a very odd, yet unique, movie about a Sasquatch family going about their daily lives in the wilds of Northern California. At times it feels gross and absurd, and other times touching and relevant. The cinematography is beautiful. There is no dialogue other than some grunts and groans.


Movie 3: The First Omen

If you are a fan of horror films, or the Omen franchise (this is number six), you may very well like this movie. A young American woman goes to Rome to become a nun. Other than some great shots of Rome, this movie quickly falls apart. And how/why such a wonderful actor as Bill Nighy got involved with this movie is beyond us.


Stolen, Housekeeping for Beginners, What Jennifer Did

Movie 1: Stolen

This is a really well done Swedish drama set in the beautiful north of the country. Local towns folk are killing reindeer from the indigenous Sami people. The underlying conflict is about fighting for justice and indigenous rights. Gorgeous cinematography. Language is Northern Sami, but we watched the dubbed English version. On Netflix.


Movie 2: Housekeeping for Beginners

Set in North Macedonia, this comedy/drama centers around a diverse household of Roma (Gypsy) and LGBTQ young people dealing with child custody. This movie alternates between depressing and joyous, while depicting everyday life. Having returned from North Macedonia just last month, we can attest to the unsettling attitudes between the Christian Orthodox and Muslim populations. And any gay presence there is totally non-existent. The star of this movie is the young child. In Macedonian with English subtitles.


Movie 3: What Jennifer Did

This is a Netflix murder-for-hire documentary/drama about a young Canadian women and what happens to her and her parents during a home invasion. Based on actual events, with real news footage and police interviews, this is an interesting murder story.


An Office and a Gentleman, La Chimera, Femme

Movie 1: An Officer and a Gentleman

We hadn’t seen this movie since it opened in theatres in 1982. Last week AMC had a $5 showing. It holds up surprisingly well. A naval pilot candidate (Richard Gere) falls in love with a Puget Sound paper mill worker (Debra Winger). As the drill sergeant, Louis Gossett, Jr. earns a well deserved Academy Award. If you see it in theatres or streaming on TV, it’s still a really good movie.


Movie 2: La Chimera

To make a living, several friends rob 2,000 year old Etruscan tombs near Rome. It’s a familiar theme of a ‘one last’ heist movie. The cinematography is really good, almost dream like. Yet we found the movie not consistent and confusing. It seems movie critics liked it much more than we did. Always good to see Isabella Rossellini. Italian and some English, with English subtitles.


Movie 3: Femme

This is a very well done, complicated, tense revenge thriller. At times difficult to watch because the hatred and anti-LGBTQ+ violence is brutal and, unfortunately, all too realistic. Set in London, a drag performer gets beat up by a closeted, recently released from prison gay man, trying to impress his drug dealing friends. Months later they both meet again under different circumstances. Subtitles would have been helpful because of the heavy British accents.


Monkey Man, Ripley, Scoop

Movie 1: Monkey Man

This is a very energetic action drama, set in India, about a young man who ekes out a living by fighting. But there is a whole lot more than that going on. With definite political overtones to today’s India, Dev Patel does an excellent job as the movie’s star, writer, producer and director. This is probably the bloodiest and most violent three globe movie we’ve seen in a long time. Not for everyone, but worth seeing.


Movie 2: Ripley

Based on the 1955 novel The Talented Mr. Ripley, this is an eight episode drama on Netflix. Shot totally in black and white, this is a fascinating story of a grifter and con artist as he kills and swindles his way through Italy. Phoenomenal acting by Andrew Scott. Great cinematography and writing. Each episode about 50 minutes. Really well done.


Movie 3: Scoop

This is a very well done British drama about the BBC trying to secure an interview with Prince Andrew after the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. While it is completely unthinkable why the Royal Palace let Prince Andrew sit for an extensive interview on television, let alone him staying at Epstein’s Manhattan townhouse on several occasions, this story is based on fact. Very good acting and writing. On Netflix.


Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire, Wicked Little Letters, AKA

Movie 1: Godzilla x Kong: The New Empire

This is not your typical King Kong or Godzilla movie. It is the fifth movie in the franchise. They join forces to battle a common foe, beneath and above the Earth. While it is entertaining enough, we found it confusing and sometimes slow. Lots of special effects.


Movie 2: Wicked Little Letters

This is an absolutely delightful movie. Based on a true story, and set in 1918 England, someone is sending ‘scandalous’ letters to prominent townsfolk. It made national British headlines at the time. The acting is superb. We saw this movie in London last month and look forward to seeing it again. It opens in the US April 5.


Movie 3: AKA

This is a French action crime thriller. A special agent for the government goes undercover to infiltrate a crime family. Lots of action and well choreographed fight scenes. In French, but we watched the dubbed English version. On Netflix.


The Land of Saints and Sinners, Asphalt City, Mea Culpa

Movie 1: The Land of Saints and Sinners

Once again Liam Neeson delivers a good performance in a very good Irish drama. Set in 1974 Ireland, at the height of “The Troubles,” the peaceful coastal towns of Donegal are rocked by bombs and revenge. The cinematography is beautiful, yet lonely and brooding, much like the movie. Subtitles would have been helpful as the Irish accent can be difficult to understand at times.


Movie 2: Asphalt City

This is an intense drama, set in NYC, as emergency paramedics work the night shift. This is one of the most tense, gritty and raw movies we have seen in a long time. While very well done, acted and interesting, this movie is not for everyone. Once you’ve seen it, it is very difficult to unsee it.


Movie 3: Mea Culpa

This is an erotic thriller written and directed by Tyler Perry. Set in Chicago, this film is full of twists and turns. Many critics did not care for this movie, but we found it entertaining. Good acting by Kelly Rowland. On Netflix.