This is a marvelous semi-autobiographical film based on Stephen Spielberg’s adolescence. An aspiring young filmmaker explores the wonders of movie making while growing up with antisemitism in New Jersey and Northen California. The acting, writing, directing and cinematography should all be Oscar nominated at the very least. A wonderful don’t miss movie!
Movie 2: The Good Nurse
This Netflix movie is based on a true story. An ICU nurse is suspected of killing several patients in New Jersey. The movie is intentionally slow as each character develops and becomes fascinating. Excellent acting by Jessica Chastain and Eddie Redmayne.
Movie 3: Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery
A tech billionaire has a party on his private Greek island, inviting several friends to a murder mystery game. Daniel Craig is a famous detective trying to solve the mystery. This movie does not take itself seriously. The all star cast and whodunit atmosphere make for a fun movie. Currently in movie theatres but will be on Netflix December 23.
This is a dark comedy/horror film about a world class chef that sets up a lavish dinner on a remote island. And there happens to be more on the menu than just Michelin star food. Ralph Fiennes, as the chef, sets the tone perfectly.
Movie 2: Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
If you saw the first Black Panther you will very much enjoy this sequel. The acting, cinematography, action and costumes are all first rate. The star studded cast makes this movie fun to watch. Angela Basset is always wonderful.
Movie 3: Ticket to Paradise
This is a romantic comedy set in Bali, Indonesia. Julia Roberts and George Clooney play the divorced parents attending their daughters wedding. Their chemistry together is marvelous. While not a great film, this movie is a whole lot of fun.
We thought this movie about the life of David Bowie was going to be a documentary. While the archival footage of Bowie’s life is voluminous, it’s more of a philosophical drama than a true documentary. If you are a David Bowie fan, you will find this movie a masterpiece. We found it long and loud.
Movie 2: The Forgotten Battle
This WWII drama is historically accurate with the Canadian Army leading the way to liberate an important Dutch harbor. This movie follows a young Dutch girl who joins the resistance and a British glider pilot shot down in a Dutch town. On Netflix. Dutch with dubbed English.
Movie 3: The Perfumier
We found this German thriller totally confusing. A female detective loses her sense of smell and tries to steal a remedy from a deranged sociopath. Way too many twists and turns. On Netflix. German with English subtitles.
For the first half hour or so this horror/slasher movie was quite good and entertaining. Then it just fell apart. Pearl is trapped and isolated on her family farm, taking care of her sick father and obeying her overbearing mother. Then it’s Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz meets the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.
Movie 2: Don’t Worry Darling
This movie premiered in September at the Venice International Film Festival and has all the right ingredients: beautiful people, location, clothes and cinematography. But it just doesn’t deliver. Set in the California desert in 1953, a young couple seemingly lives an idyllic life, until they don’t. Part drama, part sci-fi but mostly a very confusing, yet beautifully filmed, mess.
Movie 3: Lou
A young girl is kidnapped on the San Juan islands of Washington State. Her mother, and a neighbor, try to find her. We found this thriller gripping and tense, and a showcase for the always wonderful Allison Janney. Currently on Netflix.
Set in 1823, an all-female warrior group defends the Kingdom of Dahomey (today the country of Benin) in West Africa from the American and Brazilian slave trade. This is a remarkable movie from beginning to end. Powerful, beautifully filmed and acted. Numerous Oscar nominations are likely. Seek this one out.
Movie 2: A Jazzman’s Blues
This southern drama from Tyler Perry is as long and languid as a Georgia summer night. This is an investigation into an unsolved murder that is full of secrets, deceit and forbidden (and in 1953) unlawful love. The acting, cinematography and script are flawless. Currently in theatres but soon on Netflix.
Movie 3: No Limit
Set in the south of France, a college student from Paris decides to take free form diving lessons. Based on a true story, this film alternates between suspenseful, steamy and just plain sad. Ultimately it loses its way. French with dubbed English. On Netflix.
This is a Czech epic, set in 1419, based on the life of Jan Zizka, a famous Hussite commander who never lost a battle. The movie’s title is very apropos given the blood and brutality. While not easy to watch, and not liked by many critics, we found the cinematography and action scenes very true to the times.
Movie 2: See How They Run
This is an Agatha Christie mystery spoof set in 1953 London’s West End. It is a who-dun-it comedy based on Christie’s long running play The Mousetrap (still running in London today). While there is not a lot of “meat” to this mystery, we found it entertaining and just plain fun.
Movie 3: The Champion of Auschwitz
This Polish drama, based on a true story, about a boxer who has many victories in the ring against Nazi guards is riveting. His victories become a symbol of hope in the concentration camp. Netflix, Polish with dubbed English.
This movie was filmed in the Mojave desert using IMAX cameras. Two mountain climbing friends decide to scale a 2,000 foot obsolete radio tower. Once on top it all starts falling apart, literally. We found this movie entertaining with great cinematography. However, if you are at all afraid of heights, this movie can be stomach turning.
Movie 2: The Territory
This documentary about burning the Amazon rain forest, stealing land from indigenous peoples, climate change has all the right ingredients. Yet we found it boring, too clinical and ultimately disappointing. Portuguese with English subtitles.
Movie 3: Barbarian
Here is another Horror film from which we weren’t expecting much. A young woman on a job interview rents a Detroit house that is already rented by a young man. They soon realize this house has more in it than the two of them. While not particular fans of this genre we found the movie scary, interesting and really well done.
This 1975 classic has aged very, very well and is still a classic. We saw it on IMAX on $3 Saturday. If it’s in a theatre near year, buy a large bag of popcorn (with butter, of course!) and sit back and enjoy.
Movie 2: Waiting for Bojangles
This is a French film that depicts mental illness with almost a party like quality set in the glorious south of France. The acting is outstanding, as is the cinematography. While not always easy to watch, we found this film mesmerizing. French with English subtitles.
Movie 3: Gigi and Nate
We really did not expect much from this movie and decided to see it to escape a 97 degree San Francisco afternoon. Were we pleasantly surprised! A young college bound man suffers an illness that leaves him quadriplegic. A capuchin monkey becomes his support animal. This coming-of-age drama hits all the right notes. And it’s always wonderful to see Diane Ladd.
This religious comedy/dark satire debuted in January at the Sundance Film Festival to very favorable reviews. It’s the directorial debut of writer-director Adamma Ebo. A disgraced televangelist pastor and his wife try and reopen their church. Acting, writing, costumes are very good and very timely. In theatres and also streaming on Peacock.
Movie 2: Alienoid
Here’s another Korean film, that if American made, would no doubt be a summer blockbuster. Aliens come down to earth and inhabit normal human bodies. The movie spans many centuries from 1380 to present day. The action and special effects are first rate. The almost two and half hours flew by. Korean with English subtitles.
Movie 3: The Invitation
Here is yet another vampire movie! We aren’t generally fans of this genre. But we found this film intelligent (well, as far as vampire movies go) and very entertaining. An American girl is invited to the English countryside to attend a cousins wedding. Let’s just say more than wine is served at the reception…
This Spanish film was Spain’s entry for the 94th Academy Awards and received 20 Goya Award nominations in Spain. Javier Bardem shines as the not so ethical boss trying to help his company win an industrial award. Spanish with English subtitles.
Movie 2: Three Thousand Years of Longing
This movie about life, love and longing is based on A.S. Byatt’s 1994 short story The Dijinn in the Nightingale’s Eye. Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba, who plays the genie in the bottle, have wonderful on screen chemistry. A very enjoyable and thought provoking movie.
Movie 3: Me Time
This is a Netflix movie about a stay at home dad (Kevin Hart) who attends his best friends (Mark Wahlberg) wild 44th birthday party. There are some funny jokes but overall it’s just ok. Maybe save this for a rainy night.