Thursday, December 24, 2020

Ma Rainey's Black Bottom: Movie Review

Viola Davis and Chadwick Boseman’s fight to the end.
Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom has big themes but told in such a small and intimate way, and that paradox, for some (myself included) will feel lacking, not wholly satisfying, despite a very compelling movie with some very powerful performances. August Wilson’s stage play from 1982 is brought to life by Viola Davis as the trailblazing Ma Rainey and the late Chadwick Boseman in his tragically final and finest work.   2020

Directed by: George C. Wolfe

Screenplay by: Ruben Santiago-Hudson
Based on the play by August Wilson

Starring: Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Another Round: Movie Review

Universal themes of life, love and death.

My only previous Thomas Vinterberg experience is with The Hunt. A movie I like but oh so frustrating. Another Round, while also starring Mads Mikkelsen as a teacher, is a very different creature. Another examination of human experience and consequences and action, but more sweeping and all encompassing.   2020

Directed by: Thomas Vinterberg

Screenplay by: Thomas Vinterberg, Tobias Lindholm

Starring: Mads Mikkelsen, Magnus Millang

Saturday, December 19, 2020

Let Them All Talk: Movie Review

Small themes, well crafted characters.

Steven Soderbergh and Meryl Streep collaborations seem like they should be bigger than they are. The Laundromat made very little impact last year and Let Them All Talk seems destined for a similar fate this year. It’s going to have a small impact because it’s a small story. A simple tale of an older woman, a successful author, who has invited her friends on a cruise.   2020

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh

Screenplay by: Deborah Eisenberg

Starring: Meryl Streep, Candice Bergen, Dianne Wiest and Lucas Hedges

Palm Springs: Movie Review

Inventive, clever and funny.

Palm Springs is clever and funny, and it’s a romantic comedy. The concept may be lifted from Groundhog Day but that doesn’t stop the filmmakers from applying it in a unique and inventive way, adding layers to a mainstream comedy. I love how the plot is explored, love the comedy, and how cohesively meshed the two are within the rom-com structure.   2020

Directed by: Max Barbakow

Screenplay by: Andy Siara

Starring: Andy Samberg, Cristin Milioti, Meredith Hagner and J.K. Simmons

Friday, December 18, 2020

Guest House: Movie Review

Stripped of all originality and humanity.

The weird premise – a couple buys a house with a strange man permanently living in the guest house – is the least of Guest House’s problems. It’s just a poorly written, poorly executed comedy that seems to have been created by Netflix’s algorithm to hit all the points that comedies should have and is stripped of any originality or humanity. Turns out it's not a Netflix original, but I stand by that last sentence.   2020

Directed by: Sam Macaroni

Screenplay by: Sam Macaroni, Sean Bishop, Troy Duffy

Starring: Paul Shore, Mike Castle, and Aimee Teegarden

Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Sister of the Groom: Movie Review

Awful people at a wedding.

What sounds like a romantic comedy, or at least a wedding-based comedy, is actually a drama about awful people at a wedding. Audrey (Alicia Silverstone) is stressed. She’s turning 40 soon, her brother is about to be married, she has not yet met the bride-to-be, and her mother died a few years earlier.   2020

Directed by: Amy Miller Gross

Screenplay by: Amy Miller Gross

Starring: Alicia Silverstone, Mathilde Ollivier

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Modern Persuasion: Movie Review

Mature adaptation, limited humour.
Modern Persuasion is literally a modern Persuasion. A 21st century adaptation of the Jane Austen classic. The main themes of a smart, independent, successful woman looking for a second chance at love is reasonably well-suited to today’s world. Austen’s novel, her last, was well received for being mature, and despite the hackneyed plot points or predictable love interests, there is an air of maturity in this version.   2020

Directed by: Alex Appel, Jonathan Lisecki

Written by: Jonathan Lisecki, Barbara Radecki
Based on the novel by Jane Austen

Starring: Alicia Witt, Shane McRae

Saturday, December 5, 2020

I Propose We Never See Each Other Again After Tonight: Movie Review

Funny, romantic and real; occasionally heartbreaking but still optimistic.

I Propose We Never See Each Other Again After Tonight is a stunning achievement for a low-budget Canadian rom-com. Freshman actors pull off this simple story of two strangers meeting and taking a chance on each other to turn this film into a sometimes delightful, sometimes heartbreaking examination of a young relationship.   2020

Directed by: Sean Garrity

Screenplay by: Sean Garrity

Starring: Hera Nalam, Kristian Jordan