Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Moonlight

(2016)

Right off the bat I will tell you that I do not think this is the best picture of 2016. I have seen only five of the nine nominees, have not seen the pre-Oscar favorite, La La Land, but of those I have seen I think Hacksaw Ridge and Arrival are both better ... Read more »

Spy in the Wild

(UK, 2017)

I figure Walt Disney was the father of the modern wildlife documentary. I remember features like White Wilderness, which famously faked footage of lemmings hurling themselves over a cliff. (The photographers were throwing them!) There was The Vanishing Prairie and The Living Desert. There were also short ... Read more »

The Hunt for the Wilderpeople

(New Zealand, 2016)

This movie tries very hard to be liked, and I really wanted to like it, I really did. It’s about a twelve-year-old boy in New Zealand, a kid who gets in trouble a lot. He is placed in a foster home way, way out in the bush, where he quickly learns to like the first real home he has ever had. But the nice woman who takes care of him dies suddenly and he is left with her grumpy, anti-social ... Read more »

The Ruling Class

(UK, 1972)

I liked this much better when it was new. Peter O’Toole bought the rights to the play this was based on, and you can see why. He plays a man who inherits the title of 14th Earl of Gurney after #13, played wonderfully by Harry Andrews, accidentally hangs himself while dressed in a ballet tutu. (This was the first time I recall hearing of auto-erotic asphyxia, which was the cause of David ... Read more »

Rain Man

(1988)

When this was made autism was not well-understood by the public or even, to some extent, by the medical community. (One thing we do know is that it is not caused by childhood vaccinations.) Since then we have described what is known as the “autism spectrum.” On one end are people so handicapped that they can’t tie their shoes, and have to wear diapers. On the ... Read more »

Mascots

(2016)

Christopher Haden-Guest, 5th Baron Haden-Guest (yes, that really is his name) was one of the writers of This is Spinal Tap, one of the best “mockumentaries” ever made. He also played one of the boys, Nigel Tufnel. He is one of my favorite directors but he works all too infrequently. When he does, he is the best there is at this type of movie.

America is ... Read more »

Sabrina

(1954)

Now and then I get to fill in a blank, see a classic movie that I somehow missed. This was one. I’ve always heard good things about it, but just kept missing it. Now I’ve seen it, and it deserves its ranking as a classic. Billy Wilder directed. It was Audrey Hepburn’s second movie, and cemented her status as Hollywood’s new princess. Now, of course, she is one of the Legends. Humphrey ... Read more »

Loving

(2016)

I just have to vent a little before actually reviewing this film. Everyone knows who Rosa Parks was, but I’ll bet very few people who have not actually studied the civil rights movement would know the names of Richard and Mildred Loving. In 1958 they went to Washington, D.C., to get married. They returned to their home in Virginia, and not long after, in the middle of the night, the cops ... Read more »

Always

(1989)

I just looked through Steven Spielberg’s filmography and it is as I suspected: He has never directed anything that could qualify as a romance. He is an action-adventure sort of guy. And that’s fine; he’s good at it. This is as close as he’s ever come to a romance, and it’s a fairly off-beat one, with plenty of action.

It’s a remake of A Guy Named Joe, a ... Read more »

Network

(1976)

Here’s a movie that I have to review twice. The thing is, I saw one movie forty-one years ago, and another movie last night. I will call them Then, and Now.

THEN: If there was ever a better screenwriter than Paddy Chayefsky I’ve never heard of him. William Goldman is great, but he’s not deep. Ernest Lehman, Ingmar Bergman, Woody Allen, the Coen Brothers … all wonderful. But none of ... Read more »