Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

Mission Impossible: Fallout


What can you say that hasn’t already been said? Movies like this are preposterous, so unless you can check your critical faculties at the gate, there’s no point in seeing them. But if you are just looking for a highly entertaining action movie, they don’t get much better than this. And there is that little frisson of incredulity in knowing that that crazy Scientologist is actually Read more »

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs


I will not say that the Coen brothers never strike out (see—or rather, don’t see—The Ladykillers), but their batting average is just about the highest of anyone currently writing and directing films. This one is no exception, a long home run right out of the park. It’s an anthology film, said to be a collection of stories the Coens have ... Read more »

A Simple Favor


Every once in a while an actress comes along that you just like instantly, who is just adorable. Diane Keaton was one. Ellen Page was another. And Abigail Breslin makes three. From the first time I saw Anna Kendrick in Up in the Air, I fell in love. She stole the picture from George Clooney, which ain’t easy. She does shy, awkward, tongue-tied, yet likeable as if ... Read more »


(UK, France, 2014)

Don’t be fooled, as I was, into thinking this is another of those brainless cranked-out commercials to buy teddy bears. Yes, there seems to be Paddington merchandise by the truckload for sale, but the movie is smart, funny, extremely well-made, and even poignant now and then. It has an astronomical 98% at Rotten Tomatoes. Now, I always see that and the Metacritic and the IMDb ratings with ... Read more »

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?


I know many people who have “heroes,” men and women who they admire pretty much without reservation. They will not hear anything bad about their hero. Myself, there are many people who I admire for one thing or another, but I’m quite aware of their flaws, and I don’t give them a pass on them. Martin Luther King is a good example. I wish I didn’t know the things I know about him, I wish ... Read more »

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot


Here’s a movie where possibly I should recuse myself. See, Lee knew John Callahan pretty well. In fact, she typeset the manuscript for the book this movie is loosely based on! And she tells me he was pretty much a total asshole. She says if Callahan were still alive she would #metoo him for showing her that a semi-quad can still get a hard-on. I met him once.

It is undeniable that ... Read more »

All the Pretty Horses


Cormac McCarthy is a conundrum to me. I really admired his novel No Country For Old Men, and the movie the Coen Brothers made from it. I really disliked The Road, book and movie, even if it was on Oprah’s reading list. And I totally hated, hated, hated, hated his book Read more »

Human Nature


Charlie Kaufman is one of my favorite screenplay writers, with a totally unique way at looking at life. Just consider these films: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich, and Adaptation. (He doesn’t always hit it out of the park. I wasn’t too impressed by Anomalisa or Read more »

The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet

(France, Canada, 2013)

Jean-Pierre Jeunet is one of my favorite directors, responsible for Amélie, City of Lost Children, and Micmacs, all gloriously weird and fantastical films. Since 1984 he has made only seven films. I’d sure like to see more, but if it takes him five years to turn out the stuff he does, I’m willing to wait. This is based on a best-selling ... Read more »

Mary Poppins Returns


I challenged myself to get through this review without using the word supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, like every other reviewer has done … only I just screwed up, didn’t I? Oh, well. You know what surprised me, though? My spellchecker didn’t flag it. So I experimented, changing one letter at random … and it was flagged! Clicked on it, and was shown the correct spelling. So the word has ... Read more »