Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Kid Who Would Be King

(USA, UK, 2019)

Kid finds a sword embedded in a chunk of concrete at a site where a building is being torn down. Pulls it out. Turns out this is Excalibur, and he’s King Arthur’s heir, or something like that. It’s an interesting idea, and it has an unusual twist in that the two school students who have always tormented the kid and his nerd friend end up redeeming themselves by joining in the ensuing ... Read more »

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher

(UK)

There are four series of this: The Murder at Road Hill House, The Murder in Angel Lane, Beyond the Pale, and The Ties That Bind. Jack Whicher was a real cop, back in 1860 when the idea of a detective division was a new one. He was the inspiration for a Charles Dickens character, among other authors. The first series is based on a real ... Read more »

Adrift

(2018)

SPOILER WARNING. I’ve seen a lot of movies lately about being alone in a tiny boat on the boundless sea. There was Robert Redford in the dialogue-free All Is Lost. Then there’s Life of Pi and In the Heart of the Sea. Seems like I’m forgetting one, too. Well, this is a good one. A couple are hired to sail a ... Read more »

The Book Club

(2018)

Four old friends get together every month to discuss a book they have all read. They’ve been doing this for thirty years. This month it is that awful piece of trash (I admit, I haven’t read it, and I can’t imagine why I would) 50 Shades of Grey. It’s sexier than their usual fare. The book leads them to confront problems in their real lives. I wish I could say I ... Read more »

Destroyer

(2018)

When it comes Oscar time next year, I want to nominate … well, I just tried to look it up, but it seems the IMDb has moved the crew part of the Full Cast and Crew to the paid IMDb Pro section, so I don’t know who did the make-up. But he or she managed to make Nicole Kidman, one of the prettiest women I know of, into a face that looked like twenty miles of rough dirt road. And it is utterly ... Read more »

Can You Ever Forgive Me?

(2018)

Like many a comic actor before her, Melissa McCarthy would like to show she be taken seriously in a serious movie. She’s off to a good start with this one, picking up an Oscar nomination for the true story of Lee Israel, a fiction writer whose career is in the toilet, and who finds out she has a talent for creating forged letters from famous writers. For a while there she’s living pretty ... Read more »

Bad Times at the El Royale

(2018)

It is 1969, and four people arrive at a motel that is situated right on the Nevada/California state line. In fact, a red line goes through the middle of the lobby, so you can gamble only on one side. None of these people are what they claim to be, and the motel itself has its own secrets. It is a place that used to be host to members of the Rat Pack and other celebrities, but has fallen ... Read more »

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared

(Hundraåringen som klev ut genom fönstret och försvann, Sweden, France, Germany, 2013)

This was a big hit in Sweden, but probably too quirky to find more than a small audience in America. Like the title says, this old dude escapes from the retirement home where he has been wasting his later life. He goes to the bus station, and through a series of funny events, ends up with a suitcase stuffed with money that belongs to a drug dealer. And so the chase is on. Allen is a little ... Read more »

The Favourite

(2018)

This is a great, and against all my expectations, fairly accurate story of the rivalry between Abigail (later Baroness) Masham (played by Emma Stone) and Sarah Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz) for the affections of and influence over Queen Anne (Olivia Colman). It’s one of the better costume period comedy/dramas. The writing is swell, the acting is terrific. I recommend ... Read more »

The Widow

(2019)

Kate Beckinsale seems to be known mostly for the six films in the Underworld franchise, which we haven’t seen. Since it’s apparently about vampires, we probably won’t see them. Her appearance here makes it easy to believe she can do an action film. She has a physical presence that’s hard to imitate. You either have it or you don’t. This ... Read more »