Welcome to my website!
Have you ever wondered why some critics review films? They don't even seem to like movies that much from what they write. I LOVE movies, and think about them long after the last credits roll across the screen. My reviews are meant to inform, entertain and never have a spoiler.
Enjoy my reviews and please comment and come back frequently! Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

By popular demand: Followup to the Academy Awards!

Elated that Green Book won Best Picture! along with Mahershala Ali as Best Supporting Actor, and for Best Original Screenplay. The Best Picture should always be something uplifting and inspiring I believe, and Green Book hits the mark.
Roma also won three awards: Best Director for Alfonson Cuarón, Best Cinematography, and Best Foreign Language Film. Roma is a good movie, I’m fascinated by Cuarón’s choices, and it will go down in history as a really groundbreaking film.

Sadly, Olivia Colman won Best Actress for The Favourite, nudging out Glenn Close for her stellar performance in The Wife. It’s not that Olivia’s acting wasn’t good; it’s just that it was such a waste of time to watch such drivel.

Black Panther won three awards: Costume Design, Original Score and Production Design. I was surprised about Best Original Score. I could pretty much agree with the other two.

Bohemian Rhapsody cleaned up with four awards: Best Actor for Rami Malek (I still say no one else could have played Freddie), Best Film Editing, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing. 

BlacKkKlansman won only for Best Adapted Screenplay. Finally Spike Lee gets an Oscar. About time.

I didn’t see If Beale Street Could Talk. Regina King, a very fine actress, won Best Supporting Actress for her performance.

Vice won only for Makeup and Hairstyling. Haven’t seen it and don’t care to.

The song Shallow from A Star is Born won for Best Original Song. The duet by Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga during the show was really very sweet.

Free Solo won for Best Documentary Feature. I haven’t seen it yet, and I didn’t see the Live Action and Documentary Shorts. The winner for Documentary Short looks real interesting though. I will try to find it. It is called Period. End of Sentence. and is about women and girls in India.

Best Animated Feature was Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

First Man won Best Visual Effects, and lastly, the delightful animated short film Bao won. Creative and touching it is.

So, that’s my wrap-up for this year. I’ll be posting reviews over the next few weeks of some of the films I saw that I didn’t get time to post prior to the show. What are you glad and sad about over this year’s Oscars?

Cold War

Poland’s entry into the Academy Awards Best Foreign Film category this year, Cold War is a black and white film directed by Pawel Pawlikowski. He won the Best Foreign Film Academy Award in 2015 for Ida, a film I enjoyed that year. Cold War was also nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Director at this year’s Oscars (lost to Roma in all three categories). I really enjoyed this bittersweet film set in the 1950’s in Poland and France at the height of the cold war between communist countries and the “free” world. The film is rated R for some sexual content, nudity and language.

Zula (Joanna Kulig) and Wiktor (Tomasz Kot) meet when musical director Wiktor is helping find young singers and folk dancers to form a traveling Polish dance troupe. Zula is a talented singer and dancer, and a charismatic young woman, and the two fall in love. Wiktor has dreams of being a composer and musician beyond the folk music of Poland, and loves jazz music of the West. 

When the state wants the troupe to sing and glorify Stalin and the communist propaganda, Wiktor especially finds his involvement in the group more and more draining. The two lovers dream of defecting and making their escape to France and the jazz clubs of Paris.

To say their relationship is a long and winding road is not exaggerating. Especially what Zula does to help Wiktor over the years shows her selflessness and deep love for him. 

Did you see Cold War? Do you think it should have won in any of the nominated categories over Roma?

Sunday, February 24, 2019

2019 Academy Awards Wish List (and predictions)

Today is the big day when the envelopes are opened and the winners declared. I watched 14 films whose titles appear in the list of nominations, as well as the Animated Short Films selected for competition. Here is my wish list/predictions:

Best Picture: Green Book. Wonderful film with a happy ending. I love happy endings.

Best Director: Spike Lee for BlacKkKlansman. He deserves his due and this was one of his best films ever.

Best Foreign Language Film: It will probably go to Roma, but I’d like it go to Cold War. Interestingly, both are in black and white cinematography. Cold War is an eloquent look at post WWII Europe in the lives of two entertainers. Although not a happy ending, it is an excellent film.

Best Animated Feature Film: The only one I saw was Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs. I love Wes Anderson films (The Grand Budapest Hotel; Moonrise Kingdom) and I loved Isle of Dogs.

Best Adapted Screenplay: Can You Ever Forgive Me? A true story about a writer, and the screenplay really worked.

Best Original Screenplay: First Reformed. Why not give it to seasoned screenwriter Paul Schrader, who deserves some recognition? It was a really thoughtful film, despite the rather strange ending.

Best Actress: Glenn Close in The Wife. She does a great job with this role, and the story had an ending I did not predict. Good movie.

Best Actor: Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody. No one else could have played Freddy Mercury. No one.

Best Supporting Actress: Marina de Tavira in Roma. Her portrayal of a middle class wife of a physician with four kids was convincing and real.

Best Supporting Actor: Mahershala Ali in Green Book. Sensitive, stellar performance. 

Best Original Song: When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs. The song fit what was happening onscreen so completely. That’s what this category should be, not just a song thrown in at the beginning or ending of a film.

Best Production Design: Give it to Roma.

Best Cinematography: A tie between Cold War and Roma. Roma will probably get this one.

Best Costume Design: Black Panther. Why not? I won’t give anything to The Favourite, the next contender.

Best Sound Editing: A Quiet Place. A good horror film, necessitating skill in the contrast between silence and chaos.

Best Sound Mixing: I don’t know much about this category. I think Bohemian Rhapsody should win given the amounts of music in the film.

Best Animated Short Film:  I loved the little film called Bao, about a dumpling. Perfect little animated story.

Best Original ScoreIsle of Dogs. The music was just so perfect for the action.

Best Visual Effects:  Often this award goes to sci-fi films. Let’s break out of that pattern and give it to Christopher Robin. About Winnie the Pooh and his friends, these little stuffed animals never looked so real! Great work!

Best Film EditingBlacKkKlansman. The choices made going from one integral part of the story to another were just brilliant.

I’m hoping for my favorites to win. Roma is predicted to win almost everything, and Glenn Close for Best Actress. The rest are up for grabs. 

I’ll be tuning in this evening. Who would you like to take home the Oscar?

Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Favourite

The Favourite is not Academy Award material in any way, shape or form. I suspected this after watching the trailer, but then I thought I’d give it a try. How wrong can the Academy be? Plenty wrong.

It is a period piece in the time of Queen Anne of England. Several of the characters were indeed real people in her court, but they were given very different lives in this film. The Favourite is basically about very spoiled rich people doing nothing at all noble or worthwhile in their lives. Too much money and free time make for some very selfish, self-centered people.

Queen Anne (Olivia Coleman) finds herself in a triangle with two of her subjects, Sarah (Rachel Weisz) and Abigail (Emma Stone). Sarah and Abigail are cousins, and Sarah gives down and out on her luck Abigail a job in the court. They soon are at each other’s throats, Abigail wanting to insert her way into a secure “good” life at the castle.

The film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress Olivia Coleman, Best Supporting Actress for both Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone, Best Original Screenplay, Cinematography, Production Design, Costume Design, and Film Editing. Did they just want to nominate a British film to round things out at the Awards? There is really nothing of redeeming value in this film, although individual people may have done a good job with what they were asked to do.

Did you see The Favourite? What did you think of the film?

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

Seeking A Friend for the End of the World is a really nice romantic comedy that my husband and I watched for Valentine’s Day. The title might make it seem like it could be depressing, but it is far from that. I found it to be an uplifting, sweet story. It is rated R for language including sexual references, some drug use and brief violence. (My husband later told me he didn’t like the film as much as I did, and in fact found it rather depressing. So, I think you will either love or hate this film.)

The world is basically given three weeks to live after a last ditch effort to avert a giant 70-square mile meteorite from hitting the earth fails. Once the meteorite hits the planet that will be the end for life as we know it. Dodge (Steve Carell) hears this announcement with his wife Linda (Nancy Carrell), who promptly leaves him.

The news of the impending extinction of the species is met with various reactions amongst the hapless humans. Some veer into unbridled sex and partying, others become suicidal, and even go so far as to ask for help from a hit man to kill them. Dodge’s neighbor Penny (Keira Knightley) is distraught and wanting to see her family who is across the ocean in Britain, and having trouble with her on again/off again boyfriend Owen (Adam Brody). Dodge and Penny team up to survive, as some of the citizens are looting like crazy and destroying everything in sight.

Their journey together is sweet as they come to know each other better, despite a bit of an age difference (Dodge initially is put off by this, but I didn’t think it that strange that they’d be attracted to each other). What else do you do when you know death is imminent? Make amends and patch old grudges with family members and ex’s.

The action takes place on the East coast of the U. S. and as the people retreat to their homes, stillness sets in that is somehow calming. I recently read the apocalyptic novel, The Stand by Stephen King and I found myself thinking about his story as this film progressed. His story is of course a very dark drama, but a similar question is asked: if the worst were happening, what would people do? Rise to a higher moral and ethical ground, or regress to become just a bunch of live for today hedonists?

I liked this film, and Steve and Keira do a great job with their roles. Steve especially shows such subtle emotion on his face and with his actions; he is a really skilled actor. What would you do if you knew the world was ending in three weeks? You know it will end for you someday, probably not all at once like in this film, but someday. Live every moment present, wouldn’t you? That is what Seeking a Friend for the End of the World suggests to me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019


Spike Lee holds a mirror up to American society in his excellent film BlacKkKlansman. The film is based on the true story of Ron Stallworth, the first African-American police officer in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The film was nominated for six Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director Spike Lee, Best Supporting Actor Adam Driver, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Score by Terence Blanchard, and Best Film Editing. It is rated R for language throughout, including racial epithets, and for disturbing/violent material and some sexual references.

Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) and his fellow officer Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver) infiltrate the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. While Ron talks to clan members on the phone, including David Duke (Topher Grace), Flip attends the group’s meetings, target practice and pool games as Ron. He is suspected of being Jewish, which he is. Almost found out several times, it is a dangerous operation they’ve worked their way into. The local chapter of the KKK is suspected of planning a terrorist attack against the black student union at Colorado College. 

There is much tension and suspense in this film, as well as some really great moments between Ron and Patrice (Laura Harrier), president of the black student union. It is really disconcerting hearing the racial epithets and negative talk coming out of Ron’s mouth, a black man with his own trials living in the 1970’s.

I’ve always liked Spike Lee’s films and this one is another very finely crafted story. He deserves Best Director this year for this very timely film.

Did you see BlacKkKlansman? What did you think of the film? Do you think it should win Best Picture too?

Saturday, February 09, 2019

Black Panther

Black Panther has been nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Original Song, Production Design, Costume Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, and Original Score. It is rated PG-13 for prolonged sequences of action violence, and a brief rude gesture. I don’t follow Marvel films, rarely see them, and I’m not really interested in action, super-hero films.

But I watched it (on streaming Netflix) due to all the buzz about its nominations this award season. As expected, it is a super-hero movie, with all the high tech wizardry the film industry has perfected in order to make other worlds seem almost plausible.

Where this film is unique is in its characters, who live in Wakanda, an entirely black community deep in Africa, hidden from the rest of the world. The story briefly travels to LA where some of the Wakandans had lived. Some things I liked about the movie was how the warrior-king, the Black Panther, time travels with the aid of a medicinal drug to speak to his ancestors. These are some of the most moving scenes. I also enjoyed a bit of a nod to James Bond movies, where T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) and his companions run into a CIA agent (Martin Freeman) where the intrigue turns into spy kind of antics. 

I also really liked the ending where T’Challa is speaking to the United Nations with a message that taken a certain way could be important to our times. (Be sure to stay tuned for this, as it occurs after some ending credits.) The fighting was boring, as usual.

Did you see Black Panther? Do you like super-hero action films, and did you think this one broke out of the genre?

Tuesday, February 05, 2019


Roma, by Alfonso Cuarón, has netted 10 Academy Award nominations, all very well deserved. A stunning film in black and white cinematography, it is one incredible look over a year in the life of a middle class family in Mexico City in the early 1970’s. The film is rated R for graphic nudity, some disturbing images and language.

The Academy Award nominations include Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Film, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Actress Yalitza Aparicio, Best Supporting Actress Marina de Tavira, Best Original Screenplay, Best Production Design, Sound Editing, and Sound Mixing.

Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio) is a dedicated nanny/maid, and serves the family she works for in any way she can. The family’s father is a physician who is not often at home, and his four children and wife Sofia (Marina de Tavira) are mostly left to fend for themselves with the assistance of their “servants.” I found Cleo to be a self-aware young woman with strengths perhaps she didn’t even know she had at the beginning of the year in Roma.

I recall watching two other of Cuarón’s films, Y Tu Mamá También, and Gravity (for which he won Best Director). Very different films, and both wonderfully innovative. In Roma, I found myself wondering about his choices. There is nothing in a screenplay that is unintentional, and there are surprising situations and relationships that the film depicts. Not once did I feel anything was less than the truth about a fictional family. What women endure.

Have you watched Roma? It is easy to see as it is on streaming Netflix. How did you feel after watching it?

Saturday, February 02, 2019

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

A Netflix original, I thought The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society might make a good romantic film to watch. It was. The film is rated TV-14.

It is 1946, and London is struggling in the aftermath of the bombings they endured during World War II. Juliet Ashton (Lily James) is an ambitious writer and author. She has a handsome American boyfriend, Mark Reynolds (Glen Powell), and a somewhat demanding publisher, Sidney Stark (Matthew Goode). She receives a letter from Dawsey Adams (Michiel Huisman), a man living on Guernsey, a British island in the English Channel that was occupied by Nazi Germany during the war.

She begins a correspondence with Dawsey, and crosses the English Channel to see Guernsey and this literary society for herself, hoping to get a really great story out of it.

Although we see courage and even heroism in the flashbacks to the occupation, war is not a glamorous time. The children on Guernsey were sent away for their protection just as the children of London were sent to the country to protect them from the barrage of Nazi bombings.

What made the story that much more interesting was the historical background of World War II. Although a fictional tale, it is historical fiction with certain details true to the times. I recommend The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society if you like a story from this era. Be sure to have some tissue handy!

Have you seen this film? Do you think it recreated the times convincingly?