Toni Erdmann: Imagine Groucho Marx as your father

A- Comedy/drama Written and directed by Maren Ade Try to imagine a Marx Brothers movie weaved into a reasonably realistic family comedy/drama that runs almost three hours. Even more amazingly, imagine that it works, and for the most part, works beautifully. Toni Erdmann places an incorrigible prankster and practical joker into the world of giant corporations … Continue reading Toni Erdmann: Imagine Groucho Marx as your father

The Salesman: Arthur Miller & Sexual Assault in Iran

A Drama Written & directed by Asghar Farhadi An intruder assaults a woman in her own bathtub. As she slowly recovers physically and tries to recover emotionally, her husband's obsession with finding and punishing the perpetrator only makes things worse. In The Salesman, all points of view, and all emotional reactions, are understandable and believable--even when … Continue reading The Salesman: Arthur Miller & Sexual Assault in Iran

Julieta: A sad yet sexy tale of love and loss

A drama Written by Pedro Almodovar; adapted from three stories by Alice Munro Directed by Pedro Almodovar The opening credits appear over what looks like deep-red curtains. We know we're in for a lush, romantic story with high emotions. When we meet the middle-aged Julieta (Emma Suárez), she seems to have everything she could want: a … Continue reading Julieta: A sad yet sexy tale of love and loss

Hidden Figures: Prepare to Cheer

B+ Historical drama Written by Allison Schroeder and Theodore Melfi From a non-fiction book by Margot Lee Shetterly Directed by Theodore Melfi When you think about the people who put the first Americans into space, you probably imagine a bunch of white men. You might occasionally remember an astronaut's wife, but her job was limited … Continue reading Hidden Figures: Prepare to Cheer

The Brand New Testament takes God down several notches

A Comedy Written by Thomas Gunzig & Jaco Van Dormael Directed by Jaco Van Dormael In this funny, silly, sacrilegious, and surprisingly touching comedy from Belgium, God proves to be a real asshole. He finds great joy is making innocent people suffer. He pronounces new rules for the universe, such as the one that requires … Continue reading The Brand New Testament takes God down several notches

Old Stone finds drama and violence from society’s inhumanity

B Drama turned thriller Written and directed by Johnny Ma Intended as a critique of Chinese society, Johnny Ma's first feature shows us a man economically trapped for committing a good deed. But Old Stone loses its way in the third act, when it shifts from serious social drama to attempted thriller. In the confusing … Continue reading Old Stone finds drama and violence from society’s inhumanity

Mifune documentary enjoyable and enlightening

B+ Documentary Directed by Steven Okazaki If you have any interest at all in Japanese cinema, you're bound to enjoy Mifune: The Last Samurai, a love letter to the legendary movie star. Even if you already know a great deal about Toshiro Mifune, you'll probably learn something new. For instance, I discovered through this film that … Continue reading Mifune documentary enjoyable and enlightening