The Irishman

Too much hype? Sure, it’s ambitious, but especially at this length, it’s a difficult story to follow, even if you come to it with some knowledge of the Jimmy Hoffa story.

And poor Al Pacino… really? You’re going to bellow your way through this role too? I’ve said it many times before, and I’m not going to stop now: One. Trick. Pony.

De Niro is better, but then, De Niro is better. While we may have seen these tics and mannerisms many times before, he at least inhabits his character, and is fun to watch.

The Favourite

The cheesy phrase “deliciously wicked” comes to mind. I do prefer my period pieces to have a bit of wink, wink, nudge, nudge (Peter Greenaway and Baz Luhrmann come to mind), and this film falls into that category. The three leads strike just the right balance, and then – slip, twist, pivot – imbalance. I’ve always liked Rachel Weisz, but Emma Stone has grown on me. As for the queen, Olivia Colman gives the perfect, nuanced performance. She deserved her Oscar.

Jackie

I think I read that there is archival footage interspersed with the scenes of this movie, but if so, it is done so well that it’s almost seamless.

The accent is a bit off-putting at first, but I’m guessing it’s pretty accurate. Natalie Portman is a tour de force here, present as she is in nearly every scene. By the end, I’d almost forgotten it wasn’t really Jackie O.

Jane Got a Gun

Natalie Portman is probably too attractive for this role. But then, she nearly always is. Tough, good-looking woman with a gun, what’s not to like?

Love & Friendship

This should be fertile ground for Whit Stillman, that lover of manners, class mores, and dialogue. And it’s enjoyable, but somehow lacks the punch of his more contemporary efforts – watch them first!

The Seven Five

In an era when dash cams and citizens with cell phones record the worst kind of police brutality and abuse of power, this story may seem like a quaint piece of history, but in his day… there was police corruption, and then there was Michael Dowd. Wow. This guy was epic, with his cash grabs and protection of dealers, etc.

However, in his testimony, as well as in the filmed interviews, he comes across as a pretty stand-up guy. And the fact that he refused to implicate any other of his fellow officers raises him in my estimation. I don’t think he ever shot anybody without justifiable cause…

Somm: Into the Bottle

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more interesting film about wine. There’s about 2000 years of vinicultural history packed into these 90 minutes. If you don’t know much about wine, and want to know what all the fuss is about, this is your film. If you are already knowledgable, you’ll enjoy it all the more. Pour yourself a glass, and watch it.

Dante’s Inferno

Well I liked this a good deal more than The Last Dancer in the World. Familiarity with the subject matter, maybe? I’ve always been a fan of the Pre-Raphaelites. However, it’s mostly the paintings that I am familiar with, not the story of their lives. This is an opportunity to learn a bit about that.

Russell’s style lends itself to these period piece films, and the cast all seem to be of the era, with just the right facial features and hair, perfect costumes…

Spotlight

This year’s Oscar winner is a throwback to an “All the President’s Men” kind of film. Well done. Praise for the script, for the casting (although I’ll never be able to think of John Slattery as anyone other than Roger Sterling), for the acting, for the editing…