Best Game (This Week’s Movies)


Jessica Chastain, Chris O’Dowd: Molly’s Game

Links to my reviews published this week in the Seattle Weekly and the Herald, and etc.

Molly’s Game. “One of the ways this film is refreshing is that it’s about process, not romance. Sorkin is concerned with how systems operate, so we learn the intricacies of a floating poker game — but we don’t waste any of the film’s 140 minutes on Bloom in love.”

And another link to my Herald Ten Best list, which includes Ten Worst, if that’s your deal.

Movie Diary 12/26/2017

The Old Curiosity Shop (Thomas Bentley, 1934). From the Dickens novel, which I’ve never read. It is one weird movie, especially Hay Petrie’s out-there performance as Mr. Quilp, but it does capture a Dickensian spirit.

The Holly and the Ivy (George More O’Ferrall, 1952). A Christmas movie that you’ve probably seen. Ralph Richardson, Celia Johnson, Margaret Leighton, and Denholm Elliott lead the cast. It isn’t sugar-plummy, that’s for sure – family unhappiness in the orbit of a set-in-his-ways parson, played by Richardson.

Dunkirk (Leslie Norman, 1958). Another movie by that name. John Mills and his (surprisingly malcontent) platoon are stuck on the beach; Richard Attenborough is a timorous boat-owner who reluctantly volunteers to ferry ‘cross the English Channel. A solid treatment of the event, laced through with postwar discontent.

2017 Ten Best Movies


Kyle MacLachlan, Twin Peaks: The Return

For 2017, I have an annotated list at Seattle Weekly, and a list that includes a Ten Worst at the Herald.

  1. Twin Peaks: The Return (David Lynch)
  2. Phantom Thread (Paul Thomas Anderson)
  3. Get Out (Jordan Peele)
  4. Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh)
  5. A Quiet Passion (Terence Davies)
  6. The Lovers (Azazel Jacobs)
  7. Detroit (Kathryn Bigelow)
  8. The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro)
  9. Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas)
  10. Logan (James Mangold)

Call Me Darkest Downsizing (This Week’s Movies)


Armie Hammer, Timothee Chalamet: Call Me by Your Name

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly.

Call Me by Your Name. “Although the material occasionally steers in the vicinity of a 1980s teen romance directed by Randall Kleiser (Summer Lovers fans, you know who you are), there’s enough torment and joy generated to cast a real spell. ” (Herald link here.)

Downsizing. “Its saving grace is the loopiness of its basic idea.” (Herald link here.)

Darkest Hour. “Aside from Oldman’s frisky pleasure in hamming it up, Darkest Hour collapses in a great pile of hogwash. ” (Herald link here.)

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. “Johnson is in his usual self-parodying mode, and he banters well with the perpetually adrenalized Hart.”

Movie Diary 12/20/2017

Custer of the West (Robert Siodmak, 1967). A generally mystifying account of Custer (played by Robert Shaw as though biting down hard on something throughout), portrayed very cynically through his post-Civil War career. Episodic and lumbering, but with a few interesting moments, some of which are served up by Lawrence Tierney’s Gen. Philip Sheridan. Ty Hardin and Jeffrey Hunter play Reno and Benteen, and Robert Ryan turns up in a small role in one self-contained episode. Shaw might have made a strong Custer, but the film never seems to know what it thinks about him.

Movie Diary 12/19/2017

Darkest Hour (Joe Wright, 2017). Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill, over the course of a few days in 1940. Certainly a fascinating true story, not that you’d know it from this shameless piece of hokum. (full review 12/20)

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (Jake Kasdan, 2017). If you’re going to do a Jumanji movie, you might as well get Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack Black, and Karen Gillan to leap around and crack jokes in it. But then I didn’t think the original Jumanji was that bad either, so go figure. (full review 12/22)

Jedi Beach (This Week’s Movies)


Daisy Ridley: Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (courtesy Lucafilm Ltd.)

Links to my reviews published this week in the Herald and Seattle Weekly, and etc.

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi. “It is positively giddy about being a Star Wars movie.”

On the Beach at Night Alone. “There should be more snacking in movies, and Hong delivers.”

Ferdinand. “Enjoyable but spotty.”