Story Marriage (This Week’s Links)


Scarlett Johansson, Adam Driver: Marriage Story (Netflix)

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

Marriage Story. “At times harrowing but often blazingly funny.”

Still traveling, but will catch up on diary-ing next week. Meantime, if you’re looking for a holiday gift, consider the new book For Kids of All Ages: The National Society of Film Critics on Children’s Movies. The idea of “children’s movies” is very flexible here (I wrote about The Night of the Hunter and Lady Bird, among others), so this is by no means kid stuff. Publisher link here.

Frozen Honey Day (This Week’s Movies)


Tom Hanks: A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Sony Pictures)

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

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood. “What really puts it over is Hanks, doing a wonderful balancing act. He’s willing to let Mr. Rogers be somewhat enigmatic, and yet his performance suggests that doing good is a choice, and an effort.”

Frozen II. “A smartly-turned piece of family entertainment. It is also redundant, somehow even more than most sequels.”

Honey Boy. “Ha’rel creates a woozy, sunbaked style for the material. She has a talent for finding the rhythm of intense exchanges between characters—and there are quite a few of those here.”

Not posting for What a Feeling! or Scarecrow Video this week, because I am in Germany as a FIPRESCI jury member at the Mannheim-Heidelberg Film Festival. I will post brief diary entries on the films I’ve seen after we give our award on Saturday. Prost!

Irishman Angels Report (This Week’s Movies)


Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Lucy Gallina: The Irishman (Netflix)

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

The Irishman. “Everything from the color of the drapes to the way people eat cereal has been shaped; you can feel Scorsese’s care.”

Charlie’s Angels. “The whole thing goes down fairly breezily. ”

The Report. “Thanks in part to Driver’s committed performance, we never lose awareness that something urgent and tragic is at play.”

For the Scarecrow Video blog, I contribute something about Frankie and some of Ira Sachs’s other work.

At What a Feeling! this week, more 1980s reviews: Oliver Stone’s Born on the Fourth of July, Paul Mazursky’s Enemies, a Love Story; Arthur Hiller’s The Lonely Guy, Nick Castle’s The Last Starfighter, and Roger Donaldson’s The Bounty.


Movie Diary 11/13/2019

Frozen II (Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, 2019). Not sure when the embargo is on this. Anyway, I saw it. It is another Frozen film. (full review 11/21)

Dark Waters (Todd Haynes, 2019). Mark Ruffalo as a real-life lawyer who exposed DuPont’s foul practices. Despite its social-issue urgency, the film is entirely consistent with the Haynes of Superstar and Safe, as a portrait of the illness that thrives underneath the surface of all-American life. (full review 11/21)

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (Marielle Heller, 2019). Tom Hanks as Mr. Rogers, although the story is about the journalist who interviewed the TV host. Hanks does not disappoint. (full review 11/21)

Movie Diary 11/12/2019

Charlie’s Angels (Elizabeth Banks, 2019). Leaning more toward comedy than action here, as this batch of Angels (Kristen Stewart, Ella Balinska, Naomi Scott) goes traipsing across Europe. A weird tonal thing going on, but what do you really expect? (full review 11/14)

Movie Diary 11/11/2019

Hail Satan? (Penny Lane, 2019). Some gratifying fun to be seen here, with a look inside the Satanic Temple, a Goth-looking group of folks who seem to be less interested in the Dark Lord than in insisting on First Amendment scrupulousness – specifically on getting those goddamn Ten Commandments off the grounds of government institutions.

Scandalous: The Untold Story of the National Enquirer (Mark Landsman, 2019). Useful history of the supermarket rag, which merely needed to wait a few decades for America to fully embrace its tabloid mentality. The Enquirer‘s creepy position in right-wing politics is duly explored.

Movie Diary 11/10/2019

Throne of Blood (Akira Kurosawa, 1957). Great sound, great cuts, an eerie sense of empty space. I think it will be a good film to teach.

Shoot the Piano Player (Francois Truffaut, 1960). The last time I saw this movie it was before an onstage interview I did with Tom Robbins at the Port Townsend Film Festival. When we went onstage after the movie, he pulled a yellowed newspaper clipping from his pocket, the review he’d written of the film for the Seattle Times. I was impressed. (It was an eye-opener for the young writer: he was amazed that you could do anything like this in a movie and get away with it.)

Last Pain Sleep (This Week’s Movies)


Antonio Banderas: Pain and Glory (Sony Pictures Classics)

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

Pain and Glory. “In his Hollywood career, Banderas tapped his manic energy. All that gets bottled in here, as Salvador tends to watch and reflect, an artist observing everything around him, saving everything for future use.”

Doctor Sleep. “This movie has a good eye for people.”

Last Christmas. “Golding came out of “Crazy Rich Asians” as a hot new property, so it’s disappointing to see him stuck in a neutered role.”

For my Seasoned Ticket post at the Scarecrow Video blog, I recall an earlier Pedro Almodovar gem, Talk to Her.

This week at What a Feeling!, we’ve continued surveying the 1980s. Behold reviews of Peter Yates’s The House on Carroll Street, John Waters’ Hairspray, Michael Apted’s Critical Condition, Robert Towne’s Tequila Sunrise, and Francis Coppola’s Tucker: The Man and His Dream.

Movie Diary 11/6/2019

Room at the Top (Jack Clayton, 1959). Watched this a year ago and thought this. Screened again as part of Scarecrow Academy, where it held up very nicely. Future Academy activities here.

Movie Diary 11/5/2019

Marriage Story (Noah Baumbach, 2019). Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson in what is actually a divorce story. Quite a few nods in the direction of Ingmar Bergman. Has a curious workshopped feel to it. The tilt in the direction of the male character becomes more pronounced as the movie goes on. The details are the devils. (full review 11/?)

Last Christmas (Paul Feig, 2019). If you were trying to get the Wham! song out of your head for this holiday cycle, forget it. Emilia Clarke stars as a London mess, in a film partly written by Emma Thompson (who also plays Clarke’s immigrant mother, a harridan with some good one-liners). A strange one, not without its bright spots. (full review 11/7)