Fellow Movie Buffs

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

"The Land of Steady Habits"

I don't know how the actor Ben Mendelsohn has gone under my radar, but he has. I've seen a couple of his films lately, and have thoroughly enjoyed his performances. In this Netflix original film, he plays a well-to do middle-aged man who is going through a mid-life crisis. He quits his job as a financier and leaves his wife. Then he starts having regrets about his actions, but it's too late to reverse the damage. He befriends a troubled neighbor kid and the two get into mischief together. It's a quirky little, slice-of-life movie that I thought was great. There isn't a lot of action, and the plot is pretty subtle, but overall, it was a lot of fun. One question I have is, how do Aussies manage to totally lose their accents when they play American characters?
4 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

"To All The Boys I've Loved Before"

I'm a total sucker for high school romance movies. This movie is one of the few Asian-American focused movies I've seen in a long time. The story is about a nerdy girl who hooks up with a guy. They pretend to be in love to get his ex-girlfriend jealous. As you'd expect, they fall in love. It's fairly predictable, but the film is very well done. Kudos to Netflix for making an  intelligent movie for young people.
4 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

"The Kindergarten Teacher"

To their credit, Netflix has recently been producing quirky, indie films. And that's a good thing. I'm so tired of the predictable, overproduced Hollywood drivel. One of the better movies I've seen from them is "The Kindergarten Teacher". It's a remake of an Israeli movie from a few years ago. The movie stars Maggie Gyllenhaal, who plays, surprise, a kindergarten teacher. She takes an adult ed poetry class, where her poems aren't very well received by the teacher or classmates. One day, she discovers that one of her students makes up unique and original poems. She starts presenting them in class as her own, and they're extremely well received. The story is about her obsession with her 5-year old pupil and Ms Gyllenhaal gives an Oscar-worthy performance. I haven't seen the Israeli version, but I can't it being as powerful as this remake.
4.5 stars out of 5

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

"The Darkest Hour"

Okay I confess, this is one of the few movies I've rated that wasn't streaming on Netflix. It most likely will be soon, but I was so impressed by it, I thought I'd review it anyway.  First of all, Gary Oldman IS Winston Churchill. I can't imagine anyone personifying him better that Oldman did. A well-deserved Oscar winning performance. The story deals with the beginning of WWII when it didn't look good for the Brits. Germany had overrun most of Europe and the English were barely holding on to Calais and Dunkirk. The story focuses on Churchill's dilemma on whether to make a peace deal with Hitler or to fight them to the bitter end. The cinematography is remarkable to the point where I said to myself, several times through the movie, "Wow, that was an amazing shot." I like the fact that the movie focuses on a small part of the war, rather than do the typical Hollywood take, which would encompass the entire war. Definitely worth at least one rewatch.
5 stars out of 5

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society"

Absolutely marvelous film. The Nazis take over this small British island off the coast of France during WWII. The story jumps back and forth between the occupation and a group of eccentric locals who form a book club, and a journalist, played by Lilly James, who contacts them after the war. Of course, the film takes a predictable romantic turn, but it's well done. The acting and the scenery are quite well done. It's one of those films that makes you want to travel there. Astonishingly beautiful island. I need to reread the book, which was great as well.
4.5 stars out of 5

Tuesday, September 4, 2018


Interesting film. It's about a young girl who has exraordinary powers and uses them for evil purposes. She's in a lockdown situation and the woman in charge of her case brings in an old friend who's a child psychologist to evaluate her. A great psychological thriller. It's slow moving at first but the pace picks up heading into a crazy ending. The acting is absolutely superb.
3.5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, August 24, 2018

"The Ornithologist."

Here's another wild and crazy movie that Netflix recommended to me and thought I'd like. It's about a Spanish birdwatcher in search of a rare and elusive bird. When he spots said bird on a river in his kayak, he's so captivated, he loses track that he's about to go down some challenging rapids. He crashes on a rocky shore and is rendered unconscious. He's resuscitated by a couple of crazy Catholic Chinese girls who are on the the Santiago De Compostela pilgrimage. He informs them that instead of being in Northern Spain, they are, in fact, in Portugal. When he passes out for the night, they tie him up with a bunch of ropes. He manages to undo the knots and escapes. This is after they discuss, castrating him in the morning. And this is just the first half of the movie!