• The Man Who Knew Too Much

    The Man Who Knew Too Much

    ★★★½

    Criterion warned me about all the films leaving at the end of the month, and I actually did something about it!

    I have greatly enjoyed the wit and ingenuity of early British productions by Hitchcock, and this was a treat for those reasons as well. Peter Lorre (in his English-speaking debut) is a fantastically interesting villian, and it's worth watching for him alone. Luckily, it also passes the Bechdel test and--in fact, not to give too much away, but female…

  • The Lost Daughter

    The Lost Daughter

    ★★★★

    It was hard to watch this with my husband. I could feel his distaste for its pace and subject matter. The sense of constant foreboding I felt throughout never really found release. Maybe that's the point?

    Unlike my husband, the pace and subject matter are supremely interesting to me. I do not have children, but I wanted to be one. My mom, by the time she was 24, was on her own with 3 (me) and 2 year old daughters.…

  • Station Eleven

    Station Eleven

    ★★★★½

    I have a bone to pick with whomever assigns the director credits for mini-series on here or where ever they get it from. Helen Shaver and Jeremy Podeswa directed 3 episodes each. Lucy Tcherniak and Hiro Murai each directed 2. And yet, Hiro Murai is the only director listed because he directed the 1st episode? This is madness and truly unfair to the 3 other directors who did just as much and more. Grr.

    I think this series was just…

  • Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts

    Harry Potter 20th Anniversary: Return to Hogwarts

    ★★★½

    Did I cry countless times? Why yes.

    True story:
    As a grown ass adult, I was one of those people who pre-ordered and got my books at midnight.

    I went to opening night of the 1st film at Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood. Most of those in the very long line were in costume.

    One of my students won an essay contest and got to meet J.K. and get a signed book.

    Caveat: I am repulsed by J.K.'s anti-trans statements, and I am heartbroken to realize some of the other problematic aspects of the series.

  • Encanto

    Encanto

    ★★★½

    Just exactly what was needed this Christmas Eve. A great female protagonist who doesn't have any romantic interests at all! Disney is finally getting it. I truly appreciated all the effort made to ensure accurate Columbian details whether in song, characterization, or design. Plus, it has a theme about what makes us special and cooperation that seems more than pertinent right now.

    I found the animation bright and imaginative which really helped the musical numbers to shine. I wish I'd been able to see it at the cinema, but I suspect I'll be saying that a lot the next few months.

  • A Boy Called Christmas

    A Boy Called Christmas

    ★★★

    Sweet holiday treat with 4 of my favorite actors, Maggie Smith, Jim Broadbent, Sally Hawkins, and Toby Jones. Though I must say this whole lost parents thing in kid's movies is really getting out of hand.

  • King Richard

    King Richard

    ★★★½

    This film works exactly as it wants to work which is so much more difficult than it seems.

    Great casting and wisely doesn't pretend anyone is perfect. The clips at the end truly show how spot on they got the look and feel of it all. Doesn't hurt to have a Beyonce song at the end either.

    I'm glad Will Smith got to prove his acting chops once again. People sell him short all the time.

  • CODA

    CODA

    ★★★★

    What a gift this film is! And not just for giving Marlee Matlin her best role in years. It's always so refreshing to see films enter worlds too little seen or understood. But it's also welcome when it is done with warmth and compassion which are both here in abundance.

    I found it very moving. This is, in part, due to Emilia Jones' voice as both a singer and actress. This seems to be the year for young actors to…

  • West Side Story

    West Side Story

    ★★★★½

    *Highly recommend seeing this at the cinema!

    Like so many, I didn't feel this film was necessary. I was wrong. The changes made by Spielberg, Kushner, Kaminski, and casting elevate and erase missteps from the original. It also helps to have leads who can both really sing.

    I love musicals, Bernstein, Sondheim, Romeo and Juliet, and Jerome Robbins--so yeah, room in my heart for two. However, as a former English and Drama teacher this one is far more useful to…

  • The Power of the Dog

    The Power of the Dog

    ★★★★

    2nd day in a row I watched a film by a woman director set in extremely masculine worlds with serious homoerotic leanings (Beau Travail yesterday). In neither case had I known anything about the film but its acclaim. I am left with similar feelings about both of them.

    While this film has far more of a plot, the underlying feeling of mystery and future harm permeates each. Their endings, vastly different, and yet I wasn't prepared for either.

    But back…

  • Beau Travail

    Beau Travail

    ★★★★

    Criterion Channel has a Female Gaze collection of films by women directors that also have women DPs. Beau Travail had long been a blind spot and a film I've frequently seen on Best Film lists where perhaps 5 other works by women will be mentioned out of hundreds. So, it seemed the perfect opportunity to find out why.

    Things I didn't know before watching this film:
    Anything about it but the poster here on LB and who directed it.

    That…

  • tick, tick...BOOM!

    tick, tick...BOOM!

    ★★★★

    After Sondheim died, I heard the story about how LMM had sent him this film to get his thoughts. He didn't like the message left at the end. He asked LMM if he could rewrite it and "don't worry about getting the actor back, I'll do it myself." As LMM said, "When Sondheim asks to do a rewrite, you say yes!" Thank goodness.

    So, for me, this was an emotional way to process my sadness over losing two legends of…