Category Archives: Film Listings/Ratings

Another Woman (Woody Allen – 1988) B+

This feels like Woody Allen doing Ingmar Bergman. Allen did several movies that overtly mimic the Swedish director’s work whom he really admires. I do not think I’ve seen too many of those but I will focus on them soon. This one is the story of Marion, an author, who is writing a book but becomes entranced by a series of conversations she can over hear through the pipes of her old NY apartment. The conversations are those of a pregnant woman talking to her psychiatrist. These seem to cause her to examin her marriage, life choices and her future decisions. Typical of many of Allen’s movies from that time it focuses on relationships, love and fidelity. Ultimately it is not as solid as something like Hannah and Her Sisters but it is another good work by one of my favorite directors.

Chef’s Table (Various Directors – 2015) A+

6 unique chefs from Piedmont to Melbourne are documented in this remarkable Netflix series. This is not a cooking show or an educational food show, it’s rather a portrait of these individuals, what inspires them, their background, cuisine and passions. It looks amazing and is done with such finesse that I cannot wait (and hope that there will be one) for another season. This is the kind of show that Food TV or Cooking Channel should want to produce instead of the utter garbage they churn out.

Mr. Turner (Mike Leigh – 2014) A-

A favorite type of movie of mine is one like this. It is not exactly a biopic, but more of a snapshot of a character framed, acted, paced and shot beautifully. There is not a lot of plot or drama here, just a perfect embodiment of the 19th century painter by Timothy Spall. He is eccentric, not particularly nice but is fascinating to watch. We learn a lot about what inspires him and how he paints. He was perceived as a genius mostly and sold a lot of paintings to the rich and powerful. He had a close and sweet relationship with his father who acted as his assistant and a pretty dysfunctional relationship with the women in his life. This started to change a bit when he meets a widow who runs an inn in a port town that he retreated to and that relationship was one of my favorite parts of the movie. Turner seems to have been one of those who loved art for the sake of art. Painting made him happy and he saw what he does as a gift. One of the highlights of the film is when he refuses to sell his work for a crap ton of money to a rich Londoner. When asked why on earth not, his answer is that he plans to gift it…to the British people.  I do not know if this is factual or not but it was a very lovely touch.

Hot Fuzz (Edgar Wright – 2007) A

I think  Hot Fuzz might be my favorite of the Corentto Trilogy. In this one the Simon Pegg character plays a super London cop with the cool movie name of Nick Angel. He gets transferred to a small English town because he is basically “too good” at his job and is making the Metropolitan police department look bad. Similar to The World’s End, the small town is not as sleepy, quaint and lovely as it seems. When brutal murders start happening well, Angel and his small-town hapless/drunkard of a partner (played with the series regular Nick Frost) are on the case.

This is the trilogy’s ode to buddy cop movies, complete with fast cuts, one liners, crazy action, crazier conspiracies and the long-time tradition of the mismatched partners. It’s social commentary is, like the rest of the series, deftly wrapped in a very funny cadre of characters who deliver their sharp and witty performances with great finesse.

Mad Max: Fury Road (George Miller – 2015) A

This thing is basically one long chase scene. That is not to say it does not have a story or plot. It does, it is simple and makes sense. That story though is told in amazingly choreographed action instead of long dialogue scenes. What this is is an insane, fast, loud and purely amazing spectacle. Very few movies can be described as new and unique. I think this one is. Unbelievable that it is from the mind of a guy who’s over 70 years old and whose previous movie was Happy Feet Two!  I did not think I would enjoy it as much as I did but seeing the modified vehicles/war machines rushing and crashing along the dusty post-apocalyptic landscape was a thrill. Same goes for fight scenes that are new and actually make sense. Add to that a kinetic soundtrack involving a truck with a guy playing the drums in the back and another “person” playing a flame-throwing electric guitar in the front. As far as leads go, Tom Hardy is very good as Max but really it is Charlize Theron playing the one-armed Furiossa that steals the show. She is as bad-ass as they come and a character as memorable as Ripley.