The Third Murder (Hirokazu Koreeda – 2017) B-

Expected more from this Japanese legal drama. I think It is making a statement about the Japanese criminal system with the story of a factory worker who apparently violently killed his boss and robbed him. A lawyer is trying to figure out if that happened exactly like that and perhaps try to save his client from hanging. It’s not a bad film and it looks great. The missing connection I had trouble with is with the characters.

Three Days of the Condor (Sidney Pollack – 1975) A-

Of course it was about oil. It always is I suppose and it doesn’t matter. I really enjoyed this classic. Basically, Robert Redford is a CIA analyst in New York. He goes to the deli and comes back to find everyone in his station killed. He’s just an analyst though, from his perspective he just literally reads books and tries to find messages in them. Now he is on the run trying to figure out what’s going on as Max Von Sidow is trying to kill him. It’s a cool movie and with all the New York of the 70s locations kind of looks great too. It is a bit odd though how quickly the Faye Dunaway warmed up to Mr. Redford even though he kidnapped her and told her some crazy story.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco (Joe Talbot – 2019) A

Stranger than I expected and really fascinating. From the first few minutes this immediately places us in San Francisco that seems a bit surreal. It’s seems too cheesy perhaps to say this but this film with it’s emotional connections, beautiful music and foggy sunny setting is like a poem. It’s a scene after scene of poetry. It’s about a man, Jimmie, who loves a house, it’s his old family home in San Fran that his family lost. His grandfather built it himself he loves to say. Jimmie (Jimmie Fails) hangs out with his friend Monty (Jonathan Montgomery) and he goes down to the house he does not own to maintain it whenever he can. He wants to buy the lovely home. Does he have the money? of course not. Can he get it? It does not matter. This is not about a guy defying the odds to buy the house of his dreams. It’s about belonging to a place, loving a city and the heartache of being felt left behind out of place and putting that on the screen.

A Simple Favor (Paul Feig – 2019) B

It tries to thread the needle between the comedy, slapstick at times, drama and a thriller. By and large it works and the two leads of Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively do a great job. It does feel like it goes around and around in the last 20 minutes and does not quiet come together.

Light Sleeper (Paul Schrader – 1992) B-

Lots of echoes of Taxi Driver here. Similar New York City at night setting. Close ups of windshields, cars and a good bit of voice over. We also get a man on the edge of society, although not nearly as interesting as Travis Bickle. Here he is played by Willem Dafoe as a mid level drug dealer with no pension plan and is wondering what happens to him next after his boss (Susan Sarandon) quits the business. It’s a fine movie and over all works well. It is tough to stay with it though when it feels like everyone is just acting somehow.