The Stories we Tell (Sarah Polley – 2012) A

This is a hybrid of a film. Part documentary, part narrated story and part plotted scenes. Sara Polley sets off to make a documentary about her family and the stories she has always heard around the dinner table, from friends and siblings. She does that with perfect scene recreations, interviews and a script narrated by her father. She does not expect to uncover all kinds of truths about her parents and especially her free-spirited interesting actress mother who died of cancer a few years back. It’s a sweet and really touching story of families, parenthood and the itch to really find out who you are.

Alien: Covenant (Ridley Scott – 2017) B+

It’s not too common that a sequel makes the film that came before it a bit better and make more sense. Covenant does that for Prometheus. I had a good time with this flawed movie and enjoyed the various set pieces and the main themes, especially the first 45 minutes or so. We still have a problem with smart people doing stupid things and that’s where it mainly fails. On the other hand it looks great, has some excellent action sequences and we have a very interesting character played again by Michael Fassbender in the synthetic person role. He drives a lot of the plot and the whole Alien series. Thumbs up for very creative alien-out-of-human busting scenes as well.

The Handmaiden (Chan-wook Park – 2016) A

It’s a well-crafted, really beautifully shot twisting and turning film. Set in the early 20th century Japanese-occupied Korea it is the story of three people, an heiress, her hand-maiden and her would-be husband. The fiance has plans to marry the rich heiress away from her creepy abusive uncle. The plan is hatched with the handmaiden who is supposed to encourage her to marry him after which the poor bride will be shut in an insane asylum and they make off with a fortune…that’s the plan from the first 15 minutes of this 2.5 hour movie. It is divided into three parts and varies perspectives in each one where in the end it comes together quiet beautifully and perfectly. It is a delight to see how skilled Park Chan-wook has become. He tells a complex story with clarity, attention to detail and excellent camera work.

The Founder (John Lee Hancock – 2016) B+

The story of the milkshake mixer salesman who came upon a little successful restaurant in California and saw opportunity. He had the vision, the ambition and the willingness to do whatever he had to in order to make McDonald’s a multi-billion dollar franchise to the detriment of the actual founders. It’s a very good movie, well-written and has some very good performances.

Sully (Clint Eastwood – 2016) C-

Not very good. It’s a film that is based on a formidable act by Captain Sully landing a jet on the Hudson and losing 0 lives. However, that’s all there is. The script attempts to add gravitas to some cheesy dialogue and adds conflict that feels (and is) fabricated via the investigation of the incident. Ultimately it falls flat.