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Movies on the small screen
By: Esther M. Powell
Posted on: Fri, September 01 2017 - 8:03 am

Movies on the small screen and constantly interrupted!

Of course the above heading is already dated. I'm referring to a TV screen, not a telephone screen or even a desk computer screen. As for interruptions, we have been known to pause for a multitude of reasons after only two minutes of viewing.

One thing I've noticed in my own responding experience is my responses are much modified and enlarged after a night's sleep. Not all of these comments are written the next day. In fact, few are. I'll try to start adding to them if/when I have second thoughts.

*Locke Well, it may have been well done, but a movie with NO ACTION except a guy talking on the car phone in the front seat of his car while he is driving is just crazy. I hated it. And if you think I have spoiled it for you by saying that, I haven't. Just warning you.

*Chasing Ice  Oh, do see this documentary about the melting of glaciers in Alaska, Montana and Greenland studied via time-lapse photography. Stunning ice photography included.

*Tulip Fever Period piece that ended way - but no, I don't want to ruin it for you! Visually sumptuous.

*Child 44  An investigation in post World War II Russia. The story this film portrays is so much a product of the culture that even the first sentence I wrote here seems like a spoiler. Great film.

*The American Friend 1977! I don't remember hearing about this at all! Well, it's a good one, if you appreciate Patricia Highsmith and thrillers. So glad we learned about it. 

*Ingrid Goes West Boy, contemporary American films have gotten so bizarre! Nothing is so exciting than watching people sitting around looking at their smartphones. And texting as dialogue. Brilliant! There's more to this than simply that, of course, but nevertheless many of the specimens in recent movies seem barely human.

*Vincere (Win) Story of a Mussolini supporter who married and had a child by him. Fascinating slice of history spanning more years than we would have expected. Not, however, a documentary.

*Viva Riva  If you like sex and violence this movie is for you. For me, Viva Riva no viva. Glad when it was over.

*Maudie  Incredibly well-acted tale of a naive artist who lived in Nova Scotia. Wonderful film.

* Sleeping with Other People  Amazing any relationships work out in our screwy society. This comedy has some funny dialogue if you get the cultural references.

*Glass Castle Well done autobiographical story with a great cast. Some unfortunate dichotomies presented as if those were the only options, but in life sometimes these things take decades to work through. Beautifully realized.

*Innocent Man  Pretty straight-ahead movie about the framing of an upright citizen and its aftermath. Eighties gloss and music and cynicism which is probably even more appropriate now than it was then 

*He's Just Not That Into You Well, and it can work that way for both sexes. I thought this was a fun film - all the permutations and combinations of romance.

*Meyerowitz (New and Selected) Some of my not-favorite actors but still the dialogue is adept and quick. This one was fun except for all the adolescent behavior which I really would rather not see in adults.

*Secret Things  What impossible pretentious tripe! Neo-existentialism (again!) with sixties debauchery. Actually the only thing that was entertaining was some of the sex. Pornography, this. An overdose of it. 

*The Sense of an Ending  Strange how little perseverance the young show in learning the truth, but stranger is how time will insist upon showing it to us.

*The Midwife  Strange consequences of a father's affair. Seems an unlikely situation, but why not? At least this film has some heart.

*Sticky Notes  Story of personal integration, turns out. Interesting.

*Personal Shopper Absorbing enough, for what it is. Wish it were more understandable. Some characters have accents, the lead mumbles. Very naturalistic acting with a very otherwise theme.

*Fill The Void  Beautiful, aggravating film. The world is a bigger place than ever - this story shows how one culture manages to keep it small - but still unmanageable.

*Cart  Too bad the Chinese labor force has to go up against companies with decades of experience in keeping the workforce down.

*In The Shadow of Women Just another sad-sack anti-hero in another neurotic French film

*Mother and Child  Mothers and babies, plural. Quite an interesting set of characters and situations in this film, and well-acted. Worth the two hours, especially if you are contemplating parenthood.

*Things to Come  Love the way the French just portray civilized life. But how narrow a slice of the contemporary French experience are we getting here?

*Lady Macbeth Not Shakespeare, this, but an amazing tale nonetheless. After watching this, understanding explodes.

*The Dark Horse Similar to the tale of a girl chess champion in Africa (Queen of Katwe) in that it centers around the transformative power of a chess club in a poor neighborhood - this time in New Zealand. Both great films!

*The Horsemen Personally, I think this one is too contrived by far.

*Ghost Story The ghost of a story I guess is meant, and a boring one at that. Boo!

*The Hollars  My partner called this a stupid fucking movie and, well, I agree. But at least I didn't read my iPad the whole time! Dang - fooled by the previews!

*The Bride Flight New Zealand has a starring role in this tale of three brides-to-be who meet an ambitious young agricultural graduate on a record-breaking from Holland to New Zealand post WWII. 

*My Cousin Rachel  The second version of this we've seen within two years. This year's remake is well done!

*The Big Sick  At least partly autobiographical film about/by Pakistani comedian Kumail Nanjiani which just goes to show that if you want your son to marry a Pakistani woman, maybe you - but no, don't want to ruin it for you! It's a good movie. My only second thought after sleeping on it was, "revenge". You'll get it if you see the show.

*Certain Women A quiet gem of a film highlighting the Montana setting, with tangential intersections of the main subjects portrayed.

*The Daughter Sublimely acted story taken from a play by Ibsen and in my opinion, resonant of the time Ibsen was writing. A little anachronistic in my opinion. Still powerfully affecting.

*Bag Man  Bizarre and noir, slow-starting but picking up and shocking. Stunning hard. Nobody watching falls asleep during this film.

*It Came in the Night  This movie is like a short story expanded to novel length with no additions, not even subplots. Just somehow not enough, which might be okay except it was dismal.

*Bourne Legacy  What the Hell is happening? Who knows? Great great chase scenes, though. The really fun thing is, a day or two after we saw this movie we saw a Jerry Seinfeld Netflix special I which he (comically) reprised a conversation that we had in our lives ing room during this movie. Ha, ha, ha! I can imagine there were people all over the country sitting in their living rooms having the same conversation.

*AWOL  A young woman is torn between her personal feelings and career possibilities. This tale has a real twist to it.

*Beatriz at Dinner As awkwardness turns into something else, what does unforgivable behavior really look like?

*Monsieur Lazhar  An Algerian refugee residing in Montreal offers his services teaching a class of children who have suffered a loss which resonates with his own. A simply told story, a lovely film.

*The Drowning Kind of grabs you, but the unprofessionalism displayed by the professionals in this tale is beyond belief.  Just got too much in my way.

*Barney's Version The self-induced troubles of a sympathetic stinker. Well, the characters in the movie thought he was more lovable than I did. Still, an entertaining personality he was, admirably portrayed by Paul Giamatti. Watch out for being typecast, Paul. Your John Adams role may not save you!

*Paris Can Wait  A cinematic tour of France with Anne and her husband's colleague, Jacque.

*Art School Confidential Darkly comic, completely comfortable with inauthenticity (is that even a word?) this movie is a quiet riot.

*The Square Well-done audience torture. Now we all suffer for the (imaginary) sins of our fellow men and we call it entertainment. Catharsis abounds. (Hey, I said it was good!)

*Seraphine Beautiful film. My favorite of what we have seen in recent weeks. Must-see!

*Lost City of Z  For a film with such effective cinematography, it mysteriously just doesn't make it for me. Not convincing, somehow? Or maybe I am discontented with the doublethink ending.

*The American Side Almost comical in the way everyone that appears is involved in the mystery, but definitely engrossing.

*The Many Names of Love  Really silly, but ultimately loveable and a lot of fun. French.

*Graduation Set in Romania, this film is a montage of ethical dilemmas. It comes to a frayed end, if you can call it that, because loose ends abound. Very naturalistic.

*Shall We Kiss or more literally translated, A Kiss, if You Please. Really unusual, interesting, amusing and a little titillating, too. One of the new kinds of romantic comedy (all different) that seem to have more heart these days than trying to use the old formulas which don't somehow seem to work in contemporary times. Don't get me wrong, I love the good old movies. Somehow romantic comedy has been struggling lately, but this one succeeds. Then again, maybe some wouldn't even call this a romantic comedy.

*The Shining I didn't want to see a creepy Stephen King movie but my teacher Er my partner wanted me to. It was good, except when it descended into hackneyed horror skeleton...well, never mind. That part didn't last long.

*Still Life  Well I certainly love Nathaniel Parker and this is an okay cosy mystery, but the only part of the novel that was memorable was the description of the - oops I'll say only the residence of one of the characters, and in the movie it was quite tame. So... a little disappointing.

*Night Watch  Elizabeth Taylor, convoluted plot thriller colored with possible insanity - it works for me! Love it!

*Eight Days a Week So glad Ron Howard directed this film about our beloved Beatles. A great dance down memory lane and more for me. I had no idea some of this was going on at the time it was all happening. I'm surprised they kept touring as long as they did.

*Step mom Too long, but definitely well-acted. All I have to say is no wonder - but no, I don't want to ruin it for you. I can't help saying, though, that - no, I won't say that, either. Hahahahah!

*Amour A French film about the other end of a love relationship. Hard hard hard. What do you do if turns into what do you do when?  Something you naturally think more about in your sixties and when you (ahem) turn seventy.

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