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First New Year Movies Post

First, a few comments on the 77th “Golden Globes”.Netflix had no less than three of the five nominees in the major category of best dramatic feature—The Irishman, Marriage Story, and The Two Popes.Yet these collectively scored only one minor win—Laura Dern in a supporting category for Marriage Story.(I still expect all three to be in the running for the Oscar best picture nominations to be announced January 13.)The biggest surprise was the big-screen epic 1917 taking the top award of best drama as well as best director for Sam Mendes, giving it an undeniable boost ahead of a January 10 North American wide release.Once Upon a Time in Hollywood took three Globes including for best musical or comedy.When it comes to movie awards, the streaming services have yet to catch up to these made-for-theatrical-release features.Series are another matter as streaming increasingly dominates.I was glad to see Olivia Colman win for her superb portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in the third season of Ne…
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New Year Post: Best Movies of 2019 and Best Movies of the Decade

The Ten Best Movies of 2019
Below are very brief descriptions of my favorite films of this past year. Most have been the subject of longer reviews.For reference to these I have indicated both the blog post dates and the page number(s) in the 2019 collected reviews document.I have also added a list of a dozen documentaries that most impressed, with information links and review dates and page numbers if applicable. Parasite South Korean director Bong Joon Ho’s savage satire of his society’s class divides earned the Cannes film festival’s top prize Palme d’Or and should be the favorite for the best international feature film (previously best foreign-language film) Oscar to be announced February 9.Don’t be surprised if it also makes it into the main best picture category, nominations for which will be announced on January 13.(Reviewed 30 October, p. 67) The Two Popes Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles’ insightful imagining of this unusual relationship features stellar performances from Jona…

Christmastime movies post

The biggest release by far is of course the latest, and supposedly final, Star Wars “Episode IX”, closing out the third trilogy 42 years after the first began. Generations have grown up with it.But below are six other titles worth a look, including a Canadian one opening early in the new year. Richard Jewell (U.S. 2019) Like the energizer bunny of filmmakers, Clint Eastwood at 89 just keeps going.In his usual straight ahead no-frills fashion he directs this true-story procedural of the unfortunate case of the title character Richard Jewell (a perfectly cast Paul Walter Hauser) who was falsely accused of the July 1996 Atlanta Olympics park bombing that resulted in two deaths and scores of injuries.The pudgy hapless Jewell lived with his doting mom Bobi (Kathy Bates) and was easily typecast as a loser with unfulfilled ambitions of a career in law enforcement.He’d been fired for being an over-zealous campus security guard before getting a security position at the Olympic park.On the fatefu…

Mid-December Movies

Synonyms (France/Israel/Germany 2019 https://www.kinolorber.com/film/synonyms) This very strange film from Israeli writer-director Nadav Lapid, supposedly semi-autobiographical (and dedicated to his mother as editor), was awarded the best film “golden bear” at the Berlin film festival but will probably only appeal to a hardcore arthouse crowd.The central character is a young Israeli man Yoav (Tom Mercier) who flees to a wintry Paris as if to erase his previous identity. With belongings stolen and left naked in an empty freezing apartment, he is rescued and befriended by a young couple Emile (Quentin Dolmaire) and Caroline (Louise Chevilotte).Yoav refuses to speak Hebrew and carries a French dictionary, obsessively talking to himself in synonyms (hence the title).He survives on an ultra-cheap subsistence diet.(Yet somehow Yoav stays in physical shape. There’s a fair amount of male nudity and a pornographic “modeling” scene with a photographer.)A security job at the Israeli embassy ends …

Early December Movies

The Two Popes (UK/Italy/Argentina/US 2019) Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles (City of God), working from a sharp-witted script by Anthony McCarten, is also blessed by two veteran actors in peak form—Anthony Hopkins as Pope Benedict XV1 and Jonathan Pryce (speaking Spanish like a native) as his successor Pope Francis—the first from the Third World where most Catholics live.The resignation of Benedict in 2013 was an unexpected historic turn which paved the way for the selection of the Argentinian Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio, who had earlier been passed over and had wanted to retire. It also marked a momentous shift from the rather rigid doctrinaire and academic approach of Benedict, the former German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (a solitary figure, “watchdog of the faith”), to a more pastoral and progressive reforming one exuding care for humanity.As Francis has said: “I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which i…