Movie Reviews.

It’s December, which means we’re into post-blockbuster season. Over the past four weeks, I have seen five new movies, two in the theatre, two on streaming services.

Herewith my (mostly spoiler-free) impressions:

Parasite: Oof. Described to me as a “dark comedy,” it was more dark than comedy. I can’t really say more than that, other than it was well-crafted, well-written, well-directed, and well-acted, and I’m kind of sorry I spent two hours and twenty bucks on it. Your mileage may vary, of course – the Rocket Scientist really liked it.

Knives Out: I wanted to see this because of the cast (Jamie Leigh Curtis! Daniel Craig! Toni Collette! Michael Shannon (who is a terrific actor who deserves to be better known)! And best of all, Chris Evans as something other than a Boy Scout! (Evans is a better actor than you would think if you had only seen him as Captain America.))   They did not disappoint. While the who-done-it was really pretty obvious from the beginning, it was a (essentially) a very pleasant version of Clue. 

Jo-Jo Rabbit: This is tricky. I was hesitant to go because, if you saw the trailer, it appeared to be making light of the Holocaust, complete with a goofy Hitler. It’s much more complex than that. Taika Watiti has crafted a thought provoking drama with occasionnal humorous moments.

Loving Vincent: Oh, my. The best animated movie I have seen in a long, long, time. It involves the son of the postmaster of Arles trying to deliver Vincent van Gogh’s final letter to his brother, and confronting the mysteries around his death. It is done in the style of Vincent’s work.

Echo in the Canyon: The story of the development of California-based folk rock scene, told by the people who were there, and the recording of a tribute album by Jakob Dylan. (One humorous moment was when David Crosby mentioned “and then Dylan came” and Jakob Dylan cheekily asked “which one?”) It was well worth seeing, and I couldn’t help but think about the Laurel Canyon music scene in the 60s, in comparison with the “alt-country” scene in Nashville in the 90s as chronicled by Ken Burns in his Country Music series.

So, four successes, one regret. Not a bad ratio. 

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