Category Archives: movies

At the movies

We take turns watching movies. It passes the time, and each one of us – my husband, my son, and me – gets an alternating chance to pick. Sometimes we lose track of whose turn it is, however. So far we’ve seen:

Uncut Gems (2019). Adam Sandler rightly received rave reviews for his performance as a hustling jeweler pursued by everyone he owes, including his father-in-law. Personally, I found it too frenetic and violent, but the boys liked it. (Tim)

Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019). An artist comes to an island manor to paint, on the sly, a young woman’s portrait. The painting will be sent to the woman’s future husband, and her ambivalence about him is at the root of her aversion to being painted. Heavy mythological overtones here, from the  Charon-like figures who row the artist onto the island, to its dark-mouthed cave and the references to Orpheus and Eurydice. French, with subtitles. (Me)

Color out of Space (2019). The landscape of a weird rural town is the real star of this movie, based on a story by Providence’s own H.P. Lovecraft. Like too many horror movies, the special effects become disgusting after a while, but there are some fine moments in the early going. (Colby)

The Old Man & the Gun (2018). Robert Redford, in his last screen appearance before retiring, plays a real-life gentleman bank robber who can’t kick the habit. Sissy Spacek is perfect as the widowed horsewoman he woos. (Tim)

Lost Horizon (1937). An airplane crashes in the Himalayas in the days leading up to World War II, and its occupants stumble upon Shangri-La, where an ancient seer is saving all the treasures of the world from upcoming cataclysm. James Hilton’s novel holds up, although Frank Capra eliminated the novel’s framed prologue and epilogue and made its ending much less ambiguous. (me)

Night Moves (1975). Gene Hackman shines as usual in this atmospheric tale of a private detective who’s hired by an vulgar, aging actress to find her ingenue daughter. The scenes shot on location in Florida capture great local color, and, in a nod to Steve McQueen, Hackman’s character drives a green Mustang. (Tim)

Honey Boy (2019). Shia LaBeouf stars as his own father in this roman a clef about LaBeouf’s miserable childhood as the child-actor son of an ex-rodeo clown. Some searing scenes will make you uncomfortable, but the film earns every moment. (Colby)

Lifeboat (1944). Based on a John Steinbeck allegory about a motley crew shipwrecked after a Uboat torpedoes their ship, this black-and-white vehicle hums with tension. No surprise, with Alfred Hitchcock directing. Colby and I liked it, but Tim elected to attend a virtual happy hour with coworkers instead. (me)

I, the Jury (1982). Remake starring Armand Assante as Mike Hammer, Mickey Spillane’s playboy detective who dashes around New York bedding women and outsmarting bad guys. I thought it was dreadful, verging on soft porn (it barely earned an R rating and later got slammed with an X), its 111 minutes salvaged only by Armand’s laconic sexiness and a comical chase scene straight out of β€œThe Dukes of Hazzard.” (Tim, but Colby was the enabler.)

Parasite (2019). Everything you’ve heard about Bong Joon Ho’s darkly weird and wonderful dissection of class warfare is true: This movie deserved every award it won. At once horrifying and comic, the movie layers in symbol after symbol of the downtrodden class, who have moments of both triumph and tragedy. In Korean, with subtitles. (Colby)

Paris, Texas (1984). Written by Sam Shepard and L.M. Kit Carson, this tale of a man who wanders out of the Mojave Desert after a disappearance of four years has so much going for it: the inscrutable performance of Harry Dean Stanton in the lead role, music by Ry Cooder, incredible cinematography (particularly of rural Texas), and even an unrestored Ford Ranchero. (me, suggested by Colby)

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