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Four Films, A Lot of Questions

Empire of Light – In Theatres Only A-

This is Sam Mendes love letter to his mother and the cinema. Olivia Coleman stars in a role that will surely see her get nominations, if not statues. The film is beautifully shot and filled with unexpected curves. It is deeply sentimental and painfully slow in spots…lots of long shots of people looking out windows…thanks, Sam…we got it, try not to flog us with the metaphor. This is one not to be missed if only for the performances. Toby Jones gives a deeply beautiful performance that should also see him get nominations and statues, too. Newcomer, Michael Ward, also gives a performance that is not to be missed.

She Said - On Demand B

Is it me or does anyone else think it is depressing that in 2022 we are watching a full-length feature about the shocking (read sarcasm here) reality that women in Hollywood were being abused by a system that knew about it and covered it up? Watching Megan Twohey and Jodi Kantor, played by Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan, take years to be able to CRACK the story of Harvey Weinstein and his deplorable behavior made we want to scream! For 2 hours and 9 minutes we get to watch them jet all over the world to beg woman to come forward and tell their story. In almost all of the cases the women had already come forward and nothing was done but the woman are gently and sometimes not so gently hounded into coming forward again. The only thing interesting and revelatory about the movie is seeing the toll the reporting took on the 2 reporters lives as young mothers. Otherwise, it felt like the film wanted to be All the President’s Men but fell terribly short. It felt like medicine that had to be taken. I watched it, I supported the Me Too movement, now can I go home? I thank Twohey and Kantor for their service, but I found the telling of their story like a reach for sensationalism and I guess I am way too cynical to enjoy it.

The Banshees of Inisherin – HBO Max - C-

OMG! All I can say is if I had left my house and had to pay money to see this piece of shite someone would have been cut! Listen, we all saw the commercials, right? Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleason (two of the greatest actors alive) play friends who are on the outs – however will this be resolved? I watched the commercials and couldn’t wait to see the movie. The first ten minutes establishes what we know from the commercials and trailers…so what happens next? I don’t believe in spoilers so I won’t say – but it is so inexcusably, unabashedly STUPID that I kept watching, thinking there has to be more to this, there has to be something worthwhile for these amazing actors to have a agreed to do this REALLY STUPID film. No. Nope. No. The only thing that excuses this film’s existence is a gorgeous performance by Kerry Condon. It almost made the 2 hours of my life I sacrificed watching this turd seem worth it, almost. And yes, I am aware that critics are lauding this as one of the great films of 2022. Don’t believe them. And please don’t write and explain the film to me. Yes, I got the juxtaposition of the civil war, paralleling how stupid men do stupid things in the name of love, war, posturing and desperation. Spare me.

The Fablemans In Theatres and On Demand B-

My son has told me I am not allowed to review this movie because I slept through a good portion of it. I think that is a review in and of itself. Yawn. This is Steven Speilberg’s love letter to his mother and the cinema (sound familiar?) There are some interesting tidbits about how Spielberg learned his craft but otherwise it was way too much about justifying a mother who wasn’t happy in her marriage. Yawn. Michelle Williams plays mom and this is honestly the first time I have ever not loved a performances of hers. I kept waking up and thinking, “Why is the role of the mother being played by Judy Garland?” It was crazy. Did Williams think, “I guess I’m never going to get to play Judy, so I’ll just do it here.” Or did Spielberg direct her to do it? I don’t know but I wasn’t buying it. Yawn.

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