image description

'Yesterday': All Over Again

Like the cavemen in "Quest for Fire" (1981) who are committed to literally keeping the flame of life burning, Jack sees himself as the emissary from a time lost — the sole repository of the poetic genius that was The Beatles.

image description

'The Dead Don't Die': Having Fun With the Oxymoron

The brazenly oddball mechanisms he employs to build the scenario and make his points draw us into the nuttiness of his premise with the magnetic appeal of that naughtily mischievous kid who lived on your block.

image description

'Late Night': Funny Business

The essence of the late-night talk show is much more than what is visible to the drowsy eye. It is about the magic that can exist within the art of conversation. And in "Late Night," Emma Thompson as TV host Katherine Newbury, a practitioner in that black art, illustriously takes us behind the smoke and mirrors of keeping folks up past their bedtime.

image description

'The Spy Behind Home Plate': Glove, Mask, Cloak-and-Dagger

But what drives you crazy as you partake of Kempner's scholarly and entertaining treasure trough of the superbly assembled puzzle that was Newark, N.J.'s, Moe Berg, is, how about all the stuff we probably don't know about him?

image description

'Rocketman': Godzilla vs. Elton John

Thus, because of its celebrated songbook and heartrending meditation on the search for love, I emphatically endorse "Rocketman" before setting my moviegoing trajectory for "Godzilla II: King of the Monsters," and wonder if I'll construe 'tis also amour that motivates the beast.

image description

'Aladdin': Wishful Thinking

Rated PG and boasting a bevy of positive beliefs, with special emphasis on the leadership roles it passionately affirms are rightfully waiting for the fairer sex to assume, it's just the sort of film I'd want to take my daughter, Erin, to when she was little.

image description

'John Wick: Chapter 3 Parabellum': How Can I Kill Thee? Let me Count the Ways

Adding insult to the societal injury movies like the John Wick franchise commit, this is big business. It has grossed $53 million as of this writing, and it'll play all summer before going on to the really big money that movies make in the post-theater convenience of our dens.

image description

'Poms': Something to Cheer About

True, the formulaic manipulation is obvious. But that's what you sign on for, the tacit agreement you make to heartily invoke some suspension of disbelief in return for a healthy jolt of human spirit.

image description

'Long Shot': Proves a Winning Bet

Pulling no punches in its hardly veiled muckrake of the current four-flushers down in Foggy Bottom, this delightfully quixotic confection, heir to the screwball comedies directors Frank Capra and Preston Sturges buoyed Depression Era audiences with, is shrewdly enjoyable.

image description

'Avengers: Endgame': What the World Needs Now

The seriocomic adventure tale, a panoply of the very latest computer magic to suffuse the silver screen, is rapid-fire action most of the way, it is ultimately an exuberant kaleidoscope of technology, friendship and the separating of truth from the deceit of those who would bamboozle us. I

image description

'Teen Spirit': Youth, Not Wasted on the Young

Still, my rooting was cautious, always respecting in fearsome awe the uncertainty of youth and the mysteries it held. One misstep and you're on the pre-gentrified Bowery, squeegeeing car windows, or at least that's what my Mom warned whenever she had trouble waking me for school.

image description

'After': Of Good Girls and Bad Boys

You know the stereotype. He is the ubiquitously tattooed bad boy on the outside, yet capable of quoting from "Wuthering Heights" or "The Great Gatsby." But perhaps so could Hannibal Lecter.

image description

'Dumbo': A Relevant Elephant

Albeit etched with a caustic edge to grant it a realistic PG instead of a Pollyanna G, director Tim Burton makes sure his "Dumbo" remake contains all the elements necessary for the ethical considerations that have been an integral part of fairy tales ever since Oog first adorned the cave walls with his template for Animal Crackers.

image description

'Us': It Takes Two to Terrorize

Granted, the "scare me, scare me" crowd may be disappointed by the dearth of old-fashioned, unremitting shocks to body and soul. But if one gives serious thought to this feature-length affirmation of cartoon pundit Walt Kelly's theorem that we have met the enemy and he is "Us," it's probably the scariest prospect of all.

image description

'Transit': As in, Letters of ...

Perhaps it's his form of audio-visual touch-n-feel in an attempt to make us appreciate the uncaring horror inflicted on those caught in the vice of tyrants playing at government.

image description

'Captain Marvel': Brave New Suffragette

You don't have to be the dad of a little girl to have a cheering interest in the awesomely positive message that "Captain Marvel" blasts across the screen.

image description

'Greta': Guilty Thrills

I am an outsider to horror, what Alexis de Tocqueville was to American history. And so, while viewing director Neil Jordan’s "Greta," about a lonely older woman who has a rather odd way of seeking companionship, offered no epiphany, it did provide an egoistic pleasure that may shed a glimpse of light.

image description

'Isn't It Romantic': It's to Laugh

Admittedly, there is some witty, satirical commentary on the current state of courting among the millennial set. But for the most part, the circumstances and jokes that ultimately lead Natalie to a greater understanding of love's more altruistic properties and purposes don't rise above the usual shtick seen in any run-of-the-mill TV sitcom.

image description

'The No-Collusion Oscar Picks 2019'

The phone rang, as it usually does whenever I'm sitting in the third-floor witch's hat of my haunted Victorian home in some gothic-like, small New England town with a dark past, anguishing over my Oscar picks. The voice at the other end sounded like Alec Baldwin at first.

image description

'They Shall Not Grow Old': When Johnny Comes Marching Home for Good

"They Shall Not Grow Old," a haunting documentary commissioned by Britain's Imperial War Museum to commemorate the centennial of the conclusion of World War I is a brilliant homage, an artistic accomplishment and a must-see for film students, history buffs and cineastes alike.

image description

'Serenity': It's all Just a Big …

Once upon a time, a screenwriter penning a fantasy that painted him into a corner could flee the strictures of his premise and weave a magical ending by suddenly having his protagonist awake from a dream, i.e., "The Wizard of Oz" (1939). Now, as employed in "Serenity," the Brave New Cyber World has created a newfangled escape clause for fiction writers needing to explain away flights of fancy for which there is no logical explanation, at least not in our old, plain, three-dimensional world.

image description

'Stan & Ollie': 'Old Fat & Skinny'

I and my Baby Boomer ilk were introduced to the legends via morning and midafternoon movie shows on TV in the '50s, when stations rented their films at bargain basement prices. We immediately loved them and claimed them for our generation.

image description

'Green Book': Because Look Out Old Macky's Back

Anyone with a heart and a half-decent upbringing will be abashed by the stark divulgences about intolerance in America so artfully unearthed as Mahershala Ali's Don Shirley, the world famous pianist, is escorted on his tour through the Deep South by Viggo Mortensen's Tony Lip.

image description

'Bohemian Rhapsody': Fate, Free-Will and Rock 'n' Roll

All this self-indulgent perspective noted, I thank director Bryan Singer for jogging these memories into high-relief via his superb biographical film, "Bohemian Rhapsody," which astutely and soulfully details the birth of the group Queen and the star trajectory of its lead singer, Freddie Mercury.

image description

'The Old Man & the Gun': The Antihero & the Movie Star

We are warmly invited to again marvel at how Redford's handsomeness and signature humanitarianism have always seemed so magically inseparable.

More Stories