What to watch on the small screen next, while we wait for the big one to open back up? Well, what could be timelier in these days of Black Lives Matter protests than a new Spike Lee Joint? It’s called Da 5 Bloods, Netflix has got it and – like most any Lee creation – it’s amply deserving of your attention.
Much of the wicked fun of this movie lies in guessing who’s manipulating whom, when and why. Some reviewers have been comparing Stanley and Shirley to the cynical George and Martha in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? but the relationships here are rather more complicated than that.
Anya Taylor-Joy, who previously made a strong impression in horror vehicles like The Witch and Split, does a splendid job of embodying this off-putting eventual heroine in the newest movie version (oddly titled Emma., making “period movie” a literal thing).
Harrison Ford does as professional a job as a viewer could ask in the (greatly expanded from the book) role of John Thornton, a kindly prospector who becomes Buck’s human sidekick for a time. It must have taken some deliberate focus to deliver dialogue with sincerity when talking to a dog that wasn’t there.
1917 is the film that the centennial of the Great War deserved, arriving a couple of years late but still welcome.
As Harvey Weinstein discovers that the light at the end of his tunnel is the headlight of the oncoming #MeToo locomotive, it’s thought-provoking indeed to be reminded that this train first left the station at Fox News, where, in 2016, nobody dared call herself a feminist.
Little Women is quite frankly a superb work of cinema, and will prove richly rewarding for male as well as female viewers.
A man known for his personal environmental activism – particularly on the subject of fracking here in New York State – Mark Ruffalo the movie star disappears admirably into the role of a most unflashy, but doggedly tenacious, modern American hero.
True, it’s not 100 percent original in its slapstick depiction of Hitler and his minions; Charlie Chaplin got there first, followed by The Producers and Hogan’s Heroes and quite a few more. And it does skim lightly over the enormity of human suffering at the hands of the Third Reich and its enablers. But grappling with such tragedy head-on is the work of a different genre of filmmaking. Jojo Rabbit revels in heaping scorn on the perpetrators, and I haven’t laughed this loudly at a movie in a long time.
This was a movie long overdue to be made. That’s what makes it such an unhappy task to report that, despite several fine performances and one outstanding characterization on the part of star Cynthia Erivo, Harriet is a pretty tepid moviegoing experience.