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Holly VH, IL

            Yes.  I loved reading Art’s review of Mass.

            Reading your review of Dream Horse reminded me of the wonderful ending during the credits when the real people and the actors sang “Delilah.”  So joyful.


Art S. IN

Thanks so much for your thoughtful movie reviews.


Judy J. CA

I enjoyed this issue.  I watched the interview link to the Stephen Colbert show with an actress.


Charlotte G. Canada

Thanks Barb. Love seeing the Movie News come every month.  I know that you are still well and “kicking”.


 Art S. IN – Reviews

            Went with a friend tonight to see the new movie, The French Dispatch. I'm truly at a loss for words to describe this unusual film. It has a huge cast and most take their roles well--actors such as Bill Murray, Timothee Chalamet, Tilda Swinton, Lois Smith, Adrien Brody, Owen Wilson, Frances McDormand, Benicio Del Toro and a ton of others you may know. It also included a French actress, Lea Saydoux whom I didn't know, but who almost stole the show. The French are so blase about nudity, as my friend mentioned. Her character posed for an inmate artist while totally nude and then ran behind a screen and when she came out, you saw that she was a prison guard. The French Dispatch is a magazine (sort of a stand-in for the New Yorker, as you'll see in the credits that thank all the New Yorker writers thru the years.)  The movie is in color but sometimes in black and white and when the action really gets going fast, it switches to a cartoon. It's in English part of the time and has subtitles part of the time. There are several stories taken from the magazine and made into short films and they are not connected at all, except for having been in an issue of the magazine. Wes Anderson directed the film and also wrote the screenplay. It is supposedly written in admiration of the stories that the journalists at the magazine wrote. It was entertaining while you were watching most of it, but not always. I just wonder why? Why was this film made--what was the point and how did they get all these actors to join in? If the stories had had some sort of connection to each other, some common theme, I think it would have been better. I think there were only nine of us in the theater--all spread out.

            Saw the new movie, written and directed by Kenneth Branagh, Belfast. Told thru the eyes of a young boy (supposedly Branagh as a youngster). "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland in the late 1960s are only explained to him in simple language--it's the Protestants against the Catholics. Should the family of the little boy (played perfectly by Jude Hill) move to England to escape the dangers and violence and give up living in the city they've always lived in and loved and where everyone knows them and likes them, Or maybe they should move even farther away to Australia or Canada. The father wants to, but the mother is very hesitant until the violence almost catches up with them. It is supposed to be semi-autobiographical, whatever that means. The grandparents, especially Judi Dench as the grandmother, are both nuanced characters. Judi Dench is always good to watch--just a slight change in expression can tell wonders. The music by Van Morrison is perfect and the movie is in black and white, which is fitting, but there are scenes of their watching movies of color in theaters on every Saturday night. At the opening credits, one sees the city's skyline and the way it is filmed, one knows the person has a deep love for the city. At the end, it is dedicated to those who left Belfast, those who stayed, and those who lost their lives in those terrible times. It seemed a little muted, though, at times, except for all the violence. I thought it could have been a little more poignant and the characters filled out just a little bit more. There is some nice dialogue near the end of the movie.

            Went with a friend this afternoon to see the movie, C'mon, C'mon, with Joaquin Phoenix. He plays a radio journalist interviewing children around the states, asking them questions about the state of the world and what they think the future will be like--big grown-up questions. He doesn't interrupt them and actually listens very attentively to what they say. He is the ultimate good listener. When his sister, from whom he's been estranged for about a year or so calls and asks him if he could look after her son, he agrees to visit them, as his sister needs to see about getting her husband into some mental health treatment. The nephew, Jesse, is played remarkably well by Woody Norms, in a very difficult role. Phoenix is known for choosing roles and films that are challenging and different and this is certainly one of them. His acting is excellent and he'll probably get another Oscar nod when award season comes around. Essentially, this is a three person film, the brother, sister, and her son, his nephew. The scenes in both New York City and New Orleans are great and this movie is in totally black and white photography. Technicolor would have made the New Orleans scenes too pretty and colorful and would have been a distraction from the action and dialogue, in my opinion, so I think it was a good choice. The sister is played by Gaby Hoffman, again in a very difficult and sometimes unsympathetic role. (My friend pointed out that she had played a little girl in the long-ago film, Sleepless in Seattle.) She has been on television a lot in the intervening years. The film points out how difficult it is to be a parent and especially a mother. The brother and sister had been estranged because of their different ideas on how to treat their mother who had Alzheimer's and we also learn how the mother treated them so differently, but we don't get too much background. The nephew asks his uncle all sorts of probing questions, such as why he had never married, showing that he could ask difficult questions as well as his journalist/uncle. The chemistry between the nephew and uncle is perfect. Calling this film quirky would be an injustice--as it is certainly unique and thoughtful, and makes you want to think and then go out and ask your nephews or grandchildren what they think of the state of the world and what the future holds and not do it in a condescending way, but in a truly sincere way. I'll bet you would get some surprising answers.

Xmas Chimney lg