Showing posts with label movie reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label movie reviews. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

What I Watched (and Liked) While on My 2021 Summer Stay-cation: Part 2 - Some Good Movies You Might Not Know About

 [I review "Summer of Soul," "Georgetown," "The Last Letter From Your Lover," "Honest Thief," and "Supernova."]


"Summer of Soul...or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised"


A documentary of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival that celebrated African-American music and culture and black pride.

The what?

Who knew that, musically, 1969 wasn't just the year of Woodstock but the year of the Harlem Cultural Festival that also drew hundreds of thousands. Except Woodstock became famous with all kinds of coverage and a feature film and the footage from the "Black Woodstock" languished in a basement for 50 years...until now. Questlove (Ahmir Khalib Thompson) has rescued it and makes his directorial debut with this feature film streaming on Hulu.

After the losses of Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and police violence, The Harlem Cultural Festival was a chance to heal and celebrate black music and culture by bringing together some of the most famous black artists to perform in Mount Morris Park. Black Panthers were hired to provide security so that there wasn't a huge police presence.

Forty hours of footage was shot by producer Hal Tulchin but unlike Woodstock, nobody wanted to turn it into a film or show it on TV, so the footage sat dormant in a basement for decades until rescued and made into this wonderful and inspirational film. And after seeing it, one has to wonder why this got no coverage at the time or since. Mmmm, one does.

See a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder come into his own: Sly and the Family Stone kicking the usual proverbial ass; along with Gladys Knight and the Pips, The Fifth Dimension, Hugh Masekela, the stars of gospel and more. A particular moving and controversial segment shows Nina Simone reading a poem by David Nelson that is clearly not flattering to white folks.

She asks the crowd:

“Are you ready, black people? Are you ready to do what is necessary? Are you ready to smash white things, to burn buildings, are you ready? Are you ready to build black things? Black people, are you ready?"

Fred Hampton was killed later that year, and still today, continuing police brutality and deaths of young black men...At the end of the film, I cried, because so little has changed.

But thankfully, the music hasn't changed and is a positive that endures...and this film is a musical extravaganza!

Rosy the Reviewer says...you missed it in 1969 but now you get to be there!

(Now streaming on Hulu)



Georgetown


An ambitious social climber marries a much older but well-connected woman in order to be somebody.

What is it with old ladies who think a handsome, much younger man wants anything to do with them except money?  Don't they know that once they hit 50 they are invisible?  I know, I'm being cynical, but if you have ever seen some of those TV shows about older women being catfished by young men on the Internet, you would be cynical too.

So anyway, that's what this is about and, of course, it's based on a true story, an article "The Worst Marriage in Georgetown."  It's a pretty bad marriage - well, the worst, really - when the husband kills his wife, right?

Ulrich Mott (Christoph Waltz) has arrived in Washington, D.C. from...not sure where.  He has a very mysterious past but so far he has landed a job as an unpaid intern, though at the age of 50, an intern is not how Ulrich sees himself.  The congressman he works for also doesn't see it so he lets him go ("Not a good fit"), but that doesn't stop Ulrich from getting himself invites to "in" parties and attaching himself to the rich and powerful D.C. society.  And it's at just such a party that Ulrich meets Elsa Breht (Vanessa Redgrave), a rich and famous journalist who knows everybody. When they first meet, Elsa is married but Ulrich so charms her, that when her husband dies, they connect again and ultimately get married, he 50 something, she 40 years older.

When the film begins, Ulrich is hosting a dinner party and Elsa's daughter, Amanda (Annette Bening) shows up.  It is clear that Amanda dislikes Ulrich but her mother dismisses her.  After the dinner, Elsa also dismisses Ulrich telling him not to smoke in the house so he goes out for a walk to have a smoke.  When he gets back home, 91-year-old Elsa is dead.  As Keith Morrison says on "Dateline," "Could it be murrrr-der?"

Well, duh.

So in flashback we see how Elsa and Ulrich meet, how he courts her and how she helps open doors for him in D.C. society. She enjoys helping him make a name for himself in D.C.  However, realizing her mother is being woo'd by a gigolo, Amanda tries to intervene but Elsa is one of those old ladies I mentioned earlier.  She thinks she still has it.  She doesn't.  Ah, vanity. But Elsa eventually catches Ulrich in his lies. Turns out our Ulrich not only doesn't like old ladies, he doesn't like girls! 

But for a time, he manages to cast himself as a player, starting The Eminent Persons Group (I mean, who doesn't want to be an "eminent person?) and parlaying his life into that of a kind of diplomat, getting credit for a peace-making mission when in fact he just took credit for what others did.  Ulrich had a knack for being at the right place at the right time and playing whatever cards he could get. Georgetown is a metaphor for social climbing and hanging out in the corridors of power and that is what Ulrich was all about.  He was a genius at sucking up and giving the rich and powerful what they wanted and needed to hear.  

Written by David Auburn (based on Franklin Foer's aforementioned New York Times article) and directed by Waltz, the film captures the wheeling and dealing that goes on behind the scenes in our Capitol, the jockeying for position, the posing, the posers.  It's great to see Waltz, Vanessa Redgrave (who at 84 still looks great, by the way) and Annette Benning chewing that proverbial scenery. I just wish there had been a bit more background on Ulrich. What was his life like before he came to Washington?  What motivated him? Who was he really?

Rosy the Reviewer says...but all-in-all, a satisfying, old-style melodrama brought to life by wonderful performances.

(On DVD and for rent at Amazon Prime)



The Letter from Your Lover



Two parallel love stories 56 years apart.

Ellie Haworth (Felicity Jones) is a journalist who has broken up with her long-time boyfriend. She is tasked to write an article about the recently-deceased editor of her newspaper and while searching the newspaper archives runs across a love letter to someone identified as "J" from "Boot." Intrigued, Ellie is determined to learn who "J" and "Boot" were and what happened to them.

So begins this romantic film starring Felicity Jones and Shailene Woodley.

Flashback to the 1960's, we learn that "J" is married socialite Jennifer Stirling (Woodley) who meets foreign correspondent Anthony O'Hare (Callum Turner) who has arrived on the French Riviera to interview her husband, Laurence (Joe Alwyn). Laurence is called away and Jennifer and Anthony end up spending the summer together. They write little letters to each other signing them "J" and "Boot" but it's all platonic until Jennifer tries to kiss Anthony. He pulls away and rejected, she returns to London. But Anthony contacts her, asking to meet, and thus begins a clandestine love affair and the two decide to run off together. But wouldn't you know, as Jennifer rushes to meet Anthony at the train station she gets in a car crash resulting in amnesia. Yes, it's one of those where the lovers almost get away but one of them doesn't quite make it. I think that storyline started with "An Affair to Remember."

In the meantime, Laurence has found the last letter Anthony wrote Jennifer, the one where he asks her to meet him and he hides the letter. Jennifer desperately tries to regain her memory and finds several letter from "Boot" hidden around the house which in turn leads her to a post office box that Laurence has closed. When Jennifer confronts Laurence, he reveals that he knew about Anthony but that Anthony has died. And that's that. Or is it?

In the present day, Ellie has a sort of relationship with Rory, the newspaper archivist, as they get to know each other while looking for more love letters but she is down on romance because of her recent break-up.

So...will Jennifer and Anthony ever see each other again?  Will Ellie and Rory hook up?

Again, duh.

This is one of those big production, old-fashioned, romantic feature film soap operas that we came to expect from producter Ross Hunter and director Douglas Sirk during the 50's and 60's. Great sets, lavish costumes, exotic locales. Think Lana Turner in "Imitation of Life" or "Portrait in Black." It's all here: lovers thwarted, amnesia, love letters, the lovers trying to reunite but just missing each other - you know, one walks into an elevator while the other walks out, making you go "Noooo!" 

Yes, well-known potboiler tropes but I loved those movies so I loved this film too.  

I have to say that I was rather put off at first by the casting of Shailene Woodley for this, because I think of her as more of a teen action character, not a sophisticated London socialite. She is certainly no Lana Turner.  But she grew on me.  And I always like Felicity Jones. Her charm is her fidgety sweetness.

Written by Nick Payne and Esta Spalding, based on the book by JoJo Moyes and directed by Augustine Frizzell, the film beautifully recreates the mid-60's where we were still wearing hats and gloves.  A side note: Everyone thinks the 60's was all about hippies but that's not true.  I graduated from high school in 1966 and we were still dressing up with hats and gloves to go to church.


Yours truly with her mother, circa 1966.  

It wasn't until the end of the 60's and the early 70's that the hippie ethos really kicked in. 


Yours truly with a friend circa 1971.  I rest my case!


Rosy the Reviewer says.. it doesn't matter that this is predictable and that you know how it will end.  It's an old-fashioned romance and we need a satisfying ending, preferably with some tears attached - mine - and that's what I got. I enjoyed it and if you like romantic dramas, you will too.

(Now streaming on Netflix)

 



Honest Thief




A bank robber (Liam Neeson) falls in love and tries to go straight -- but it ain't workin' out.

I can't resist Liam Neeson movies. His ability to remain stoic in the face of adversity is a thing to behold. I mean who can forget these lines from the first "Taken" movie:

"...what I do have are a very particular set of skills...skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. If you let my daughter go now, that'll be the end of it...But if you don't, I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you."

Liam has made an entire career out of movies and lines like that, and this one is no exception, though I hate to say it's not as good. But if you like to see Liam work his way out of a sticky situation in his usual deadpan way, you will enjoy this.

Liam plays Tom Dolan AKA "The In-and-Out-Bandit," so-called because he has been robbing banks for six years. He gets in, he gets out. But now he is in love with Annie (Kate Walsh) and wants to get his past behind him. He wants to turn himself in, do his time and then get on with this life. But not as easy as it sounds. He calls the FBI to make a deal. He will turn himself in and hand over the money for a minimum sentence. However, here's the problem. THEY DON'T BELIEVE HIM! They have heard too many false confessions before. But when two of the cops finally decide to check his story out, they find the money and decide to keep it! So now poor Liam has to STEAL THE MONEY BACK!

Okay, I know. Implausible? Yes. But entertaining. Yes! It's Liam bloody Neeson. He always delivers.

So we have bent cops, car chases and over-the-top dialogue.

"I will never see you again."

"I promise you will."

"Because I am Liam bloody Neeson!"

I made that last line up but you get the drift.

Written by Steve Allrich and Mark Williams and directed by Williams, it's all very B-movie with lots of "Huh?" moments, e.g. I couldn't figure out how a guy could be stabbed in the scrotum with a pair of scissors and just keep going. But, you know, if you can suspend disbelief and all of that, this is fun.

Rosy the Reviewer says...it's kind of a cartoon but, hey, we love cartoons, right? And it's Liam Bloody Neeson!

(Available on Amazon Prime)



Supernova


Stanley Tucci and Colin Firth play a married couple dealing with dementia.

Sam and Tusker are a married couple who have been together for years, but two years before, Tusker was diagnosed with dementia and now he is declining quickly. The two decide to go on a road trip, one last one, to say goodbye to friends and family but more importantly to spend time together.  Just like a supernova - a star running out of fuel and exploding - so is Tusker's life.

So Sam and Tusker rent an RV and head out to travel around England's Lake District to see friends and family but when Sam discovers that Tusker has a suicide drug, that changes everything.

Written and directed by Harry Macqueen, this is a tender, quiet film that explores how dementia affects not just the person dealing with it, but that person's loved ones as well.

There is a quote highlighted in the film: 

"We will not starve from lack of wonders, but lack of wonder."

 And this film does not lack wonder. Tucci and Firth are wonderful in this, creating a completely believable, loving relationship between these two characters, often without saying a word.  This is probably their best work to date.

Rosy the Reviewer says...if you enjoy seeing two consummate actors at the top of their games at work, then this is for you.

(On DVD and available to rent on Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple+ and Vudu)

Thanks for reading!

See you soon!



If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rosythereviewer 

And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to IMDB.com, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain (Review)


I have been a huge fan of
Anthony Bourdain's ever since he wrote "Kitchen Confidential," a best-selling and scathing account of what goes on behind the scenes in restaurants.  Because of him, I would never order fish in a restaurant on a Monday. 

After studying at The Culinary Institute, Tony worked himself up to head chef at Les Halles restaurant in New York City and in his forties wrote "Kitchen Confidential," which in turn led to several TV shows where he traveled the world sampling international culture and all kinds of strange food.  It started with "A Cook's Tour" on the Food Network, followed by "Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations" and "The Layover" on the Travel Channel and finally "Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown" on CNN, which was more travelogue than food show.  He was also a judge on a cooking competition called "The Taste" for three seasons and wrote several other books and articles.  

And I watched and read them all because I loved Tony. He had a certain combination of dark humor and sensitivity that oozed warmth from the television that made me feel like he was my friend. He was also down-to-earth as he toured the world, hanging out with the locals, showing us out-of-the-way spots and teaching us how not to act like tourists.  And he seemed to be at the top of his game.

And then he hanged himself in France while filming "Parts Unknown."

But don't think this is a downer movie.  It is not.  It's all about a life well-lived.  

Through film archive footage and interviews with those who knew him - his second wife, Ottavia Busia, his brother, Christopher Bourdain, friends, colleagues and fellow chefs David Chang and Eric Ripert (Ripert was filming "Parts Unknown" with Tony when he died and found him in his hotel room), a portrait of Tony emerges that covers his life and career and it pulls no punches. He had a heroin habit at one time that he kicked, he had a dark side but he was also a talented writer as well as being a talented chef. Before his success, Tony sent emails to a publisher friend who was blown away by his eloquence and so "Kitchen Confidential" came into being and all that followed.  Success at 43.

But did Tony enjoy being successful?  Did he like being a Food Network star?  No.  He never wanted to be an Emeril or a Bobby Flay.  In fact, he had disdain for the Food Network.  And despite Tony's elan, he was quite self-deprecating and shy. His 30-year-relationship with his first wife fell apart and, even though he found happiness with his second wife, Ottavia Busia, and the birth of a daughter, life on the road - 150 days at a time - took its toll and he started to suffer from agoraphobia. And then a third relationship fell apart.

Does any of that explain why he did it?  

There are no easy answers and this film directed by Morgan Neville (who also directed the wonderful film about Mr. Rogers - "Won't You Be My Neighbor?") doesn't offer them. This is more about Tony's life than his death.  But there seems to be a theme: a smart, charming, sensitive guy who fought demons gets caught up in the fame machine and it chews him up and spits him out.

Hubby and I had the pleasure of meeting Tony.  We attended his one man show in Seattle and had VIP passes to a reception afterwards.  





He autographed his books and took pictures with us.


  

Here I am having my picture taken with Tony, something he must have done with fans hundreds of times.

I remember saying to him how much I enjoyed "The Layover" and he laughed and said he HATED doing that show. He was just so kind and down-to-earth, nary a bit of celebrity preening. He was a superstar who didn't act like one. He oozed warmth and self-deprecation and meeting him, I felt just like I did when I watched him on TV. He felt like a friend.

But now look at this picture. This is a less "official" one. 

You can see how happy I am to have met him, to have an autographed copy of his book, but then look over to the right at Tony.  Look how happy he looks.  He looks happy for ME being happy!  That picture says so much.  He made others happy, but, sadly, it seems he couldn't make himself happy.

So why did he do it? Was it the stress of life on the road? Was it his divorce?  Was it losing his latest love?  Did he feel unlovable?  We will never know.  But one thing I do know.  I loved him. 

Someone says in the film that Tony was always in pain and he tried to outrun it.  I guess he couldn't.

Rosy the Reviewer says...a brilliant documentary about a brilliant life well-lived that burned out too soon. I predict this will win the Oscar for Best Documentary at next year's Academy Awards. (In theatres and available On Demand and from Amazon Prime)

(Note:  I chose not to address the controvery surrounding director Neville's decision to use A.I. to replicate Tony's voice at certain times in the film because I don't really care.  It's a wonderful film.  But I hope it doesn't affect his winning an Oscar).


Thanks for reading!

See you soon!



If you enjoyed this post, feel free to click on the share buttons to share it on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn, email it to your friends and LIKE me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/rosythereviewer 

And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to IMDB.com, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!

Sunday, July 18, 2021

What I Watched (and Liked) While on My 2021 Summer Stay-cation: Movies - Part 1

[I review "In the Heights," "The Courier," "The Last Vermeer," "Things Heard and Seen," "Memories of Murder," "The Woman in the Window" and "Another Round"]

I realize that the summer is not over but there are so many movies on my radar, I thought I had better get this first installment out.  

I had put out teasers for these films on my Rosy the Reviewer Facebook page but I have expanded those reviews and now you have a handy list of must-see movies, all in one place!

Let me know what your think!


In the Heights (2021)


Ever wonder what Lin-Manual Miranda did before he took the world by storm with “Hamilton?” Well, this was it.

He wrote this show in 1999, his sophomore year in college. It eventually made its way to Broadway in 2008, garnering 14 Tony Award nominations and winning four.
The story is set over three days in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City, a predominantly Hispanic enclave and follows Usnavi de la Vega (Anthony Ramos), a bodega owner who dreams of going back to his native Dominican Republic; Nina (Leslie Grace), who has made it out of the neighborhood to Stanford but is having difficulty finding her place there; Vanessa (Melissa Barrera), an aspiring fashion designer who yearns for a nice apartment of her own; local businessman, Kevin Rosario (Jimmy Smits) and other Washington Heights community members, all seeking un sueno, “the dream.”
It seems a lottery ticket worth $96,000 was sold at the bodega so everyone wondering who has won that money is a theme throughout the film and there is a blackout, but other than that there isn’t much of a plot and it’s a bit long, but that doesn't matter, because this is all about these engaging characters and the exuberance of a vibrant community. Directed by Jon M. Chu (who made a big splash with "Crazy Rich Asians") and an adapted screenplay by Quiara Alegria Hudes, this is a celebration of community, music, dance, love and, life itself, and yes, rap...and you can’t help but get swept up in it all. It’s also an homage to the immigrants who have made this country great.

And for you Miranda fans (he has a cameo, by the way), as you watch this, it will be fun for you to think of him, that college boy writing this show fusing rap, hip-hop and salsa music before anyone did such a thing. And there is even a hint of "West Side Story" in there. And then came “Hamilton.” You can’t listen to the song “96,000” without thinking of “Hamilton.”

Rosy the Reviewer says…"West Side Story" meets "Hamilton." People, Broadway is BACK!
(This was streaming for free for subscribers of HBO Max but it's no longer available - these free streams only last a month - so if you want to see it, you will need to venture out to the theatre or wait for it to appear on the other streaming services. It is scheduled to be released on DVD August 31 so it should be On Demand or on Amazon or Netflix soon after).



The Courier (2020)


During the Cold War, an English businessman is recruited by MI6 and the CIA to spy on Russia.

Is there nothing Benedict Cumberbatch can’t do? Okay, he can’t leap tall buildings in a single bound, though he has done some crazy stuff as Dr. Strange, but he is one hell of an actor who can play any character with ease and make him exceedingly believable.
That is the case here as he takes us on a Cold War journey as Greville Wynne, a British businessman who is approached by MI6 and the CIA to help them get information on the Soviet’s nuclear program. He is recruited to act as a business partner to Russian official, Oleg Penkovsky (Merab Ninidze), to take messages back to the West which eventually provided crucial intelligence that helped to end the Cuban Missile Crisis, an event that led us perilously close to a nuclear war. However, Wynne's and Penkovsky's participation led to some severe consequences for them.

Wynne is an unlikely spy. He is kind of a nerdy businessman who is better at schmoozing than spying, but it's the story of how ordinary people can be thrust into history for the greater good. It's a spy story you will recognize with the usual spy story tropes but this is also an intense and important story brought to life by wonderful performances by Cumberbatch and Ninidze.
Rosy the Reviewer says…based on a true story, adapted by Tom O'Connor and directed by Dominic Cooke, this is an intense spy thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat!
(Available on DVD, On Demand and to rent on Amazon Prime)





Post WWII, collaborators with the Nazis were not very popular...to say the least!

When Hitler’s Reich fell in May of 1945, the Americans discovered art that the Nazis had looted, one of which was a valuable Vermeer called “Christ and the Adulteress.” We all know that the Nazis were bad guys who killed six million Jews but they also stole their art. Joseph Piller (Claes Bang) is assigned to find the owners of the art and to return it to them, if they are still alive, that is.
Piller tracks down Han Van Meegeren (Guy Pearce), an artist who was known to have sold the Vermeer to Goring (Goring was a monster but I guess he loved art. Does that make him less of a monster? I think not). Now Van Meegeren is in the cross hairs as a possible collaborator with the Nazis. Was he? Turns out, nothing is as it seems.

He is brought to trial and his defense is that he was not collaborating with the Nazis, he was defrauding them because, you see, Van Meegeren is a master forger. Thus the age old question, "What is art?"
Written by John Orloff, Mark Fergus, and Hawk Ostby and directed by Dan Friedkin, this is an examination of war and what people do to survive it.

Pearce (I am obsessed with his hair in this!) and Bang make great foils and might I add that Claes Bang is certainly a nice big handsome man?! I'm just saying.
Rosy the Reviewer says…an intellectual and, dare I say, “arty” foray into a little known part of the aftermath of WW II. If you like serious historical dramas, this is for you.
NOTE: I think this is available on STARZ, if you are currently signed up for that. However, I watched it on a DVD from Netflix. Okay, I know what you are thinking. Who on earth still gets DVDs from Netflix? Well, lest you think I am the little old lady holding up the line writing a check at the grocery store or fishing into my coin purse for exact change, my still getting DVDs from Netflix (I stream as well) puts me ahead of you in the queue. I have access to movies as soon as they are released on DVD, well before Netflix or Amazon or any of the other services get the film…so there! But watch for it, it will stream soon.







This is one of those “married couple moves into creepy house and creepy stuff happens” kind of movie.

It doesn’t help that the couple in question, George (James Norton) and Catherine (Amanda Seyfried) are also a bit creepy, well, George anyway.
As well as a ghost story, this is a story of a couple in trouble. Or, more like a couple with a really bad husband. George is a “failed artist,” who is forced to take a job as a professor in an upstate New York college, and Catherine has an eating disorder and other issues, probably because her husband is a cad. It isn’t long until ghostly happenings occur because it turns out there was a murder/suicide that took place in that house and it seems the murdered wife wants to get in touch with our Catherine, because, “Catherine, you are in danger, girl.”
Gee, I wonder if more bad stuff is going to happen. Duh, you think?
You “Granchester” fans might be uncomfortable seeing James Norton, who you remember as a benign priest solving crimes in a lovely English town, as a bad guy, but he does bad guy really well. And I enjoyed seeing Karen Allen, Michael O’Keefe and F. Murray Abraham get some screen time – where have they been?
And would you believe, the library plays a big role as Catherine does research on her “haunted” house? Yes, people, libraries are more than books and reading – you can research your house, town and your ancestry, take computer classes, find answers to questions that you can’t find on Google (it’s called asking a reference librarian who is trained to find answers to the most obscure questions) and meet up with your fellow community members. The library is a community gathering place where you can actually see your property taxes at work.

Based on the book "All Things Cease to Appear" by Elizabeth Brundage and adapted and directed by husband and wife team Sherry Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, this is an atmospheric ghost story with some psychology thrown in.
Rosy the Reviewer says…if you like ghostly stories about couples in trouble and things that go bump in the night, you will enjoy this.
(Now streaming on Netflix)




Before "Parasite" surprisingly won the Academy Award for Best Picture, there was this film from director Bong Joon Ho.

As you movie fans will remember, “Parasite” was a surprise win for the the Best Picture Oscar in 2020 and its director, Bong Joon Ho, who won Best Director, was only the second “foreign” director to win a Best Director Oscar.
This 2003 film about the inept investigation of a serial killer in Korea (based on a true case that was unsolved at the time of this film’s release) was only Ho’s second feature film and shows his filmmaking expertise – his ability to weigh humor vs. suspense - that would lead to his Oscar in 2020 for "Parasite." Thanks to his 2020 Oscar win, this earlier film is now available.
It’s the 1980’s and women are being killed in a small Korean town where the police are not prepared for this kind of investigation. In fact, they are incompetent and brutal, and not above forcing false confessions. When another officer comes from Seoul to help, he is shocked by the incompetence of the local cops and they are all shocked when they realize that perhaps this killer is getting the best of them. Like “Parasite,” it’s creepy and moody, but also funny and there are twists and turns, with a bit of a political statement about the state of affairs in Korea too.
Kang-Ho Song, who also starred in “Parasite,” stars here but the ensemble cast also deserves recognition.
Rosy the Reviewer says…if you had seen this back in 2003, you might have said, “Wow…I see an Oscar in this guy’s future!” If you were a “Parasite” fan, you will enjoy this.
(Available on DVD from Netflix and streaming on Hulu. In Korean with English subtitles)




An agoraphobic woman spies on her neighbors and witnesses a murder.

Amy Adams stars in this psychological thriller about an agoraphobic psychologist (you heard me) who hasn’t been out of her Manhattan brownstone in over 10 months. When new neighbors move in across the street she spends some time spying on them only to witness a murder…and because she likes to drink wine with her meds (who doesn’t?), no one believes her because it appears no one is dead!

Anna is a psychologist who has experienced a breakdown. She hasn't been out of her house in 10 months and relies on food deliveries, old movies on TV and red wine. A family has moved in across the street and now part of Anna's routine is to watch their every move through their windows which are conveniently rarely covered. Jane (Julianne Moore), the new neighbor, visits Anna and the two hit it off (red wine will do that!) so it's a huge shock when Anna, during one of her "spying on the new neighbors" sessions, thinks she sees Jane's husband stabbing her. Anna calls the police and when they arrive with Jane's husband and Jane in tow, Anna is horrified that this Jane is NOT the woman she had just spent the evening with! What the...? And therein, my fellow peeps, lies the mystery ahead.
I am a big reader, mostly nonfiction, but I try my hand at fiction every third or fourth book, and I like the occasional thriller, so I read this bestseller by A.J. Finn a couple of years ago and looked forward to this movie version... and it mostly works. It’s a kind of modern day “Rear Window,” with agoraphobia instead of a wheelchair and lots of star power: in addition to Adams, there is Gary Oldman, Anthony Mackie, an almost unrecognizable Jennifer Jason Leigh (I think she's had some work done), and an uncredited Tracy Letts (a man of many talents, he also adapted the screenplay).

Directed by Joe Wright, this is atmospheric, suspenseful and has a very big twist.
Rosy the Reviewer says…if you liked “Rear Window,” “Gone Girl” or “The Girl on the Train,” you might also like this one.
(Now streaming on Netflix)




Four Danish school teachers hitting a midlife crisis get this idea that consuming just the right amount of alcohol every day will give them their mojo back. Mmmm.

Four Danish teachers - Martin (Mads Mikkelsen), Tommy (Thomas Bo Larsen), Peter (Lars Ranthe) and Nicolaj (Magnus Millang) - are just phoning it in. They have become boring. They know it and so do their students and the other faculty members. But when one of them comes across a study that says the human body is lacking .05% alcohol in order to live happy, productive lives, the four embark on a social experiment to see if that is true. They start spending their personal and professional lives just a little bit drunk. But there are rules. They are not to drink more than required to get to .05% and they are not to drink after 8pm.

And wouldn’t you know it? They all have a renewed interest in their work, they are inspired to teach and their students are inspired by them. Martin reconnects with his wife and kids. But if a little booze is a good thing, more booze is better, right? Next the group decides to expand the drinking to .10% which also seems to work so why not try some binge drinking to see how that goes? Do you see where this is going to go? Right.

Written by Thomas Vinterberg and Tobias Lindholm, this is an engaging and entertaining film with an wonderful ensemble cast with Mads Mikkelsen a stand-out (his is a face you will recognize for his roles in many English language films as well as the TV show "Hannibal").
Rosy the Reviewer says…this won an Oscar for Best International Film and it’s a wonderful film experience, but I have to admit, not sure if the message here was booze is good or booze is bad. Watch the movie, have another round, and let's discuss!
(In Danish with English subtitles. And c’mon, folks you can do it. If you don’t watch films with subtitles, you are missing out! Available from Netflix on DVD or to rent on Amazon)

Thanks for reading!

See you soon
for My Summer Stay-cation Movies Part 2!



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And next time you are wondering whether or not to watch a particular film, check out my reviews on IMDB (The International Movie Database). Go to IMDB.com, find the movie you are interested in.  Scroll over to the right of the synopsis to where it says "Critic Reviews" - Click on that and if I have reviewed that film, you will find Rosy the Reviewer alphabetically on the list (NOTE:  IMDB keeps moving stuff around so if you don't find "Critics Reviews" where I am sending you, look around.  It's worth it)!