Flicks Again

I have been on a pre-Oscar binge, and the following observations are proof:

Richard Jewell

Not going to win any Oscars, but there are two astonishing things about the movie, “Richard Jewell,” with the first being that Paul Walter Hauser, who plays Jewell, is “brilliant” (as described in the NY Times). The second is that “Richard Jewell” is produced and directed by 89 year old Clint Eastwood. The man never stops!

This is what “Movieguide” (which says it provides, “movie reviews for Christians,”) had to write about “Richard Jewell:” “RICHARD JEWELL is brilliantly made. It has humor, suspense, drama, and deeply moving, heartfelt scenes. The acting by Paul Walter Hauser as Richard Jewell and Kathy Bates as Richard’s mother is terrific. RICHARD JEWELL tells a powerful human story and tells an incredibly timely story about seeking justice and the dangers of Big Government and Big Media. Sadly though, RICHARD JEWELL has way too much foul language, including some annoying, unnecessary strong profanities.”

Not a website I normally go to for movie reviews, as profanities are a way of life for me, spending as I do quite a bit of time on the golf course. So, WTF?

The movie is about a security guard who was accused of planting a bomb during an event at the 1996 Olympic Summer Games in Atlanta, GA. Mr. Jewell was that guard, and was essentially treated by both the media and the FBI as guilty, without ever being charged. “Richard Jewell” has not done well at the box office, and when I viewed the film it had failed to make half its $45 million budget. It deserves to do much better.

By the time you read this “Richard Jewell” may have left theatres, but catch it streaming or on demand if you can.
Mr. Hauser in the following.



“1917” surprised a lot of viewers, picking up two major awards at the 2020 Golden Globes telecast. The movie won Globes for Best Motion Picture Drama and Best Director. I have always felt uneasy about contests where entertainment arts are the focus. Can you imagine a late 19th century award ceremony citing the Best Impressionist Painting? Leave the contests to the NFL and NHL. But this is “Awards” season, and the Globes were only the beginning. We have had the Directors’ Guild Awards (“1917” was a winner for director Same Mendes) and Screen Actors Guild awards, then on to the Oscars, and Academy Award voters will choose among “1917,” “The Irishman,” “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood,” “Parasite,” “Ford V Ferrari,” “Marriage Story,” “Jojo Rabbit,” “Joker,” and “Little Women,” as Best Picture.

The reviews for “1917” are solid. The AP reviewer wrote, “The special sauce here, which you may have heard about: “1917” appears as if it were shot in one seamless take — or two, if you include one spot where it seems clear a break probably occurred. Actually, there are dozens of cuts, but they’re ingeniously hidden by editor Lee Smith, and the longest continuous shot is only about eight minutes.

Yes, it’s a dazzling technical feat. One could also consider it a gimmick, or at least a method that threatens to distract the viewer’s attention. But that ignores the fact that this very filmmaking style is also hugely effective at delivering this particular story, in the most visceral way possible.” Could not agree more as the continuity just added to the tension.

The Great War was the most gut-wrenching of wars. Four years in the trenches, on both sides. Thousands of lives lost to gain hundreds of yards of territory. Territory that was quickly lost. Officers who felt compelled to lead from behind. Below, director Sam Mendes with his featured actors, Dean Charles-Chapman and George MacKay; both excellent, as was Mr. Mendes.



“… how do critics convey when a film truly is unexpectedly, brilliantly unpredictable in ways that feel revelatory? And what do we do when we see an actual “masterpiece” in this era of critics crying wolf? Especially one with so many twists and turns that the best writing about it will be long after spoiler warnings aren’t needed? I’ll do my best because Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” is unquestionably one of the best films of the year. Just trust me on this one.” Words from the Roger Ebert website. I trusted Rober Ebert when he was alive, and I trust his website critics (Brian Tallerico in this case). “Parasite” is a comedy, a drama, a thriller, and is fascinating, devastating, and yes, unpredictable.

Richard Roeper, critic at the Chicage Sun-Times, wrote of “Parasite,”

“This is a film of such dramatic power and innovative comedy and romantic poetry and melancholy beauty that upon exiting a screening, you might well feel the urge to tell everyone in the lobby of the multiplex to delay their plans to check out some mainstream offering because if they truly love cinema, they should see THIS movie, immediately.”

“Parasite,” directed by Bong Joon-ho, is a masterpiece of social commentary, wherein a truly impoverished family (they fold pizza boxes to make a living) is able to insinuate itself, with much ingenuity, into the lives of a wealthy Seoul family. Events take a turn, much for the worst, and the comedic moments vanish under a wake of violence. But in the end, you come to understand where the title truly fits.

Not to everyone’s taste (of course there are subtitles), but do not be surprised if “Parasite” receives the Oscar for best picture. Below: folding pizza boxes to make ends meet.


The Gentlemen

This has nothing to do with the Oscars, as the movie was only just released in January. And it will not be up for any major Academy Awards next year. But I have been eagerly awaiting the release of “The Gentlemen,” as I have been a fan of Guy Ritchie, the director. Guy directed, among other films, “Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels” and “Snatch.” I never tire of either – face-paced, done with humour, and great casting. “Snatch,” for example, gave us Brad Pitt as a barely intelligible “Pikey” (a gypsy). Both “Lock, Stock …” and “Snatch” introduced Jason Statham, who has gone on to become a fixture in any movie that requires martial art skills (“the Transporter” for example), and a feature player who seems never to crack a smile.

But back to “The Gentlemen.” According to the NY Times, “mostly the movie is about Ritchie’s own conspicuous pleasure directing famous actors having a lark, trading insults, making mischief. There’s not much else, which depending on your mood and the laxity of your ethical qualms, might be enough.”

I like gangster movies, especially those with tongue in cheek. Here Mathew McConaughey plays a drug kingpin (it’s only marijuana, as he doesn’t want to “hurt” people, meanwhile disposing of rivals through less-than-subtle means). The movie worked just fine for me. Lots of twists and turns, some very funny moments, but with some very graphic scenes.

The cast also includes Michelle Dockery (“Downton Abbey”), Jeremy Strong (“Succession”), Charlie Hunnam, Hugh Grant and Colin Farrell. The movie belongs to Grant, Strong, Hunnam and Farrell. Dockery? Better left to doing historical fiction.

Hugh Grant above, a little scruffier on the left than we are used to seeing him.