Ironbark

The potential was there, a strong cast and good cinematography. Based on a true spy story focused greatly on the cuban missile crisis it’s an interesting topic for a feature film. Then I have to ask, was it the writer or director that made the film feel longer that it needs to be? Or, is it that our attention spans are now just that short. It just doesn’t get exciting until about 3/4 of the way into the movie.

Benedict Cumberbatch and Mirab Ninidze put in strong subtle performances. Rachel Bronsanhan tries hard to break her iconic role but the director does her no favors and the writer falls short of a believable flushed out character.

What you will get is an interesting look at how an ordinary person found the strength to do something extraordinary and honorable while sticking to his belief in people and his convictions. Overall an ok movie but not quite date night worthy and fine to wait until it streams.

Miss Americana

Success takes work. One person can make a difference. And kids matter. I suppose those are the primary messages of this “I just wanna be loved movie”.

You have to admire a 14 year old who knows what she wants from an early age and goes after it. She has tried hard to be a good person and all she has ever wanted is everyone’s love, happiest on stage, standard story. Through the movie you watch her have a couple of moments of maturity as she faces Kanya trying to make a fool of her, twice, for apparently no good reason and the toll it took on her facing her sexual assailant. It’s the latter that had her realize there was more to life than wanting to be loved and that she can use her star power to make a difference in politics.

My hope is that this documentary helps girls feel empowered as they become women and that like Taylor, they open their eyes and see what’s going on around them and take action.

You get a small glimpse of how she creates and what influences her but, her brand is still tightly controlled throughout the film. You see some vulnerability but either she’s too young or not just not loose enough for this to feel like much of a documentary. It will be available on Netflix shortly so no need to go to the theater – and, it’s not date night worthy.

Joker

Disturbingly, good. Extreme comment on today’s environment with a nod to it comic roots. Joaquin Phoenix embodied today’s Joker. Definitely Oscar worthy. An abused boy with behavioral health issues in today’s harsh society is at the root of this film. You have to walk away questioning the systems we have in place and our values. The film is a harsh look at the world in which we live as though the film maker is taking us to task to look at what we have created and exit in. The film leaves on the edge of Hollywood, showcasing the blurred lines of reality, absurdity and entertainment as it sets up for its possible second installment. This film certainly isn’t for everyone but if you want to think, have conversation and live for the moment in the dark world that surrounds the downtrodden, this is worth a gander. Everything about this film from direction and script, to casting and cinematography was done right. An excellent one for film study! Probably not for most date nights!

Harriet

Female empowerment and the word of G-d are the theme of this film with slavery as the catalyst. The movie is a nice homage, as you’d expect it to be, about a strong historical figure who had a tremendous impact and extraordinary will. Nicely cast, they support the true character of the woman who became Harriet Tubman played by Cynthia Erivo. While it’s beautiful one can’t help but feel this is a romanticized Hollywood version. Towards the end it is as though film is maturing around you, realizing it’s relevance, needing to ensure you understand the message, becoming preachy, taking you out of the structure of the film. While I appreciate the value of the film, not sure I see it as the Oscar contender it has become. Lukewarm for date night.

JoJo Rabbit

What a fun sad odd little film. Brilliant concept. The eyes of history through a boys experience as naivete and innocence is washed away. The film is reflective of current times showcasing struggle, absurdity in thought and narrowed vision. Well cast the filming was terrific. Stylistic and reminiscent of Mel Brooks. If you’re worried about Hitler being portrayed affably, don’t. Hopefully at the end of the film you contemplate the stories you have been told about those around you and seek to look beyond the stories and experience the truths for yourself. Date night worthy.

Hustlers

Snooze. I wasn’t aware of this story, based on real life strippers hustling wall street men. Frankly, it’s ok, that I didn’t. It’s your standard whoa is me, just making a living, life gets in the way oh well people get taken advantage of type movie. No surprises no edge of your seat feeling and no real peak.

JLo, well, she doesn’t seem to be able to decide if she truly wants to be an actress or simply rely on what she’s known for, the brand she’s created. As such, she keeps you at a distance in her performance leaving you without sympathy or any real feeling for her character. In fact, you wonder where the line is between fact and fiction! Constance Wu puts in a good performance but like with JLo, it’s hard to care much for her character.

I blame the director who despite the subject mater, puts together a safe film for which it’s easy to remain a distant third party voyeur . Cinematography and editing is good. Not sure why it’s up for any awards. Is it date night worthy…hmmm…yah I suppose so if you are looking for a light night of fun (wink wink) without much focus on the film.

Bombshell

It’s funny to have lived through this recent story and yet not know as much as I thought I did. Fox news, sexual harassment and the demise of Roger Ailes. Charlize Theron does an amazing job as Megyn Kelly and while the film is based primarily on her character, Margot Robbie and even Kate McKinnon (based on composites of real life women), share in that spotlight with Johnathon Lithgow. Nichol Kidman seemed a bit out of place with a bad wig while Alison Janey surprised with yet another interesting short lived character appearance. Is it Oscar worthy, not really. Is it interesting, yes. Will you be entertained, pretty much, there are points where it’s a bit dragged out. Overall, an entertaining movie for the night that could bring up discussion so, date night worthy.