Monday, December 30, 2019


Producer/Director Sam Mendes, together with Cinematographer Roger Deakins and Production Designer Dennis Gassner, has created, perhaps, the best movie of 2019.

Two British Lance Corporals, Schofield (George MacKay) and Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) are sent on a mission through World War 1’s No-Man’s-Land to stop 1,600 men from falling into a German trap.

The movement of these men is tracked as if we, in the audience, were with them.  The terrain is bleak and the journey harrowing.  We are given the true feeling of what it was like to be one of these warriors and one can’t leave the theater without a better understanding of the hazards of war.

This is not a walk in the park for viewers, but it is filmmaking at its best.

I give 1917 a 5 out of 5.

Little Women

If you’ve read Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, then Writer/Director Greta Gerwig’s screen version may well be your favorite movie of the year.

There are exceptional performances by the inimitable Soairse Ronan, as well as by Laura Dern, Eliza Scanlen, Timothée Chalamet and a solid supporting cast.

Cinematographer Yorick Le Saux’s images are exquisite, Production Designer Jess Gonchor’s sets are fabulous and Designer Jacqueline Durrans’ costumes are simply beautiful. 

However, while I admit I was looking forward to what I hoped would be my favorite film, it was Gerwig’s script that disappointed me.

Since I had not read the novel, I was often trying to figure out who was whom and what was happening.  What’s more, the initial cutting back and forth in time, not only didn’t help in that regard, but seemed a big mistake to me.

Still, there is more than enough to please and I give Little Women a 4.4 out of 5.

Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker

Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Starwalker is a valiant effort to end the saga that began 42 years ago.

While there are many fabulous scenes and events, the problem with Writer/Producer/Director J.J. Abrams’ effort is that there is too much crammed into 142 minutes. 

This is a film that should have been an hour longer. As it is, we are set up that the Sith will attack in 16 hours and, yet, there are flights across galaxies that seem to take minutes, instead of hours or days/weeks.  It just defies logic, even for the most avid fans.

Thanks to a great cast, including Daisy Ripley, Adam Driver, Oscar Isaacs and many others, there is much to satisfy the viewer, but one hoped for more.

I give Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Starwalker a 4 out of 5.