We’ve been watching a lot of movies lately, largely because of Covid precautions, but also because of the long gray winter, Kim’s persistent fatigue, my enjoyment in sharing a movie with Kim, and the abundance of good movies we’ve found with the multiple streaming services available. I omitted a few good ones (e.g., “King Richard,” “Something to Hide,” “Unbelievable,” and more) just out of laziness.
The Boarding School (Amazon) – A young woman, fleeing a scandal in Lisbon, takes on a teaching job at an elite boarding school in the early 1900s. The most interesting part is her role as a rebel who teaches the girls to think about what they really want rather than the roles assigned to them as women. There are several movies with this name. Don’t get the slasher flick.
The Time In Between (Amazon) – A young Spanish dressmaker in Morocco, Spain and Portugal during and after the Spanish Civil War is caught up in the drama of the war and her love life. It may be a bit of a soap opera, but the views of Morocco and the compelling story make it worth watching.
The Last Days of Ptolemy Gray (Apple TV+) – A mini-series starring Samuel L. Jackson as a 93-year-old man with dementia investigating a murder. We haven’t yet seen the whole series.
The Morning Show (Apple TV+) – Jennifer Aniston, Reese Witherspoon and Steve Carell enliven a behind-the-scenes drama set in a Show that’s televised in the Morning. A revealing (to me) theme is sexual misconduct at the network.
As Time Goes By (Amazon) – A totally charming classic British sit-com starring Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmer as a middle-aged couple dealing with family and, mainly, each other. We love the gentle sarcasm that flavors their love. You will, however, have to overlook the laugh-track.
The Tender Bar (Amazon)– A boy growing up on Long Island seeks a father figure from an assortment of colorful characters at his uncle’s (Ben Affleck) bar. Good especially for those of us who are still seeking father figures.
Coda (Apple TV+) – Ruby, the only hearing person in her deaf family, faces a conflict when the needs of her family’s fishing business conflict with her love of music. Worth all the accolades.
The Power of the Dog (Netflix) – worth all the accolades – the acting, visuals, story. Fans of Yellowstone, which we loved, should see this as a possible flip-side.
Words and Pictures (Amazon) – An art teacher and an English teacher have a competition about the importance of words and pictures. Not a great movie, and the reviews were so-so, but Juliette Binoche was in it, and we enjoyed it.
Beasts of the Southern Wild (Hulu) – Why had I never heard of this movie? One of my all-time favorites, it’s the story of six-year-old Hushpuppy growing up in a ramshackle bayou community in a world of floods and fantastic beasts. See it.
What Maisy Knew (Amazon) – n Another story of a six-year-old girl, this one caught in a custody battle between neglectful New Yorkers and their new partners. This is troubling, and it ends rather abruptly, but it makes a very interesting comparison with Beasts of the Southern Wild.
Swan Song (Apple TV+) – Fascinating movie set in the near future about a guy, ill and facing death, who is helped to create a duplicate of himself in order to spare his family. Very thought-provoking ethical and emotional choices are confronted.
The Sea of Trees (Amazon) – Matthew McConaughey in a film about a suicidal guy lost in a Japanese forest. The film was panned by critics as “dull,” “empty,” “maudlin,” “mindless,” and a film “for nobody.” Apparently, we were about the only ones that liked it.
The Best Offer (Amazon) – Psychological mystery-thriller starring Geoffrey Rush as an aging, wealthy director of a high-end art and antique auction house. Brilliantly written, filmed and acted.
Complete Unknown (Amazon) A psychological mystery about a woman who is successful in creating a series of different identities, a pattern that her former lover finds troubling. Kinda makes you think.
Same Kind of Different as Me (Amazon) – True story about two men from radically different backgrounds who develop a unique and moving bond. The acting and the truth of the story make it work.
Fantastic Fungi (Netflix) Amazing documentary about mushrooms and other fungi – amazing visually, and amazing of what these fungi can do. No, it does not just appeal to nature geeks.
Wakefield (Amazon) – Bryan Cranston as a successful but overwrought businessman who bails out from his life – almost – by hiding in and spying from a room above his garage. For a long time.
Four Days (Amazon) – A drug-abusing woman is released from rehab but needs to spend four sober days at home with her mother (Glenn Close). Makes me not want to be a drug addict.
Sometimes I think about what kind of character assessment one can draw from a list of recommended movies. But mostly I don’t think about that at all.