High Life (2018)
Starring: Robert Pattinson, Juliet Binoche, Andre Benjamin, Mia Goth
Director: Claire Denis
Synopsis: Futuristic space movie, where human criminal rejects are jettisoned into space in ships as an alternative to life in prison without parole. The movie starts and remains set on one of these ships that just float in space, never to return. It is sharp at predicting what long-term space life without a hope for any other future might do to humans. Add in the criminal twist of mind (think of the people that are locked in prisons for life without parole) and you’ve got yourself a first class movie. There are extremely disturbing scenes of sexual and violent images, so be forewarned. Pattinson and Binoche are excellent casting choices for this mindbender.
Starring: Lily Franky, Sakua Ando, Kirin Kiki, Mayu Matsuoka, Jyo Kairi, Myu Sasaki
Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
Synopsis: The story of a ragtag group of individuals from various families finding themselves all living in a small house, where each one acts as a family member, just not their biological families. There’s a grandma, father, mother, aunt, and child, making ends meet the best they know how. Don’t feel sorry for them, they are managing just fine. What upsets the balance is when they find the small toddler of a neighbor couple, alone, outside, cringing in the rain. The acting in this movie is skilled and done with just the right intensity. Lily, who plays the dad, is exceptional.
Starring: Daniel Giménez Cacho , Lola Dueñas , Matheus Nachtergaele , Juan Minujin, Mariana Nunes
Director: Lucrecia Martel
Synopsis: Netflix (DVD) says: In the late 18th century, Magistrate Don Diego de Zama languishes in a regional office [in Asunción, awaiting his transfer to Buenos Aires] of the Spanish crown, awaiting a transfer to the city where his family lives. But as years pass and nothing happens, he joins a quest to pursue a notorious bandit. This movie is very well-made. The sets, the cinematography, the acting; however, the plot is one that gets under your skin. As Zama waits for his transfer, we observe Zama waiting, and after awhile the anxiety, hopelessness, and claustrophobia seeps in. Note: Disturbing scenes of how the Spanish enslaved the indigenous people.
9 ½ Weeks (1986) Available on Netflix streaming
Starring: Mickey Rourke, Kim Basinger, Margaret Whitton, David Margulies
Director: Adrian Lyne
Synopsis: Two people, drawn together by a mighty chemistry, explore some erotic adventures that include dominance and submission and allowing one’s sexual desires to consume their lives. The film is a showcase for Kim Basinger’s gorgeousness and at times feels like one long photo shoot of her many different expressions. She’s asked to put herself in a lot of compromising positions/environments here and I commend her for sticking with it. Mickey is almost wooden by comparison, but he lends balance to her extreme emotions. I watched this again because I wanted to see Mickey Rourke when his face was still gorgeous. Either my memory is faulty or they edited the netflix version, as I swear there was a scene of Kim crawling across the floor that wasn’t in this one. Erotic scenes tastefully done. To me, this movie is way hotter than 50 Shades ever thought of being.
Gloria Bell (2018)
Starring: Julianne Moore, John Turturro, Caren Pistorius
Director: Sebastián Lelio
Synopsis: Fifty-something Gloria (Julianne) likes to dance. She is divorced with two grown kids with their own lives. She meets Arnold (John) at the dance club and a romance is born. Without giving away too much of the plot, Gloria Bell is a character study of a woman who is strong and successful but is feeling pressure as the clock keeps ticking on life. The movie is appealing in some ways but isn’t compelling.