Dirty John (2018)
Starring: Eric Bana, Connie Britton, Julia Garner, Juno Temple, Jean Smart
Director: Alexandra Cunningham
Synopsis: The main character, Connie (Britton), decides to continue online dating after serial duds and finally comes across the man of her dreams, a gorgeous doctor, John (Bana), or so she thinks. As the title suggests, if it’s too good to be true, it usually is. This 8-part mini-series goes in-depth about how treacherous and disturbing a toxic narcissist can get. It’s a template for what NOT to do for females and how to recognize warning signs – but only in retrospect in this series. Bana plays the role expertly and is executive producer of the series. Lots of glamorous locations and depictions of how the upper crust live.
Ad Astra (2019)
Starring: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Donald Sutherland
Director: James Gray
Synopsis: Roy (Brad) is an astronaut who is also the son of the most famous astronaut of all time that disappeared on a long-range mission 16 years previously. There is a belief dad is still out there and needs to be found. Roy is pulled into the effort to find his long-lost father. It’s an introspective space movie that also manages to find room for a lot of action. Roy does a lot of stream-of-consciousness reflection through narration. The plot is compelling, as are his reflections, much of them about life and relationships. You’ve never seen Brad on his game like you see him here. He’s sober as a church mouse, turning off the charm so you aren’t distracted by it. Expect academy nominations. Support cast are superb but have minor roles.
The Wolfman (2010)
Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Hopkins, Emily Blunt, Art Malik
Director: Joe Johnston
Synopsis: Father (Hopkins) lives in brooding mansion with one son and son’s fiance (Blunt) while estranged son (Del Toro) takes up acting in London. Fiance travels to London to tell actor son that his brother is missing. Against his better judgment, his concern for his brother outweighs his estrangement for his father. It becomes a twisted tale of werewolves gone wild. Lots of killing and gore and detailed morphing from man to werewolf. All three main characters are suitably intense.
better not to watch a trailer and then be surprised on this one
Bisbee ’17 (2018)
Starring: Real life people playing themselves or historical characters from 1917.
Director: Robert Greene
Synopsis: From imdb description: “An old mining town on the Arizona-Mexico border [Bisbee, New Mexico] finally reckons with its darkest day: the deportation of 1200 immigrant miners exactly 100 years ago. Locals collaborate to stage recreations of their controversial past.” It is a chapter in history that nobody in the town wants to talk about but one that every long-time resident knows about and has an opinion on. Ostensibly the deportation [euphemism for loading miners, their sympathizers, and anyone not White Anglo-Saxon at gunpoint into railcars and abandoning them in the desert to die] was about Socialist union organizers coming to town and trying to stop World War I by having the miners walk out until the mine owners agreed to give the miners better pay, safer working conditions, and to stop their discriminatory practices in hiring and promotion. This documentary is good because it brings the reality to life for those who didn’t know about it, and it gives the townspeople a chance at opening up dialogue about the horrific chapter in Bisbee’s history by having the town residents re-enact the “deportation.”
Never Grow Old (2019)
Starring: John Cusack, Emile Hirsch, Deborah Francois
Director: Ivan Kavanaugh
Synopsis: It’s a dark Western throughout. Hirsch and Francois play a pioneer couple who have built a homestead in a small but comfortable community of God-fearing “puritans” under the protective wing of their preacher. The saloon has been shut down and all of the vice that goes with it. Francois is content with their happy family but Hirsch’ mind always seems to be on bigger and better as the low-traffic undertaker. Now inject 3 bad hombres who blow into town and turn everything topsy turvy. Cusack plays a scary villain I wouldn’t want to say no to. What I most enjoyed about his character is the charisma that lures the hungry Hirsch in. It’s a complicated alliance between the killer and the undertaker. Francois as the incorruptible wife is a true standout in the film. It’s interesting to see how each character responds to her integrity. The movie got fairly low ratings on imdb, but I think it deserves a higher rating. Hirsch was disappointing in his role. A better casting choice could have made a big difference.
The Dead Don’t Die (2019)
Starring: Bill Murray, Adam Driver, Tom Waits, Danny Glover, Tilda Swinton, Rosie Perez, Chloe Sevigny, Steve Buscemi, RZA, Iggy Pop, Selena Gomez
Director: Jim Jarmusch
Synopsis: Strange things are happening with the moon after polar fracking. A small town sees the beginning of the end of humankind when zombies rise from the grave. Murray, Driver, and Sevigny are police officers trying to come to terms with what’s happening right before their eyes. Waits is great as the recluse who lives in the woods. This is a COMEDY-horror. If you know Jim Jarmusch’ film-making style, you’ll appreciate this movie. There are many scenes of zombie violence, but most times a black powder is substituted for blood, so not too gory. If I had a choice to live in any film-maker’s universe, it would be in Jarmusch’.