Some thoughts on the pedestrian Ben Wheatley-directed “Rebecca” (hint: we did not like it all that much)

The legacy of a life cut short
Armie Hammer and Lily James
Directed by Ben Wheatley

The new Netflix produced “Rebbeca” is a film haunted by the very present ghost of Alfred Hitchcock’s 1940 Oscar-winning namesake, also adapted from Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 gothic novel. Armie Hammer, who is carving out an interesting career for himself and who can be great, is much too wooden in his portrayal of the dashing and wealthy heir Maxim de Winter. Maxim cannot overcome nor recover ... more >


Gary Oldman is awesome in “Darkest Hour”

Rises to the occasion
Gary Oldman, Lily James and Kristin Scott Thomas
Directed by Joe Wright

In “Darkest hour,” what Gary Oldman’s Churchill has to contend with in a time of war reminded me of what a newspaper editor does: tense negotiations, the reworking of sentences, an overarching need to get the message out, loudly and clearly. The real context of the story, the history, is, evidently, a very different one from this. In the early forties European countries were falling like dominoes ... more >


It's about to get ugly
Ryan Gosling and Kristin Scott Thomas
Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn

Nicolas Winding Refn's intent for his new film, shown in competition this morning, is difficult to discern. Is "Only God Forgives" a send-off to his previous film “Bronson” with a (sustained) nod at David Lynch and liner notes from Eastern philosophies? It would be distasteful to call a film a styling exercise. Filmmakers get our admiration because they invest more into filmmaking than you or I ... more >

Sarah’s Keys

Haunting narrative uses dark event in France's history
Kristin Scott Thomas, Mélusine Mayance and Niels Arestrup
Directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner

The Holocaust, what the French call “La Shoah,” has never ceased to be fascinating; the idea that one government could systematically decimate an entire people with impunity is extraordinary. Although no one in my family was affected by the Holocaust, it’s one of those things that has forever lived in me, as if it were a part of my genetic make-up. Cinema, when it posits directly or indirectly ... more >

Sarah’s Keys

Directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner. Starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Niels Arestrup. ... more >