Friday, February 5, 2016


As a Roman Catholic who remembers all too well the horrendous revelations about abuse of children by priests in Boston, I dreaded the prospect of seeing this movie. 

But Spotlight is an excellent film, directed with a sure hand by Tom McCarthy. The movie documents not only what happened in the Church abuse scandal, but also the lies that good people tell themselves to cover up the awful truth.

Spotlight is filled with an ensemble of fine actors (including Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Stanley Tucci) who should all get an award. I would like to single out for praise the muted performance of Liev Schreiber who plays the out-of-town Jewish editor who comes to Catholic Boston and stirs the hornets nest.

Spotlight delivers a knockout effect, but without flash or CGI or any pounding music score. It is a somber and quietly devastating film.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Hateful Eight

The eighth (?) film from director Quentin Tarantino can be summarized as Reservoir Dogs in a snow-bound cabin. There is no hero, no one to like, and everyone gets what is coming to him or her.

While the film is visually splendid and the Tarantino dialogue is often quite good, there is not much of a story, especially for a 3 hour running time. What is there might have made a neat 90 minute thriller. Alas the film is a let-down after the soaring successes of Django and Inglorious Basterds.

QT has assembled a fine cast, headed by the always spectacular Samuel L. Jackson, the much abused Jennifer Jason Leigh, and the revelatory Walton Goggins (who some of you may know from TV's series Justified), who all do their best with what they are given. All of these excellent actors deliver award-worthy performances but were snubbed in the recent Oscar awards just announced.

Legendary composer Ennio Morricone contributes some original music. And the wide screen Panavision lensing is a treat for film lovers.

My son Dave and I just re-watched QT's Django and thoroughly enjoyed it again and we both agreed that Hateful Eight pales in comparison. If only QT had stayed with his idea to make Hateful Eight a sequel to Django. Now that would have been something...

Warning to viewers:  This is a very violent film, shockingly so at times. The language is also extreme. This movie is NOT for the faint of heart. Do not bring children.