Saturday, December 30, 2023

Films 2023 English

These are most of the English speaking films seen in 2023.  They have comments which might hint at an interest, others have links that you can investigate.  They are not necessarily recommended.   There are a lot of enjoyable films with some of my favorites with photos or links.



 

 

 Features

 "The Duke"(2020) is a relatively low budget film, but with Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren about an actual theft of a Goya portrait of the Duke of Wellington.  Apparently the actual painting was missing in 1961 and not returned until 1965.  The producers of Dr. No saw an opportunity and made a copy of  the missing painting and put it in the film implying that Dr. No had stolen the portrait. 

 "Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris" (2022)   A middle aged cleaning lady is infatuated with Dior and decides to go after one in Paris.

  "Whitney Houston:  I Wanna Dance With Somebody" (2022) Perhaps the best popular voice.

 "A Man Called Otto" (2022) A very good make of a Swedish film"A man called Ove", but not quite as good.

 "The Forgiven" (2022) Contrast between arrogant decadent westerners.  Ralph Finnes character accidentally kills a Moroccan boy and for awhile feels no guilt.  He is confronted by the father.  He  develops respect and guilt.  Deserved a higher rating.

"Till" (2022) Partly co commemorate the very recent passage of an anti-lynch law based on the incidents in this film reconstructing events of 1955.

"Celeste and Jesse forever"(2012) A couple filed for divorce, but feel each is their best friend

"Tar" (2022)   About a temperamental composer orchestra leader in Germany.

"Banshees of Intersherin" (2022) possible Oscar winner   

"She Said" (2022)  New York Times investigation on Harvey Weinstein's sexual assaults.    

 


 

 

 

 "Three Thousand Years of Longing" (2022)  A fantasy that is amusing and thought provoking.  Learned from special features that although the film showed no adoption for COVID (and that is not what we always want to see), the crew in the background did adopt some COVID precautions. 

"Top Gun Maverick" (2022)  Tom Cruise demonstrates that he still has the "stuff." Lots of very impressive aerial combat.  And macho posturing.

"Empire of Light" (2022),  Olivia Colman plays a woman with mental issues struggling.  Set in a movie theater.

 "Ticket to Paradise" (2022) Romance comedy with George Clooney and Julia Roberts a divorced couple who rush to Bali to stop their daughter from repeating their mistake.  Filmed in Australia.

"The Way Back" (2020)  A former player returns to his high school to coach the basketball team and battles with alcoholism.

"The Whale" (2022) Won two Oscars, about a man who had abandoned his wife and daughter for a gay love affair.  His gay lover died and many years later he tries to help his daughter, but she is very resistant.

"The Woman King" (2022) With a lot of emphasis on action, it was more interesting than supposed.  Viola Davis.

"Babylon" (2022) Decadence of Hollywood.  Good music.

"Women Talking" (2023) Mennonite women talking to decide how to deal with a massive rape attack.  Some good dialogue and good actresses.

"Bullet Train" (2022) is really an action film that offers some comedy.

"Air" (2023).  Admittedly this is about  a favorite athlete of mine, although he is not directly part of the script (except for the end credits when you see the real Michael).  It is about the marketing, focusing on the shoe endorsement which looking back looks like one of the smartest deals of all time, however seemed very unlikely in the beginning.  Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, Jason Bateman and Viola Davis.  After fame is achieved it is said "everyone knew" when in fact they didn't'.  The protagonist annoyed his superiors and risked his job because he believed the entire budget should be devoted to Michael Jordan even though he didn't want to talk to Nike.  check http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2023/05/air-jordan.html

"The Good House" (2022) a romantic drama with Sijourney Weaver and Kevin Kline.

"Bergman Island" (2021)  Ingmar Bergman loved Faro Island, just off Sweden in the Baltic Sea.  A director looking for inspiration.

"Spoiler Alert: (2022) a Gay love story with as the original book title points out "...the hero dies."

"The Fabelmans" (2022) reminesces of Steven Spielberg.

"Doctor Sleep" (2023) horror fantasy well done.

"Avatar:  The Way of Water" (2022).  Amazing visuals.

"Jerry and Marge Go Large" (2022) true story of a man who beat the lottery and helped his town.  Well told

"Champions" (2023)  An unusual movie filmed in Winnipeg.  A basketball coach under a court order coaches a group of mentally challenged people. http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2023/07/champions-is-gem.html  


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Georgetown" (2019)  Power struggles in Washington.

"Rogue Agent" (2022) A conman leads to misfortunes of others.

"Triangle of Sadness" (2022)  Rich people on cruise.

"Blackberry" (2023).  Of interest as a Canadian story that impacted almost all businesses including ones close to me.  Jim Bassilie was portrayed as a very obnoxious bullying business man.  At one time he did in fact try to relocate an NHL team to Hamilton.  Before the I phone the talk was about the Blackberry, but it got out manoeuvered.

"Love Again" (2023) A light romance based on misunderstanding.  Is there any other kind?

"Tully" (2018) A touching story about a mother getting help from a night nanny.   

"Reptile" (2023) A detective story with Benicio Del Toro, Justin Timberlake and Alicia Silverstone.

"You Hurt My feelings" (2023) simple drama about how spouses often say things to encourage or appease each other with no intention to hurt.

"The Burial" (2023) is a legal drama with a racial under story.

"To Catch a Killer" (2023)  A mass killer search.  Politics a factor.

"Frybread Face and Me" (2023) A city boy visits his cousin in Navajo territory.  One Navajo custom was to celebrate the first laugh from a new baby.

"The Lost King" (2023)   An amateur, housewife finding King Richard III's grave and restoring his reputation. 

"Oppenheimer" (2023) The organizer for the atomic bomb.  There was a Communist witch hunt afterwards.

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Series

"The Undoing" (2020) Directed by Dane, Susanne Bier and starring Nicole Kidman and an uncharacteristic Hugh Grant in a psychological drama.  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2023/01/the-undoing.html

"Too Close" (2021) Psychological crime story.

"Band of Brothers" (2001) An excellent comprehensive war series. Check http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2023/02/band-of-brothers.html






"Dear Edward" (2023) One young boy survives a plane crash.  We follow him and a group of victim relatives and friends.

"From Scratch" (2022) Black American woman meets Italian chef in Florence.   A very touching story based on real experience.

"The Diplomat" (2023) Diplomatic maneuverings in Europe.

"Seven Seconds" (2019)  Racial tension between African Americans in the New Jersey area with white police force.

"This is Going to Hurt" (2022) A frightening look at the public health system in Britain,years ago  



  

 

 

"Marriage" (2023) Family life with Sean Bean and Nicola Walker.   

"The Angel" (2018)  Based on true espionage relations involving Egypt and Israel through the son in law of Nasser. 

"Greenleaf" (2016-2016)  The shenanigans of southern religious church leaders, mostly of African Americans, but a white group plans to intervene.

"Bodies" *(2023)  Time travel murder mysteries.  Time travel is an interesting tool, but don't it too seriously.  Just an interesting story.

"Lessons in Chemistry" (2023) Female chemist is discriminated meets an open minded chemist.




 

 

 "The First Lady" (2022)  All star cast and crew delving into the lives of presidential wives.  Also a good picture of the difficulties of pushing worthy legislature and getting elected.  Check:  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2023/12/the-first-lady.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Older Films (2012 and before)_

 "City Slickers" (1991) A comedy with Billy Crystal visiting a cowboy resort.

"Brief Encounter" (1945) Noel Coward film touching on possible infidelity.

"Chinatown" (1974) An excellent Jack Nicholson film with politics and crime.




 

 

 "Thirteen Days" (2001) The Cuban Missile Crisis revealed some tension we didn't realize at the time.  Struck by conflict between military and politicians, but also within each group.2022

"Top Gun" (1986) A young Tom Cruise struts his style.

 "Taxi Driver" (1976) Vigilante violence

"A Countess from Hong Kong" (1967) The only historically redeeming factor is Charlie Chaplin who wrote, directed, wrote the music and had a small role.  Sophia Loren was glamorous as usual and I understand she married Carlo Ponti during the filming.

"The Appaloosa"  (1966) Marlon Brando in a western.  Done well.

"The Night of the Following Day" (1969) a kidnapping drama with Marlon Brando and Richard Boone. 

 "Mississippi Masala" (1991) A collaborative effort between Bollywood and Hollywood.  Works good.  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2023/05/when-hollywood-meets-bollywood.html

"The Hunchback of Notre Dame" (1939) Charles Laughton.  Maureen O'Hara in first American film.  Class conflicts.






 "Fort Apache" (1948) John Ford directed western.  John Wayne and Henry Fonda at loggerheads with John Wayne more sympathetic to indigenous.  Shirley Temple in her first adult film appears cloying.

"A Bridge Too Far" (1977) An impressive film which illustrates the largest armed attack in WW II  Paratroopers, planes, gliders, tanks

"Master and Commander:  The Far Side of the World" (2003) was more interesting than previously thought.  Lots of action, done realistically, but also filmed partly in the Galapagos demonstrating wildlife before Darwin.  Also scenes shown of two playing classical music.   

 "The Great Waldo Pepper" (1975) takes place after WWI with barnstorming pilots trying to make a living and eventually end up in Hollywood.

"Memoirs of a Geisha" (2005)  Life of a geisha just before WWII.  Beautiful music by John Williams and performances by Yo Yo Ma and Itzhak Perlman.

"Days of Heaven" (1978)  A sort of love triangle with Richard Gere steering his partner to marry a wealthy landowner.

"The Interrogation of Michael Crowe" (2002) About a coerced confession from a 12 year old.  Depicts how police can encourage false confessions.  

"The Squid and the Whale" (2005).  The divorce of two writers affects their two sons.  The father is a once successful writer always putting down other people.

"Algiers" (1938) Charles Boyer, a charming gangster and Hedy Lamarr.

"It Could Happen to You" (1994) A charming romance.  Nicolas Cage before playing obnoxious roles.  Wendell Pierce before "Suits".

"Charlotte's Web" (2006) Giving human voices to animals.  Story about the circle of life.

"Braveheart" (1995) winner of 5 Oscars.  A good film, but very violent.

"The Pursuit of Happyness" (2006) Revisited, after seeing in theater when it came out.  Inspiring.

"Elizabeth" (1999).  An impressive film concerning an important time in English history.

"Gifted Hands:  The Ben Carson story" (2009)  Had been turned off by his political career, but realize he has had a very commendable medical career and overcome obstacles.

"A Time to Kill" (1996) From a John Grisham novel, done well.  Great cast.  Part filmed in London, Ontario, Canada.

"Cry Freedom" (1987) Apartheid South Africa with Liberal white newspaper editor and black activist working together.

"Marnie" (1964) A good Alfred Hitchcock production with Sean Connery and Tippi Hedron.

"Schindler's List" (1994) Oscar winner.  Oscar Schindler bamboozled Nazis to save the lives of Jews.  Oscar best picture 1994, best director,best writing based on material previously produced or published,best cinematography, best art direction/Set Decoration, best sound,best film editing,best original music score,
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The Unbearable Lightness of Being" (1988) Romantic (really sexual) drama played out in Czechoslovakia including the Soviet invasion.

"Definitely, Maybe" (2008)  Interesting romance comedy with a twist.

"Washington Square" (1997)  Based on a Henry James book.  It is very well done.  Different from "The Heiress" which I also enjoyed.

"The Scarlet Pimpernel (1935).  Had thought of a very foppish character, but in fact that is the image used to fool those who would do harm.  Leslie Howard turns a serious side.

"The Agony and the Ecstasy" (1965) story of Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel that I had recently visited.

"After Hours" (1985) Directed by Martin Scorsese.  Madcap humor.  Cult classic.

"The Servant" (1964) Harold Pinter script.  Things are not what they seem.

"Se7vn" (1955) a murder mystery.  Has a pretty gory ending.

"One False Move (1992) Killers on the way to a town.  Violence.

"Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (1986)  Some irresponsible people sure know how to enjoy life.  A classic.

"Colors" (1988) Cops vs. gangs from perspective of gung ho young guy (Sean Penn) and older veteran (Robert Duval).  Lots of action.

"Into the Wild"  () Based on a true story about a anti materialistic graduate who goes into the wild.  He encounters a wide range.  He encounters nature up close.  Screenplay and directing from Sean Penn.

Animated

"Marcel the Shell with Shoes On" (2022)  A mollusc has adventures and makes philosophical observations.  Integrates a 60 minutes segment. 

"Shrek"(2001) Enjoyable.  Knocked a lot of fairy tale cliches.   see http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2023/11/movie-odds-and-end.html


 


 

 

 

 

 

 Documentary

"Cow" (2022) depicts the suffering undergone by dairy cows from birth to death.  Check  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2023/01/cow.html
 


 

 

 

 "The Beatles and India (2021)  enjoyed musical differences and meditation, but became disillusioned by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who they felt tried to use them for his own publicity.  Ravi Shankar had a lot of influence.

 "MH370;  The Plane that Disappeared" (2023) A series with discussion of what happened to the disappeared plane.  A lot of conspiracy theories, most of them discarded.

"Oyate" (2022) Indigenous in the United States, culminating at Standing Rock.

"New Eye on the Universe The James Webb Space Telescope" (2023), an episode on Nova.  The new telescope allows closer observations.  For me learning about spectroscope images was enlightening-- a method to try to detect life on other planets

"Filmmakers for the Prosecution" (2023).  Probably had seen some of the film depicting the horrors of Nazis death camps, not realizing they were part of the Nuremberg trials.  Until they were shown, the Nazis accused were nonchalant, but the horrors added to the impact of the gross crimes.  Shown a Russian version

 "The Hummingbird Effect" (2023) The hummingbird and plants have co evolved in Costa Rica and had a positive effect on other animals.

"Colosseum" (2022) is a docudrama, with actors and scholars commenting.  Romans are depicted as connoisseurs of violence.  Some interesting history.

"The Romantics" (2023) A series on Bollywood based on Yash Chopra and two of his sons.  Lots of interviews of stars including Shah Rukh Khan.  Lots of clips showing many films being put together.  Nepotism is discussed as family connections have been critical.  The U.S. is interested, but fear they want to take over.

"Your Brain:  Perception Deception  : Who's in Control" (2023) Not what I expected.  A few points included more brain connections than stars in the galaxy, reality is in the brain and all thoughts come from the brain.

"The American Buffalo" (2023)  Interesting themes.  One is how Americans destroyed the buffalo while the indigenous were respectful for nature.  There was a racial undertone that some Americans thought that if they killed off the buffalo the Indians would disappear.  At one point the conservationist movement started, but as some noted it was to keep enough buffalo alive to provide for the masculine ritual of killing them.

"Woodpeckers:  The Hole Story" (2022)The role of woodpeckers.  Their favorite target is carpet ants and find them in old trees.  Create holes as nests and do it each year while many other birds use the old nests.  Sapsuckers, a type of woodpeckers seek birch sap drilling holes that are also used by hummingbirds.   The camera work includes from inside the nesting holes.

"A Brief History of Time" (1991) Intended as a way to simplify science theory including some biography of Stephen Hawking.  Hawking his life and his theories had been discussed in a language practice session with an immigrant who was fascinated with Hawking and his theories.  Some of that enthusiasm rubbed off on me. His life and theories are worth the effort.







"Yes I AM-the Ric Weiland Story" (2023) started with a surprising interview with Bill Gates.  Ric was a homosexual who had been deeply involved with Microsoft.  He was open.  The title Yes I AM refers to a car licence plate where he was admitting that he was gay.  The Aids crisis causes a lot of stress. Ric made speeches and donated lots of money for Aids research.  Depression overtook him. 

To check out the best foreign films click here:  http://www.therealjohndavidson.com/2023/12/2023-foreign-films.html


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