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Review: The Glorias

There is a line near the end of The Glorias about going in circles – as women, as a society, as a nation. A reminder, underscored in recent days by the death of liberal stalwart RBG and the nomination of a conservative to take her place on the Supreme Court. There’s an inherent, bitter irony in Ruth Bader Ginsburg having helped pave the way for an Amy Coney Barrett to take a seat at the Court and potentially unravel much of what RBG stood for. So perhaps the time is ripe for a movie like The Glorias, imperfect as it may be. The film reflects on the journey of journalist, feminist icon and social political activist Gloria Steinem as she helped build and guide the women’s movement from the 1960s until… well, at the age of 86, she is still alive and very much in the game.

Mainstream Chick’s Top Picks of 2018

It’s insanely difficult to do a “Top 10 Movies of 2018” list when you’ve seen about 200 movies in 365 days – everything from blockbusters, to arthouse films, to documentaries, to films that simply defy classification. I reviewed some of them for Chickflix; others I just bantered about on the Cinema Clash podcast; still others I never got around to reviewing, ‘cuz sometimes, Life happens and the catch-up game aint worth playin’.

Movies are subjective – and so is my list. And no movie is a “bad movie” if somebody out there “gets” it and likes it. My list is different today than it was yesterday. And it will surely be different tomorrow. But at this particular moment in time – as we enter 2019 – this is where I stand with my top picks, and why.

Mainstream Chick’s Top Picks of 2016

It’s that time of year – when friends, family, and strangers in the elevator ask, “Hey, Did you see [fill in the blank]? Is it any good? What’s your favorite movie of 2016?” Well, here I attempt to answer those questions as succinctly as possible — with a countdown of my top ten movies of the year (12 if you count the ties), as well as a bunch of honorable mentions. They are films that resonated for one (positive) reason or another and represent a broad range of genres. Check ’em out!

Cinderella

“Have courage, and be kind” and you might (spoiler alert!) live happily ever after. That’s the gist of this perfectly pleasant, Disney-meets-Downton adaptation of the fairy-tale classic, directed by Kenneth Branagh. I suppose if Hollywood can keep re-making Spiderman, then Cinderella might as well pop into the picture every couple of decades as well. Even if it’s not exactly necessary. For fans of the musical versions, be advised that this one has little more than the occasional bibbidi-bobbidi-boo. But what it lacks in music and drama (most people are familiar with the key plot points), it makes up for in message. That would be the aforementioned “have courage, and be kind.”

Mainstream Chick’s 2013 Year in Review

I don’t particularly like lists – especially where movies are concerned because so much depends on what you’re hoping to gain, and the kind of mood you’re in. I generally want to be entertained. If I leave a theater happy, or at least content with what I saw, then the movie did its job. With that said, here’s my list of the best, worst and not bad flicks from among the dozens I happened to see in 2013. Click on the titles to see the full review (don’t worry – they’re short and sweet).

THE BEST:

1. The Way, Way Back 2. Rush 3. Side Effects 4. The Conjuring 5. 12 Years a Slave 6. American Hustle 7. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire 8. Saving Mr. Banks 9. Man of Steel 10. A 10-way tie among the following: Frozen, Philomena, Captain Phillips, Gravity,Enough Said, The Butler, The Kings of Summer, 20 Feet from Stardom, The Book Thief, Prisoners

The Best Man Holiday

The Best Man Holiday is a chick flick wrapped in a male-bonding movie. It’s a drama. A comedy. A romantic drama. A romantic comedy. A sports movie. A reunion movie. A tear-jerker. Think Beaches meets The Big Chill. I know – that’s a lot to process. But the bottom line is, I rather liked this movie. It’s a pleasant diversion from the special-effects laden blockbusters and awards-season downers, and it deserves a bit of mainstream love, crossing over gender and racial boundaries.

Enough Said

Enough Said is really Julia Louis Dreyfus’ movie. She shines as Eva, a funny, cynical, hard-working masseuse who could probably use a massage or two to de-stress. But as soon as James Gandolfini’s Albert comes on screen, you can’t help but feel a sharp pang of sadness at Gandolfini’s recent, sudden death – and at the loss of a talent that obviously went far beyond his portrayal of Tony Soprano. In this movie, he plays a guy who’s got some flaws, but is also sweet and loveable and funny – especially when he’s exchanging banter with potential love interest Eva. Both are divorced single parents to teenage daughters about to head off to college. They meet at a party and romance blossoms. But so does doubt – at least where Eva’s concerned, after she unwittingly befriends Albert’s ex-wife Marianne, a seemingly near-perfect poet (Catherine Keener) with plenty to say about her ex and the aforementioned flaws.

The Way, Way Back

I first saw The Way, Way Back way back in early May. I loved it then. And I think I love it even more now (considering the array of films I’ve seen since). It’s a good, solid coming-of-age indie that has the mainstream appeal of a Little Miss Sunshine or The Descendants. As it happens, The Way, Way Back is made by the same people who brought you those two gems. It’s sweet, funny, poignant, sappy, sad and hopeful – with an excellent cast to boot.

The Heat

The Heat is a mildly amusing buddy cop movie that breaks formula only in that the two leads are female. It’s like a raunchy version of Beverly Hills Cop meets Miss Congeniality – in Boston. I didn’t love it, but the movie does fill a cinematic void for a mainstream, non-apocalyptic comedy.

Unfinished Song

Unfinished Song isn’t exactly a comedy – unless, perhaps, you’re comparing it to the likes of Amour. Then sure, it’s a hoot. The film tackles a rather sensitive subject – death – with poignancy and humor and a heavy dose of melancholy. So let’s call it what it is – a melanchomedy. It’s a slow, sweet and funny indie in the vein of a Quartet or Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.