For quite a while, Netflix was a wonderful service and site. There was a community of fans who shared their love of movies with reviews, commentary and friendly chatter. Then Netflix went all corporate on everyone, dismantled the community, made stupid business decisions and in general became what we all hate about big companies rather than what we all love about feisty start-ups. Anyway, I had over 200 reviews up on Netflix under my alias “Rosebub,” and now I’ve copied them down for sharing with the world in general. They don’t represent every movie I saw during a certain period, only the ones I felt like saying something about. I tended not to comment on well-known movies because thousands of other Netlix folks had already done so or soon would. But maybe you’ll find a gem or two in the mix here that you can enjoy.

Here are five to get started with:

After the Wedding  A middle-aged man leaves the orphanage he helps run in poverty-stricken Mumbai to seek funding from a billionaire back home in Denmark. What follows is a story of operatic force and emotion. If you have an appetite for deception, betrayal and death, but also the most life-affirming love and generosity, then I highly recommend this movie. The direction is first-rate, especially the way it moves the story along in big jumps. The acting is very good, and Lassgard is astonishing. The scene between him and his daughter when she learns his secret is devastating.

My Darling Clementine Westerns just don’t get any better than this. If you can take your eyes off the magnificent Monument Valley setting, you’ll find a wonderfully detailed look at the rawboned Western town of Tombstone and its citizens caught up in a narrative that leads inevitably to the legendary showdown at the OK Corral. Savor the details along the way: the costumed women coming out to ring dinner bells every time a stagecoach pulls into town; the itinerant, perpetually inebriated Shakespearian actor; the entrepreneurial barber; the bartender who never turns down a drink, etc. But mostly there is Henry Fonda and his singular take on Wyatt Earp. He’s a bit of a dandy and a high-stepping dancer but still far from a ladies’ man. He’s not physically imposing but his sense of rightness makes him a difficult foe. As for the very last scene—it never fails to fill me with the most aching wonder for its physical beauty and sense of time long gone by, and sadness and hope for its human story.

Dirty Filthy Love  If you laughed while empathizing with the inmates in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” there’s a good chance you’ll love this wonderful little British film. The scenes of the OCD self-help group are priceless and heartbreaking, while the inevitable darker scenes are disturbing. Most impressive of all is Michael Sheen’s performance as the man whose good marriage and job are not enough to keep his demons at bay. It’s a juicy role, granted, and Sheen blasts it out of the park.

Gloomy Sunday Thoroughly enjoyable, with a solid, believable plot, rich atmospherics, excellent direction, very good acting – especially from Joachim Krol, who is flawless, and Erika Marozsan, who is ravishingly beautiful – and even a wholly satisfying payoff at the end. It is of course a bit of Magyar surrealism to believe that one tune could have such a devastating effect on people, but given the time and place – Budapest as the Nazis roll in – it felt like anything was possible. I cannot recommend this movie highly enough.

The Secret in Their Eyes This is a marvelously constructed, well written, beautifully acted twin tale of passions in which an unsolved crime interacts with an unresolved love. Campanella expertly balances things as the story weaves it all together, moving back and forth in time, and finally brings them to an utterly satisfying conclusion. From a filmmaking perspective, the highlight is an astonishingly choreographed piece at a soccer stadium where a swooping camera moves from high above the field, into the stands and then down into the bowels of the building and out onto the field itself in pursuit of a runaway suspect. Over all, this is grown-up entertainment at its finest.

Find the rest by clicking here: Netflix Movie Reviews

2 thoughts on “Movies

  1. Will definitely buy this book? Would you be a son of Congressman
    John Monaghan? The Monagans rented a Frederick St. house prior to my parents purchasing it. My mother’s first cousin, Joe Donohue, was John’s chief of staff. Long transplanted from Waterbury, I’m always interested in the city’s lore. A great place to be from.

    • Yes, John Monagan was my Dad. I remember Joe Donahue very well and am now good friends with his nephew, Jack. I hope you enjoy “Carrie Welton.” There’s lots of Waterbury in it.

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