Entries by Eleanor Ringel

‘Cold War’ – a well-acted and ‘luminous’ black-and-white movie

The title – “Cold War”–  reflects the 15-year-long stalemate between its protagonists. That said, their romance blows both hot and cold.

This expertly done, bleakly ironic film, shot in luminous black-and-white by Pawel Pawlikowski, the director of the art-house hit, “Ida,” follows a love affair from its irreverent beginning to its eerie end.

‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ – a quietly poetic, yet courageous, movie

“If Beale Street Could Talk” is the sort of nice movie you’d like to take home and introduce to your parents.

That doesn’t mean it’s a movie about nice things. Racism, poverty, rape, teen pregnancy, bigoted cops – all are part of the mix. No wonder. The movie is based on a 1974 novel by James Baldwin.

‘What They Had’ – a family comes to terms with Alzheimer’s

It’s Christmas and the family has gathered in Chicago. During an otherwise normal holiday dinner, the hostess, Ruth (Blythe Danner), with a sweet smile asks her guests, “And how do you two know each other?”

Given that Nick (Michael Shannon) and Bridget (Hilary Swank) are brother and sister and Ruth is their mom, it’s a bit awkward.  It is also a bittersweet reminder that her Alzheimer’s isn’t getting any better.

‘Can You Ever Forgive Me?’ – true story about Lee Israel’s fake letters

“I’m a better Dorothy Parker than Dorothy Parker!”

So proclaims Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy), the sad-sack, sourly funny anti-heroine of “Can You Ever Forgive Me?”

Set in the early 1990s, the movie is based on the true story of a writer who, having had some success with biographies (including a New York Times best-seller), found herself at an unfortunate impasse. 

‘The Old Man and the Gun’ – actor Robert Redford still robbing banks – now as Forrest Tucker

One measure of the affection (and, yes, lust) that has accrued to Robert Redford over his decades in movies is, when he walks into a bank in “The Old Man and the Gun,” we reflexively wonder, is he “walking” like an old man or does he, at 82, now walk like an old man?

Actually, in keeping with the delicacy of the acting ego, Redford is playing younger than his age.

‘A Star is Born’ – Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga carry the movie

A star isn’t exactly born in the newest iteration of the well-worn classic. After all, most of us have heard of Lady Gaga somehow, somewhere.

Besides, this isn’t even – technically – her feature film debut. According to IMDB, she’s already appeared on the big screen in “Machete Kills” “Muppets Most Wanted” (as herself) and “Men in Black 3” as “alien on TV monitors.”

‘Colette’ – a wobbly #MeToo movie of la Belle Époque stars Keira Knightley

Those of us with a particular fondness for the old “Seinfeld” series might recall the episode in which Jerry and the gang consider going to a movie called “Rochelle, Rochelle: A Young Girl’s Strange Erotic Journey from Milan to Minsk.”

Keira Knightley’s utterly silly new movie isn’t called “Colette, Colette,” but it might as well have been.

‘The House with a Clock in Its Walls’ – amazing-looking movie with quirkiness

Taken on purely architectural terms, the titular structure in “The House with a Clock in Its Walls” is a cunning cross between the “Addams Family” manse and Mother Bates’ place in “Psycho.”

Cinematically, however, it’s on far trickier turf. Eli Roth, who took torture-porn to new…heights?…in “Cabin Fever” (which I saw and admired) and the “Hostel” movies (I took a pass), makes a bid for Tim Burton territory.  In many ways, he’s successful.