Entries by Eleanor Ringel

‘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.

‘Kusama: Infinity’ – an extraordinary documentary about Yayoi Kusama

To echo the old saying, I don’t know much about art, but I know what I like. However, I know even less about artists, so I had no inkling that I would fall so hard for “Kusama: Infinity,” an extraordinary documentary about Yayoi Kusama, whom I’d never heard of.

Shame on me. She’s the world’s top-selling living female artist. And deservedly so. As Heather Lenz’s movie makes abundantly clear, Kusama is an astonishing original.

“Operation Finale’ – a true story of Adolf Eichmann’s capture to face trial in Israel

Forget that, um, stuff someone once said about there being “very good people on both sides.” In “Operation Finale,” there are some very good people on one side and some very, very bad people on the other.

Which, frankly, is as it should be since “Operation Finale” is the true story of how, in 1960, some Israeli secret agents tracked down one of Hitler’s top henchman, Adolf Eichmann, and brought him back to Israel for a public trial (the first globally televised trial in history, we’re told).

‘Crazy Rich Asians’ – a movie with an all-Asian cast that’s filled with clichés

By Eleanor Ringel Cater What makes “Crazy Rich Asians” special? Why, the all-Asian cast, which hasn’t happened since 1993’s “The Joy Luck Club.” (By the way, a far better movie) What makes “Crazy Rich Asians” not special? Everything else. The plot, the characters, the dialogue…. With its putrid petri dish of obnoxious gender stereotypes, this thing could’ve […]

“BlacKkKlansman” – Spike Lee’s entertaining and provocative film

Spike Lee is at his best when he’ s mad as hell.

But he’s even better when he combines his rage with his caustic sense of humor, as he does in his brilliant new movie, “BlacKkKlansman.”

Lee can be so angry, so passionate, so…well… occasionally preachy that we forget he’s also very funny. His new movie, a prizewinner at Cannes last spring, is based on the sort of true story you couldn’t make up.

“Eighth Grade” – a ‘small, smart gem’ of a movie

You know how sometimes you feel like a movie is being jammed down your throat, and you just don’t want to go see it out of sheer spite?

That’s how I felt about “Eighth Grade.” For at least the last month, every time there was some sort of talk show or morning show or whatever else that passes for televised entertainment these days, someone would be enthusiastically chatting up Bo Burnham’s debut film.

“Christopher Robin” – a movie that seeks to find our inner child

Filmmaker Marc Forster spends much of “Christopher Robin” trying to find that “Finding Neverland” sweet spot he worked so successfully in the 2004 Johnny Depp movie about James M. Barrie, the author of “Peter Pan.”

Not that the two are really very similar, but both pose the singular challenge of creating a film that appeals to both child-like adults and bonafide children. Peter Pan and Winnie the Pooh share that peculiar territory (for better and worse) and both require careful handling when it comes to circling said territory.

“Love, Cecil” – documentary of Cecil Beaton’s life doesn’t make him loveable

Whether it means to or not, the last thing the documentary “Love, Cecil” will do is get you to, well, love Cecil.

Cecil in this case is Cecil Beaton, photographer, author, designer, social butterfly and stylist extraordinaire. To her credit, filmmaker Lisa Immordino Vreeland reminds us that Beaton was virtually incapable of making an aesthetically clumsy choice.

New ‘Mamma Mia’ movie: summer silliness that goes down easily

My friend says there are two kinds of people in the world:

Those who can’t wait for another “Mamma Mia” movie and those who can.

I’m pretty firmly in the latter camp, but that doesn’t mean “Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again” poses a particular hardship. In fact, like a drink with an umbrella, it goes down rather easily. It does, however, lack two things: Meryl Streep and a Greek island.

‘Three Identical Strangers’ – movie tracks triplets separated at birth

Everybody finds the first day of college a little weird, but it was, well, doubly so for Bobby Shafran. 

When he arrived at Sullivan County Community College in 1980, total strangers were happy to see him. Guys high-fived him.  Girls gave him a hug.  Finally, someone put, well, two and two together and asked him if he was adopted.  He was.

‘Hearts Beat Loud’ – a minor miracle of a movie about a father-daughter musical duo

Heartfelt and, yes, heartwarming (aaarrgh, what a buzzkill word!!), “Hearts Beat Loud” reminds us there is life at the movies beyond dinosaurs and third-rate “Star Wars” one-offs.

It’s a small, smart picture about a father and daughter beautifully played by Nick Offerman (“Parks and Recreation”) and KIersey Clemons (“Flatliners,” “Transparent”).

‘Incredibles 2’ – Superheroes with little inner spark

We all know those t-shirts: “My parents went to Hawaii/Venice/Chicago and all I got was this lousy t-shirt.”

The t-shirt for “Incredibles 2” should read: “It took 14 years to make a sequel and all we got was this lousy movie?”

Most movie-goers have been wild about “Incredibles 2,” but then they were wild about “The Incredibles” as well. 

‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ – movie lets Mr. Rogers speak for himself

Fittingly, the first words in the lovely new Mr. Rogers documentary are an invitation: “Come on over a minute…”

The title is an invitation, too. It’s “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?,” the musical catchphrase that opened his celebrated children’s TV program.

Of course, calling “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” a children’s show is a little like calling Triple Crown champ, Justify, a promising colt. It’s, um, limited.