Movie column by Eleanor Ringel Cater

"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.

'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”).

'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.

'First Reformed' – Ethan Hawke is 'extraordinary' in movie that questions faith

About halfway through my scribbled notes for Paul Schrader’s stunning new film, “First Reformed,” I came across the line, “’Taxi Driver’ Meets ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’”

Reasonably clever in a “quippy’ way — and dead wrong.

Yes, environmental concerns are raised in “First Reformed” and yes, Schrader wrote “Taxi Driver” which also examined the psyche of someone so isolated and in pain as to be almost beyond our understanding.

'RBG' – a love letter movie to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Never mind The Avengers. The real superhero in theaters right now is Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the focus of “RBG.” 

More valentine than documentary, the film is a spritely and affectionate tribute to the 84-year-old judge and unlikely pop-culture phenom who, like some fairy godmother many of us never knew we had, helped change the landscape of women’s rights in 20th and 21st century America.