More Rain and More Suggestions

Here are a few more films or series to consider:

“My Old School” (Hulu and Amazon et al) This is a very clever and unusual documentary about the Brandon Lee scandal of the early 1990’s. I don’t want to give away too much (although the element of surprise isn’t the only interesting aspect), but I think a bit of background is essential for this brief review. The filmmaker was a classmate of Lee’s at Bearsden Academy, a secondary school in an upper middle class Glasgow suburb. Former classmates as well as faculty are interviewed and actor Alan Cumming “channels” Lee by mouth-synching his words from a taped interview. It’s very weird but quite intriguing and ultimately rather sad.

“Slow Horses” (HBO) As I’ve mentioned before I’m kind of hapless with spy thrillers, but this one seems fairly easy to understand. It started out a bit gruesome for my tastes, but I ultimately got into it because it’s filmed so well and the character development is actually pretty good. And, well, Kristen Scott Thomas and Gary Oldman plus other exemplary actors–how can it miss?

“Traitors” (Netflix) Don’t confuse this with The Traitors which is some kind of really awful Hunger Games wannabe. It’s yet another spy thriller. But I do pretty much understand what is happening. Good acting, kind of a page turner, and interesting postwar British/American politics.

“The Menu” (HBO) This is the kind of movie that’s almost more fun to discuss than to watch. It seems to operate on several levels: horror, thriller, comedy, bitter social commentary, satire. As you know, Dear Reader, I do not watch horror (or crime) movies that have any semblance of reality–serial killers, torturers, etc. I simply do not have the capacity to process “It’s only a movie”. So, why you might wonder did I watch this one?

  1. It has absolutely nothing to do with my reality
  2. I love Ralph Fiennes
  3. I love bitter social commentaries, especially about over-the-top “gourmet” restaurants.

It’s not really scary, just a lot of cover your eyes disgusto moments. Is it amusing? Yes. Is it brilliant social satire? Not really. It’s a bit heavy handed: director Mark Mylod is competent, but he’s no Bunuel. Plan to eat before screening. Not for the same reason as suggested in the Chef’s Table review–believe me it won’t make you hungry. I want to say so much more, but it would be a spoiler. I look forward to a post-screening discussion, so watch it.

“The Super 8 Years” (Kanopy) Annie Ernaux was the 2022 Nobel Prize in Literature recipient. Perhaps you read Ernaux’s book about her attempting to get an abortion in 1960’s France. Happening has been made into a film which I haven’t seen yet, but it is getting critical acclaim. I’ve only read (actually listened to) The Years, another Ernaux “sociological-autobiography”. Her style is dispassionate reportage of her life as reflected in the zeitgeist of the eras she has lived through. As you may discern The Years does not have broad appeal. But I found it quite interesting.The film is a culling of Super 8 footage taken by her ex husband in the last decade of their marriage, from the early 70’s to 1981. The footage is the kind may of us can remember–birthdays of her young sons, holidays, family trips ( the trips were fairly exotic–Morocco, ski trips in the Alps, e.g.) Narrated by Ernaux the product is a time capsule of nostalgia but even the happiest moments are tinged with melancholy. Her husband the filmmaker begins to reflect his distancing from the family in his visual choices.The filming becomes a metaphor for the dissolution of the marriage–objects and landscapes and fewer family images dominate the screen. Again, this movie is not for all tastes. But I do recommend it, especially for those of us of a certain age who may be encouraged to pull out our own Super 8 footage or for you young ‘uns who might find some while rummaging around in the garage.


  1. Hi Susan, This time of year is Movie Madness for me as I try to watch the movies winning awards and with Oscar buzz.

    The Banshees of Inisheren was strange and dark and humorous and I really had to consider whether it was just interesting or I actually liked it. I would say I did like it. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. Certain friends of mine want more uplifting movies. 
    Glass Onion: Knives Out was fun and wacky. 
    I saw Empire of Light. I liked it though it wasn’t fantastic. Olivia Coleman, as usual, was excellent. It was a sweet story with an edge. 
    Pinocchio was also dark. A unique perspective. I liked it. 
    She Said was really good!! I adore Carey Mulligan. 
    The Fabelman’s I loved, loved, loved! I want to see it again. I cried at the end. Not sure why. 

    At Christmas time I saw Love Actually for the 3rd time!! I am sure I won’t stop there.

    So, that’s my 2 cents! Sincerely, Nicoletta

    P.S. I am staying away from Elvis because I didn’t like the Baz Luhrman film I saw before (Moulin Rouge). I don’t like a lot of fast cuts. I found Moulin Rouge too chaotic. Seeing someone do Elvis………..I don’t know. Then again I didn’t think anyone could nail Judy Garland, until I saw Rene Zellwigger do her and I fell in love with that movie and her portrayal! So, back to Elvis………..Have you seen it and what do you think?


    1. Thanks for all of these. Most of what you mentioned are on my To Watch list so I really appreciate the notes. I loved Knives Out but thought The Onion not nearly as good and kind of annoying. Definitely want to see The Fablemens (and now even more). Can it be streamed? Not seen the Elvis movie but have wanted to simply because I’m eternally intrigued with him.


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