Priceless (2006)

The French Riviera is an ideal locale to hobnob with the wealthy; plenty of aging singles are looking for a young romantic companion on whom they can shower gifts. The only catch is you’ll have to trade true love for a lifestyle to which you will quickly grow accustomed. This is not a problem unless…

It’s rare to find a movie this engaging and entertaining. The secret is to cast actors who can carry a scene by conveying a lot of emotion and information without relying on dialogue, which– let’s face it– is usually empty and rambling. Furthermore, this plot is full of twists and turns. Rare for a romantic dramedy!

Melancholia (2011)

Lush visuals mirror colliding juxtapositions as the classical score provides a romantic– nearly spiritual– quality to a poetic tragedy that unfolds without frantic energy, hence the title, which is also the name of a planet headed toward Earth. The tension lies in a clash of social expectations and emotional reactions rather than in scurrying to save the planet. Its placid unfolding allows the audience to welcome the astronomical event alongside the characters, who– whether anxious, optimistic, or in denial– have no choice but to accept the inevitable.

Nebraska (2013)

Family is complicated, as is small town interpersonal politics. The addition of fame and a potential fortune amplifies tensions that crescendo towards a battle for personal pride. When a hapless salesman realizes his boozy old father plans to travel cross- country to claim a non-existent prize based on a misunderstanding, it’s becomes clear he’s just […]

The Big Sleep (1946)

Despite Casablanca’s iconic status (fans consider it “bittersweet” while I classify it as brooding and enigmatic), I consider this Noir to be the epitome of its genre. For me, Bogart springs to mind when I think of classic film: charming and able to hold his own without diminishing the strength and wit of a bold […]

Winchester (2018)

I know, I know but just hear me out: inspired by real-life Sarah Winchester, superstitious widowed heiress to the fortune amassed by the founders of the famous rifle company, what this suppositional story lacks in historical accuracy (minor liberties were taken for the sake of capturing it on film) it more than makes up for with pain-staking attention to detail; besides the obvious (a cast of award-winners), remarkable forethought went into every aspect from the titular character’s handcrafted custom wardrobe to the replica of her infamous eccentric mansion. The world created for the movie was so well planned in advance it leaves no room for the plot to stray from the devices (i.e. “rules”) set forth by its premise. Though no awards were be offered, its quality is impeccable. It will be thoroughly entertaining if you can restrain yourself from forcing upon it any aspirations of informative historicity or Slasher genre features.