Review: “Soul”

Soul is a beautiful film of incredible depth, more depth than we’ve become used to from animated films – even Pixar’s. Gorgeously animated, wonderfully voiced (with contributions from some recognizable Bay Area theatre talent), and vibrantly scored, I think it would have been the least financially successful Pixar film to date had it been released…

Review: “Mank”

If you come to David Fincher’s Mank seeking a definitive answer to the question of who really wrote Citizen Kane you are likely to find yourself disappointed. The question, first raised by film critic Pauline Kael in a 1971 essay, has hung out there in the cinema atmosphere for decades. Kael’s conclusion that it was…

Review: “Run”

You’ve got to be of a certain age or a cinephile to understand the term “B” movie. Originally used to identify the second feature on a double-bill (the first being the “A” movie), some studios maintained “A” and “B” production units, while other studios – like Monogram and Republic – produced nothing but low-budget features…

Review: “Hillbilly Elegy”

When J. D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy was published in 2016, there was some controversy as to whether Vance’s take on Appalachian culture as embodied by his family was truly representative. Others latched on to Vance’s memoir as a guide to understanding red state politics and the rise of Trump.   The Ron Howard-directed film adaptation,…

Review: “Uncle Frank”

It’s been a while since a movie has ripped out my heart out and repeatedly stomped it into the ground while still giving me a sense of hope. Such a film is Alan Ball’s Uncle Frank, available now on Amazon Prime. Part family drama, part road-trip movie, part coming-of-age story, and part coming-out-late-in-life tale, it’s…