I finally got around to watching “Minari,” the only 2020 Best Picture nominee I hadn’t seen. I’m not going to write up a full review, but it was fine — nothing great, but an interesting little movie about a Korean family trying to make a new life on a farm in Arkansas in the 1980s. I liked that writer/director Lee Isaac Chung kept his focus on their internal struggles, rather than push it into a broader story of immigrant assimilation in the South, and didn’t feel like he had to tack on a Hallmark happy ending. I wish he’d given a bit more attention to the daughter, who has little to do other than react to her little brother, parents, and grandmother. Still, “Minari” is a story I hadn’t seen before, told well, with very sympathetic lead performances by Yeri Han and Steven Yeun, as well as yet another solid supporting job by Terry Kinney. But it would not have made my list of the Best Movies Of 2020. I give “Minari” a 6.5 out of 10.
In my negative review of the new HBO Max series “Hacks” last week, I said that I had only seen the first two episodes, but would watch at least one more to see if it improved. Well, I’ve now sat through episode three and my opinion hasn’t changed — nor do I plan to watch any more.
Over the last several months, my wife and I have watched several biopics and documentaries about music stars of the 1970s, including John Denver, Helen Reddy, and Herb Alpert. At some point in each of them, the subject was described as “bigger than Beatles!” Here’s how you know that was never true: you don’t hear anyone else ever described as being bigger than John Denver, Helen Reddy, or Herb Alpert.
Every news story about Amazon’s purchase of MGM and its library of movies includes mentions of the James Bond series, which I have long had a love/hate relationship with. After seeing “Skyfall” in 2012, here’s what I wrote in an entry called “Let Down By Bond Again“:
I’ve been a sucker for James Bond movies for decades. I don’t mean that I’ve liked them all. To the contrary, more often than not, I have walked out of the theater mad at myself for wasting another two hours. Yet every time a new one comes out, I find myself in a seat with a popcorn and soda hoping this will be one of the good ones.
Nonetheless, I’m sure I’ll fall right back into the Bond rut whenever the next chapter, “No Time To Die,” is released this fall. After all, why stop being conned now?