Movie Review: Tar

The trend in movies over the years has been, “Let’s be different”, “We have to do something nobody has done before”, and “We have to break new ground, invent something new”. Unfortunately, too much of this is much more annoying than it is entertaining.

The new movie “Tar” is one of those movies that tries to be so different that it fails in too many ways. This film starts with the ending credits at the beginning – and considering the too-long length of this movie – having to sit through 5 long minutes of credits before a movie starts is too weird than it is an attempt of trying something new. Nobody wants to sit through 5 minutes of movie-ending credits even before the movie even starts.

There could be more dialogue in this movie than in any movie ever made. The film starts with the main character Lydia Tár – who is a famous fictional director – being interviewed on stage in what seems to be an “Actors Studio” kind of show. This scene and too many others like it last way too long and violate the screenplay credo of “show rather than tell”. After this much dialogue for 2 hours and 38 minutes, the tedium and boredom reach fever pitches way too often. This entire story is about a somewhat arrogant conductor in Berlin Germany and her interpersonal interactions and problems with the many musicians and students she works with. Lydia also teaches music at a local University where she has a rude interaction with a student who because of his nervousness – cannot stop shaking his leg. Yet another one of these strange, trying to be new and different scenes.

I was rather amazed at my ability to stay awake during this long and mostly boring experience. Unfortunately, the ending was weird, absurd, and made no sense, but in this case was the perfect ending to a rather perfectly strange film.

As for the critics their high marks are all about Cate Blanchett’s excellent acting performance – which I agree is very good. Blanchett will most likely be receiving another Academy Award nomination for Best Actress – but this film has no business being nominated for best picture. However, it probably will be only because it is so weird and different. Hopefully one day soon the pendulum will swing back to quality over something that is only about never been done before.

For fans of Cate Blanchett, I recommend this movie, for everybody else, run from this long strange, and weird experience.

Movie Review: Till

With a real-life history lesson like the movie “Till”, you realize that if someone would tell anyone the details of what happened to a young boy – without telling you the country or the year you would think about Ancient Egypt, Roman Times, Nazi Germany, Japan during World War 2 or even the Stalin Regime. You would never think something like this could happen to a very likable and happy 14-year-old black boy from Chicago who traveled to Mississippi to visit his relatives in August 1955. This is the United States, we are supposed to be the good guys, never a country that would be this cruel to a young child who did nothing more than whistle at a white woman at the exact wrong place at the exact wrong time.

The movie Till was produced by Whoppie Goldberg who spent over 10 years trying to get this important moment in American History turned into a movie. For a story this significant, that started the Civil Rights movement in 1957, this should have been a film produced 30-40 years ago. Why it took this long could have more to do with the shame that this incident represents to this country, more than any other reason.

There are several moments in this well-made film that stand out. The innocence of this 14-year old very happy young man, Emmett Till, who because of his youth, and his life in Chicago could never have imagined just whistling at a white woman could get him tortured, shot to death and dropped into a river. In fact, it was Emmett’s happy naive innocence that is the main reason he was murdered by two white men in the deep south in 1955. The moment during the trial where the white woman who was whistled at – blatantly lied under oath about what Emmett Till did, during her testimony. This woman was never tried for her crimes and is also equally responsible for Till’s murder. The two animals who killed this young man were found innocent in a one-hour deliberation and then later were paid 4000 dollars by Look magazine and admitted murdering Emmett Till. Emmett Till’s mother insisted on an open casket showing the beaten, shot in the head, and water-bloated body of her only child. She wanted to show the world what racial bigotry did to her son.

This movie should be nominated for an Academy Award for best picture and the actress who plays Emmit Tills mother, Danielle Deadwyler, should be nominated for best actress. The young actor who played Emmett Till, Jalyn Hall, was equally outstanding in his role. The emotions in this movie, especially when showing the extreme grief of Till’s mother and other relatives when seeing him in the open casket are as extremely well acted as they are hard to watch.

The movie Till is about one of the saddest moments in American History and is a must-see film. The Rotten Tomatoes ratings are an accurate 98% and receives my highest recommendation.

Movie Review: Ticket to Paradise

With all the scripts that are written within any given year and with so many hard-working producers looking for the best screenplays, especially when it comes to coming up with a great movie idea that would pair George Clooney and Julia Roberts – it’s very hard to believe that “Ticket to Paradise” was the one chosen.

Fundamentally this entire idea about a young woman Lily, played by Kaitlyn Dever “traveling in Bali and is about to marry a young man who lives there”, is not strong enough to support a two-hour movie. Lily’s parents Georgia and David are divorced for many years and then plot (using subtle ideas) to try and sabotage her wedding. The reason for this is – they were married far too young and they want to stop their only child from making the same mistake.

These are a very boring 1 hour and 44 minutes of tedium, dead and dry dialogue, culminating in disbelief that a movie this lame was ever made. It was hard enough to stay awake during this film and even harder to understand why Roberts and Clooney were able to stay awake when they read this script.

The only real bright spot is the continuing emergence of actress Kaitlyn Dever, a rapidly rising new star, starting with her appearance for years on the “Last Man Standing” sitcom and most recently her outstanding performance in the Hulu series “Dopesick”, about the opioid crisis in this country – a great series reviewed within this website.

Unfortunately, this movie is so slow and boring it is impossible to recommend and I do agree with the Rotten Tomatoes critics who are giving this movie a mostly correct 56% rating.