‘Little Women’ charming, too difficult to follow

Look at the pretty dresses from the 1860s! Aren’t they so charming. Images courtesy Sony Pictures Releasing.

4/10 Louisa May Alcott’s original novel “Little Women” was published in two volumes in 1868 and ’69 straddling a three-year in-narrative timeskip, then published as a single volume in 1880. In this, the seventh film adaptation of the material, writer/director Greta Gerwig tried to keep things fresh by mixing up the framing device, and it doesn’t work even a little bit.

In Little Women, four sisters, Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth March (Emma Watson, Saoirse Ronan, Florence Pugh and Eliza Scanien) grow up during the Civil War. In a series of scenes set over a period of years laid out seemingly at random, they angst about women’s lots in life in the 1860s, disease, boys, money and other petty squabbles as they grow up to become little women.

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Once you forget that it’s an abomination, ‘Cats’ is decent

AHHHHH! Images courtesy Universal Pictures.

1/10 “How can I describe my emotions at this catastrophe, or how delineate the wretches whom with such infinite pains and care I have endeavored to form? Their limbs are in proportion, and their features were selected as beautiful. Beautiful! Great God! 

“I had worked hard for nearly two years, for the sole purpose of infusing cathood onto these bodies. For this, I had deprived myself of rest and health. I had desired it with an ardor that far exceeded moderation, but now that I had finished, the beauty of the dream vanished, and breathless horror and disgust filled my heart-” writer/director/producer Tom Hooper. 

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Simpering, cowardly ‘Rise of Skywalker’ grovels its way to saga’s end

Images courtesy Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

2/10 In the aftermath of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, so many disillusioned fans were demanding deep and specific revisions that the proposal to make a different version of the installment for each individual viewer became a running gag.

It looks like J.J. Abrams actually got to make his. 

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A savage, deeply cathartic ‘Marriage Story’

Images courtesy Netflix.

9/10 Writer/director/producer Noah Baumbach set out to create the universal divorce movie, and damn it all he seems to have done it. 

Noah Bumbach’s Marriage Story follows the increasingly acrimonious divorce of Charlie and Nicole Barber (Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson). The pair were a star director/actress duo at Charlie’s New York City acting troupe, but Nicole has wanted for years to return home to Los Angeles, which she does as their divorce proceedings begin, taking their son Henry (Azhy Robertson) with her. The two have agreed to settle things between themselves and not get lawyers involved, but Nicole hires high-powered divorce lawyer Nora Fanshaw (Laura Dern) soon after she moves. The main narrative arc of the film is Charlie realizing he has to fight fire with fire here, first hiring laid-back retiree Bert Spitz (Alan Alda) and then his own high-octane divorce specialist in Jay Marotta (Ray Liotta) – “I needed my own asshole,” Charlie says. 

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Scorsese lays out fears in ‘Irishman’

Eyuuuckh. Images courtesy Netflix.

5/10 So, don’t tell anybody about this, but I think Martin Scorsese might be a little nervous about dying.

In I Heard You Paint Houses — marketing title The Irishman — an elderly Frank “The Irishman” Sheeran (Robert De Niro), nearly dead in his Philadelphia hospice, tells all about his years as a hitman for the Bufalino crime family. After coming home from World War II in 1945, Sheeran takes a job as a truck driver, doing crimes for extra money on the side. Boss Russell Bufalino (Joe Pesci) himself takes Sheeran under his wing, eventually introducing him to union head Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). Sheeran becomes a mass murderer under Bufalino and as Hoffa’s bodyguard.

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