Only Recommended Films (Rated 8-10)

[8] George Stevens (Gunga Din, A Place in the Sun) directs this romanticized tale of an American western legend — Annie Oakley, the woman sharpshooter who could beat any man at gunplay. While the real Annie Oakley was surely rougher around the edges, Barbara Stanwyck carries this first film adaptation of Oakley’s life with strength and compassion. The screenplay centers around Oakley’s romance with a …

[8] Director Tim Burton (Batman, Ed Wood) followed his debut feature, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, with this stylish fantasy-comedy about a young deceased couple (Alec Baldwin and Geena Davis) trying to haunt an annoying new family out of their quaint countryside home. When the new family ends up more amused than alarmed by their ghostly antics, they’re left with no choice but to summon the …

[8] Future Oscar-winner Laura Dern (Marriage Story) gives her first leading performance in this adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been,” the story of a fifteen-year-old girl who pursues male attention without considering the potential consequences. Dern’s character, Connie, lies to her family about her whereabouts, ditching the mall for the beach, or the movies for a bar across …

[8] Sally Field leads a spectacular ensemble in Soapdish, a comedy that lampoons daytime TV melodramas, or ‘soap operas’. Field plays an insecure soap star who fears her career may begin to wane as she enters middle-age. Little does she realize that her own life story is about to become more over-the-top than the scripts for her long-running program, The Sun Also Sets. Field is …

[8] William Hurt (Oscar-winner for Kiss of the Spider Woman) stars in this adaptation of Anne Tyler’s novel about a travel guide writer whose marriage crumbles after the death of his son. While recovering from a broken leg at the home of his sister and two brothers, he develops a relationship with an odd dog trainer, played by Geena Davis (The Fly). As he begins …

[9] Writer/director Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Annihilation) serves up this intimate horror/thriller about a woman (Oscar nominee Jessie Buckley) who escapes London for the English countryside after the death of her ex-husband. Once there, however, she encounters several strange men who make her increasingly uncomfortable. First there’s the cottage owner who seems disappointed she is unmarried. More alarming is the nude man who chases her …

[8] Five travelers end up stranded at our title location after a fierce night-time storm makes driving the English hillsides too dangerous. The family that lives there is less than hospitable, with secrets that make the evening increasingly frightening. The Old Dark House is one of the grandfathers of what is now a classic horror sub-genre. Director James Whale (Frankenstein, Waterloo Bridge) makes it a …

[9] Before seeing The Northman, I already considered director Robert Eggers the most exciting director working today. His debut film, The Witch, is my favorite film of the 21st century thus far, and The Lighthouse is a fascinating follow-up. With The Northman, Eggers is three for three. Based on the same Scandinavian legend that inspired Shakespeare’s Hamlet, The Northman offers the director a broader canvas …

[8] Michelle Yeoh (Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon) plays Evelyn Wang, a laundromat owner taking care of her elderly father (James Hong), quarreling with her daughter (Stephanie Hsu), and teetering on divorce with her husband (Ke Huy Quan). To top things off, she’s being audited by the IRS and stands to lose everything she owns. But while dealing with her auditor (Jamie Lee Curtis), Evelyn discovers …

[8] Just as she did with The Piano nearly thirty years ago, director Jane Campion exposes the tragic consequences of rigid gender conformity in The Power of the Dog. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as a deeply closeted gay cattle rancher in 1925 Montana. When his brother (Jesse Plemons) brings his new bride (Kirsten Dunst) and her effeminate son (Kodi Smit-McPhee) to live with them, Cumberbatch cruelly …

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