Category Archives: STREAMING

This topic/movie is streaming on one of the streaming apps like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, etc.

THE MARTHA MITCHELL EFFECT (2022) – My rating: 8/10

O Efeito Martha Mitchell - 17 de Junho de 2022 | Filmow

The Martha Mitchell Effect is a Netflix original documentary directed by Anne Alvergue and Debra McClutchy. Not to be confused with the Martha Mitchell effect, which this documentary is named for. The Martha Mitchell Effect is another Oscar-nominated documentary I watched because it was nominated.  I thought this film was very well directed and it provided us with a truckload of information about Martha Mitchell and her unique way of expressing herself.

Told through archival footage, its story is centered around the Watergate scandal and whistleblower Martha Mitchell, a cabinet wife married to John Mitchell who was the attorney general from 1969 to 1972. Martha was gaslit by the Nixon administration in an attempt to keep her silent. A mini-series starring Julia Roberts as Martha Mitchell aired on April 24, 2022.  The mini-series was called Gaslit, which told the entire story in eight episodes. It appears The Martha Mitchell Effect documentary may have really served as a source for Gaslit. Although this documentary was a sad story, I enjoyed it and would recommend it to others.

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has a positive review of 100% based on 5 critics’ reviews. The Martha Mitchell Effect is streaming on Netflix (subscription required). Check It Out!

[THE MARTHA MITCHELL EFFECT is Oscar-nominated at the 95th Academy Awards for Best Documentary Short Film for a total of 1 nomination]


THE ELEPHANT WHISPERERS (2022) – My rating: 7.5/10

The Elephant Whisperers film poster.jpg

The Elephant Whisperers is an Indian-American short documentary film directed by documentary filmmaker Kartiki Gonsalves in her directorial debut. The documentary is about the bond that develops between a couple and an orphaned baby elephant named Raghu, who was entrusted to their care. The Elephant Whisperers is produced by Sikhya Entertainment, the film had its world premiere on 9 November 2022 at DOC NYC Film Festival, a film festival for documentaries in the United States. I love animals, and since this documentary was Oscar-nominated, I watched it on Netflix.  It is heartfelt and informative.

The Elephant Whisperers tells the story of an indigenous couple named Bomman and Belli who are entrusted with an orphaned baby elephant named Raghu. They take great pains to ensure that the fragile, injured infant survives and grows to be a healthy young elephant. A strong bond develops between the couple and the elephant. The couple treats Ragu as if it were their child. Set in the Mudumalai National Park in South India, the documentary also highlights the natural beauty of the location. It explores the life of the tribal people in harmony with nature. The film was released by Netflix globally on 8 December 2022 for streaming. Kartiki Gonsalves spent five years following this family in order to make this documentary.

Romey Norton of Ready Steady Cut rated the film 3.5 out of 5 and said that “It packs a small punch and is definitely worth the watch, especially if you love elephants”. Poulomi Das reviewing for Firstpost wrote, that “narrative, is fairly straightforward, the storytelling manages to be simultaneously gentle and persuasive”. Praising the cinematography, Das wrote, “the film is elevated by its stunning cinematography”. Das opined that “Much of the beauty of the film lies in the understated coming-of-age of the film’s narrative that draws ample parallels between humans and animals.” Das said, that The Elephant Whisperers “is ultimately a love story about the power of community,” and concluded by saying, “the film champions the dignity of — all kinds of — life.” Manjeet Singh of Leisure Byte reviewing the film praised the film writing, “the complete documentary appears more like an experience, that needs to be felt than rather just to be seen.” Singh opined that “The docufilm is capable of making you cry, or even sob” and it is “the finest presentation of the year.”

The Elephant Whisperers definitely made me emotional and it was beautifully filmed.  Baby elephants don’t usually survive after being separated from their mother or village. The time and devotion this couple put in to insure the baby elephant’s care are remarkable.  They literally eat, drink, sleep, and live for the elephants.  This documentary is a real eye-opener.  I recommend The Elephant Whisperers to everyone, especially if you have a passion for elephants.  The Elephant Whisperers is streaming exclusively on Netflix.

[THE ELEPHANT WHISPERERS is Oscar-nominated at the 95th Academy Awards for Best Documentary Short Film totaling 1 nomination]





Bardo 2022 film poster.png

Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths (Spanish: Bardo, falsa crónica de unas cuantas verdades), or simply Bardo, is a Mexican epic black comedy-drama co-written, co-composed, edited, produced, and directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu. The film follows a journalist/documentarian who returns to his native country of Mexico and begins having an existential crisis in the form of dreamlike visions. It is Iñárritu’s first film to be fully filmed in Mexico since Amores perros in 2000. Of course, I watched this film (I never heard of it til now) because it was nominated for an Oscar. It has English subtitles and is over two and a half hours long. I found Bardo confusing but is a good literary piece that could probably be enjoyed more by a critic.

FYI: The title refers to the Buddhist concept bardo, a liminal state between death and rebirth.

Silverio Gama (Daniel Giménez Cacho) is a Mexican journalist turned documentary filmmaker living in Los Angeles with his wife Lucía Gama (Griselda Siciliani), and teenage son, Lorenzo Gama (Iker Sanchez Solano). His work has become increasingly personal and subjective as he has grown older; his latest film, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths, is a work of docufiction with autobiographical elements. Silverio and Lucía are happy together, but they are haunted by the death of their first son, Mateo, a day after his birth. The two keep Mateo’s ashes and feel unable to move on from his loss. Silverio experiences much of his day-to-day life in a surreal fashion, with dreams, memories, and fantasies playing out alongside his activities. When he meets America’s ambassador to Mexico, Ambassador Jones (Jay O. Sanders), at Chapultepec Castle, for instance, he envisions the events of the 1847 Battle of Chapultepec and the suicides of the Niños Héroes around him.

Silverio learns that he will be the first Latin American to receive a prestigious American award for journalism. He speculates that he is only receiving the award to ease tensions between the United States and Mexico (inflamed by negative perceptions of U.S.–Mexico migration as well as Amazon’s attempts to purchase the Mexican state of Baja California), but nevertheless tries to deal with a wave of media scrutiny in his home country. He cancels an interview on a popular talk show at the last minute, reminisces about his time as a husband and father, and tries to strike a balance between attacking the problems he sees with the Mexican state and defending its people from stereotypes. Secretly, he feels guilty over emigrating to the U.S. when so many other Mexicans cannot leave.

I believe Silverio’s feelings of guilt motivate this movie and sets the scene for the entire film.  It dwells deep into Silverio’s psyche and may be a bit much for the average moviegoer. There are multiple scenes that teeter back and forward between made-up stories and real history, (whatever suits the situation). Because of the subtitles and the level of concentration one would need to give Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths the justice it probably deserves, I am limiting my opinion of this movie, leaving it up to viewers who might truly get it.

Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths was released in theaters on November 18, 2022, then began streaming on Netflix on December 16, 2022. The film received mixed reviews from critics, who praised the performances of Cacho and Siciliani, as well as Khondji’s cinematography and Iñarritu’s direction, but criticized the writing and runtime with many also criticizing it as self-indulgent and pretentious. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 59% of 148 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.4/10. The website’s consensus reads, “As deeply personal as it is demanding, Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths unsteadily walks the line between brilliance and sheer self-indulgence.” This movie is not for everyone, you can see it on Netflix — Check It Out!

[BARDO, FALSE CHRONICLE OF A HANDFUL OF TRUTHS is Oscar-nominated at the 95th Academy Awards for Best Cinematography, totaling 1 nomination]


TURNING RED (2022) – My rating: 6.5/10

The poster shows a corkboard with various decorations, stickers, sticky notes, a magazine, as well as images of Mei, her classmates, and other characters, with the larger image showing Mei as a giant red panda and her classmates, with the Toronto skyline in the background. The tagline on top reads "Growing up is a beast." The film's logo is shown on the bottom along with its MPA Rating.

Turning Red is a computer-animated fantasy comedy produced by Pixar Animation Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It was directed by Domee Shi (in her feature directorial debut) and produced by Lindsey Collins, from a screenplay written by Shi and Julia Cho, and a story by Shi, Cho, and Sarah Streicher. The film marks the first Pixar feature film solely directed by a woman. The plot follows a 13-year-old Chinese-Canadian student who transforms into a giant red panda when she experiences any kind of strong emotions, due to a hereditary curse. Because Turning Red was nominated for an Oscar, I was obligated to see the film, which I thought was a little over the top but still an entertaining story.

In 2002 Toronto, 13-year-old Meilin “Mei” Lee (voice: Rosalie Chiang), who lives with her parents, Ming (voice: Sandra Oh) and Jin (voice: Orion Lee), helps take care of the family’s temple dedicated to their ancestor Sun Yee, while she works to make her mother proud. Mei hides her personal interests from Ming, such as the fact that she and her friends Miriam (voice: Ava Morse), Priya (voice: Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), and Abby (voice: Hyein Park) are fans of the boy band 4*Town. One night when Ming, who is strict and overprotective, discovers Mei’s crush on Devon (voice: Addie Chandler), the local convenience store clerk, she haphazardly humiliates Mei in public. That night, Mei has a vivid nightmare involving red pandas. When she wakes up the next morning, she has transformed into a large red panda.

As if turning into a red panther isn’t weird enough, this story takes turns into some very interesting places. Turning Red gets a little crazy while managing to become magical and even silly at times. Mei’s adventures can seem over the top but all is effectively explained in every frame of the movie. The story is also a little bold and may make some children feel skirmish, not being familiar with how the female anatomy works. Mei learns some lessons about managing her newfound position and the reaction of other children in her school. In this movie, the village is very much involved with resolving Mei’s issues and Ming also learns a lesson or two.

As of September 2022, Turning Red has earned $20.1 million outside the U.S. and Canada. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 95% of 280 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 8/10. The website’s consensus reads, “Heartwarming, humorous, beautifully animated, and culturally expansive, Turning Red extends Pixar’s long list of family-friendly triumphs”. I think  Turning Red is a good film for the whole family and is streaming on Netflix — Check It Out!

FYI:  (read below before letting your child watch Turning Red)

The attention drawn by O’Connell’s review led parents and other audience critics to raise further issues with the film due to the character specificity, bringing up concerns that the film, aimed at a family audience, brings up the issues of menstruation, teenage crushes, and sexuality, and disobedience towards one’s parents, which these people felt were topics best left for parents to discuss with their children on their own.

[TURNING RED is Oscar-nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the 95th Academy Awards for a total of 1 nomination]


THE SEA BEAST (2022) – My rating: 7.5/10

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The Sea Beast is a computer-animated adventure directed by Chris Williams, who co-wrote the screenplay with Nell Benjamin and produced with Jed Schlanger. The film tells the story of a sea monster hunter and a young orphan girl who joins his group of sea monster hunters on their search for the elusive Red Bluster back in the 17th century. Learning of The Sea Beast and its Oscar nomination, I of course wanted to watch the film. I must say, The Sea Beast dished up a very profound message and was entertaining.

For hundreds of years, sea beasts have surfaced to wreak havoc against mankind. In response, sailors known as ‘hunters’ venture outward on their ships to hunt the beasts across the ocean, the most famous and successful of these being the crew of the “Inevitable”, which is led by the legendary Captain Augustus Crow III (voice: Jared Harris), his first mate Sarah Sharpe (voice: Marianne Jean-Baptiste), and his adopted son Jacob Holland (voice: Karl Urban). The hunters are financially backed by the King (voice: Jim Carter) and Queen (voice: Doon Mackicha) of The Crown, who have established a distinguished society dubbed Three Bridges as a result of the hunters’ success over the centuries. After being nearly killed during a hunt, Crow tells Jacob that he will make him captain once they kill a female sea beast known as the Red Bluster that took his eye decades earlier.

When the crew presents their latest catch to the King and Queen for payment, they are told they will be replaced by a naval vessel called the “Imperator”, headed by Admiral Eric Hornagold (voice: Dan Stevens) because Nornagold feels the “Inevitable” is outdated. Angered by this betrayal,  Jacob negotiates a contest between the two ships vowing permanent rights to hunt Sea Beast in the future as the prize. So, the journey begins with the two ships setting out to capture the sea beast, Red Bluster. After the “Inevitable” and its crew departs, an orphan girl named Maisie Brumble (voice: Zaris-Angel Hator) is discovered stowed away on the ship. The captain decides to let her stay to Jacob’s dismay.

The adventure begins with lots of exciting events. The Sea Beast teaches compassion, empathy, devotion, loyalty, and heartfelt love. I fell lot, stock, and barrel for this animated feature. The animation is outstanding, the story is excellent, and the voices are spot-on.  There’s talk of a Sequel — In January 2023, Williams announced in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter that he had signed a deal with Netflix and would be working on a sequel to The Sea Beast following the film’s massive success.

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 94% of 108 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 7.6/10. The website’s consensus reads, “An original animated tale that’s often as daring as its characters, The Sea Beast sends audiences on a voyage well worth taking.” I think the whole family would enjoy The Sea Beast which is currently streaming on Netflix — Check It Out!

[THE SEA BEAST is Oscar-nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 95th Academy Awards — Totaling 1 nomination]



MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON (2021/2022) – My rating: 4/10

A poster featuring the titular character using a Tootsie Pop wrapper as a parachute.

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is a live-action/stop-motion animated comedy-drama directed by Dean Fleischer Camp (in his feature directorial debut), with a screenplay by Fleischer Camp, Jenny Slate, and Nick Paley from a story by Fleischer Camp, Slate, Paley, and Elisabeth Holm. It is based on a series of shorts of the same name written by Slate and Fleischer Camp. Slate reprises her voice role as Marcel, an anthropomorphic shell living with his grandmother Connie. I am not a fan of animated films, having said that, I’ve learned to accept them because they have improved drastically over the decades. Because of the Oscar nominations, I watched Marcel the Shell with Shoes On. Having nothing to do with the animation, I disliked this feature as it was boring and annoying. Of course, this is just my opinion, others may enjoy the film.

Following the end of his marriage, documentary filmmaker Dean (Dean Fleischer Camp) moves into an  Airbnb and discovers Marcel (voice: Jenny Slate), a one-inch-tall talking shell living in the home with his grandmother, Nana Connie (voice: Isabella Rossellini), and Alan, his pet ball of lint.

Inspired by Marcel’s whimsicality, resourcefulness, and fascination with the world, Dean begins filming Marcel’s daily activities, most of which consist of gathering resources from the backyard in order to support himself and Nana Connie. Connie is wise but she has some dementia. She tends to her garden assisted by insects she has befriended. Marcel and Connie share their mutual love of 60 Minutes and Lesley Stahl.

I found Marcel the Shell with Shoes On to be quite boring and a little depressing. I can’t imagine any child being interested in listening to the voice of Marcel going on about nothing, not to mention the lack of activity.  I was so hoping for a robust presentation of a children’s story that would forever be remembered for its exciting environment and family ethics. Some might consider the Marcel story cute. I found it hard to sit through the whole film.  Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is streaming for $4.99 on Prime Video. If this is your thing, Check It Out

As of Feb 29, 2022, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On has grossed $6,333,702 (96.1%) domestically, $256,367 (3.9%) internationally, and $6,590,069 Worldwide. On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, 99% of 158 reviews are positive, with an average rating of 8.3/10. The critical consensus reads, “Poignant, profound, and utterly heartwarming, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On is animated entertainment with real heart.

[MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON is Oscar-nominated for Best Animated Feature Film at the 95th Academy Awards for a total of 1 nomination]


MRS. HARRIS GOES TO PARIS (2022) – My rating: 7.5/10

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Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is a historical comedy-drama directed and produced by Anthony Fabian, from a screenplay he co-wrote with Carroll Cartwright, Keith Thompson, and Olivia Hetreed. It is the third film adaptation of the 1958 novel Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico. This delightful film follows an older woman who brings her dream of going to Paris and wearing a Dior dress to fruition. I saw this movie a long time ago and really enjoyed it.

In 1957 London, Mrs. Ada Harris (Lesley Manville), a widowed cleaning lady, becomes obsessed with one client’s haute couture Dior dress; it inspires an ambition to buy her own Dior dress. After unexpectedly receiving a war widow’s pension, she travels to Paris to do so. She stumbles into a showing of Dior’s 10th-anniversary collection and is befriended by André (Lucas Bravo), the Dior accountant, and Natasha (Alba Baptista), a Dior model. However, the Dior director, Claudine Colbert (Isabelle Huppert), resents Ada’s intrusion into the exclusive world of haute couture.

While in Paris for fittings, Ada stays with André and encourages him to express his affection for Natasha—who shares his interest in existential philosophy. When Claudine is forced to sack several Dior workers for financial reasons, Ada organizes a strike and forces Claudine and Christian Dior (Philippe Bertin) to hear André’s ideas to modernize and make the business profitable.

Mrs. Harris Goes To Paris was a feel-good, fun movie.  It serves as a great escape from the everyday issues that surround us. I thought the movie was cute and well-acted.  It was nice to see a bunch of snobs get their “come up pence”. The movie was also funny as well as delightful. The plot was not a new concept but felt new because of the delivery.  Of course, there is much more story to be told with some nice surprises.  I recommend Mrs. Harris to everyone, as there was no violence, profanity, or sex.  Mrs. Harris is currently streaming on Netflix — Check It Out!

In the United States, the film made $2 million from 980 theaters in its opening weekend; 44% of its audience were women over the age of 55. The film eventually grossed more than $10 million in the United States theatrically. Deadline Hollywood described the film’s box office performance as “strong.”  On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 94% of 173 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 7.4/10. The website’s consensus reads, “Led by a luminous Lesley Manville, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris is a good old-fashioned story charmingly told.”

[MRS. HARRIS GOES TO PARRIS is Oscar-nominated for Best  Costume Design at the 95th Academy Awards for a total of 1 nomination]


AFTERSUN (2022) – My rating: 3.5/10


Aftersun is a coming-of-age drama written and directed by Charlotte Wells. The film follows an 11-year-old Scottish girl, on vacation with her father at a Turkish resort on the eve of his 31st birthday. I can add Aftersun to the list of movies I never heard of until it was nominated for an Academy award.  I absolutely did not like Aftersun. I think I’ve discovered I don’t much like films that are categorized as coming of age. I don’t feel this way without reason, I just really didn’t like Aftersun.

Set in the early 2000s, Eleven-year-old Sophie Lesley Patterson (Frankie Corio) takes a summer holiday to Turkey with her loving 30-year-old Scottish father Calum Aaron Patterson (Paul Mescal). Sophie records the holiday on a MiniDV camera, the footage of which is interspersed throughout the film. Over the course of the holiday, Sophie observes the teenagers on the Turkish resort engage in and discuss sexual and romantic activities. She also meets with and plays arcade games with Toby, (Harry Perdios) a boy around her age. Calum exhibits signs of depression and detachment, which he tries to hide from his daughter, keeping up a façade of contentment during the holiday. He is amicably separated from Sophie’s mother and is dealing with occupational and financial struggles. During his time alone on the holiday, he is seen engaging in Tai chi patterns and reading self-help books.

The above intro into Aftersun is pretty much how the entire movie is set up. There is not much more to the story. I found the Aftersun to be boring with the camera sequences shot by Sophie making it a bit confusing. I found the character, Calum to be depressing (so his performance was great since he was supposed to be depressed). I just found Aftersun to be mundane with no apparent message, and uneventful.  There is nothing I can add that will help save this review or this boring movie.  I wouldn’t suggest anyone actually pay the $4.99 on Prime Video to rent this film or bother to see Aftersun, I think it’s pointless but if you’re curious, Check It Out.

Aftersun has grossed a Domestic sum of $1,525,920 (32%), and an  International sum of $3,235,488 (68%), Totalling $4,761,408 WorldwideOn Rotten Tomatoes, Aftersun holds an approval rating of 95% based on 208 reviews, with an average rating of 8.8/10. The website’s critic’s consensus reads, “Led by Frankie Corio’s tremendous performance, Aftersun deftly ushers audiences to the intersection between our memories of loved ones and who they really are.”
[AFTERSUN is Oscar-Nominated at the 95th Academy Awards for Best Actor — totaling 1 Nomination]


TO LESLIE (2022) – My rating: 9/10

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“To Leslie” is an independent drama directed by Michael Morris (in his feature directorial debut), from a screenplay by Ryan Binaco. Inspired by true events, the film is about a single mother who is an alcoholic and uses up all the prize money she received after winning the lottery.
This is another movie I had never heard of until the 95th Oscar nominations. After seeing  “To Leslie”, I think it was a shame that it was not widely distributed and shown in multiple theaters.  I found this movie to be outstanding.

Leslie (Andrea Riseborough) is a troubled and manipulative alcoholic from West Texas who won $190,000 in a local lottery, only to squander the winnings on liquor and drugs. Six years later, Leslie is destitute, living a peripatetic life in motels and on the streets. After being kicked out of a residential motel, she reunites with her estranged 20-year-old son James (Owen Teague), who allows her to live with him under the provision that she not drink. Leslie soon steals money from James’s roommate Darren (Catfish Jean), and James discovers liquor bottles under her mattress, leading him to call his grandmother Helen (Lauren Letherer) and Leslie’s sister Nancy (Allison Janney) for help.

Leslie is forced to return to an unforgiven town where she grew up in West Texas. She now has to determine what the rest of her life is going to look like. Leslie is defined as a drunk, a loudmouth, unclean, homeless, and is unliked, as well as a deadbeat alcoholic. This combination is not easy to reverse even if that is her intention. Andrea gives the performance of her life as she is thoroughly convincing as an alcoholic. I’m not sure if she lost weight for this film or if she’s really as skinny as she appears on camera, but it all fits the character she’s playing. I didn’t expect “To Leslie” to be so emotional or so well acted. Andrea’s performance was brilliant and this, inspired by a true story, was entertaining and exciting. “To Leslie” flew way beneath the radar as it would have definitely been a worthwhile contender for Best: Actress, Director, and Picture, in my opinion. I was pleasantly pleased with the outcome of “To Leslie” and highly recommend it, as it is worth the watch. Please read the controversial information surrounding this Oscar-nominated movie below.

“To Leslie” has earned (100%) $27,322 worldwide. On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 97% of 72 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 7.6/10. The website’s consensus reads, “To Leslie’s familiar framework is granted extra depth through a stellar Andrea Riseborough and a sensitive and nuanced approach to the cycle of addiction.” To Leslie is streaming for rent on Prime Video for $6.99 — Check It Out!

Controversial information about “To Leslie’s” single nomination for Best Actress Oscar nomination complements of Wikipedia:

As Momentum Pictures did not fund a conventional, advertising-driven awards campaign for the film, director Michael Morris and his wife, actress Mary McCormack, organized a “celeb-backed campaign” to get Riseborough nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. They contacted friends and colleagues in the entertainment industry, asking them to view the film and share it with others if they enjoyed it. Morris and Riseborough also hired publicists to coordinate the efforts. While theretofore not widely seen or regarded as a serious awards contender, the campaign successfully raised the film’s profile as dozens of celebrities publicly praised it and Riseborough’s performance on social media; some also hosted screenings during voting for the Academy Award nominations in January 2023. Riseborough was nominated for the award on January 24, which the Los Angeles Times called “one of the most shocking nominations in Oscar history”.

After the nomination was announced, there was speculation within the media and the film industry that the tactics may have violated an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rule against directly lobbying voters. Academy rules forbid individuals from giving “their personal signature, personal regards, or pleas to watch the film” in campaign-related communications. A post on the film’s Instagram account was also subject to criticism, for possibly violating an Academy rule against “[singling] out ‘the competition’ by name”; the post featured a quote from film critic Richard Roeper, who praised Riseborough’s performance as better than Cate Blanchett’s in Tár, a fellow nominee for Best Actress. On January 27, the Academy announced that they were “conducting a review of the campaign procedures around this year’s nominees, to ensure that no guidelines were violated, and to inform us whether changes to the guidelines may be needed in a new era of social media and digital communication”.

The Academy occasionally rescinds nominations if it is found that the nominee participated in unsanctioned campaigning. However, there were no reports that Riseborough had done so, or that any Academy members had lodged formal complaints about the campaign’s behavior; consequently, Clayton Davis of Variety and Pete Hammond of Deadline Hollywood both predicted that the nomination would be unaffected. On January 31, the Academy concluded its review by pledging to address “social media and outreach campaigning tactics” which they said caused “concern”, but confirming that Riseborough’s nomination would be retained.

[TO LESLIE is Oscar-nominated for Best Actress at the 95th Academy Awards for a total of 1 nomination]


EMPIRE OF LIGHT (2022) – My rating: 8.3/10

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Empire of Light is a British drama directed, written, and co-produced by Sam Mendes. This drama is set in an English coastal town in the early 1980s and tells about the power of human connection during turbulent times.
Aside from Olivia Coleman being one of the greatest actresses of our time, I also liked the trailer, which made me want to see this movie.  I thought the film was well done.

Hilary Small (Olivia Coleman) works as a duty manager at the “Empire Cinema”, Margate, on the north coast of Kent, England. Hilary struggles with bipolar disorder and lives alone. She has been prescribed lithium by her doctor and is having extramarital sex with her boss Donald Ellis (Colin Firth). A new employee, who is a British Black man,  Stephen (Michael Ward) comes on board at the Margate cinema. Stephen lives with his mother Delia (Tanya Moodie) who works as a nurse. Hilary and Stephen begin a relationship. The pair find it difficult to deal with the racism Stephen experiences from some locals, as well as Hilary’s past relationships.

Empire of Light is a well-acted and profound story with a message that doesn’t seem to have a resolution.  It’s sad that we are still dealing with racism in 2023 but it is forever present in today’s society.  Mental illness is also more prevalent than ever.  One is nobody’s fault however there are meds and therapists that can control the situation and the other is a fixed opinion that one could rid themself of if one really wanted to. Olivia Coleman always gives a riveting performance in her films and many have been nominated for the coveted Oscar award. The story takes a surprising turn revealing much to many of its characters and audience. Empire of Light is probably not for everyone as there is sex, violence, and profanity, but all tastefully done. Colman was critical of the sex scenes that made it into the final cut of the film. She believed they were unnecessary to advance the plot. It’s a story well told with amazing cinematography features.

As of January 2023, Empire of Light grossed $1,177,577 (21%) DOMESTIC, $4,424,014 (79%) INTERNATIONAL, for a total of $5,601,591 WORLDWIDE.
On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 44%, based on 212 reviews, with an average rating of 5.7/10. The site’s critic’s consensus reads: “Empire of Light contains some fine performances and a few flashes of brilliance, but this tribute to the magic of cinema is disappointingly mundane.” While I disagree with the Rotten Tomatoes critic’s consensus, I recommend Empire of Light which is currently showing in limited theaters and streaming on HBO MAX with a subscription and for sale on Prime Video ($14.99) – Check It Out!

[EMPIRE OF LIGHT is Oscar-nominated for Best Cinematography at the 95th Academy Awards for a total of 1 nomination]