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End the year with 5 classy, if not always easy to like, new movies

By in Press Enterprise on December 29, 2017

By Bob Strauss

Hollywood’s released a lot of classy stuff in the final week of 2017. All the movies listed below, in order of how much I liked ’em, are extremely well-made and worth your time – with the caveat of “if you’re into that sort of thing” strongly attached.

Have a happy New Year and happier moviegoing in 2018!

“Phantom Thread.” Weird, unusually funny and rather self-controlled for a Paul Thomas Anderson drama, this delectably shot (perhaps by PTA himself? There’s no credited DP) look at an autocratic English fashion designer humbled by love for a strong-willed, refugee waif could probably use a few adjustments to make a more comfortable audience fit. But then, who wants comfort from the guy who made “Boogie Nights,” “Magnolia” and “There Will Be Blood”? Just luxuriate in the haute 1950s hothouse ambiance, the civilized distemper of Daniel Day-Lewis’ alleged final performance, the Gothic mystery of newcomer Vicky Krieps’, and the perversely bonkers plan Anderson prescribes for working out their relationship issues.

“Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool.” The last years of film noir legend Gloria Grahame were both pathetically tragic and filled with wonderful love according to this inventive biopic. Annette Bening plays the actress as always in control while constantly on the verge of losing it; it’s an astonishingly impressive, sustained attack. Jamie Bell is even more touching as Grahame’s much younger British ex, whose common man decency is matched only by that of his do-the-right-thing family. Director Paul McGuigan pulls off some marvelously theatrical effects that collapse time into emotional memory and subtly echo some of Grahame’s greatest movies, especially “In a Lonely Place.”

“All the Money in the World.” All the reshoots in the world enabled Christopher […]    

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