The Princess Bride 

directed by 
Rob Reiner
Robin Wright Cary Elwes

In lockdown, you need something to watch that everyone in the family can view and enjoy.Ho hum.Most of the time, family viewing - a G rating - means some sappy, animated feature with lots of twirling and singing.No!
Quarantine is stressful enough without that kind of imposition.
But, it’s true, we need something that kids can watch without adults cringing, and at the same time, something the adults can actually, really, no kidding, get caught up in, laugh along with, and be glad they tuned in.
That movie is The Princess Bride.Doesn’t matter if you’ve already seen it.Watch it again.Doesn’t matter if your kids are grown and out of the house.Watch it again.
You've never seen it!?  Inconceivable!  Made in 1987 and, as we say, it holds up.
Let’s survey a few of the selling points of this timeless fable.
Stellar cast

PeterFalk, patient and wise, with just a touch of curmudgeonliness, as the grandfather who        reads the s…
Queen & Slim
Directed by Melina Matsoukas
Daniel Kaluuya Jodie Turner-Smith

If you're like this movie-lover, you start making predictions right away, from the opening scenes.  In Queen & Slim, we open to witness a Tinder date going poorly.  But you know these two are going to fall in love, right?  The draw is not knowing how it will happen.  We want to know.  We're already pulling for them and trying to imagine what the catalyst will be, how the facades will crumble away.
Daniel Kaluuya's character, who is never referred to as Slim, is without pretense, if cautious in his efforts to discover the chink in the formidable armor of Jodie Turner-Smith's character, who is never referred to as Queen.  
But alas, the date is a bust.  He's driving her home - his license plate reads "Trust God" - when fateful events unfold.  A rogue, racist cop pulls them over and the first stones of dismay and disbelief tumble and trigger an avalanche of fear, action, and rea…
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Directed by Marielle Heller
Tom Hanks Matthew Rhys Chris Cooper

Maybe it's because we need kindness right now.  Civility.  We long to be seen and to be treated gently.  That could be what draws us to our childhood friend, Mr. Rogers.
Still, an underlying fear that "A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood" would be a sappy two hours in the dark, leaving viewers tacky with sweetness, might keep you from rushing to the theater.  It did this movie lover.  
And maybe that's why it proved better than expectations - expectations were not high.
But, oh, happy day!  This is a good story and a good movie!

We can always count on Tom Hanks.  From Forrest Gump to Sully, he delivers.  An in A Beautiful Day, he brings us a real, live, grown up Mr. Rogers.
We already knew, of course, that Mr. Rogers was a gentle, loving man who put the highest value on kids.  If we watched Morgan Neville's documentary, Won't You Be My Neighbor, last year, we ha…
The Mustang
directed by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre
Matthias Schoenaerts Bruce Dern Gideon Adlon

Occasionally, a movie will seize you.That movie might bring life and immediacy to history, or maybe it’s epic in its scope.Maybe that long-awaited kiss between two flawed-but-fated people will satisfy the universal yearning in us for love, true love.
The Mustang isn’t like that.It doesn’t exactly seize you.More like it slips into a corner of your brain and settles in.It sits in your peripheral vision not too heavily, but not lightly either.
After all, we know how this story goes before we buy the ticket, right?The trailer tells us we will not be let down.We will settle into our reserved seats, elevate our feet, and be treated to a story of the redemption of a man imprisoned.And, a key factor in his salvation will be a horse.A horse!A magnificent animal with an uncanny entre into the heart, and psyche, of a man.Love this!Can’t wait.

The surprise is that The Mustang delivers all that, and it sne…
Gloria Bell

Directed by Sebastian Lelio
Julianne Moore John Turturro Michael Cera Alanna Ubach

We cannot help wondering where Gloria Bell will end up.
Played by Julianne Moore with a big heart and a fragile edge, Gloria's been on her own since her divorce 15 years ago.She’s not going to inherit from her mom who’s living long enough and well enough to exhaust her own retirement money.
Her employer downsizes Gloria’s coworker, an older woman not yet ready to retire.Puts her out the door with not a little foreshadowing as to what might lie ahead when Gloria herself triggers that same age + salary-schedule nexus.Her kids are grown and immersed in their own lives.
And her goals are non-specific.  What does Gloria want, beyond dancing?

You might say Gloria’s prospects are thin.
But there is something in Gloria.Let’s call it an urge to live.To live life.To move forward.To find a way, her way.To avail herself.
So because she loves to dance, she goes out to dance, alone, and dances.She joins people s…

Directed by Jordan Peele
Lupita Nyong’o Winston Duke Elisabeth Moss

Here’s the thing about Jordan Peele ~ he’s so damn smart.And he’s funny. AND, he has something to say.

You gotta love Jordan Peele.If you never watched “Key & Peele,” find it now and watch it.Right away.That is some smart, funny, sketch comedy.And it is thoughtful.Good stuff.Great.Honestly.

If you saw “Get Out,” written and directed by Jordan Peele, then, like me, you most likely felt so pleased for him and proud of him and happy to know him as much as a fan knows the subject of her admiration.I’m pulling for this guy.His success makes me happy.
This was my mindset going into “Us.”Oh boy!Jordan Peele!He’s made another scary movie!I CAN’T WAIT to see it!
So right there was my problem.I sidestepped one of my own cardinal rules of movie going: Don’t get caught up in the hype, even if it is of your own making.See, God love ‘em, movies cannot rise to the hype.They just can’t.So don’t lay a bunch of expectations on a film bef…