Robin Holabird's Film Review | KUNR

Robin Holabird's Film Review

The word "Nomadland" is at the center, and spelled out in license plates.
Searchlight Pictures

KUNR Film Critic Robin Holabird says the new movie Nomadland rates as one of the best ever filmed in Nevada.

For this week's Movie Minutes, KUNR Film Critic Robin Holabird explores today’s theatrical release Supernova and says the film takes a fresh look at Alzheimer's Disease.

The White Tiger movie poster.

For this week's Movie Minutes, KUNR Film Critic Robin Holabird explores the movie The White Tiger and says this Indian film offers much more than traditional Bollywood fare.

Kingsley Ben-Adir, Eli Goree, Aldis Hodge and Leslie Odom Jr. are looking at the camera.
Amazon Studios

One Night in Miami theorizes what happened when four famous men got together in a small hotel room after the world heavyweight boxing championship. Instead of partying like crazy, they got into serious discussions about racism in America. One of the men, Cassius Clay, planned to upend expectations by announcing a change of faith and name. Under leadership and guidance by another guy in the room — Malcolm X — Clay aimed towards a different role as Muhammad Ali, the newly crowned heavyweight champion of the world. Malcolm hoped the two other men in the room — football player Jim Brown and singer Sam Cooke — would join the movement and use their influence to forcefully demand racial parity.

Tom Hanks and Helena Zengel both look to the right.
Universal Pictures

The movie News of the World delivers a revisionist Western. The term “revisionist” used to mean a project that felt grittier than Roy Rogers singing cowboy songs, but now it refers to politically correct attitudes that defy traditional classics like The Searchers. That John Wayne/John Ford epic spent decades on lists as the greatest western movie ever made, with gorgeous location shots of Monument Valley standing tall while the epitome of a hero put his own needs aside as he searches for a little girl kidnapped by Comanches.

Carey Mulligan is holding a bar of lipstick. The title of the movie is written in lipstick in front of Mulligan.
Focus Features

In the evolving genre of movies about avenging rape, Promising Young Woman offers an original approach.  Forget macho Charles Bronson's gun-toting from Death Wish. Forget Uma Thurman’s martial arts kicks in the two Kill Bills. Forget graphic violence a la I Spit on Your Grave. With sly psychology, actress Carrie Mulligan’s title character turns the genre around in writer-director Emerald Fennell’s promising new movie.

Robin Holabird and Dawn Wells stand next to each other and smiling at the camera.
Courtesy of Robin Holabird

Reno native Dawn Wells, an actress most known for her role in Gilligan’s Island, died from COVID-19 last week in southern California. KUNR film reviewer Robin Holabird shares some memories of Dawn, who kept Reno close to her heart.

The movie's main character, Joe, is walking down stairs made of piano keys while smiling at the camera.

After solving the mysteries of talking toys, cars and fish, the Disney-Pixar group finds answers to soul-searching questions in its newest release. Soul checks in on the meaning of life, as its main character sidesteps death and falls into the wrong space as an inadvertent mentor. Perfect for kids, right?

A profile of Kate Winslet and Saoirse Ronan looking past each other with water in the background.

Having finally visited one of my bucket list destinations during a 2020 COVID-safe road trip this summer, I come to the movie Ammonite with an extra degree of enthusiasm.

Heidi Schreck is holding a U.S. Constitution and smiling.
Amazon Studios

The new take on Broadway’s play called What the Constitution Means to Me defies typical movie reviewer reactions. We critics usually chastise filmmakers who fail to make a screen version of a play feel cinematic. But both director Marielle Heller and writer/star Heidi Schreck deserve kudos for bringing the sense of an intimate play onto home screens.

Luis Gerardo Méndez and Connor Del Rio run toward the camera while Del Rio carries a goat.
Focus Features

Things get weird when I describe why I like the new movie Half Brothers so well. Okay, not so odd when I mention that I take Spanish classes, so I appreciate the chance to listen to the language, which occurs off and on during the film. But perhaps weird when I chuckle at a sideline gag about a kid wearing masks of famous movie serial killers. And especially peculiar when I feel rewarded for finding a story that makes good use of a goat. Hey, I like goats.

Amy Adams and Glenn Close are standing and looking at the camera.

The movie Hillbilly Elegy sets itself up with a challenge it never overcomes — celebrating family disfunction. The movie’s inspiration, J.D. Vance, credits a hard-knocks childhood for turning him into a successful lawyer and bestselling author, painting a vivid portrait of his drug-addled mother and crusty grandmother.  Director Ron Howard runs with these two women as the selling point for his movie version of the book.

Actor Guy Pearce stands in front of two paintings
©2020 CTMG. All Rights Reserved.

Appreciating works by an all-time great artist took an extra hit when the COVID-19 pandemic closed most museums and delayed the release of a film called The Last Vermeer.  Many museums remain shuttered, but local theaters started screening The Last Vermeer in November, providing the chance to once again appreciate the genius of the man whose Girl With a Pearl Earring painting inspired a well-liked arthouse film starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson nearly twenty years ago.

Two men ride bicycles while a red car drives behind them.
Sony Pictures Classics

The Climb takes an amusing look at the ups and downs of friendship. Director Michael Angelo Covino shares writing and acting duties with his real-life buddy Kyle Marvin, exploring the dynamics of a relationship that survives many years, despite the two men's hugely different approaches to life.

Someone holds a film clapboard in front of a girl.

Normally, ponderings about scary movies end right after Halloween or Day of the Dead.  Covid times merit further consideration of scary issues, along with the upcoming release of a documentary called Leap of Faith. The project features director William Friedkin’s thoughts about his huge hit, The Exorcist.

A crowd separated by police barricades standing in front of a courthouse.

Focusing on a controversial event from fifty years ago, Aaron Sorkin reminds us that other eras produced conflicts to match today’s contentiousness. The Trial of the Chicago 7 melds Sorkin’s fascination with history, politics and justice, issues he previously explored as writer for The Social Network, The West Wing and A Few Good Men. Concerned about issues dealing with power abuses, Sorkin turns to a high-profile trial pitting the political establishment against individuals who wanted change.

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones sit on a couch looking at the camera.
A24 and Apple TV+

Actor Bill Murray and screenwriter/director Sofia Coppola found their way to Oscar attention with Lost in Translation, but they tread a lesser path with their new pairing called On the Rocks. A slight premise limits them, but the duo nonetheless provides an enjoyable jaunt that covers several topics and ultimately solidifies itself by celebrating father-daughter bonding.

Memories of Murder movie poster. A woman with a black umbrella stands behind a scarecrow and faces away from the camera.
CJ Entertainment

The prestige of Korean films exploded since the time nearly twenty years ago when I traveled there as a panelist for the Busan Film Festival. Korean Air screened the first Korean movie I ever saw; back then, the country’s films rarely made it to United States theaters. After that, I went out of my way to catch Korean movies, which was not an easy task.

Robert De Niro and Oakes Fegley stand in front of a messy room while look at the camera.
101 Studios and Brookdale Studios

Except for a brief period as a pre-teen and a short stint teaching middle school, I’ve spent most of my life avoiding twelve-year-old boys. This makes me the wrong audience for the new feature film, War with Grandpa. True, filmmakers try to lure a broader, family audience that includes adults by hiring a terrific older cast. Robert de Niro plays the title’s Grandpa, his mob movie credentials making him a tough opponent for anyone, even a twelve-year-old boy. Also playing to their movie track records, Christopher Walken and Cheech Marin step in with their own brands of humor.

Movie poster for The Glorias. A woman's face, wearing aviators, looks forward. Betlow her two other women are both holding their right fist in the air. The women are surrounded by a yellow and grey collage of newspaper clippings.
LD Entertainment and Roadside Attractions

You don’t expect a musical number in a biopic about Gloria Steinem, but Director Julie Taymor puts a little bit of song and dance into the mix with her new movie about the activist.  As she did when she won a Tony by turning Disney animated characters into live actors handling puppets for Broadway’s The Lion King, Taymor looks for unexpected approaches to spice up the action.