By Tony Beal

On Netflix

Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery”
Benoit Blanc returns with a new group of suspects after a murder occurs on a private island.

Despite still being a solid thriller, “Glass Onion” doesn’t come close to the quality of the first film. Much of that has to do with the first half of the film, which is mostly used to establish the connection our suspects have, while Blanc is more of an observer. However, unlike the first film’s charmingly detestable Thrombey family, these friends of influencers are, for the most part, merely annoying. If it weren’t for the performers, they would end up as mere archetypes. They’re also the subjects of the social commentary, which because of the issues with our characters, is less engaging or funny. Blanc himself is more clownish this time and doesn’t take an interest in exploring why he’s at the island until later. The second half, where we get more into the mystery, is a much more engaging experience and grabs your attention. It’s overall a more ambitious, yet still entertaining film.
“Is That Black Enough For you?!?”
Film critic Elvis Mitchell examines the craft and power of African American films released from the landmark era of the 1970s.

Elivs Mitchell’s documentary has a style that goes back and forth between traditional documentary and personal essay, and those two formats can feel conflicting at times. However, the film still gives an informative look at early cinema’s struggle with proper representation and how the 1970s underground movement was the steppingstone for a greater push in modern blockbusters. The best parts of the films are interviews with actors of that era like Harry Belafonte and Margaret Avery, as you see their emotions and reflection on their work. One wishes for a look into the 1980s through modern day films to truly see the impact made, which also adds to an abrupt ending to the film. But overall, this film is an important and informative look at a side of cinema’s history not commonly seen.
Jonah Hill has a candid conversation with his therapist Phil Stutz about mental health.

Hill’s first documentary is a simple, but resonant film. Getting into the psychology of Stutz’ worldview and how he became a psychologist is fascinating, along with Hill’s own insight. Essentially, it’s just two guys talking for a long while (save for a standout scene featuring Hill’s mother). It’s not a very critical or in-depth piece. The movie merely attempts to showcase the benefits of therapy and its impact on these two. And it works in that form.


A soldier struggles to adjust to ordinary life after returning home.

“Causeway” doesn’t really have much new to offer in the “war PTSD” genre, and its short runtime and disconnected lead don’t help. It’s like the viewer is meandering around inside their head during the 90 minutes spent with the characters, which I suppose is the point. There’s no real sign of interest in the directing. Jennifer Lawrence does a good job, but Brian Tyree Henry offers the best performance here. I appreciate how it does have a neutral approach to the lead’s journey, no real melodrama, just a quiet walk with her and the people she knows. But in the end, it doesn’t leave any real impact. It’s more like a stage show (which makes sense given the director has stage history). The stage might have been a better medium for this film.

December 2
• “Violent Night”
• “Women Talking” (Limited)
• “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” (Limited)

December 9
• “The Whale” (Limited)
• “Empire Of Light” (Limited)
• Guillermo del Toro’s “Pinocchio” (Netflix)
• “Emancipation” (Apple TV+)

December 16
• “Avatar: The Way of Water”
• “Bardo, False Chronicles of a Handful of Truths” (Netflix)
• “Nanny” (Amazon Prime)

December 21
• “Puss In Boots: The Last Wish”
• “I Wanna Dance with Somebody”

December 23
• “Babylon”

December 25
• “A Man Called Otto” (Limited)

December 30
• “White Noise” (Netflix)