Ella Taylor

My first time around with Ordinary Love, I saw two great actors doing their damnedest to breathe life into a pedestrian cancer weepie. I watched it again and saw two great actors bringing grace and depth to an imperfect but affecting chamber piece that takes it for granted that we can handle a de-sanitized drama about a long-married couple doing their best to cope with life-threatening illness. The film is not especially graphic, but unlike most others of its kind, this one trusts us to stick with the slew of treatments that often hurt more than the disease.

The premise of Makoto Shinkai's captivating new anime, Weathering With You, plays out just a whisker away from the storyline of his 2017 smash hit Your Name, about a teenage boy and girl who switch bodies, time and place. In both films a country boy moves to the big city and meets a mystery girl with special powers. Here the two, both refugees from less than adequate families, get caught up in a galloping plot of rescue, redemption and growing up, wrapped in a love story drawn from ancient Japanese legend.

A melodrama to its high-strung core, Karim Aïnouz's Invisible Life is rich in outsized emotions, most of them pouring out of two devoted young Brazilian sisters forcibly separated through the multiple follies of their authoritarian father. If love — sisterly, carnal, maternal, you name it — blazes on the front burner of this intermittently gratifying tale (based on a 2005 novel by Martha Batalha) of domestic woe, destructive patriarchy marches right along behind, ready to stomp on the slightest push for female autonomy or self-definition.

When we meet Alice (Emily Beecham), a single mother and bio-engineer devoted to her work in the effectively creepy indie Little Joe, she's busy propagating a plant whose smell will make all interested smellers happy. So far so plausible: Tampering with nature in the name of the public good — or because we can — is all the rage in life and in movies. Around Alice, apparently normal workplace stuff is going on. A pompous boss (David Wilmot) asserts his authority just because. An ostentatiously diplomatic young assistant with big hair (Phénix Brossard) lurks.

For better and worse, class pride has always run a deep vein through British society, upstairs and down. Not so the United States, where the mere mention of social class often triggers strenuous manifestos about meritocracy and equal opportunity. Which may be why attempts to reproduce Michael Apted's long-running Up anthology — inquiring into the persistence of social hierarchy in post-World War II Britain — have so far failed this side of the Atlantic. For those who think Downton Abbey is pretty much a documentary, the Up series is the perfect antidote.

On the face of it, director Marielle Heller's exhilaratingly impolite indie resume doesn't make her an intuitive fit for a movie about the nicest man in the world — let alone a big studio picture starring nice Tom Hanks.

In a deliciously digressive sequence of the rollicking Ford v Ferrari, Mollie (Outlander's Caitriona Balfe), the otherwise supportive wife of test car driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale), treats her husband to a taste of his own medicine after he unilaterally takes what ought to have been a joint family decision. Exasperated, Mollie propels Ken into a hair-raising speed-ride through hairpin bends in the staid family car. The joke is that Ken, a congenital speed freak who also loves his wife to distraction, is terrified and begs her to slow down.

An extended family gathers with assorted significant others in a beautiful countryside retreat. Troubles are shared, grudges and loves declared and forsworn, regrets — they have a few.

Late in Pedro Almodóvar's wonderful new drama, Pain and Glory, there comes a tough and tender flashback in which a filmmaker hears from his elderly mother (Julieta Serrano) that the neighbors don't like being portrayed in his movies. "I don't like auto-fiction," she adds with a note of acid reproof we rarely hear from the devoted maters, blood and surrogate, who people Almodóvar's movies.

Flamboyant, terrifying, and pointedly timely, Matt Tyrnauer's documentary Where's My Roy Cohn? tells the story of one of America's most notorious political fixers while grounding him in an American half-century that allowed him to seed, and thrive on, its worst impulses.

Unless you're of a certain age or a United Nations history buff, chances are you've never heard of Dag Hammarskjöld, the U.N.'s second secretary-general and a man noted for his commitment to protecting newly independent African nations from their colonial masters. Hammarskjöld's integrity earned him many corporate and Western state enemies, which is one reason why sabotage was suspected when his plane crashed in 1961 as it neared touchdown in the small town of Ndola, Zambia, then called Northern Rhodesia, killing him and most of the crew.

Blink and you might miss a priceless bit of fly-by news footage in a new documentary about rocker David Crosby, he of the sixties bands The Byrds and endlessly self-dissolving combinations of Crosby, Still, Nash and Young. Emerging from a spell in prison for gun possession and drug abuse in the mid-'80s, Crosby — shorn of his signature walrus mustache, knitted cap, and cocksure charisma — might easily be mistaken for a low-level clerk in a button-down shirt and nondescript pants belted over an ample paunch.

Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love, a warmly absorbing new documentary by British filmmaker Nick Broomfield, opens with an image of a beautiful young Norwegian woman steering a sailboat off the sun-soaked Greek island of Hydra. The footage, which was shot by famed documentarian and Broomfield mentor D.A. Pennebaker on a visit to the island in the 1960s, recurs from slightly different angles throughout the film.

The rising Irish actress Jessie Buckley, who plays an aspiring Scottish country singer in the beguiling new film Wild Rose, is small and scrappy with hot brown eyes and a mane of chestnut hair tossed into a rough ponytail. Buckley has bags of pugnacious charisma and a soaring, throaty singing voice tempered with enough vulnerability to make us want to hold her close even as the screw-up she offers us drives everyone in her orbit up the wall.

Elegies for a dead or dying San Francisco lie thick on the ground, but a ravishing new film made by two friends who grew up there offers a loving elegy for the city's black community.

The Last Black Man in San Francisco is about a man trying to reclaim a house. It's also about reclaiming the history of the Fillmore district, a neighborhood dubbed the Harlem of the West whose black families were pushed out to the city's outer margins long before Google buses rolled in to drive up prices and exile artists and oddballs (see Tales of the City) of all stripes.

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