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    Two Amazing New Movies: Maestro and Killers of the Flower Moon

    By Jan Wahl–

    Who knew the last two films I just saw in the theatres would be absolutely terrific? Very different: we go from a famed conductor to the Osage Nation Native Americans. Let’s begin with a movie so good that Bradley Cooper deserves Oscar gold in three categories. Of course, now he needs to beat the brilliant Martin Scorsese and Barbie, but more on that to come.

    Bradley Cooper

    Maestro is a biographical film that centers on American composer Leonard Bernstein. Bradley Cooper, who cowrote the screenplay with Josh Singer, portrays the complicated, charismatic Bernstein. Carey Mulligan is his wife with a full and confused existence. Her gifted, world-famous husband is a gay man, though the couple have a beloved family of three children. This is one part of the compelling film, but another is the music itself. Whether viewing Carnegie Hall or a cathedral, we learn exactly what a conductor does and how much Bernstein brought to it.

    When I was a little girl, my cool and cultured mom took me to see Bernstein and his Orchestra for Young People. He explained to us what all the instruments do, how they work together, what sounds they make. It was the beginning of falling in love with music for this kid. The film shows how much he loved to teach and connect. 

    Maestro is beautifully made, with stunning production values and photography. It will be on Netflix in December, but if there is any way for you to get to a theatre to see it, your effort will be well worth it. Bravo to Maestro!

    Leonardo DiCaprio

    Killers of the Flower Moon runs three hours and 26 minutes, yet I did not look at my watch or squirm in my seat while viewing this amazing film. Martin Scorsese tells the true story, set in the 1920s, of the Osage Nation Native Americans, who discovered oil on their land and became wealthy beyond anyone’s imagination. But are the whites going to let the Osage live like this? Will they come up with schemes to intermarry and share the immense wealth? Will greed start a murder plot so that the money flows in a different direction? 

    Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert De Niro star and they are perfectly matched as evil and naïve (I won’t spoil which is which). Lily Gladstone is an actress who steals her scenes with dignity and strength. Based on the best-selling book Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, this film is so well told that fans of the book will love its vivid quality and imagination. The direction is so innovative that Scorsese reminds us that at 80 he is king. I still cannot believe what he did to the ending. This is one not to miss; just plan your time accordingly. It will blow you away!

    Barbie and Oppenheimer are the other two films that took me on a great cinematic journey. See these four and your cinematic job might just be done!

    Jan Wahl is a Hollywood historian and film critic on various broadcast outlets. She has two Emmys and many awards for her longtime work on behalf of film buffs and the LGBTQ community. Contact her at

    Off the Wahl
    Published on November 2, 2023