In this very odd rock opera, Adam Driver plays Henry, a comedian who has an unusual style that includes mocking the audiences that seem to not be able to get enough of him. Ann (Marion Cotillard), a rising opera singer, is his lover. As his career begins to decline and hers rise, they have a baby Annette; if you haven’t read much about the story, I will leave the story of Annette to your own viewing and interpretation. This film was perplexing. The opening scene was fantastic, and the music was some of the best in the film. However, I …

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Nicholas Cage plays Robin, a recluse who lives in the woods outside of Portland Oregon with his truffle-hunting pig, sells truffles the pig finds to a young businessman. One evening, marauders break into his house and steal the pig. Robin sets off to Portland to find his pig. The premise sounds very strange, so I started off wondering how a movie with that as the plotline would be interesting and where could that go. Well, it was much more than I expected. I loved the movie a LOT. First, Nicholas Cage is great. I have not been a huge fan …

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In this animated film from Pixar, Ian and Barley, two brothers who lost their father to an illness, are given the opportunity to have their father back for one day through the use of an old magic wand. When the spell becomes botched, the brothers set off on an adventure to find the magic stone that will result in being able to see their dad. I liked the movie mostly for its message about parenting and being about to recognize the amazing things we do without even realizing how amazing they are. I would not consider this a film that …

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News of the World

Tom Hanks stars as Captain Kidd, a Civil War veteran whose job post-war is to travel from town to town, telling stories and reading the news from papers from different parts of the country. On his travels, he encounters Johanna, a young Kiowa Indian girl who was kidnapped from her parents 6 years previously and was essentially raised as a Kiowa girl. Her Kiowa parents had perished, and the Black man who was taking her back to her relatives in the South was ambushed and hung from a tree. Captain Kidd agrees to take her to her family, and the …

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The Man Who Sold His Skin

(Syria, English subtitles): This film, which was Syria’s entry to the Oscars and made the shortlist, centers on Sam Ali, a refugee who agrees to have his back tattooed as a form of art in exchange for money, freedom, and a visa to Europe, where his girlfriend is betrothed to a member of the embassy. While uneven in its execution, the film works best as a commentary (and perhaps even satire) on the question of art and its commodification (as well as the commodification of Sam). Sam exchanges his back for his freedom, but he comes to realize that he …

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  • The Shape of Water

    Set in the early 1960’s during the height of the Cold War, Eliza (Sally Hawkins), who is mute, and her friend Eliza (Octavia Spencer) work for a high-security government laboratory as cleaners. Strickland (Michael Shannon, doing his characteristically fantastic job of playing a creepy guy) has recently arrived to safeguard a high security “asset,” an amphibious, human-like creature. Eliza, who is lonely and lives with her gay friend Giles (Richard Jenkins), finds ways to communicate and strike a friendship with the asset through music and sign language. This is visually beautiful and is a beautiful love story as well – …

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