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Blinded by the Light

Javed is 16 and yearns to be a writer. He writes poetry and keeps a journal to the dismay of his father, who emigrated to the UK from Pakistan to have a better life for his family. The film takes place in Thatcher’s England of the 1980s when economic woes rocked the country and jobs were hard to find. One day, Javed discovers the music of Bruce Springsteen, and his world completely flips. The topics the film covers, such as generational culture clash, racism, and economic blight, aren’t particularly new. What makes this film singularly stand out are two things. …

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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

In this newest Quentin Tarantino film Leonard DiCaprio place Rick Dalton, who we follow from the height of his career as an actor in action pictures to the status of a Hollywood “has been”. Brad Pitt is Cliff Booth, who is Rick’s long-time friend, stunt double, and who ensures that Rick gets to his rehearsals. The film is set in 1969, at the same time Charles Manson’s followers murdered Sharon Tate and her friends. Tarantino weaves Rick Dalton’s story into the story of Sharon Tate in a very interesting and entertaining blend of fact and fiction. Tarantino is an expert …

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The Farewell (Chinese with Subtitles)

The film begins with being “based on an actual lie”. The story is about a Chinese family whose matriarch (Nai Nai) is dying of lung cancer. The family decides to keep the truth from her and take on that responsibility themselves since the truth might kill her faster. Nai Nai’s children hasten the wedding of her grandson so as to bring the family together in China one last time. Although her parents told her she could not go, Billi (played excellently by Awkwafina), who has a special relationship with her grandmother, shows up anyway. I really love this film that …

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Wild Rose

Rose-Lynn has just been released from a 12-month prison sentence for transporting drugs. She is a hell-raising Scottish mother of two children who hardly know her. What drives Rose is her desire to become a Nashville country (not “country-western”) singing star. The movie is about her struggles to balance drinking, singing, and motherhood. The storyline is not unfamiliar; it is similar to the many other films that examine the struggles to make a name in the music business. As such, it is pretty predictable. However, what makes this film work is Jessie Buckley, who plays Rose. She brings a raw …

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The Biggest Little Farm

This documentary follows the story of John and Molly who, evicted from their Santa Monica apartment because their rescue dog won’t stop barking, secure enough investment from family and friends to purchase a 200-acre farm northeast of Los Angeles. The film covers a period of about 8 years using real-time footage, from their beginnings on land that was essentially dead to the current business that it is (https://www.apricotlanefarms.com/). It is a remarkable story; they hired a man named Alan York who had a vision for how to build a bio-diverse farm that would sustain itself. They bought a few animals …

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  • Midsommar

    Dani has just lost her parents and sister to a murder-suicide, and her relationship with her boyfriend Christian is on the brink of collapse. Christian and his friends, all of whom are working on their Ph.D. research, are going to Sweden to visit a family summer solstice celebration. Dani invites herself to join them. They arrive at the village in the land where the summer sun does not set, and after a magic mushroom trip among the young American visitors, things very slowly begin to turn creepy. I was fascinated and engrossed in this film. The director, who also created …

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  • The House that Jack Built

  • Mandy

  • Teeth

  • 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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