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The Mole Agent

(Chile, English Subtitles). The subject of this documentary is Sergio, a widower of 83 years, who applies for a job to go undercover in a nursing home. The private investigator has been hired by the daughter of one of the residents who believe the nursing staff is stealing from her. Sergio takes the job as a way to help deal with the loss of his wife. The film provides an insider look at life in the nursing home. It is rather sad, for the most part, how Sergio engages several of the residents and learns of the loneliness that many …

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Collective

(Romania, English subtitles): This fascinating documentary follows a sharp investigative journalism team that began by investigating a fire at a nightclub in Romania that killed about two dozen young people but went on to claim nearly 40 additional lives. This movie reminded me of the wonderful film Spotlight several years ago based on the team who cracked the story about one of the cardinals accused of sexually abusing boys. While that was a reenactment of the story, Collective is a documentary that follows the team as piece together several seemingly unrelated events – the nightclub fire, the resignation of the …

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Gozilla vs. Kong

Hollow Earth conspiracy theory, high-tech sound and color, corny dialog, and complete destruction come together in this film, a remake of a 1960’s version, that brings together the stories of Godzilla from the 2019 film and Kong: Skull Island from the 2017 film. In the beginning, Kong is being watched by a scientist and her young daughter to whom Kong has taken a liking. In another part of the world, Godzilla suddenly appears on the rampage and then disappears; the girl whom Godzilla saved is puzzled by what is going on. Events conspire to bring the two super-beasts together. For …

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Hillbilly Elegy

Based on a best-selling memoir, this film by Ron Howard is about J.D. Vance, who grew up with a mother (played by Amy Adams) who had a number of mental and substance use problems, was raised by his Mamaw (played by Glenn Close), and managed to go to college and get accepted into law school. This is one of the few movies I have watched that was torture. The topic is very interesting to me; I enjoy these stories of kids who beat the odds and rise out of their circumstances. I have not read the book upon which this …

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Dear Comrades!

(Russia, English Subtitles): The film, based on a true story, takes place in 1962, when workers in a factory, complaining about high prices of food, food shortages, and low wages, went on strike. To break the strike, the government fires on the protesters, killing several, and went to extreme measures to cover up the murders. The film is shot in black and white, which gives it an interesting air of history and the times when most broadcasts were in black and white. It is a commentary on the extent that governments go to hide the truth, but the best part …

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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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