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Monthly Archives: May 2014

Chef

Jon Favreau plays Carl, a chef who loves food and creating new and inspired dishes and works for a jerk of a boss, Riva (played by Dustin Hoffman). Carl has a young son and has been recently divorced from Inez (played by Sofia Vergara). Carl gets tired of dealing with his boss and having his creativity constrained, quits, and reluctantly agrees to operate a food truck. The movie was actually pretty wonderful. The cast was really great (Scarlett Johansson, Bob Cannavale, and Robert Downey Junior all make appearances); the story was nice – a lot of it has to do …

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Godzilla (3D IMAX)

Godzilla comes back from the sea to battle creatures that look like metallic aphids. Some parts of the movie are true to the originals – in this particular one, Godzilla, who is taller than all of the buildings in San Francisco, helps save humanity from these creatures who eat nuclear weapons and appear to be incubating hundreds of eggs; in the process of destroying them, Godzilla manages to smash everything in sight. The dialog is mostly rather corny (but very appropriate for a Godzilla movie). The movie was not completely satisfying for me (who probably saw every Godzilla movie multiple …

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Bad Words

Jason Bateman (who also directed the movie), who is a pretty funny guy, plays Guy, who is 40 years old; at the beginning of the movie, we find him at an 8th grade spelling bee. He has memorized the rules that state that he can participate because, among other reasons, he has never completed the 8th grade. What follows is an almost non-stop dump of offensive, racist dialog from Guy, who clearly has been psychologically damaged (and we find out the story as the movie unfolds) and has absolutely no filters; it is like his id has completely taken over …

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Ida

The film begins with Ida as she is ready take her vows as a nun; she has lived at the convent all of her life, but she does not know anything about her family. Prior to taking the vows, Ida is encouraged to reach out to an aunt who has finally contacted her. The movie is the story of what she and her aunt discover in a search for their family history; I won’t spoil anything about the journey, except that the personal journey is woven into a larger social and political story involving the Nazis. The film is about …

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Palo Alto

film based on a book of short stories by James Franco. The movie does not have much of a plot; its stories are those of three young high school kids from affluent families who are smart but rather bored and are trying to find themselves, much of the time through sex and drugs (there is clearly a self-medication theme here). The parents are trying to be “hip” by helping their kids (the stepfather of one of the kids corrects his daughter’s paper by rewriting it for her) while also trying to figure out how to deal with their own issues. …

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Neighbors

Mac Radner (played by Seth Rogan) and his wife Kelly become neighbors with a fraternity headed by Teddy (Played by Zac Effron). The movie is the story of the war between the Radners and the fraternity; the Radners, who have a new baby, try to find ways to get the fraternity kicked out of its house. The movie is kind of a contemporary Animal House (maybe it is the Animal House that Judd Aptow would have made if he were making films then); there is a lot of raunchy humor, bromancing, and has a message about what it is like …

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The Double

Jesse Eisenberg plays Simon James, a meek and unassertive office worker who has been working in the same monotonous job for 7 years; no one seems to notice him, and his boss in one scene treats him like a new employee. He has a secret crush on Hannah (played by Mia Wasikowska) and cannot seem to take the next step. One day James Simon (also played by Eisenberg) comes to the office; James looks exactly like him, and everyone around James takes to his more gregarious and unabashed personality. The movie is a visual and auditory surrealistic pleasure. It is …

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Captain America: The Winter Soldier (3D)

A fun sequel to the original. The first movie paid homage to the old World War II movies and had a very arty look and feel. Captain American is back to life and working for SHIELD, helping the organization to fight off the bad guys. He is sent to liberate a ship that has apparently taken over by pirates, but it is not all that it seems; soon, Captain American is embroiled in a pretty sophisticated political espionage plot (a different kind of population purification than what he deal with in World War II). I really had a lot of …

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Finding Vivian Maier

rather fascinating documentary about a photographer who was completely unknown as a photographer while she was alive. The guy who directs the movie won a box of negatives at an auction. He started going through them and saw how good they were; that was the beginning of his journey to discover who Vivian Maier was and to figure out how to get her photography more widely seen. The movie was great for a lot of reasons: (1) it is a wonderful detective journalism story; (2) Vivian Maier’s photography really is quite powerful; (3) as a psychologist, I was fascinated by …

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Blue Ruin

What a pleasant surprise this movie was! At the beginning of the movie, we are with Dwight who is homeless and lives out of his car. A police woman who has befriended Dwight over the years brings news that a man who committed a double murder is being released from prison. Why Dwight is homeless, and how Dwight connects to the man being released, are revealed over the course of the movie. The movie is a revenge movie, but is not at all the typical movie that might star Nicholas Cage or Clint Eastwood. Dwight sets into motion a series …

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