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Monthly Archives: February 2015

Still Alice

Julianne Moore plays Alice, a successful linguistics professor, who is diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. The film masterfully tackles the disease and its impact on Alice and her family with sensitivity and honesty. Julianne Moore is wonderful and really masters her role; it is a great performance in which she conveys what Alice is going through not only with words but through facial and body expression. Alec Baldwin is perfectly cast as her husband, and one of the gems of the film is Kristen Stewart, who plays her youngest daughter; the scenes she and Moore have together are some …

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The Voices

Ryan Reynolds plays Jerry, a guy who has psychiatric issues and is not taking his medications. The result is that his cat and dog talk to him and become his “angel-devil” inner conversation. Other objects begin talking to him, but that is part of the story that I won’t divulge. Overall, this black comedy was just really bizarre. I did not find it terribly funny (with the exception of some of the banter back and forth between the cat and dog, and at the very end in the credits when the cast is singing and dancing). Jacki Weaver, who was …

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Life Itself

Documentary about the life of Roger Ebert, based on his own autobiography of the same name. It was really quite fascinating to see the man behind the public movie critic. Ebert’s willingness to share with the public, up until almost the end of his life, his experiences with cancer is quite powerful. He was also a guy with a rather inflated ego and was full of himself. The examination of his relationship with Gene Siskel was both fascinating and kind of sad. But his successes cannot be denied – for example, his Pulitzer Prize as well as and his lifetime …

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The Kingsman

Colin Firth is Harry Hart, member of the Kingsman, who recruits a young man (Eggsy, played by Taron Egerton) to apply to be a member to replace one who was lost on assignment. The Kingsmen are super agents and spys who are always on assignment to save the world from villians like Richmond Vallentine (played by Samuel Jackson). I had such fun in this movie, which started off like Hunger Games (6 young people vying for one spot on the select Kingsman team) and ended up playing out like a meet-up between James Bond and Pulp Fiction. Colin Firth is …

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The Last Five Years

The film, based on an off-Broadway musical, is about a young couple’s courtship, marriage, and dissolution. The story is told from the perspectives of Cathy (Anna Kendrick) and Jaime (Jeremy Jordan) star in a film, The film narrative is interesting – we get the story from the perspective of Cathy and Jaime; Jaime’s perspective begins at the end, and Cathy’s at the beginning, and the two perspectives weave in and out during the film. I found it a bit confusing to follow at times, but the songs are great, and they do an effective job of helping to keep the …

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The Internet’s Own Boy

Documentary of the life of Aaron Schwartz, a computer prodigy who became a force for open access to information on the internet. Aaron’s family, and the friends who knew him well, look back on his life and what he accomplished – one of the developers of the RSS feed, co-founder of the social news site Reddit, probably an early employer of the concept of “big data” to understand how people could access the power of information from the internet; he was as well co-founder of a number of social activist sites (and founder of Demand Access) dedicated to free public …

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Selma

A very mesmerizing look at Martin Luther King and the events leading up to the march from Selma to Montgomery. This is a very powerful movie. Based on footage I have seen over the years, David Oyelowo’s portrayal of MLK is uncanny – he looks like him and sounds like him. I loved that the movie showed the “man behind the legend” – a man who was conflicted and had doubts about the work he was doing and whether he was taking the right actions. The political wrangling going on – battle of wills between MLK and LBJ, the maneuvering …

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Two Days One Night

Marion Cotillard plays Sandra, who has been out of work on extended medical leave for depression. Just as she returns to work, Sandra has been told that the manager gave 16 of her colleagues a choice – either he allows Sandra to continue employment or they could all receive a 1000.00 annual bonus – and that the vote was in favor of the bonus. She and a colleague approach the boss, and he assents to a revote on Monday morning. With her job in peril, she spends the weekend canvassing support. There were two impressive things about this movie. The …

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Book of Life

On the Day of the Dead, kids on the “detention bus” arrive at the museum and get a rather extraordinary tour. The tour guide tells them the story of three friends, two boys and a girl, who are separated when the girl is sent off to Spain for school. She returns as an adult, and the two young men, the want-a-be hero and a romantic guitar player who does not like to kill bulls, vie for her affections. The story is really not that unusual, but the way it is told in the movie is really such fun. The animation …

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Predestination

The film has three essential characters – Ethan Hawke, who plays the bartender; Noah Taylor as John Robinson, and Sarah Snook as Jane. John begins a conversation with the Bartender one evening after betting a bottle of whiskey that his story would an odd story worth listening to. I won’t say much about the film because the story, based on time travel to past and future, is rather complex and has many surprises. This is a really fun film for science fiction fans. I have to admit it is rather hard to follow everything clearly; the film moves so fast …

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