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Monthly Archives: January 2016

Glen Campbell – I’ll Be Me

This isn’t as much a documentary about Glen Campbell’s life as it is a film about how Campbell and his family cope with his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease. Soon after he was diagnosed, they decided to do a goodbye tour that included 151 shows. The movie is very emotional and personal; the family appears to give the director unlimited access into their lives. Three of his children played as part of his band during the show (there is an amazing scene during which father and daughter play a guitar-banjo duet), and each of the children seemed to treasure this time …

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Janis: Little Girl Blue

Documentary of the life of Janis Joplin. The movie contains a good share of concert footage of some of her most well known songs, interviews with many of the people who knew her and worked closely with her, and voice-overs of letters that Janis wrote to her parents as she gained fame. The combination of all of these makes for a very powerful film of a very complex and incredibly talented woman. I am not sure that I necessarily learned more about her than I already knew (I did not realize her last album, and her most commercially successful one, …

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Sisters

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler play 40+ year old sisters who discover their parents are selling the family home; the sisters decide to have one last party before the house is gone. Of course, the story is of a party that goes horribly awry. What a strange movie. Fey and Poehler are two very funny people who are usually very funny together. I would say this movie is definitely not their best gig. There are some very funny places in the movie that are worth a few laughs; the humor is very raunchy but doesn’t “hit” consistently. By the end, …

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Meet the Patels

A sweet and funny documentary centered on Ravi, a first-generation Indian American man who is 30 years old and still not married. His parents, whose marriage was arranged by their parents, try to help Ravi find a girl and get married. I really enjoyed the film. The concept is very simple – his sister uses a home recording device to document conversations with their parents, blind dates, speed dating conferences, and other settings on the way to finding the love of his life. Through the dialog, there is a lot to take away from the movie about generational differences in …

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Stanford Prison Experiment

Billy Crudup is Dr. Philip Zimbardo, the social psychologist who was the principal investigator on one of the most well know experiments in psychology, the Stanford Prison experiment. Young, healthy college age men were recruited and randomly assigned to be either prisoners or guards. The film, based on Zimbardo’s book and documents from the experiment, captures faithfully what happened during the 6 days the experiment took place before Zimbardo stopped it. The film recreates the experiment in a very compelling way. The acting overall is very good; Crudup is solid, and the actors playing the young men help convey what …

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Brooklyn

Saoirse Ronan plays Ellis, a young woman who, unable to find decent work in Ireland, emigrates to Brooklyn to find work and a new life. While there, she meets Tony (played by Emory Cohen), a second-generation Italian plumber. When Ellis’s sister dies suddenly, she returns to Ireland to spend time with her mother. I found the film to be incredibly beautiful. It was well paced as Ellis slowly evolves from being homesick to finding love and a new world of possibilities and later, to finding herself pulled between the familiarity of Ireland and the bigger future represented by Brooklyn. Ronan …

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Joy

Jennifer Lawrence plays Joy, a woman with a tendency toward creating things who invented the self-squeezing mop and became a successful with it after demonstrating it on QVC. The movie is mostly focused on how she became successful with this first product; she apparently now has over 100 patents to her credit. I have very mixed feelings about the movie. I am skeptical when I see that a movie is “loosely based” or “inspired by” true events, as this one is. Jennifer Lawrence is great as Joy; she is the highlight of the film. It is also an inspiring story …

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