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Monthly Archives: October 2016

American Honey

Star (Sasha Lane) is a teenager who meets Jake (Shia LaBeouf) in a grocery store parking lot, and he gives her an invitation to come and work with them in Kansas City. After an unwanted sexual encounter with a man that she calls “daddy”, she dropped her little brother and sister off with her mother and heads out with Jake and the other young people who sell magazines door to door and pay the majority of their earnings to Crystal (Riley Keough). This is an interesting film, one that I had to think about for a day to process how …

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Kubo and the Two Strings (3D)

Animated story set in Japan about a young boy, Kubo, who possesses a gift of being able to play an instrument – a type of 3-string guitar – whose music causes paper to fold into origami action figures. Through the animated origami, Kubo tells stories to the children and adults of the neighboring town. Not heeding a warning by his mother to return to his cave before sunset, Kubo finds himself on a journey to discover the story of his long-lost father and his mother. This is a wonderful film that works for adults and (somewhat older) children alike. The …

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Certain Women

3 short stories of strong women living in Montana whose lives intersect in subtle and not so subtle ways. Laura Dern plays Laura, a lawyer who is having an affair with a married man and is dealing with a particularly troubled client; Michelle Williams plays Gina, a married woman who appears disconnected from her husband and daughter; and the Rancher, played by Lily Gladstone and Elizabeth, a young lawyer played by Kristen Stewart. It is a difficult film to describe; there is really no plot per se, but the films by Kelly Reichardt typically don’t rely on well-defined plot and …

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The Magnificent 7

Remake of an old western that has been updated to include a pretty diverse “7” with Denzel Washington playing Chisolm. Emma from Rose Creek enlists the aide Chisolm to avenge the death of her husband by Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), a rich miner who essentially “owns” the town. After agreeing to take the job, Chisholm assembles a group of gun slingers to carry out the task. Overall, I thought it was entertaining; it was fun to see Denzel Washington as a gunslinger, and the cinematography and the score are both great. Some parts don’t work terribly well – while the 7 …

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Birth of a Nation

Birth of a Nation tells the story of Nat Turner (played by Nate Parker who also directed and co-wrote the movie) who lead a slave rebellion in 1831. This is a rather complex movie to describe, because it hits and misses in equal measure. Sometimes, particularly during the first part of the movie, it feels inauthentic (it felt a bit too “period piece” at some times); however, during the latter half when we see what Nat experienced and the 2 days of the revolt, it is brutal and brings you right to that reality. It is a story written and …

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Cameraperson

About half way through the film, the director interviews an astrophysicist who describes the situation of two particles with equal and opposite momentum; act on one, and the result, regardless of how far apart the particles are, is the same effect from the second particle. That kind of sums up this movie by Kirsten Johnson, a cameraperson who has worked on a number of films spanning a 20+ year career. She puts together scenes from several of those movies to form a very unusual documentary. It is a wonderful film that works on several levels. It is about filmmaking and …

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Sully

Tom Hanks plays Sully, the captain who successfully landed a US Airways jet, whose engines were crippled by a sudden flock of birds, in the Hudson River in 2009. It is a great story to bring to film; much of the film surrounded the subsequent investigation of the crash and the early allegations that he could have landed his aircraft safely at either LaGuardia or an airport in New Jersey. I thought it was a good film, but not great, mostly because of Tom Hanks; he seems here, as in other movies like Castaway and Captain Phillips, to really inhabit …

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