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Monthly Archives: November 2016

Allied

Max (Brad Pitt), a British intelligence officer, and Marianne (Marion Cotillard), a resistance fighter, meet on assignment together in Morocco. They fall in love, and upon his return to Britain, and Marianne’s clearance to move to England, marry. All is well until one day, Max is called into HQ to hear news that superior officers believe Marianne is a German spy. I thought the film to be satisfying entertainment, but it was not great. The story kind of wanders and becomes a bit unbelievable in places, and there is not much deep exploration of the characters. However, I did find …

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Manchester by the Sea

Lee Chandler, played by Casey Affleck in the best male performance I have seen so far this year, works as an apartment maintenance man in Quincy MA. One day, he receives the news that his brother Joe (Kyle Chandler) has died, and as part of the will, has left Lee the financial means to be guardian of his nephew Patrick (played by Lucas Hedges). Lee returns to Manchester and to a history that slowly unfolds in flashbacks. The movie is quite powerful and emotionally moving. Affleck gives the performance of his career as a man who is completely overwhelmed by …

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Edge of Seventeen

Hailee Steinfeld plays Nadine, a young woman who is just 17 years of age. She is a teenager who is managing the struggles of losing her dad to a heart attack, dealing with a strained relationship with her older brother, and managing a rather dysfunctional mother. Hailee Steinfeld is the reason to see the movie – she creates a rebellious and vulnerable character. While the film does not add much to this particular genre, the entertainment value ranks among the really good ones, like Perks of a Wallflower, Mean Girls, Easy A, and others. And, really, Steinfeld is work seeing. …

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Nocturnal Animals

  Amy Adams plays Susan Morrow, an art dealer whose life with her second husband feels empty. One day, her ex-husband, to whom she was married for two years (played by Jake Gyllenhaal) sends her a novel that he has written and dedicated to her. There are three stories involving different periods in time that are seamlessly woven into one in a way that reminded me strongly of the best works of David Lynch. The very first scenes have to be the most interesting and unusual I have seen in a long time and hooked me immediately into the film. …

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Loving

Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga play Richard and Mildred Loving, a mixed-race couple in the 1950’s who were arrested in Virginia for being married, forced to leave the state, and whose case ultimately was heard at the United States Supreme Court.  It is a very interesting film that focuses mostly on the story of the Loving’s relationship rather than the legal angle. The beautiful cinematography seems to emphasizes the ugliness of discrimination. The character development is slow – sometimes to a fault – but both Edgerton and Negga really immerse themselves into the characters and give exceptional performances. I personally …

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Moonlight

This is a really beautiful story of Chiron who is Black and gay. The director takes an interesting approach by focusing on 3 times in his life – when he is about 10-11 years of age, when he is around 16, and then 10 years later as he is well into adulthood. The story weaves his exploration and understanding of his own sexuality with his growing up in a Miami with a drug addicted mother who does not understand him either. The very personal and intimate way the movie was filmed reminded me of the greatest revelation of the movie …

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Trolls

Trolls are a delicacy for the Bergans: By eating trolls, the Bergans can experience happiness, and their custom involves eating a troll at each Trollstice. However, one year, the old Chef is tossed out of Bergan kingdom because the trolls she captured for the feast had escaped, resulting in a year of unhappiness for the Bergans. When the Princess troll, daughter of the King, throws a party, she gives away their location, and the now bitter chef scoops them up and tries to regain her status in the Bergan lands. Overall, the move was good; there is a lot of …

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Dr. Strange (3D)

Marvel Comics movie about an arrogant but brilliant surgeon (Benedict Cumberbatch) who loses his hands in an accident. In the quest to restore them, meets the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) in Nepal whom he hopes will help him to regain 100% use of his hands. This is a very good movie, Cumberbatch proves to be a funny and believable superhero, and Tilda Swinton is wonderful in her role. The film is really fun to watch – there are a lot of special effects which are rather mind-bending as the protagonists and antagonists distort reality in their various battles. I personally …

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Arrival

First, this is a TERRIFIC film. Amy Adams plays a linguist who has been called to government service. At the beginning of the film, we see scenes of her with her daughter. She arrives at class one day to find hardly any students; the news shows that a dozen UFO’s have parked themselves at various places around the globe. Once she arrives in Montana, the scene of one of these objects, she and Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner), a theoretical physicist, lead a team whose goal is to figure out how to communicate with the inhabitants. I won’t say much about …

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Before the Flood (Available on Youtube)

Leonardo DiCaprio, climate change ambassador to the United Nations, guides us on a journey of discovery about the impact of climate change. While there have been a few really good climate change movies, I think what separates this one is he takes us on a journey around the globe and shows us the impact climate change is having.  He also engages a number of climate change experts, local citizens, politicians, entrepreneurs, and others in conversation about the how this issue is impacting them personally and professionally. The film also has a wonderful score by Trent Reznor and several of his …

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