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Monthly Archives: December 2016

Lion

Dev Patel plays Saroo, who was separated from his brother, sister and mother at a very young age. He ends up inadvertently on a train that takes him to Calcutta, nearly 2000 km away. After living on the streets of Calcutta and in an orphanage, he was adopted by parents (played by Nicole Kidman and David Wenham) from Tasmania. He attends hotel management school, meets his girlfriend Lucy (Rooney Mara), and learns about Google Earth. This awakens his desire to search for his original home. All I can say is that this is a really uplifting story; it is good …

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The Handmaiden

Lady Hideko lives with her very rich uncle who is into antique books. The Count, who befriends the Uncle with a proposition regarding forging antique books, secretly plots with Lady Hideko to get married and take the Uncle’s money. To help in this, the Count enlists the help of Sook-Hee, who herself has a history of being a pickpocket, by getting her a position as a handmaiden to Lady Hideko. This film is art at its best. The story is told in three parts – the first two parts tell the story from the perspective of Lady Hideko and Hook-See, …

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Fences

Troy (played by Denzel Washington, who also directs) and Rose (Viola Davis) have been married for 18 years. He works as a garbage collector and once played in the Negro league but was too old to play in the majors once the color barrier in baseball had been broken. He works day in and day out, always working for Friday, and dutifully brings food and his pay every Friday to Rose. There is a lot going on in this film, which takes play in the 1950’s. It is a story of father and son relationships and how culture helps them …

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Jackie

Natalie Portman plays Jackie Kennedy in a film that examines how she responded to the various demands of a grieving first lady during the week following the assassination of JFK. This is one of the most intriguing biopics I have seen. It is hard to describe. First and foremost, Natalie Portman has one of the most amazing performances ever. She portrays Mrs. Kennedy in her confusion about what happened and trying to ensure that her husband’s legacy would be remembered. As the Johnsons move into the White House, Jackie has to plan for the next stage of her life. Using …

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Starred Up

Eric (played by Jack O’Connell) is a convict who has been starred up – moved from juvenile to adult prison. It turns out that he is assigned to the same prison as his father Neville (Ben Mendelsohn). The film provides a very unflinching examination of prison life through the lens of the relationship between Eric and his father. Eric is very angry, and his father clearly wants to protect him as he adjusts to adult prison life. One never knows exactly whether Neville is on Eric’s side or not, which provides the movie with its tension and suspense. Big thumbs …

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (3D IMAX)

I admit that I don’t remember all the Star Wars storylines, so I am not the one to make any connections to those earlier films (so no spoilers from me). After seeing the end of the movie, it feels like a prequel to the first Star Wars film, but I don’t know. I was reading the description, and it appear this was intended to be a stand-alone Star Wars film. Viewing it as a stand-alone movie, I thought it thoroughly entertaining. There is battle action throughout the movie, the special effects are pretty amazing, the erect droid provides some good …

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La La Land

Mia (Emma Stone), an actress struggling to break into the business, and Sebastian (Ryan Gosling), a musician trying to find work and remain pure to his love of jazz, meet. The film is a musical that tells the story of their meeting and what happens over the course of a year in their lives together in Los Angeles. I love the movie, but not in the way that I thought I would. It is a tribute to an older style of Hollywood musical, but here it feels very updated and fresh. I was not totally wowed by the “musical” aspect; …

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Moana

Animated film about a girl Moana, is destined to be Chief of her clan. For years, her tribe had “fished beyond the reef”, but then stopped. Moana dreams of the sea, and at the urging of her grandmother, she sets sail to save her tribe. Along the way, she meets Maui, a demigod who helps her on her journey to become a Wayfinder.  I absolutely love this movie. There is a lot of action, particularly during the last half while Moana and Maui are on their journey. The music is wonderful and has a couple of really beautiful songs. It …

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Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Eddie Redmayne plays Newt, a young man who comes to the United States with a suitcase containing a creature and an egg. His suitcase gets mixed up with that of Jacob (Dan Fogler), a cannery worker who is at a bank trying to get a loan. Porpentina (Katherine Waterston) spots Newt and tries to bring him in for violating some law related to the creatures. While I thought the storyline to be rather “light” and not well developed, I did enjoy the film, particularly during the second half as the story and the action scenes got a bit more interesting. …

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The Eagle Huntress

This is a documentary about Aisholpan and her journey to become the first female (and the first female in 12 generations of her family) to become an eagle hunter, which she accomplishes by the time she is 13 years old. This is a wonderful film. The visuals are stunning – the shots of the high plains and mountains of Mongolia are expansive and beautiful to look at. It is a fascinating cultural look into the lives of Aisholpan and her family and the support she gets from them for following her passion. Finally, there is a great message here for …

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