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Monthly Archives: April 2017

Lost City of Z

Based on a true story of Colonel Percival Fawcett of the British Army who made several expeditions into the Amazon early in the 20th century. He makes his initial expedition at the request of the Army to map the Amazon in the eastern part of Bolivia. On that first trip, he finds evidence of a lost civilization that predates their own. The movie tells the story of his passion and obsession with the jungle. The movie is excellent for several reasons. The cinematography is beautiful. The acting is terrific by all. Charlie Hunnan does great playing a driven, courageous, and …

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Colossal

Gloria (Anne Hathaway) is a mess. She is unemployed, drinks and parties too much, and her boyfriend Tim, who is a jerk, finally decides he has had enough and kicks her out of the house. She goes back to Maine to stay in her parent’s empty house that has not rented, and she runs into Oscar, a friend from grade school. Meanwhile, a giant creature invades Seoul, and Gloria discovers that the monster makes the same moves she does. I admit that I had a bit of a hard time with the first third of the movie; I didn’t quite …

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Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead (2011) and Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead 2 (2014)

Australian Joe Cross weighed over 300 pounds and was on medications, including one to treat an autoimmune disorder. Determined to beat the meds and get healthy, he flies to the US and goes on a 60-day drive across country, armed with his juicing machine, drinking nothing but fresh fruit and vegetable juices. The movie is about his journey to health as well as that of another man he meets along the way who suffers the same autoimmune disorder. While the movie is not very deep, it still is an inspiring story about the power of plant-based diets in correcting medical …

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Food Matters

This is a documentary that consists of interviews with several people talking about nutrition, the problems associated with medications, and the potential benefit to nutritional therapy to replace medications. Overall, I did not think the movie was very strong in its message. First, it was rather one-sided and did not present well the research to back up the claims. It came off a bit like the advertisements such as those making claims that certain nutrients can cure cancer. Second, the movie content doesn’t reflect the title; more could have been said about the research backing up nutrient and food-based alternatives. …

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Personal Shopper

Kristen Stewart plays Maureen, who is working for a star named Kyra as a personal shopper; Maureen buys all of Kyra’s clothes and jewelry, updates her laptops, etc. Maureen is also a medium who recently lost a twin brother to a heart condition that she also has; they made a promise that whoever went first, they would contact the other from the afterlife. The movie is about her journey to make that connection. The movie is a clever mixture of horror and mystery genres. The direction is brilliant – the movie twists and turns in rather unexpected ways, and the …

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Kedi (Turkish with English Subtitles)

This documentary features cats – yes, several of the thousands of cats that roam the streets of Istanbul. I found the film quite fascinating. First, if you are a cat lover, this movie is a must – see. Second, there is some history in the film about how cats came to be such an important part of city life. Finally, it is a wonderful walking and talking tour of Istanbul, its people, and how their lives have been impacted by cats. Overall, the individual stories are very moving. It is interesting to see how people get to know cats by …

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Requiem for the American Dream

Noam Chomsky began his career as a cognitive science (he essentially shifted the tide from behaviorism to cognitivism in psychology) and has been one of the most intelligent critics of our form of democracy (his book Deterring Democracy is brilliant). He brings much of his thinking together in this film that shows the role that corporations and wealth play in driving the American form of democracy (and how it has pretty much always been that way). Chomksy describes this through his 10 principles of concentration of wealth and power. In his discussion, he provides convincing evidence of how the government …

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The Bad Kids

Documentary that follows the principal, Vonda Viland, and three kids who typify those served by Black Rock High School in Yucca Valley, CA over the course of a school year. Joey has talent musically but is living in an unstable home. Lee is a teenage father who is struggling to support his girlfriend and son. Jennifer was sexually abused by her grandmother’s boyfriend and has little support from her father. Black Rock is the last hope for many of these teenagers who, for a variety of reasons, are struggling to graduate. The principle is remarkable – a combination of no-nonsense, …

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Desierto (Spanish with English Subtitles)

Two men are driving a group of Mexicans across the desert to the US border. When their truck breaks down, they are forced to walk to the border. On the other side is Sam (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), an angry and drunken man who we see at the beginning being mad because the Border Patrol had not followed up on some “tracks of illegals” he saw in the desert. Once Sam spots the group, he takes matters into his own hands. I had very mixed feelings about the movie. It was very suspenseful, and I am a fan of the acting …

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Your Name (Japanese with English Subtitles)

This is an anime tale of two teenagers, Mitsuha and Taki, who find that they suddenly start inhabiting each other’s bodies at random times after a comet splits. In the beginning, they can’t figure out what is happening, but then they begin leaving each other notes in books and on their cell phones. Their “meeting” evolves into a very rich story that touches on themes of gender, cultural folklore, dreams, and the flow of time and memory. The movie is beautiful to look at – the animation is bright and colorful – and the music opening and closing songs are …

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