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Monthly Archives: May 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Pete (Chris Pratt) and Gamora (Zoe Saldana) along with Drax, Rocket Racoon, and Baby Groot, return as the Guardians of the Galaxy. The Guardians slay a ridiculous monster and, on their way out, Rockett steals some very important batteries that are worth a lot of money on the black market. In their escape, they run into Ego (played by Kurt Russell), who says he is Pete’s father. At its core, the movie is about uncovering the story of Ego. The music was great (there could have been more of it), the colors and action were almost always quite dazzling, and …

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Raw (French with English subtitles)

Justine is going off to vet school, just like her father and mother previously and her sister who is also attending. Justine (and the rest of her family) were raised as strict vegetarians. As part of the new student hazing, Justine eats a rabbit kidney, and she and the new students are showered with blood (just like Carrie); this releases her suppressed carnivore. First, she tries to pocket a burger from the lunch line, and her new obsession with raw meat manifests in some rather shocking ways that become apparent as the film progresses. This movie defies a clear genre: …

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The Lovers

Mary (Debra Winger) and Michael (Tracy Letts) are a middle-aged married couple who are both seeing other people. Each promises his/her lover that, once Mary and Michael’s son leaves from a family visit, they will end the marriage. All goes well until Mary and Michael seem to suddenly find a spark of romance, and then they start cheating on the people they are cheating with. I enjoyed the movie, probably not as much for the story as for the acting and directing. Winger and Letts give wonderful performances, and the director has a way of lingering on shots of Winger …

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Graduation (Romanian with English Subtitles)

Romeo and his wife Sandra live in Romania and do not seem completely happy there. Romeo is a doctor who is having an affair, and Sandra appears to be mostly depressed. Both also appear to be holding it together for the sake of their daughter Eliza. Romeo has invested everything to ensure that Eliza goes to the UK for college, as he wants her to get out of Romania and have a better life. The day before her exams, Eliza is attacked and injured, thus jeopardizing her ability to complete her exams. The film is about the lengths that Romeo …

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13th

Wow! This is a very power documentary that describes how the prison pipeline was created in the United States and how it has served to result in the highly disproportionate incarceration rates of African Americans. The title refers to the 13th Amendment, which states: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction”. Ava Duvernay, who directed the powerful Selma, uses a combination of archival footage and interviews with civil rights era activists, historians, and formerly incarcerated …

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In Defense of Food

Directed by Michael Schwarz, this documentary is based on the book of the same name by Michael Pollan. In it, he argues against nutritionism, a term he popularized. Nutritionism seeks to understand the basic components of food as healthful rather than understanding food more holistically. The film crafts a pretty convincing argument regarding our relationship to food, how we have grown away from the origins of our food, and how we continually seek a miracle nutrient or drug that will fix our ills. He includes testimony from scientific experts in nutrition and weaves into the film a brief history of …

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Fate of the Furious

Number 8 of the Fast and the Furious enterprise begins with a customary car race and with Dom (Vin Diesel) having a mysterious encounter with Cipher (Charlize Theron). In the meantime, Hobbs (Dwayne Johnson) gets an assignment for the team in Berlin, and when Dom shows, he turns against his friends. I thought the movie overall was a lot of fun; the premise reminded me a bit of Captain America: Civil War. I loved Charlize Theron’s character – she made Cipher into a heartless, cold-blooded killer. Helen Mirren makes an appearance in a pretty funny scene. I don’t think there …

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Live and Let Live (German)

Documentary in which the director introduces us to six different people who have adopted the vegan lifestyle and explores with them their reasons for doing so. Interviewees include a professional cyclist who long-listed for the 2012 Olympics; a butcher who became a vegan chef; members of the animal rights group Animal Equality; and a couple who own a sanctuary for animals that would have been sent to slaughter. I enjoyed this film that highlights not only the benefits of eating a vegan diet but more of the activist orientation behind their decisions to become vegan. There is also a brief …

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Vegucated

Marisa Miller Wolfson recruits and follows three people – Brian, Tesla, and Ellen – as they agree to take on a vegan diet for 6 weeks. They are all checked in with Dr. Joel Fuhrman, an MD who is an expert in nutrition. The film is interesting in some respects. It probes many of the questions that those who think about taking on a vegan diet have. It also examines the food industry and its practices of raising and killing animals for food. Also explored are reactions to family and friends and how people who decide to become vegan make …

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Sustainable

This is a documentary about the economics and history behind the sustainable farming movement. The film focuses mostly on Marty and Kris Travis and their son will who show how it is possible to make a profit in sustainable farming. He also started a cooperative among farmers in the area (Illinois) to be able to deliver a wide variety of organic and locally grown products to area restaurants. I found that the film gives a very optimistic alternative to foods produced in current farming methods. An artisan baker is interviewed who uses wheat and other grains to create bread and …

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