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Monthly Archives: July 2017


Animated film by Hayao Miyazaki about a little goldfish who dreams of being a human girl. One day, she slips past her father and travels to the surface of the ocean, only to be rescued by a little boy Sosuki. He immediately is taken by the goldfish and names her Ponyo. The rest of the movie is her adventure toward realizing her dream. The best thing about this film is the animation – its action and rich, brilliant colors are sensational. It is a very original fairy tale that is a twist to the “Little Mermaid” story that is not …

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A Ghost Story

Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara (I don’t think they really have names in the movie) are a young couple who appear to be relatively newly married and live in a house that may be (a bit) haunted – there are strange noises but they don’t seem to affect them much. One day, Casey is killed in a car accident right outside his house. After Rooney identifies him, we see him arise from the table and he becomes his ghost form. The ghost looks a bit odd – a sheet with two dark holes where the eyes should be. He goes …

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Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley reprise their roles as Edina and Patsy who have champagne tastes on beer budgets (or no budgets) and are unemployed while doing a fantastic job of looking employed. The movie picks up where the show left off; this time, the two go to a party during which Edina bumps into Kate Moss and knocks her into the Thames River. Eddie and Patsy go on the lam and get into several adventures. I am a huge fan of the shows, which are very funny. However, while I laughed in several places, I realized that 90 minutes …

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The Big Sick

Romantic comedy based on a true story of Kumail Nanjiani, an aspiring comedian living in the US and born of Pakistani parents, who falls in love with a White woman Emily (Zoe Kazan). Kumail’s parents expect him to marry a Pakistani woman, which puts pressure on Kumail. Kumail and Emily break up, and soon thereafter, Emily falls seriously ill. The film is wonderful; serious themes, including navigating bi-cultural tension and the effects of a grave illness on friends and family, are told with humor. The film felt like an “up close and personal” documentary, replacing stereotypes with real people who …

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Queen of Katwe

Phiona is a young girl living in Katwe, Uganda who discovers the world of chess when she follows her brother to a meeting place where his teacher is instructing the children how to play chess. Her chess skills quickly advance, and soon she beats the best kids in the town. The film does a really nice job of capturing the activity and color (and poverty) of the town. It also is a wonderful story of a girl who has found a way to use her intelligence to rise out of that poverty with the support of her mother. Thumbs up …

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Spiderman: Homecoming

The newest Spiderman spins off from Captain American: Civil War in which Spiderman (Tom Holland) is recruited by Ironman to fight his fellow avengers. I always kind of wonder how they can keep recrafting Spiderman (I saw and loved the ones with Toby Maguire but never saw the ones with Andrew Garfield). In this newest version, Spiderman is 14 years old and in high school dealing with high school issues. He struggles to keep interested but dreams of being part of the Avengers; he is an intern with Stark Labs and keeps getting blown off by Happy, the guy paid …

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War for the Planet of the Apes

In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a serum enhances the intelligence of apes and causes a spread of a virus that wipes out much of the human race. In Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Kobo and Cesar are pitted against each other in alternate views on how humans should be dealt with. In the newest movie, the darkest and most psychologically penetrating of the three, Cesar stands off against Colonel (Woody Harrelson), an especially cruel leader of one group of humans and many ape slaves, after he kills Cesar’s wife and other members of the clan. …

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Based on a true story, Sally Hawkins plays Maud, a woman with rheumatoid arthritis who turns up on the doorstep one day of Everett (Ethan Hawke) who has advertised for a woman to keep his house clean. He is gruff, lives alone, and makes his living as a fisherman. The film is the story of how their relationship develops and how Maud becomes a widely-known artist. The movie is not perfect; it lacks depth of character development, and the movie spans about 40 years although it is difficult to tell that from the film. But the acting here is phenomenal …

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Baby Driver

Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars is the film you would recognize him from) is Baby, a young, peach-fuzzed kid who has an innate instinct for cars and music. He is a getaway driver working off a debt to Doc (Kevin Spacey). Once his obligation is done, however, Doc enlists Baby for one more heist. How Baby comes to be in service to Doc I won’t say, as it is part of the beauty of this story that it unfolds slowly over time. The film has probably one of the most thrilling starting sequences I have seen in a …

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