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Monthly Archives: May 2018

Starlet

This is a film from Sean Baker (who also wrote and directed Tangerine and the Florida Project). Jane (Dree Hemingway) is 21 and works in the porn industry. While shopping yard sales, she buys a thermos from Sadie (Besedka Johnson), who is 85. Jane discovers that the thermos contains a significant amount of money. She tries to return the thermos, but Sadie refuses. The film tells the story of the development of their friendship. The film is wonderful, and it seems to reinforce Baker’s ability to tell the stories of people who live on the fringes of society. Both of …

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Deadpool 2

Ryan Reynolds reprises his role as Deadpool, the superhero who can regenerate injured body parts. The film starts with Deadpool wanting to restart his life with his girlfriend. However, a bunch of bad guys enter the apartment, and Deadpool’s trajectory is drastically altered. A totally bad agent is sent back from the future to find and kill a guy who in this time is a teenager living in an orphanage. Deadpool canvases all of his forces to try to save the kid from a terrible future. The movie is very funny and is loaded with the same foul-mouthed humor as …

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Revenge

This movie out of France, with both French and English dialogue (mostly English), is one fascinating and suspenseful revenge movie. Richard brings Jen, a girlfriend, to an undisclosed remote location by helicopter for a weekend together away from his family. Two other friends show up unexpectedly. A party, a misunderstanding, a rape, and it all ends horribly when Jen is pushed over a cliff and impaled on a tree stump. The rest of the story is bloody, suspenseful, and exhilarating. The film seems to have so many influences – I was reminded of Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween; the great …

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R.B.G.

This film documents the professional and personal life of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. It tells the story of how she graduated from law school at a time when women were not welcomed in the law profession, her rise as a lawyer who successfully argued 5 out of 6 cases in front of the Supreme Court, was eventually confirmed to the Federal Court by President Carter, and eventually was nominated and appointed by President Clinton to serve on the high court. While the film isn’t a perfect documentary, I very much enjoyed the opportunity to learn more about her. It serves as …

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The Rider

This is a wonderful contemporary cowboy-western film set in the South Dakota Badlands region. Brady Blackburn (played by Brady Jandreau) is a young rodeo star, who rides broncos. One day, he has a terrible accident that has left him with a metal plate in his head.  Suddenly, he finds that he cannot ride or train horses, and he must find a new sense of purpose in his life. There are so many really great things about this film. The cinematography is gorgeous; the film is beautiful to look at from start to finish.  I did not realize until I did …

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Avengers: Infinity War

Most if not all of the Marvel Comics heroes, including Black Panther, Iron Man, Captain American, Widow, Spiderman, Thor, Guardians of the Galaxy, Hulk, Dr. Strange, and all of the others I missed (I am not a comic book person, so please be kind to me) come together to fight the greatest threat yet to the galaxy, Thanos. Thanos is crossing the galaxy in search of infinity stones; if he gets all six, he will become master of the universe, and at least 3 of the superheroes have those stones or know where they are. No spoilers here, just my …

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Lean on Pete

Charley (Charlie Plummer) has moved to Oregon with his father who hopes to start a new life. Charley finds a job working for a racehorse owner Del (played by Steve Buscemi) and his jockey Bonnie (played by Chloe Sevigny); there, Charley develops a friendship with one of the horses, Lean on Pete. When events turn for his father and Del says he is going to sell Pete because he can no longer win, Charley and Pete set off on a journey to find an aunt who was nice to him when he was a little boy. The journey makes for …

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Keep the Change

This is a fantastic, different kind of NYC romantic comedy. David has been court-ordered to attend a social organization for a summer at the Jewish Community Center because he told an off-color joke to a police officer. He spends his days at the center and his evenings trying to attract women through an online dating service. David doesn’t believe he belongs there (and his parents support this belief) and bides his time until he meets Sarah, who is extremely outgoing and gets him to work with her on a project. Sarah and David, and all of the people at the …

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Tully

Charlize Theron is Marlo, a working mother of two young children who is expecting her third. Succumbing to the challenges of dealing with a son with additional needs, a new baby, and a husband who works all day, helps the kids with their homework and then spends his evening playing video games, Marlo calls Tully (Mackenzie Davis), a night nanny provided as a gift by her brother. The film uses humor (sometimes irreverent) to examine the realities of contemporary motherhood. While I think Davis’ work is wonderful and Theron and Davis work very well together, for me this film belongs …

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Sweet Country

This western from Australia is set in the Australian outback and concerns the story of Sam, an aboriginal who lives with his wife and niece. He is forced to go on the run when he shoots a white man in self-defense. This is a very interesting and well-told story about race and racism in Australia through Sam’s journey as well as the man who hunts him down. The cinematography of the outback is beautiful, and the acting is first-rate by all. One of the fascinating aspects of the film is its narrative structure. Periodically, there are brief “flash-forwards” of the …

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