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Monthly Archives: June 2018

Mommy

This French-Canadian film (with English subtitles) won the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2014. Steve is a young adolescent who has ADHD (but after seeing the movie you will likely agree that it is something else) who lives with his widowed mother, Diane. At the beginning of the film, the viewer is told that there is a law passed in Canada in 2015 that allows parents to commit their children against their will. We also see that Diane has come to collect Steve from an institution; the officials there refuse to let him stay after he sets a fire and …

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King Corn

This light, entertaining, and balanced documentary has as its subject corn, an all-American crop. Two young men decide to return to Iowa, where their families are from, and rent an acre of corn to better understand how it has taken over as the premier cash crop. Through their journey, the men examine how corn has become a staple of almost every food product; the primary sweetener used in sodas and so many foods, and the principle part of the diet of cows and pigs. They also examine how subsidies help farmers to make money on corn when it otherwise would …

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2001: A Space Odyssey

This film has been re-released in a 70 mm format created from the original negatives. The result is supposed to be a film that looks like it did when it first came out. I don’t remember seeing it when it first came out, but I have to say that I was completely blown away by the beauty and intensity of the film. The basic story begins with a story of the dawn of man when apes first became upright. A mysterious black box appears in the landscape. Cut forward to the future when a spaceship is headed to Jupiter to …

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Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

This documentary chronicles the life work of Fred Rodgers who for decades enacted his vision of children’s programming through Mr. Rodger’s Neighborhood, a show broadcast on PBS. It was really fascinating how he took his concept, with simple staging, the use of puppets, and the routine of changing into sneakers and a cardigan when coming on stage and turn it into something that impacted children all over the country (and, as we see in one scene, public policy). His shows approached issues of inclusion as well as dealt with current events with concepts that children could understand. It is really …

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First Reformed

Ethan Hawke plays Reverend Ernst Toller, who is a pastor of a small parish that is a historical landmark and is overshadowed by the larger mother church, which has money and modern technology at its disposal. Toller is a heavily burdened man struggling to find a purpose, and the depth of his problems are slowly and methodically revealed as the film progresses. He writes daily in his journal with the intent of burning it after a year.  One day, one of his parishioners, Mary, asks him to speak to her husband Roger. Roger is an environmentalist who is so concerned …

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Teeth

This rather odd film is about a teenage girl, Dawn, who works for a group promoting teen chastity. She lives with her stepbrother, stepfather, and mother, right next to a nuclear power plant. Dawn’s incessant work with the group helps her to keep her budding sexuality in check. However, when a boy gets too close to her and tries to force himself on her, she discovers that she has the mutation vagina dentata – teeth in her vagina. Using a series of rather grisly events – it is not difficult to imagine these – the film serves simultaneously as a …

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Hereditary

Annie Graham (Toni Collette) has just suffered the loss of her mother. At the funeral, we discover that she and her mother had a difficult relationship. Her mother was particularly close to Annie’s daughter Charlie (Milly Shapiro), but not to her son Peter (Alex Wolff). The death of Annie’s mother launches a series of events that will forever change her family. This is an interesting twist on the horror genre. There really isn’t any blood, and there are no things that make you jump in your seat. The horror is embedded in the family and its dysfunctions. The reason I …

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Solo: A Star Wars Story

This film is a side Star Wars story about Han Solo and how he teamed up with Chewbacca to become the renegades of the galaxy. On the plus side, Alden Ehrenreich made a decent young Solo, and you could see how he could evolve into the character made famous by Harrison Ford. And there was a lot of action. On the other side, the film tried a bit too hard to garner its humorous edge; for me, most of the laughs flopped where they should not have, and Reyle did not really think it was funny at all. I also …

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The Breadwinner

Parvana is a young girl growing up in Afghanistan under the Taliban rule. Girls and women are expected to be fully covered at all times and not to be seen in public without a husband or close relative. One day, while they are on the street selling possessions to pay for food, her father makes one of the young Taliban soldiers angry, and the next day they arrest him and send him to prison. Parvana decides to cut her hair and pass as a boy to support her family and get her father out of prison. This film is exceptional; …

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The Incredibles 2

This movie picks up exactly where the first one left off. The superheroes are still living incognito, as the law against superheroes continues. A slick marketing agency has a clever plan to bring enough positive media attention to politicians that they will reverse the years-long superhero ban. However, the face of the marketing campaign is not going to be Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible), but his wife Helen (aka Elastigirl). Eliza said, about 2 minutes into the movie, that “this one is going to be a lot funnier”; and it was indeed. A lot of the humor comes from the parenting …

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