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Monthly Archives: July 2019

The Farewell (Chinese with Subtitles)

The film begins with being “based on an actual lie”. The story is about a Chinese family whose matriarch (Nai Nai) is dying of lung cancer. The family decides to keep the truth from her and take on that responsibility themselves since the truth might kill her faster. Nai Nai’s children hasten the wedding of her grandson so as to bring the family together in China one last time. Although her parents told her she could not go, Billi (played excellently by Awkwafina), who has a special relationship with her grandmother, shows up anyway. I really love this film that …

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Wild Rose

Rose-Lynn has just been released from a 12-month prison sentence for transporting drugs. She is a hell-raising Scottish mother of two children who hardly know her. What drives Rose is her desire to become a Nashville country (not “country-western”) singing star. The movie is about her struggles to balance drinking, singing, and motherhood. The storyline is not unfamiliar; it is similar to the many other films that examine the struggles to make a name in the music business. As such, it is pretty predictable. However, what makes this film work is Jessie Buckley, who plays Rose. She brings a raw …

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The Biggest Little Farm

This documentary follows the story of John and Molly who, evicted from their Santa Monica apartment because their rescue dog won’t stop barking, secure enough investment from family and friends to purchase a 200-acre farm northeast of Los Angeles. The film covers a period of about 8 years using real-time footage, from their beginnings on land that was essentially dead to the current business that it is (https://www.apricotlanefarms.com/). It is a remarkable story; they hired a man named Alan York who had a vision for how to build a bio-diverse farm that would sustain itself. They bought a few animals …

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Echo in the Canyon

This documentary, driven mostly by Jakob Dylan, explores the roots of the California rock scene of the mid-1960s. At that time, bands were eager to emulate the success of the Beatles, and folk music became much more electric through the music of the Byrds (the band the film points to as the beginning of that scene), Buffalo Springfield, and The Mamas and the Papas. Jakob Dylan created a concert, Echo in the Canyon, that is a kind of love letter to those bands and the interesting people who comprised them that influenced the sounds of him and many other singers …

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Midsommar

Dani has just lost her parents and sister to a murder-suicide, and her relationship with her boyfriend Christian is on the brink of collapse. Christian and his friends, all of whom are working on their Ph.D. research, are going to Sweden to visit a family summer solstice celebration. Dani invites herself to join them. They arrive at the village in the land where the summer sun does not set, and after a magic mushroom trip among the young American visitors, things very slowly begin to turn creepy. I was fascinated and engrossed in this film. The director, who also created …

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Yesterday

In Danny Boyle’s latest film, Jack Malik plays a young singer/songwriter who cannot seem to find success. He plays in small venues with a handful of listeners (mostly his friends). One night, he is riding his bike home and is hit by a bus. He soon discovers that no one has ever heard of the Beatles, and he soon discovers what it is like to be famous as he releases their songs. From a technical perspective, the film is mediocre. There is not a lot of control over the script, and sometimes the story goes to strange places that don’t …

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