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Monthly Archives: January 2020

Toy Story 4

And the franchise continues. This time, Woody is still feeling a bit lost without his childhood buddy Andy. One day, his new child, Bonnie, creates a new toy she calls Forky. Forky, who just thinks he is “trash”, keeps trying to escape back to the trash can. This leads Woody and the others on yet another Toy Story adventure. As with the other films in the series, the animation is great, the story is sweet, and there is a lot of great dialogue. I just couldn’t quite get interested. I think I am just through with the Toy Story franchise …

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For Sama

This documentary tells the story of a journalist (Waad al-Kateab) and her family as they endure 5 years in Aleppo during the Syrian civil war. She and her husband were both student activists whose roles quickly changed once the war started – he a doctor trying to treat victims in sometimes makeshift hospitals, she a journalist documenting the war, and raising a baby daughter during it all. The film is pretty powerful. It is all first-had footage from her video camera, and she captures a range of experiences from the ground as a woman and mother – scenes in hospital …

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El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie. 

I will start by saying I watched this film the first time while only having watched the first season of Breaking Bad. The film hooked me – I didn’t understand a lot of what was going on, so I went back and binge-watched the entire Breaking Bad series, and then I rewatched El Camino. Breaking Bad is excellent, especially the last season, which features the best directing and acting of the series. The ending was also one of the most satisfying endings of any film or series. But one thing was left hanging – what happened to Jesse Pinkman? El …

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Just Mercy

This is an adaptation of one of the most inspiring books I have read recently by the same name. Bryan Stevenson is a lawyer in Alabama who has spent his entire career helping get people released from death row who have been wrongfully convicted. The film focuses mostly on the story of Walter McMillan (Jamie Foxx), who was arrested for a murder of a white 18-year-old woman. The film follows Stevenson (played very well and convincingly by Michael B. Jordan) and his journey to get McMillan free. I liked the film; the story is incredibly compelling and provides some real …

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Bombshell

This film is based on the story of how Gretchen Carlson (Nicole Kidman) filed a lawsuit against Fox News CEO Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) for sexual harassment. Her cause was bolstered by Fox News host Megyn Kelly (Charlize Theron). I will start with what I thought was good. The makeup – incredible. These three actors look so much like the people they are playing. Charlize Theron’s impersonation of Megyn Kelly is uncanny. The acting is excellent by all. I particularly liked Charlize Theron who just always looked and seemed like Megyn (I don’t think there is any role she cannot …

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In Fabric

In this British thriller, a woman who is recently separated, lonely, and struggling to raise a rebellious teenage boy, wanders into a dress shop and purchases a striking red dress for a date with someone she has met through a local newspaper singles site. After she buys the dress, a number of strange things begin to happen to her; it is clear that her purchase unleashes some kind of evil force that affects her and others who come into possession of the dress. This is a rather interesting film. It is kind of a horror film but without a lot …

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The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open

The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open: Aila (Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers, who also directed) has decided she doesn’t want to have children, and on the way back from a doctor visit in which she has an IUD implanted, she meets Sophie (Violet Nelson) who is in the rain, barefoot, fleeing an abusive boyfriend. Both are Indigenous Canadians, yet both live lives on opposite ends of the socioeconomic spectrum. The film, which was shot nearly in real-time, describes how Aila helps Sophie (and, to some extent, how Sophie helps Aila) as Aila tries to help Sophie navigate her situation. It is …

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Hi Flying Bird

Ray Burke (Andre Holland) is an agent for young rookies recruited into the NFL. There is a lockout, and Ray learns that his company and his job are on the line after his credit card is denied at a lunch with one of his rookies who has found himself in financial problems as a result of the lockout. Caught between the NFL power players and the rookies for whom he is an agent, Ray devises a scheme to end the strike and get his rookies back to work. The acting in the film is terrific, especially by Holland. I also …

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Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Cate Blanchette is Bernadette, once a MacArthur Genius Grant winner for her work in architecture, is now a mom who seems trapped in her house by her own anxieties. Her husband, Elgie, is a star engineer for Microsoft. She and her daughter, Buzz, are very close; however, Bernadette appears to have no other stable or healthy relationships, and Elgie is growing more concerned about her mental stability. This film is somewhat of a mess. Cate Blanchette is great, as always, and she manages to make the most of her very limited material here. But Richard Linklater, whose films I typically …

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1917

During WWI, two young men, Lance Corporal Schofield (George MacKay) and Lance Corporal Blake (Dean-Charles Chapman) have been given an assignment: The Germans have been planning a huge deception, and the two need to reach the front line with orders from the General to not advance, as they are heading into a trap. The film is the journey undertaken by the two to get the message there. Blake’s brother is in that regiment, which gives Blake a larger sense of urgency. Technically, the film is brilliant. The camera work is done to look like a single take, which gives it …

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