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Monthly Archives: May 2020

Boy

This is an early film by Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople; What we Do in the Shadows; JoJo Rabbit) centers Boy, a young boy of about 12 or 13 years. He lives with his younger brother Rocky and a variety of young cousins. He serves as the male caretaker of his bother and cousins while their nan is away. Boy idolizes his father, who he hasn’t seen in 7 years since his father went to prison, and Michael Jackson. When his father suddenly shows up, he is forced to reconcile his worship of an idealized father with the one …

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The Willoughby

The Willoughby children live with probably the world’s most selfish parents. The children are left to fend for themselves while the parents feast on lavish meals; mom spends her evenings knitting silly things, and the father watches. When the children decide they have had enough, they hatch a scheme to send their parents on a trip around the world that they likely won’t survive. I liked the movie, but not as much as I thought I would. The premise is unusual for an animated movie. The film is full of vibrant colors and fun action sequences. And, it is a …

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Birds of Prey (And the Fabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn continues from where she left off in Suicide Squad – newly separated from the Joker – trying to find her life without him. With the Joker, she always had protection; now, she is on her own and has to face the various villains in Gotham City – in this case, the Black Mask (played by a rather uninteresting Ewan McGregor). Overall, I liked the movie; it has a lot of fun, colorful action, and Margot Robbie is always great to watch. She makes Harley Quinn a fresh and bold character. I wasn’t that taken by the …

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Capone

Tom Hardy plays Al (Fonso) Capone during the last year of his life. At this point, syphilis has caused extensive neurological damage resulting in worsening dementia. After prison, he lives his final years in an exquisite estate in Florida with his close family and the FBI listening in on all of his phone calls. Capone believes he has hidden 10 million dollars somewhere on the property, but he cannot remember where it is at, and various people around him, including the FBI, are very interested in the money’s whereabouts. The film is rather strange, and not always in a good …

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Tigertail

(Taiwan-American): The film spans three generations centered on Pin-Jui: Pin-Jui’s childhood and young adulthood; his married years, and his children. The screenplay bounces back and forth in time to tell the story of how Pin-Jui followed his dream and moved to America from Taiwan. It is a story about the choices we make and their ramifications. I liked the film, although I did not think it great. While it is a nicely told story, it lacks the emotional depth needed to connect with the characters. So many of the stories are half-told, and it all felt rushed (one example is …

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Capital in the 21st Century

This fascinating documentary explores the rise of capitalism and tracks the origins of the significant wealth inequality that characterizes the US and many other countries. Using a combination narration from economic experts and popular culture samples such as movie clips and song tracks, the film starts off just before the Industrial Revolution examining changing economic and social trends and how capital has adjusted to the changes. There are some really interesting stories along the way, including how the need to change clothes each year to remain in fashion evolved and how the Christmas craze developed. But overall, the film takes …

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Bull

Kris and her sister live with her grandma in a poor neighborhood in Houston, TX while her mother serves a prison sentence. Abe, Kris’ neighbor, used to ride bulls on the Black rodeo circuit but, due to injuries now works on the circuit as the guy who deflects the bulls when riders fall off. Kris and her friends break into Abe’s house while he is gone, drink his booze, and trash his house. Rather than send her to juvie, he agrees to allow her to clean up his house and work for him in exchange. The film is about the …

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Ordinary Love

Liam Neeson and Lesley Manville are Tom and Joan, a retired couple who have settled into an easy routine that couples who have been together for decades can; their lives are in every sense ordinary. The film is about how their relationship is tested when Joan is diagnosed with breast cancer. What makes this film work is that it gives a close-up view of life; there is no complex plot here, just the day-to-day experiences of a married couple who are coping with a cancer diagnosis. Both actors are wonderful together, but I thought that Manville’s performance was superior, one …

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Swallow

Haley Bennet is Hunter, wife of Ritchie, the son of very wealthy parents and in line to manage the family business. On the surface, Hunter appears to have everything going for her – a very successful husband, money, and a new home.  However, as she feels more diminished by Ritchie’s success and treated as an object by her in-laws, Hunter develops pica, an uncontrollable urge to swallow objects. The progression of her condition and understanding why forms the core of the story. Haley Bennett is superb; she manages through facial expressions to convey the reality of a woman whose world …

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The Infiltrators

This documentary is about members of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA) who had themselves detained by an ICE facility in Broward County, Florida in order to help from the inside those who were being inappropriately detained. Using a combination of interviews with the real NIYA members and actors who reenacted the operation, the film explores how they were able to get inmates connected to NIYA members on the outside who helped to secure their release. As a documentary, there is nothing novel or innovative here, and the shift from actual people to reenactments is a bit jarring at times, …

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