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Monthly Archives: September 2020

The Devil All the Time

Tom Holland is Arvin Russell, a young man with a pained past who was raised by his grandmother and uncle and lives with his stepsister Lenora. The film is about how Arvin sets out to protect his family and himself of some very creepy characters (bullies, serial killers, corrupt police/politicians, and the like) who live in the town of Knockemstiff. The all have tortured pasts and have a variety of mostly poor relationships with their Lord. I will start with the things that did not work very well. The narrator is the author of the novel from which the film …

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Wildlife

Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Jeannette (Carey Mulligan) have recently moved to Montana with their only son Joe (Ed Oxenbould). Jerry, an ex-golf pro, loses his job at the golf course and, needing a sense of purpose, decides to go off to fight a major wildfire that is burning in the nearby mountains for 1.00 per day. Jeanette and Joe are left to fend for themselves. Carey Mulligan is exceptional, and in many ways,  this is her film. The film is set around 1960, at a time when women were still expected to live by traditional norms. She wants more, and …

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The Social Dilemma

This part documentary, part dramatization piece examines the impact that social media is having on us and on our society. The documentary piece consists of a lot of talking heads, former executives, and designers for the major tech platforms such as Facebook, Google, Instagram, Twitter, and others. These are (mostly) young people who have been on the inside of the strategies to grow the social media empires. The dramatization, which I particularly liked, uses a family of varying levels of technology adoption and three humans who are acting as the information signals that are sent to us from AI computers …

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Cuties (Mignonnes

(French, dubbed in English in the Netflix version): Amy, who is Senegalese, lives with her mother and brother in a Paris neighborhood. She wants to become a member of the Cuties, a hip-hop dance group. She befriends Jess, one of the Cuties, and soon teaches herself the dance moves, begins to dress like them, and begins teaching them new dance moves that she has found on the internet. The controversy over this film is completely overblown, but I will leave that aside for the moment and focus on what the film is. It is a striking coming of age film …

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Winter Sleep

(Turkey, English subtitles). Ayden a former stage star who is wealthy and owns a hotel in Anatolia. He lives there with his sister Necla, who is divorced and has regrets about the dissolution of their marriage, and with his much younger wife Nihal. As winter approaches, the hotel customers become much sparser and the tensions among the three find new life. This is an amazing film. It is over 3 ½ hours in length, but it never feels that long, and it felt like it could have gone on longer. This is a dialog film, and patience is rewarded as …

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I Am Thinking Of Ending Things

This is Charlie Kaufman’s latest film (Screenwriter for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich, Adaptation; Director for Anomalisa and Synecdoche, New York). At the start, we are with a couple who are in a new relationship who are on their way to meet his parents; the woman (Jessie Buckley, who was great in Wild Rose) is thinking to herself, “I am thinking of ending things”. Her boyfriend (Jessie Plemons) seems to be reading her mind and asks her if she said something. That is the start of a very strange yet highly creative film. I won’t even …

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Relic

Kay (Emily Mortimer) and her daughter Sam (Bella Heathcoat) return to Kay’s family home when her mother Edna (Robyn Nevin) has been missing for an extended time. The find a house of a woman who is suffering from Alzheimer’s with the Post-it note labels. Edna suddenly returns home, and several mysterious incidents take place, and it seems that there is some other presence in the house with them. I really liked this film. The director creates an old-school spooky horror film with a twist: She has woven into the story a narrative about what it is like to lose someone …

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Lingua Franca

Olivia (played by the director, Isabel Sandoval), a trans woman, is a Filipino undocumented immigrant in Brooklyn who is a caretaker for a lady who is suffering from dementia. As her options for getting a green card become fewer, she meets Alex, Olga’s grandson, and a relationship develops between the two. I enjoyed this movie. It was nice seeing a film about a trans woman directed by a trans woman who plays the lead character in the film. There are two things I enjoyed most about the film. First, it is an interesting and believable character study of what it …

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