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Monthly Archives: February 2021

The Father

Anne (Olivia Coleman) is caring for her father Anthony (Anthony Hopkins) who has advanced dementia. As Anthony is rapidly losing his way, Anne is trying desperately to hang on and cope as his mind deteriorates. I have seen a lot of films about dementia (and have like most all of them), but this is the first time I have seen a film portray what it is like in the head of someone who has dementia rather than what the people outside him see. The effect and emotional impact are incredible. Both Coleman and Hopkins give exceptional and award-worthy performances, but …

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One Night in Miami

Regina King directed this film that provides a fictionalized account of a celebration meeting between four Black men – the singer Sam Cooke, who was at the height of his career; Cassius Clay (aka Muhammed Ali), who that night had become the world heavyweight boxing champion at 22; Malcolm X, who was in the middle of his rift with the Nation of Islam and its leader Elijah Muhammed; and James Brown, the best running back of his time (and now widely viewed as one of the greatest of all time). The film uses the meeting of these four men as …

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Nomadland

Fern (Frances McDormand) finds herself out of work when the sole industry in Empire, Nevada, closes down. She outfits a van and hits the road, traveling around the Western United States. She takes on various jobs, including seasonal (Christmas) work in Amazon warehouses, restaurants, and as a park caretaker; she is too young to retire and is not ready to stop working. She meets other nomads along the way, most of whom are not trained actors and actual people who are on the road for a variety of reasons. I loved the movie. McDormand is amazing; she disappears into her …

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Minari

(Much of the film is Korean with English subtitles): Jacob, Monica, are Korean – American immigrants and move from California to Arkansas with their two young children. They arrive at the property that has several acres with no irrigation, and an old trailer. Jacob is looking to find success in creating a niche farming Korean vegetables and not have to make money in the chicken houses “looking at chicken butts”. There is something very special about this film that is based on the experiences of the director as a child. While the film is from an immigrant point of view, …

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Supernova

Sam (Colin Firth) and Tusker (Stanley Tucci) have been partners for 20 years. Tusker was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimers, and they decide to take a trip in a camper van to visit old haunts and family and friends. There is not much that is novel about the story, and the main point of the trip feels predictable and a bit cliché. But what really drives this movie is the outstanding performances from Firth and Tucci. There is a naturalness to the chemistry that makes their relationship, and the pain that the disease is causing them, feel real and authentic. I …

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The Dig

Carey Mulligan plays Mrs. Pretty, a widow of significant means, who hires Basil Brown, played by Ralph Fiennes, to conduct an archeological dig on her property. There are several mounds on the property, one of which she feels particularly drawn toward. Mr. Brown’s discovery of an ancient sailing vessel creates a lot of commotion in the local and archeological community. The film is a visually beautiful period piece. Mulligan and Fiennes give characteristically strong performances. I have always really loved the naturalness of Mulligan’s performances, and this one is no exception. I found the story interesting, although the screenplay could …

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The White Tiger

The movie is about the rise of Balram from growing up in a poor neighborhood to becoming a successful entrepreneur in Delhi. As a teenager, he manages to land a job working as a driver for Ashok and his wife Pinky, both of whom have returned from America to expand their business. I didn’t think the film is terrible, but when I think that it was an adaptation of a book that won the Booker Prize, the story had to have been told MUCH better there than in the film. I found it mostly a tedious exercise that required significant …

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Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm

Sasha Baron Cohen, imprisoned for bringing shame to Kazakhstan and which is I think probably how the last movie ended, in exchange for a trip to America to restore the honor of the country. When he gets to America, he finds that his daughter has stowed away, and the two of them embark on a mission to get her married to Mike Pence (at least I think this is how the story went). Some parts of the movie were funny in illuminating issues of cultural difference and what our political system probably looks like from an outsider. However, I found …

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