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Martin Scorsese made this film about the early years of Bob Dylan’s career. With the benefit (or not, in some cases) from Dylan’s own reflections, Scorcese examines the cultural waves that were occurring on which Dylan rode to success – the folk music scene, the civil rights movement, rock and roll music, beat poets, the New York art scene. For me, this was where Scorsese worked his best magic. There are lots of still shots of the young Dylan as well as video footage of him and others, such as Joan Baez, Maria Muldaur, and others who rose to fame …

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Bruce Springsteen’s Letter to You

This film is a companion piece to Springsteen’s new album, Letter to You. It is partly an extended music video that shows Springsteen and the E Street Band playing many of the songs on the album, but it also is a documentary in which Springsteen looks back on his life, his early influences, and the periods in his life that inspired his current work. I really enjoyed how the concept worked. The film is all shot in black and white, and some of the images are incredibly beautiful to look at. I love the almost poetic reflections that he narrates …

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His House

A couple and a child make an escape from Sudan and end up as refugees in London. En route, the child is lost at sea. The couple is given a place to live while they are waiting for their request for asylum to be processed. The apartment, which is very run down (the front door falls off when they enter), appears to have an evil presence. This is a really well-crafted horror film. Like the best, this horror film roots the couple’s experiences in their own guilt and fear. The couple experiences various forms of racism; is at the mercy …

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The Trial of the Chicago 7

The Trial of the Chicago 7: The latest from Aaron Sorkin (Molly’s Game, and the screenwriter for Steve Jobs and The Social Network) concerns the trial brought by the federal government against 7 (initially 8) defendants on charges of conspiracy (among others) during the 1968 riots at the Democratic National Convention. These included well-known names like Tom Hadyn (played by Eddie Redmayne) and Abbie Hoffman (Sacha Baron Cohen). The movie is very entertaining. I like the way the story is told, mixing courtroom drama and flashbacks that piece together the story of how these seven people ended up in jail …

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Weathering With You

This film is a follow-up to the wonderful Makoto Shinkai 2016 film Your Name. Hodaka is a 16-year-old boy who runs away from his home on one of the islands to the city of Tokyo. Tokyo is experiencing record intense and long-lasting rains. There, struggling to find his way as a minor in a big city, he meets Hina, a girl who has the ability to bring sunshine for short periods of time. When she realizes this, the two of them start a business to ensure that special events have sun. I love this film. The animation is very colorful, …

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Good Time

After watching the Safdie brothers’ film Uncut Gems last year, I wanted to look at some of their other films, so upon recommendation I watched Good Time, their film from 2017. Connie (Robert Pattinson) cons his brother Nick (Ben Safdie), who appears to be developmentally delayed, into robbing a bank with him. The heist goes terribly wrong, and Nick and Connie become separated. Nick gets caught, and Connie spends the rest of the night trying to get him out of the hospital where he is being held for observation. The film seems to have served as a blueprint for the …

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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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