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Latest Reviews

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

After being discovered in a car by her boyfriend with another woman, Cameron (Chloe Grace Moretz) is sent away by relatives to God’s Promise, a camp to convert gay kids. There, she establishes friendships with two other campers, Jane (Sasha Lane) and Adam (Forrest Goodluck) as they all navigate a place where they don’t feel they belong. I enjoyed the film. Moretz, Lane, and Goodluck give wonderful performances and have great chemistry; I would have liked to have seen more scenes with them together. The close-ups of Moretz showcase her portrayal of a young adult abandoned by parents and friends …

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We the Animals

We the Animals: In this very interesting coming-of-age story, three brothers – Manny, Jonah, and Joel – live with their Puerto Rican parents in upstate New York. The parents have difficulty staying together – they work long hours to try to make ends meet, and mom suffers from bouts of depression that are set in motion as a result of the abuse of her husband. Through it all, the three boys stick together and find their own way. Jonah, the youngest, is the most sensitive of the three and uses his art to navigate the emotional and physical changes that …

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The Wife

Glenn Close plays Joan Castleman, whose husband Joe (Jonathan Bryce) has just won the Nobel prize for literature. Joan is initially very happy, but the event causes the unfolding of circumstances that complicate the celebration. Bryce’s performance is very strong, but I think Close’s performance is amazing. There is a rage that simmers underneath as she navigates the various honors; her performance is nuanced, and she communicates so many different emotions through her eyes and facial muscles in a way that only a master of her art can do. There is a particularly powerful scene that includes Close and Christian …

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BlacKkKlansman

This new Spike Lee film is based on the true story of Ron Stallworth (played by John David Washington), the first Black man hired into the Colorado Springs Police Department. After being stuck in the records vault, he is reassigned to the intelligence unit and happens on an ad for the Ku Kux Klan. Ron recruits Flip (played by Adam Driver), a more experienced detective, and they go undercover together to infiltrate the KKK. Lee has put together a really powerful film, probably one of his best in a very long time, that uses a “crazy, outrageous, incredibly true” story …

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Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far On Foot

Joaquin Phoenix stars in the true story of John Callahan, an alcoholic who was involved in an accident that left him a quadriplegic. The film is the story of his recovery and eventual success as a cartoonist. My overall review is very positive. The best thing about this film by far is the acting. Joaquin Phoenix is, well, as always, great. I was even more impressed with Jonah Hill, who I at first did not recognize, and who plays a gay, wealthy, and unconventional sponsor. Most of the smaller roles were great – all of the actors who played members …

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Blindspotting

First, this film is outstanding! Colin (Daveed Diggs, who I see won a Tony for his performance in Hamilton) is a convicted felon trying desperately hard to stay out of trouble on his last days of parole. His best friend from childhood, Miles (Rafael Casal), has a very difficult time staying out of trouble. Three days before parole is supposed to end, Colin witnesses the shooting of a black man by a white police officer; the event launches three days that will test Colin and Miles’ friendship. An unusual take on the “buddy film”, this movie gets so much right. …

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Sorry to Bother You

Cassius (LaKeith Stanfield) is desperate for a job; he is living in his uncle’s garage and is several months past due on rent. He brings a trophy and achievement certificate Cassius bought to impress the interviewer and lands a job with a telemarketing company where he is admonished to always “stick to the script”. With a little help from a coworker (Danny Glover) at the company, he suddenly becomes wildly successful and transitions to the ranks of “power-callers” who get lavish offices upstairs and land the best accounts and outrageous salaries. All the while, his girlfriend Detroit (Tessa Thompson) is …

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Eighth Grade

Kayla (Elsie Fisher) is in her last week of middle school and making the emotional transition to becoming a high school student. She lives in a world of Snapchat, texting, and YouTube videos in which she attempts to give others advice on how to survive adolescence. I really enjoyed this film. Elsie Fisher is excellent as the gawky young teenage girl trying to find herself in a social world dominated by technology and high expectations. The screenplay is well-crafted, and the writer was largely successful in reproducing this world that any of us who are parents understand – kids being …

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Leave No Trace

Will (Ben Foster) and his daughter Tom (Thomasin McKenzie) live off the land alone in a national part. They have been living this way for some time, as they have become adept at getting food and shelter and avoiding detection. One day, social services officials find them and take both into custody, thus disrupting their off-the-grid lifestyle. This is such a beautifully told story – really, a different take of “coming of age” stories. The cinematography is beautiful and integrates exceptionally well into the screenplay; together, they allow the background story to unfold slowly and with incredible emotional intensity. The …

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Rampage

Rampage: Davis (Dwayne Johnson) is a war veteran who made a career change and became a primatologist. He communicates pretty well by using sign language with a gorilla (George). In outer space, an experiment goes awry, and an explosion results in a mysterious substance falling to earth in three different places. The substance causes genetic mutations resulting in rapid growth and increased violence. George inhaled the substance, as did two other creatures, and soon those extremely HUGE monsters descend upon Chicago. Davis serendipitously meets the person responsible for creating the substance, and together they plan to find a way to …

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