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Latest Reviews

The Big Sick

Romantic comedy based on a true story of Kumail Nanjiani, an aspiring comedian living in the US and born of Pakistani parents, who falls in love with a White woman Emily (Zoe Kazan). Kumail’s parents expect him to marry a Pakistani woman, which puts pressure on Kumail. Kumail and Emily break up, and soon thereafter, Emily falls seriously ill. The film is wonderful; serious themes, including navigating bi-cultural tension and the effects of a grave illness on friends and family, are told with humor. The film felt like an “up close and personal” documentary, replacing stereotypes with real people who …

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Spiderman: Homecoming

The newest Spiderman spins off from Captain American: Civil War in which Spiderman (Tom Holland) is recruited by Ironman to fight his fellow avengers. I always kind of wonder how they can keep recrafting Spiderman (I saw and loved the ones with Toby Maguire but never saw the ones with Andrew Garfield). In this newest version, Spiderman is 14 years old and in high school dealing with high school issues. He struggles to keep interested but dreams of being part of the Avengers; he is an intern with Stark Labs and keeps getting blown off by Happy, the guy paid …

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War for the Planet of the Apes

In Rise of the Planet of the Apes, a serum enhances the intelligence of apes and causes a spread of a virus that wipes out much of the human race. In Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Kobo and Cesar are pitted against each other in alternate views on how humans should be dealt with. In the newest movie, the darkest and most psychologically penetrating of the three, Cesar stands off against Colonel (Woody Harrelson), an especially cruel leader of one group of humans and many ape slaves, after he kills Cesar’s wife and other members of the clan. …

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Maudie

Based on a true story, Sally Hawkins plays Maud, a woman with rheumatoid arthritis who turns up on the doorstep one day of Everett (Ethan Hawke) who has advertised for a woman to keep his house clean. He is gruff, lives alone, and makes his living as a fisherman. The film is the story of how their relationship develops and how Maud becomes a widely-known artist. The movie is not perfect; it lacks depth of character development, and the movie spans about 40 years although it is difficult to tell that from the film. But the acting here is phenomenal …

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Baby Driver

Ansel Elgort (The Fault in Our Stars is the film you would recognize him from) is Baby, a young, peach-fuzzed kid who has an innate instinct for cars and music. He is a getaway driver working off a debt to Doc (Kevin Spacey). Once his obligation is done, however, Doc enlists Baby for one more heist. How Baby comes to be in service to Doc I won’t say, as it is part of the beauty of this story that it unfolds slowly over time. The film has probably one of the most thrilling starting sequences I have seen in a …

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I, Daniel Blake

Daniel Blake is an older trapped by a repressive system; his benefits have been cut off, even though he has been told by doctors that he cannot go back to work. He befriends Katie and her two children; she fails to show up to an appointment at the precise time it is scheduled and loses out on benefits she and her children need to live. Daniel and Katie help each other to make it through the days. I think this an excellent film about people caught up in systems having all the appearances of doing good but that have enough …

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Captain Underpants

Animated movie based on the book series of the same name. Two kids are best friends – one loves to tell stories and the other to draw cartoons. Between the two of them, they create the Captain Underpants series. One day, their principal has finally had it with the two pranksters and separates them, placing them in different classrooms. Shortly thereafter, they hypnotize him and turn him into Captain Underpants at will. The movie overall is rather silly fun. The animation is very good with intense color and lots of action. The underlying message about friendship really makes the movie …

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Wonder Woman

I always wondered why it took so long after the DC and Marvel comics movies started taking off for Hollywood to make a movie to follow up on the successful Wonder Woman TV series of the 70’s. And now we have the movie that certainly will launch some sequels. Gal Gadot places Diana / Wonder Woman. After she rescues a British spy Steve Trevor (played by Chris Pine) who wrecks off the beach of the Amazonian’s island, she and Trevor set off so that Diana can kill Aries, the god of war, and Trevor can stop Dr. Poison from killing …

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Guardians of the Galaxy 2

Pete (Chris Pratt) and Gamora (Zoe Saldana) along with Drax, Rocket Racoon, and Baby Groot, return as the Guardians of the Galaxy. The Guardians slay a ridiculous monster and, on their way out, Rockett steals some very important batteries that are worth a lot of money on the black market. In their escape, they run into Ego (played by Kurt Russell), who says he is Pete’s father. At its core, the movie is about uncovering the story of Ego. The music was great (there could have been more of it), the colors and action were almost always quite dazzling, and …

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Raw (French with English subtitles)

Justine is going off to vet school, just like her father and mother previously and her sister who is also attending. Justine (and the rest of her family) were raised as strict vegetarians. As part of the new student hazing, Justine eats a rabbit kidney, and she and the new students are showered with blood (just like Carrie); this releases her suppressed carnivore. First, she tries to pocket a burger from the lunch line, and her new obsession with raw meat manifests in some rather shocking ways that become apparent as the film progresses. This movie defies a clear genre: …

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