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Latest Reviews

Green Room

Four 20-somethings in a punk rock band from the East Coast are on a tour that is not turning out so well; the last gig got botched and netted them about 6.00 each. Mohawk-guy tells them there is another gig just outside of Portland Oregon that will pay 350.00. They play, get paid, and go back to retrieve a cell phone and witness the murder of a girl. They and the girl’s best friend find themselves trapped in the green room. Think “Cabin in the Woods” or “Evil Dead” where the bad guys are not evil spirits or slashers but …

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Everybody Wants Some

This is the latest Richard Linklater film. The time of life is 1980, and Jake has scored a baseball scholarship and is heading to his freshman year in college. The film takes place over the 3 days between the time he checks into the baseball house and the first day of classes. Linklater has an interesting formula that he makes work so well: Capture an era exactly, meticulous in every detail – the music, dress, expressions, and in this case, the bongs; create dialog that resonates with those of us who came of age during that era; and overlay an …

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The Jungle Book

  (IMAX, 3D) – remake of the original Jungle Book movie. I don’t really remember the first one at all, so I cannot make any comparisons. However, I will say that I really enjoyed the film. It is beautiful to watch – the computer animation is spectacular, and all of the creatures of the forest appear so lifelike, and Mowgli (the man-cub) fits amazingly among them. The actors who do the voices are well chosen – Scarlett Johanssen as Kaa the snake, Christopher Walken as King Louie, and Bill Murray as Ballu the bear (who is very funny), for example. …

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Hello, My Name is Doris

Hello, My Name is Doris – Sally Fields plays Doris, a middle-aged woman who has spent most of her adult life living at home caring for her mother. The company in which she works hires a new art director, John, who is easily half Doris’ age. He is very friendly, and Doris develops a crush on him. The movie is about Doris and how her life changes because of her new obsession. While I don’ t think the script is all that great – it leaves so many holes and questions – the movie is really worth seeing for Sally …

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Embrace of the Serpent

(Spanish with English subtitles): The film takes place during two time periods woven together through the continuity of an Amazonian guide named Karamakate. He guides two white explorers looking for a particular plant that has sacred and psychedelic properties. The film is quite stunning; it is shot in black and white, which has the interesting effect of making the jungle and the stories it contains feel much more real. It is also a great historical story about colonialism, missionary work, and the effects the intrusion of white men had on native culture. There is one story line in particular that …

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Emily Blunt plays Kate, a young, idealistic, and talented FBI agent whose specialty is hostage situations. She is recruited by Matt (Josh Brolin), a government agent who offers her an assignment that will get her at the heart of the drug trade to really make a difference in the war on drugs. A mysterious man, Alejandro (Benicio Del Toro), is quiet but seems to have a key role on Matt’s team. The movie is about the execution of a mission to find a specific drug lord. The film is excellent; it is intense but very skillfully written and directed, and …

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(Jordan; Arabic with English subtitles) – This is a coming of age film set in the Arabian desert during the early 1900’s (I think during the first world war). A young Bedouin boy goes with his brother into the desert to lead an English soldier and his translator to some unknown destination. The movie is the story of that journey. I thought the film to be quite excellent. It feels in a lot of ways like an American western; the parallels are striking in terms of the setting and story, but here the conqueror of the west is a young …

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Black Mass

Johnny Depp plays Jim “Whitey” Bulger, head of the Irish Mafia who became an informant for the FBI through the plans of his childhood friend and FBI agent John (played by Joel Edgerton). The film starts just before Bulger becomes an informant, and the story of that collaboration is the focus of the movie. I thought the film overall was a bit of a miss. I thought Johnny Depp gave a tremendous and really creepy (especially in the latter half of the movie) performance, and his was really the strongest of the movie. I enjoyed the story – I knew …

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