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Tag Archives: 2013


Jeremy Siefert directed this film that is his personal exploration of genetically modified organisms (GMO) and how they are affecting our food supply. He travels partly with his wife and two children to farms and corporations in search of answers about GMO’s and the foods that contain them. He also is trying, in the process, of teaching his children more about the food they eat. I liked the movie because it was a very non-technical presentation of a complex topic, and I think that this serves as a great introduction to the topic of GMO, particularly for those who don’t …

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Live and Let Live (German)

Documentary in which the director introduces us to six different people who have adopted the vegan lifestyle and explores with them their reasons for doing so. Interviewees include a professional cyclist who long-listed for the 2012 Olympics; a butcher who became a vegan chef; members of the animal rights group Animal Equality; and a couple who own a sanctuary for animals that would have been sent to slaughter. I enjoyed this film that highlights not only the benefits of eating a vegan diet but more of the activist orientation behind their decisions to become vegan. There is also a brief …

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Like Father, Like Son

(Japanese with English subtitles): A very thought-provoking movie about two couples who find out that their children, who are now 7 years old, were switched at birth. The two families represent different socioeconomic levels, and the fathers have very different approaches to family. The movie explores the roles of nature and nurture and the impact of parenting style, mostly from the viewpoint of the parents. I thought the movie was really well directed and acted; the two kids, especially the one who plays Kieta, were great. I also liked seeing this story from a different cultural context. While some of …

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The Past

French with English Subtitles:  From the Iranian film director who crafted the really wonderful film “A Separation” a couple of years back. A man returns from Iran to Paris after a 4 year absence to finalize the divorce his wife has sought (she has since met a new man she intends to marry at some point). In the beginning, the soon to be ex-husband appears to be “all business”, but his presence becomes a catalyst for a number of different events. I won’t say much more than this, because the way the story unfolds is quite fascinating, sometimes takes unexpected …

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August: Osage County

The movie is adapted from a play and is about a family whose patriarch disappears one day. The family comes together, and the movie is the story of a dysfunctional family whose secrets become revealed. Overall, I did not much care for the movie. The play was so outstanding, and I felt that it worked much better on stage than in the movie. The parade of big names (all of the people good actors and actresses in their own rights) was distracting for me; I think it was too much, as I just did not feel much chemistry between the …

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This movie is the most original and creative movie I have seen this year. Joaquin Phoenix plays Theodore, a sensitive guy and professional letter writer, who is living in the very-near future (close enough to feel contemporary and recognizable). One day, he sees an advertisement for a new computer operating system; he installs it and begins a relationship with his OS (Samantha, voice by Scarlett Johannson). I am not going to say much about the story of the relationship itself, because that story goes in so many marvelous directions. But you really should see it because 1) Phoenix gives probably …

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We Are What We Are

A horror story that begins in a terrible rainstorm and the death of Mrs. Parker (from what we don’t know at this point). She left behind a husband, 2 daughters, and a son. The movie is the events that unfold after their mother’s death that reveal the complex family secrets. This is really a very interesting movie that takes what could have been a B-rate movie and turns it into an A rate movie through exquisitely beautiful cinematography and careful storytelling. The movie is so well made the realization you are watching a horror movie doesn’t come until much later …

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Wolf of Wall Street

Based on actual events portrayed in a book by Jordan Belfort, a Wall Street stockbroker who rose to fortune and ended up serving time in prison for defrauding investors. There are things about the movie I liked. (1) I thought this was one of Leondardo DiCaprio’s strongest performances; (2) putting this movie in the hands of Martin Scorsese was a great choice – he takes a story that might otherwise be commonplace and documentary-like and turns it into something that is irreverent, over-the-top, and funny; and (3) in the process, it serves as an interesting commentary on Wall Street and …

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