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Tag Archives: 2016

Grandma

Elle (played by Lily Tomlin) is a somewhat bitter feminist who has just thrown her girlfriend out of the house. Right afterwards, her granddaughter Sage appears needing $600 for an abortion. With no money, Elle and Sage take to the road to try to muster the money so that she can keep her 5:45pm appointment. Along the way, Elle’s story is revealed – we learn about her past relationships as well as her relationship with her daughter Judy (Sage’s mom). I enjoyed the movie, although I did not think it great. I liked Lily Tomlin’s performance; this was an excellent …

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The Autopsy of Jane Doe

Tommy (Brian Cox) and his son Austin (Emile Hirsch), who is learning the trade of coroner, receive the corpse of a woman who appears to have died under mysterious circumstances. As the two work through the night to learn her story, strange things begin to happen as they uncover more and more about her past. I was really surprised at how much I liked the movie. The first half is rather creepy – several scenes that cause you to jump a bit; the chills are psychological rather than bloody. The film moves quickly with several plot twists and turns; it …

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Neruda (Chilean with English Subtitles)

Pablo Narrain, a Chilean film director who also directed last years ‘Jackie’ released a second film, right around the same time, about the Chilean Nobel-prize winning poet Pablo Neruda. The film starts off with Senator Neruda, a communist, being tossed from the government. The current president has issued a warrant for his arrest. I don’t know a lot about Pablo Neruda (except for some of his poetry that I have read), so I cannot speak to the complete truth of what happens next, but the government hires a detective (played marvelously by Gael Garcia Bernal) to apprehend Neruda. What follows …

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The Founder

Based on the true story of McDonalds, Michael Keaton plays Ray Kroc, a struggling salesman of slight inventions who meets the two brothers who founded the original McDonalds in San Bernardino, CA. Kroc immediately sees the potential in franchising the enterprise. The movie is story of how Kroc maneuvers his way into ownership of what would become the multibillion dollar enterprise. Michael Keaton gives an excellent, over-the-top performance as a guy that you probably either hate or love, depending on whether you view the story as one of the epitome of the American dream or an example of the worst …

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Girl’s Trip

Four women – Sasha (Queen Latifah), a writer of tabloid exploitation articles; Ryan (Regina Hall), a highly successful writer married to an ex-pro football star; Dina (Tiffany Haddish), a wildly emotional woman who recently was fired from her job for hitting a fellow employee; and Lisa (Jada Pinkett Smith), a straight-laced, single mom living with two kids and her mom – reunite from college to enjoy a weekend in New Orleans. And New Orleans had no idea what was in store for it. This movie is hilarious and full of ribald humor – I don’t think I have laughed as …

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Land of Mine (German with English Subtitles)

When World War II ended, many Germans were retained by the Denmark military to clear landmines that were placed on miles of the beaches (presumably in anticipation of an allied coastal invasion) by German soldiers; the majority did not survive. The film, based on true events, tells the story of about a dozen mostly very young men tasked with clearing a beach of mines and who were promised that they could return home once the task was complete. This is a very intense movie. The director keeps the tension high during most of it beginning as the boys are first …

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Southside With You

This movie recreates what the first “date” with Michelle and Barack Obama might have been like. Tika Sumpter plays Michelle, and Parker Sawyers Barack, both of whom have been featured in other films. I thought Sawyers was the more convincing of the two – he seemed to at least partially capture Barack’s unique speech and mannerisms. Going into it, I did not know, and was let down, by the fact that the entire film is about their first date – and nothing else. The film does capture some of the issues facing Chicago and the context around the Obama’s meeting, …

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Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley reprise their roles as Edina and Patsy who have champagne tastes on beer budgets (or no budgets) and are unemployed while doing a fantastic job of looking employed. The movie picks up where the show left off; this time, the two go to a party during which Edina bumps into Kate Moss and knocks her into the Thames River. Eddie and Patsy go on the lam and get into several adventures. I am a huge fan of the shows, which are very funny. However, while I laughed in several places, I realized that 90 minutes …

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Queen of Katwe

Phiona is a young girl living in Katwe, Uganda who discovers the world of chess when she follows her brother to a meeting place where his teacher is instructing the children how to play chess. Her chess skills quickly advance, and soon she beats the best kids in the town. The film does a really nice job of capturing the activity and color (and poverty) of the town. It also is a wonderful story of a girl who has found a way to use her intelligence to rise out of that poverty with the support of her mother. Thumbs up …

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13th

Wow! This is a very power documentary that describes how the prison pipeline was created in the United States and how it has served to result in the highly disproportionate incarceration rates of African Americans. The title refers to the 13th Amendment, which states: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction”. Ava Duvernay, who directed the powerful Selma, uses a combination of archival footage and interviews with civil rights era activists, historians, and formerly incarcerated …

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