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Tag Archives: 2017

LA92

This documentary chronicles the events that let up to the riots in Los Angeles in 1992 as a result of the exoneration of 4 LAPD officers who beat a Black man after a traffic stop. I watched this film right after Let it Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992, and the difference is that LA92 focuses much more on the days during which the riots occurred. It is a powerful and sobering look at the simmering pot of race relations in the United States. There is so much footage available here; the way it is cut, you actually feel like you are …

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Let it Fall: Los Angeles 1982-1992

This documentary examines the decade prior to the riots that resulted from the exoneration of 4 Los Angeles Police Department officers who were involved with the brutal beating of Rodney King. The film starts off right away with the message that for those who lived in LA, during the decade before, they knew that something was going to happen at some point. The film provides, through interviews and archival footage, a detailed context of what life in Los Angeles was like during that decade: A police department that was at times out of control in its dealings with gang-related activities; …

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The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson

This biography explores the life of Marsha P. Johnson, a popular LGBT activist in New York City, who was found dead in the Hudson River in July 1992. Marsha and her long-time friend Sylvia Rivera were involved with the Stonewall uprising in 1969 and started the first trans activist organization, STAR, in NYC. One of her friends, Victoria Cruz, as she is getting ready to retire, decides to try to find answers to the case that police had long since closed and deemed a suicide. Victoria’s investigation was less interesting than following the lives of Marsha and Sylvia in the …

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My Life as a Zucchini

I missed this film in 2017, which was nominated for a best animated film Oscar that year. Ikar, who likes to be called Zucchini, lives at home with his alcoholic mother. After an unfortunate accident, Zucchini ends up in an orphanage with other kids like him who were abandoned or orphaned by their parents or removed from their homes. This is such an adorable movie. The stop-motion animation is fantastic; those big heads on the kids’ bodies are so full of emotional expression. It is amazing how such a range of emotions can be captured in an animated format. There …

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Kingsmen: The Golden Circle

After his mansion is blown into smithereens and several Kingsmen are lost, Eggsy and Merlin end up in Kentucky to try to uncover who was responsible for the destruction. The film descends into goofy mayhem as they find themselves in the middle of whiskey country and confront a global threat instituted by Poppy, who has created a virus that leaves people paralyzed. The film seems to be a parody of itself; whereas the original Kingsman was fresh and moderately innovative, this one veers into silly comedy involving meat grinders and – yes, Elton John, who seems to be at Poppy’s …

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Logan

Hugh Jackman plays Logan in the year 2029. Most of the mutants are gone now, and Logan, Professor X, and Caliban are hiding in the desert. All of them are getting sick and losing their abilities to heal themselves. One day, a woman approaches Logan with a request to protect a young girl by taking her to North Dakota. Reluctantly, Logan agrees only at the insistence of Professor X. I did not watch the two other Wolverine films, so I am sure I have lost parts of the backstory; however, it turns out that the film stands on its own. …

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1945

(Hungarian, with English subtitles): World War II has ended on the continent. As residents of a tiny village in Hungary prepare for a wedding, two Orthodox Jewish men, father and son, enter town on the train with two boxes noted to contain perfumes. They begin their journey toward town. Their arrival forces the villagers to confront their history with the war. This is a really well-crafted film. It is shot in black and white, giving you the feeling of the era. The cinematography is interesting –there are wide panorama shots alternated with close-ups of the villagers that help tell their …

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Apostasy

Dan Kokotajlo, who was raised in the Jehovah’s Witness faith and left in his early 20’s, directs a very compelling story about Ivanna and her two daughters, Luisa and Alex. Ivanna is raising her daughters strictly in the Jehovah’s Witness faith (“the Truth”). Alex had a blood transfusion when she was an infant, and she has been apologizing for it ever since. Luisa is very vocal and begins to question the teaching of the elders. Two separate crises involving the daughters that hit the family challenge their faith. We found the movie to be equally fascinating and disturbing in its …

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The Breadwinner

Parvana is a young girl growing up in Afghanistan under the Taliban rule. Girls and women are expected to be fully covered at all times and not to be seen in public without a husband or close relative. One day, while they are on the street selling possessions to pay for food, her father makes one of the young Taliban soldiers angry, and the next day they arrest him and send him to prison. Parvana decides to cut her hair and pass as a boy to support her family and get her father out of prison. This film is exceptional; …

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You Were Never Really Here

You Were Never Really Here: Joaquin Phoenix is Joe, an emotionally and physically scarred man who makes his living finding missing girls. His latest assignment involves the teenage daughter of an elected official who has been seen in a prostitution house.  The film is a technical marvel. The director expertly moves from inside of Joe’s head, and his memories, to the present day and back; the flashback scenes are jarring and add to the depth of the damage done to Joe as a kid and as a war veteran. The script is 89 minutes, and there is not a single …

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