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Tag Archives: 2019

Knives Out

In this murder mystery film, the Thrombey family is a bunch of rich, whining, selfish brats headed by their matriarch Harlan (played by Christopher Plummer). His nurse, who has become his friend, helps him with his medications. One night, Harlan is found dead on his couch. Famed detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) is on-scene with two local detectives to try to uncover what happened. The film is Murder on the Orient Express, updated to a conventional setting and context. I enjoyed the film for its blend of humor and mystery. The cast, including people like Michael Shannon, Jamie Lee Curtis, …

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Maiden

This documentary is the story of the first-ever all-female crew to sail the Whitbread Round the World race in 1989. The film uses a combination of archival video footage montaged with the crew members, members of the press, and skippers of other boats in the race in the present day reflecting on their experience during that race. This is a fascinating and inspiring film of Tracy Edwards, who was in her 20’s at the time. She was a problem teenager who ran away from home at 16 and “never did finish anything she started”. She happened to get a job …

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Tell Me Who I Am

Netflix documentary about two twin brothers. Alex was in a serious motorcycle accident that caused him to lose all memory of anything before the event: the only thing he remembered was that Marcus was his brother. Marcus spent the next several years teaching Alex how to ride a bike, tie his shoes, and rebuilding Alex’s childhood. I won’t say too much more about the film as not to give anything away, as watching how the story unfolds is part of what makes the film so powerful. It is beautifully filmed, using archival video footage and family photographs interspersed with both …

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Long Shot

Fred (Seth Rogan) is an idealistic, free speech advocate who writes funny and sharp commentary. Because of his writing, he suddenly finds himself unwilling to work for the new management that expects him to “whitewash” his work. Charlotte (Charlize Theron) is Secretary of State who is positioning herself to be the first woman president. Charlotte used to be Fred’s babysitter. When she is advised that she needs to improve her sense of humor, she hires Fred to write her speeches. I liked the movie, mostly because of the great chemistry between Theron and Rogan – they both work well off …

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The Lighthouse

Willem Dafoe’s character Thomas is a lighthouse keeper, and Robert Pattinson’s Winslow is the new guy assigned to assist Dafoe for a 4-week duty period. This is Winslow’s first gig; he is a drifter who moves from job to job. Both men have histories, and as the weather turns nastier and both men become cooped up in their house on the island, both slowly slip into madness. This is an excellent film that is a credit to its craft. The film is shot in black and white and, combined with a great score, gives the overall film a moody, claustrophobic, …

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JoJo Rabbit

JoJo (played by Roman Griffin Davis, a young actor we will be paying attention to) is a young 10-year old boy who has joined the Hitler Youth. He is small and scrawny and lonely; he lives only with his mother, as his father is off at the war and his sister is no longer with them. He has the help and camaraderie of an imaginary friend to guide him to be the ideal German Nazi youth: Adolf Hitler, played by the director (Taika Waititi). When JoJo discovers his mother’s secret, JoJo sets off on a discovery of what it means …

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Pain and Glory

(Spanish) Salvador Mallo (played by Antonio Banderas) is an aging film director who is long past the zenith of his career. He suffers from numerous physical and psychological maladies and has turned to using heroin to dull the pain. The film explores Salvador’s life at four key points in time: His early childhood with his mother, a defining romantic relationship in his life, his relationship with his mother at the end of her life, and the present. The way Almodovar weaves the stories together is exquisite. He uses flashbacks but also does something unique in using the stage to tell …

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Parasite

(South Korea): The Kim family lives in a basement apartment and struggles to make ends meet by folding pizza boxes (something so simple that they cannot seem to do right); the family is destitute but otherwise happy. The son Ki-woo lands a job as an English tutor for the daughter in the uber-wealthy Kim family, and through a series of schemes, the entire family is working there. Everything runs smoothly until one of the displaced servants shows up unexpectedly when the Kim family is away on a camping trip. The movie is fantastic; the performances by all are great, but …

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Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice

This film documents the long and successful career of Linda Ronstadt, whose career was cut short in the late 2000s when she came down with Parkinson’s disease and lost the ability to control her voice. I loved the movie. I was a fan from the first time I remember hearing “You’re No Good”. I loved that she could sing and make a song her own in nearly every genre; the film takes us through her explorations of rock and folk-rock, country, new wave, jazz, and classical using concert footage and interviews with the musicians with whom she sang. One of …

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Judy

At the age of 46, and one year before she died, Judy Garland \agrees to do a concert tour in London as a way to raise money to provide a stable home for her children, Lorna and Joey. The film uses the concert tour and flashbacks to tell the story of her last big tour. Renee Zellweger does a fabulous job of capturing the mannerisms of Garland. I am not quite old enough to know Garland well, beyond my memories of seeing her on television and hearing her songs. But Zellweger captures Judy Garland’s essence and mannerisms incredibly well, and …

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