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Tag Archives: 2020

The Truth (La Verite)

(French): Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche, and Ethan Hawke star in the latest film by Hirokazu Koreeda, who has given us some brilliant films like The Shoplifters, Like Father, Like Son, and After the Storm. I think that this is his first French-language film. Fabienne is a strong if self-centered actress who has published her memories. Her daughter Lumir comes to France with her husband and daughter. When Lumir reads the book, she realized that many of the things her mother wrote are not factual. This sets off a sometimes-humorous war of wits between mother and daughter. I liked the film …

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Never Rarely Sometimes Always

Autumn (played by first-timer Sidney Flanigan) is a teenage girl who becomes pregnant. Abortions are not allowed in Pennsylvania without parent consent, so she and her cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder, also a first-timer) make the trip to New York City for the procedure.  This is a very different kind of road trip that explores the nature of friendship of these two cousins and the incredible determination these two young women possess. The storytelling is slow and methodical, and through it, the director captures so many details that make every moment of Autumn’s journey completely believable. The film is about abortion, …

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Becoming

This Netflix documentary is based on the life of Michelle Obama as told in her autobiography of the same title. When I read the book, I thought it was good but way too long; I kept telling myself that she needed a better editor. But I am glad that I saw the film. It was much more concise yet told the story of how she not only became First Lady of the United States but, through that experience, has found her own voice and power independent of her husband. The film is a montage of guest appearances through which she …

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Disclosure: Trans Lives On Screen

This Netflix documentary, told exclusively from the perspective of trans male and female actors, writers, and activists, documents the history of how trans characters have been shown on the main screen and television and how those depictions have controlled the narrative of how the mainstream (and trans people themselves) views transgender. What is particularly powerful is how the intersectionality of trans and race has been portrayed on screen, starting with the first full-length feature film, and probably one of the most racist, Birth of a Nation, and taking us through current trans-positive depictions such as those contained in shows like …

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The Innocence Files

This Netflix limited series features several stories of cases of men who were convicted and sent to prison for extended sentences, nearly 30 years in some cases, for crimes that they did not commit. The Innocence Project is a non-profit that is dedicated to investigating wrongful convictions and helping get cases overturned. The stories of these men tell are powerful. Through a combination of current interviews and archival photo and video footage, the directors take us through what happened. These stories also highlight the ways in which the justice system has failed these people and others, through over-aggressive prosecuting attorneys; …

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Da 5 Bloods

Spike Lee’s latest film follows 4 African American Vietnam war veterans who return to Vietnam to find the remains of the 5th Blood and secure some gold that they came into and buried before they escaped after their aircraft crashed in the jungle. There are some parts of the film that are well done. Spike Lee’s signature of educating us about the era from the perspective of Black history, what the war was like for African American soldiers, and the immorality of the war and how it lasts into the present is really good. When you see a Spike Lee …

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The Invisible Man

Cecilia (Elizabeth Moss) is in a controlling marriage. She escapes and soon after gets a notification that her husband has committed suicide. Strange things happen, and Cecilia believes that her husband is following her. I really liked this movie. It is a great way to update the original (and also wonderful, though different) Invisible Man into something that is contemporary. Elizabeth Moss is excellent; I really gained an appreciation for her acting skills while watching this film. The screenplay is slick and the score unsettling; this, and incredible acting, make for a film that is suspenseful and scary. I loved …

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The Willoughby

The Willoughby children live with probably the world’s most selfish parents. The children are left to fend for themselves while the parents feast on lavish meals; mom spends her evenings knitting silly things, and the father watches. When the children decide they have had enough, they hatch a scheme to send their parents on a trip around the world that they likely won’t survive. I liked the movie, but not as much as I thought I would. The premise is unusual for an animated movie. The film is full of vibrant colors and fun action sequences. And, it is a …

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Birds of Prey (And the Fabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn)

Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn continues from where she left off in Suicide Squad – newly separated from the Joker – trying to find her life without him. With the Joker, she always had protection; now, she is on her own and has to face the various villains in Gotham City – in this case, the Black Mask (played by a rather uninteresting Ewan McGregor). Overall, I liked the movie; it has a lot of fun, colorful action, and Margot Robbie is always great to watch. She makes Harley Quinn a fresh and bold character. I wasn’t that taken by the …

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Capone

Tom Hardy plays Al (Fonso) Capone during the last year of his life. At this point, syphilis has caused extensive neurological damage resulting in worsening dementia. After prison, he lives his final years in an exquisite estate in Florida with his close family and the FBI listening in on all of his phone calls. Capone believes he has hidden 10 million dollars somewhere on the property, but he cannot remember where it is at, and various people around him, including the FBI, are very interested in the money’s whereabouts. The film is rather strange, and not always in a good …

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