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Tag Archives: 2021

Its a Sin (Limited Series)

I don’t always weigh in on limited series, but I was particularly captivated by this one (5 episodes). Three young and very different men – Ritchie, Colin, and Roscoe – all are 18 and move to London to explore their lives as gay men. It’s a Sin spans the decade between 1981 and 1991, the time when AIDS, a then-unknown disease that was affecting primarily gay men, was casting a shadow over the lives of many, gay and straight alike. It is a bit like the Boys in the Band but from the perspective of the UK. Those of us …

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The Tragedy of Macbeth

To preface this short summary, I have never seen any other version of this story, either play or screen; I recall having read it once in college, but alas, I have always struggled with the language of Shakespeare. So, I refreshed my memory of the story before watching the film. I loved it. I had a hard time with the language – I am glad I had subtitles to catch it all (part of it is just getting older and the mind is less efficient at keeping up with the abstract talking). A part of me wished it had been …

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The Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)

This wonderful documentary comes from the summer of 1969, the same year of Woodstock when there was another big cultural event that summer: A concert series at Mount Morris Park. That summer, across several Sundays, the Harlem Culture Festival featured some of the biggest names among Black singers of the era. According to the film, nearly 50 hours of film were shot, and most of it was locked away in a basement for about 50 years, as no one at the time felt that it was worthy of a film. The movie includes a combination of this lost footage and …

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The Hand of God

(Italy) This is a coming-of-age story centered around Fabietto, a young man who is trying to figure out what to do with his life. The film is essentially in two parts. The first is a rather slow and meandering look at Fabietto’s direct and extended family, including an aunt, Patrizia, to whom he has an odd attraction – a clearly physical one, but also one that is sympathetic to her condition. The family is full of characters – some cranky, some loving, and some rather mean-spirited – but they are all a family. A startling event ushers in the second …

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Coda

Ruby (Emilia Jones), 17 and a senior in high school is the only hearing child of deaf adults (CODA). She spends her days working with her father and brother on their fishing boat off the Massachusetts coast and being the bridge between their world and the hearing world. The parents depend on her to be this bridge, while her brother resents her for it and wants, as the older brother, to take responsibility for their success. Mr. Villalobos, the choir teacher, takes an interest in Ruby when he discovers that she is a talented singer and has the potential to …

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The Last Duel

This is not a movie that I would have necessarily placed on my priority list; I didn’t even know until I started watching it that it is based on a true story of the last sanctioned duel in France. The setting is the 100-Years War. The film centers on three people: Jean De Carrouges (Matt Damon), a knight known for his bravery and ferocity in battle; Jacques LeGris (Adam Driver), who in the beginning was a close friend of De Carrouges but becomes his most bitter enemy; and Margerite de Carrouges, wife of de Carrouges who accuses LeGris of raping …

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The Green Knight:

Dev Patel plays Gawain, the nephew of King Arthur. To prove himself as a capable knight, he accepts a challenge from the Green Knight by cutting off the Green Knight’s head, with the stipulation that he return the following year for the same treatment at the hand of the Green Knight. For a year, he passes the time, seemingly without a care, and then at the end of the year, he sets off on the journey to meet his fate. I will say first that I am not familiar with this literature, but I have read that the movie is …

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The Lost Daughter

Olivia Colman is Leda, a college professor who is on a working vacation on a Greek island. While she is on the beach, she encounters a woman and her daughter; the two of them appear to be having a power struggle, with the mother losing out. The encounter sets off a chain of memories of Leda’s own life as a mother of two daughters trying to raise them and start her career. This is a very good film that examines the feelings of a woman who struggled with being a mother and made choices that she doesn’t seem to entirely …

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Lamb

(Iceland): Ingvar and Maria are sheep ranchers who live an isolated life. The opening scenes, which are mostly silent and expansive, reinforce a sense of loneliness, and you feel an underlying sadness to the daily routine the two find themselves in. One day, they are aiding one of the sheep in giving birth, and there is something different about the lamb; we don’t know what it is, but the two quickly swaddle it and bring it into the house. Over the next months, the two raise it as their own child. The movie premise is very strange, but the story …

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The Velvet Underground

This documentary by Todd Haynes explores the rise of the Velvet Underground, primarily through the band’s connection to Andy Warhol’s factory. The merge of music and the visual aesthetic that Warhol brought made the Velvet Underground famous. What works in this film, and makes it a great one, is that it doesn’t just examine the band with the standard interviews. There are interviews, but Haynes juxtaposes hundreds of images and video and concert segments together to create a 360-degree view into the 1960’s artistic and cultural experience from the New York perspective. I have always loved this period, and I …

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