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Tag Archives: 3.5 Stars

Unbelievable

This Netflix miniseries that begins with a young woman living in the Seattle area, Marie (Kaitlyn Dever) who was raped, reports it and then, under pressure from the local police, withdraws her allegation. This further alienates this young woman, who spent many of her childhood years moving from one foster home to another. Meanwhile, about 5 years in the future, two detectives (played by Toni Collette and Merritt Wever) are investigating a series of sexual assaults that appear to be connected. The film moves back and forth across the 8 episodes between the two stories. Overall, I liked the film. …

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Kumbalangi Nights

(India) This film was interesting for me to watch. This is probably the first film out of India I have seen that doesn’t look like it was made for an international audience. Four brothers live together in an old house in a poor part of town. The brothers don’t all get along well together, and it is clear from the beginning that there is a history that we will discover as the film progresses. I was fascinated watching this, as it is a very different film than the kind that are typically produced in the United States. I will claim …

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Toy Story 4

And the franchise continues. This time, Woody is still feeling a bit lost without his childhood buddy Andy. One day, his new child, Bonnie, creates a new toy she calls Forky. Forky, who just thinks he is “trash”, keeps trying to escape back to the trash can. This leads Woody and the others on yet another Toy Story adventure. As with the other films in the series, the animation is great, the story is sweet, and there is a lot of great dialogue. I just couldn’t quite get interested. I think I am just through with the Toy Story franchise …

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In Fabric

In this British thriller, a woman who is recently separated, lonely, and struggling to raise a rebellious teenage boy, wanders into a dress shop and purchases a striking red dress for a date with someone she has met through a local newspaper singles site. After she buys the dress, a number of strange things begin to happen to her; it is clear that her purchase unleashes some kind of evil force that affects her and others who come into possession of the dress. This is a rather interesting film. It is kind of a horror film but without a lot …

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Hi Flying Bird

Ray Burke (Andre Holland) is an agent for young rookies recruited into the NFL. There is a lockout, and Ray learns that his company and his job are on the line after his credit card is denied at a lunch with one of his rookies who has found himself in financial problems as a result of the lockout. Caught between the NFL power players and the rookies for whom he is an agent, Ray devises a scheme to end the strike and get his rookies back to work. The acting in the film is terrific, especially by Holland. I also …

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Waves

This film offers a glimpse into the life of an African American family lead by a domineering father (played by Sterling Brown) who means well and wants his two children (Kelvin Harrison Jr. and Taylor Russell) to have a better life. The film really has no plot to speak of; it is observational in a sense, just following the ups and downs the family goes through. I am not sure this one would be for everyone. It gets a bit long in some places and really starts to pick up after one particular even happens that shakes the family to …

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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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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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Brittany Runs a Marathon

This film is based on a true story of Brittany, a woman in her late 20’s whose life isn’t really going anywhere; she parties her nights away, is perpetually broke, and her closest “friend” is completely self-absorbed. One day she gets a “wake-up call” from her doctor; she has high blood pressure and needs to lose weight. Brittany forces herself into sweats and runs one block, and she decides that she is going to train for the New York marathon. This is a really inspiring story. Jillian Bell, who plays Brittany, is great in her role; she is funny, incredibly …

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Skin

This film is based on the true story of Byron Widner (played fantastically by Jamie Bell), a white supremacist who eventually works with the FBI and leaves the supremacist group he co-founded. Caught between his “parents” who adopted him at a young age and a woman and with three children with whom he falls in love, Widner had to navigate the extreme violence represented by his family and the life he wanted to lead with Julie and her daughters. The film is well-acted, particularly by Jamie Bell, who gives a performance of surprising depth; Danielle MacDonald, who plays Julie, and …

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