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Tag Archives: 3.5 Stars

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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The Infiltrators

This documentary is about members of the National Immigrant Youth Alliance (NIYA) who had themselves detained by an ICE facility in Broward County, Florida in order to help from the inside those who were being inappropriately detained. Using a combination of interviews with the real NIYA members and actors who reenacted the operation, the film explores how they were able to get inmates connected to NIYA members on the outside who helped to secure their release. As a documentary, there is nothing novel or innovative here, and the shift from actual people to reenactments is a bit jarring at times, …

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Circus of Books

This documentary is about Karen and Barry Mason, a heterosexual married couple with children who found themselves owning the Circus of Books, a store that sold gay pornography and that was a congregation place for the gay community in the ’80s and ’90s. The film is really fascinating. It provides an interesting slice of the history of the gay community in an era when pornography was illegal in many states and during the height of the AIDS epidemic. What is more fascinating is the story of how these two came to own the bookstore (there were two of them) and …

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Saint Frances

Bridget is a 30-something whose life seems headed to nowhere: she went to college but is employed as a food service worker and is in a relationship with a sensitive guy but with whom she is unsatisfied. She lands a job as a nanny for 6-year-old Frances, the daughter of two moms, and one of the moms has just had another baby. The film is about the relationship that develops between Bridget and Frances and Bridget’s journey of self-discovery. I liked the film, particularly the actress who played Bridget (Kelly O’Sullivan, who also wrote the screenplay). The screenplay for the …

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Wild Goose Lake

(Chinese): Zhou is part of a rival gang of motorcycle stealers. At the beginning of the film, we meet Liu, who is there “in place of Zhou’s wife”; the reason for this becomes apparent as the film progresses. He tells Liu that he has upset a rival gang, who is after him, and inadvertently shot a police officer, and the police force is after him as well. The film, told in flashbacks, build Liu and Zhou’s stories. The film is like a film noir; it is mostly set at night in Wuhan, and the lights and neon of the city …

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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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