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Tag Archives: 3 Stars

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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Hustlers

The story, inspired by true events, concerns Destiny (Constance Wu), a woman who needs money and secures a job dancing in a strip club. There, she meets Ramona (Jennifer Lopez), who takes her under her wing and mentors her. They are working in New York City just before the financial markets crashed, when money flowed through Wall Street and into the NYC party scene. After the crash, they parted ways and later reunited, creating a scheme to drug rich men and get them to rack up their credit cards. The premise itself is interesting – it is kind of a …

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The Great Hack

This documentary attempts to give the full story of the Cambridge Analytica scandal. To refresh memories, Cambridge Analytical use the data from millions of Facebook users to target voters for political advertising purposes during the 2016 elections in the US (as well as the Brexit campaigns). The film tracks the timeline of Cambridge Analytica’s demise, including the involvement of the chief whistleblowers, Chris Wylie and Brittany Kaiser. From a film perspective, I did not think it to be the greatest of documentaries. Particularly in the first half, there is a lot of “filler” space. Granted, some of it is quite …

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The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

After several years of relative calm after Bricksburg was originally saved by Lucy and Rex, a new threat comes from invaders from outer space. Lucy is captured by the invaders, and it is up to Rex find Lucy and for both of them to once again save their city. I will start by saying that I don’t think this film worked nearly as well as the first one. My daughter called it right: the movie tries way too hard for its laughs. But at a deeper level, the laughs will come to those who are very young and respond to …

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Vice

This film explores Dick Cheney’s rise from his heavy partying and fighting days post-college to his tenure as vice president to President Bush. Actually, it is a film about Dick and Lynne Cheney – his wife seems to have played a significant role in his ascent to power. I had some misgivings on seeing the film – the last thing I wanted to watch was a story about Dick Cheney. I would have been happy to have him retired from my memory. The film overall is a bit of a mess. I found it rather tedious in places, and it …

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The House that Jack Built

This is the latest film from Lars von Trier, the controversial (and very creative) film director who managed (surprise) to create another like film. The film tells the story of the serial killer Mr. Sophistication, played by Matt Dillon, in five incidents, starting with his first killing and following his career through more gruesome murders. It is difficult to describe the film. It functions as a basic horror film, with some incidents creepier than others. Through a continuing (and sometimes fascinating) conversation with Verge (we find out about halfway through who Verge is and his purpose), the film attempts to …

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Aquaman

Jason Momoa plays Aquaman, the half-human, half-aquatic creature who can coexist equally well in both realms. When he was very young, he lost his mother to the depths when she had to return to her kingdom in order to save her son’s life. As an adult, Mera (Amber Heard) comes to the surface to warn Aquaman about an impending war between the kingdoms above and below. I will start off by saying that overall, the movie was fun, but it also suffers. While Momoa is certainly an impressive-looking superhero above and below the seas, it would have been nice if …

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Destroyer

Nicole Kidman plays Erin Bell, an LA Police Department cop who was assigned to undercover to a gang in the California desert. Based on a true story, the assignment ended badly. The movie tells the story, mostly in flashback, of the assignment of her and Chris (played by Sebastian Stan) and its impact on Erin’s present-day life. The story is interesting, and is rather similar to other undercover stories, like Drugstore Cowboy. While I enjoyed the movie, I did not think it was great. The screenplay is very “loose” in that there are so many aspects of the story that …

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White Boy Rick

Newcomer Richie Merritt plays Richard Wershe, who everyone knows as “White Boy Rick”. This is a story based on a memoir by Wershe, who became an FBI informant at around 15 years of age to avoid prison and then turned to selling cocaine later and ended up serving a 30-year prison sentence for dealing.  The film depicts his family – a sister, who is addicted to injection drugs, and his father, played brilliantly by Mathew McConaughey – and the circumstances that led him to a prison sentence. The film overall is not terribly bad. The acting is really strong, especially …

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Alpha

Kodi Smit-McPhee is Keda, a young man who is next in line to become the chief of his tribe. His father has been pushing him to success, but Keda is not really a hunter. One day, Keda and his father go out with the other males from the tribe in what will be his initiation as a successful hunter. While rounding up a herd of bison, Keda finds himself separated from the others and facing a charging bison. The bison ejects Keda over the cliff, and his father believes him to be dead. After befriending a wolf who was abandoned …

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