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Tag Archives: 3 Stars

Pieces of a Woman

Martha (Vanessa Kirby) and Sean (Shia LaBeouf) are expecting their first child, and they have decided to have the delivery at home. The final moments turn tragic, and the film is about how Martha, Sean, and her mother domineering mother Elizabeth (Ellen Burstyn) deal with the tragedy. The first quarter of the film is pretty amazing, as the camera captures the entirety of the birth process, and Vanessa Kirby is brilliant. Unfortunately, the rest of the film quickly loses focus. It quickly becomes unclear who is the focus. At first, you think that the focus is on Martha and Sean, …

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The Prom

The Prom: Meryl Streep and James Corden Broadway stars whose recent play was panned; Nicole Kidman, an actress relegated to the chorus who dreams of being at center stage; and Andrew Rannells, a guy who attended Juilliard but is serving drinks in a Broadway theater are all down on their luck and decide that they need to adopt a cause to reinvigorate their brands. In Iowa, when the local PTA finds out that Emma is going to bring her girlfriend to the prom, the head of the PTA stops at nothing to ensure that Emma won’t be attending. The 4 …

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The Personal History of David Copperfield

Dev Patel stars as the adult David Copperfield, and the film follows the life of David from his earliest and privileged years to his years working literally as a child slave in a bottle factory and the through young adulthood. The film was fun and funny; Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton as his Aunt Trotwood, and Hugh Laurie as Mr. Dick create funny characters. Given that, though, the film for me was just so-so. I was expecting something a bit more realistic that perhaps was a bit more of a creative new retelling that is more consistent with Dickens. What emerges …

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Uncle Frank

Uncle Frank is the one member of the family who left Creeksville when he could and is living in New York City and works as a professor of English literature. He rarely comes to visit, but his niece Beth is taken by him because he is the only family member who “looks her directly in the eye”. After graduation, she moves to NYC to attend New York University, when she finds out that he is gay. Not long after her move, her grandfather dies, and she and Uncle Frank take a road trip back home for the funeral. The film …

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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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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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Tigertail

(Taiwan-American): The film spans three generations centered on Pin-Jui: Pin-Jui’s childhood and young adulthood; his married years, and his children. The screenplay bounces back and forth in time to tell the story of how Pin-Jui followed his dream and moved to America from Taiwan. It is a story about the choices we make and their ramifications. I liked the film, although I did not think it great. While it is a nicely told story, it lacks the emotional depth needed to connect with the characters. So many of the stories are half-told, and it all felt rushed (one example is …

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The Way Back

Ben Affleck is Jack Cunningham, a former high school basketball star who is recently separated and an alcoholic. When his former school’s coach is incapacitated, the father who heads the school reaches out to see if he would step in as coach. I think the movie is just okay, mostly because Affleck gives a very convincing performance. The script leaves a lot to be desired. There are a lot of films, such as Hoosiers, that give better treatment to the subject matter. This film ends up being predictable, and the revelation of his various demons comes too late in the …

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The Gentlemen

In this new Guy Ritchie film, Michael (Matthew McConaughey) has created a multimillion-pound marijuana growing and selling operation in London. When he decides to sell the business, there are several characters who try to figure out ways to take the business from him. This is a weird movie. The dialogue is for the most part really corny and bad; I am not quite sure if it was intended that way (I think it was), but in many cases,  it isn’t funny. To Ritchie’s credit, when his brand of craziness works, it is really funny. The only saving grace for me …

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