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Tag Archives: 4.5 Stars

Parallel Mothers

(Spanish) Almodóvar’s latest film concerns two women – Janis, who is in her 40’s, and Teresa, who is a teenager – who strike up a bond while sharing a hospital room as both are preparing to give birth. That connection and how it happens is one storyline. In another storyline, Janis, a photographer, has an affair with Arturo, an archeologist who specializes in digs related to Spain’s civil war. Janis asks him to help her to organize a dig of a plot of land where many of her male relatives were murdered and buried. These two stories are woven together …

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The Batman

Robert Pattinson is the latest to don the cape and play the Batman. There is absolutely no disappointment in that choice. The film is different from previous Batman films in its very film-noir approach to the subject. In this film, Gotham City has been taken over by gangsters, drug lords who rule the city; major politicians and most of the police department has been bought off. I loved the characterization of the city, its darkness and the chaos. The filming in this regard is fantastic. The Batman is widely despised by the city and is characterized as a villain by …

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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 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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Passing

Irene (Tessa Thompson) is a Black woman living in Harlem with her doctor husband and two sons. At the beginning of the film, we see her carefully negotiating white spaces; with the right lighting, and the right title of her hat, she can pass for White. She does this with delicacy, and we worry that at any moment she will be found out. She soon meets an old childhood friend Clare (Ruth Negga) who is married to a White man and has been passing as white her entire life. The meeting sets in motion a series of transformations in their …

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West Side Story

Steven Spielberg provides a cinematically spectacular remake of the original. The story is the familiar one – Tony (Ansel Elgort) and Maria (newcomer Rachel Zegler) meet at a school dance and fall in love, a taboo where racial boundaries are clearly defined and never crossed. I remember seeing the original, but thankfully that was so long ago that I didn’t have to compare this to the previous one; I could just enjoy what the show had to offer. It really is quite dazzling – the sets pop with color, and the camera catches the entire sweep of a scene with …

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Spencer

The film starts out by stating it is a “fable from a true tragedy”. The director creates a film focused on three-day period around the Christmas holiday with the Royal family. This was after any hope of a marriage between Charles and Diana had ended, and she seemed to be permanently estranged from the royal family. Pablo Larraín imagines what those three days were like for Diana. This is an interesting film, one that I really like, that depends so much on the ability of Stewart to channel Larraín’s imagination of Diana. And she does a remarkable job. I was …

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Flee

In this unusually told documentary, the filmmaker uses a combination of archival footage and minimalist animation to tell the story of Amin, who grew up in Kabul and became a refugee as a young teenager and ultimately made his way to Denmark. It is near the date that Amin is going to marry his soon-to-be husband, and his story is one that he has not told anyone, including his partner, and his not telling the story is becoming a problem in their relationship. Why he never told anyone becomes clearer as the film progresses. I liked the ingenuity displayed in …

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tick, tick, BOOM!

Lin-Manuel Miranda directed this film based on a one-man show by Jonathan Larson, the playwright who wrote the lyrics and book for the musical Rent. Before he wrote Rent, he wrote a screenplay for a science fiction musical; the process of writing this became the subject for tick, tick Boom!  I loved the film. Andrew Garfield is fantastic as Larson; I didn’t know much about him, but Garfield seems to capture his crazy spirit (and he rather looks like him as well). I didn’t realize that Garfield could sing, but he clearly found a voice in this film. It is …

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Pig

Nicholas Cage plays Robin, a recluse who lives in the woods outside of Portland Oregon with his truffle-hunting pig, sells truffles the pig finds to a young businessman. One evening, marauders break into his house and steal the pig. Robin sets off to Portland to find his pig. The premise sounds very strange, so I started off wondering how a movie with that as the plotline would be interesting and where could that go. Well, it was much more than I expected. I loved the movie a LOT. First, Nicholas Cage is great. I have not been a huge fan …

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