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Tag Archives: 4 Stars

Relic

Kay (Emily Mortimer) and her daughter Sam (Bella Heathcoat) return to Kay’s family home when her mother Edna (Robyn Nevin) has been missing for an extended time. The find a house of a woman who is suffering from Alzheimer’s with the Post-it note labels. Edna suddenly returns home, and several mysterious incidents take place, and it seems that there is some other presence in the house with them. I really liked this film. The director creates an old-school spooky horror film with a twist: She has woven into the story a narrative about what it is like to lose someone …

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The True History of the Kelly Gang

This very interesting Western out of Australia is an interpretation of the life of Ned Kelly, a real person of Irish descent who lived in Australia in the late 19th century. He was notorious for fighting against the English police and their injustice against the Irish immigrants. I have not seen other versions of this story nor read the book on which it was based. However, the film itself is unusual in its approach. In the film, Ned’s father wore frocks (women’s dresses) while engaging in raids on the English in order to catch them off guard. Ned, his brother, …

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Boy’s State

This documentary follows one class of Texas Boy’s State participants in 2018. Boy’s State is a program sponsored by the American legion that has been bringing high school junior boys together since 1935 (there is a Girl’s State equivalent that has been running since 1937). At the very beginning, we see that Bill Clinton, Rush Limbaugh, Cory Booker, and Dick Cheney were all previous participants. The boys are randomly assigned to two parties, and for a week create a government and participate in elections, with the most coveted office being that of Governor. There are also talent shows, and they …

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John Lewis: Good Trouble

This documentary is about the life of John Lewis, congressman and civil rights icon. The film uses interviews (many of them with Lewis as a much older but still committed fighter for civil rights) and archival film and photo sources to tell his story. It is a pretty “standard” documentary; there is nothing extraordinary about the filming or the approach. However, it is an inspiring story about a man who marched with Martin Luther King Jr and found himself arrested and sometimes beaten in his fight for civil rights. He became famous for saying that people should get into “good …

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She Dies Tomorrow

Amy (Kate Lyn Sheil) calls up her friend Jane and needs to see her; when Susan finally does come over, Amy tells her that she is going to die tomorrow. Susan just chalks it up to drinking relapse, but when she gets home, she hears voices and also believes she is going to die tomorrow. The thought that the person will die tomorrow spreads like a virus – a psychological virus. At one hour and 24 minutes, the screenplay is pretty tight and is paced quickly. One the one hand, this is a sort-of horror film permeated with spookiness and …

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Bad Education

This film is based on the true story of Dr. Frank Tassone (Hugh Jackman) and Pam Gluckin (Allison Janney) who were convicted of embezzling millions of dollars from a school district in Long Island that Dr. Tassone had helped build into one with a high reputation for getting seniors admitted to prestigious colleges. There is not a very deep examination of the years of scheming that led to this happening; the film starts off when Gluckin is caught embezzling money to finance home remodeling and is really about the downfall of both. The film is smartly made. Janney and Jackman …

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Emma

In this newest adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel, Emma (Anna Taylor Joy) lives in a ridiculously rich world in which she does not want for anything. She has shunned the institution of marriage, yet Emma feels the need to serve as a matchmaker (or match breaker) for those around her, especially her friend Harriet (Mia Goth). She is young and inexperienced but perceives herself to be more worldly than she really is, and in her stubbornness is blind to her own feelings, in this case for George (Johnny Flynn). I was rather surprised that I enjoyed the film as much …

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We Are Little Zombies

(Japan) Four kids meet and become connected when their parents are being cremated. The film starts out with the stories of what happened to their parents. Unable to deal with the grief associated with their loss, the kids form a band, Little Zombies. This is a film that is hard to describe adequately. It is a coming of age story. It is a film about young kids trying to deal with their feelings in the face of significant loss. It is also one of those movies about kids who form a band, create tunes that you cannot shake from your …

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The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson

This biography explores the life of Marsha P. Johnson, a popular LGBT activist in New York City, who was found dead in the Hudson River in July 1992. Marsha and her long-time friend Sylvia Rivera were involved with the Stonewall uprising in 1969 and started the first trans activist organization, STAR, in NYC. One of her friends, Victoria Cruz, as she is getting ready to retire, decides to try to find answers to the case that police had long since closed and deemed a suicide. Victoria’s investigation was less interesting than following the lives of Marsha and Sylvia in the …

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Boy

This is an early film by Taika Waititi (Hunt for the Wilderpeople; What we Do in the Shadows; JoJo Rabbit) centers Boy, a young boy of about 12 or 13 years. He lives with his younger brother Rocky and a variety of young cousins. He serves as the male caretaker of his bother and cousins while their nan is away. Boy idolizes his father, who he hasn’t seen in 7 years since his father went to prison, and Michael Jackson. When his father suddenly shows up, he is forced to reconcile his worship of an idealized father with the one …

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