Movies: The Man Who Invented Christmas, Jane, The Square

The Man Who Invented Christmas

This is a remarkable film about Charles Dickens writing A Christmas Carol.  It is magically filmed “in real time of the time of the writing” which takes a bit of getting used to but well worth the mental investment.  This makes the film thought provoking and a real flashback to 1843 when Charles Dickens wrote the book.

The cast is relatively small but effective.  Dan Stevens is Charles Dickens.  Christopher Plummer is Scrooge.  Jonathan Pryce is Dicken’s father.  Donald Sumpter is a really scary Jacob Marley, and Morfydd Clark is the wife Kate Dickens.

It was exciting and challenging at the same time watching Charles Dickens actually creating the original book.  It was both unique and fascinating film making!

This film is rated PG for thematic elements and some mild language.  We do recommend this film for children perhaps with some current explanation.  It is listed as a Comedy/Drama.  It runs 104 minutes and we cannot think of a better way to continue the holiday season.

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Jane

Take one part adventure, one part romance, add a lifetime commitment to chimpanzee research, mix in a multi continent family and make a world class documentary about the whole thing and you have a whopper of a film.

Director, Producer, Screenplay writer Brett Morgen draws on over 50 years of archived National Geographic film stock to tell the story of the trailblazing Jane Goodall and her chimpanzee research.  It is also a biography of Jane and her immediate family’s life in Tanzania.

It is an amazing documentary on the lives of chimpanzee.  Their behaviors, relationships with each other and their interactions with other species.  It is filled with awe, laughter, tragedy, heart break, discovery and disappointment.

It is rated PG.  It is listed as a Biography/Documentary.  Critics and audiences are giving Jane high marks.  It is generally child friendly although there are some scenes of violence within the animal world that may require explanation.

This is a potential Oscar winner.

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The Square

Oh my!!  What a mess.  First, locally, The Square we saw was about a Modern Art Museum in Stockholm.  The San Francisco Chronicle prints a daily review about a documentary with the same title regarding the Egyptian uprising released in 2013.  We thought we were seeing the Egyptian movie.

It gets weirder.  The movie we did see was listed as a “Drama/Comedy”.  It gets better (or worse depending on your perspective).  The film we saw won virtually every major award at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival including the coveted Palm d’Or.  Unbelievable given we thought it the worst film in years.

The film we did see was about a Swedish Modern/Contemporary Art museum and its curator developing a new collection.  Their PR company goes rogue when it produces an ad clip where a little girl blows up causing massive fallout with the public and the press.

The acting was good with several globally talented actors but the story line just did not translate.  Some of the plot was just creepy;  i.e. a scene where an adult ape is wandering around an apartment while a human couple are having sex.  And that is just one example of several.

It is rated R for language, strong sexual content and brief violence.  It is absolutely not acceptable for children (or adults for that matter!).  It runs a painful 2 hours, 22 minutes.  English, Danish and Swedish, with English subtitles.

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