Movies: Resistance, Tracker, Vivarium

Movie 1: Resistance

Let’s cut to the important issues in this film.  First, it’s based on true events of World War II.  It’s also about the saving of thousands of French Jewish children who fled to safety in Switzerland.  It’s also the story about Marcel Marceau, considered the best mime of all time.

There is so much packed into this film it may take a while for it all to sink in.  It was just released March 27.  With all theaters closed, seek it out on Netflix or Amazon or other streaming services.

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Movie 2: Tracker

OK…so the pickings have dwindled down to third rate Action Dramas that didn’t last long in the theaters.  This action thriller is set in Italy where cliche characters and a low budget production result in an unsatisfying movie experience.

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Movie 3: Vivarium

Just released on pay per view channels this film is both unnerving and intriguing at the same time.  It’s also a Sci-Fi horror story that is unique, not in a good way and thought provoking in a creepy futuristic way.  It’s concurrently frustrating and tedious.  Ultimately a “downer” to be sure. 

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Movies: Charlie’s Angels, Blood On Her Name, Zombieland: Double Tap

Special Note:  All of last week’s films and this week’s films were sourced on Comcast On Demand.  Due to the current coronavirus outbreak Comcast is offering low or no cost pricing.  It’s pretty extensive.  J&J

 

Movie 1: Charlie’s Angels

The critics were not kind to this film.  Yes it’s a remake of the famed TV series of the 1970’s.  Yes, some scenes are a bit heavy handed and not realistic.  It’s one of a few action films written and directed by Elizabeth Banks.  By Hollywood’s standards this is more than progressive.

There is lots of action, confusion and special affects.  Mostly it’s just good old fashion fun that does not take itself too seriously. 

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Movie 2:  Blood On Her Name

This is a dark and often intense film about a Southern working class family when an accidental killing disrupts everyone’s lives.   It’s not likely to garner many industry awards but it’s a good way to be distracted for a couple of hours.

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Movie 3:  Zombieland: Double Tap

We didn’t see the first Zombieland 10 years ago.  We were in Europe last Fall when this edition was released.  We hesitated on viewing this one,  but with limited options we acquiesced.

We were glad we did.  It is a goofy production.  Corny at first, but it quickly took off and got better and better as it evolved.  Ultimately it was satisfying and well worth the viewing.

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Movies: The Postcard Killings, Human Capital, Waiting for Anya

A Big Hello to all.  It’s day 5 of “Shelter in Place”.  The biggest frustration to date is lack of products in many of the supermarkets/drug stores.  Binge purchases have cleared shelves, especially paper towels, toilet paper, antibacterial hand soap and a variety of ordinary goods.  The best news is several markets have established early morning SENIORS HOURS such as Safeway, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Target. 

SPECIAL NOTE:  With ALL movie venues now closed, we decided to use what’s on line.  Our cable provider has pretty extensive movies available from several sources.  The first film below released March 13th (last week) of this year so we are hoping for more of the same until “Shelter in Place” is complete.

Movie 1:  The Postcard Killings

This film is based on the James Patterson bestseller by the same name.  It’s unique, creepy, suspense filled and grisly.  It’s genre is listed as Drama, Mystery, Thriller, Crime.  It’s filled with intrigue and suspense.  The critics were not kind with this film.  We enjoyed it!

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Movie 2: Human Capital

Great acting overall and a solid concept for this pay per view film.  It’s listed as a drama but frankly it’s a mixed bag.  It’s based on a a 2004 novel by Stephen Amidon.   Ultimately there is simply too much going on,  i.e. hedge funds, wealth versus the middle class, dysfunctional families, and a tragic accident.

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Movie 3: Waiting for Anya

This fascinating film was designed for preteens to explain Jewish atrocities of World War II.  It’s based on real events when 7500 Jewish children were smuggled out of  Southern France and into the Pyrenees Mountains of Spain.  It’s well done but a bit melodramatic.  

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Movies: The Hunt, Hope Gap, First Cow

Greetings to all!

We are sending this edition of movie reviews from our home in San Francisco. We were notified today by the Mayor of San Francisco that ALL city residents are required to “Shelter in Place” due to the Coronavirus.   This means do not leave your home except to go to work, purchase groceries, go to pharmacies or doctor appointments.

Additionally, the six adjacent Bay Area counties are following suit.  That will impact over 7 million people!!  More details later…

Here are the last few movies we have seen.  All good and all worth a watch.  We send our best wishes to everyone.  We’ll keep in touch as time and events allow!

J&J

Movie 1:  The Hunt

How timely?!  This is a gruesome satire about the American reality.  It is simultaneously violent and loathsome.  Frankly…it’s overwhelming and ruthless.

It’s a little too close for comfort to our thinking.  Yes, it’s a satire and a social commentary on the current state of affairs.  It’s also unique, brilliantly crafted and loaded with timely messages.  Hillary Swank is pure genius in her lead role.

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Movie 2: Hope Gap

Wow!  This is an outstanding film.  Annette Bening and Bill Nighy give exceptional performances in this story set in rural England.  The film has been collecting accolades from the international film circuit.

Our advice?!  It’s not to be missed.  It’s melancholy, sensitive, painfully powerful.  We strongly recommend it.

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Movie 3:  First Cow

Set in the Oregon Territory during the gold rush.  At the time the primary livelihoods were fur trappers.  This film delivers its story slowly giving the viewer just the right amount of time to contemplate the location, conditions and cast of characters.  Beautifully filmed.

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Movies: Corpus Christi, Burden, Greed

Special note:  This was an unusual week for movie going given the Corona Virus and its fallout.  We chose to stick close to home and viewed all of the following films in smaller theaters only a few blocks away from home.  We were the only customers in two of the three films.  It was a bit eerie.  J&J

Movie 1:  Corpus Christi

This is a fascinating film about a 20 year old man who lives in a Youth Detention Center.  He also presents himself as a Polish priest.  The story is blistering, intense, thought provoking and healing.  Polish with English subtitles.

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Movie 2:  Burden

First, this film was based on real events in South Carolina.  It’s the struggle between a white supremacy group in a small town and a thriving black community.  

The production is filled with conflict and division.  It’s not subtle.  The performances are very good.  It’s not easy to watch at times but it’s also a powerful reminder that racism is often just below the surface.

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Movie 3:  Greed

It’s an interesting and topically relevant film.  It’s a satire about the ultra wealthy.  It’s also a commentary about heart felt values of the average participants.  

As a former employee of a clothing manufacturer, it’s a commentary on the excessive exploitation of the garment industry workers world wide.  It’s somewhat funny and brutally realistic at the same time.

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Movies: Wendy, And Then We Danced, Incitement

Movie 1:  Wendy

One part Peter Pan, add one part Captain Hook, this film is unique, sometimes confusing, and often illogical.  Moreover it bobbles around unclear and often confusing.

 

Nonetheless, it’s beautifully filmed.  It’s just engaging enough to keep one focused.  It’s inventive and different.  It’s intended to be a kids movie but there is plenty there for adults.

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Movie 2:  And Then We Danced

This is a fascinating film about modern dance set in the socially conservative country of Georgia.  It’s intriguing and engaging.  It’s a peek behind the curtain of the local traditional dance and its connection to local culture.  The clash between freedom of expression and oppression are powerful and insightful.  Georgian with English subtitles.

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Movie 3: Incitement

This period piece is focused on 1993 history when Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin’s goal is peace between Israel and the Palestinians.  It’s a powerful reminder of a fragile period in history along with personal and religious perspectives that still resonates today.  Hebrew with English subtitles.

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Movies: Seberg, Emma., Beanpole

Movie 1:  Seberg

This intriguing film is based on the American born actress Jean Seberg with residency in Paris and her first film Saint Joan in 1957.  But the core of the story is based on her support of the Black Panther Party in the late 1960’s.

The acting is excellent, the story ranges from intriguing to excessive FBI surveillance.  Lots of twists and turns and unexpected drama make this well worth while. 

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Movie 2: Emma.

This period novel set in 1815 by Jane Austin is both visually stunning and needlessly annoying at the same time.  It’s set in England during the Georgian/Regency era.  

On the down side Emma’s perpetual snobbery is unnecessary and often hurtful.  It is difficult to see how such behavior would be acceptable today.  The script is an odd mixture of tangents and diversions.  It’s a shame because the film is beautifully produced.

 

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Movie 3:  Beanpole

Leningrad 1945.  World War II just ended.  The city is devastated, mostly demolished yet the people struggle to rebuild their lives.  Nonetheless, the people cling to hope and a quest of normality.  That said, this film is long (139 minutes…it felt even longer).  It’s confusing, laborious and visually disappointing.  Add Russian with English subtitles…

 

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Movies: Brahms The Boy II, The Call of the Wild, The Invisible Man

Movie 1: Brahms The Boy II, 

If you saw the first film…forget the plot and story, it’s much a do about nothing for Boy II.  This film is pretty heavy handed with lots of tense moments and misleading, albeit still scary but underwhelming, scenes.

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Movie 2: The Call of the Wild

Here’s a film almost everyone will enjoy.  It’s a wonderful book to movie production based on the 1903 classic by Jack London.  It’s a merger of classic and computer generated images (CGI).  The result is a charming story about a man and dogs.  Some of whom are both good and not so good. 

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Movie 3: The Invisible Man

Here’s a a pretty good remake of  the TV Series The Invisible Man from our childhood.  It’s based on the original novel by H. G. Wells.  (How could it not be good?!)

This rendition is concurrently scary, creepy, haunting and more than eerie!  Fasten your seat belt for this one.

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Movies: Sonic the Hedgehog, Fantasy Island, Shubh Mangal Zyada Saacvhan

Movie 1:  Sonic the Hedgehog

This film is targeted to children.  Sonic is a computer generated character by Sega Games and Paramount Pictures.  It’s a challenge to describe if you haven’t seen it.  The story line and script zips along quite quickly.  Jim Carrey plays the kooky villain.  Overall, it’s a well executed silly comedy designed for children. 

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Movie 2:  Fantasy Island

Remember the television series by the same name from the 70’s?  It was intriguing entertainment for its day.  

This version is more or less the same except the plot takes the characters on more of a horror path.  What a shame.  Mainly because the set is modern, feels current and intriguing…until it gets weird and horrific.  Don’t waste your time or money.

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Movie 3:  Shubh Mangal Zyada Saacvhan

This film was banned in much of the Middle East due to its positive portrayal of same sex couples.  It’s the first Indian film about a same sex relationship since India decriminalized homosexuality in 2018.

It’s a huge Bollywood production.  It’s listed as a Comedy/Drama/Romance.  It’s concurrently goofy, graceful, funny, and forgiving.  It’s worth seeking out.  Hindi with English subtitles.

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Movies: Portrait of a Lady on Fire, Downhill, The Photograph

Movie 1: Portrait of a Lady on Fire

Set in 18th century France, this film about an art instructor to young women is subtle and visually stunning.  The dialog is equally impressive, shifting from character to character and scene to scene.

It’s a bit confusing here and there.  Some scenes are blunt and surprising but overall the production is strikingly beautiful and satisfying.  French with English subtitles.

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Movie 2:  Downhill

This movie was apparently based on the 2014 French dark comedy film Force Majeure.  This production takes place in the Austrian Alps.  In this rendition the Mom and Dad with their two boys are on a ski vacation.  

There are moments of beauty, less than ideal parenting, a few horrid locals, and a couple of chuckles.  It’s well acted, well written and focuses on family dysfunction.  This film is anything but a comedy.

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Movie 3: The Photograph

Currently in theaters nationwide, this is a no nonsense story about a man and a  woman who are more than attracted to each other from they moment they meet.

It’s an intelligent, believable love story that feels real.  One critic said it best…”It’s an excellent black movie written, produced, directed and acted by and for black people.”  We agree but believe everyone can feel connected once they see it.

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