Moonage Daydream, The Forgotten Battle, The Perfumier

Movie 1: Moonage Daydream

We thought this movie about the life of David Bowie was going to be a documentary. While the archival footage of Bowie’s life is voluminous, it’s more of a philosophical drama than a true documentary. If you are a David Bowie fan, you will find this movie a masterpiece. We found it long and loud.

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Movie 2: The Forgotten Battle

This WWII drama is historically accurate with the Canadian Army leading the way to liberate an important Dutch harbor. This movie follows a young Dutch girl who joins the resistance and a British glider pilot shot down in a Dutch town. On Netflix. Dutch with dubbed English.

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Movie 3: The Perfumier

We found this German thriller totally confusing. A female detective loses her sense of smell and tries to steal a remedy from a deranged sociopath. Way too many twists and turns. On Netflix. German with English subtitles.

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Pearl, Don’t Worry Darling, Lou

Movie 1: Pearl

For the first half hour or so this horror/slasher movie was quite good and entertaining. Then it just fell apart. Pearl is trapped and isolated on her family farm, taking care of her sick father and obeying her overbearing mother. Then it’s Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz meets the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

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Movie 2: Don’t Worry Darling

This movie premiered in September at the Venice International Film Festival and has all the right ingredients: beautiful people, location, clothes and cinematography. But it just doesn’t deliver. Set in the California desert in 1953, a young couple seemingly lives an idyllic life, until they don’t. Part drama, part sci-fi but mostly a very confusing, yet beautifully filmed, mess.

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Movie 3: Lou

A young girl is kidnapped on the San Juan islands of Washington State. Her mother, and a neighbor, try to find her. We found this thriller gripping and tense, and a showcase for the always wonderful Allison Janney. Currently on Netflix.

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The Woman King, A Jazzman’s Blues, No Limit

Movie 1: The Woman King

Set in 1823, an all-female warrior group defends the Kingdom of Dahomey (today the country of Benin) in West Africa from the American and Brazilian slave trade. This is a remarkable movie from beginning to end. Powerful, beautifully filmed and acted. Numerous Oscar nominations are likely. Seek this one out.

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Movie 2: A Jazzman’s Blues

This southern drama from Tyler Perry is as long and languid as a Georgia summer night. This is an investigation into an unsolved murder that is full of secrets, deceit and forbidden (and in 1953) unlawful love. The acting, cinematography and script are flawless. Currently in theatres but soon on Netflix.

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Movie 3: No Limit

Set in the south of France, a college student from Paris decides to take free form diving lessons. Based on a true story, this film alternates between suspenseful, steamy and just plain sad. Ultimately it loses its way. French with dubbed English. On Netflix.

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Medieval, See How They Run, The Champion of Auschwitz

Movie 1: Medieval

This is a Czech epic, set in 1419, based on the life of Jan Zizka, a famous Hussite commander who never lost a battle. The movie’s title is very apropos given the blood and brutality. While not easy to watch, and not liked by many critics, we found the cinematography and action scenes very true to the times.

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Movie 2: See How They Run

This is an Agatha Christie mystery spoof set in 1953 London’s West End. It is a who-dun-it comedy based on Christie’s long running play The Mousetrap (still running in London today). While there is not a lot of “meat” to this mystery, we found it entertaining and just plain fun.

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Movie 3: The Champion of Auschwitz

This Polish drama, based on a true story, about a boxer who has many victories in the ring against Nazi guards is riveting. His victories become a symbol of hope in the concentration camp. Netflix, Polish with dubbed English.

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Fall, The Territory, Barbarian

Movie 1: Fall

This movie was filmed in the Mojave desert using IMAX cameras. Two mountain climbing friends decide to scale a 2,000 foot obsolete radio tower. Once on top it all starts falling apart, literally. We found this movie entertaining with great cinematography. However, if you are at all afraid of heights, this movie can be stomach turning.

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Movie 2: The Territory

This documentary about burning the Amazon rain forest, stealing land from indigenous peoples, climate change has all the right ingredients. Yet we found it boring, too clinical and ultimately disappointing. Portuguese with English subtitles.

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Movie 3: Barbarian

Here is another Horror film from which we weren’t expecting much. A young woman on a job interview rents a Detroit house that is already rented by a young man. They soon realize this house has more in it than the two of them. While not particular fans of this genre we found the movie scary, interesting and really well done.

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Jaws, Waiting for Bojangles, Gigi and Nate

Movie 1: Jaws

This 1975 classic has aged very, very well and is still a classic. We saw it on IMAX on $3 Saturday. If it’s in a theatre near year, buy a large bag of popcorn (with butter, of course!) and sit back and enjoy.

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Movie 2: Waiting for Bojangles

This is a French film that depicts mental illness with almost a party like quality set in the glorious south of France. The acting is outstanding, as is the cinematography. While not always easy to watch, we found this film mesmerizing. French with English subtitles.

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Movie 3: Gigi and Nate

We really did not expect much from this movie and decided to see it to escape a 97 degree San Francisco afternoon. Were we pleasantly surprised! A young college bound man suffers an illness that leaves him quadriplegic. A capuchin monkey becomes his support animal. This coming-of-age drama hits all the right notes. And it’s always wonderful to see Diane Ladd.

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Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul, Alienoid, The Invitation

Movie 1: Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul

This religious comedy/dark satire debuted in January at the Sundance Film Festival to very favorable reviews. It’s the directorial debut of writer-director Adamma Ebo. A disgraced televangelist pastor and his wife try and reopen their church. Acting, writing, costumes are very good and very timely. In theatres and also streaming on Peacock.

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Movie 2: Alienoid

Here’s another Korean film, that if American made, would no doubt be a summer blockbuster. Aliens come down to earth and inhabit normal human bodies. The movie spans many centuries from 1380 to present day. The action and special effects are first rate. The almost two and half hours flew by. Korean with English subtitles.

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Movie 3: The Invitation

Here is yet another vampire movie! We aren’t generally fans of this genre. But we found this film intelligent (well, as far as vampire movies go) and very entertaining. An American girl is invited to the English countryside to attend a cousins wedding. Let’s just say more than wine is served at the reception…

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The Good Boss, Three Thousand Years of Longing, Me Time

Movie 1: The Good Boss

This Spanish film was Spain’s entry for the 94th Academy Awards and received 20 Goya Award nominations in Spain. Javier Bardem shines as the not so ethical boss trying to help his company win an industrial award. Spanish with English subtitles.

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Movie 2: Three Thousand Years of Longing

This movie about life, love and longing is based on A.S. Byatt’s 1994 short story The Dijinn in the Nightingale’s Eye. Tilda Swinton and Idris Elba, who plays the genie in the bottle, have wonderful on screen chemistry. A very enjoyable and thought provoking movie.

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Movie 3: Me Time

This is a Netflix movie about a stay at home dad (Kevin Hart) who attends his best friends (Mark Wahlberg) wild 44th birthday party. There are some funny jokes but overall it’s just ok. Maybe save this for a rainy night.

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Ali and Ava, Blood Red Sky, Orphan: First Kill

Movie 1: Ali and Ava

This is a British drama about two lonely people who share a fondness for the young child of one of Ali’s tenets. It is charming and heartwarming as their bond deepens, despite their very different backgrounds and racial tensions. Fortunately the movie has English subtitles as the British accent in this film can be challenging to understand.

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Movie 2: Blood Red Sky

A German widow and her young son board a plane for New York where she will receive medical attention. This movie had all the right ingredients for an interesting hijack and terrorist plot. And then, viola! it becomes a vampire hijack terrorist plot. We did not see that coming. As vampire movies go, this one was rather entertaining. This film is currently on Netflix.

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Movie 3: Orphan: First Kill

This is a prequel to the 2009 movie Orphan. A young Estonian girl escapes from a psychiatric clinic and pretends to be the missing daughter of a wealthy New York couple. It quickly goes very far downhill from there. It was nice to see Julia Stiles though.

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Bodies Bodies Bodies, Beast, Emergency Declaration

Movie 1: Bodies Bodies Bodies

It’s an R rated Horror/Comedy…more of a third rate slasher film. 20 somethings strike up a party game that goes very wrong! We should have walked out after a half hour…

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Movie 2: Beast

Oye! Here is a mystery/thriller set in South Africa. It’s rated R for bloody images, violent content, and language. Critics have not been kind with this film. We begrudgingly enjoyed it. Not to be viewed if you have safari plans.

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Movie 3: Emergency Declaration

This action thriller was a huge surprise. It will take a bit of time to adjust to the ongoing threat, but tensions and behavior ratchet up quickly. A passenger plane attempts to land with a terrorist on board. If this was an American movie, with American actors it would be a block buster summer hit. We saw it in a Korean movie theatre, so it may be difficult to find. Korean with English subtitles.

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