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One Cut of the Dead (2017)

One Cut of the Dead (2017)

I’m not a movie critic. I don’t sit in the theatre with a little flashlight and pen taking notes to distill into a scathing review. I’m a videophile. I love movies. I have seen many movies, and I love talking about them, and I love recommending the ones I like to my friends. And even more, I love it when my friends end up liking a movie I recommend. But there is a trick to suggesting a movie and giving…

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Dick Johnson Is Dead (2020)

Dick Johnson Is Dead (2020)

If you decide to watch one feel-good movie this year about dementia, it better be Dick Johnson Is Dead (2020). The titular Dick is Richard Johnson, a retired psychiatrist and the aging father of documentarian and cinematographer Kirsten Johnson. Soon after diagnosing dementia for her father, Kirsten decides to enlist Dick to create and record a series of fictional situations to help her and her father process his illness and eventual death. While this contains some seriously emotional moments and realizations…

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Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019)

Dora and the Lost City of Gold (2019)

Alright, I’m going to start out by admitting that I never saw the original “Dora the Explorer” animated TV show, so I can’t really commit on how true the movie is to the original source material, in case some millennial purist wants to know. But what I can tell you is that Dora is sweet, fun, and funny. Somehow in a couple of months between the airing of the last episode of “Dora the Explorer” TV show and the release…

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

I always see a few animated films each year, and they tend to be high quality since they are targeting both youngsters and their parents, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is no exception. The Spider-Man films have always been some of my favorite Marvel movies since they are action-based, light on world-saving, and heavy on comedy. Spider-Verse’s action seems like it is taken directly from the comic pages and released into a medium that can showcase the artist’s true intentions….

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Booksmart (2019)

Booksmart (2019)

The two smartest girls in high school are on a mission: They want to make up for all the lost time spent studying the last four years by attending the school’s dopest party the night before graduation. What could go wrong? Ok, I’m not going to answer my own rhetorical question; you have to watch the movie to see what goes wrong. But I will say what goes right. First, this film is laugh-out-loud funny. Yes, it does have the…

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Like Father (2018) on NetFlix

Like Father (2018) on NetFlix

Like Father (2018) stars Kristen Bell as Rachel, a workaholic 30-something, and Kelsey Grammer as her long-estranged father Harry, who shows up at her wedding hoping to reconnect and witness the happiest day of her life. Unfortunately, life and some sitcom-ish scriptwriting conspire against them to have Harry accompany her on her honeymoon cruise. This is a fun little sitcom-like drama with plenty of laughs, lots of sweet moments, and just enough character growth to be believable—a great way to…

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Thelma (2017) (on Hulu)

Thelma (2017) (on Hulu)

When should parents tell their child about a genetic, mental illness that runs in the family? At puberty? Possibly. Maybe when they turn 18? Probably. But definitely, before they leave for college. Especially when they are pretty darn certain their child has the illness. Now don’t get me wrong, telling Thelma might not have changed the course of events, but certainly, they would be less culpable in what happened during her first semester of college. I watched Thelma on Hulu…

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BlacKkKlansman (2018)

BlacKkKlansman (2018)

Whether you love the KKK or hate them, you’re going to love BlacKkKlansman, the latest movie from Spike Lee. Just kidding, haters are going to hate this true-life story of Colorado Springs police rookie Ron Stallworth as he masterminds the infiltration of the local chapter of the KKK. This film takes a serious story and adds humor and black culture to creates something meaningful and entertaining without being preachy.

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2018 Ticket Stub Review

2018 Ticket Stub Review

I watched 168 movies in 2018, according to my Letterboxd Diary. You can click on the link and see the movies I watched and their ratings. For the most part, I will ignore the blockbusters (except A Star is Born) and focus on movies that did not have big budget advertising and that you probably haven’t heard about. All but one of these have passed the wife test and have a thumbs up by both the misses and me. A…

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Columbus (2017)

Columbus (2017)

Columbus (2017) If you find architecture boring and character-driven movies slow, then you should probably skip seeing Columbus. If on the other hand, you are interested in a well-constructed drama with top-notch acting and beautiful visuals, then you should hurry to the theatre before it is gone. Jin, played by John Cho, is called to Columbus Indiana where his famous architect father has fallen ill. While stuck in the limbo of waiting for his sick father to recover he meets…

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Wind River (2017)

Wind River (2017)

Wind River (2017) Frikin Awesome! That’s the best description for this smart drama from writer/director Taylor Sheridan. A possible murder on the Wind River Indian reservation requires FBI Agent Jane Banner (Elisabeth Olson) to lend a hand to the local police department. Being short-handed, she enlists the assistance of the local game and hunting official Cory Lambert (Jeremy Renner) to help her investigate in the inhospitable Wyoming outback. This mystery unfolds in such a way as to keep you on…

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Housebound (2014)

Housebound (2014)

Housebound (2014) Kylie is an angry, destructive, juvenile delinquent who gets sentenced to house arrest after a botched ATM robbery. She is forced to move back into her childhood home with her mother and stepfather, and to make matters worse the house might be haunted. Kylie is placed under house arrest with an electronic ankle bracelet enforcing her confinement. This turns out to be every bit of a bad punishment for her mother and stepfather as it is for her….

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Before I Fall (2017)

Before I Fall (2017)

Before I Fall (2017) Before I Fall is a cross between Mean Girls and Groundhog Day with a dash of suicide prevention thrown in. Now that I write that, it doesn’t sound too appealing, but this tight little teen drama held my attention and had me almost liking even the meanest mean girl. And that’s a real trick when you make the antagonist somewhat likable and completely understandable. I’ve seen time loop movies before. This one jumps into a familiar genre and makes each loop…

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Get Out (2017)

Get Out (2017)

Get Out (2017) Meeting your girlfriend’s parents for the first time is usually the stuff of romantic comedies. First, you meet her parents, then her siblings, and maybe a few close family friends, and then you add in a few comical misunderstandings, and by the third act, not only does everyone love the new boyfriend, but the girlfriend has a new appreciation of what a real jewel she has. But first-time writer/director Jordan Peele (of the comedy duo of Key…

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Sully (2016)

Sully (2016)

Sully (2016) I was probably about 12 when my friend Al first took me for a ride in his four-seater Cessna airplane, and I was hooked. Since then, I have taken every opportunity to fly, go to an airshow, or watch movies about flying. So it was predestined that I would see Sully and probably be predisposed to like it. You then add that it was directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks; there is even more of a…

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Mustang (2015)

Mustang (2015)

Mustang (2015) Five school-age sisters living in Turkey play at the beach with friends, which includes boys. This innocent fun turns into neighborhood gossip, which changes the trajectory of their lives forever. The five sisters live with their grandmother and uncle after the death of both their parents. While the terrible situations that ensure are foreign to westerners, they are understandable and mostly done by people who love them and want the best for them. This slice of life story…

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The Little Death (2014)

The Little Death (2014)

The Little Death (streaming on Netflix) Taken from the french “La Petite Mort” which describes “the brief loss or weakening of consciousness” or for my American movie going audience “I’ll have what she’s having”. I’m glad I don’t have to try and pronounce the “La Petite Mort” because I sound stupid when I speak french correctly, and a complete idiot when I get it wrong, which is most of the time. And speaking of stupid, there is nothing that makes…

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Wildlike (2014)

Wildlike (2014)

Wildlike (2014) Netflix Streaming While her mom is off-line in an in-patient treatment center Mackensie must move to Alaska and live with her uncle whom she hasn’t seen since she was little. Unfortunately living with her uncle is less than ideal and being a teenager she decides to forgo civilization and try roughing it in the Alaskan outback. Luckily for her she finds an older male hiker that she latches unto and forms an interesting relationship. This is a fun little…

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Hidden Figures (2016)

Hidden Figures (2016)

Hidden Figures (2016) Hello my name is Sam and I am a nerd. I have been in the closet for years but I am ready to come out. Because of the many brave nerds who came before me and have paved the way by their courage and their financial and commercial success, I too can step into the light. With trail blazers like Bill Gates, Stephen Hawking, and Albert Einstein, being a nerd is no longer a thing of derision, but…

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Tallulah (2016)

Tallulah (2016)

Tallulah (2016) Netflix Streaming Tallulah is not your average girl. If this were the 60’s she would have been a hippy, but it’s not and she is just a girl living off the grid and out of her van. She will work if she has to and steal when she can. She has a good heart, but not a lot of integrity. Her life works well for her until her boyfriend leaves her and while looking for him she ends up…

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2016 Ticket Stub Review

2016 Ticket Stub Review

  While I liked many movies in 2016, only a few of them made any lasting impression. Here are the ones I ended up seeing twice or in a few cases ended up purchasing for my collection. The Conjuring 2 (2016) This sequel is as good or better than original. Loosely based on a case from supernatural detectives Ed and Lorraine Warren when they traveled to England to investigate a haunted house. Scary, suspenseful and sure to entertain. [rating=4] Green…

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These Final Hours (2013)

These Final Hours (2013)

These Final Hours (Netflix Streaming) What if you knew you were going to die in the next 24-48 hours? How would you behave? What would it look like if everyone knew they were going to die soon? Would there be any law and order, how about human decency? In These Final Hours some unspecified global event is setting the world on fire and time is running out. The story focuses on James a tough guy looking to spend his last…

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Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2015)

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2015)

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (2015) Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (now streaming on Netflix) is a TV show based upon the popular novel of the same name by first time author Susanna Clarke. Susanna took 10 years to finish this first novel and won the 2005 Hugo, among other awards. The story takes place in 19th-century England during the Napoleonic Wars. This alternative history finds England after a 300 year magical drought and warring with France. Mr. Norrell is wealthy gentleman who has…

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ARQ (2016)

ARQ (2016)

ARQ (2016) I just streamed this little time travel movie on Netflix and was really disappointed when it was over because I wanted more. Since it was rated TV-MA I thought I was watching the pilot to a new series, but it was just a made for tv movie. It’s similar to Edge of Tomorrow and Groundhog Day in that the protagonists live one day and loop back and do it again. It follows the time loop movie rules with a few…

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Deepwater Horizon (2016)

Deepwater Horizon (2016)

Deepwater Horizon (2016) I like disaster flicks for one simple reason: Crises reveals character. Day to day most lives are boring, but when crises arises people’s mettle is exposed. On the Deepwater Horizon mobile drilling platform many things go terribly wrong and we get to see these common working men and women rise out of the fire as real life heroes. There are books describing the accident, but reading about this is much less fun than watching it. Ok there’s another reason I…

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The Accountant (2016)

The Accountant (2016)

The Accountant (2016) The problem with most movies of this type is the protagonist is usually too perfect. He is brilliant, charming, witty, looks great in a tux (he owns his own), and is an expert at foreign espionage. That is not the case with The Accountant. He is so obviously flawed when it comes to social interactions that he can barely function. That’s what makes this so much fun. Ben Affleck stars as the titular accountant alongside Anna Kendrick…

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