Category Archives: Movie Review

Wind River

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This has been an unusual year, as far as movies go. I have seen 2 memorable movies this year, which is 2 more than the average year. The first was Dunkirk, of which so much has been written nothing more need be said. Well, one more thing.

If seeing it at an IMAX theater (recommended), don’t buy your ticket 30 minutes before the show and expect a good seat. I sat in the 3rd row craning my neck ever upwards at the 6 story screen. Which necessitated my seeing it again.

On the advice of a fellow Lexican (MarineMom) I went to see Wind River. It is a limited release movie but if your area has it I’d recommend it. It is about the death of a young Indian woman, and the interaction of the young urban FBI agent (who had jurisdiction), played by Elizabeth Olsen) and the Wyoming Fish and Game tracker, played by Jeremy Renner.

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Besides the beautiful cinematography of the Wyoming landscape, it has a wonderful screenplay with many memorable lines and scenes.

Dealing with grief was one of the subplots.

Recommended.

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Resurrection Of An Archaic Term

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Just saw a wonderful movie today and the screenwriter(s) introduced a term not used in 60 years.

Computers. 

Yes, before they became made of tubes, then transistors then silicon, “computers” were a job title reserved for people, usually women, adept in math who did many mundane (but necessary) mathematical computations.

Just saw a movie that dealt with a very special computer, Katherine Johnson and 2 of her friends who were instrumental in getting manned spaceflight a reality for NASA. And they were African-American.

Johnson was a math protege at the age of 6 in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia.

Wonder how they computed the orbital reentry point at 17,000 mph to place the capsule within 20 square miles of ocean? How they were able to develop heat shields to withstand thousands of degrees in reentry?

Johnson was at the center of it.

It’s a wonderful story of perseverance of 3 women (overcoming the barriers of being female and black) and being a major influence in early NASA.

Hidden Figures. Worth seeing.

 

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The Birth Of A True Fast Food Franchise?

 

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I can remember in the mid 1960s a friend of my  parents wanted a McDonalds franchise.

Among the qualifications was to get into a virtual line with other would-be franchisees. When an opportunity became available – anywhere in the country – the next person at the front of the line would have that offered. Meaning that if you lived in San Diego and the next new McDonalds was going to open in Des Moines, IA  you either took  it  or went to the back of the line to start the wait all over.

They were that coveted.

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True Courage

Don’t Order A Large Drink For This Movie

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There’s really only a small handful of movies in my opinion that remain true to showing the horrors of combat. Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan was one of them, as was Mel Gibson’s We Were Soldiers. 

Gibson’s new movie, Hacksaw Ridge, is in this category. It is a story about an Army soldier that movie producers have tried to make for 60 years.

As with most heroes – virtually all of them in my opinion – they are very humble and do not wish the limelight. You won’t find any of them bragging about their exploits in a bar trying to impress people.

A Hero for my definition here is anyone who served honorably in combat.

In this instance, the subject of this movie, Desmond Doss, a humble man from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, was even approached by Audie Murphy years ago to obtain movie rights.

All Doss  wanted to do after the war was tend his garden and be left alone. A few years ago before his death, he relented and allowed a movie to be made. What makes this subject unique in a war movie is that he enlisted as a C.O. – Conscientious Objector – after Pearl Harbor. Because of his strong faith, he refused to pick up a weapon. From Basic Training to the battlefield.

It is a story of faith and courage, both on and off the battlefield.

He was even willing to face a court marshal for his beliefs.

It was during the court marshal  scene that my bladder over-pressure light went on as a result of the large Diet Coke.

And it was glowing brightly.

But the scene was so compelling I did not want to leave the theater so I was out of my seat and standing along the wall, not wanting to miss anything integral to the movie (which was written so tightly that virtually every scene was integral).

The battle scenes of Hacksaw Ridge in Okinawa were uncomfortably realistic.

As to what Doss did to be the first Conscientious Objector awarded the Medal of Honor – you will have to see the movie and learn of this amazing story.

 

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Sully

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Steven Day / AP File

These days, I am rather jaded when it comes to driving to the cineplex to see a movie. I don’t really need some screenwriter’s social message or a recycled comic book hero.

There are a couple of exceptions – if it is made by Ron Howard, or has Clint Eastwood on either side of the camera, it automatically passes my filter test. Tom Hanks in any movie usually guarantees a decent movie.

This movie, directed by Eastwood and starring Tom Hanks took a subject that just about everyone not living in a cave the last 10 years is familiar – and made it into a movie both thoroughly entertaining and informative. In fact at the end the audience in the nearly packed theater applauded.

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Fun At The Movies         

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During the last 6 months or so I have become a regular visitor to our theater. While I have seen some recent ones, some memorable, some forgettable (using the Internet Lexicon YMMV) – the movies I mainly  like to see are the ones that have endured over time.

Part of this appreciation came from 2 friends, one of whom is an accomplished Hollywood Screenwriter, who have both given me an appreciation for classic Hollywood.

Never thought I could find pleasure in a movie made in 1928, at the end of the silent movies, but if you can find it view Show People , staring Marion Davies.

Marion stars as a poor naïve girl from Georgia, who comes out to Hollywood seeking fame and fortune.  She becomes a star and can laugh at herself in how it changed  her. The audience laughs right along with her almost 90 years later.

Truths are timeless.

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