Movie Review – Annihilation

Annihilation (2018)
Written & Directed by Alex Garland

annihilation

Lena, a cellular biologist, is finally in the mourning stages after her husband Kane was sent on a secret military mission. At the twelve-month mark, she is starting to move on when Kane appears from nowhere in their house. He falls into a coma and Lena is taken to a government base on the edge of a phenomenon called the Shimmer. Lena is informed that an object dropped from space three years prior and has created a growing field of energy. Multiple teams and drones have been sent in, but nothing has come back, and Kane is the first person to ever emerge. Lena finds out a team is about to head in days from now and volunteers herself, without informing them of her personal connection. As the quartet travels further into the Shimmer the more bizarre natural mutations, they encounter all until the real darkness is revealed at its center.

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Movie Review – Enemy

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Enemy (2013)
Written by Javier Gullón
Directed by Denis Villeneuve

enemy

Adam Bell is a college history professor that live a very routine and mundane existence. He teaches in the day, comes home to his dingy apartment, where he has sex with a non-committal lover, and sleeps. The monotony is broken when a colleague suggests he rent a movie he had seen, “Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way.” Adam watches the film but that night has a dream about one of the scenes and there, in the background, playing a hotel bellhop is a man who looks exactly like him. He watches the film again, and yes, that wasn’t a dream, it was a memory. Through internet sleuthing, he discovers the actor’s name, Daniel St. Claire and begins searching out his home and learning about his life. As Adam descends down this path of madness, he comes to a point where everything he thought he knew about his reality begins to crumble.

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Movie Review – The Death of Stalin

The Death of Stalin (2017)
Written by Armando Iannucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin, Peter Fellows, and Fabien Nury
Directed by Armando Iannucci

death of stalin

In 1953 Moscow, General Secretary Josef Stalin is riding high. He is in the midst of The Great Terror, a purging of intellectuals and dissidents he suspects of being disloyal not just to the Communist Party but to himself. Aiding him in these exploits is head of the NKVD Lavrentiy Beria, Deputy General Secretary Georgy Malenkov, local Moscow party leader Nikita Khrushchev, and Foreign Secretary Vyacheslav Molotov. One night while listening to a performance of Mozart on Radio Moscow while writing up a new list of citizens to be abducted and tortured, Stalin phones the station and demands a recording of the performance. When he receives the pressing later that night a note inside from the pianist rails against him as the cause of her family’s deaths. He has a sudden aneurysm and is found on death’s doorstep the next morning. What ensues in the backstage machinations of his corrupt cabinet of officials. They jockey and scheme, all trying to be the one person who comes out on top during this power vacuum.

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Movie Review – Call Me By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name (2017)
Written by James Ivory
Directed by Luca Guadagnino

call me by your name

Elio is the son of academics living in northern Italy. He spends his days consuming books and composing piano pieces. He is also in friendship with local girl Marzia where the beginnings of attraction are forming. Summer looks to be a monotonous season until Oliver arrives. Oliver is an American doctoral student who has come to get the aid of Elio’s father in revising his dissertation. Elio finds himself drawn to Oliver and even feeling pangs of jealousy when it appears the older man fancies a woman in town. As Elio explores and discovers himself in this formative year, he becomes aware of his feelings for Oliver. First, with some anger, he tries to push them aside, and finally, he confesses all of this to Oliver who reciprocates.

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Movie Review – The Spectacular Now

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The Spectacular Now (2013)
Written by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
Directed by James Ponsoldt

the spectacular now

Sutter Keely is a high school senior under the impression he and his girlfriend, Cassidy are the life of the party. Their relationship crashes and burns when he is caught in a compromising situation where he is honestly not cheating. However, as the film goes on, we begin to understand where Cassidy is coming from. In the meantime, Sutter goes on a bender and wakes up in the front yard of Aimee, a girl in his year. She is reserved and more studious than Sutter, but he feels drawn to her, both as a rebound and because she has such a pure caring spirit. However, Sutter begins to pull Aimee into his way of life, hiding a flask of liquor and coming to work and school at least buzzed if not more. There are also questions about Sutter’s dad and why his parents divorced. The answers will lead to the young man being forced to make tough choices about his life.

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Movie Review – Advise & Consent

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Advise & Consent (1962)
Written by Wendell Mayes
Directed by Otto Preminger

Advise and Consent (1962)
Directed by Otto Preminger
Shown: Charles Laughton

One morning the United States Senate wakes up to find the President has nominated Robert Leffingwell for Secretary of State. This is met with divisiveness in the President’s party which holds the majority in the Senate. The Majority Leader, Bob Munson is ready to vote yes to tow the party line to aid the President who has kept a terminal illness secret from the public and his party. Leffingwell is intended to preserve the President’s foreign policy legacy, something he shows no confidence in his vice president to carry out. Opposing Leffingwell is South Carolina Senator Seabright Cooley who appears to have a personal grudge against the nominee. In the same party but on a pro-demagogic peace wing is Senator Fred Van Ackerman who sees a chance to use the publicity around the hearings to boost his spotlight in the media. In the middle and attempting to navigate this complicated and controversial process is Senator Brigham Anderson, a junior member from Utah and, as his name suggests, very Mormon. Secrets are revealed, and the truth behind personal grudges and threats are more shocking than anticipated.

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Movie Review – The Disaster Artist

The Disaster Artist (2017)
Written by Scott Neustadter & Michael H. Weber
Directed by James Franco

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Struggling actor Greg Sestero has a problem bringing out emotion in his performances. Then one night he witnesses Tommy Wiseau, a quiet man in his acting class delivers an embarrassingly over the top monologue from A Streetcar Named Desire. Greg and Tommy strike up a friendship that brings them to Los Angeles to pursue their dreams. Tommy becomes jealous as Greg gets a girlfriend, an agent, and acting parts while he struggles. This pushes Tommy to write the script for The Room which, against all the odds and logic, he produces and goes on to become a modern cult classic.

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