I Am Heath Ledger (2017)

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Image via tribecafilm.com

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This inoffensive hagiography of Australian actor Heath Ledger gathers handfuls of his family and friends to tell us what a good bloke he was. Combined with home movie footage shot by Heath, who obsessively documented his life, we build a picture of a talented young man with a generous heart and an unchecked manic energy that more or less guaranteed he would burn brightly but not for long. He died at age 28 of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs.  Continue reading

Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare) (2016)

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This stunningly crafted documentary, ostensibly about the European refugee crisis, won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival. Without narration, context nor exposition other than a few paragraphs before it starts, the film juxtaposes the quiet life of the inhabitants of the island of Lampedusa with the horrific plight of those attempting to cross from Africa to Europe. Continue reading

Get Out (2017)

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Touted as a horror, this is really a suspenseful thriller that keeps you guessing right up until the satisfyingly violent ending. Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) is getting ready to visit the parents of his new girlfriend Rose (Allison Williams) for the first time. Dean (Bradley Whitford) and Missy (Catherine Keener), Rose assures him, will be totally cool that he is black as her Dad ‘would have voted for Obama for a third term if he could’ and they are ‘definitely not racist’. Continue reading

Old Joy (2006)

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In her films,  Kelly Reichardt (Certain Women, Meek’s Cutoff, Wendy and Lucy) immerses you in the life of a handful of people over a day or two. In Certain Women, it was four women in rural America, in Meek’s Cutoff it was settler women in the 1840s Oregon desert. In Old Joy we follow old friends Kurt (Will Oldham) and Mark (Daniel London) as they reunite for an overnight camping trip in search of some hot springs. Continue reading