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On My Watchlist: Nebraska, Kill Your Darlings, Fifth Estate, Fruitvale Station

– Posted in: Film Review

Nebraska is an Alexander Payne movie, starring Bruce Dern as an elderly man heading to Nebraska to cash in a winning lottery ticket that is really just one of those magazine subscription advertisements. It’s a well-acted ensemble movie, but way too indulgent for me. I don’t really want to spend 2 hours watching two adult children spending time with their parents. Maybe this is unusual for Caucasian families, but I’m Asian and see this every day.


Kill Your Darlings is a well-acted movie and quite disturbing because it’s based on true events. I don’t know my literary history so I had no idea that Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and Edie Parker were wrapped up in a murder. I felt like I was watching a train wreck unfold right before my eyes. Daniel Radcliffe stars as Ginsberg and made me forget he was Harry Potter. After getting over the shock of the events of this moving having actually happened, I still find myself shocked over how Radcliffe grew up to be so much more than Harry Potter. Kudos to him and this movie!


The Fifth Estate may have gotten lukewarm reviews but I liked it. I’m a fan of Daniel Bruhl already because of Rush, and Benedict Cumberbatch as Julian Assange provided a spooky fun counterpoint. I could have done without everyone but Assange being so one-sidedly positive. But if that’s the price to shine a spotlight on just how beguiling and confounding Assange and the Wikileaks story is, then so be it. I enjoyed the film. I appreciated the weight of the subject matter. I loved the acting.


Do I dare criticize Fruitvale Station? I wish the movie started with the shooting and fanned out from there. I found the subway scene beautifully shot with nuance and balance. The rest of the film felt Hallmark-light by comparison. I get that the director (Ryan Coogler) wants us to empathize with Oscar (the lead played by Michael B. Jordan) but did we need everything including a dying dog? I almost expected Jordan’s Oscar to break out into song.


Maybe I’ve been seeing too many movies but I’m getting bored with the 2013 line-up. Rush is still my favorite so far. Next up: Blue Jasmin, Philomena, One Chance, and 12 Years A Slave. What have you seen and loved?

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