Timely, topical, toxic, scary, and uncomfortable! These are a few of the words that can describe 99 Homes. Think “location, location, location” and you will know this movie is about the real estate market. In brief, a desperate, unemployed construction worker (Andrew Garfield) in the post-economic crash of Orlando, Florida accepts a job with a real-estate broker (Michael Shannon) who is ruthless in his evictions. A Faustian deal with the devil is in the making.
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In a year in which scathing assessments of the causes, repercussions, and continued failures from the 2008 financial collapse have often taken center stage, it’s nice to have a set of eyes across the Atlantic take it all in and give us another perspective on financial greed. 2013’s Human Capital (Il capitale umano), from Italy’s Paolo Virzi, gives us a glimpse of what happened during his country’s economic meltdown of 2010. Characters from every walk of life intertwine in a story that unfolds in four chapters, each one giving us a different point of view of the central, biting issue of the movie – the fatal hit and run of a working class waiter. Every character is affected by this event, and while lives are turned upside down by the engaging, unfolding narrative, the resolution of it all leaves much to be desired.
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I missed What We Do in the Shadows during Lost Weekend III. Honestly, I don’t remember why- quite possibly I had a scheduling issue, but it’s more likely that I didn’t pay attention to what it was about, assuming it was a scary film and I’m not usually into horror flicks (sorry Faye!). So I got a copy from Bowman Library (front and center in the Film Club 3.0 display! Check it out), settled in to watch it, and almost turned it off during the first 15 minutes because I had no idea what I was seeing. I am here to tell you, I did not follow my instincts and BOY am I glad I didn’t! This film was a hilarious send up of campy vampires, reality TV, mockumentaries, and bromances. If you liked Best in Show, Spinal Tap and the like, this film is definitely for you.
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I had almost little expectations going into this film. I’m not saying I didn’t expect it to be good. I just didn’t know what to expect. I was aware of this film only from hype. That’s not a lot to go on enough for me to get excited about a film. I mostly knew it from the fact that the style looked exactly like that of Secret of The Kells. I still haven’t seen that film, but I think I will be seeing it soon after seeing Song of the Sea. I collect favorite animation studios like Smurfs collect Smurfberries. Disney, Pixar, Ghibli, Laika, Aardman. All amazing. Song of the Sea was my introduction to Irish animation Studio, Cartoon Saloon. It is a discovery I am glad I made.
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Of the many traits that a film (or TV show, for that matter) can possess that really strikes a chord with me, it’s mystery. I don’t mean in a textbook Murder She Wrote kind of way, I mean mystery in the way that, even after the conclusion of the film, you still don’t quite know exactly what happened. David Robert Mitchell’s It Follows is a perfect example of that, and even with a few shortcomings, it’s a huge part of why I love this film. You have the main event, if you will, which is the mystery of whatever IT is, but there’s so many layers to that, that I think a lot of it is easy to miss.
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A Romantic Comedy for the Ages
Could a veteran from the Iraq or Afghanistan Wars ever fall in love with Arabic woman? Veterans from the two wars see the ugly side of the Arabic world. American veterans see and extremism and oppression daily in Middle East and have to fight against those ideals that are so embedded in Arabic culture. They usually come back scarred from fight and suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. However, Amira and Sam show that two people can fall in love despite being complete opposites.
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I went to military school for four years, and it sucked the whole time. There were kids there who embraced it, and turned from ritalin-snorting criminals into pillars of military discipline, but I never fit that narrative– I was a nerd who snuck books into mandatory football games, and I hated pretty much everything about that place. Often, I would get in trouble, and be forced to stand at attention and get lectured about a whole bunch of things I didn’t give a crap about.
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