WHAT WE LEAVE BEHIND – Review by Martha K Baker

Iliana Sosa created a poignant portrait of one old man in What We Leave Behind. The old man is Sosa’s grandfather. Julián Moreno was born in 1930 and died in 2019. For much of his adult life, Moreno hitchhiked and/or rode buses every month between his home in Mexico to El Paso, Texas, to see his children. Sosa, a former Bill Gates Millennium Scholar, presents her grandfather’s life for inspection from morning to night, birth to death. She does so with great compassion.

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SEE HOW THEY RUN – Review by Martha K Baker

Some movies are just for fun. They do not educate or elucidate or elevate. They entertain. See How They Run does just that. The title refers to a nursery rhyme about mice, and that, in turn, refers to a play called The Mousetrap. The Mousetrap happens to be the world’s longest running play, having opened in 1952 for more than 28,000 performances.

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CONFESS FLETCH – Review by Martha K Baker

Get ready to experience a Fletch film sans Chevy Chase. Get ready to give Jon Hamm a chance at the grail that is Fletch, a charming, discombobulated detective and, most interesting –and to him significant — a former investigative reporter. That life provided expertise for being an investigative detective, he insists. To wit: When interrogated whether he has income from unsavory sources, he responds, “Writing for in-flight magazines is as unsavory as it gets.”

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CLERKS III – Review by Martha K Baker

Clerks III asks audiences to see that slackers can go deep. It’s a trudge. For the cast of characters to be more than foul-mouthed, testosteronic, and imbecilic buds, Kevin Smith asks audiences to allow for them to consider Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Longevity. Smith wrote and directed Clerks III in the New Jersey convenience store, Quick Shop, where it all began.

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CARS ON THE ROAD – Review by Martha K Baker

Moving on from their star turns in Cars, that most delightful film, the animated vehicular actors, ‘Mater and Lightning McQueen, head to a wedding. It takes nine episodes for the cars to arrive finally at ‘Mater’s home for his sister’s nuptials because they have to drive from Radiator Springs to the East Coast, down south. The series runs eight minutes an episode. Although the series isn’t nearly so charming as the original film and nowhere near as much fun as the ride at Disneyland, it moves pretty darn slap-happily on the highway of ha-ha’s.

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KAEPERNICK & AMERICA – Review by Martha K Baker

In 2017, San Francisco Forty-niners quarterback Colin Kaepernick took a knee at a football game during the national anthem. Others stood. Kaepernick was not protesting the flag as simple-minded people decided: he was protesting police brutality in America. The directors of”Kaepernick & America show the burning of a jersey — No. 7, Kaepernick’s number. And they record the rapture of the people in his hometown when he became a professional football player. Folks at the local restaurant named a sandwich for him. They erased it from the menu after he protested.

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THREE THOUSAND YEARS OF LONGING – Review by Martha K Baker

It is a maxim of good writing to show rather tell. That rule applies especially to telling stories. But what about a movie based on the art of story-telling? A movie is all about showing — after all, it’s called “show” business. Breaking this rule causes Three Thousand Years of Longing to be sadly mediocre.

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A LOVE SONG – Review by Martha K Baker

A Love Song is what film buffs call a “little movie.” Barely 90 minutes. One setting. One day. No car chases. No heavy breathing. No climax. Not even much dialogue in the script by Max Walker-Silverman. What this little movie has, however, is presence. Faye has been a widow for seven years. She is lonely, still. Her face reads as craggy as the hills. She is encamped on a plain in Colorado, and she dines on what she fishes out of the lake. Faye studies two reference books — one on bird songs for day and the other about stars for night.

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UNCOUPLED – Review by Martha K Baker

Uncoupled follows a heart-breaking break-up. Together for 17 years, this couple of men defines marital steadiness, a model for their friends and family. Until they don’t. And then they no longer model “till death do us part” on the night of the surprise party that Michael throws for Colin on his 50th birthday. Imagine Colin’s surprise. Heck. Imagine Michael’s.

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