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Reviews for December 4th, 2015

Documentary Round-Up

      We Are Many sheds light on the Stop the War Coalition and its global impact. Director Amir Amirani blends archival footage with talking-head interviews in ways that keep you entertaining while provoking you emotionally and intellectually. Amirani accomplishes something that Michael Moore has never accomplished before: he shows one of his subjects, former Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson, experiencing a crisis of conscience on camera as he admits that the U.S. government's claim that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was a lie based on circumstantial evidence at best, and that if George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were to go in front of a tribunal to be convicted of war crimes, he'd be glad to testify against them as well as being convicted as well---he'd do it "in a heartbeat" which is quite an candid confession. Hopefully one day George W. Bush will have a similar crisis of conscience as well because he's just as human as Wilkerson. Interviews with Noah Chomsky, author John le Carré, Stephen Hawking, Mark Rylance, Jesse Jackson along with Harry Belafonte and Danny Glover and many other anti-war activists help to enrich the film even further. While We Are Many does provide you with a lot of information about how the U.S. and U.K. governments lied to the public which feels quite enraging, it nonetheless keeps you hopeful because it highlights how the Stop the War movement led to congress finally listening to the people by agreeing to a non-intervention in Syria. Beyond that, Stop the War also served as a catalyst and template for the Arab Spring movement. There have been numerous documentaries about anti-war movements in the past, but none of them have been as illuminating, potent, fair and balanced as We Are Many, one of the best documentaries of the year. It's important that you watch it for the sake of democracy which is easier to lose than it is to gain, especially when the public has a lot of propaganda and misinformation to sift through---after all, Hitler once stated how fortunate it is for governments that the people they administer don't think. Fortunately, this doc arrives to try to lift the fog of war and to enlighten the masses. Knowledge is power. We Are Many opens at IFC Center.


Directed by Michael Dougherty


Number of times I checked my watch: 5
Released by Universal Pictures.
Opens nationwide.

The Priests

Directed by Jang Jae-hyun


Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by CJ Entertainment.
Opens at AMC/Loews 34th St. and Edgewater Multiplex Cinemas.

She Remembers, He Forgets

Directed by Adam Wong

      Fung (Miriam Yeung) married her high school sweetheart, Shing-wah (Jan Lamb), but their marriage has turned stale, and she suspects that he might be cheating on her. At a high school reunion, she reminisces about her happy days when she was a high school student. Back then, Fung, now played by Cecilia So, transferred to a new school where she had first met Shing-wah (now played by Yau Hawk-sau) and another boy named So Bok-man (Ng Siu-hin) who becomes good friends with her.

      Although not quite as endearing as the recent film Our Times that also deals with a woman reminiscing about her youthful days, She Remembers, He Forgets still manages to be an entertaining, charming film that touches your heartstrings just enough. Writer/director Adam Wong and co-writer do a decent job keeping the film character-driven in a way that never becomes dull, although, admittedly, the second act does meander a bit with unrealistic and convoluted events that take away ever so slightly from the film's emotional momentum. However, there's always Cecilia So's charismatic performance to hold your interested and keep you invested in what's transpiring onscreen. She handles the emotional complexities of her role with aplomb and remains not only likable, but also relatable to a certain degree. The screenplay could have used more subtlety and as well as trust the audience's intelligence more often, especially during the second half that feels a bit Hollywood in its contrivances, but those are minor flaws. The end result is a breezy and uplifting film that sparkles with a charismatic performance by Cecilia So.

Number of times I checked my watch: 1
Released by Cheng Cheng Films.
Opens at AMC Empire.
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