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Anon (2018)

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"Anon" is a 2018 science fiction thriller with an interesting premise made all the more relevant with recent privacy concerns. In the future as imagined in the film, society has traded privacy for security. By law everyone automatically records everything they see and hear and these recordings are available to the government. Solving crimes thus becomes routine and detectives enforce the law requiring the recordings as well as any other crimes. However there are people who are skilled enough to hack the system and, for a cash fee, will splice a client's real memories with artificial ones, including anyone else who saw the event. And there are some people who seem able to stay off the grid entirely. I thought it was well done. You can read more at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anon_(film)

The Chalet (2017)

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"The Chalet" is a six episode 2017 French murder mystery set in the French Alps produced by Netflix. The dialog is in French with English subtitles. The premise is a group of childhood friends reunite in a remote village for a wedding. A landslide destroys the only road in and out, trapping everyone there. Soon people start being killed in a manner that reminded me slightly of the famous Agatha Christie mystery "And Then There Were None." But the story here flips back and forth between events in the present (2017) and 20 years earlier in 1997. As the story unfolds the reasons for the killings slowly emerges. A reclusive genius mathematician living in the village who apparently won the Fields Medal also plays a part. I thought the series was very well acted and the scenery is beautiful. The suspense builds from episode to episode as more people fall victim and the story from the past builds. You can read more about it here: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt8168678/

The Invasion (2007)

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"The Invasion" is a 2007 science fiction film starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig, based on the 1955 novel by Jack Finney titled "Invasion of the Body Snatchers". This film is actually the fourth movie based on the novel, other versions appearing in 1956, 1978 and 1993. The basic premise is an alien microbe infects humans and takes over their consciousness while they sleep, resulting in a person without feeling or emotions. Though many critics disliked this version of the story, I enjoyed it for the fast pace, nail biting action sequences, quality of the two lead actors, and more modern scientific interpretation (DNA wasn't known in 1955). To me the most significant aspect of the story is the loss of identity and the fact people you deal with may not in fact be the people you think they are. This theme is similar to two of my favorite films "The Thing" (the 1982 and 2011 versions; not the version from the 1950's which deviates completely from…

"Suits" TV Series

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"Suits" is a TV series available on Amazon Prime. The first season aired in 2011 and seven seasons are available. An eighth season has been announced though with some cast changes. The series involves a fictitious New York law firm that hires only Harvard Law School graduates. Each episode concerns a new case (particularly in the first season), though some plots carry over from episode to episode. The series is well done and well acted. One of the noteworthy aspects is that one of the stars is Meghan Markle (blue dress in the picture), who will become a member of the British Royal Family upon her marriage to Prince Harry in May 2018. The cases are interesting and well acted. Much of the drama concerns the relationship between the very skilled senior partner (played by Gabriel Macht) and his junior associate (played by Patrick Adams). If you like to see lawyers maneuvering and outsmarting each other, you may enjoy the show. I enjoyed some of the legal battles and some office…

Big Little Lies

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"Big Little Lies" is an HBO TV series that first aired in 2017. It's available on Amazon now as well. I would say it is primarily a women focused series. The first season has 7 episodes and the cast includes some mega stars: Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley. It also includes Laura Dern, who I remembered best from "Jurassic Park". A second season is in the works that will include Meryl Streep. The series has won 8 Emmy awards.

The story is set in Monterey California and focuses on the lives of the three leading women and their relationships with their children, neighbors, and the men in their lives. The series is a bit rough in parts with plenty of foul language and some troubling scenes of abuse. The story begins with the police called to the scene of an open air party where someone has been killed. The rest of the show consists of flashbacks to everything that happened prior to then, interspersed with brief police interviews of neighbors.…

British TV Series "Injustice"

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"Injustice" is 2011 five part British TV series about a criminal defense attorney (barrister) who struggles with legal justice versus true justice. The story moves between London and Ipswich and combines a current murder investigation with ramifications of a prior one. James Purefoy plays the barrister William Travers, who suffered a nervous breakdown after successfully defending a car bomb suspect he later learns was actually guilty. He returns to practice to defend a college chum of his accused of murdering a secretary in a hotel room. He makes a point of saying he needs to believe in his client's innocence to defend them. There's a pretty rotten and crooked police inspector involved as well. The show was well done and held my interest. You can see it on Amazon or for free on Vudu (with commercials). You can read more about it at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Injustice_(TV_series)
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"Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" is a 2017 drama starring Frances McDormand as Mildred Hayes. I think McDormand is most famous for her starring role in the movie "Fargo". Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell are key supporting actors.The film is quite powerful, and doesn't provide the easy answers to life's problems that many Hollywood films like to serve up.

The story begins 6 months or so after Mildred's daughter was raped and murdered. Unhappy with the progress of the local police investigation, Mildred rents three billboards on a road outside the town and chides police chief Willoughby (played by Woody Harrelson) for inaction. There are some pretty powerful emotions at play in this film, including strong feelings of guilt and sorrow. Many residents are sympathetic to Chief Willoughby, as they know he is dying of pancreatic cancer. But Mildred is a no nonsense individual on a mission, and is not afraid of confrontation with police, high-schoo…