KCET Summer Cinema Series

Hi All!

Want to talk about the films you've seen at KCET Cinema Series screenings? Here is the place to do it!

Since we see films before their release date it is hard to discuss them with friends, so why not discuss them here, with fellow Cinema Series audience members? We can keep the Q&A going, discuss major plot points, the film's cinematography, actors and distribution.

We can start the discussions with the most recent film, "A Better Life." What did you think about Demian Bichir's and Jose Julian's performances?

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I was initially a little worried the film would focus exclusively on whether or not the son gets jumped in - Hollywood has a terrible track record on that score - but once proceedings settled on the underlying father-son dynamic I was pleasantly surprised. This isn't a "great" film, but it's certainly a very good one anchored by a lovely performance from Demian Bichir as the dad. He is the kind of idealized immigrant father all second generation kids (like me, fyi) had, wish we had, think we had - long suffering, misunderstood, physically strong, old fashioned, scarred by ancient injuries we don't know or understand. The film has an underlying concern with honor and "doing the right thing" that struck me as completely true and appropriate to the frame of immigrant fatherhood. Against that backdrop Jose Julian gave a lovely turn as well. He pitched his performance in a good middle zone that eschewed "bad kid" and "good kid" in favor of "thoughtful observant kid." The son comes off as a rational actor (pun intended) in a difficult situation whose choices make basic human and dramatic sense.

If I would pick a nit with the film, it's that I don't think it made enough use of Los Angeles as a physical space or location. For a film that spent a fair amount of time in cars and buses, I didn't get enough of East side v. West Side v. Downtown v. outlying cities like Pico Rivera beyond generic markers - more white folks in the west side, gang bangers in the east. But that's a little thing; overall I was thankful for the chance to see the film!

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What did you guys think about Page One?

Personally, I expected the film to take a harder look at the paper and answer some questions. What were they doing to make their reporters more accountable? How is the iPad suppose to save the Gray Lady? How are reporters engaging readers using social media?

In the end, I felt that the whole film was just a love letter to the Times...

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Also, what about the New York Times paywall? It's not popular with readers or journalist and everyone knows how to get around it. But in the film, the paywall is presented as a new system that will help the Times.

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What did you think about Larry Crowne?

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Larry Crowne felt really slow and the movie overall was just meh. I'm thinking this might be because I had higher expectations from Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts.