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Mixed bag of Films

I am reviewing an odd mix of titles ranging from psychological horror to homeless people to documentaries and musicals.

"Three Identical Strangers" tells the astounding true story of three men who make the chance discovery, at the age of 19 that they are identical triplets, separated at birth and adopted to different parents. The trio's joyous reunion in 1980 catapults them to fame but also sets in motion a chain of events that unearths an unexpected and disturbing secret that goes far beyond their own lives. This documentary asks the age old question how much of our character is genetic or nurtured. It reminded me of Jim Carrey's film "The Truman Show" where unbeknownst to him his life is a TV show, a little different, but a life being observed without a person's knowledge.

"The First Purge" is a movie with quality suspense, dynamic action, flawed but honorable heroes and ruthless villains. Every Purge film has its own style. First, a home invasion. Second, action out on the street. Third, action plus politics. This fourth installment keeps the politics and suspense but light on the creep-you-out madness on the street and it ups the action and firepower. The story boiled down to a conflict between a fascistic government, supported by wealthy elite. Waging war on the poor was the essence of the movie, a very sobering one. This one feels the least like the others, but it is still a worthy chapter in the Purge story.

"Leave No Trace" is a timely story of a father and teenage daughter living off the grid, in the woods. The backdrop is beautiful. The story is unique and the acting in the film is superb. It takes on heavy themes of PTSD, homelessness, and autonomy with a mature thoughtfulness. In an industry where there are too many movies about people in war, it is a nice change to see a film about war and its human consequences. The movie offers no answers, only gentle understanding and compassion.

"Mamma Mia Here We Go Again" is just as cheesy and lovable as the first one. What more can I say except that if you love the music of ABBA, then you will love this second installment. You'll laugh, cry, dance and jive, you'll have the time of your life.

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