‘The Look of Silence’ exposes Indonesia’s present day legacy of genocide

Adi questions Commander Amir Siahaan, one of the death squad leaders responsible for his brother’s death during the Indonesian genocide, in Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary "The Look of Silence." (Courtesy of Drafthouse Films and Participant Media)

 Beginning in October 1965, an anti-Communist purge, rather conveniently instigated by a failed coup, led to the ousting of Indonesia’s first president, Sukarno. This was followed by the U.S.-supported presidency of Suharto, who held office for 31 years. It is estimated that the purge, that lasted into 1966, and carried out by local militias under the direction of local and regional leaders, resulted in the brutal torture and deaths of at least 500,000 people.Many of the people who c … [Read more...]

‘Mad Max: Fury Road” & “Tomorrowland” both prophecy and fantasy

Britt Robertson stars in a scene from the movie "Tomorrowland." (CNS/Disney)

This summer’s “Tomorrowland” from Disney and director Brad Bird and “Mad Max: Fury Road,” a “reboot” of the original Mad Max trilogy from the 1970s and ’80s from Australian director George Miller, go together better than you might think at first glance. Seeing them in tandem makes all the difference. “Mad Max: Fury Road” is the typical post-apocalyptic dystopian flick with themes of hope and redemption and regeneration. The lead characters are courageous, violent fighters and hope is a mirage. I … [Read more...]

‘The Gallows’ is a snooze fest


  Ok, props to the filmmakers Chris Lofing and Travis Cluff for getting the movie made and distributed. It's proficient. But it's "Blair With Project" hand-held camera style is as annoying as the guy whose hands hold the camera, Ryan Shoos as the bully classmate, well, Ryan Shoos. I only went to see it because my 14 year-old nephew, who is visiting, wanted to see it but I'm sorry we did. It was too graphic and I loathe bullying, especially when there's no redemption … [Read more...]

Found on the back paddock at Jurassic World


  My cousin just posted this on Facebook noting that this generation and those to come will never know the thrill of renting a video at Blockbuster. Technology develops so fast.  Technology is so disposable but memories can last forever. Yet, if I go by what I learned in Pixar's "Inside Out," it's not worth making technology memories "core memories" - because they are here today, gone tomorrow. Pixar's next film should be called "Gone with the Wind Redux."This … [Read more...]

’1913: Seeds of Conflict’ seeks to explain source of Israeli-Palestinian tensions


 This comprehensive and compact docudrama premiering tonight on PBS (10pm), “1913: Seeds of Conflict” reveals little known facts that conflated to become what writer/director Ben Loeterman proposes as the root causes for today’s ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestinians. Almost a half million Muslims, 60,000 Christians and 20,000 Sephardic (i.e. Mediterranean) Jews lived together peacefully enough in the years before World War I when Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire an … [Read more...]

‘Batkid Begins’ – a wish with a life of its own

Eric Johnston as Batman and Miles Scott as Batkid in "Batkid Begins." (Warner Bros. Entertainment Co.)

As news of the terrible shootings at the AME Church in Charleston, S.C., broke Wednesday, a couple hundred people were gathered at the Landmark Theater on Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles for the premiere of the documentary film “Batkid Begins.” “Batkid Begins” is the epitome of what a great community that America can be and is, the antithesis of the havoc a lone mass shooter wreaked on a group of people studying the Bible in their church.“Batkid” is Miles Scott, a little boy from a small town in No … [Read more...]

‘Jurassic World’ – No dinosaurs with pink feathers, but questionable ethics

The Indominus rex readies her attack in “Jurassic World."

 Below is the feature article I wrote on the science and philosophy in "Jurassic World" but I want to add a couple of things. First, the engineering science of Dallas Bryce Howard's high heeled shoes ought to have been mentioned. She wore them throughout and I think she even walked backwards sometimes. This feat defied nature. I would have mentioned the dinosaur brain science but I was not able to hear everything that Professor Horner said about this at the press day event. But it was … [Read more...]

‘Flannery O’Connor: Faith Fired by Fiction’ my book review


 “Flannery O’Connor: Fiction Fired by Faith”By Angela Alaimo O’DonnellLiturgical Press, 2015Paperback, 138 pages$12.95 My copy of “Flannery O’Connor: Fiction Fired by Faith” by Fordham University English professor Angela Alaimo O’Donnell arrived a few days ago and I just finished devouring it. It’s part of the “People of God” series published by Liturgical Press. After a read of the scholarly and analytical Introduction and Chapter One, the book takes flight … [Read more...]

‘Forbidden Films’ the hidden legacy of Nazi films


  This documentary from Germany explores the dilemma of censorship about a cache of about 40 Nazi feature films (out of 1200 made between 1933 and 1944) that are not available to the German public to see. It will be shown in Los Angeles June 1 and 2 at six Laemmle Theaters.The description from the Telluride Film Festival catalog says:"Twelve hundred feature films were made in Germany’s Third Reich. According to experts, some 100 of these were blatant Nazi p … [Read more...]

High-octane ‘San Andreas’ tells audiences to be prepared

Carla Gugino and Dwayne Johnson in "San Andreas" (Warner Bros. Pictures/Jasin Boland)

Ray (Dwayne Johnson) is a Los Angeles firefighter who heads a team of helicopter rescuers. Not long after saving a girl whose car is resting on a canyon cliff, the world seems about to end: San Andreas, Calif.'s main north-south earthquake fault line is triggered by a series of quakes around Hoover Dam in Nevada.But Ray's world is already fragile because of a pending divorce from his wife, Emma (Carla Gugino), and the earlier death of one of his two daughters. Emma introduces him to her new … [Read more...]