December 27, 2019

  “1917” is a relentless video game-like imagining of one day during World War I. Though it shows the horrors of war, Sam Mendes’ indulgent spectacle fails to take into account the audiences’ will or ability to sustain almost two hours of horror for a five-minute denouement. As a whole, the film fails cinematically even if some scenes are effective. It is not based on one true story, but an amalgamation of memories. Set in the trenches in France, mild-mannered British… Read more

May 8, 2019

CNN’s new original series, The Redemption Project with Van Jones, premiered at Easter and concludes in June. Be sure not to miss any of the remaining episodes airing on Sunday evenings at 9 PM Et/PT. You can catch past episodes on CNN mobile apps. This series, week after week, is an adventure is restorative justice through asking, giving and receiving forgiveness, opportunities for perpetrators of crimes to take responsibility for their actions. Restorative justice is the opposite of punitive justice… Read more

May 4, 2019

  I would like to introduce you to a film by the writer-director Richard Linklater of France: Oliver Assayas. This is so at least in his new film “Non-Fiction.” Why, you ask? Because he, the screenwriter, just cannot stop talking. After the first ten minutes of the film I thought I was listening to Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy talking and talking as they do in Linklater’s “Before” trilogy, hoping they would actually do something other than pose and re-pose at… Read more

May 2, 2019

Photo courtesy of (c) Amazon StudiosRafi (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) lives in Mumbai with several other young men working to support themselves and send money back home. Rafi is particularly focused on earning enough to pay off debts and buy back the family home in his village. One day he takes a photo of Miloni (Sanya Malhotra), a young woman who is visiting the tourist attraction where he has stationed himself to take pictures and develop them on the spot for money…. Read more

May 2, 2019

This documentary premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January of this year and is now available on Netflix. It documents the primary campaigns of four female Democratic candidates who decide to run for the seats in Congress: Amy Vilela of Nevada, Cori Bush of Missouri, Paula Jean Swearengin of West Virginia, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. Each of these candidates was chosen through the efforts of two organizations made up of people who supported Bernie Sanders in the… Read more

May 2, 2019

  A factory produces different kinds of felt dolls, and all of them must pass through quality control inspection. When a doll is deemed imperfect, it is sent to a hidden and remote inlet along the shoreline called Uglyville. There, Ox (voice of Blake Shelton) is the paternal figure watching over the community of misfit dolls, who enjoy life. They do not see their imperfections or compare themselves to anyone else. Moxy (voice of Kelly Clarkson) is a happy doll… Read more

April 19, 2019

In other words, Soviet spy Joan Stanley (Dench and Sophie Cookson as the young Joan), doesn’t get caught until she’s too old to go to prison. She lives out her years in comfort as an OAP (old age pensioner in the UK or senior citizen as we say in the US). But when the British government finally catches up with her and arrests her on 29 breaches of the Official Secrets Act, Joan turns to her astonished lawyer son, Nick,… Read more

April 16, 2019

This latest attempt at a spook-fest from the team behind Warner Bros.’ Conjuring-Annabellefranchise is meaningless drivel. All the elements of a horror film are there: the paranormal inserting itself into nature and creating chaos, social and community isolation, unexplained apparitions, loss of control, psychological and physical vulnerability, evil vs good. But the story lacks credibility even though based on an old Mexican legend meant to scare kids into good behavior. There is some relief but no real redemption, just a… Read more

April 16, 2019

FILM REVIEW In April 2018 I had the honor of visiting the production set for the new film “Breakthrough” that will open nationwide tomorrow, April 17.  There I met the real Joyce Smith, played by Chrissy Metz and her son John played by Marcel Ruiz. You can read more about the film and the story behind it in a feature article I wrote for the April 2019 issue of St. Anthony Messenger (see below.) The film is based on the… Read more

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