October 15, 2018

  In 2008 there was an ominous early morning knock on the door of the Shank family home in Lansing, Michigan. Cindy, mother of Autumn (6), Ava (2) and Annalise (under a year), and wife to Adam, answered the door. Federal agents were there to arrest Cindy on conspiracy charges related to the time she was a live-in girlfriend to a drug dealer named Alex. After Alex’s murder state and federal charges were brought against Cindy; as the girlfriend she… Read more

September 29, 2018

  CBS is getting religion again with this new comedy about Miles (Brandon Michael Hall), an atheist with a podcast who is also a preacher’s kid. After Miles asserts his joyful and confident atheism once again, God friends him on social media and continues to poke and annoy Miles until he accepts. This puts Miles in a place to make a dramatic difference in someone’s life and introduces him to Cara Bloom (Violet Beane), a journalist with writer’s block. Let’s… Read more

September 21, 2018

  This exhilarating and hopeful film tells the story of high school students from several schools in the USA, Brazil (two students from a rural area take on the Zeka virus), Germany (a student takes on aerospace) as they prepare for their state or national science fairs and then, for the winners, on to the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). It demonstrates not only intelligence and interest in the world and science but that these modest young people, and… Read more

September 21, 2018

  This very funny film documents a weekend of sparkling conversations between Dames Maggie Smith, Joan Plowright, Eileen Atkins and Judi Dench at Plowright’s countryside home. It is intimate, a little salty, and most entertaining. Director Roger Mitchell (Notting Hill), with minimal suggestions to the ladies, turns on the camera and lets these friends chat about their careers, acting, families, and life. Augmented with archival photographs and footage, their stories combine into a thoroughly enjoyable narrative. If you already like… Read more

August 8, 2018

  In Ken Marino’s lightweight predictable romantic comedy, the best part is in the last five minutes and then the outtakes alongside the credits. The cast includes Vanessa Hudgens as Tara, Eva Longoria as Grace, Nina Dobrev as Elizabeth, Ron Cephas as Jones, and Jon Bas as Garrett.   The plot entwines the lives of various people in Los Angeles, from childless parents who adopt a young girl and then adopt a dog, to a talk show host’s love life and… Read more

May 10, 2018

Courtesy of Magnolia Films   New York City in 1978 was on the verge of bankruptcy. The tenements of lower Manhattan looked bombed out and graffiti was exploding across the city and on the subway trains to the tune of hip-hop and the vision of break dancing. While many people, if not most, considered graffiti a blight, emerging street artists were paying attention. Today we have Banksy; the late 1980’s had Jean-Michel Basquiat. This new documentary by director Sara Driver… Read more

April 10, 2018

Marion Cotillard and Charlotte Gainsbourg in ISMAEL’S GHOSTS. Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures. Noted French director Arnaud Desplechin’s sometimes interesting, often confusing, random, occasionally frenetic narrative is about a filmmaker, Ismael  (Mathieu Amalric) whose wife Carlotta (Marion Cotillard), disappeared twenty-one years previously and has been declared dead. He is still friends with her father Henri (László Szabó) and is in a passionate relationship with an astrophysicist, Sylvia (Charlotte Gainsbourg). Life is good as Ismael works on his new feature film at… Read more

March 3, 2018

  Here’s a link to a podcast where I am in conversation about the Oscars: In Conversation Listen to Sr. Rose Pacatte discuss the threads of Catholicism running through many of this year’s Oscar-nominated films and hear her predictions and hopes for the Academy Awards in the latest episode of NCR’s podcast.   My Oscar reflections, hopes and scolds 2018 I watched about 85 films in 2017. It was an exceptionally good year for cinema. History, humanity, humor, family, religion,… Read more

March 1, 2018

Here are my reviews at Reel Time at St. Anthony Messenger for March, 2018. Read more

March 1, 2018

One of the coolest parts about being a film critic is that I can choose the films I liked the most from last year and no one can complain. Well you can, but too bad. Actually, you can make your list, too, and I hope you will do so. 2017 was a brilliant year for cinema. Some people still complain that nothing good coms out of Hollywood. True, some years the pickings are slim, but the 2017 crop is exceptionally… Read more

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