Year: 2015

‘Suffragette’ celebrates the courage to effect change

“Suffragette” (2015) Cast: Carey Mulligan, Helena Bonham Carter, Meryl Streep, Anne-Marie Duff, Brendan Gleeson, Ben Whishaw, Natalie Press, Romola Garai, Grace Stottor, Finbar Lynch, Geoff Bell, Adam Michael Dodd, Adrian Schiller, Simon Gifford. Director: Sarah Gavron. Screenplay: Abi Morgan. Web site. Trailer. Leading the charge for change – especially on a mass scale – requires tremendous courage and bold actions. However, mustering the nerve to live up to those requirements may be more than many of us can handle. But, for those who can see the intrinsic need to bring about reform, calling upon one’s inner strength and fortitude may prove to be an inevitable eventuality, as a group of resolute women find out for themselves in the new historical drama, “Suffragette.” In 1912 London, a smoldering movement was about to catch fire. For more than a half-century, the women of England had been lobbying to secure the right to vote, all to no avail. Their growing frustration over this lack of results prompted groups of suffragettes to step up their efforts. Under the auspices of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), founder Emmeline Pankhurst (Meryl Streep) fervently urged her followers to actively take up the cause, zealously encouraging ...
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‘Trumbo’ explores redemption, justice

“Trumbo” (2015). Cast: Bryan Cranston, Diane Lane, Helen Mirren, John Goodman, Louis C.K., Michael Stuhlbarg, Elle Fanning, David James Elliott, Dean O’Gorman, Christian Berkel, James DuMont, Alan Tudyk, Roger Bart, John Getz, Johnny Sneed, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Richard Portnow, Stephen Root, Madison Wolfe, Ronald Reagan (archive footage), Robert Taylor (archive footage), Humphrey Bogart (archive footage), Lauren Bacall (archive footage). Director: Jay Roach. Screenplay: John McNamara. Book: Bruce Cook, Dalton Trumbo. Web site. Trailer. Life may not always be fair, but it usually seems to find a way to right itself. Enduring the trials and tribulations of such challenges might not be easy, but it often provides those who experience them with valuable insights, an education into how to turn around such situations. So it was for a troubled blacklisted screenwriter in the Hollywood of the 1950s as seen in the inspiring new biopic, “Trumbo.” In 1947, screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (Bryan Cranston) was one of the most acclaimed and best paid scribes in Hollywood, having achieved success with the scripts for such films as “Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo” (1944) and the Oscar-nominated “Kitty Foyle” (1940). At the same time, he had also achieved a fair amount of notoriety for his radical politics ...
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‘Truth’ puts its namesake on trial

“Truth” (2015). Cast: Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Topher Grace, Dennis Quaid, Elisabeth Moss, Bruce Greenwood, Stacy Keach, John Benjamin Hickey, David Lyons, Dermot Mulroney, Rachael Blake, Andrew McFarlane, Noni Hazlehurst, Philip Quast, Nicholas Hope, Steve Bastoni, Helmut Bakaitis, Lewis Fitz-Gerald, Tom Brokaw (archive footage), George Stephanopoulos (archive footage). Director: James Vanderbilt. Screenplay: James Vanderbilt. Book: Mary Mapes, Truth and Duty: The Press, the President, and the Privilege of Power. Web site. Trailer. Getting to the heart of a matter seems like it should be a fairly simple, straightforward process, correct? Not necessarily. As a leading news organization found out in a very high-profile (and subsequently embarrassing) investigation, definitive conclusions may be more elusive than one might think, a story reconstructed in the recently released docudrama, “Truth.” On September 8, 2004, the CBS News magazine 60 Minutes II aired an investigative report that held the potential to be a real bombshell. The report, researched and written by longtime producer Mary Mapes (Cate Blanchett) and presented by veteran anchorman Dan Rather (Robert Redford), purported to reveal evidence proving that President George W. Bush had allegedly shirked his duty during his service as a Texas Air National Guard pilot from 1968 to 1974 ...
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‘Freeheld’ explores the power of change

‘Freeheld’ explores the power of change

“Freeheld” (2015). Cast: Julianne Moore, Ellen Page, Steve Carell, Michael Shannon, Josh Charles, Luke Grimes, Tom McGowan, Dennis Boutsikaris, Kevin O’Rourke, William Sadler, Mary Birdsong, Kelly Deadmon, Stink Fisher, Gabriel Luna, Skipp Sudduth, Anthony De Sando, Mina Sundwall. Director: Peter Sollett. Screenplay: Ron Nyswaner. Documentary Source Material: “Freeheld” (2007) (Cynthia Wade, director). Web site. Trailer. When an obvious injustice become apparent, there’s a natural tendency to right such a wrong. But who will step up and take on the challenge? Sometimes the champion of the cause will be readily recognized. In other cases, however, the leader of the revolt may be the unlikeliest of candidates. In the end, it will all depend on the strength of the beliefs behind the force for change, a principle explored in the emotional new biopic, “Freeheld.” In 2005, decorated New Jersey police detective Lt. Laurel Hester (Julianne Moore) was living the good life. Her career was going well, she had just moved into a beautiful new home and she was enjoying her relationship with the love of her life, Stacie (Ellen Page), with whom she had formally established a domestic partnership under the state’s recently enacted law governing such arrangements. There were some trade-offs, ...
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Check out 'The Physics of the Soul'

Check out ‘The Physics of the Soul’

The traditional materialistic view that science has relied on implicitly for ages has begun to be challenged by new thinking involving the role of consciousness in a wide variety of areas, most notably healing. To find out more about this paradigm shift, check out my review of the new documentary, “The Physics of the Soul,” available by clicking here ...
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‘Experimenter’ probes the nature of our behavior

‘Experimenter’ probes the nature of our behavior

“Experimenter” (2015). Cast: Peter Sarsgaard, Winona Ryder, Jim Gaffigan, Anton Yelchin, John Leguizamo, Anthony Edwards, Dennis Haysbert, John Palladino, Edoardo Ballerini, Ned Eisenberg, Lori Singer, Emily Tremaine, Kellan Lutz, Michael Sibony, Tom Bateman, Lucy Fava, Jude Patrick White. Director: Michael Almereyda. Screenplay: Michael Almereyda. Web site. Trailer. Have you ever wondered why some people do certain things? Better yet, have you ever asked yourself the same question, particularly when engaging in what you thought of as out-of-character behavior? Astonishingly, maybe those acts aren’t as anomalous as you might think, a poignant issue raised in the funny and intriguing new biopic, “Experimenter.” Consider the following scenario: If you were ordered to do something you fundamentally disagreed with, would you comply? Most of us would probably say “No” without hesitation. But does that reaction truly hold water? That’s a theory psychology professor Stanley Milgram (Peter Sarsgaard) put to the test in an experiment he conducted at Yale University in 1961. In Milgram’s study, test subjects were evaluated for their responses to an order to deliver painful electric shocks to an unseen stranger (Jim Gaffigan) strapped to a chair in an adjacent room. The shocks were to be given whenever the stranger gave ...
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