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Year: 2021

‘Nasrin’ speaks for those who can’t

‘Nasrin’ speaks for those who can’t

“Nasrin”(2020). Cast: Nasrin Sotoudeh, Ann Curry, Reza Khandan, Nima Khandan, Mehraveh Khandan, Narges Hosseini, Jafar Panahi, Shirin Ebadi, Taghi Rahmani, Marietje Schaake, Monsoureh Shojaee, Olivia Colman (narrator). Director: Jeff Kaufman. Writer: Jeff Kaufman. Web site. Trailer. We can all use a little help from time to time. There are even times when we can use a lot of it, and, in those instances where we’re up against seemingly impossible odds, such as being under the thumb of despotic authority figures, it’s positively essential. Thankfully, there are champions out there who are willing to rise such occasions, even when it comes to putting their own well-being on the line, as illustrated in the new biographical documentary, “Nasrin.” Nasrin Sotoudeh may not be a familiar name to many of us. But, to countless Iranians who have come under attack by the Islamic state’s authoritarian fundamentalist rule, she has been a godsend. As one of the nation’s (indeed, the world’s) most passionate and prominent human rights advocates, Nasrin is an attorney who speaks her mind and fights aggressively for her clients, often confronting a brutal, autocratic government and a capricious, unreliable court system. In her many years of practice, she has fought hard ...
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An Advocate's Fight on Mission Unstoppable

An Advocate’s Fight on Mission Unstoppable

You may not have heard of Nasrin Sotoudeh, but she has had quite an impact. As one of the most courageous and outspoken human rights advocates in Iran, she has fought to defend those without a voice against a harsh authoritarian regime, at great personal cost. Her story is now the subject of the new documentary “Nasrin,” and that film provides the focus of the next episode of The Good Media Network’s Mission Unstoppable podcast. Join host Frankie Picasso and yours truly tomorrow, March 18, at 1 pm ET, for an interview with director Jeff Kaufman and producer Marcia Ross about their film and the courageous attorney’s work. Tune in on Facebook Live by clicking here for a fascinating discussion ...
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‘Minari’ charts the quest for a better life

‘Minari’ charts the quest for a better life

“Minari” (2020 production, 2021 release). Cast: Steven Yeun, Yeri Han, Alan Kim, Noel Kate Cho, Yuh-jung Youn, Will Patton, Ben Hall, Jacob Wade, Darryl Cox, Esther Moon, James Carroll, Eric Starkey, Tina Parker, Jenny Phagen, Scott Haze. Director: Lee Isaac Chung. Screenplay: Lee Isaac Chung. Web site. Trailer. Wishing for a better tomorrow is one of the most seductive pursuits we can follow. But actually making it happen takes more than just idle pondering. It requires us to envision what we want and to have faith that it can materialize for us. Are we willing to put in the work – both hypothetically and tangibly – to see through on its realization? That’s what a family seeking a better life is faced with in the moving, heartwarming domestic drama, “Minari.” The American Dream – a life brimming with optimism and opportunity for personal and economic success – is something most of us aspire to, especially those of immigrant backgrounds. And, in the economic boom of the 1980s, it was something that was seemingly on everyone’s mind. So it was for the Yi family, who emigrated to the U.S. from South Korea in search of a better life. Korean-born Jacob (Steven ...
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The Filmmaker No One Heard Of

The Filmmaker No One Heard Of

John Guillermin is probably one of the most prolific yet least known filmmakers of the 20th Century, though if you’ve ever seen or heard of movies like “The Towering Inferno,” “The Blue Max,” “Death on the Nile” and “King Kong” (1976), you obviously know of his work. In a loving tribute to the late director, Guillermin’s widow, Mary, has written a new memoir, John Guillermin: The Man, The Myth, The Movies, which serves as the subject of the next episode of The Good Media Network’s Mission Unstoppable podcast. Join host Frankie Picasso and yours truly tomorrow, March 11, at 1 pm ET, for an interview with Mary Guillermin about her new book and the life and work of one of the most famous filmmakers no one has ever heard of. Tune in on Facebook Live by clicking here for a fascinating discussion ...
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Visit 'Miami' on The Cinema Scribe

Visit ‘Miami’ on The Cinema Scribe

Tune in for the latest Cinema Scribe segment on Bring Me 2 Life Radio, Tuesday, March 9, at 2 pm ET, available by clicking here. And, if you don’t hear the show live, catch it later on demand, now available on Sound Cloud and Amazon! ...
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The Top and Bottom 10 of 2020 (sort of)

The Top and Bottom 10 of 2020 (sort of)

My list of the year’s best and worst in cinema might be coming a little late “this year,” but, then, this was unlike any other “year” that preceded it – especially since, based on distribution schedules, it ended up being longer than 12 months and included offerings whose release dates differed markedly from what was originally planned. That’s played havoc with what’s been made eligible for “2020” awards consideration, given that some haven’t come out until 2021 while others originally debuted in 2019 but had their wide-scale distribution plans altered. Some films vying for 2020 awards consideration have not even gone into general release as yet. And, even though I have seen most of this year’s major releases and awards contenders, in the interest of full disclosure, I must confess that there are some offerings I haven’t screened thus far (and have not been considered in the compilation of this list). So, with that said, here’s what made my Top 10 and Bottom 10 for “2020,” along with my 10 honorable and dishonorable mentions and a handful of other films that I’ve deemed noteworthy or forgettable. I have included both domestic and foreign offerings in these lists, but I have ...
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