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Year: 2021

‘Straight Off the Canvas’ makes an indelible artistic splash

‘Straight Off the Canvas’ makes an indelible artistic splash

“Straight Off the Canvas”(2020). Cast: Elizabeth Castellano, Jessica Jones, Sarah Valeri, Elizabeth Axel, Nicole Flores, Francis Rivera, Katherine Gelchinsky, the art students of the Lavelle School for the Blind. Director: Anthony Saldana. Screenplay: Jason Figueira and Anthony Saldana. Web site. It’s easy to dismiss certain possibilities as being wholly impossible. But, as life has often shown us, that’s patently lazy, unimaginative thinking. The seemingly implausible can indeed occur with a little adjustment in outlook (and, of course, the accompanying logistics). So it is for a challenged but inspired group of creatives as explored in the uplifting documentary, “Straight Off the Canvas.” How many of us have given thought to the notion that blind or visually impaired individuals can become artists? How can they possibly “visualize” a finished product that they can’t see or possibly even envision it in the same way that the sighted do? It may seem completely unlikely, but, as director Anthony Saldana’s film illustrates, it’s not only possible but has indeed happened. “Straight Off the Canvas” profiles a number of blind artists and art teachers who have succeeded in their odds-defying efforts. This material is supplemented by interviews with professionals and advocates who work with these creatives ...
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‘Shang-Chi’ charts the search for self

‘Shang-Chi’ charts the search for self

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” (2021). Cast: Simu Liu, Tony Leung, Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Michelle Yeoh, Ben Kingsley, Yuen Wah, Florian Munteanu, Benedict Wong, Andy Le, Jayden Chang, Elodie Fong, Arnold Sun, Kunal Dudheker, Stephanie Hsu, Jodi Long, Tsai Chin. Director: Destin Daniel Cretton. Screenplay: Dave Callahan, Destin Daniel Cretton and Andrew Lanham. Story: Dave Callahan and Destin Daniel Cretton. Source Material: Steve Engelhart and Jim Starlin, Marvel Comics. Web site. Trailer. Who we are and how we determine that can be an arduous undertaking, one replete with doubt, uncertainty and even denial. But, if we’re to attain satisfaction and fulfillment in life, it’s a process we must all go through to discover just what makes us, us. No one’s immune from this either, not even those who possess seemingly superior powers that one might think would automatically come with greater self-awareness. Such is the dilemma faced by a reluctant superhero in the thrilling and thoughtful new action-adventure saga, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” Successfully running away from a troubled past may seem like an expedient and effective way of escaping it, but appearances can definitely be deceiving. So it is for ...
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An Unstoppable Discussion

An Unstoppable Discussion

In case you missed this past week’s Mission Unstoppable video podcast interview with Patrick Sammon and Bennett Singer, directors of the engaging new documentary “Cured,” you can now view it on YouTube, available by clicking here. Tune in for a lively discussion with host Frankie Picasso and yours truly to find out more about this fascinating new film ...
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Kind Words from 'Cured'

Kind Words from ‘Cured’

I’m pleased to announced the the makers of the excellent documentary “Cured” have excerpted portions of my review of their film on their website. Scroll down to the bottom of the reviews list by clicking here. My thanks to the filmmakers for including me. And, to hear more from directors Patrick Sammon and Bennett Singer about their film, click here ...
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This Week in Movies with Meaning

This Week in Movies with Meaning

Reviews of “Respect,” “Cured” and “Final Set,” as well as podcast, blog and magazine article previews, are all in the latest Movies with Meaning post on the web site of The Good Media Network, available by clicking here ...
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A Cure Where No Illness Exists

A Cure Where No Illness Exists

How can millions of allegedly mentally ill individuals be “cured” of their conditions overnight with the stroke of a pen? That’s what LGBTQ+ activists were able to achieve in 1973, when they successfully convinced the American Psychiatric Association to reject homosexuality as an alleged form of mental illness. How did they do that? Find out on the next episode of The Good Media Network’s Mission Unstoppable video podcast with host Frankie Picasso and yours truly when we interview directors Patrick Sammon and Bennett Singer about their excellent new documentary on the subject, “Cured.” Tune in on Facebook Live Thursday September 9 at 1 pm ET by clicking here ...
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