When we look upon the works of gifted artists – regardless of the medium involved – we’re often tempted to wonder where the abilities that gave rise to them came from. To be sure, much of the credit obviously belongs to these creative types themselves, but still there are other influences that help to nudge their talents to the surface, inspirations that bring out their innate skills and enable them to flourish.
“Knives and Skin” (2019). Cast: Marika Engelhardt, Raven Whitley, Tim Hopper, Audrey Francis, Marilyn Dodds Frank, Grace Smith, Ty Olwin, James Vincent Meredith, Kate Arrington, Robert T. Cunningham, Kayla Carter, Alex Moss, Jalen Gilbert, Tony Fitzpatrick, Genevieve Venjohnson, Aurora Real De Asua, Ireon Roach, Haley Bolithon. Director: Jennifer Reeder. Screenplay: Jennifer Reeder. Web site. Trailer. When we feel like we’re stuck in a rut, escape seems almost unfathomable. And, the greater the dysfunction associated with that condition, the more onerous the circumstances become. But such conditions need not be an irrevocable sentence, especially if we can find it within us to search for a way forward. These are the challenges of a group of adult and teen residents in a [...]
With another year coming to a close, it’s time for my annual review of the best – and worst – in cinema of the past 12 months. And what a generally disappointing year it was. Truly great films were few and far between, with only a handful earning the status of being genuinely outstanding. Some offerings were commendable, and many were adequate, but quite a few were sorely lacking. In fact, in compiling my list, I had far less trouble coming up with my Bottom 10 than I did with those at the top, something that speaks volumes about the quality of 2019’s offerings. This is something that’s reflected in this year’s field of Oscar nominees as well, a subject [...]
“Greener Grass” (2019). Cast: Jocelyn DeBoer, Dawn Luebbe, Beck Bennett, Neil Casey, Julian Hilliard, Asher Miles Fallica, Mary Holland, D’Arcy Carden, Janicza Bravo, Jaxon Rose Moore, Jim Cummings, Hollyn Johnston, Abigail Kurtz, Allison Kurtz. Directors: Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe. Screenplay: Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe. Web site. Many of us would probably like to think we’re true to ourselves, being honest and forthright and acting in line with our truest intentions. But are we? What if we let other considerations creep into play, like feeling the need to be overly sensitive so as to cause no offense? Perhaps we might also feel a little competitive with others, succumbing to peer pressure and comparing our situations to theirs, fudging things [...]
“Lucky” (2017). Cast: Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Ron Livingston, Ed Begley Jr., Tom Skerritt, James Darren, Beth Grant, Barry Shabaka Henley, Yvonne Huff, Hugo Armstrong, Bertila Damas, Ana Mercedes. Director: John Carroll Lynch. Screenplay: Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja. Web site. Trailer. The longer we live, the luckier we’re supposed to believe we are, right? But what if that long life is devoid of meaning? In those cases, it seems like we just keep going on and on but without purpose or a sense of what life’s all about. Under those conditions, we have to ask ourselves, is that enough? Does the act of merely biding our time suffice? And, if that’s what’s really happening to us, will we [...]