Have you ever considered taking a leap of faith to achieve a cherished goal? It takes courage. It takes conviction. And it takes a reasoned appraisal of our chances of success. But, no matter how thoroughly we examine the circumstances, there’s still a bit of a gamble involved
“The Neutral Ground” (2021). Cast: CJ Hunt (narrator and interviewer), Mitch Landrieu, Jason Williams, Christy Coleman, Michael “Quess” Moore, Malcolm Suber, Angela Kinlaw, Thomas Taylor, Karen Cox, Ashley Rogers, Dr. Ibrahima Seck, Abdul Aziz, Luther Gray, Freddi Evans, Dread Scott, Mr. Hunt, Darcy McKinnon. Archive Footage: Pierre McGraw, Donald Trump, David Duke. Director: CJ Hunt. Web site. Trailer. Movie. When the truth remains hidden, it’s difficult to move forward and make progress in resolving thorny social issues. But, when it’s intentionally buried under a barrage of myths and lies designed to purposely obscure it, that makes the effort considerably more daunting. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible, though, as chronicled in the satirical and emotionally charged new documentary, “The Neutral Ground.” [...]
Pursuing the truth is indeed a noble endeavor, one that’s made all the more virtuous when infused with passion. That’s particularly crucial when attempts are made to intentionally obscure it and the stakes are high.
One of the great joys of reviewing movies is the opportunity to attend film festivals. They offer moviegoers a chance to see multiple offerings in myriad genres from countries all over the globe, featuring everything from little-known independent productions to Hollywood blockbusters. And so it is with my hometown event, the Chicago International Film Festival, which just recently completed its 55th edition. The Chicago festival just keeps getting better and better every year. I’ve attended many of the festivals over the past 40 years (I started attending when I was 2…), and I’ve seen vast improvements in programming and staging in that time, efforts that have truly made this a world class event. Over 12 days, I screened 15 films, [...]
“Little Gandhi” (2016). Cast: Interview Footage: Robert Ford, Najlaa Alsheikh, Osama Abu Zayd, Motaz Morad, Ghiath Shurbaji, Muhammad Shihadeh, Shafeek Abdulaziz, Muhanad Abu Alzen, Rana, Hassan Abo-Kinan, Mohammed Namous, Radwan Ziadeh, Ahmad Shurbaji. Archive Footage: John Kerry, David Cameron, Ghiath Matar, Yahya Shurbaji. Director: Sam Kadi. Screenplay: Sam Kadi. Web site. Trailer. It’s been said that one catches more flies with honey than with dung. While that may be true in many circumstances, it can be a tricky practice in political circles. If nothing else, though, it can make a statement, regardless of whether its objectives are met. So it was with an unconventional but fearless nonviolent activist fighting for change in his beleaguered homeland, the subject of the compelling [...]
“A Fantastic Woman” (“Una mujer fantástica”) (2017). Cast: Daniela Vega, Francisco Reyes, Luis Gnecco, Aline Küppenheim, Nicolás Saavedra, Amparo Noguera, Trinidad Gonzáez, Néstor Cantillana, Sergio Hernández. Director: Sebastián Lelio. Screenplay: Sebastián Lelio and Gonzalo Maza. Web site. Trailer. Saying goodbye is never easy. The pain and sorrow can be a lot to bear, even under the “best” of circumstances. But, when the situation becomes burdened by considerations that have no business intruding upon such a difficult process, the result can be unendurable. Such are the conditions addressed in the compelling new Chilean drama, “A Fantastic Woman” (“Una mujer fantástica”). Businessman Orlando Onetto (Francisco Reyes) leads what appears to be a fairly comfortable life in Santiago. The 57-year-old runs a successful [...]