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‘The Report’ chronicles the heroic pursuit of an ugly truth

“The Report” (2019). Cast: Adam Driver, Annette Bening, Corey Stoll, Jon Hamm, Maura Tierney, Michael C. Hall, Tim Blake Nelson, Linda Powell, Victor Slezak, Scott Shepherd, John Rothman, Ted Levine, Douglas Hodge, T. Ryder Smith, Fajer Kaisi, Zuhdi Boueri, Ratnesh Dubey, Carlos Gómez, Pun Bandhu, Joanne Tucker, Ian Blackman, Damian Fumusa, Joseph Siravo, Jennifer Morrison, Alexander Chaplin, Evander Duck Jr., Matthew Rhys. Archive Footage: Barack Obama, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, John McCain, John Kerry. Director: Scott Z. Burns. Screenplay: Scott Z. Burns. Story: Katherine Eban, “Rohrschach and Awe,” Vanity Fair magazine, July 2007 (uncredited). Web site. Trailer. Exposing a painful truth is never easy. That’s especially the case when those who have much to lose hinder the process by nefariously [...]

2020-01-16T11:18:15+00:00December 15th, 2019|Conscious Creation, Drama, Movie Reviews|

‘Grace of God’ examines the struggle to liberate trapped courage

“By the Grace of God” (“Grâce à Dieu”) (2018 production, 2019 release). Cast: Melvil Poupaud, Denis Ménochet, Swann Arlaud, Eric Caravaca, François Marthouret, Bernard Verley, Martine Erhel, Hélène Vincent, François Chattot, Frédéric Pierrot, Aurélia Petit, Julie Duclos, Jeanne Rosa, Amélie Daure, Nicolas Bridet, Pierre Lottin, Stéphane Brel, Martine Schambacher, Max Libert, Nicolas Bauwen, Laurence Roy, Jacques Lagarde, Davan Collin, Jules Gauzelin, Noah Richard. Director: François Ozon. Screenplay: François Ozon. Web site. Trailer. Working up the necessary courage to conquer fears that we believe cannot be vanquished can be one of the most difficult and terrifying challenges we can undertake. The effect can be paralyzing, leaving us stuck in a hellish limbo that feels like it has no end. But, with [...]

2020-01-05T21:03:25+00:00December 8th, 2019|Conscious Creation, Drama, Movie Reviews|

‘This Changes Everything’ examines remedies for a glaring disparity

“This Changes Everything” (2018 production, 2019 release). Cast: Marisa Tomei, Jessica Chastain, Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, Chloë Grace Moretz, Meryl Streep, Zoe Saldana, Cate Blanchett, Gillian Anderson, Rashida Jones, Sharon Stone, Amandla Stenberg, Heather Graham, Rosario Dawson, Geena Davis, Mary-Louise Parker, Sandra Oh, Tiffany Haddish, Taraji P. Henson, Rose McGowan, Brit Marling, Ellen Pompeo, Amber Tamblyn, Yara Shahidi, Jackie Cruz, Lena Dunham, Marg Helgenberger, Tracee Ellis Ross, Judd Apatow, Alan Alda, Paul Feig, Shonda Rhimes, Jill Soloway, Patty Jenkins, Catherine Hardwicke, Mira Nair, Kimberly Peirce, Lesli Linka Glatter, Julie Dash, Lynne Littman, Maria Giese, Cherien Dabis, Courtney Kemp Agboh, Callie Khouri, Anita Hill, Kalpana Kotagal, Melissa Goodman, Maureen Ryan, Howard Rodman, Clifford Alexander. Director: Tom Donahue. Web site. Trailer. Movies and [...]

2019-08-23T16:00:52+00:00July 29th, 2019|Conscious Creation, Documentary, Movie Reviews|

‘American Empire’ takes a critical look at what has value

“The Fall of the American Empire” (“La chute de l’empire américain”) (2018 production, 2019 release). Cast: Alexandre Landry, Maripier Morin, Rémy Girard, Maxim Roy, Louis Morissette, Florence Longpré, Patrick Emmanuel Abellard, Pierre Curzi, Vincent Leclerc, Eddy King, Anoulith Sintharaphone, Ayana O’Shun, Kémy St-Eloy. Director: Denys Arcand. Screenplay: Denys Arcand. Web site. Trailer. We all have our priorities when it comes to determining what we believe has value. But what exactly are those determinations based on? Do they arise from rigorously scrutinized considerations, or do they stem from arbitrary, capricious, cursory examinations? Are they decided upon by consensus, or do they vary from one individual to another? And are they fixed or flexible, changeable as needs arise or forever rigid? Those [...]

2019-07-17T23:00:43+00:00June 18th, 2019|Comedy, Conscious Creation, Drama, Movie Reviews|

‘On Her Shoulders’ speaks for those without a voice

“On Her Shoulders” (2018). Cast: Nadia Murad, Murad Ismael, Amal Clooney, Borys Wrzesnewskj, Michelle Rempel, Barack Obama, Ki-moon Ban, Simone Monasebian, Ahmed Khudida Burjus. Director: Alexandria Bombach. Screenplay/Translation: Hishyar Abid, Nawaf Ashur, Deniz Ekici, Yousif Haskan and Shahnaz Osso. Web site. Trailer. For those without a voice, it’s often difficult to be heard. In those cases, it generally takes someone with the courage and resilience to step up and make the case for them, not the easiest of undertakings. But, when an advocate with the right qualities emerges, incredible results are possible. So it is with an unlikely envoy for a little-known aggrieved people as seen in the stirring documentary, “On Her Shoulders,” available on DVD, Blu-ray Disc and video [...]

2019-06-10T09:00:33+00:00May 9th, 2019|Conscious Creation, Documentary, Movie Reviews|

‘Beale Street’ celebrates the power of love, community

“If Beale Street Could Talkˮ (2018). Cast: KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King, Colman Domingo, Diego Luna, Dave Franco, Finn Wittrock, Emily Rios, Brian Tyree Henry, Michael Beach, Aunjanue Ellis, Teyonah Parris, Ebony Obsidian, Dominique Thorne, Ed Skrein, Ethan Barrett, Milanni Mines, Pedro Pascal, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Kaden Byrd. Director: Barry Jenkins. Screenplay: Barry Jenkins. Book: James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk. Web site. Trailer. Much goes on in a neighborhood that comes to define its character. It’s as if the community takes on a life and personality of its own, one that frequently persists and comes to distinguish the area in question, including its residents, often for generation after generation. It’s a phenomenon that essentially becomes a way [...]

2019-01-23T04:25:51+00:00January 9th, 2019|Conscious Creation, Drama, Movie Reviews|

The Best and Worst of 2018

Another year in filmdom has come and gone, and countless movie reviewers have issued their best and worst lists for 2018. And so, with that said, it’s time to add my voice to the chorus, with my choices for the cream of the crop and the curdled cream best discarded. In the interest of full disclosure, I must confess that I did not screen every film that was released in 2018, most notably those that were distributed through limited or select channels or have yet to go into wide release, such as a number of foreign films and a few lesser-known independent productions, like “Stan & Ollie.” However, I did spend considerable time staring at those flickering lights on the [...]

‘Viper Club’ probes the depths of truth, compassion

“Viper Club” (2018). Cast: Susan Sarandon, Matt Bomer, Edie Falco, Lola Kirke, Julian Morris, Sheila Vand, Adepero Oduye, Amir Malaklou, Damian Young, Patrick Breen, Jerome Charvet, Mattea Conforti, Kristin Villanueva, Jack McCarthy. Director: Maryam Keshavarz. Screenplay: Maryam Keshavarz and Jonathan Mastro. Web site. Trailer. Getting at the truth isn’t always easy. It may be obscured by camouflage, and accessing it may be difficult because of roadblocks or obstacles. And yet, once that elusive truth is found, it could potentially be so painful that one might wish it had stayed concealed. However, for those who are committed to seeing it being told, it takes certain skills, most notably in the areas of tact, compassion and forthrightness, to convey the information, especially [...]

2018-12-09T21:24:13+00:00November 13th, 2018|Conscious Creation, Drama, Movie Reviews|

‘Await Further Instructions’ cautions us about what we create

“Await Further Instructions” (2018). Cast: Sam Gittins, Neerja Naik, Grant Masters, Abigail Cruttenden, Holly Weston, Kris Saddler, David Bradley. Director: Johnny Kevorkian. Screenplay: Gavin Williams. Web site. Facebook Page. We all like to think we’re masters of our own destiny. But are we? It’s really quite astonishing how readily many of us will capitulate when faced with the pressures placed on us by those in positions of authority. So how do we cope? That’s the central question raised in the thrilling new smart horror flick, “Await Further Instructions.” Christmas is supposed to be a festive time of year, full of good times and good cheer, especially in the company of loved ones. As many of us know, however, that’s not [...]

2018-08-06T06:41:08+00:00June 26th, 2018|Conscious Creation, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi|

‘Crown Heights’ seeks justice in its absence

“Crown Heights” (2017). Cast: Lakeith Stanfield, Nnamdi Asomugha, Natalie Paul, Bill Camp, Luke Forbes, Adriane Lenox, Zach Grenier, Josh Pais, Skylan Brooks, Nestor Carbonell, Armand Schultz. Director: Matt Ruskin. Screenplay: Matt Ruskin. Web site. Trailer. Seeking justice is sometimes an unbelievably slow and difficult process. Bureaucratic procedures, sloppy investigative work and officials unwilling to admit making mistakes all contribute to needlessly complicating matters. The frustration can be exasperating for everyone involved, especially those who have been wrongfully convicted. Such is the case in the fact-based biographical drama “Crown Heights,” now available on DVD and video on demand. In 1980, 18-year-old Colin Warner (Lakeith Stanfield) was arrested, convicted and incarcerated for a murder he did not commit in the Crown Heights [...]

2018-05-27T18:51:55+00:00May 8th, 2018|Conscious Creation, Drama, Movie Reviews|
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