When faced with difficult situations, it may be tempting to want to turn a blind eye, willingly choosing to remain oblivious and ignorant. By tuning out and wallowing in our own complacency, we have an opportunity to lull ourselves into distraction and denial, hoping that the wishful thinking spawned from such practices will somehow materialize into a bona fide reality. But what do we do when we realize that’s not going to happen, when we understand that we’ve squandered opportunities to solve the issues facing us?
How far would you go to get what you want? In particular, how determined would you to be to fulfill your objectives if you felt you were being intentionally excluded from doing so? The temptation to succeed at any cost under such circumstances might be quite strong, and, if a path were to open up to make things happen seemingly easily, one could be seen as foolish for ignoring such an opportunity.
“The Trial of the Chicago 7” (2020). Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton, Frank Langella, Mark Rylance, Alex Sharp, Jeremy Strong, John Carroll Lynch, Yahya Abdul Mateen II, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Ben Shenkman, J.C. MacKenzie, Danny Flaherty, Noah Robbins, John Doman, Caitlin FitzGerald, Alice Kremelberg, Wayne Duvall, Steve Routman, Mike Geraghty. Director: Aaron Sorkin. Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin. Web site. Trailer. We all want justice. We all want to see it served. But does it always turn out that way? Seeking it requires diligence and a concerted effort to make sure that what needs to be revealed indeed is. Nevertheless, even with the best of intentions and a noble approach, it’s possible that the process can become [...]
“Lucky Grandma” (2019 production, 2020 release). Cast: Tsai Chin, Corey Ha, Michael Tow, Woody Fu, Yan Xi, Wai Ching Ho, Eddie Yu, Ali Ahn, Mason Yam, Emma Ming Hong, John Tan, Zilong Zee, Lyman Chen, Arden Wolfe, He Jun Miao. Director: Sasie Sealy. Screenplay: Angela Cheng and Sasie Sealy. Web site. Trailer. Turning away from a good thing can be hard to do. The seductive nature of good fortune can be difficult to back away from, especially once we’ve had a taste of it. But over-imbibing can have its drawbacks, sometimes more dire than anticipated, leading to all kinds of unpleasant consequences. Such is the case for a lucky streak run amok in the raucous new Chinese-American comedy, “Lucky Grandma.” [...]
“The Hottest August” (2019). Cast: Clare Coulter (narrator). Director: Brett Story. Web site. Trailer. What does the future hold? That’s a question many of us ask ourselves often, both individually and collectively. But how wide a view do we take when answering it, again, either individually or collectively? That’s a subject addressed in the experimental new documentary, “The Hottest August.” It probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise that, when we contemplate the future, we usually do so in terms of how it most directly affects us as individuals or in our peer groups. We think about our homes, our families, our communities, our professions and so forth, the aspects of our lives that have the most immediate impact. [...]
“1917” (2019). Cast: George MacKay, Dean-Charles Chapman, Colin Firth, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong, Andrew Scott, Richard Madden, Daniel Mays, Claire Duburcq, Roland Maaser. Director: Sam Mendes. Screenplay: Sam Mendes and Krysty Wilson-Cairns. Web site. Trailer. How aware are we of our existence? We may think we have a good handle on it, but do we really? Sometimes we need a “reality check,” where we’re thrown into a scenario that gives us a greater and more mindful appreciation of the realm in which we find ourselves. That can be a rude awakening, for sure, as a pair of young soldiers discover for themselves in the new wartime drama, “1917.” With the brutal combat of World War I stuck in a virtual stalemate [...]
“Parasite” (“Gisaengchung”) (2019). Cast: Kang-ho Song, Hye-jin Jang, So-dam Park, Woo-sik Choi, Sun-kyun Lee, Yeo-jeong Jo, Jung Ziso, Hyun-jun Jong, Jeong-eun Lee, Myeong-hoon Park, Seo-joon Park, Keun-rok Park. Director: Bong Joon-ho. Screenplay: Jin Won Hon and Bong Joon-ho. Web site. Trailer. When the have-nots stare down the ample resources of the haves, there’s almost always sure to be a degree of envy involved. “How is it that they’ve come to acquire what we haven’t?” they might legitimately ask. “Why can’t we have some of that?” Those questions have merit, too. But how far are the have-nots willing to go to get what they seek? That’s a crucial issue posed in the new social satire, “Parasite” (“Gisaengchung”). Times are tough for [...]
“Joker” (2019). Cast: Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Frances Conroy, Zazie Beetz, Brett Cullen, Shea Whigham, Bill Camp, Glenn Fleshler, Leigh Gill, Josh Pais, Douglas Hodge, Dante Pereira-Olson, Carrie Lauren Putrello, Sharon Washington, Hannah Gross, Brian Tyree Henry, Frank Wood, Carl Lundstedt, Michael Benz, Ben Warheit. Director: Todd Phillips. Screenplay: Todd Phillips and Scott Silver. Web site. Trailer. It’s a rare feat when a film covers so much ground that it gives us a lot to take in and assess. In doing so, such stories may well make us feel more than a little uncomfortable (and rightfully so) as they prompt us to take a hard look at what we’re experiencing and how it came about. They may even push [...]
“Raise Hell: The Life & Times of Molly Ivins” (2019). Cast: Molly Ivins. Interviews: Dan Rather, Rachel Maddow, Lou Dubose, Jim Hightower, Andy Ivins, Sara Ivins Maley, Carlton Carl, Dave “Moose” McNeely. Archives: George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Ann Richards, David Letterman, Morley Safer, John Henry Faulk. Director: Janice Engel. Screenplay: Janice Engel and Monique Zavistovski. Web site. Trailer. Getting the word out about what’s really going on can be quite a challenge, especially when those in the know may try to conceal the truth, soft-peddle its implications or spin it to their personal advantage. Overcoming that takes a writer-investigator who’s willing to dig deep and to keep from caving in to pressure to doctor the information to fulfill [...]