“Once in a Lifetime” a Challenging Assignment



The true story Once in a Lifetime offers a sincere look into the lives of a classroom of teens who get to tackle one of the most challenging assignments of their life. The opening scene however, shows a discord between a Muslim student and a faculty member regarding the wearing of a hijab (Muslim head covering). While this incident never gets fleshed out, according to the press notes supplied, producer Marie-Castille Mention-Schaar includes the scene to show freedom of expression and the principle of secularism. The scene has the power to suggest a whole new plot for a different film on the subject yet does not take away from the production that follows. Read more

“The Night Of” a Powerful HBO Mini-Series



Edge of your seat intriguing, the HBO series The Night Of provides excellent drama for crime fans. Not exactly an original storyline giving it a “CSI” vibe, but the point of view makes it different and gripping. With acts of terrorism in the world and growing in America, suspicions have escalated. This mini-series takes you into the world of bias and bigotry as seen by one trapped in a vicious crime. It’s just a story after all, yet if it hadn’t been a Muslim caught up in the crime it may have not been as powerful. Read more

“The Accountant”, Killing by the Numbers



The most electrifying and suspense-filled film this year, The Accountant has opened nationwide and it’s a thriller. From opening act to the closing credits it keeps you glued to your seat waiting for the exciting scene. Under the keen direction of Gavin O’Connor who brought Miracle and Warrior to the screen, the cast makes The Accountant a winner. If you thought that Ben Affleck was good in movies like Gone Girl, Argo or The Town, witness the actor at his level best. Read more

“American Honey” Looking for Meaning to Life



Here’s a quirky little film that could sneak in for an Oscar if the wind blows their way. It’s called American Honey and works its magic with a strong appeal to mature teens through 20’s. The film has a radical edge that takes a stab at the wealthy and also preys on the goodness of middle class America. That said, it’s also an eye opener of America’s failure to influence the young toward important social values and the danger of negative ones. Read more

“Silver Skies” Seniors Stand their Ground



Kind of an off-beat comedy the film Silver Skies brings a little more nostalgia to the screen with a cool blast from the past cast. Much like the recent review on the film Wild Oats, this little movie delivers a warmhearted memory of actors that show their stuff even in their senior years. It’s mainly targeted to the older set, but 35 and up should get a kick out of it. Read more

“Come What May” a Powerful War Drama




“The German offensive of May 10, 1940 drove almost 8 million people from their homes, one of the largest displacements of people in the twentieth century. To my mother, a young girl among those who took to the roads”Director Christian Carion

With many World War II films out there on video, another foreign made movie has entered local theaters with a different take. It’s a heart ‘tuger’ based on a true life happening titled Come What May. It features the French people and two German refugees fleeing their home country. The war drama shows how large numbers of innocent people had to flee the murderous onslaught by the Nazis. Read more

“Tanna” a Touching Story of Forbidden Love



Quite an undertaking with a very good result the movie Tanna tells a touching Romeo and Juliet story in the most striking way. Filmed on the island of Vanuatu in the South Pacific using tribes that still inhabit the volcanic isle, Directors Martin Butler and Bentley Dean fashion a story based on a true happening. Not the ordinary staged Shakespearean presentation, but one that has all the substance of the tale of forbidden love. Read more

“Max Rose” a Heartfelt Story and Performance



The heartfelt story Max Rose showcases the amazing talent of Jerry Lewis. His performance here just may earn him a nomination of high honors in a leading role, it’s that good. Pleasantly surprised at his ability to show his vitality and pathos the remarkable actor puts on a show that will be remembered way after you leave the movie theater. Add to this a delightful scenes with the magnificent Claire Bloom and you have a fine evening of movie-going. It’s an older crowd’s film that’s not to be missed. Read more

“The People vs Fritz Bauer” Desperately Searching for Adolph Eichmann



Taking a closer look at the effects of WWII on the German “final solution”, the film The People vs. Fritz Bauer adds another true story for all to see. Intriguing and convincing the film’s not a documentary but more of a biography of a man who helped to insure that his beloved country would never take the despotic road to ruin again. Read more

“The Vessel” a Daunting Look at Grief and Regret



Moody, brooding and mysterious the film The Vessel takes you on a journey to a town that has stood still. Nicely acted with a fine cast that includes Martin Sheen in a role that’s touching and bold, the movie prods at your heartstrings and digs into your soul. It’s the kind of rare film that offers a skewed look at tragic events. Read more

“Sully” Reliving a Heroes Judgement Call



There have been several real life events that Hollywood has brought to the screen and the movie Sully happens to be one of the most amazing. Seven years ago US Airways flight 1579 had to ditch in the Hudson River and TV had a heyday with the crash and rescue of all 155 passengers on board. Even more recent was the replay of the documentary “Hudson Plane Crash: What Really Happened” on American Heroes Channel cable TV that was very poignant with actual passengers and crew members giving interviews.  Heroism personified. Read more

“Mia Madre” Juggling Dreams While Jumping Through Hoops



The film Mia Madre has its moments, but the bleak story is a matter of taste. A true indie in every sense of the word, the movie becomes a trite look at the inside of movie making through the eyes of a director who’s dealing with her mother’s illness. Admittedly not based on a true story, the subject matter should appeal to those who have found themselves in similar situations with the main character. If you like films that work their magic through dramatic moments and hard to cope with situations, then this little gem will work nicely for you. Read more

“A Bigger Splash” a Sensuous Film that Tantalizes



Set in the south of Italy on the island of Pantelleria the modern day romance A Bigger Splash has a few twists to its plot that’s nicely handled by the famous cast. The sound track gets a lot of work while the foursome bask in the gorgeous rocky coast of the exquisite island. The storyline does lack some zip and it flounders somewhat, but in the long run this 2 hour movie does work well as a home video or digital download. Read more

“The Phenom”, Losing Mojo in the Majors

PHENOM boxart


Just in time for the winding down of the major league baseball season, The Phenom comes to Blu-ray/DVD with a drama that’s fit for avid lovers of the sport. The psychological story has a good cast, nice direction, but the script turns an interesting plot into a theatrical two act play. The movie leaves out the guts and glory that most baseball flicks rely on for the magic that puts sports fans in the seats of a dark movie theater. Instead turns into a sob story about a rookie that loses his ability to focus on “the game”. Read more