While all true stories are interesting in one way or another, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks adds another dimension with an enigma. Leaving the viewer with questions and a need to find out more, the angel that brought a chance for life to multitudes has been nearly absent from historical significance. Based on the book by Rebecca Skloot that has been turned into this movie, it’s an epiphany that gets much needed fresh air. The film is being released on Blu-ray/DVD this week. Read more
Review by Gino Sassani
Armies have been using dogs in battle for thousands of years. The Romans would turn the dogs on their enemy as a signal of the approaching legions, hence the expression “Let loose the dogs of war”. But in recent decades dogs have found a new, perhaps more noble calling during wartime. Dogs have been used to search for lost soldiers. They have been trained to assist wounded soldiers. Read more
The screwball comedy Masterminds is based on the true story of the October 1997 Loomis Fargo robbery. Taken from a book by Jeff Diamant, the author interviewed the main character following his release from prison. The film, now on Blu-ray and DVD, even has back-up material of the robbery in a special feature called “The Imperfect Crime” included on both the Blu-ray disc and the DVD. Read more
Review by John M. Delia, Jr.
The important true and historic film Hidden Figures reveals the many African American women behind America’s success in space exploration during the 1960’s. The struggles with racial equality during that period was at a high point, yet it took a specialized group of African American women to make huge strides in our countries ability to send a man into space. The movie opens yet another significant window in the continuous struggle for equality in America. Read more
Most foreign films are sidestepped in the United States for various reasons especially due to having to read subtitles. Because of this some excellent films are avoided by many and they lose the experience of outstanding stories. I am hoping that this will not be the case for the movie Lion that will be in theaters around America starting on December 21.
The film outshines many of the movies made here in USA and the heartfelt true story of Lion delivers amazing acting, direction and cinematography. It’s not about the jungle animal, but refers to the strength of a young boy who tries to survive alone in a threatening world. Read more
Although the true story of The North Star has wide reaching meaning and intentions behind it, the acting, direction and cinematic expertise fails miserably. Because of the very pedestrian production, instead of a compelling drama we get a historical vignette that has been used in films way beyond the scope of the script that gets presented here. That said, for an after school special directed at older teens, The North Star gets an average grade. Informational, yes, but captivating, marginal. Read more
One of the most visually spectacular sea stories The Finest Hours shows the courage, determination and stamina of a small crew of Coast Guardsmen who faced death during rescue operation in a raging storm. The depiction of the factual account gets so realistic and powerful that it will put you on the edge of your seat. The cinematography and CGI take you for a scary rollercoaster ride on huge waves during a tempest that’s one of the most remarkable piece of film footage for the screen. Read more
Excellent acting by the ensemble cast The Big Short takes you into the world of creative finance and how millions of people lost their homes while a select few made billions. Unfortunately it’s a true story with a ‘”little” Hollywood embellishment, but still a must see. Get ready for the down and dirty business of Wall Street where the rich get richer and the middle class bails them out. Read more
A very violent and disturbing true story Black Mass takes you into the world of one of Boston’s infamous criminals James “Whitey” Bulger. Played out superbly by Johnny Depp as Bulger and for his performance alone this film should not be missed. Well-acted by a superior support cast and directed by Scott Cooper the movie should be considered for the short list of Oscar contenders. While the story gets very brutal and alarming, there’s no other way to tell it. Read more
Kidnapping for money has become common in many countries getting huge sums of cash from rich families. So in the film 24 Days the kidnappers target their quarry on the notion that all Jews are rich and have access to large amounts of money. The story is true, the events are heinous and the outcome reeks with anti-Semitism. What also rings clear are the methods that the perpetrators use to abduct the person and the modern day communications that make it almost impossible to catch the perpetrators
Review by Alyn Darnay
The late Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle was a certified American hero. Four tours of duty in the hottest combat zones in modern history. He was a motivated patriot, with a loving wife and children, who cared deeply for his family, country and the men he was sent to protect. This is a review of American Sniper, now in theaters.
The true story based film Field of Lost Shoes takes you into the Southern battle lines during the American Civil War. Now on DVD, the movie gets into the girt and gumption of the South as they face their powerful foe. Sometimes inspiring other moments futile, the battle that set the tone for a new America gets painful and devastating. Nicely filmed under able direction by Sean McNamara, the movie humanizes the pride, anger and courageousness of the teens who fought for the Southern Army. Read more
A heartwarming and heartbreaking story of humanity in the face of adversity both in their original elements and in America, The Good Lie recalls the sorrow and travesty of the Sudanese children caught up in war. The film stuns with disbelief, but it’s true and opens the doors to a view so bold it rattles the unthinkable with reality. This is not a documentary or a historical movie. It’s a feature film that’s acted brilliantly by actual descendents of the children who were driven out of their homes to camps hundreds of miles away by a warring faction. Read more
Compelling and disturbing the film Devil’s Knot involving a slaying comes to Blu-ray and DVD in a combo pack. The chiller takes you on the fast track in a case involving a crime so heinous that you would think not possible. Based on a true event, the film opens the door to questions without finality. Nicely directed and acted it will turn your head and heighten your fears about the safety of our children. Read more
Review by Alyn Darnay
I know it sounds funny but if ‘Jane Austin’ and ‘Downton Abbey’ had a mixed-race child out of wedlock, this film would be that child. BELLE is a film in it’s own class, not a drawing room tale but rather you’ll find it to be an exceptional movie experience at the hands of some great filmmakers. Read more