Year: 2013

New Year's Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions

Considering a New Year’s resolution? You might want to think about that before you make it. Read more about it in “Be It Resolved: Making Every Day New Year’s Day,” my latest blog post at www.smartwomensempowerment.org ...
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Intent, integrity get put on trial in ‘American Hustle’

“American Hustle” (2013). Cast: Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Jennifer Lawrence, Louis C.K., Jack Huston, Michael Peña, Shea Whigham, Alessandro Nivola, Elisabeth Röhm, Paul Herman, Danny Corbo, Sonny Corbo, Robert DeNiro (uncredited). Director: David O. Russell. Screenplay: Eric Singer and David O. Russell. Web site. Trailer. Getting what we want out of life often takes considerable moxie. But all the chutzpah in the world won’t matter a damn if it’s not properly backed up with traits like personal integrity and sound intent. That can be a difficult lesson to learn, too, as a coterie of colorful characters finds out all too well in the new, fact-based, period piece comedy, “American Hustle.” The plot of “American Hustle” is rather complicated, and revealing it in detail would give away too much of the story. In a nutshell, however, the picture is loosely based on the 1978 covert FBI operation known as Abscam, which sought to expose corruption among political power brokers, including members of the House of Representatives and a U.S. Senator, with the aid of professional con artists. In this fictionalized account, the film follows the exploits of con man Irving Rosenfeld (Christian Bale) and his partner-in-crime/sometimes-lover Sydney ...
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‘Saving Mr. Banks’ celebrates the magical nature of our personal reality

‘Saving Mr. Banks’ celebrates the magical nature of our personal reality

“Saving Mr. Banks” (2013). Cast: Emma Thompson, Tom Hanks, Colin Farrell, Paul Giamatti, Rachel Griffiths, Annie Rose Buckley, Ruth Wilson, Bradley Whitford, Jason Schwartzman, B.J. Novak, Kathy Baker, Melanie Paxson, Andy McPhee. Director: John Lee Hancock. Screenplay: Kelly Marcel and Sue Smith. Web site. Trailer. Have you ever looked at something one way only to find that everyone else sees it completely differently? That might seem improbable to some, but, if we accept the notion that we each create our own reality, the idea doesn’t seem quite so far-fetched. In fact, it might even be seen as downright magical. However, if we’re unable or unwilling to recognize the existence of such personal distinctions, we set ourselves up for trouble, as illustrated by the new, fact-based docudrama, “Saving Mr. Banks,” a chronicle of the back story behind the making of the beloved children’s film, “Mary Poppins” (1964). In 1961, children’s author P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) faced a serious dilemma: She was broke. Despite having published a number of best-selling titles (most notably the Mary Poppins books, the endearing adventures of the Banks family and their magical nanny), revenues and royalties from those works had dried up. Confronted with the prospect of ...
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Beliefs, self-discovery take center stage in ‘Philomena’

“Philomena” (2013). Cast: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Mare Winningham, Barbara Jefford, Ruth McCabe, Peter Hermann, Sean Mahon, Anna Maxwell Martin, Michelle Fairley, Charlie Murphy, Cathy Belton, Wunmi Mosaku, Kate Fleetwood, Tadhg Bowen, Saoirse Bowen. Director: Stephen Frears. Screenplay: Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope. Book: Martin Sixsmith, The Lost Child of Philomena Lee. Web site. Trailer. When we go looking for something, sometimes we find more than we anticipated. Searches driven by heartfelt, introspective concerns in particular often lead us to unexpected revelations and discoveries. Such is the case for an unlikely duo in the touching, fact-based comedy-drama, “Philomena.” Philomena Lee (Judi Dench), a retired nurse living in London, harbors a painful secret, and she desperately desires to unburden herself. That opportunity finally comes on what would have been the 50th anniversary of a significant, though closely guarded event in her life – the birth of her son out of wedlock in the seclusion of an Irish convent. It was an incident that, at the time, was looked upon as nothing short of an eternal damnation sentence, at least in the eyes of the Church and its sanctimonious minions, most notably Mother Barbara (Ruth McCabe) and her relentless ...
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An Additional Web Site for My Work!

An Additional Web Site for My Work!

I’m pleased to announce an addition to the family of web sites featuring my online writings. You can now find my works posted to the web site of the Smart Women’s Empowerment program, available at www.smartwomensempowerment.org. The first of my contributions has been posted, and others will follow soon. Stop by and give a look to my posts, as well as those of the many other fine experts featured there! ...
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‘Nebraska’ urges us to honor our connections

“Nebraska” (2013). Cast: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk, Stacy Keach, Mary Louise Wilson, Rance Howard, Tim Driscoll, Devin Ratray, Angela McEwan. Director: Alexander Payne. Screenplay: Bob Nelson. Web site. Trailer. It’s easy to take our world for granted. In fact, sometimes we can even lose sight of what connects us to it and everything that makes up its being. But what do we lose when we embrace such an aloof, disconnected outlook? Arguably, it could be far more than we realize, and getting it back may be more difficult than we can imagine. Such is the challenge put to the protagonists in the offbeat new comedy-drama, “Nebraska.” Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) is a man on a mission. The retired septuagenarian auto mechanic is determined, one way or another, to make his way from his home in Billings, Montana to Lincoln, Nebraska. The reason? Thanks to a promotional mailing he received, Woody’s convinced he’s won $1 million in a sweepstakes sponsored by a magazine sales company. And, since he doesn’t trust the U.S. Postal Service to promptly deliver his reply form, he’s resolved to collect his money in person – even if it means walking all the way ...
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