“A Fantastic Woman” (“Una mujer fantástica”) (2017). Cast: Daniela Vega, Francisco Reyes, Luis Gnecco, Aline Küppenheim, Nicolás Saavedra, Amparo Noguera, Trinidad Gonzáez, Néstor Cantillana, Sergio Hernández. Director: Sebastián Lelio. Screenplay: Sebastián Lelio and Gonzalo Maza. Web site. Trailer. Saying goodbye is never easy. The pain and sorrow can be a lot to bear, even under the “best” of circumstances. But, when the situation becomes burdened by considerations that have no business intruding upon such a difficult process, the result can be unendurable. Such are the conditions addressed in the compelling new Chilean drama, “A Fantastic Woman” (“Una mujer fantástica”). Businessman Orlando Onetto (Francisco Reyes) leads what appears to be a fairly comfortable life in Santiago. The 57-year-old runs a successful [...]
“Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool” (2017). Cast: Annette Bening, Jamie Bell, Julie Walters, Vanessa Redgrave, Kenneth Cranham, Stephen Graham, Frances Barber, Leanne Best. Director: Paul McGuigan. Screenplay: Matt Greenhalgh. Book: Peter Turner, Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool. Web site. Trailer. Falling in love is undoubtedly one of the greatest joys of life. The passion, fulfillment and bliss that come from it are indescribable and beyond compare. Unfortunately, when it goes wrong or becomes burdened by extenuating circumstances, it can have a debilitating, painful downside. Those ups and downs are the subject matter of the new, fact-based romance, “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool.” Fading film star Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening) takes to the stage to prop up [...]
“Molly’s Game” (2017). Cast: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera, Jeremy Strong, Chris O’Dowd, J.C. MacKenzie, Brian d’Arcy James, Bill Camp, Graham Greene, Claire Rankin, Samantha Isler, Piper Howell. Director: Aaron Sorkin. Screenplay: Aaron Sorkin. Book: Molly Bloom, Molly’s Game: From Hollywood's Elite to Wall Street's Billionaire Boys Club, My High-Stakes Adventure in the World of Underground Poker. Web site. Trailer. The motivations that drive our actions are usually clear, but sometimes they may stubbornly elude us, so much so that, after a while, we might not wonder (or even care) what they are. This often happens when we get caught up in circumstances in which we lose sight of how we got there and don’t know how [...]
“The Post” (2017). Cast: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Tracy Letts, Bradley Whitford, Bruce Greenwood, Matthew Rhys, Alison Brie, Carrie Coon, Jesse Plemons, Michael Stuhlbarg, Justin Swain, Curzon Dobell. Director: Steven Spielberg. Screenplay: Liz Hannah and Josh Singer. Web site. Trailer. When faced with hard choices, we may not know which way to turn. That’s especially true when all of our options appear problematic. Deciding which of the seemingly troublesome outcomes will prove least onerous can try our patience and test our resolve. At the same time, though, such scenarios can sharpen our scrutiny skills, especially when it comes to drawing upon our intuition and integrity to arrive at an amenable solution. So it was for a [...]
“Darkest Hour” (2017). Cast: Gary Oldman, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn, Stephen Dillane, Samuel West, Lily James, Ronald Pickup. Director: Joe Wright. Screenplay: Anthony McCarten. Web site. Trailer. Sometimes it takes having our backs against the wall to realize the greatness of which we’re truly capable. Getting there may seem like a dire process, and we may be ready to break down or give it all up if hope appears lost. Such dark night of the soul moments test us to the limit but also show us exactly what we’re made of, a scenario pointedly depicted in the new, fact-based historical drama, “Darkest Hour.” At the outset of World War II, the British government sought to minimize its involvement and [...]
“The Man Who Invented Christmas” (2017). Cast: Dan Stevens, Christopher Plummer, Jonathan Pryce, Simon Callow, Miriam Margolyes, Morfydd Clark, Justin Edwards, Miles Jupp, Donald Sumpter, Ely Sloan, Anna Murphy, Ian McNeice, Bill Paterson, Ger Ryan. Director: Bharat Nalluri. Screenplay: Susan Coyne. Book: Les Standiford, The Man Who Invented Christmas. Web site. Trailer. It’s been said that helping others is the best way to help ourselves. We get back what we put out, and, if that turns out to be goodwill and generosity of spirit, then that’s what will return our way. So it was for a world-class author seeking to get his life and career back on track after a creative slump, as demonstrated in the heartwarming new holiday offering, [...]
My thanks to Selo Closson for an enjoyable interview about conscious creation and the movies, as well as a preview of my new book, Third Real, on Project Bring Me 2 Life radio. Check it out by clicking here.