‟Shopliftersˮ (‟Manbiki kazokuˮ) (2018). Cast: Lily Franky, Sakura Andô, Maya Matsuoka, Jyo Kairi, Miya Sasaki, Kirin Kiki. Director: Hirokazu Koreada. Screenplay: Hirokazu Kore-eda. Story: Hirokazu Kore-eda. Web site. Trailer. What makes a family? Some would say it’s strictly a matter of blood relations. Others would contend that it’s based on emotional bonds, the kind that form through birth, adoption or matrimony. But others still might claim that such considerations are irrelevant, that being a family stems from other less common and less tangible but nevertheless significant connections, ties that keep everyone together for everyone’s benefit. These are questions raised and explored in the unusual new Japanese comedy-drama, “Shoplifters” (‟Manbiki kazokuˮ). Making ends meet in modern-day Tokyo can be difficult, as [...]
“Mary Poppins Returns” (2018). Cast: Emily Blunt, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Whishaw, Emily Mortimer, Colin Firth, Julie Walters, Meryl Streep, Dick Van Dyke, Angela Lansbury, David Warner, Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh, Joel Dawson, Jeremy Swift, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Jim Norton, Noma Dumezweni, Tarik Frimpong, Suda Bhuchar, Steve Nicolson, Christian Dixon, Chris O’Dowd (voice), Edward Hibbert (voice). Director: Rob Marshall. Screenplay: David Magee. Story: David Magee, Rob Marshall and John DeLuca. Source Material: P.L. Travers. Web site. Trailer. Children frequently delight in the power of magic. They appreciate the wonder it engenders, and they often look on in wide-eyed awe at what it can produce. But, somewhere along the line, many of us lose that sense of amazement as we age, believing that [...]
“If Beale Street Could Talkˮ (2018). Cast: KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King, Colman Domingo, Diego Luna, Dave Franco, Finn Wittrock, Emily Rios, Brian Tyree Henry, Michael Beach, Aunjanue Ellis, Teyonah Parris, Ebony Obsidian, Dominique Thorne, Ed Skrein, Ethan Barrett, Milanni Mines, Pedro Pascal, Marcia Jean Kurtz, Kaden Byrd. Director: Barry Jenkins. Screenplay: Barry Jenkins. Book: James Baldwin, If Beale Street Could Talk. Web site. Trailer. Much goes on in a neighborhood that comes to define its character. It’s as if the community takes on a life and personality of its own, one that frequently persists and comes to distinguish the area in question, including its residents, often for generation after generation. It’s a phenomenon that essentially becomes a way [...]
Reviews of "If Beale Street Could Talk" and "Vice," along with 2018's 10 best and worst, are all in the latest Movies with Meaning post on the web site of The Good Media Network, available by clicking here.
Another year in filmdom has come and gone, and countless movie reviewers have issued their best and worst lists for 2018. And so, with that said, it’s time to add my voice to the chorus, with my choices for the cream of the crop and the curdled cream best discarded. In the interest of full disclosure, I must confess that I did not screen every film that was released in 2018, most notably those that were distributed through limited or select channels or have yet to go into wide release, such as a number of foreign films and a few lesser-known independent productions, like “Stan & Ollie.” However, I did spend considerable time staring at those flickering lights on the [...]
“Vice” (2018). Cast: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Steve Carell, Sam Rockwell, Tyler Perry, Alison Pill, Jesse Plemons, Bill Camp, Eddie Marsan, Justin Kirk, LisaGay Hamilton, Don McManus, Lily Rabe, Matthew Jacobs, Kyle S. More, Kirk Bovill, Sam Massaro, John Hillner, William Goldman, Paul Yoo, Joseph Beck, Tony Graham, Alex Kingi, Terri Cavanaugh. Archive Footage: Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Barbara Walters, Tom Brokaw, Mike Pence, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Jeff Sessions, Bill O’Reilly. Director: Adam McKay. Screenplay: Adam McKay. Web site. Trailer. Power makes much possible. It can be wielded to achieve tremendous, beneficial outcomes. It can also be mangled in contorted ways to fulfill self-serving ends. But, no matter how it’s employed, power comes with consequences of either a positive or [...]
“Ben Is Back” (2018). Cast: Julia Roberts, Lucas Hedges, Courtney B. Vance, Kathryn Newton, Tim Guinee, Michael Esper, Rachel Bay Jones, David Zaldivar, Kristin Griffith, Mia Fowler, Jakari Fraser, Alexandra Park, Jack Davidson, Jeff Auer, Henry Stram, Nigel the dog. Director: Peter Hedges. Screenplay: Peter Hedges. Web site. Trailer. The hell of drug addiction wears heavily on those afflicted by it. The physical and psychological effects alone can be devastating, but all of the other related effects – socially, economically and otherwise – can be just as destructive. And, when the impact on those close to an addict is added into the mix, the result can be just as catastrophic (and in virtually all of the same respects). But redemption [...]
Join host Frankie Picasso and me for the next edition of Movies with Meaning on The Good Media Network’s Frankiesense & More broadcast, today, December 13, at 1 pm ET. We’ll discuss a number of new movie releases, as well as preview some awards season contenders getting ready for release during the upcoming holidays. For the video version, tune in on Facebook Live by clicking here. And, for the audio only podcast edition, check out The Good Media Network’s home page by clicking here. Join us for a Santa’s bag full of fun movie chat!
“The Favourite” (2018). Cast: Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Nicholas Hoult, James Smith, Joe Alwyn, Mark Gatiss. Director: Yorgos Lanthimos. Screenplay: Deborah Davis and Tony McNamara. Web site. Trailer. We all love to get our way. It’s fulfilling when we see our wishes come to fruition, often leaving us with a warm, satisfied glow inside. But how we get there can be challenging, especially if we find ourselves pushing too hard to see the desired result realized. So it is with a beleaguered monarch and her two closest but contentious advisors in the new period piece dark comedy, “The Favourite.” In 18th Century England, Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) rules – or attempts to rule – her empire in the [...]
“The Front Runner” (2018). Cast: Hugh Jackman, Vera Farmiga, J.K. Simmons, Alfred Molina, Sara Paxton, Kaitlyn Dever, Mamoudou Athie, Steve Zissis, Mark O’Brien, Chris Coy, Molly Ephraim, Alex Karpovsky, Oliver Cooper, Ari Graynor, John Bedford Lloyd, Spencer Garrett, Bill Burr, Kevin Pollak, Nyasha Hatendi. Archive Footage: Walter Mondale, Tom Brokaw, Jane Pauley, Johnny Carson, Ted Koppel. Director: Jason Reitman. Screenplay: Matt Bai, Jay Caron and Jason Reitman. Book: Matt Bai, All the Truth Is Out. Web site. Trailer. Realizing our best intentions is a noble goal that many of us would like to see happen. Being able to be of service to others can be both uplifting and fulfilling. But, in carrying out such plans (particularly those that will thrust [...]