‘A Hidden Life’ pushes us to listen to our heart

‘A Hidden Life’ pushes us to listen to our heart

“A Hidden Life” (2019). Cast: August Diehl, Valerie Pachner, Maria Simon, Karin Neuhäuser, Matthias Schoenaerts, Franz Rogowski, Bruno Ganz, Tobias Moretti, Ulrich Mathes, Karl Markovics, Michael Nyqvist, Johannes Krisch, Johan Leysen, Alexander Fehling, Ida Mutschlechner, Maria Weger, Aennie Lade. Director: Terrence Malick. Screenplay: Terrence Malick. Web site. Trailer. Following our conscience often poses us with some of the most potent dilemmas we will encounter during our lifetimes. Such situations force us to confront doing what we believe to be the right thing in the face of circumstances that would seek to compel us to respond otherwise. The effect may be confounding, perhaps even paralyzing, but it generally pushes us to follow our hearts and minds, to address our innermost beliefs in being true to ourselves. So it was for a mild-mannered everyman saddled with dire conditions in the new fact-based historical drama, “A Hidden Life.” In the idyllic mountain village of St. Radegrund, Austria, the horrors of World War II seem a world away. In fact, it’s the perfect setting for peasant farmer Franz Jãgerstãtter (August Diehl) to live out the life of peace and contentment that he so fervidly loves. With his wife Fani (Valerie Pachner) and their three ...
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The Best – and Worst – of 2019

The Best – and Worst – of 2019

With another year coming to a close, it’s time for my annual review of the best – and worst – in cinema of the past 12 months. And what a generally disappointing year it was. Truly great films were few and far between, with only a handful earning the status of being genuinely outstanding. Some offerings were commendable, and many were adequate, but quite a few were sorely lacking. In fact, in compiling my list, I had far less trouble coming up with my Bottom 10 than I did with those at the top, something that speaks volumes about the quality of 2019’s offerings. This is something that’s reflected in this year’s field of Oscar nominees as well, a subject that will be addressed separately in an upcoming blog. A supplemental entry for my favorite documentaries of the year – of which there were quite a few in 2019 – is also under preparation. In the meantime, though, here are my choices for this year’s cream of the crop and this year’s cold porridge.  THE BEST  “Diane” This subtle, thoughtful little drama is rich in insight and symbolism, elevating a seemingly everyday tale to the height of inspired storytelling. Independent ...
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Tune in for The Cinema Scribe

Tune in for The Cinema Scribe

Tune in for the latest Cinema Scribe segment on Bring Me 2 Life Radio, Tuesday, January 7, at 2 pm ET, by clicking here. And, if you don’t hear it live, catch it later on demand! ...
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This Week in Movies with Meaning

This Week in Movies with Meaning

Reviews of “Dark Waters,” “Marriage Story” and “Bombshell” are all in the latest Movies with Meaning post on the web site of The Good Media Network, available by clicking here ...
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‘Bombshell’ tests our resolve for the truth

‘Bombshell’ tests our resolve for the truth

“Bombshell” (2019). Cast: Charlize Theron, Nicole Kidman, Margot Robbie, John Lithgow, Allison Janney, Malcolm McDowell, Kate McKinnon, Connie Britton, Mark Duplass, Mark Moses, Ben Lawson, Josh Lawson, Alanna Ubach, Kevin Dorff, Anne Ramsay, Jennifer Morrison, Liv Hewson, Rob Delaney, Amy Landecker, Nazanin Boniadi, Richard Kind, Holland Taylor. Archives: Donald Trump. Director: Jay Roach. Screenplay: Charles Randolph. Web site. Trailer. When patently unfair circumstances arise, many of us have a natural tendency to want to make them known, exposing the perpetrators for their misdeeds. But, when extenuating conditions – particularly those that could significantly impact us personally – intrude upon our willingness to step forward, we may find ourselves putting on the brakes when we don’t want to. Resolving such quandaries can often prove difficult, especially when we stand a lot to lose. So it is for a trio of dedicated, hard-working journalists who find themselves unduly imposed upon in the new fact-based drama, “Bombshell.” Over the course of two decades, television executive Roger Ailes (John Lithgow) built the Fox News channel into cable TV’s most successful news outlet. By 2016, Ailes helped make it the most profitable property of its parent media organization, News Corp, much to the delight of the ...
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‘Dark Waters’ pushes us to test – and surpass – our limits

‘Dark Waters’ pushes us to test – and surpass – our limits

“Dark Waters” (2019). Cast: Mark Ruffalo, Anne Hathaway, Tim Robbins, Bill Camp, Bill Pullman, Mare Winningham, Victor Garber, Louisa Krause, William Jackson Harper, Richard Hagerman, Denise Dal Vera, Scarlett Hicks, Bella Falcone, Jim Azelvandre, Kevin Crowley, Jeffrey Grover, Kelly Mengelkoch, Annie Fitzpatrick, John Newberg. Director: Todd Haynes. Screenplay: Matthew Michael Carnahan and Mario Correa. Story: Nathaniel Rich, “The Lawyer Who Became DuPont’s Worst Nightmare,” The New York Times Magazine, 2016. Web site. Trailer. At some point in our lives, many of us come face to face with situations where we need to make difficult choices and engage in challenging tasks, simply because they’re the right thing to do. Such efforts may test us severely, pushing us to the brink of – and possibly beyond – what we think we’re capable of. Those can be hard times, for sure, but, when we consider what’s at stake – and what we can gain by willingly choosing to act – we’re likely to see that we must do what we do if we’re to live with ourselves. So it is for a beleaguered protagonist in the new fact-based legal thriller, “Dark Waters.” Attorney Rob Bilott (Mark Ruffalo) enjoys a comfortable and successful life ...
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