‘Tel Aviv on Fire’ seeks to burn through the nonsense of needless drama

“Tel Aviv on Fire” (2018 production, 2019 release). Cast: Kais Nashif, Lubna Azabal. Yaniv Biton, Maisa Abd Elhadi, Nadim Sawalha, Salim Dau, Yousef “Joe” Sweid, Amer Hlehel, Laëtitia Eïdo, Ashraf Farah, Ula Tabari, Yaffa Levi. Director: Sameh Zoabi. Screenplay: Dan Kleinman and Sameh Zoabi. Web site. Trailer. We’ve all experienced situations where the drama meter unfortunately gets turned up way beyond manageable levels. We stand by in shock (and sometimes horror) as events spiral to a fever pitch on their way to careening out of control. In fact, all we need is a Greek chorus to drop in and fan the flames of the emerging spectacle. Woe, oh dreaded woe. But must we really head down that path? Perhaps there [...]

2019-08-23T15:59:54+00:00 August 23rd, 2019|Comedy, Conscious Creation, Featured Post, Movie Reviews|

‘The Art of Self-Defense’ warns about the perils of fanaticism

“The Art of Self-Defense” (2019). Cast: Jesse Eisenberg, Alessandro Nivola, Imogen Poots, Steve Terada, Phillip Andre Botello, David Zellner, Hauke Bahr, Davey Johnson, Nicholas Hulstine, Scott Goodman, Justin Eaton. Director: Riley Stearns. Screenplay: Riley Stearns. Web site. Trailer. Crossing the line from passion to obsession is a dangerous step. One need only look at the many high-profile examples found in our world these days. But this phenomenon is by no means limited to the events we see on the nightly news; it can crop up anywhere, even in seemingly innocuous places, a troubling subject explored in the edgy new dark comedy, “The Art of Self-Defense.” Thirty-something office worker Casey Davies (Jesse Eisenberg) could seriously stand to grow a pair. The [...]

2019-08-07T06:46:23+00:00 August 7th, 2019|Comedy, Conscious Creation, Featured Post, Movie Reviews|

‘The Farewell’ explores how to arrive at the best outcome

“The Farewell” (2019). Cast: Awkwafina, Shuzhen Zhou, Diana Lin, Tzi Ma, Han Chen, Aoi Mizuhara, Yongbo Jiang, Lu Hong. Director: Lulu Wang. Screenplay: Lulu Wang. Web site. Trailer. When it comes to caring for the well-being of others, is total honesty necessarily the best policy? Isn’t it possible that there could be something to be said for “blissful ignorance?” But then isn’t it unconscionable to intentionally leave someone in the dark? These are thorny questions, much of which depends on one’s perspective, both individually and as part of a collective, issues that are among those addressed in the touching new comedy-drama, “The Farewell.” Grad student Billi Wang (Awkwafina) leads a full life In New York. While anxiously awaiting word on [...]

2019-08-05T07:33:55+00:00 August 5th, 2019|Comedy, Conscious Creation, Drama, Featured Post, Movie Reviews|

‘Greener Grass’ surveys our own personal turf

“Greener Grass” (2019). Cast: Jocelyn DeBoer, Dawn Luebbe, Beck Bennett, Neil Casey, Julian Hilliard, Asher Miles Fallica, Mary Holland, D’Arcy Carden, Janicza Bravo, Jaxon Rose Moore, Jim Cummings, Hollyn Johnston, Abigail Kurtz, Allison Kurtz. Directors: Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe. Screenplay: Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe. Web site. Many of us would probably like to think we’re true to ourselves, being honest and forthright and acting in line with our truest intentions. But are we? What if we let other considerations creep into play, like feeling the need to be overly sensitive so as to cause no offense? Perhaps we might also feel a little competitive with others, succumbing to peer pressure and comparing our situations to theirs, fudging things [...]

2019-08-09T09:34:18+00:00 July 14th, 2019|Comedy, Conscious Creation, Movie Reviews|

‘Late Night’ celebrates the joys of reinvention

“Late Night” (2019). Cast: Emma Thompson, Mindy Kaling, John Lithgow, Hugh Dancy, Reid Scott, Denis O’Hare, Max Casella, Paul Walter Hauser, John Early, Jia Patel, Luke Slattery, Ike Barinholtz, Marc Kudisch, Amy Ryan, Bill Maher, Seth Meyers, Jake Tapper. Director: Nisha Ganatra. Screenplay: Mindy Kaling. Web site. Trailer. No matter how much we may enjoy something, be it food, entertainment or our wardrobe, sometimes we want to shake things up a bit, trying out new offerings to stay fresh and invigorating. For that to happen, however, we often depend on others to make those new options available to us. Meanwhile, the purveyors of those commodities who fail to change with the times may easily be left behind when innovators step [...]

2019-07-29T12:45:27+00:00 July 2nd, 2019|Comedy, Conscious Creation, Movie Reviews|

‘American Empire’ takes a critical look at what has value

“The Fall of the American Empire” (“La chute de l’empire américain”) (2018 production, 2019 release). Cast: Alexandre Landry, Maripier Morin, Rémy Girard, Maxim Roy, Louis Morissette, Florence Longpré, Patrick Emmanuel Abellard, Pierre Curzi, Vincent Leclerc, Eddy King, Anoulith Sintharaphone, Ayana O’Shun, Kémy St-Eloy. Director: Denys Arcand. Screenplay: Denys Arcand. Web site. Trailer. We all have our priorities when it comes to determining what we believe has value. But what exactly are those determinations based on? Do they arise from rigorously scrutinized considerations, or do they stem from arbitrary, capricious, cursory examinations? Are they decided upon by consensus, or do they vary from one individual to another? And are they fixed or flexible, changeable as needs arise or forever rigid? Those [...]

2019-07-17T23:00:43+00:00 June 18th, 2019|Comedy, Conscious Creation, Drama, Movie Reviews|

‘The Tomorrow Man’ urges us to live in the moment

“The Tomorrow Man” (2019). Cast: John Lithgow, Blythe Danner, Derek Cecil, Katie Aselton, Sophie Thatcher, Eve Harlow, Wendy Makkena, Isabelle Boni, Naveen Havannavar, John Sindoni. Director: Noble Lincoln Jones. Screenplay: Noble Lincoln Jones. Web site. Trailer. There’s nothing wrong with looking ahead – unless, of course, it becomes so compulsive that it keeps us from enjoying (or perhaps even recognizing) what’s going on around us – the present moment in which we dwell. It’s somewhat akin to being more worried about taking a smart phone photo of a significant event than the event itself. Yet, as comical as that may sound, all too often our focus is misplaced, myopically cast on the erroneous priority. We can miss a lot by [...]

2019-07-07T02:26:52+00:00 June 4th, 2019|Comedy, Conscious Creation, Movie Reviews, Romance|

‘The Trouble with You’ asks, ‘how far must we go to make amends?’

“The Trouble with You” (“En liberté!”) (2018). Cast: Adèle Haenel, Pio Marmaï, Audrey Tautou, Vincent Elbaz, Damien Bonnard, Hocine Choutri, Octave Bossuet. Director: Pierre Salvadori. Screenplay: Benjamin Charbit, Benoît Graffin and Pierre Salvadori. Web site. Trailer. How far are we willing to go to make amends? To be sure, many of us justifiably feel compelled to right our wrongs, often with good reason. But, when it comes to compensating for the misdeeds of others for whom we feel responsible, how long must we leave ourselves on the hook, if at all? That’s a conundrum faced by a noble public servant with good intentions – and not always the best results – in the wacky new French farce, “The Trouble with [...]

2019-05-26T21:55:27+00:00 April 23rd, 2019|Comedy, Conscious Creation, Movie Reviews|

‘Neurotic Quest for Serenity’ chronicles the search for peace of mind, personal power

“Neurotic Quest for Serenity” (“Transfornada Obsessiva Compulsiva”) (2018). Cast: Tatá Werneck, Vera Holtz, Bruno Gagliasso, Luis Lobianco, Daniel Furlan, Pedro Wagner, Mário Gomes, Patricya Travassos, Ingríd Guimarães, Luciana Paes. Directors: Paulinho Caruso and Teodoro Poppovic. Screenplay: Paulinho Caruso and Teodoro Poppovic, with Pedro Aguilera, Tatá Werneck, Mauricio Bouzon and Tainá Muhringer. Source Collaborators: Daniel Duncan, Gustavo Suzuki and Hell Ravani. Web site. Trailer. Peace of mind can be elusive, especially when we feel overwhelmed by everything happening around us – or to us. As the pressure mounts, we may begin to feel ourselves fraying at the edges as the stress creeps deeper and deeper into our being. And we can only tolerate these circumstances for so long before they finally [...]

2019-05-09T07:21:38+00:00 April 3rd, 2019|Comedy, Conscious Creation, Movie Reviews|