‘Peanut Butter Falcon’ celebrates getting the most out of life

“The Peanut Butter Falcon” (2019). Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, Zack Gottsagen, John Hawkes, Bruce Dern, Thomas Haden Church, Jon Bernthal, Yelawolf, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Mick Foley, Wayne DeHart, Bruce Henderson. Directors: Tyler Nilson and Mike Schwartz. Screenplay: Tyler Nilson and Mike Schwartz. Web site. Trailer. How many of us are living truly fulfilled lives? Do we approach our existence with all-out gusto and a willingness to pursue our dreams? Or are we restricted by rules, regulations, fears and regrets – many of our own making – that keep us from fulfilling our potential? Sometimes it takes breaking out of rigid, ingrained patterns of thought and behavior that prevent us from getting the most out of our time in [...]

2019-10-07T09:19:01+00:00 August 28th, 2019|Comedy, Conscious Creation, Drama, Movie Reviews|

‘Bernadette’ examines the compulsion to create

“Where’d You Go, Bernadette” (2019). Cast: Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Emma Nelson, Kristin Wiig, Laurence Fishburne, Judy Greer, Troian Bellisario, Zoe Chao, Megan Mullally, Steve Zahn, David Paymer, James Urbaniak, Kate Burton. Director: Richard Linklater. Screenplay: Richard Linklater, Holly Gent and Vince Palmo. Book: Maria Semple, Where’d You Go, Bernadette. Web site. Trailer. Some of us just have to create. The compulsion is so strong that we can’t ignore it, as if it’s an itch that must be scratched. And, if that need goes unfulfilled, it can drive us crazy – literally. So it is for an exceptionally talented woman on the brink in the offbeat new comedy-drama, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette.” Bernadette Fox (Cate Blanchett) leads a rather unusual life. [...]

2019-09-25T08:55:05+00:00 August 26th, 2019|Comedy, Conscious Creation, Drama, Movie Reviews|

‘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 [...]

2019-09-20T08:34:45+00:00 August 23rd, 2019|Comedy, Conscious Creation, 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 [...]

2019-08-28T06:52:22+00:00 August 7th, 2019|Comedy, Conscious Creation, 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 [...]

2019-08-26T11:04:37+00:00 August 5th, 2019|Comedy, Conscious Creation, Drama, 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|