20 December 2017

Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Denzel Washington plays the title character in ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ.  As many have said, the role is different from what he usually performs, and that is a good thing. The movie provides its audience with an opportunity to witness Washington's skillful abilities.

ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ. serves as a morality tale.  Roman creates a faux pas, and there are consequences for it. He is a proficient attorney, but his blundering social aptitude makes him misunderstood by many. Maya (Carmen Ejogo), a civil rights activist, is patient with Roman and sincerely tries to make sense of his behavior. She even tells Roman that he inspires her. George (Colin Farrell), the lawyer in charge of the law firm where Roman works, tolerates Roman and entrusts him with several clients. Ultimately, George respects Roman.

ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ. is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://sites.sonypictures.com/romanjisrael/site/.

12 December 2017


As I was growing up I discovered Archie Comics. I enjoyed reading the adventures of Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead. I also looked forward to the occasional appearance of Josie and the Pussycats. In addition to reading the comic books, I watched the cartoon on television.

Today people can watch RiverdaleRiverdale is a television series based on the characters of Archie Comics. As a result, viewers who are afficionados of the comics probably expect a light, comedic program. On the contrary, Riverdale is a teen drama complete with mystery.

The main characters are fully developed. Archie Andrews (KJ Apa), Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), and Jughead Jones (Cole Sprouse) each have conflicts. This creates a lot of drama, and is so different from the original comic books. Archie has a dark side, but is still musical. Betty is tougher than most would assume. Veronica is gentler than one would expect. Jughead is from the other-side-of-the-tracks and must join the Southside Serpents gang for survival.

During Season Two Josie McCoy (Ashleigh Murray) is beginning to have some conflicts and her friendship with the arrogant cheerleader Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch) is developing. Also, the parents are often involved in storylines. However, it seems they were more active during Season One. Betty's mother Alice is played by Madchen Amick, and is the parent viewers see the most because of her controlling nature. Veronica's parents, Hermione (Marisol Nichols) and Hiram (Mark Consuelos) are mysterious. Hiram is a businessman who committed white collar crimes and Hermione has connections with the Southside Serpents gang. Jughead's father FP, played by Skeet Ulrich, is in the Southside Serpents gang. It seems most of the parents have connections with the Southside Serpents (even Alice), except for Alice's estranged husband Hal (Lochlyn Munro) and Archie's father Fred (Luke Perry). Mayor Sierra McCoy (Robin Givens) strongly dislikes the Southside Serpents. And, of course, Sheriff Tom Keller (Martin Cummins) dislikes the gang. It is unknown whether he has any connections to them or not; his character is obscure. His son Kevin (Casey Cott) is a friend of Archie, Betty, Veronica, and Jughead. There are various recurring appearances by other characters. Lastly, there is Pop of Pop's Chock'lit Shoppe. Every time Pop places a milkshake on the table or counter, viewers probably crave one!

Season One provided the murder mystery of Cheryl's twin brother Jason Blossom (Trevor Stines). Season Two is all about figuring out who could be The Black Hood. This person shot Fred and is believed to be the one who killed the former music teacher Miss Grundy (Sarah Habel). Overall, Riverdale is a teen drama with a hook that even keeps adult viewers engaged. In many ways, the series is more appropriate for an adult audience.

Riverdale broadcasts Wednesdays on the CW Network. Netflix has exclusive international broadcast rights to the series. Official Web sites are http://www.cwtv.com/shows/riverdale and https://www.netflix.com/title/80133311.

01 November 2017

The Foreigner

THE FOREIGNER stars Jackie Chan as Ngoc Minh Quan, a former Vietnam War special forces operator who now owns a restaurant in London, England and seeks vengeance after his daughter dies in an explosion.  The movie is based on the novel The Chinaman by Stephen Leather. Ngoc challenges Liam Hennessy (played by Pierce Brosnan), an Irish government official he believes has knowledge of and is responsible for the bombing.

Jackie Chan is superb and THE FOREIGNER is an excellent action film.  The official Web site is http://theforeignermovie.com/.  The movie is currently playing in theatres.

26 October 2017

Same Kind of Different As Me

Human kindness is a treasure. It is more valuable than money. Giving a homeless person money makes him or her happy, not the cash, but the acknowledgement that he or she exists. The movie SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME shows a courtesy towards the homeless. It is a true story, indicating that life may be the best adventure.

The film is based on the book Same Kind of Different as Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together by Ron Hall and Denver Moore, with Lynn Vincent. The screen adaptation is by Ron Hall, Alexander Foard, and Michael Carney who is also the film's director. SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME tells the story from Ron Hall's (played by Greg Kinnear) perspective. His marriage to Deborah (Renee Zellweger) is falling apart, but he still listens to her. Thus, Ron spends time with Deborah feeding homeless people at Union Gospel Mission. Deborah is dedicated to serving others. As she spoons food onto plates, she introduces herself to each individual and asks them their names. This exercise reveals a caring person engaging with another human being. Initially, Ron is reluctant to participate, but eventually he serves at the mission, too, and the Hall's befriend a homeless man named Denver Moore (played by Djimon Hounsou).

Throughout their friendship Denver shares his story with the Hall's, which tells how he grew up in the American South. Also, Denver spends time with the Hall's two children (Olivia Holt and Austin Filson) and Ron's parents (Jon Voight and Geraldine Singer). The people from different worlds learn from one another. Hence the movie's title, everyone realizes for the most part, people are the same kind of different.

SAME KIND OF DIFFERENT AS ME is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://www.samekindofdifferentasmemovie.com/.

18 October 2017


The play and TV movie, THURGOOD, starring Laurence Fishburne tells the story of Thurgood Marshall's life: his childhood and family life, his college life, his career in the judicial system fighting for human rights, his role in the Civil Rights Movement, and how he became the first African American Supreme Court Justice. Based on the title, MARSHALL, viewers may expect a movie about Thurgood Marshall's life similar to THURGOOD.  However, screenwriters Michael Koskoff and Jacob Koskoff have chosen to focus on one of Marshall's first cases, one in which he was not even able to speak in court during the trial.

The story takes place in 1941 when Thurgood Marshall (played by Chadwick Boseman) is a lawyer for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). He is continuously working on human rights cases. When he is presented with a rape case in Connecticut, the NAACP  must first find a lawyer in that state. Sam Friedman (played by Josh Gad), a white insurance lawyer, is selected.  Initially, he is reluctant to team with Marshall because he does not handle criminal cases, but his brother Irwin (played by John Magaro) prematurely assures his participation. James Cromwell plays Judge Foster and does not allow Marshall to speak in court because he is not a Connecticut lawyer and possibly even the other obvious reason for the time period.

Several talented people make MARSHALL an exceptional film. In addition to Boseman, Gad, and Magaro--Kate Hudson, Sterling K. Brown, Dan Stevens, and Ahna O'Reilly give highly effective performances. Furthermore, director Reginald Hudlin has a firm grasp of the subject matter and his passion for it is obvious.

MARSHALL is currently playing in theatres.  The official Web site is http://marshallmovie.com/.

13 October 2017

Victoria & Abdul

VICTORIA & ABDUL showcases the unlikely real life relationship between Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and her Indian Muslim servant Abdul Karim.  At the time, England also ruled India, making Queen Victoria Empress of India. The movie is based on the biography book Victoria & Abdul by Shrabani Basu. Judi Dench plays Queen Victoria and Ali Fazal plays Abdul. Both actors give outstanding performances.

The comedic parts of the film are in part because the British people who work for the queen do not understand much about Indian Muslim culture--they assume Abdul and his friend Mohammed (played by Adeel Akhtar) are Hindu and refer to them as "the Hindus"--or why the queen would keep Abdul as a servant beyond presenting the ceremonial coin. The queen rather enjoys Abdul's company and learns his language, culture, and religion. She embraces their differences.

THE YOUNG VICTORIA displays the early life of Queen Victoria, and now VICTORIA & ABDUL exhibits Queen Victoria's later years. She reigned for 63 years and seven months from 1837 until she died in 1901. The time was known as the Victorian era.

VICTORIA & ABDUL is currently playing in theatres.  The official Web site is http://www.focusfeatures.com/victoriaandabdul.

11 October 2017

I Can Only Imagine

This week I previewed the movie I CAN ONLY IMAGINE. The hit song "I Can Only Imagine" by MercyMe was inspired by events in the movie. Lead singer Bart Millard wrote the song after finally having a positive relationship with his father. Growing up Bart lived with his father after his mother left, and he was miserable.

In the movie Dennis Quaid plays Bart's father Arthur. Bart is played by J. Michael Finley. Both performances are excellent. Unfortunately, this father-son relationship is dysfunctional. The father is always angry. Bart and his grandmother (played by Cloris Leachman), affectionately called Memaw, just assume it is because his life did not go the way he wanted. He takes that disappointment out on Bart. Bart desperately wants his father's attention so in high school he plays football. This works out great until Bart is injured and can no longer play the sport. This is how Bart discovers music; he is enrolled in the school choir class as a helper, but the choir director, Mrs. Fincher (played by Priscilla C. Shirer), hears him singing one day and insists he start singing with the choir. After graduating from high school, Bart pursues a music career and forms the band MercyMe, leaving behind his father, Memaw, and girlfriend Shannon (played by Madeline Carroll).

Trace Adkins plays Brickell, who becomes the band's manager. He introduces Bart to Michael W. Smith (Jake B. Miller) and Amy Grant (Nicole DuPort). Brickell is the one who encourages Bart to dig deep into his soul so he can write a hit song. At the same time, Bart learns his father has cancer so he spends more time with him, and the two develop the relationship Bart always wanted. After his father dies, Bart writes the song "I Can Only Imagine."

I CAN ONLY IMAGINE will be in theatres March 16, 2018. The official Web site is http://icanonlyimagine.com/.

22 September 2017

American Assassin

AMERICAN ASSASSIN is a non-stop action movie. Viewers may want a break, but this film keeps on moving. So while watching, hang on!

Dylan O'Brien is effective as Mitch Rapp, a young man who is disheartened after his girlfriend's murder by terrorists. The experience puts him into fight mode, and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) takes advantage of that. Deputy Director Irene Kennedy (played by Sanaa Lathan) is the one who recognizes his skills. Lathan is excellent in her role; she should be cast in more parts like this.

In addition, Michael Keaton plays Stan Hurley, a former U.S. Navy SEAL who trains Mitch, along with Victor (played by Scott Adkins), and other recruits. Keaton applies great wit to his performance. After completing Hurley's training, Mitch and Victor join him in intercepting the sale of nuclear material, plutonium. The mission does not go as planned, and there are casualties.

The action thriller is directed by Michael Cuesta. The screenplay is written by Stephen Schiff, Michael Finch, Edward Zwick, and Marshall Herskovitz. The movie is based on the novel American Assassin by Vince Flynn.

AMERICAN ASSASSIN is currently playing in theatres.  The official Web site is http://www.cbsfilms.com/american-assassin/.

15 September 2017

Tulip Fever

TULIP FEVER is adapted from a novel by Deborah Moggach.  Tom Stoppard is the screenwriter. The story is set in 17th century Amsterdam during a period known as tulip mania. The lively scenes of the movie take place at the tulip market. People invest in tulips and behave similar to what we would see in today's New York Stock Exchange.

Dame Judi Dench plays a nun, The Abbess of St. Ursula, who grows tulips at the convent for people interested in the tulip market. Her convent is where Sophia (played by Alicia Vikander) is raised. Sophia leaves the convent upon her marriage to an older gentleman named Cornelis (played by Christoph Waltz).

Cornelis desperately wants a child, but he and Sophia are unable to conceive. To place his mind on other matters, Cornelis hires artist Jan van Loos (played by Dane DeHaan) to paint a portrait of him and Sophia. Unfortunately, Sophia and Jan are immediately attracted to each other and begin an affair.

Meanwhile, Cornelis and Sophia's maid, Maria (played by Holliday Grainger), discovers she is pregnant by her estranged betrothed. The story becomes a soap opera when Maria knows Cornelis may not keep her on as help if he learns she is pregnant. As a result, Sophia suggests pretending she is the one who is pregnant. She and Cornelis will then have a child and everyone will be happy.  However, due to Sophia's peculiar plans and promises to Jan, events do not flow so smoothly.

TULIP FEVER is currently playing in theatres. The official Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/TulipFeverFilm/.

24 August 2017

Wind River

WIND RIVER is a thriller movie written and directed by Taylor Sheridan. The entire film is highly suspenseful and provides an uneasy feeling. The circumstances make this possible: the location is a small town in what seems like the middle of no where, snow is on the ground, it is cold, wild animals are present, and the local wildlife officer Cory Lambert (played by Jeremy Renner) finds a woman's dead body.

Since the body is found on a Native American reservation, the sole tribal officer Ben (played by Graham Greene) is put in charge and swiftly contacts the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). Jane Banner (played by Elizabeth Olsen) arrives. Because murder is not the cause of death, the FBI does not send Banner any back up, and it is up to her to solve the mystery of why the woman had run for so many miles in the snow.

WIND RIVER is currently playing in theatres.

09 August 2017

Lady Macbeth

The movie LADY MACBETH is adapted by Alice Birch from the novella Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District by Nikolai Leskov, which was inspired by the William Shakespeare play Macbeth.  LADY MACBETH is a gothic romance steeped in drama and suspense.  One may even believe the female protagonist Katherine Lester (played by Florence Pugh) is the young Lady Macbeth from the Shakespeare play, if he had written a prequel.

Katherine stops at nothing to get what she wants. This is contrary to how the character is first introduced. Initially, the audience sympathizes with her for having to marry a much older man she does not love. And apparently, he does not love her either. They also share a hatred for his father.

LADY MACBETH is director William Oldroyd's feature film debut. It is an impressive effort, and the decision to not have a film score is brilliant, because the audience is engaged without one.

The movie's official Web site is http://www.ladymacbethfilm.com/.  LADY MACBETH is currently playing in theatres.

19 July 2017


Sally Hawkins gives an outstanding performance as Maud in the movie MAUDIE. From the beginning of the film, the audience knows to root for her. The character is a well written multi-dimensional one adapted by screenwriter Sherry White.

MAUDIE is based on the real life story of Nova Scotia artist Maud Lewis. Maud lives with her aunt Ida, played by Gabrielle Rose. Her brother Charles, played by Zachary Bennett, sells their mother's house without telling her. After feeling disrespected, Maud cleverly goes after the job of a housemaid for a local fish peddler named Everett Lewis, played by Ethan Hawke.  Hawke's performance is captivating, as the role is much different than others he has played.

Maud and Everett's relationship starts out rocky, moves along, and then enters an arena neither one of them expects. Other than coming into contact with a few townspeople, they only communicate with each other; therefore, their romance is inevitable. In addition, he sells fish and she sells her paintings--the first customer is Sandra, played exceptionally well by Kari Matchett--acquiring international acclaim. Furthermore, there is a storyline involving Maud's child and Sandra becomes an honest confidant.

MAUDIE is a delightful film directed by Aisling Walsh and currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://sonyclassics.com/maudie/.

13 July 2017

Beatriz at Dinner

Salma Hayek courageously takes on the role of Beatriz in the film BEATRIZ AT DINNER. Beatriz is a humble immigrant massage therapist whose car will not start when it is time to leave a client's home. Her affluent client Kathy, played by Connie Britton, graciously invites Beatriz to stay for dinner since she is waiting for a friend to finish work before he can fix her car. Kathy's husband Grant, played by David Warshofsky, initially disagrees because he is entertaining important business contacts at this particular dinner.

The central dinner guest is Doug Strutt, played by John Lithgow. Doug is a wealthy man who owns hotels and other businesses. As soon as he sees Beatriz, he assumes she is the hired help and asks for a refill of his drink. His second blunder is when he speculates that Beatriz illegally moved to the United States from Mexico. Furthermore, he arrogantly discusses his many investments, including a resort in Mexico. Beatriz presumes it is the resort that promised so many people she knew work, but never opened and left everyone destitute.

BEATRIZ AT DINNER is relevant because it shows social class perceptions. Depending on one's financial status, the business mogul's decisions are viewed either as good business that benefits people or bad business that exploits people. The movie sparks discussion and presents an ambiguous ending.

BEATRIZ AT DINNER is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://roadsideattractions.com/filmography/beatriz-at-dinner/.

05 July 2017

The Hero

In THE HERO Sam Elliott plays Lee Hayden, an aging actor of western films.  Many of us remember Sam Elliott as the star of western films, which is why this role is just right for him. As movie stars get older, they fade away or work less and are missed. THE HERO shows a possible scenario of what those actors may be doing now.

Lee hangs out with his former co-star Jeremy, played by Nick Offerman, which is how he meets Charlotte, played by Laura Prepon. Lee becomes romantically involved with Charlotte, who is much younger. Meanwhile, he visits his estranged ex-wife Valarie played by Elliott's real life wife, Katharine Ross, to update her on his medical condition. In addition, Lee's relationship with his daughter Lucy, played by Krysten Ritter, is strained from his being away so much when he was a successful working actor. Because of his plight, it is important to Lee that he makes everything right in his relationships and clinches a role that puts him back into the spotlight, leaving a positive impression on the public. He sees that as going out with dignity.

Sam Elliott is an exceptional actor. It seems he is underrated when deserving of much praise. It would be nice seeing him starring in even more feature films. Fortunately, screenwriters Marc Basch and Brett Haley wrote a fitting role for him.

THE HERO is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://thehero.film/.

17 June 2017

Creative Writing: The Mystery, Suspense, Crime Story

I am teaching Creative Writing: The Mystery, Suspense, Crime Story on the Udemy Web site. The course is intended for beginning mystery-suspense-crime writers, literature students, and writers interested in writing thrillers.  In the class I show the creative writing process (plot structure) and how to maintain awareness of the genres of mystery, suspense, and/or crime.

I teach students how to get started by planning the story with an outline and a treatment. During the course, students will write either a novel, teleplay, or screenplay. Since I have written all three, I include instruction for the different formats: novel, teleplay, and screenplay.

When writing a story, research is important and I share the research process I utilized for my crime-drama screenplay, THE TWO SISTERS, which is an independent film I also produced and directed, receiving Best Screenplay award nominations from film festivals.  Overall, the course is for people who enjoy mystery, suspense and crime, and individuals who want to learn the story writing process. For more information and to enroll visit https://www.udemy.com/creative-writing-the-mystery-suspense-crime-story/.

14 June 2017

My Cousin Rachel

MY COUSIN RACHEL is a romance, suspense/drama movie based on the Daphne du Maurier novel of the same title.  When Philip (played by Sam Claflin) finishes school and returns to his home in England he learns his guardian is not there, but in Italy with his wife Rachel (played by Rachel Weisz). Philip is instantly suspicious of the woman, because he and his guardian share a tight bond. Philip travels to Italy and is disheartened to discover his guardian has passed away. He believes Rachel is fully responsible, so finding out she intends to visit him in England makes him unpleasant, even though Philip lives a charmed life in a country estate and since his guardian has died, he inherited a fortune.

Over time, he begins liking Rachel and feels sympathetic toward her. Emotional manipulation is how the mystery of MY COUSIN RACHEL is woven. A naive young fellow and an older woman match wits, but really they are unequal. One ultimately out smarts the other, and then the other slowly realizes what is happening. It is engaging watching the story play with much suspense of how the circumstances will end.

MY COUSIN RACHEL is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://www.foxsearchlight.com/mycousinrachel/.

07 June 2017

Paris Can Wait

Many people are familiar with the expression, "Take time to stop and smell the roses." This is what the character Jacques (played by Arnaud Viard) does in the movie PARIS CAN WAIT. Unfortunately, his traveling companion Anne (played by Diane Lane) does not appreciate all the detours.

Jacques, Anne, and her husband Michael (played by Alec Baldwin) are in Cannes, France for a movie Michael is producing. When the film shoot moves to Budapest, Michael boards a jet for take off, but Anne has an ear infection and chooses to drive to Paris with Jacques.

Be sure to eat before watching PARIS CAN WAIT. Jacques' alternate route to Paris includes stopping to dine and drink wine several times. And the meals are large. However, some of the jaunts include stopping at museums and other points of interest.

Director Eleanor Coppola provides a fun tour of France with PARIS CAN WAIT. After watching, one feels she or he has visited the country. The film is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://sonyclassics.com/pariscanwait/.

22 May 2017

All Saints

I had the privilege of attending a preview screening for the upcoming film ALL SAINTS starring John Corbett (as Michael Spurlock).

ALL SAINTS is based on the true story of salesman-turned-pastor, Michael Spurlock--http://archive.episcopalchurch.org/81803_103917_ENG_HTM.htm. Spurlock is ordered by the Episcopal Diocese to shut down a tiny church in rural Smyrna, Tennessee. Unexpectedly, a group of refugees change the direction of All Saints Church. The movie is inspirational as Spurlock and his small congregation slowly embrace the refugees from Southeast Asia. Not only does the church multiply in number, but Spurlock discovers the Karen group knows how to farm and fulfills a vision of growing the church even more instead of shutting it down.

ALL SAINTS focuses on the challenges the church faces implementing the farm on its property. Barry Corbin plays Forrest, an older gentleman who attends All Saints Church and a farmer. Spurlock initially has a difficult time communicating with Forrest, as Forrest resents Spurlock for coming to shut down the church. Corbin's performance is entertaining; he provides the humorous moments of the story.

ALL SAINTS is a compelling story, as it also incorporates the relationships that are formed between the English speakers and the Karen speakers. Viewers want to see the two cultures intersect positively and cheer for the church to become a viable resource in the community.

ALL SAINTS will be in theatres August 25th. The official Web site is http://www.allsaintsmovie.com/.

20 May 2017

A Quiet Passion

Emily Dickinson was an American poet. Unfortunately, Dickinson's poems were published with significant altering during her lifetime. In 1955 Thomas H. Johnson published The Poems of Emily Dickinson, and the literature was unaltered.

A QUIET PASSION eloquently showcases the life of Emily Dickinson with an outstanding performance by Cynthia Nixon as Dickinson. The movie is quiet and quaint just like Dickinson herself. Writer and director Terence Davies shows compassion for his subject. The audience learns about the life of the reclusive poet, details that many would have never known about her.

A QUIET PASSION is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://www.musicboxfilms.com/a-quiet-passion-movies-153.php.

06 May 2017

The Circle

THE CIRCLE, based on the book of the same title, is a different type of film. It shows the consequences of Mae Holland (played by Emma Watson) sharing every activity of her life on social media. Transparency is a reality for many people in today's world, so the story is very relevant.

Tom Hanks gives a fine performance as Eamon Bailey, the co-founder and leader of The Circle. Eamon encourages transparency because it provides opportunity for him and his team to see their innovations in action. The theme here is technology makes us better and everything benefits from it.

The fun scenes in the story display the excitement of working at a large technology company. Everyone loves the job so much they live in an on-site dormitory. The experience is what most people think working at Google is like.

THE CIRCLE is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://thecircle.movie/.

27 April 2017

Their Finest

The British movie THEIR FINEST, based on the book Their Finest Hour and a Half by Lissa Evans is set in London during World War II, and opens with Catrin Cole (played by Gemma Arterton) being hired to write scripts for the Ministry of Information.  Her husband, Ellis (played by Jack Huston), is unable to sell his art, so Catrin becomes the only wage earner. She is a very talented scriptwriter, sharing her unique perspective with the staff. Unfortunately, her skills are underestimated by writing partner Tom (played by Sam Claflin) and the pair do not get along. Eventually, Catrin and Tom begin respecting each other and even develop a friendship while being on location doing rewrites for a film.

Bill Nighy is brilliant in THEIR FINEST and offers genteel humor. His character, Ambrose Hilliard, is an actor with pomp. Catrin is able to remain honest with him when others are not, and is ultimately appreciated for it. Other unexpected circumstances cause Catrin and Tom to develop an affinity for one another and it is satisfying for the audience; however, the story takes a startling twist.

THEIR FINEST is a unique film that distinctly shows believable situations while accurately illustrating life during the 1940's. The movie is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbcfilms/film/their_finest.

22 April 2017

Going In Style

GOING IN STYLE stars Alan Arkin ("Albert"), Michael Caine ("Joe"), and Morgan Freeman ("Willie"). The movie is a humorous tale that shows how wisdom is an asset. In the story, these gentlemen approach their scheme differently than young people would, and it is beneficial for them.

Overall, the performances are excellent, and it is great seeing Ann-Margret in such a vibrant role. She plays Annie, Albert's lady friend. This is significant, considering she is one of few female characters in the film.

GOING IN STYLE is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://goinginstylemovie.com/.

13 April 2017

The Case for Christ

THE CASE FOR CHRIST shows the journey Lee Strobel (played by Mike Vogel) takes to disprove his wife's Christian faith. Outside of the movie, Strobel is a best-selling Christian author and former award-winning investigative journalist for The Chicago Tribune who was an atheist. After completing a thorough investigation that lasted for two years, Strobel embraces a new faith in Christ. The experience led him to write the book The Case for Christ, upon which the movie is based.

THE CASE FOR CHRIST gives its audience a true sense of what a spectacular investigator Strobel is. He attends a debate on matters of faith, meets with a priest, speaks with a medical doctor regarding crucifixion, and even consults a skeptical psychologist, played by Faye Dunaway. A captivating scene is when Strobel has an honest conversation with The Chicago Tribune's Religion Editor, played by Mike Pniewski.

Erika Christensen plays Strobel's wife, Leslie, who befriends a nurse named Alfie (played by L. Scott Caldwell) who saves her child's life. Leslie is impressed with Alfie's unwavering faith, and that is what leads her to examine her own beliefs. THE CASE FOR CHRIST exhibits how Leslie becomes a Christian and the conflict it causes in her marriage. The situation is probably familiar to many viewers, and is handled delicately by screenwriter Brian Bird and director Jon Gunn.

THE CASE FOR CHRIST is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://caseforchristmovie.pureflix.com/.

11 April 2017

The Zookeeper's Wife

It is intriguing learning about the brave deeds of people during the Jewish Holocaust. THE ZOOKEEPER'S WIFE is based on the non-fiction book of the same title by Diane Ackerman and the diaries of Antonia Zabinska named People and Animals. The story depicts the rescue of Jews from the Warsaw, Poland Ghetto.

Antonia Zabinska (played by Jessica Chastain) and her husband Jan Zabinska (played by Johan Heldenbergh) manage The Warsaw Zoo and allow Jews to hide in the basement of their home on the premises. Their hospitality is courageous. It is commendable that they are so willing to risk their lives and their son's (played by Timothy Radford and later Val Maloku) life, along with the people who worked with them. All know it is wrong to seize Jews from their homes and find it unbearable to watch humanity being mistreated.

Daniel Bruhl plays Dr. Lutz Heck, the story's antagonist. Dr. Heck manages the Berlin Zoo. However, he is primarily "Hitler's zoologist."

THE ZOOKEEPER'S WIFE is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://www.focusfeatures.com/thezookeeperswife/.

29 March 2017

The Last Word

THE LAST WORD is an honest movie that may even be therapeutic for some viewers. Shirley MacLaine is exquisite as a single, retired businesswoman named Harriet Lauler. She is wise, independent, and fearless. Many dislike her for her candor so she spends time alone; however, she is consistent in maintaining control, and develops the notion of writing her obituary while she is still alive. As a result, a writer at the local newspaper named Anne Sherman (played by Amanda Seyfried) is elected by her supervisor Ronald Odom, played by Tom Everett Scott, to write Harriet's obituary. Obviously, Anne does not immediately like Harriet.

THE LAST WORD is a fascinating comedy-drama that places differing individuals in the same arena. Naturally, when this happens the women are able to learn a great deal about each another, after looking beyond exterior structures. Harriet and Anne ultimately serve as surrogates for one another, filling the gap for a family member. One is without her daughter in her life and the other does not have a mother in her life, so they unexpectedly need each other.

In addition, a dynamic aspect is AnnJewel Lee Dixon who plays Brenda, the at-risk youth Harriet mentors. The three females bond. Each is honest and the characters are genuine.

THE LAST WORD is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://www.bleeckerstreetmedia.com/thelastword.

14 March 2017

I Am Not Your Negro

The documentary I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO is based on writer James Baldwin's manuscript, Remember This House. This insightful film explores the history of racism in the United States of America. It is astonishing how words Baldwin spoke over 40 years ago are still relevant today. Director Raoul Peck masterfully blends current events with segments about civil rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Medgar Evers, and Malcolm X.

I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO is narrated by Samuel L. Jackson and currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://www.iamnotyournegrofilm.com/.

06 March 2017

A United Kingdom

A UNITED KINGDOM illustrates the real life romance of Sir Seretse Khama (played by David Oyelowo) and Ruth Williams Khama (played by Rosamund Pike). Seretse Khama is the Prince of Bechuanaland (now Botswana). He falls in love with and marries a white woman while living in London. In 1948 this is frowned upon; their families, the British government, and the South African government disapprove of their courtship.

A UNITED KINGDOM is an inspiring movie that shows the value of maintaining strength in the midst of adversity. Eventually, it is possible to overcome prejudice. In this powerful story, lives and laws are changed because of the Khamas' courage to stay united.

A UNITED KINGDOM is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://www.foxsearchlight.com/aunitedkingdom/.

27 February 2017


LION is the incredible true story adapted from the book A LONG WAY HOME written by Saroo Brierley with Larry Buttrose. Sunny Pawar plays Saroo with natural finesse. It is compelling watching a five year old boy in India adapt to his unfortunate circumstances. His intention is to tag along on an out of town trip with his older brother Guddu, played by Abhishek Bharate.

Sadly, the two brothers are separated and Saroo is taken on a very long journey by train. The young boy is homeless and nearly taken advantage of, but manages to survive on his own. Thankfully Saroo meets someone decent who takes him to the police. Since his family cannot be located, he is sent to an orphanage. Sue Brierley (played by Nicole Kidman) and John Brierley (played by David Wenham) adopt Saroo, and he moves to Australia to live with them.

After twenty years, it makes sense that Saroo has a longing to be with his birth mother and searches for his real home. As an adult, Saroo is played by Dev Patel. Saroo's ability to remember his past and the sophisticated methods he uses to find his childhood home in India are intriguing. The process consumes him so much, Saroo is distanced from his parents and lady friend, Lucy, played by Rooney Mara.

The happy ending to this story fills its audience with so much joy that all shed tears. The final thought is that Saroo Brierley shares the most difficult experiences he ever had. The final feeling is gratifying because Saroo once again embraces his birth mother in India.

LION is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://www.lionmovie.com.

20 January 2017

Hidden Figures

HIDDEN FIGURES shows smart, intelligent, educated women. Specifically, the lead characters in the movie are African American women. This is refreshing for cinema and the true story the film is based on is a cultural phenomenon. These incredible women played by Taraji P. Henson (Katherine Goble Johnson), Octavia Spencer (Dorothy Vaughan), and Janelle Monae (Mary Jackson), are mathematicians and an engineer.

Today there is a need for more women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) careers. Johnson, Vaughan, and Jackson are three of the first women to work in these fields, which was in 1962, in careers that lasted for several years, and they were segregated. They excelled, despite the circumstances. After learning their story, many people will have even more respect for their employer, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). It is commendable that NASA hired African Americans, even though they were segregated, and recognized the individuals that had pertinent knowledge vital to making the organization even stronger, contributing to the progression of the United States of America in a major way.

Kevin Costner, Kirsten Dunst, and Jim Parsons all play important roles in the film. Their characters are the ones who are colleagues of the three women at NASA who had to humbly recognize their racial bias and overcome it for the greater good of the team and goals of the organization.

HIDDEN FIGURES is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site for the film is http://www.foxmovies.com/movies/hidden-figures.


My new novel, THE TWO SISTERS, is available for purchase:  The Two Sisters by Terri Dawn Arnold . The story has crime, drama, and mystery. L...