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/.


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...