21 December 2019

The Good Liar

Honesty is usually best. It saves time and one does not need to remember a fantasy narrative. However, some choose to master in manipulation for personal gain. This is the plot of the crime thriller movie, THE GOOD LIAR, starring Helen Mirren (Betty) and Ian McKellen (Roy). It is based on the novel of the same title written by Nicholas Searle.

Roy is a con artist. Betty is a widow with millions. Roy enters Betty's life with the intention of taking all her savings. Watching Roy play out his scam makes viewers feel sympathy for Betty.

The story takes an alternate route, providing unexpected circumstances. It is unpredictable and the audience observes Betty's courage. THE GOOD LIAR could serve as a cautionary tale. The movie is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is https://www.goodliarmovie.com/.

27 August 2019


You are not defined by what you do or how others identify you. This is the theme of the new family drama film, OVERCOMER. OVERCOMER is directed by and stars Alex Kendrick. Alex is also co-writer with Stephen Kendrick.

Hannah (Aryn Wright-Thompson) is a 15-year old girl who lives with her grandmother. She has been told her parents passed away. She is a loner and kleptomaniac. Fortunately, being the only runner on her school's cross country team gives her a sense of purpose. She discovers her identity with help from the school's principal (Priscilla Shirer), her coach, John, (Alex Kendrick) and his wife, Amy, (Shari Rigby). John and Amy discover something special about Hannah, and lead her to it, allowing her to receive answers to questions she had about her parents. As a result, she makes positive changes in her life.

OVERCOMER is an inspirational Christian film and does an excellent job of having its audience think about the question: What is your identity? OVERCOMER is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://www.overcomermovie.com/.

08 July 2019

The Last Black Man in San Francisco

THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO is a movie that is presented as a play. Well, some viewers will have that reaction. Overall, it is very artistic and there are some exceptional performances.

Jimmie Fails plays Jimmie Fails, a man who is determined to reclaim the Victorian home his grandfather built. His best friend Montgomery Allen (Jonathan Majors) is supportive and assists Jimmie in his efforts. The highlight of the story is watching their friendship. The narrative is pure.

Eventually, the movie takes an unexpected turn. It is bittersweet. The audience cheers for Jimmie, but reality sets in and destiny has other plans. It is true that the ones who sincerely care about you will shield the painful truth from you, or may choose to reveal it to you.

THE LAST BLACK MAN IN SAN FRANCISCO is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is https://a24films.com/films/the-last-black-man-in-san-francisco.

02 July 2019


POMS is a fun movie. It is nice watching a story written by screenwriters (Zara Hayes and Shane Atkinson) who clearly know their audience. And all the actors are perfectly cast.

If you want to laugh out loud and like the film BOOK CLUB, you will enjoy POMS. As an added bonus, Diane Keaton is also the star of POMS. She plays Martha, a woman who sells her business and moves into a retirement community like the real-life Sun City. Her intention is to live out her final days in peace, especially since she is ill and knows she is dying soon. Instead she forms unexpected bonds with neighbors who become friends and fulfills a life-long dream of being a cheerleader.

The cheerleading tryouts are hilarious. And scenes with the cheerleading squad are equally amusing. POMS is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://www.stxfilms.com/poms/.

30 June 2019

Hotel Mumbai

HOTEL MUMBAI is an exceptional dramatic thriller that is based on a true story. Dev Patel plays Arjun, a waiter at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, India. One night a group of terrorists raid the hotel and 11 other locations in Mumbai. Employees and guests are trapped in the hotel for several hours as they wait for special forces to arrive from New Delhi. The movie is intense and definitely keeps its audience on edge.

HOTEL MUMBAI also stars Armie Hammer as David, an American married to a Muslim Iranian-British heiress named Zahra (Nazanin Boniadi). The film ends by showing the actual people who endured the horrific events. They have reunited at the renovated Taj Mahal Palace Hotel.

I saw HOTEL MUMBAI at a theatre in April. Now you may watch the movie on various Web sites, including YouTube, Amazon Prime, Vudu, and Google Play.

15 May 2019

Cold Pursuit

COLD PURSUIT is a unique dark comedy. It starts out as a serious drama and inserts several dramatic elements throughout the film, but it is certainly a comedy. The mood and humor of the story are artistic and Frank Baldwin's screenplay also showcases well written characters portrayed by an excellent cast.

COLD PURSUIT is a remake of the 2014 Norwegian film IN ORDER OF DISAPPEARANCE. The film counts disappearing characters in a hilarious manner. Overall, the movie is fun and stars Liam Neeson, Tom Bateman, Tom Jackson, Emily Rossum, and Laura Dern.

I saw COLD PURSUIT at a theatre. Now it is available on DVD and Blu-Ray. The official Web site is https://www.lionsgate.com/movies/cold-pursuit.

16 March 2019


Recently I attended a preview screening of the upcoming film BREAKTHROUGH. It is based on the book The Impossible by Joyce Smith, which chronicles the miraculous true story of her son's revival. Prayer is powerful.

Parents will be able to relate to Joyce Smith (Chrissy Metz) whose son John Smith (Marcel Ruiz) falls through the ice while playing with his friends and stays in the freezing water for 15 minutes. The incident puts John into a coma and he is rescued by first responder Tommy Shine (Mike Colter), who seeks John with a determination even unexplainable to him. Doctors are doubtful John will awaken, but Joyce stays with John every day and prays. This causes some friction between Joyce and her husband Brian Smith (Josh Lucas). Brian has faith, but deals with the situation in a different manner than his wife.

The Smith's are referred to Dr. Garrett (Dennis Haysbert), who has more experience working with patients in John's condition. Dr. Garrett verifies that the likelihood for John's survival is slim. Joyce keeps praying anyway. In fact, many people in St. Louis, Missouri pray for John, especially his classmates who sing with conviction outside of John's hospital room in an emotional scene.

BREAKTHROUGH will be released in North American theatres on Wednesday, April 17th and in the Philippines on Wednesday, April 10th. The official Web site is https://www.foxmovies.com/movies/breakthrough.

16 February 2019

The Least of These: The Graham Staines Story

The words "The least of these..." are from Mathew 25:40: "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me." The movie THE LEAST OF THESE: THE GRAHAM STAINES STORY illustrates the humility required for helping individuals in need. Graham Staines (Stephen Baldwin) is an Australian missionary in rural India with his wife (Shari Rigby) and children, and accused of converting leprosy patients to Christianity. After much speculation by people in town, journalist Manav Banerjee (Sharman Joshi) agrees to investigate undercover for a newspaper. This is the opportunity he needs since moving to the town of Orissa with his wife (Aditi Chengappa) who is expecting the couple's first child.

Manav develops a relationship with Graham and learns about his missionary work. Graham displays love, hope, and forgiveness in a country where his faith is not embraced and seen as illegal. During his investigation, Manav discovers what it means to have faith and humbly serve others. Unfortunately, his ambition gets in the way and he must make a decision, just as he sadly witnesses a tragic situation involving Graham and his two sons.

The movie is a compelling drama, and based on actual events from 1999 in India. THE LEAST OF THESE: THE GRAHAM STAINES STORY is currently playing in theatres in the United States and premieres in India on March 1st. The official Web site is https://theleastofthese.movie/.

13 February 2019

On the Basis of Sex

Felicity Jones gives an exceptional performance as United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in ON THE BASIS OF SEX. Jones efficiently shows strength and determination throughout the story. Ginsburg attends Harvard Law School in the 1950's when there are few women students. Her husband Martin (Armie Hammer) is also a student at Harvard Law. When he falls ill, she attends both her and his classes. The couple's partnership also consists of raising their two children and working as joint counsel for a case that makes it possible for Ginsburg to practice law.

In the 1960's very few women practice law, so Ginsburg teaches law. She is not satisfied with this, and in 1970 when Martin discovers a tax law case involving a man named Charles Moritz (Chris Mulkey) who hires a nurse to help him care for his aging mother, Ruth accepts it.  Moritz is denied a tax deduction for the nursing care because the deduction is limited to "a woman, a widower or divorcee, or a husband whose wife is incapacitated or institutionalized," which is Section 214 of the Internal Revenue Code. The opportunity allows Ginsburg to overturn the law, which also challenges laws that discriminate against women. Additionally, she believes winning the case will start her career of practicing law.

In the United States landmark cases and laws have made it possible for school integration (Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, 1954) and voting rights for all (Voting Rights Act, 1965). In the 1970's Ruth Bader Ginsburg makes it possible for women to work in professions seen as only for men by successfully proving that a man is discriminated against on the basis of his sex. As society changes, the laws should change.

ON THE BASIS OF SEX is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://focusfeatures.com/on-the-basis-of-sex.

12 January 2019

Green Book

The Negro Motorist Green Book was an annual guidebook for African American road trippers. It was commonly referred to as Green Book. It was originated and published by Victor Hugo Green, a mailman in New York City, from 1936-1966. This was during the era of Jim Crow laws when open and legally prescribed discrimination against non-whites was widespread in the United States. The guide provided information about services and places (gas stations, motels, restaurants, etc.) relatively friendly to African Americans.

GREEN BOOK is a comedy-drama film about classical and jazz pianist Dr. Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) who hires a chauffeur, Tony Vallelonga (Viggo Mortensen), for his concert tour of the Deep South. Tony is given a Green Book and studies which places he can take Dr. Shirley. The screenplay is written by Vallelonga's son Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie, and the film's director Peter Farrelly.

At first glance, it is unique seeing a white Italian American driving a car with an African American in the backseat in 1962. There is even a scene where they stop, due to car trouble, in front of a farm where Black people are working in the fields. The workers are frozen and stare in amazement.

Overall, the writers' choice to make GREEN BOOK a comedy-drama offers an uncommon way to share a story about racism. As a result, the audience is able to get a sense of the time period and its troubles, but additionally focus on the unlikely friendship that develops between Dr. Shirley and Tony. The movie is inspired by the true story about the eventual, respectful relationship these men shared.

GREEN BOOK is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is https://www.universalpictures.com/movies/green-book.

03 January 2019

If Beale Street Could Talk

IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK is a breath of fresh air. It is a romantic drama with an African American couple (KiKi Layne and Stephan James) at the story's center. Also, the movie shows how supportive some family members can be during a crisis.

Writer and director Barry Jenkins has done a phenomenal job with IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK. The movie is honest and pragmatic. Furthermore, the story is set in the 1970's, and James Baldwin's novel, which the screenplay is based, accurately illustrates racial discrimination. And sadly at present, not much has changed.

The cast, especially Regina King, and crew are outstanding. The musical score is exquisite. IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK is currently playing in theatres. The official Web site is http://bealestreet.movie/.

Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse

Fort Rodd Hill and Fisgard Lighthouse National Historic Sites are located in Victoria, B.C. in the Colwood community. They are two miles (th...