• 2019

Year: 2019

Victoria and Abdul (2017)–An Imperial Friendship

In Victoria and Abdul the Golden Jubilee of Queen Victoria (the majestic Judi Dench) is about to be celebrated in all its pomp and circumstance.  The year is 1887 and Queen Victoria is  sixty-eight years old. An honorary gold coin– a Mohur– has been minted as a token of appreciation from British-ruled India recognizing Victoria as the Empress of India.   Two Indians are conscripted to deliver the Mohur: Abdul (Ali Fazal) and Mohammed (Adeel Akhtar).    The early comedic scenes tease with the warm-hearted, kind and generous nature of an elderly...

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Chernobyl–An Ignominious Reaction

Chernobyl HBO miniseries
Chernobyl is an HBO historical drama miniseries depicting the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster and the unprecedented coverup that followed. The flawed reactor design operated by inadequately trained technicians is jaw-clenching and chilling. That lack of transparency and flagrant disregard for human life depicts greed, lack of moral integrity, and political corruption. Chernobyl is a cautionary tale for today's political climate.

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The Commuter –Train to Hell

The Commuter Action thrillers are not a staple in my movie-going diet.  Nonetheless,  I like the ones Liam Neeson stars in , and The Commuter fits his murder conspiracy/ abduction genre.  Insurance salesman Michael MacCauley (Liam Neeson’s character) is a 60-year-old ex-cop turned insurance salesman who commutes to midtown Manhattan every day, familiar with almost all of the other passengers.  On the train home, Michael meets a mysterious woman named Joanna (the always-excellent Vera Farmiga), who claims to be a psychologist researching distinct classifications of personality...

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Fahrenheit 11/9–Fourth of July

Michael Moore’s most recent documentary,  Fahrenheit 11/9, released in September of last year, is an interesting take on the 2016  presidential election .  (The film is named for the day Trump was declared the electoral winner.) This is another film in Moore’s canon of what is wrong with America, not his best but still worth  seeing.  The 39th Golden Raspberry Award for worst actor went to Donald Trump. Although purportedly about Trump’s election and how the country got there, Fahrenheit 11/9 is also about other issues close to Moore’s...

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Always Be My Maybe–Rom-Com At Its Best

The Netflix Original Always Be My Maybe gives us a reason for watching rom-coms again. A modern riff on “When Harry Met Sally.” Set in San Francisco, Always Be My Maybe is  a story of childhood sweethearts who go their separate ways only to meet up fifteen years later.  Sasha Tran (Ali Wong) and Marcus Kim (Randall Park) were best friends who, as teenagers,  had sex for the first time and then stopped talking to each other.   Marcus is  now a dorky musician still living at home with his widowed dad,  and working in his dad’s business.  Sasha...

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Which Way Home –Is There One?

In this gripping 2010 Academy Award nominated HBO documentary, Which Way Home opens with something large and bulbous floating down the Rio Grande. The viewer soon learns it is a corpse, perhaps that of a child, and an observer comments matter-of-factly that this happens multiple times a day. Director Rebecca Cammisa follows the struggles of a handful of young, unaccompanied Central American children (all of them boys except for one nine-year-old girl) who are determined to jump the border to a new home in the United States.  Riding on the top of freight trains nicknamed “The...

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