Jerry Kane's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

First Position

Another ballet focussed fim about the stress involved in international competition. Elements of this film can be wearing.... we know there will be 'winners" and "losers" and Director Bess Kargman focuses on a varied group of motivated students and pushy parents. This film is well worth you time. Bravo to all!

Fading Gigolo

"Fading Gigolo" is a little precious jewel of a film which shows what a giant and talent John Turturro is. He not only wrote and directed this remarkable film, but stars in it as well, while keeping Woody Allen's inclination to "chew up the scenery" under tight control.
Turturro has assembled a varied and talented cast to tell a unique tale with strong sexual and Jewish content. Vanessa Paradis, an actress whose work I am not familiar, delivers a nuanced performance and plays off Liev Schreiber, Allen and Turturro in a beautiful way. Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara also deliver in roles right out of an acting textbook.
In sum, this is a film worthy of your attention for its wit, cinematography, acting and fascinating plot. Bravo to all... most especially to Mr. Turturro!

Dancing In Jaffa

"Dancing in Jaffa" is an exceptional, beautiful documentary about how to solve thee Middle East crisis one dance at a time. The remarkable element which places this film "over the top," is the way in which we get "inside the heads" of the Palestinian and Israeli students to see how they figure out how to break down the long existing walls of prejudice and hatred and rebuild a new beginning in which they teach their elders how to speak to each other and dance. Bravo and thanks to all who took part in making this most enjoyable film.

Finding Vivian Maier

"Finding Vivian Meier" is a documentary film unlike any I have ever seen.
Meier was an eccentric reclusive woman who worked as a nanny in Chicago in the mid to late twentieth century.
But her real passion was phtography. She crept her way into the lives of her subjects as well as the families for whom she worked. She produced thousands of unique photographs, slides, audio tapes and films whcih she did not display or share with anyone.
Beautifully, carefully and lovingly assembled by John Maloof who purchased a trunk of her photos at an auction, this film is beautifully and reverantly assembled. It is a revelation, and most deserving of your attention.

Le passé (The Past)

"The Past" is a well-crafted French film which borders on the tedious needs a bit of the punch which Director Asghar Farhadi put in "A Separation." It is interesting to see "The Artist" leading lady Berenice Bejo take a big bite and use her remarkable acting chops. Others in the cast have appeared in Farhadi's other films. I wish the pace were quicker. The loss of 30 - 40 minutes would have improved our enjoyment of this family dysfunction tale immensely.


In light of the current tensions transpiring in the Middle East, this film underlines the personal stories which entangle both Israelis and Palestinians. "Bethlehem" is not an easy film to watch, but it is well worth watching! The film maker should be commended for blurring the lines of the conflict, underlining what both sides face. The film does little to present a clear cut point of view, which is the point of making such a complex film.

Nicky's Family

So much has been written about "Nicky's Family," we could not wait to watch it. This outstanding documentary does not disappoint! The story is engaging. The testimonials which comprise so much of the film are heartfelt. And the background of how this remarkable man's story came to light fifty years after his amazing heroism was revealed is truly a miracle!
All the praise heaped on Sir Nicholas Winton and this film is so well deserved. I urge you to see it and recommend it to your friends. Bravo!

The Lunchbox
The Lunchbox(2014)

The premise of the Indian film "The Lunchbox" is fascinating....a couple who does not know each other exchanges notes in a lunchbox ... part of Indian techno industrial lifestyle. Alas, the film it winds up being an over-long shaggy llama story with no resolution... "The Lunchbox" is a story of unrequited love... pain.... loss and disapppointment. What could have been a film with a glimmer of hope, turns into a very long and disquieting venture into life in a very crowded, sad Indian metropolis.

La Rafle
La Rafle(2012)

As a rabbi and teacher of "Jews on Screen," I have seen more than my share of Holocaust films.
"La Rafle" was truly the straw which broke this cinemaphile's back. There is just so much horrific realistic cenema one can take.
The realism, the performances, the true story of the French collaboration with the Nazis in 1942 was more than either of us could endure.
Elements of the film are deriviative of other great Holocaust films and documentaries. I doubt that I shall be adding any more Holocaust films to my queue any longer. Enough is enough. I do hope that the current generation and future generations will watch this film and remember this dreadful chapter in our world's history.

Once I Was (The Matchmaker)

This is quite an engaging film -- a mash-up and a throwback to the kind of Israeli films made in the seventies. The usual themes are there - Holocaust survivor tales, coming of age in an old / new land -- complex characters whose secrets reveal themselves as the plot unfolds. "The Matchmaker"'s Hebrew title is "Once upon a time..." which may be more appropriate, because it tells a tale with a beginning, middle and not so-satisfying end. For Israel buffs, this may be just your cup of tea... with a cube of sugar in your teeth!

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me

We are shameless Elaine Stritch fans and have waited months until this extraordinary DVD arrived. It is raw, poignant, and so, so real. There is no hiding behind the lens in watching a legend age. Our deep thanks for Ms. Strich allowing the camera to capture her cope with her memories and her demons, not to mention ongoing and worsening health challenges. Together with "At Liberty," these iconic documentaries tug at our heartstrings and bring a healthy dose of laughter through tears. Brava!

Tim's Vermeer

A truly fascinating film, albeit VERY tedious. Once the remarkable thesis is presented as to the revolutionary manner in which Vermeer painted and how Tim recreated it and reproduced a copy of a famous Vermeer painting over serveral years, Tim's feeling of tediousness gets to us and we found ourselves looking at our watches to see how much more time we needed to endure. Still, a film worth viewing -- perhaps making use of "fast forward."

The Monuments Men

With all the hype of an "A list" cast, we expected more. Starring George Clooney, John Goodman, Matt Dillon, Cate Blanchett, Bill Murray and even Hugh Bonneville of "Downton Abbey," this film needed more meat on its frail bones.
This is a great World War II story which needs to be told, and is frankly told better in the excellent documentary "The Rape of Europa." Better luck next time!

After Tiller
After Tiller(2013)

This exceptional and powerful directory tells the story of the four brave physicians who perform late term abortions following the dreadful murder of Dr. Geogre Tiller in 2009 while he was attending church..
Each doctor's story is porwerful and touches deeply at our hearts. Must see viewing! Brava to the directors Martha Shane and Lana Wilson!

Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues

Thsi seqal is silly, course, profane, and will rile the average movie viewer. But as I reflect on the underlying messages of the film, namelywhat's wrong with the media today, with foci on "breaking news" and flight from "hard news" and investigattive journalism there really is much to ponder.... serioiusly! Many cameos will bring a smile or two. Great film making, this is not... but it is worth a rapid fast forward.


For those of us with long Disney memories, "Frozen" is a giant slide forward as far as the quality of the animation. This adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen's "Snow Queen" has all the right elements to make this yet another Disney formulaic success. Of course, the "Let It Go" moment by the phenomenal Idina Menzel stands out is the centerpiece of the film, yet all the other voices fit just fine and the film did bring a smile to this gradually wrinkling face!


As I am reviewing all the contenders for best picture Oscar this year. "Philomena" touched my heart in the most profound way. The story is so very sad and true, and unlike "12 Years a Slave" the depth of one performance lifts it into a special category. I have always been a fan of Judi Dench. I have never seen her perform in person, but on film, and most especially in "Philomena," her face speaks volumes. Director Stephen Frears knows this, and gives Dame Judi plenty of room to expand and contract her skills. The looks from her eyes should be reason enough to watch and re-watch this amazing film! Brava Dame Judi!

The Book Thief

"Well," we were told "the film is much better than the book!" That being said, the book must have been awful. We found the film to be tedious, ill-focused and endlessly long. There are so many better child / Holocaust films out there, go and watch "The Boy With the Spriped Pajamas," again, or "Life is Beautiful" or "One Survivor Remembers" instead. You won't be sorry!

The Invisible Woman

"The Invisible Woman" is a slow moving well-acted film about the relationship of Charles Dickens and a much younger - not very capable - actress Nelly Ternan. By the time the film ended we found ourselves asking more questions than the film answers. There is a lot of silence and "eye-talking" throughout. Ralph Feinnes is just excellent as Dickens, Felicity Jones is remarkable as Nelly, and the always excellent Kristin Scott Thomas dominates her scenes as Nelly's beleaguered mother. If you are a Dickens fan, this film is a must. Beautifully filmed, but again, very slow moving.

Saving Mr. Banks

Think of it! What a happy film this is going to be! "Mary Poppins," Tom Hanks, Emma Thompson -- a fun film -- a winning combination -- another fun night at the movies! Alas ... not so much!
Granted, my expectations for this film were quite different than what I discovered in this bio-pic with so many very sad and "un-cheery" elements. I had no idea of the "back story" of how "Mary Poppins" was written, and the film adds tremendous insight through its beautifully acted perforances. Some bits of happiness do creep out by film's end... but in the end, the "feed" for the birds in the audience is a bit bitter to the tongue.

August: Osage County

THREE STAR REVIEW - AUGUST OSAGE COUNTY Yet another film about family dysfunction. OY!!! Somehow I felt August Osage County provided its audiences a much more satisfying experience on a stage, rather than the up close and personal discomfort of film close-ups.
Despite, or perhaps because of over the top performances by most cast members including the doyenne Meryl Streep and the not-so Pretty Woman in this film, Julia Roberts only Margo Martindale and Chris Cooper seem to strike a fine nuanced balance in their portrayals. Worth a glance for film buffs, but not a fun two hours at the movies.

American Hustle

There are so many things "wrong" with "American Hustle," and yet that is why we found the film "just right." If one wishes to tinker with elements of the plot which can be confusing and complicated, go right ahead. We fastened our seat belts and had one hell of a bumpy ride. Growing up in New Jersey in the 50's and early 60's with a family member who "dabbled" in politics... this film rings very true. In all, the acting was amazing, most especially Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence to a lesser degree. Despite the film's length, it flew by. David Russell's directorial style is envigorating and helps make this film work so well. I am amazed that the Hollywood receptoin of the film was so mixed. Not in our book. It really rings our bells!


This poignant film is an all-too-painful look at the burdens placed on being a femail in a Muslim world. The story focuses on a ten year old, feisty girl who sees through all the repression and mores of an antiquated society. This is well worth seeing. The performances, most especially the young actress in the title role take one's breath away. The film is difficult to watch, but watch it we must!

Dallas Buyers Club

What a film! What a story! What amazing performances by Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto. Superly directed and skillfully edited with a remarkable original screenplay. Despite the extremely salty language, and graphic situations, we were riveted to our seats as we watched a telling tale play out before our eyes. There are so many questions raised and so much potent discussion generated by this award worthy film. Bravo to all!

Enough Said
Enough Said(2013)

"Enough Said" has its moments, thanks to the fine, nuanced acting by a superior cast headed by Julia Louis Dreyfus and the magnificent James Gandolfini in his last role before his sudden death.
It is an object lesson in bad choices and even worse behavior. The plot seems hackneyed, but its message is powerful. The dialogue is so natural.
In sum, this is an enjoyable film, made even more wonderful by the pall cast by the recognition of what might have been if James Gandolfini would still be with us.


"Nebraska" is an exceptional film. It is clearly thought out with brilliant nuanced performaces by a gifted cast, most especially Bruce Dern, Will Forte and Jane Squibb. The decision to film "Nebraska" in black and white was brilliant. We are privileged to see many more than 50 shades of grey!
Alexander Payne's direction is pitch perfect. After viewing this masterpiece we were left with so many themes rolling around our heads. This is a film which is well worth your attention. Bravo to all!

Cutie And The Boxer

Nominated for an Oscar, "Cutie and the Boxer" is more about the relationship between two Japanese artists who happen to be married, and their struggles in making art and making a cohesive life together. There is little to smile about in this film. The New York art scene is tellingly revealed with a head shaking silent commentary. It is painful to watch them interact with their alcoholic son and also with their own alcoholic abuse. It is equally difficult to watch how they pine for the telephone to ring to receive the "right call" from a potential buyer. The final scene in which all frutstrations are bared is powerful. While I doubt this film with receive an Oscar, it is a film which all artists should view

20 Feet From Stardom

"20 Feet from Stardom" is a deeply insigtful, mildly depressing, well-made documentary which follows the lives of several backup singers for rock icons like the Rolling Stones, and a variety of Motown superstars. It focuses on the "business" aspect of "Show Business" which is often seamy and unprincipled. The music is outstanding. The real message of the film is sobering. It is well worth seeing.

Portrait of Wally

In light of the release of "Monuments Men," this documentary is an excellent companion piece. "Portrait of Wally" clearly shows the underbelly of the art world through the wickedly accurate tale around the stealing, acquisition and reclamation and disposition of one single painting stolen during the Holocaust from a Austrian Jewish art dealer.
Fascinating to watch with extensive interviews with wel known jounalists including Morley Safer, it saddens me that institutions such as MOMA in NYC and NPR are given black eyes through this well-crafted documentary.

Fruitvale Station

"Fruitvale Station" is a remarkable film. Sandwiched betrween actual footage of a random shooting of a 22 year old on New Year's Day in 2009 and the annual memorial at the site of the shooting is the story of the young man who was killed by a BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) policeman in Oakland, CA. Michael B. Jordan's performance is exceptional as is the nuanced portrayal by Academy Award winning actress Octavia Spencer. Director Ryan Coogler's vision is clear and powerful. Cinematography is excellent. In all, this film raises more questions than it answers. It is well worth your time! Bravo to all!

Lee Daniels' The Butler

It's really easy to see why "The Butler" was snubbed in Awards season. This is an ambitious effort to tell a fascinating story with, alas, too many wrinkles. The cross cut editing of various segments of the stories is confusing, bordering on the gratuitous. The actors try too hard. It is hard to suspend disbelief when you keep looking on the screen and saying to yourself.... Oh, that's Oprah.... or that's Jane Fonda.... Only Forest Whitaker transcends and succeeds in his central role in this overambitious film.

Inequality For All

"inequality For All" is a fine film which needs to be distributed widely. It explains the growing gap in our country between the haves and have nots. It will make you angry. It will make you sad. Robert Reich is a master teacher and a brilliant mind. He explains complex economic theories and trends in a clear concise way. The human interest narratives of struggling families and wealthy hedge fund chiefs, along with historic archive film footage make this documentary / bio-pic well worth your viewing.

I'm So Excited!

"I'm So Excited" is raunchy, funny, frothy -- or I should say foamy... and everything we would expect from a Pedro Almodovar film. Yes, of course it features cameos from Penelope Cruz and Javeir Bardem. We recognize so many of his repertoire company of actors, not to mention the snappy dialogue and audacious colors. Sit back and enjoy!


Despite its tortoise-like pace, "Renoir" is a masterful French film. The cinematography is the best I have seen in years. The story is as complex as Renoir's work. The most effective element of the film is watching Mechel Bouquet, crippled and aged work with his models and canvases. The use of an enormous amount of nudity is never gratuitous. This film was submitted to the Oscars this year as a candidate for best foreign film. I can see why it did not make the first cut, but it should not deter any lover of art to see this fascinating albeit slow-paced film.

Out in the Dark

"Out in the Dark" has so many of the same elements found an abundance of Israeli films with male homosexual themes, the most well known being "Walk on Water." The element of Romeo and Romeo - (Israeli/ Palestinian) love adds a contemporary wrinkle. The acting is fine. The characters and plot are stereotypical, but effective.

Deceptive Practice: The Mysteries and Mentors of Ricky Jay

This is a remarkable and fascinating documentary about Ricky Jay, today's most schooled and gifted slight of hand artist. Forget about David Copperfield and David Blaine. Jay brings with his presentation an enormous amount of history. Commentary by David Mamet in particular adds additional insight to this well-produced work.

The Way Way Back

"the Way Way Back" is a terrific coming of age film with a fine ensemble cast containing many familiar performers in roles to which we are unaccustomed to seeing them act. Steve Carell plays a rotten, unsympathetic philanderer. Toni Collette plays a single mom who makes many poor decisions. Allison Janney plays a ditzy next door neighbor. Sam Rockwell and Maya Rudolph elicit great chemistry and newcomer Liam James is the centerpiece of the well directed and scripted work by Nat Faxon and Jim Rash. Despite some bumps in the road, the film finds its footing with a fine satisfying ending which ought to make you smile widely and knowingly! Bravo to all!

Hannah Arendt

"Hannah Arendt" is an exceptionally well-made bio-pic which is a challenge to watch. Dialogue jumps back between German and English. Subtitles are rapid and sometimes difficult to keep up with. The tour de force performance of Barbara Sukowa in the title role is remarkable and nuanced.
There are so many emotions to sort out, not to mention the philosophical discussions by members of the New York and Berlin intelligencia over Arendt's highly contorversial discussion of "the banality of evil" in terms of Adolf Eichman and his trial. The editing of the trial and masterful. This is a film well worth your thought, time and attention. Bravo to all!

Becoming Traviata

This attempt to give an "insider's" view of a French production of "La Traviata" does not succeed. We see bits and pieces and listen to a lot of conversation about a pecurliarly conceived version of the Verdi classic starring Natalie Dessay, who we were lucky to see perform the role in Santa Fe. No actual footage of a performance is included in this mish mash of a documentary. When placed alongside the far superior "Wagner and Me" conceived by Stephen Fry, this film pales dreadfully!

The Attack
The Attack(2013)

"The Attack" is a remarkable and disturbing Israeli made film that "lays it all out there."
The elements of psychological stress, brainwashing, violence and unresolved conclusions as they relate to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are assembled carefully, directed, edited and filmed brilliantly, and acted suberbly.
This is a film which will stay with you for days and weeks after you see it. It leaves many unanswered questions. I recommend without reservation. Kol ha-kavode!

Hava Nagila: The Movie

Although it is a bit too long, Hava Nagila: The Movie is entertaining, informative and serves as a healthy injection of chicken soup for gastronomic Jews around the world. The historical background concerning the song's origin as a niggun and the feud between the "composers" who made it popular is fascinating. Cameos by my colleague Rabbi Larry Kushner and insight from Reb Zalman Schachter Shalomi were insightful. The observations of Harry Belafonte were also outstanding. This is a thoroughly enjoyable film, well worth your time. Mazel tov!

La nouvelle guerre des boutons (War of the Buttons)

Beautifully photographed, this French film focusses on one story of the brave Holocaust rescuers in during Marshal Petain's caretaker regime. Apparently based on fact, the story is a bit sappy and contrived. The cast, most especially the children is superlative and well directed. There are better Holocaust films involving the heroics of children out there, but this one does leave viewers with hope in a period where hopelessness is the norm.

Stuck in Love

"Stuck in Love" contains too much graphic casual sex, drug and alcohol usage for my taste. And let's not mention too much plot predictabliity and impalusibility.
The sole redemption is the acting of a more-than-usual nuanced performance by Greg Kinnear who improves with age. There is also a humdrum performance by the usually exciting Jennifer Connelly. Others in the ensemble cast display competence in their craft, but the whole is much less than some of its parts.
This film is not a complete waste of time, but there are better films out there which get you to the same end.

The Great Gatsby

Despite many negative reviews, there were so many elements in this version of the Fitzgerald classic which Lyhrmann captured vividly and with insight. DiCaprio's "acting" is robotic, redundant and annoying, but Maguire and Mulligan excel in their nuanced performances. I particularly liked how Fitzgerald's words, as narrated by Maguire are perhaps more important a player in this version of the film than the work of the cast. I could have done without Jay Z's rap / hip hop music.

Stories We Tell

"Stories We Tell" is one of the most fascinating documentaries / films I have seen in ages. Its premise is powerful and as the story unfolds, we are drawn into a family web of truths, half-truths and fictions. Blending real vintage footage with faux vintage footage with actors made up to look like actual characters in Sarah Polley's life is masterful. This is a film well worth seeing. It will stay with you for months!


What an amazing, well acted and directed powerful film.! Performances, most especially by Chadwick Bozeman and Harrison Ford make this film a "must" for viewers of all ages. A beautiful film!


"Amour" is clearly one of the saddest, most poignant, slow moving film we have ever seen. It is easy to see why it has received so much accalaim and so many awards. Some may find its message too challenging to bear., but according to the effort, so is the reward..

The Sapphires

While some of the plot is contrived and tweaked, the story itself, rooted in fact is worthy of attention. The mistreatment of Aborigines by the white Australian polulace is shameful, but this is ultimately a story of hope and drive and push to succeed in the most dangerous of environments (Vietnam). Performances are top notch. The music is terrific. This is a film worthy of your attention. Here here!

A Late Quartet

"A Late Quartet" is a film which is over t he top in melodrama, and where the best laid plans of a talented ensemble cast go terribly awry. The writing runs the gamut from poor to predictable and the film drags on ever so slowly. Four words..... don't waste your time

The Gatekeepers

"The Gatekeepers" is a riveting documentary about how the Shin Bet, Israel's "secret service" ... comparable to our covert operations and CIA operate. It is a fascinating look at the men who led the agency through many challenging times. Their vision, chutzpah and strength can do nothing but impress us. Some might feel that this documentary is more "talking heads" than anything else, but what is being presented kept us transfixed to the screen.

Venus And Serena

"Venus and Serena" is a well-produced documentary with the vintage footage we would expect.
When you have folks like President Clinton, Anna Wintour and John McEnroe commenting throughout, not to mention personal, uncensored commentaries from the sisters themselves, this will be a film which will garner a great deal of play.
There is a good deal of self-promotion, but you can't take away the stellar careers of these aging sisters Sports injuries have taken their toll, but the footage of their drive to encourage the next generation of Black athletes can do nothing but impress.
A tad too commercial for our taste, but still a fine film for those who arer interested in the Williams sisters in particular, in tennis and sports in general.

The Intouchables

"The Intouchables" is a charming and exceptionally popular French film, based on a true story which simultaneously touches and breaks your heart on any number of levels. It tells the unusual and remarkable friendship which develps between a paraplegic millionaire and an ex-con who he takes on as his caretaker. Francios Cluzet, the leading actor bears an uncanny resemblance to Robert DeNiro. Omar Sy as the caregiver offers a nuanced, complex performance. Much like the lyrics of the Bock / Harnick classic musical, this film is laden with happiness and tears." We strongly ecommend it to you. Bravo to all!.

Promised Land

After watching "Promised Land" I am tempted the throw a shoe at the screen every time I see that blond actress in a commercial for "clean energy."
Matt Damon, Frances McDormand, Hal Holbrook and John Krasinski are the standouts in the fine ensemble cast. The story of how an energy mega-company targets a small town to purchase land rights for fracking is both troubling and rings all too true. The tactics they use are despicable and pointed out all too clearly.
We found the film engaging and engrossing. Shades of "Erin Brockovich" are present.
Many may question the accuracy of the story, but "Promised Land" should be seen by anyone concerned with the growing environmental crisis facing us each day.

The Guilt Trip

"The Guilt Trip" is a very sweet, relaxing film which flows and meanders as easily as a lazy river.
There is no emotional stretch needed for the viewer to jump right into the plot thanks to the sublime comic talent, timing and chemistry developed by Barbra Streisand and Seth Rogin.
Their relationship is close and easy as they travel across the country in a contrived, sometimes silly plot.
This is a film, you just sit back, smile and enjoy. It makes for perfect holiday week-end fare!

Orchestra Of Exiles

"Orchestra of Exiles" tells a remarkable, miraculous and thrilling story of the birth of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra and its visionary, talented founder, Bronislaw Huberman.
Director Josh Aronson skillfully blends archival footage with staged scenes with actors and added commentary by Itzhak Perlman, Zubin Mehta, Pinchas Zuckerman, Joshua Bell and original symphony members and family members.
Tension is built as Huberman assembles top flight Jewish musicians from Nazi occupied Europe and gives them their ticket to freedom.
This is as unforgettable a documentary as "Watermarks" and "One Survivor Remembers." Bravo!

Any Day Now
Any Day Now(2012)

ANY DAY NOW is an extraordinary film, based on a true story which showcases and affirms the amazing breadth, depth and talent of Alan Cumming.
This film tells the disqueting story of two gay men who attempt to adopt a child with down syndrome. The skillful direction by Travis Fine runs us through an emotional wringer. This is truly one of the most significant films I have seen in quite some time. There is strong sexual content and drug use -- not appropriate for children. But this film is a must see for those of us yearning for justice for all! Bravo to all!


Having lived in New Orleans for two years added to my appreciation of this special documentary about three brothers. Viewers with little New Orleans background will lose many of the local references. This film tips its hat to the classic "Stand By Me," switching venues from Oregon to New Orleans. Instead of four friends who embark on an adventure, three brothers and their dog Buttercup cross the ferry from Algiers to the Crescent City and explore the bitter and the sweet of New Orleans by night. The fact that these are untrained actors makes the film with a loose plot all the more amazing. While not for everyone, this film's unusual aspects makes it particularly memorable

Late Bloomers

Late Bloomers promises more than it delivers. One might expect seasoned professionals like Isabella Rossellini and William Hurt to deliver nuanced, heartfelt performances, they simply march through the poorly written, silly script in which their hearts are absent. They are tired of their lifestyle in the film. We are tired of them by film's end. Two words -- don't bother!

The Other Son

This "Switched at Birth" genre takes on a remarkable tone as it is placed in the heart and soul of the Israeli / Paletinian conflict. While the premise is contrived, the story points to the deeper issues of identity, privilege, and the common bonds which unite all mankind who dream of a world where we can all get along and work together. The acting of these complex roles is exceptional. The cast works magnificently together to point out how much effort it takes to tear down the walls of sectarianism and stereotypes. Beautiful nuanced portrayals highlight this special film. Bravo to all!


"Skyfall" is what you expect is watching a James Bond "escape-fare" film. Some of the twists and turns in this one are over the top. As the cast ages (Dainel Craig seems to want to be elsewhere... Dame Judi as well!) , the derring do seems more and more improbable. Javier Bardem exudes just the right amount of eerie sleaziness to make a credible villain, altho' his motive is muddled. Overall this film has a tired feel to it and its length (2 hours 23 minutes) adds to the squirminess.


This is one of the most moving Holocaust documentaries we have seen. There is no "death camp" footage.... but the story is one of strength, defiance, resiliance and ultimate triumph. It must be told! This is a story which is on a "back burner"... but once called to our attention, it's impact is indelible. Bravo to all!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

There is a certain humdrum quality about this film which is derivitie in so many ways. It has shades of 500 Days of Summer... and so many other teen angst films. I did enjoy watching the growth of Emma Watson out of Hermione Granger. She can indeed act beyond the limitations of the Potter series. Logan Lerman was an enigma meandering through a script which lost its way on more than one occasion. I'd pass on this one unless you are a fan of this type of navel contemplation.

The Master
The Master(2012)

How I wanted to enjoy this film.... but it was not meant to be. To obtuse, too meandering, too unfocused. Blah!
I could listen to Philip Seymour Hoffman read the phone book. I enjoy Amy Adam's nuanced performances. Joaquin Phoneix is an engaging performer. They all implode in this poorly directed, poorly edited film by Paul Thomas Anderson.
The Weinstein Organization made a poor choice in this one. In short, don't waste your time!


"Argo" is an amazing tautly directly film with outstanding performances, well deserving of the Best Picture Oscar. Save for the Hollywood flourishes particularly at the end of the film (which did not take place at the time of the actual story!) it keeps you "glued to your seat and screen. John Goodman and Alan Arkin never disappoint and turn in bravura performances. Ben Afleck's pensiveness is a "bit much" at times.... but who's to argue with success. Bravo to all for a well made film based on an actual event which needs to be remembered by all Americans.

5 Broken Cameras

5 Broken Cameras is an extraordinary personal journal and highly politically charged. It is a very disturbing film for all of us for care about the sruvival of Israel, and yet realize the need for a "two state solution." When seen from the lenses of the carmeras used and destroyed we gain added insight to the Palestinian anger. After seeing this film, my prayers for peace are much more focussed and fervent.

To Rome with Love

While we admire so many aspects of Woody Allen's films, this film is far to formulaic and derivative. It's has so many elements from "Midnight in Paris" which were re-processed. The result for us was ultimately unsatisfying. It is pleasing to see Allen re-cast his "resident company" of actors succh as Penelope Cruz and Alec Baldwin, at the same time adding new actors such as Ellen Page and Jesse Eisenberg. Where in the world is he taking his formula next. We hope it is going on an extended vacation!

Beasts of the Southern Wild

This is the kind of movie that makes you feel the need to shower after you have watched it. The mingling of fantasy and reality is challenging to take in. Performances are one dimentional and not nuanced. A troubling film which in our opinion is not worthy of all the praise which has been shoveled upon it. Yuck!


Take three cups of "Wall Street" (Michael Douglas does a more credible job).... Mix in one cup of the sleaze of Gere's Billy Flynn in "Chicago," without the dancing and singing ...tempered by "Pretty Woman"'s protagonist who has put on many more wrinkles.... .... Stir in one cup of a mediocre, predictable plot. Shake vigorously with a lot of crushed ice, and you have the recipe for "Arbitrage,"a relatively enjoyable, commercial cinematic libation. One drink per person will suffice!


What a bizarre, raw, paifully honest series of performances of a very shaggy dog story gone all wrong. The film meanders all over the west side of Manhattan aand loses itself in a variety of annoying, screwed-up lives. Highly touted by respected friends, this film is nothing but an exercise in frustration not only for the central character, but for us as well!

The Queen of Versailles

"The Queen of Versailles" is a cautionary tale which tries to answer the question of how much happiness money can buy. This carefully crafted documentary peels away the bejeweled, excessive exterior of the lives of time share magnate David Siegel and his over-the-top wife, Jacqueline. They had it all... and their world came tumbling down as a result of the housing market debacle in 2008.
Without saying as much, we see their world crumble before our eyes. This sobering film gives us much to ponder and, in this holiday season, teaches us some particularly valuable life lessons.

We Have a Pope

First of all, "We Have a Pope" is far from what I would call a comedy. It is a thoughtful perplexing film which asks more questions than it answers. Performances are excellent and the stream of consciousness method of storytelling adds to the complexity and texture of this hard-to-describe work of art. This is a film which leaves us with much to ponder about organized religion and the role of faith in each of our lives. Not everyone's piece of pizza, but well worth a thinking person's time.

Moonrise Kingdom

"Moonrise Kingdom" is a quirky fascinating film with a terrific ensember cast. The cinematography captures the sixties to perfection. Attention to detail enhances the film's outwardly simplistic storyline with profound theological and psycological undercurrents. In sum, the film leaves you with much to ponder and yet still laugh out loud. Bravo!

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

"The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" is a delightful, thoughtful, albeit predictable film, not without a minor flaw or two.
The ensemble cast of seasoned professionals including "Downton Abbey" favorites Dame Maggie Smith and Penelope Wilton, joined by the amazing Tom Wilkinson, Dame Judy Dench and Bill Nighy.... together with "Slumdog Millionaire" star Dev Patel tell a far fetched tale whose message focusses of the dross which often flecks the "golden years."
At times the plot drags, but the photography is exceptional and the greater message is worth your time and reflection.

Monsieur Lazhar

As the many strands of this complex plot weave themselves together in a powerful and sensitive film, we are left with a lasting and significant story. The performances and direction are top notch. For those of us who have been involved in the field of education, this remarkable film holds a special lasting image which validates our often life-changing work. Bravo to all!

A Separation
A Separation(2011)

"A Separation" is a challenging film to watch, not made any easier by a convoluted slow moving plot and a script delivered in cacaphonic Farsi translated in rapid fire long English subtitles. We feel the characters' pain and learn a great deal about the state of mind of practitioners of the strict Muslim faith. An unresolved conclusion is the kumquat on top of this bitter and burnt Iranian cake.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

"Salmon Fishing in the Yemen" is a charming, well photographed film with fine performances by a good cast. The plot is improbable, the ending contrived. In all, this film uses a great metaphor (fishing is a form of spiritual growth) to provide excellent food for thought.

Le Havre
Le Havre(2011)

While other reviewers seem to have enjoyed "Le Havre," we found it to be far too derivative and predictable for our tastes. The story is saccharine, and the performances are more textbook than nuanced. The cinematography does deserve a nod by giving us the feel of life in a French port city. Onward to more engaging, exciting films!

In Darkness
In Darkness(2012)

Having seen and reviewed more than my share of Holocaust films, I regret to say that this endless (over two hours!) look inside Warsaw's sewers is a re-hash of other fine and powerful films. "In Darkness" is more graphic, with more nudity and profanity than other films. It makes its point, but other films tell the same tragic tale of man's inhumanity to man in a more efficient and artful way.


"Footnote" is a cerebral yet visceral masterpiece of a film featuring an innovative script, nuanced performances, and an exceptional narrative. While presented in a strong Jewish context, the allusion to "Fiddler on the Roof" subtly informs the audience that one need not be Jewish to recognize the powerful issues treated so powerfully in this fine film. Bravo!

Jiro Dreams of Sushi

You don't have to like or have even eaten sushi to savor this delicious film. What an amazing commentary on loving one's work -- one's passion. Jiro Dreams of Sushi" has so many profound truths throughout. The film provides commentary on family, life, passion, joy and how to make a life as opposed to "making a living." We could watch this masterpiece over and over.... and having a meal of sushi alongside wouldn't be a bad thing either. Bravo!!!!

Sing Your Song

What an amazing, important film! This documentary about the amazing life and career of Harry Belafonte contains key footage of iconic moments in the social justice / civil rights / human rights movements around the world for the past sixty years. The stories are raw and painful. The voices soar and serve as an inspiration. May Belafonte's amazing talent, bravery, passion and courage serve as a teaching tool and inspiration to a new generation of social activism. Bravo!

Joyful Noise
Joyful Noise(2012)

Yes, "Joyful Noise" is corny, sappy and predictable, but the chemistry and commitment of the cast, most especially Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton... not to mention Tony-nominee Jeremy Jordan, Keke Palmer and Dexter Darden elevate this "feel good" film. The music is just fine, most especially the gospel numbers. In all, a fine film to pick up you from any summer doldrums!

New Year's Eve

We truly enjoy this genre of film. Garry Marshall knows how to put a film like this together. He is a pro! OK, it's a piece of fluff, it's corny, it's very's pure escape fare, but we do enjoy watching the plethora of personalities on parade before us. It's also fun to see the city of New York placed in the spotlight. Giving the New Year's Eve dropping of the crystal ball at Times Square a "back story" is contrived, but we smiled our way through, especially enjoying the music of Jon Bon Jovi and the incomparable Lea Michelle. Lots of smiles all around!

Carol Channing: Larger Than Life

This is a truly enjoyable film to watch, especially for us who adore the American musical theatre. There is no question that that Carol Channing is a legend and icon. Only after watching this lovingly made valentine are we bothered by the sad undercurrent of Ms. Channing's Pagliacci-like life. She is presented as always laughing on the outside and making others laugh as they admire her talent. Alas, we learn in hints throughout the film how dreadfully sad a life she led on the inside. The saddest part of the film is not mentioned. Shortly after filming, her beloved Harry passed away. Brava Ms. Channing!

The Artist
The Artist(2011)

What is all the fuss about? Best Picture? Best Director? Best Actor? Give me a break!. This film is cute enough, but once the novelty wears off (in about ten minutes), there's not much there. Obviously we are in the minority, but that's show biz kids!

La tête en friche (My Afternoons with Margueritte)

In an odd way, the French film "My Afternoons with Margueritte" reminded me of "Harold and Maude." The quirky pairing of a literate, delicate ninety-year old and a barely literate oafish fifty-something played by the ubiquitous -- and growing larger in every film - Gerard Depardieu make for more than a smile or two. An all-too- contrived ending makes the film less satisfying, but it is certainly worthy of an enjoyable viewing.

The First Beautiful Thing (La prima cosa bella)

"The First Beautiful Thing" may not be everyone's glass of Chianti. Set in Livorno, with magnificent cinematography, this meandering Italian family saga jumps back and forth in time erratically . By the film's end, we "get it," but what an emotional roller coaster ride to reach an all too predictable, soporific conclusion. Performances are nuanced, but it is often a challenge to try and figure out who "goes with" whom. In sum, we learn the beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and it is often a challenge to discover.

Under The Boardwalk: The Monopoly Story

Unless you are smitten with the board game Monopoly, this film gets a little long in the tooth. For me, the best part was the opening credits with the Drifters singing "Under the Boardwalk" while showing shots of Atlantic City. The history of the game is remarkable, but for us, the film as a whole was a big yawn.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

"Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close" might also bear the moniker "Extremely Long & Incredibly Labored." Despite strong performances, most especially by Thomas Horn, Sandra Bullock and Max von Sydow, the story drags us along and inflicts unwanted boredom and angst. Stephen Daldry's direction of Jonathan Safran Foer's novel leaves the viewer with alternating states of confusion, anxiousness and boredom. That is not to say that a unique take on an event which is part of the 9/11 aftermath doesn't warrant attention. It may be still to open a wound to dress or address.

Albert Nobbs
Albert Nobbs(2012)

"Albert Nobbs" is a curious gender bending tale -- originally an Off Broadway" show which slogs along at an Irish snail's pace. The repression is palpable and mostly unbearable. Close's portrayal is alas too predictable, but Janet McTeer substantially raises the acting bar, but not high enough to my liking.

The Time That Remains

A boring, blatant, trudging piece of anti-Israel propaganda which is not worth the time to remove from the mailer.

Still Bill
Still Bill(2010)

"Still Bill" is a loving valentine to Bill Withers, an "unknown legend" whose music, includes classics such as "Ain't No Sunshine" and "Lean on Me." He and his music are important inspirations to jazz musicians and up and coming performers and songwriters. We learn about his early years as a stutterer, his "breakthrough" on the Johnny Carson Show, not to mention his loving, caring relationship with his family. Dr. Cornel West and Tavis Smiley put Withers life and contributions into historical perspective. This is truly a touching and inspiring work when placed against the often tragic tales of Hendrix, Joplin and others. Bravo!

Shoshelet Schwartz (Schwartz Dynasty)

Without a basic knowledge of Jewish law and practice, this will be a very challenging film to follow. There are simply too many details of which to keep track of. Performances are straightforward, but for those unfamiliar with nuances of customs related to death and burial, requirements for conversion to Judaism, and other issues presented in this lengthy tale, many will lose their way..

Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol

Truth be told, this is the first of the Tom Cruise "Mission Impossible" films I have seen. Old habits die hard. I am an OLD Peter Graves / Barbara Bain / Martin Landau / Greg Morris junkie from way back. After being riveted to my chair for this two and a half hour powerhouse film, I may have to catch up on the older films starring Cruise. Brad Bird delivers a tremendously exciting film at breakneck pace. We know it will turn out just fine. Jeremy Renner is added to the character mix, and he does a fine job in a "mysterious" role. Not much to fault here. Great chases, exotic vistas, the usual gimmickry.... and a lot of escape. Bravo for a fun fillm! No thought or assembly required!

Paul Goodman Changed My Life

Most folks, myself included, had no idea who Paul Goodman was, or his remarkable influence on contemporary social thinking. His major opus "Growing Up Absurd" is considered to be one of the most influential books of the counterculture generation at the time of the riots against the Vietnam war and the huge demonstrations which were organized. A poet, essayist, psychotherapist and on top of that.... a bisexual. This cerebral portrait is insightful and deep -- definitely not for the mainstream moviegoer. I recommend this film for serious thinkers, social historians and up and coming revolutionaries! Bravo!

J. Edgar
J. Edgar(2011)

I had every intention of finding something to appreciate about "J. Edgar." Leonardo DiCaprio usually turns in an "up to snuff" performance. Clint Eastwood is an excellent director. What went so wrong?
This is a exceedingly long, disjointed, poorly acted, poorly directed debacle. It is easy to see why the film was snubbed by the Oscars.
The film jumps all over the place as if it had a bad case of St. Vitus Dance! The make-up is unprofessional and pasty. The acting of just about everyone in the film including pros such as Judi Dench and Naomi Watts is robotic bordering on catatonic!
In sum, four words...... don't waste your time!

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

This newest version of John Le Carre's classic tale of espionage is a praiseworthy effort. Gary Oldman's portrayal of the indomitable albeit disgraced British secret agent George Smiley is a shabbier, more rumpled version of the clipped, tidy Alec Guinness original, and the fit is actually better. The performances of the supporting cast most notably Colin Firth and John Hurt are top notch. The cinematography is appropriately dark and taut. The direction by Thomas Alfredson is skillful. In all, a well produced, albeit sometimes stodgy film.

The Iron Lady

I fully expected to concur with a plethora of criticism about "The Iron Lady," the biopic of the life of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The thoughtful, often empathic performance of Meryl Streep does make her well worthy of the Oscar she won this year.
I think that much of the criticism of the film may stem from audience discomfort with watching such a remarkable portrayal of a known figure suffering from Alzheimer's.
The sometimes confusing script vehicle of having Margaret carry on conversations discussing memories of her career with with her late husband, Denis, excellently played by Jim Broadbent does move the plot along, while at the same time showing viewers in a very real way the point of view of someone suffering from this mental condition.
Streep's portrayal, aided by masterful make-up and coiffure give us an exceptional insight into how wrong Robert Browning was when he wrote "Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be!"..
Strength, endurance and insight, along with a curiosity for history will get you through what may at times seem like a strange form of torture. Brava Ms. Streep for a fine performance!

The Descendants

"The Descendants" is a very thoughtful, well developed film featuring an exceptional, nuanced, memorable performances by George Clooney -- who should have won the Academy Award for best actor for his portrayal of a father/ husband forced to face challenges for which he really was never prepared.
The other cast members, notably Amara Miller and Shailene Woodley who play his daughters deserve high praise for their performances as well.
A look into Hawaiian culture is another valuable insight which this outstanding film provides. While there are touches of humor, "The Descendants" has tragic elements which move it into the ranks of one of 2011's most significant films to which attention must be paid. Bravo!

Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey

The entire title of this fine documentary is "Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey." The journey of Kevin Clash is the key focus of this film. From the streets of Baltimore, from a home of extremely supportive parents, Clash marched to a very different drummer through his elementary and high school years. He was fortunate to be recognized for his talent and drive by a local television host/producer, and eventually fulfilled his dream of working in the Jim Henson Muppet organization.
How he was given the puppet Elmo to infuse with his loving and generous personality makes a wonderful ending to this fine and inspiring film. The message -- which bears repeating over and over -- follow your dream! Bravo!!!!

War Horse
War Horse(2011)

"National Velvet"...... this isn't. "War Horse" had so many of Spielberg's signature traits... outstanding cinematography, extraordinary vistas, attention to detail and yet, this cinematic adaptation of a novel turned into stage play with magnificent puppets portraying the two main horses feels passionless, predictable, sappy and diluted. There is plenty of gore, an accurate depiction of how the brave soldiers fought in the bunkers during the First World War (Downton Abbey redux!).... and a story whose ending you know from the beginning of the film. I wish we lived closer to New York so we could have seen the current version pleasing theatergoers there. A road company will tour the country in the coming year. We will probably be in the audience to see a more passionate performance than this film.

A Dangerous Method

If a film deals with the professional and personal relationship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung and their patient-turned psychiatrist Sabina Spielrein, you would expect it to be especially cerebral with overlays of dormant sexuality and sexual repression. This film does not disappoint.
In its effort to tell a convoluted tale of friendship soured, anger, lust and insanity this is a hulking lumbering golem of a film which contains much more talking than action.
"A Dangerous Method" will not be everyone's cup of borscht. Performances by a talented A list cast are thoughtful and nuanced; in Ms. Knightley's case, her performance is simply amazing.
Watch at your own risk, but don't bother if you are looking for a substitute for "Hunger Games!"


When Roman Polanski gets his hands on Yasmina Reza's highly acclaimed, emotion-packed play "God of Carnage," he works his magic on us. Assisted by a remarkable A-list cast consisting of Jodie Foster, Kate Winslet, John C. Reilly and Christoph Waltz, we are witness to a civil discourse between two sets of parents which degenerates, over the course of one hour and twenty minutes into some strange take on purgatory. There are occasional bits of humor, but the overall effect is strangely sobering. This is a cinematic adaptation that is on a par with its original script designed for live performance. It is well worth your attention. Bravo to all!

Bittere Ernte (Angry Harvest)

This 1985-86 Oscar nominee for Best Foreign Film (from Germany) stars Armin Mueller-Stahl whose work in Barry Levinson's "Avalon" I so admired. This is a very bizarre, dark, complex Holocaust tale of faith, guilt, lust, pain and survival.
Stahl and his co-star Elisabeth Trissenaar have a complicated, often confusing cinematic chemistry which can either engage or repulse the viewer.
This is a film not for the faint of heart. Elements of intrigue, deception, and an over-arching understanding of the central characters' differing religious beliefs will draw the viewer into this taut passionate tale.

The Muppets
The Muppets(2011)

"The Muppets" is a wonderful, joyous trip down Muppet Memory Lane. It is a bit of escape fluff for the child in each of us. It is an affirming film, sometimes silly, but a fine homage to Jim Henson. The next generation of Muppetmasters have given a great gift to the next generation of children, and a healthy dose of optimism to a world who needs to discover it every day.
And yes, those were tears in my eyes as Kermit and Piggy serenaded each other with the immortal "Rainbow Connection" near the film's affirming conclusion. Bravo to all of us .... lovers and dreamers in Muppet Movieland!

Young Adult
Young Adult(2011)

Save for Charlize Theron's edgy, diysfunctional, unsympathetic performance as a delusional homewrecker, there is little one takes away from this film. Ms. Theron has a knack for being cast in these challenging roles. We spend a lot of time knowing all too well that "you can't go home again," especially with a warped agenda. Other cast members, especially Patton Oswalt provide contrast to Ms. Theron's over the top performance. If dark, sometimes depressing comedy is your "thing," this sad film will just hit the spot! Cheers!

My Week with Marilyn

"My Week with Marilyn" occasionally seems like a month. As re-take after re-take of "The Prince and the Showgirl" play out interminably, along with emotional meltdown after meltdown by the emotionally unstable Marilyn Monroe portrayed adeptly by Michelle Williams.. Save for Ms. Williams' exceptional nuanced performance and spot on characterizations of Lawrence Olivier by Kenneth Branagh and Judi Dench as Dame Sybil Thorndike other cast members do an acceptable job. The story seems far-fetched and rushed at times, but this makes for a fascinating character study..

In the Shadow of the Stars

This is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the varieties of personalities who comprise the San Francisco Opera chorus. We see their commitment, their passion, and their frustrations. Some of their on-camera confessions are brutal. Others are poignant. The opera production photography is magnificent and we do come away with a better understanding of the lives of members of the chorus--- who are indeed "In the Shadow of the Stars." The one film which outshines this one is a documentary about the Metropolitan Opera annual auditions (sorry I can't recall the name of the film). Both films together make a truly rounded presentation of the backstage life of an opera comapny. Remembering that this film was made over a decade ago, many of those featured have moved on or passed away, but certainly the companies and choruses work the same way.


While there were "laugh out loud" moments aplenty in this film, the elements of sensitivity and sadness are what make this film special. I was expecting the former, and was truly surprised and gratified finding the latter. The "ordinariness" of Kristin Wiig's flawed character Annie in "Bridesmaids," are in many ways, a huge diversion her corral of comic caricatures which she has created, developed, mastered and honed so well over the years on SNL, As a writer and actress, this film shows her versatility and ability. Maya Rudolph, Melissa McCarthy and John Hamm stand out in their quirky roles as well. In sum, this is a multi-layered comedy worthy of your attention and enjoyment.

Win Win
Win Win(2011)

"Win Win" is a little gem of a film. It is much more than an "indie-comedy." It is a thoughtful, layered work which presents family issues in a nuanced and relaxed way. The direction is superb. The performances by an outstanding ensemble cast, led by the amazing Paul Giamatti, Amy Ryan and newcomer Alex Shaffer makes this film memorable. It ambles along until film's end when you say "Wow!" This is special film worthy of much thought and attention. Bravo!


What an amazing film! While constructed around an improbable premise, "Incendies" takes the premise to places which gives the viewer a keener understanding of the challenges facing the nations in the Middle East. The plot moves from Canada to areas around Lebanon post 1940 and then back to the present. The battles between Christian Philangists and Arab Chieftans are brutal, graphic and stomach-churning. The acting is modulated and fine. The storytelling is outstanding! In all, I highly recommend this film in French, Arabic, and English. Make sure to turn on the subtitles! Bravo to all!


A remarkable and heartfelt documentary about the "life" of a Mexican touring circus family -- rife with challenges mixed with dedication to family and the lure of the "show." Marvelously assembled without being intrusive, this is a memorable film, worthy of your attention.

Bill Cunningham New York

This is an amazing film about an amazing man, New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham. It captures your interest from the very first frame and pedals through the streeets of New York and Paris with skill and passion. To watch Cunningham work, as graceful and unobtrusive as a skilled dancer is simply a privilege. To hear him reflect on his private life is at once painful and insightful. What a privilege to see this true work of art! Bravo!

Bride Flight
Bride Flight(2011)

"Bride Flight" is a compelling, albeit contrived film with many soap opera qualitites. The cinematography is excellent. The story is engaging, yet predictable. It has the epic scope of "The Thorn Birds" set in the same part of the world. It has touches of other cultures which make it inviting to all faiths and ethnic backgrounds. Its universal themes of loves and friendships lost and rediscovered will resonate with many. Performances are textbook, save for one steamy over the top love tryst segment. In all, this is an especially enjoyable film if you are a Danielle Steel or Belva Plain fan.

Page One: Inside the New York Times

Amid all of the tumultuous changes happening almost every day in the media universe, the exceptional documentary makes the case for the Grey Lady -- "The New York Times" continued existence as the daily voice of authority among the ever shrinking number of daily newpapers in this country. "Page One" should be required viewing for every student of journalism and media / communications in this country. Documentarian Andrew Rossi does an amazing job of getting inside the venerable institution and the heads of the skilled reporters who write and edit the news that's "fit to print." Bravo!

The Tree of Life

"The Tree of Life" is an extremely complex, long (139 minutes) and challenging film to watch, yet the rewards for sticking with it are great. The nature images from this amagingly photographed film will last with you for quite a while, as will the carefully crafted performances by Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain, and Hunter McCracken. A knowledge of the book of Job, christian thelogy and classical music will help you in understanding this intellectually profound work which may not be for everyone's taste. In the end, we were left with many unanswered questions, a great appreciation of the clever visual metaphors and tremendous admiration for the work and vision of author / director Terrence Malick.

Sarah's Key
Sarah's Key(2011)

Despite the good press about "Sarah's Key," the film was a disappointment. Having seen a plethora of Holocaust-themed films, this film add little to a better understanding of the elements of this dreadful chapter of world history. The story line and film's conclusion is all to easily predictable for one, like myself, who did not read the best seller on which the film is based. Kristin Scott Thomas presents us with a passionate portrayal of the protagonist. The other players are equally skilled. The roundups / imprisonments are "textbook" and are filmed in the same style of dozens of similar films. In all, this was a far from satisfying film experience, but it might serve as important information for those compelled to seek further background on the role France played in the Holocaust.

Un Baiser s'il vous plaît (Shall We Kiss?)

While billed as a "comedy," this fine French film is so much more. Emmanuel Mouret has crafted a beautiful script, which he sensitively directed, and in which he plays a leading role. The premise of "Shall We Kiss?" may be a tad far-fetched, but as the two "love" stories play themselves out, we come away deeply touched, sad, and still, with smiles on our faces. The subtle use of Schubert's music throughout, coupled with the "back story" of Schbert's ill fated marriage, add an unwritten subtext to this exceptional film. "Shall We KIss?" is well worth your time and your thought. Be sure to see it with someone special! Bravo!


"Beginners" is a meandering disjointed - almost pointless film in which Christopher Plummer delivers an outstanding performance. The script is a disaster - "train of thought" genre--- more of a trainwreck. Lots of repetition and cliche. Truly a disappointment. We were expecting much more!

Shall We Dance

This Americanized version of a popular Japanese film is just plain fun. For those of us who would watch Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon.... not to mention Jennifer Lopez and Stanley Tucci, do just about anything, this film is just perfect. If you are looking for profound messages and subtexts, fancy cinematic angles and cross cutting, -- in the words of Tony Soprano, fuggetaboutit! Just sit back, smile, enjoy yourself and have a good time. This film will not disappoint

The Help
The Help(2011)

What an enjoyable film to watch! Having read the book, the film version of "The Help" did not disappoint at all. Thanks to outstanding direction and scenic design, coupled with impeccable casting, we were able to revisit the exquisite word pictures painted by Kathryn Stockett. Bravo to all!

A Matter of Size

"A Matter of Size" is a thoughtful Israeli comedy which deals with the serious issues of identity, self image, obesity and finding our true selves. With deft direction and a light touch, all of these issues are presented through the vehicle of sumo wrestling. This is a clever film. You must read quickly if you don't know Hebrew. Subtitles are in a faint white print and speed by. Much of the humor if physical and visual, but the nuances of the language may be a challenge.for some. The ensemble cast is simply a joy! This is a fine film, well worth watching. Its message has universal appeal! Bravo to all! I wouldn't mind watching it again!


"Seraphine" is an exceptional, intense film with extraordinairy acting, most especially by Belgian actress Yolande Moreau in the title role. Martin Provost's skillful direction and magnificent camera work make this emotional true story of a gifted artist jump off the screen right into our hearts. Themes such as artistic genius, faith, homosexuality and societal expectations are presented with a deft hand. The images presented in this special film will last for quite a while after viewing this cinematic masterpiece.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2

A polished, predictable and faithful adaption of the final segment of the seven volume - eight film opus. Special effects appropriately astound. The pace is pushed along. Everyone in the cast does exactly what is called for by Rowling in her story, and what director David Yates expected. We breathe a grateful sigh as the "Potter product" is wrapped up and shown to its best. What made this particular episode special was the final seven minute "coda" ... nineteen years later -- hinting at the story's timelessness in children's and world literature. These special few minutes before the final credits roll make the whole picture worth seeing.

Larry Crowne
Larry Crowne(2011)

"Larry Crowne" is a feel good film which treats some pretty serious issues in today's contemporary society of "downsizing" and "makeovers." Tom between Hanks and of film. Hanks' light directorial touch makes him a Hanks and Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) have written a delightful screenplay and peJulia Roberts is delightful if not 100% credible, but in all, this is a terrific pick-me-up typerformances by an ensemble cast are terrific. The chemistry creds as a fine director of light comedy.

Wolke Neun (Cloud 9)

Cloud 9" is Ingmar Bergman-esque in feel. The story ambles along at an arthritic snail's pace, but persistence pays off as we enter the complicated lives of three German septuagenarians. Their wrinkled bodies and graphic sexual activities are "nakedly" ... and I do mean nakedly.... laid bare before us. We witness raw, frank emotional conflicts and struggle to make sense of one woman's questionable behavior. This is a thought provoking and disturbing film, but well worth your attention, if you have the courage to watch.


"Toast" is a quirky English biopic based on the memoir of author and London's "Observer" food columnist Nigel Slater. It has many comic elements, tempered by more than a few tragic elements It leaves the viewer with much to digest and ponder. Performances, especially those of Freddie Highmore, Oscar Kennedy, the incomparable Helena Bonham Carter and Ken Stott are spot on. Our only qualm about the DVD itself is that there is no subtitle option. English accents are thick. Lines are delivered rapidly and were often lost on us. In sum "Toast" is tasty and worthy of your consideration.

Life, Above All

"Life Above All" is a long, meandering, sad, challenging film to watch. The pace is painfully slow. The story is sorrowful, and based on elements in life in the slums outside of Johannesburg. The acting is so true to life.... the cinematography is all too real. This is a film which will disturb the viewers. In sum, this may not be a film for all audiences.

The Usual Suspects

"The Usual Suspects" will remain in the annals of cinematic fare as one of the best examples of a "caper thriller" ever made. It does warrant watching for a second time to better understand the clever nuances of the complicated script. A film which explains itself in literally the final seconds is quite a work of art. Very few screenwriters, directors and actors could pull it off so well. I was not expecting the degree of graphic violence encountered in this film, but none of it is gratuitous. Kevin Spacey's performance left me breathless. What an amazing and skilled actor! He deserves every ounce of that best supporting actor Oscar! Bravo!.

The Two of Us

Produced twenty-five years ago, "The Two of Us" is Claude Berri's semi-autobiographical valentine to a painful, yet beautiful chapter of his childhood. Sent to live with an older Christian couple in the French countryside in 1944, a young, precocious, yet wise Jewish boy experiences a variety of events which shape his life. The special bond forged between him and "Grandpa," an anti-Semite, to whom he teaches tolerance, deeply touches the heart and makes this an important Holocaust film, well worth your attention. Performances are uniformly excellent. Subtitles are clear, although flashed a bit too rapidly for my taste -- a small price for viewing this cinematic gem.


"Spellbound" puts a faces, souls, and hearts into the lives and families of eight contestants in the 2001 Scripps Spelling Bee. This is one of the most sensitive and powerful documentaries I have seen in a while. By following the preparation and lives of eight contestants from varying parts of the country and economic strata, we feel their pain a bit more sharply when the dreaded elimination bell tolls. Emotions run high with teachers, family members and the contestants themselves, and without making a judgment outright, director Jeffrey Blitz shows us how the "Bee" can be a stinging experience for all involved, including the one "winner." I heartily recommend this film. It is well worth your time.


"Hugo" is Martin Scorsese's passionate valentine to the art form which has driven his life. Visually breathtaking, expertly edited -- although a tad too long -- and superbly acted by an ensemble cast who deserves far more attention and credit that they were given in the recently past awards season, "Hugo" is far more than an adaptation of a children's book. Parts are downright scary. In all, the DVD version makes us pine for the full 3-D treatment, but on its own it does hold up just beautifully. Bravo to all!

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios)

This 1988 Almondovar farce was recently turned into a Broadway musical with a short run. My guess is that this hilarious Spanish film did not adapt itself very well to the stage. The silly plot is more slapstick than anything else, and performances are right on target. For a real escape into bizarre-land, this is your glass of sangria! Enjoy! .

State of Play

"State of Play" is a taut and tangled American adaptation of a popular BBC miniseries. The performances of Russell Crowe, (with no semblance of his native accent at all!!)... and Helen Mirren whose gutter talk in this film took us aback, playing dedicated crusty print jounalists are reasons to watch. The performances Ben Affleck, and Rachel McAdams are unimaginative and right out of central casting. The resolution of the film is confusing to say the least, but it is compelling and engaging viewing. Enjoy!

Vidal Sassoon: The Movie

This is a carefully and lovingly made documentary about the iconic hairdresser and businessman.. It is surprising that no such documentary has been made in the past.
We are given glimpses into Sassoon's rise to fame and fortune from a Jewish orphanage, along with a candid look at the crumbling of his personal life in later years. We see how his personality brought him fame and fortune.
This is a sensitive work with firsthand accounts of those who shaped Sassoon's life, from childhood to today.
This film is must watching for social history buffs. Bravo!

Ritchie Boys
Ritchie Boys(2006)

"The Ritchie Boys" is a little know compelling story of courage, cunning with brief flashes of humor and pathos. Trained in Camp Ritchie in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Maryland, a group of Jewish refugees from Nazi Germany were able to serve our country in a unique and fascinating way. Excellent editing of new and historic footage, coupled with extraordinary storytelling by the Ritchie Boys themselves are the hallmarks of this important documentary which should take its place among the important cinematic records of the Holocaust.

Another Happy Day

Writer / Director Sam Levinson is most definitely his father Barry's son! What an amazing film -- sort of "Diner" for the twenty-first century.
The ensemble cast -- most especially the amazing Ellen Barkin -- paired with Ellen Burstyn, George Kennedy, Demi Moore and others are pushed to the point of explosion. The raw emotions may be difficult for some to take, but together with exquisite technical elements, this is a superb cinematic triumph.
For the life of me, I have no idea why any of the performances or the film itself was not among those considered for any awards this year.
Bravo to all! A fine, fine film!

A Better Life

"A Better Life" puts human faces on the current dreadful immigration conundrum in our country. It is clear that Director Chris Weitz and his writing team have direct knowledge of the situations which are occuring in border communities including Los Angeles where the film was made.
The performances are heartfelt and real. There is a raw, undertain, jerky, tense, fearful quality to "A Better Life." Part can be attributed to the deft handheld camera work.
Living close to the Mexican border (sic. Juarez), and knowing individuals on both sides of the immigration challenge (attorneys and their clients as well as personal acquaintences) I cannot recommend this film highly enough. It is must-see viewing for all folks with a conscience.


50/50" is an extremely moving and effective film featuring extraordinary acting most especially from Joseph Gordon-Levitt who portrays a cancer victim whose struggle becomes our struggle, whose anger, becomes our anger, and whose fight becomes our fight. Seth Rogen once again plays the kind of role for which he has become known..... the lovable jerk..... Once again Bryce Dallas Howard plays a role (as she does in "The Help") which does little to endear herself to us, but shows nuanced skill.... Anjelica Huston once again shows her range and depth. Based on the true story of the script writer Will Reiser, this film should be seen by all whose lives have been touched by illness ..... and who of us have not encountered this as a caregiver, a patient, or a concerned observer. Bravo to all. What a powerful film!

Midnight in Paris

Simply put, "Midnight In Paris" is one of Woody Allen's best films. His screenplay is one his best in years. His directorial touch is gentle yet sensitive and effective. The cast is magnificent. I never thought I would ever say that Owen Wilson's work would ever be Oscar worthy, but.... mea culpa! Wilson's thoughtful and convincing portrayal of the protagonist Gil keeps the film on a perfect artistic trajectory. Marion Cotillard, Kathy Bates, Adrien Brody, Rachel McAdams, Carla Bruni and others all conspire to bolster WIlson's performance and bring us a terrific and delightful story. This is a beautiful film with abundant literary and artistic allusions. Those viewers who don't have a clue about the cultural allusions and undercurrents will really have a diminished appreciation of this magnificent work of art. Bravo to all!

Working Girl
Working Girl(1988)

Watching this twenty-three year old film for yet another time, this time after at least a decade, one realizes just how iconic and wonderful this film is. "Working Girl" can proudly take its place alongside the likes of "Norma Rae" and the early Tracy / Hepburn comedies in terms of demonstrating how change has happened in our society over the decades. The performances of Melanie Griffith, Sigourney Weaver, Harrison Ford and Joan Cusack - under Mike Nichols' skillful direction. And what about the performance of Alec Baldwin and Kevin Spacey! What a fun way to welcome in the new year!

Inside Hana's Suitcase

"Inside Hana's Suitcase" is more than your usual Holocaust documentary. It is much more. The filmmaker has cleverly interspersed cinematic elements in the story of the documentary in which actors portray elements of the victim's story. Through the efforts of a highly motivated educator / muesum director in Japan who receives a suitcase on which is written the name of one victim of Auschwitz, she (and we) discover Hana Brady's family's remarkable story. This is a film which should become a part of many school / college / synagogue libraries. In many ways it enhances the message of the fine documentary "Paper Clips." Bravo!

The Ides of March

As suggested by its title, and its allusion to "Julius Caesar," "The Ides of March" is a film about loyalty, political intrigue and the abuse of power.
I was taught at an early age by a seasoned New Jersey politician that "Politics stink." This finely made film with extraordinary performances and direction affirms and underscores this maxim.
Admittedly some of the plot twists are contrived, but watching the daily news about the ongoing Presidential primaries including all mudslinging and innuendo, it rings all too true.
I felt so queasy after seeing "The Ides of March" that I felt the need to take a shower! Force yourself to watch this, with all its profane words and behavior. It will give you much to ponder as you watch the upcoming Presidential election unfold.

Higher Ground

Vera Farmiga, whose performances in "The Departed" and "Up in the Air" piqued my interest in her work, stars and directs this thought provoking film. Brava to her on a remarkable directorial debut! The subject matter, a woman's journey of faith from non-belief to fundamentalism and then into constant questioning may not suit those looking for escapist fare. The cast, comprised of seasoned stage and screen actors delivers exceptional and thoughtful performances. The script and direction are well conceived. Chronological transitions are not clearly defined as the film covers almost two decades in the central character's life, and yet, that helps underline the challenges many face as they try to find their way along life's complicated and oftentimes frustrating journey.


"Moneyball" is an extraordinary film. The nuanced acting by Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill (!), and Philip Seymour Hoffman is award worthy. The rest of the cast is equally focussed and deliver the goods in every frame. Bennett Miller's direction is exceptional, especially in the way he carefully and flawlessly weaves vintage Oakland A game footage and commentary in with the action of the film,
Emotions are taut as we are drawn into a study in values, perseverence and passion for sport. You don't have to be a sports fan to appreciate this outstanding cinematic gem. Bravo to all!

The Debt
The Debt(2011)

"The Debt" is a taut thriller with a distinct Hollywood-crafted "Mission Impossible" flavor. Director John Madden had a skilled cast with which to work with sharp "hit the mark" performances especially from the amazing Helen Mirrin and the ethereal Jessica Chastain, whose remarkable performances over the past year in this film, "The Help," and "Tree of Life" show her depth and sensitivity.
This film tickles the memory with hints of Nazi spy hunters seen in the 1976 thriller "Marathon Man,"
In sum, "The Debt" provides excellent escapist / thriller fare, worthy of your attention.

Nine Months
Nine Months(1995)

"Nine Moths" is a sweet bit of escapist fare made sixteen (!) years ago in 1995 which we stumbled upon while checking out films on the Encore channel. It still holds up really well.
A top notch cast with predictable direction by Chris Columbus and equally predictable over the top (sic- overacted) performances by skilled actors the likes of Hugh Grant, Julianne Moore, Robin Williams, Tom Arnold and others make this quite an enjoyable film to watch.
Setting the film in San Francisco with its great vistas and neighborhoods also helps to make the film more enjoyable.
In all, this is a terrific way to enjoy an evening.... especially if you are expecting or know someone who is.

Mumbai Diaries

" Dhobi Ghat (Mumbai Diaries)" is a layered sensitive film comprised of three divergent life stories which intersect in unusual ways. The cinematography is luscious and well thought out. More than in most films, the environment is the silent fourth life story told, which really helps give a romantic feel to one of the most crowded, poorest neighborhoods in India. The acting is careful; the direction beautiful. The stories and images which comprise this fine film will last in my mind for quite a while. This film is well worth viewing for those interested in fascinating studies of people and exotic environments.

Margin Call
Margin Call(2011)

"Margin Call" is a taut well-conceived, carefully acted film about the early days of the financial collapse in 2008. Writer / director J.C. Chandor tries too hard to write like David Mamet. The profanity is there..... but the terse dialogue rhythm is missing. Newcomer Zachary Pinto delivers a gripping performance, aided by top notch stars such as Kevin Spacey, Stanley Tucci, Jeremy Irons, Paul Bettany, Simon Baker and Demi Moore.
The message of this important film is sobering. It raises more questions as to how the real life financial "wizards" portrayed so well on screen, have been able to get away with so much damage to our economy, ruiining the lives of many who put trust in them. "Margin Call" is edgy and gives us much to ponder.


Words such as "pedestrian," "trite," and "pointless" come to mind all too easily in describing this film. Granted, it has its moments and sincere performances, but in sum, the film goes nowhere.

P.O.V. - What I Want My Words to Do to You

We watched "What I Want My Words to Do to You" on PBS when it was first released in 2003. We were overhelmed by the documentary then, and now are even more deeply moved by the genius of Eve Ensler who worked with the inmates at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility for Women over a period of years to draw out their emotions through a series of creative writing workshops. The writings turned into a performance by accomplished actresses deeply touch the viewer and show the power of words to reveal and redeem. Brava to all!

Barney's Version

"Barney's Version" is a remarkable film on so many levels. Amazing, nuanced performances abound from Paul Giamatti (no John Adams here!)... Dustin Hoffman, Rosamund Pike and Minnie Driver especially. Plenty of language and situations deserving of its "R" rating. Sometimes hard to follow, but worth the time (this is a LONG film) and concentration. A thoughtful adaptation of the work of Mordechai Richler. Bravo!


I am certainly no prude, but we couldn't watch more than 35 minutes of this film. By then we had reached and "wretched" our fill of graphic / violent sex, drugs, domestic violence and profanity. Biutiful belies its name and descends farther into the depths of a hell we'd rather not visit.

The Concert (Le concert)

"The Concert" is a thoroughly enjoyable film which occasionally drags, and whose plot is a bit contrived. Nonetheless, it is well directed, superbly acted and brings a balanced combination of smiles and tears, not to mention superb music! Bravo!

The Company Men

"The Company Men" puts a human face on the economic recession which began in 2007-8. It packs a viscious wallop and is a reach punch in the gut especially when seen together with "Inside Job" and "Too Big to Fail." The performances, especially by Ben Affleck, Chris Cooper and Tommy Lee Jones are nuanced and powerful. In light of the current economic downturn, this is not a film which will attract crowds, but it should be seen, and the tacked-on "happy ending" may be forced, but gives hope.

Sex and the City 2

Only watch this drivle if you are a die-hard fan, and have bought into the franchise. It is sappy, simplistic and oh so precitctable. The girls' escapades from NYC to Abu Dhabi get a little old and cliched, as do they! In short, don't waste your time!

Mao's Last Dancer

While "Mao's Las Dancer" is based on a heroic true story, that doesn't save it from falling off the "cheesiness," "overacting" and "way too long" scales. The plot is entirely predictable and far too saccharine for our taste. Watch "The Turning Point" again..... or "The Red Shoes" to see what dance films should be.

Another Year
Another Year(2010)

The work of Mike Leigh has fascinated me for years. He, much like Woody Allen, has a repetory company of polished actors and technical professionals who create thoughtful works which develop characters in nuanced ways throughout his films. The "story" of "Another Year" takes a back seat to the amazing in-depth portrayals of the entire company, most especially "bit players" like Imelda Staunton and Michele Austin. Well worth your attention, altho' could have used a bit of editing.

Walk the Line

"Walk the Line" is worth watching to admire nuanced acting by Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon. It is particularly impressive that these talented actors learned to accompany themselves on guitar and auto-harp while performing their own vocals. The film does go on a bit long to make its point. There is a touch of overacting. But by and large the film pays appropriate homage to two of country music's greatest stars.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1

After six Harry Potter films, this does seem a tad formulaic. Even the shock and awe segments have developed a certain sameness to them. One must applaud the quality of the acting and the outstanding cinematography and special effects. The pacing in this particular film seems particularly slow, yet the magic does not wear off.... it just gets a little rusty.

The Illusionist (L'illusionniste)

When is 80 minutes an eternity? When watching this melancholy and frankly boring animated film. With a minimalist, improbablye story and infrequent dialogue, "The Illusionist" is nothing more than a big yawn. Don't waste your time... Re-watch "Bambi!" Thumper outshines the bunny pulled from the old man's hat in this film by a long shot!

Roger Dodger
Roger Dodger(2002)

We watched "Roger Dodger" in order to see Jesse Eisenberg's breakout role in 2002. We had no idea what to expect. This is far from your "average" coming of age film..... At first, it has an art film feel, but it degenerates quickly into a "down and dirty," far-fetched ultimately perplexing work. Campbell Scott delivers a remarkable performance, as does Eisenberg. This is one of those films you have to re-run in your mind because of its complex "lessons."

Casino Jack
Casino Jack(2010)

"Casino Jack" can proudly take its place alongside other classic political dramas -- albeit with a lot more foul language and a touch of nudity. Kevin Spacey does his share of carrying the film while chewing on the scenery. His portrayal of the complex, despicable lobbyist Jack Abramoff gives breath to the accounts reported thoroughly in the media. The supporting cast is capable, but this is Spacey's film and it is well worth seeing to better understand how deep the corruption in Washington goes. When seen alongside "Inside Job," it makes a knot form in the pit of your stomach. Well worth seeing.

Last Train Home

"Last Train Home" is a terribly sad, moving, heartbreaking and lumbering documentary which opens our eyes to the tragic situation facing so many (130 million) migrant laborers in China. These poor souls make a harrowing voyage home only once a year to visit with their children and families. They work in sweatshops in larger cities to earn a livelihood to support their families. While the film ponders along, we are compelled to watch it.

The King's Speech

"The King's Speech"is worth seeing for the outstanding nuanced ensemble acting, the interesting "back story," in case you did not know it, the fine costumes and good camera work. At times, "The King's Speech" borders on the tedious and hobbles along at a snail's pace. If I were giving out awards, "The Social Network" would have received my vote!

Exit Through The Gift Shop

This cautionary tale about the contemporary art scene is best defined by its title. In other words, "It's all about the money." The film is engaging, frustrating, and very well edited. It grabs your attention from the beginning and thrusts you through all the unpredicatble plot twists and turns with passion. Its message is loud and clear, and deserving of all the praise it has granered since its release. Bravo to the producers for "telling it like it is!"


Without a word of scripted dialogue, this magnificent film delivers a powerful message. Namely, babies develop on their own internal clocks and process the stimulation provided (or not!) by parents and forces of nature and society which surroud them. Beutifully filmed and sensitively edited, this documentary is a masterpiece. Tracing four babies' development from womb through their first year of life teaches us a multitude of lessons about parenting, independence and the majesty of life! Bravo to the producers for their vision in creating and fashioning this masterpiece.


"Howl" is one of the most technically adept films we have seen in years. The subtle integration of Ginsberg's taping of his memoirs, transcripts from the historic "obscenity" trial and amazing animations of the text of "Howl." Performances by James Franco, John Hamm and David Strathairn are exceptional. This is not a film for all. The language will offend some; the way in which the film is pieced together may confuse others. In our opinion, this is an iconic work, with a strong message, enchanced by award-worthy performances.

Alamar (To the Sea)

Short (73 minutes), elegant and touching, this is a visual tour de force for Pedro González-Rubio. "Alamar" is a debut film which tells a powerful, very simple story with amazing visuals. We watch enraptured the tale of a visual and spiritual journey in the Mexican Carribean. We watch in wonder as a father and grandfather bond with their son / grandson and marvel at the wonders of nature. The film is a well polished gem and worthy of your attention!

Mother and Child

The "A list" cast for this fascinating, sometimes meandering film makes it worthwhile viewing. Annette Bening and Naomi Watts excel, along with Samuel L. Jackson and Jimmy Smits. Plot elements seems sometimes contrived, but the production values are exceptional and the ensemble acting is nuanced and noteworthy. We are surprised the film did not not get more "play" at the time of its release. Thanks to Netflix, it is readily available.