‘Maiden’ chronicles a sea change on the high seas

‘Maiden’ chronicles a sea change on the high seas

“Maiden” (2018 production, 2019 release). Cast: Tracy Edwards, Jo Gooding, Mikaela Von Koskull, Marie-Claude Kieffer Heys, Dawn Riley, Michèle Paret, Sally Creaser Hunter, Tanja Visser, Claire Russell, Amanda Swan Neal, Nancy Harris, Angela Heath, Sarah Davies, Jeni Mundy, Howard Gibbons, Skip Novak. Director: Alex Holmes. Web site. Trailer.

Fighting for recognition can grow tiresome, especially for those who have had to do so seemingly forever. Yet nothing is gained without making the effort, difficult and frustrating though that may be. Nevertheless, when the attempt succeeds, there’s a tremendous satisfaction that comes from it, not only in terms of realizing a goal, but also in setting a precedent that many may have thought could never be set. So it was for an ambitious crew of adventurers who took on a challenge of global proportions (and implications), as seen in the uplifting new documentary, “Maiden.” (more…)

‘The Feeling of Being Watched’ examines the perils of privacy protection

‘The Feeling of Being Watched’ examines the perils of privacy protection

“The Feeling of Being Watched” (2018). Cast: Interviews, Current Footage and Re-creations: Assia Boundaoui, Rabia Boundaoui, Christina Abraham, Iman Boundaoui, Nouha Boundaoui, Oussama Boundaoui, Sohib Boundaoui, Monica Eva Foster (voice), Daron Hagen (voice), Jen Marlowe (voice). Archive Footage: Donald Trump, Peter Jennings, Nacer Boundaoui, Robert Wright Jr. Director: Assia Boundaoui. Screenplay: Assia Boundaoui. Web site. Trailer.

Many of us likely believe that our personal privacy is a right that we’ve lost. Due to increasingly intrusive surveillance of virtually every aspect of our lives by government agencies, we’ve often come to feel that our personal spaces and individual lives are no longer our own. And, because of explanations like national security and waging the war on terror, those measures have thus been justified by those conducting them. Given all that, it may seem like there’s nothing we can do about it, either. However, one community subjected to severe scrutiny has had enough and has begun to fight back, letting those who are doing the surveilling know that they’re now being surveilled as well, a story chronicled in the troubling but inspiring documentary, “The Feeling of Being Watched.” (more…)

‘Late Night’ celebrates the joys of reinvention

‘Late Night’ celebrates the joys of reinvention

“Late Night” (2019). Cast: Emma Thompson, Mindy Kaling, John Lithgow, Hugh Dancy, Reid Scott, Denis O’Hare, Max Casella, Paul Walter Hauser, John Early, Jia Patel, Luke Slattery, Ike Barinholtz, Marc Kudisch, Amy Ryan, Bill Maher, Seth Meyers, Jake Tapper. Director: Nisha Ganatra. Screenplay: Mindy Kaling. Web site. Trailer.

No matter how much we may enjoy something, be it food, entertainment or our wardrobe, sometimes we want to shake things up a bit, trying out new offerings to stay fresh and invigorating. For that to happen, however, we often depend on others to make those new options available to us. Meanwhile, the purveyors of those commodities who fail to change with the times may easily be left behind when innovators step up to take their place. Such downfalls are avoidable, though, thanks to the power of reinvention, a prospect explored in the devilish new comedy, “Late Night.” (more…)

‘American Empire’ takes a critical look at what has value

‘American Empire’ takes a critical look at what has value

“The Fall of the American Empire” (“La chute de l’empire américain”) (2018 production, 2019 release). Cast: Alexandre Landry, Maripier Morin, Rémy Girard, Maxim Roy, Louis Morissette, Florence Longpré, Patrick Emmanuel Abellard, Pierre Curzi, Vincent Leclerc, Eddy King, Anoulith Sintharaphone, Ayana O’Shun, Kémy St-Eloy. Director: Denys Arcand. Screenplay: Denys Arcand. Web site. Trailer.

We all have our priorities when it comes to determining what we believe has value. But what exactly are those determinations based on? Do they arise from rigorously scrutinized considerations, or do they stem from arbitrary, capricious, cursory examinations? Are they decided upon by consensus, or do they vary from one individual to another? And are they fixed or flexible, changeable as needs arise or forever rigid? Those are among the questions examined in the quirky and thought-provoking new comedy-drama, “The Fall of the American Empire” (“La chute de l’empire américain”). (more…)

‘Dark Phoenix’ probes the impact of underlying intents

‘Dark Phoenix’ probes the impact of underlying intents

“Dark Phoenix” (2019), Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Sophie Turner, Jessica Chastain, Tye Sheridan, Alexandra Shipp, Evan Peters, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Scott Shepherd, Hannah Anderson, Summer Fontana, Ato Essandoh, Brian d’Arcy James. Director: Simon Kinberg. Screenplay: Simon Kinberg. Story: John Byrne, Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum, “The Dark Phoenix Saga.” Comic Book Source: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Web site. Trailer.

When we converse with someone, we like to think we understand the meaning behind everything they’re saying. But are we truly grasping the beliefs, intents and motivations underlying their statements? And what about their actions and gestures – can we say the same about those, too? Sometimes we need to take a closer look to make sure that we’re correctly reading their intentions, a theme that runs through the latest installment in the X-Men franchise, “Dark Phoenix.” (more…)

‘The World Before Your Feet’ explores fulfillment for its own sake

‘The World Before Your Feet’ explores fulfillment for its own sake

“The World Before Your Feet” (2018). Cast: Matt Green. Director: Jeremy Workman. Web site. Trailer.

Mountaineer George Mallory became famous (although some would say infamous) for three little words he uttered to a New York Times reporter in 1923 when describing his multiple attempts to ascend Mt. Everest, the world’s highest peak – “Because it’s there.” It’s an expression that’s become virtually synonymous with embarking on a daunting endeavor simply for its own sake. Such undertakings are truly impressive, even if they’re not for everyone. Indeed, where would the spirit of human adventure be were it not for this kind of attitude? So it’s been for an intrepid urban hiker who undertook the challenge of walking all 8,000+ miles of roads, paths and bridges in New York’s five boroughs, a journey gorgeously chronicled in “The World Before Your Feet,” available on DVD and video on demand. (more…)

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