‘Official Secrets’ extols the virtues of integrity

‘Official Secrets’ extols the virtues of integrity

“Official Secrets” (2019). Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Matt Smith, Matthew Goode, Rhys Ifan, Adam Bakri, Jeremy Northam, Conleth Hill, John Heffernan, Indira Varma, Niccy Lin, Monica Dolan, Shaun Dooley, Katherine Kelly, Hattie Morahan, Clive Francis, Kenneth Cranham, Tamsin Greig, Peter Guinness, Ray Panthaki, Raad Rawi. Archives: George W. Bush, Tony Blair, Colin Powell, Ari Fleischer, Peter Goldsmith. Director: Gavin Hood. Screenplay: Gregory Bernstein, Sara Bernstein and Gavin Hood. Book: Marcia Mitchell and Thomas Mitchell, The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War: Katharine Gun and the Secret Plot to Sanction the Iraq Invasion. Web site. Trailer.

It’s been said that one of the most valuable currencies we possess is our personal integrity. It’s a measure of who we are as individuals, of how genuine we are with ourselves and with others. It’s important for how authentically we each interact with our world. Now imagine this principle applied on a national scale or even on the scale of an international alliance. It speaks volumes about a people and its leadership in its dealings with those outside its borders or territories. But what happens when that collective integrity gets called into question? The authenticity and honor of an entire country (or group of countries) could thus become suspect. It’s that sort of scenario that provides the backdrop for the chilling new fact-based biopic, “Official Secrets.” (more…)

‘Peanut Butter Falcon’ celebrates getting the most out of life

‘Peanut Butter Falcon’ celebrates getting the most out of life

“The Peanut Butter Falcon” (2019). Cast: Shia LaBeouf, Dakota Johnson, Zack Gottsagen, John Hawkes, Bruce Dern, Thomas Haden Church, Jon Bernthal, Yelawolf, Jake “The Snake” Roberts, Mick Foley, Wayne DeHart, Bruce Henderson. Directors: Tyler Nilson and Mike Schwartz. Screenplay: Tyler Nilson and Mike Schwartz. Web site. Trailer.

How many of us are living truly fulfilled lives? Do we approach our existence with all-out gusto and a willingness to pursue our dreams? Or are we restricted by rules, regulations, fears and regrets – many of our own making – that keep us from fulfilling our potential? Sometimes it takes breaking out of rigid, ingrained patterns of thought and behavior that prevent us from getting the most out of our time in this reality. Such are the themes that underlie the story line of the charming new comedy-drama-road trip movie, “The Peanut Butter Falcon.” (more…)

‘One Child Nation’ exposes the consequences of ignorance

‘One Child Nation’ exposes the consequences of ignorance

“One Child Nation” (2019). Cast: Nanfu Wang, Brian Stuy, Longlan Stuy, Tunde Wang, Peng Wang, Huaru Tuan, Zhihao Wang, Shuqin Jiang, Zaodi Wang, Zhimei Wang, Jiaoming Pang. Directors: Nanfu Wang and Zhang Lynn. Web site. Trailer.

It’s all too easy to become so focused on what we want that we may fail to think things through. What’s more, the ante for this can get significantly upped when we examine the ramifications for taking no action. Now imagine what can happen when such a scenario unfolds on a national scale. Under such circumstances, there may be a tendency to act rashly, something that can have dire consequences, a situation detailed in the compelling new documentary, “One Child Nation.” (more…)

‘Bernadette’ examines the compulsion to create

‘Bernadette’ examines the compulsion to create

“Where’d You Go, Bernadette” (2019). Cast: Cate Blanchett, Billy Crudup, Emma Nelson, Kristin Wiig, Laurence Fishburne, Judy Greer, Troian Bellisario, Zoe Chao, Megan Mullally, Steve Zahn, David Paymer, James Urbaniak, Kate Burton. Director: Richard Linklater. Screenplay: Richard Linklater, Holly Gent and Vince Palmo. Book: Maria Semple, Where’d You Go, Bernadette. Web site. Trailer.

Some of us just have to create. The compulsion is so strong that we can’t ignore it, as if it’s an itch that must be scratched. And, if that need goes unfulfilled, it can drive us crazy – literally. So it is for an exceptionally talented woman on the brink in the offbeat new comedy-drama, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette.” (more…)

‘Luce’ ventures into the search for truth

‘Luce’ ventures into the search for truth

“Luce” (2019). Cast: Naomi Watts, Octavia Spencer, Tim Roth, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Norbert Leo Butz, Andrea Bang, Marsha Stephanie Blake, Omar Brunson, Noah Gaynor, Astro, Christopher Mann, Hannah Cabell. Director: Julius Onah. Screenplay: J.C. Lee and Julius Onah. Play: J.C. Lee, Luce. Web site. Trailer.

What is truth? That’s a question scholars, philosophers and theologians have wrestled with for eons. But, after all these many centuries, it still lingers, nibbled at by many deep thinkers though never satisfactorily answered. Perhaps that’s because it can’t be adequately nailed down, be it due to an undefinable or transitory nature, a plethora of opinions, or some other inscrutable quality. For what it’s worth, however, the quest continues, this time on the stage of a highly charged contemporary drama as seen in the gripping new release, “Luce.” (more…)

‘The Farewell’ explores how to arrive at the best outcome

‘The Farewell’ explores how to arrive at the best outcome

“The Farewell” (2019). Cast: Awkwafina, Shuzhen Zhou, Diana Lin, Tzi Ma, Han Chen, Aoi Mizuhara, Yongbo Jiang, Lu Hong. Director: Lulu Wang. Screenplay: Lulu Wang. Web site. Trailer.

When it comes to caring for the well-being of others, is total honesty necessarily the best policy? Isn’t it possible that there could be something to be said for “blissful ignorance?” But then isn’t it unconscionable to intentionally leave someone in the dark? These are thorny questions, much of which depends on one’s perspective, both individually and as part of a collective, issues that are among those addressed in the touching new comedy-drama, “The Farewell.” (more…)

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