‘Love, Gilda’ salutes a comedic genius

‘Love, Gilda’ salutes a comedic genius

“Love, Gilda” (2018). Cast: Interviews: Chevy Chase, Laraine Newman, Martin Short, Paul Shaffer, Bill Hader, Maya Rudolph, Amy Poehler, Melissa McCarthy, Lorne Michaels, Anne Beatts, Alan Zweibel, Michael Radner, Judy Levy.  Archive Footage: Gilda Radner, Bill Murray, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Jane Curtin, Garrett Morris, Gene Wilder, Steve Martin, Lily Tomlin, Buck Henry, Garry Shandling, G.E. Smith, Tom Schiller. Director: Lisa D’Apolito. Web site. Trailer.

It’s been said that the ability to make others laugh is one of the greatest gifts anyone can possess. Laughter lifts spirits, brings joy and, as the old adage contends, serves as the best medicine. That’s something a beloved, gifted comedienne successfully discovered for herself – on all of those fronts – as fittingly and lovingly depicted in the heartwarming new documentary, “Love, Gilda.” (more…)

‘The Land of Steady Habits’ experiments with limits, change

‘The Land of Steady Habits’ experiments with limits, change

“The Land of Steady Habits” (2018). Cast: Ben Mendelsohn, Edie Falco, Thomas Mann, Bill Camp, Connie Britton, Elizabeth Marvel, Michael Gaston, Charlie Tahan, Victor Slezak, Josh Pais. Director: Nicole Holofcener. Screenplay: Nicole Holofcener. Book: Ted Thompson, The Land of Steady Habits. Web site. Trailer.

For many of us, certainty and stability have a definite comforting appeal. We enjoy the predictability and reliability, a soothing reassurance that life will go on as we’ve known it. However, such an existence can also become a stifling trap, one that suffocates us, often without us becoming aware of it until it’s almost too late. This is where the value of change and pushing past established limits becomes desirable, if not essential, to our happiness, concepts explored in the new character study, “The Land of Steady Habits.” (more…)

‘The Wife’ compels the scrutiny of our motivations

‘The Wife’ compels the scrutiny of our motivations

‘“The Wife” (2017 production, 2018 release). Cast: Glenn Close, Jonathan Pryce, Christian Slater, Max Irons, Elizabeth McGovern, Harry Lloyd, Annie Starke, Alix Wilton Regan, Karin Franz Körlof, Nick Fletcher. Director: Björn Runge. Screenplay: Jane Anderson. Book: Meg Wolitzer, The Wife. Web site. Trailer.

When we wonder why our reality turns out as it does, if we want an honest answer to that question, we have to ask ourselves what motivates us. All too often we drift through life not taking stock of our intentions, letting life unfold seemingly on its own, as if we’re oblivious to the part we play in its manifestation. But, even if we believe we have no hand in the process or are afraid to see what those motivations might entail, in the end we can’t ignore them or how we employ them, a subject explored at length in the new domestic drama, “The Wife.” (more…)

‘Eighth Grade’ plumbs the problem solving process

‘Eighth Grade’ plumbs the problem solving process

“Eighth Grade” (2018). Cast: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson, Jake Ryan, Daniel Zolghadri, Fred Hechinger, Imani Lewis, Luke Prael, Catherine Oliviere, Nora Mullins, Missy Yager, Greg Crowe, Natalie Carter. Director: Bo Burnham. Screenplay: Bo Burnham. Web site. Trailer.

Try to think of a time in your life when you felt like you were perpetually confused. For some of us, that might come at almost any age. But, for those lacking the benefit of life experience, it most likely occurred at a time when we were still finding our way in the world – not when we were so young that we didn’t consciously think about such things but at a slightly later stage in our development when we earnestly began trying to understand our place in the realm of existence. If most of us were to apply that standard, that incessantly awkward, unceasingly confounding time probably came in our early teens, a time when we were no longer children but not quite adults, a time aptly depicted in writer-director Bo Burnham’s debut feature, the delightful and edgy new comedy-drama, “Eighth Grade.” (more…)

‘Thoreau’ explores the life examined

‘Thoreau’ explores the life examined

“Henry David Thoreau: Surveyor of the Soul.” Director: Huey (a.k.a. James Coleman). Screenplay: Huey (a.k.a. James Coleman). Web site. Trailer.

Exploring the nature of our life is one of the noblest pursuits in which we can engage, and writer-philosopher Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862) was undeniably one of the best seekers ever to have undertaken this endeavor. As a result of his experiences, he wrote a variety of works covering a range of subjects. But, while the name is a familiar one, many of us are unable to describe his work or ideas with specificity. Thankfully, that shortfall has now been addressed in great detail in the excellent new documentary, “Henry David Thoreau: Surveyor of the Soul,” available for viewing on DVD and at special public screenings. (more…)

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