‘Neighbor’ showcases the spirit of kindness and compassion

‘Neighbor’ showcases the spirit of kindness and compassion

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (2018). Cast: Interview Footage: Joanne Rogers, James Rogers, John Rogers, François Scarborough Clemmons, Yo-Yo Ma, Elizabeth Seamans, Margy Whitmer, Davis Newell, Joe Negri. Archive Footage: Fred Rogers, Robert Kennedy, Tom Snyder, Christa McAuliffe, John O. Pastore, Betty Aberlin. Director: Morgan Neville. Web site. Trailer.

Showing a little kindness goes a long way, especially to those in need of compassion, nurturing and support. This is particularly true when it comes to young ones, who often struggle with the fundamental task of trying to understand how the world works, an increasingly challenging task in an ever-more complicated reality. For 30 years, an unlikely television personality undertook that very task, giving attention, encouragement, wisdom and support to those who all too frequently went overlooked by their preoccupied, impatient and even unconcerned elders. And now the many quiet but profound accomplishments of that soft-spoken, cardigan-clad TV icon are celebrated in the endearing new documentary, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” (more…)

‘Book Club’ celebrates second chances at love

‘Book Club’ celebrates second chances at love

“Book Club” (2018). Cast: Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen, Mary Steenburgen, Andy Garcia, Craig T. Nelson, Don Johnson, Richard Dreyfuss, Alicia Silverstone, Katie Aselton, Wallace Shawn, Ed Begley Jr., Mircea Monroe, Joey Stromberg, Sabrina Friedman-Seitz. Director: Bill Holderman. Screenplay: Bill Holderman and Erin Simms. Web site. Trailer.

As the years pass by, it can be easy to let our lives (and ourselves) slide. Those of us who have attained a certain age may unwittingly fall into the trap of believing that the best years are behind us, that the joys of our youth and young adulthood are no longer available or take too much effort to recapture. This is especially true when it comes to our love lives. But is that really the case? It might take a little initiative to get back what’s been lost, but it is indeed possible – and worth it – as a quartet of seniors discover for themselves in the new romantic comedy, “Book Club.” (more…)

‘Disobedience’ dares to challenge taboos

‘Disobedience’ dares to challenge taboos

“Disobedience” (2018). Cast: Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams, Alessandro Nivola, Anton Lesser, Bernice Stegers, Allan Corduner, Nicholas Woodeson, Liza Sadovy. Director: Sebastián Lelio. Screenplay: Sebastián Lelio and Rebecca Lenkiewicz. Book: Naomi Alderman, Disobedience. Web site. Trailer.

Getting what we want from life, especially in an area as critical as romance, may push us to our limits. We may find ourselves saddled with constraints that push back against us, thwarting our efforts and keeping us from fulfilling our objectives. But these conditions are often wholly arbitrary, capable of being overcome with the right degrees of determination and self-reliance, themes explored in the new romantic drama, “Disobedience.” (more…)

‘Tully’ nudges us to look at life’s choices

‘Tully’ nudges us to look at life’s choices

“Tully” (2018). Cast: Charlize Theron, Ron Livingston, Mackenzie Davis, Mark Duplass, Elaine Tan, Asher Miles Fallica, Lia Frankland, Gameela Wright, Joshua Pak. Director: Jason Reitman. Screenplay: Diablo Cody. Web site. Trailer.

Have you ever felt so overburdened by your circumstances that you didn’t know which way to turn first? The workload is so great that you can barely keep up, yet everything has to get done, even when you don’t feel like doing it. Such conditions can be demoralizing, so much so that you stop taking proper care of yourself and even come to resent your own life. If you can appreciate that, you’ll be able to relate to the everyday routine of an overwhelmed mother of three watching her life slip away from her in the touching but brutally honest new comedy-drama, “Tully.” (more…)

‘RBG’ offers hope, reason to a world desperately in need of it

‘RBG’ offers hope, reason to a world desperately in need of it

“RBG” (2018). Cast: Interviews: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Bill Clinton, Senator Orrin Hatch, Nina Totenberg, Gloria Steinem, Ted Olson, Judge Harry Edwards, Lilly Ledbetter, Sharron Frontiero, Stephen Wiesenfeld, Irin Carmon, Shana Knizhnik, Julie Cohen, Betsy West, Jane Ginsburg, James Ginsburg, Clara Spera, Eugene Scalia, Bryant Johnson. Archive Footage: President Jimmy Carter, Antonin Scalia, Martin Ginsburg. Directors: Julie Cohen and Betsy West. Web site. Trailer.

Those on the outside looking in – and seeking the rights freely accorded those on the inside – need advocates to argue their case. Taking on such tasks can indeed be an uphill battle, too. But, with a well-reasoned strategy, patience, and a calm, clear voice, breakthroughs are possible, as many have discovered over the past half century, thanks in large part to the efforts of a remarkable woman, the subject of the new documentary feature, “RBG.” (more…)

‘Crown Heights’ seeks justice in its absence

‘Crown Heights’ seeks justice in its absence

“Crown Heights” (2017). Cast: Lakeith Stanfield, Nnamdi Asomugha, Natalie Paul, Bill Camp, Luke Forbes, Adriane Lenox, Zach Grenier, Josh Pais, Skylan Brooks, Nestor Carbonell, Armand Schultz. Director: Matt Ruskin. Screenplay: Matt Ruskin. Web site. Trailer.

Seeking justice is sometimes an unbelievably slow and difficult process. Bureaucratic procedures, sloppy investigative work and officials unwilling to admit making mistakes all contribute to needlessly complicating matters. The frustration can be exasperating for everyone involved, especially those who have been wrongfully convicted. Such is the case in the fact-based biographical drama “Crown Heights,” now available on DVD and video on demand. (more…)

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