‘Three Billboards’ explores the lengths to which we’ll go for justice

‘Three Billboards’ explores the lengths to which we’ll go for justice

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” (2017). Cast: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Lucas Hedges, Peter Dinklage, John Hawkes, Zeljko Ivanek, Caleb Landry Jones, Abbie Cornish, Amanda Warren, Sandy Martin, Clarke Peters, Malaya Rivera Drew, Kerry Condon, Samara Weaving, Darrell Britt-Gibson, Kathryn Newton. Director: Martin McDonagh. Screenplay: Martin McDonagh. Web site. Trailer.

Seeking justice can be a slow, tedious process that severely tries one’s patience. The frustration that sets in can weigh heavily on those who want their wrongs righted, perhaps pushing them to take desperate measures. But, as understandable as those circumstances are, is the pursuit of such drastic steps truly warranted? Will they get the sought-after results? Or will they only compound matters, making things worse for all involved? Those are the unsettling issues addressed in the new dark comedy, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.” (more…)

‘The Square’ urges us to live up to our intentions

‘The Square’ urges us to live up to our intentions

“The Square” (2017). Cast: Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West, Terry Notary, Christopher Læssø, Lilianne Mardon, Lise Stephenson Engstrom, Director: Ruben Östlund. Screenplay: Ruben Östlund. Web site. Trailer.

What does it mean to truly care for one’s fellow man? Some would contend that it involves more than just paying lip service to the notion or writing a check to a beloved charity; rather, they would say, it entails getting actively involved in bettering the well-being of others. But are we genuinely equipped to engage in such an activity? And, if so, what exactly does it take? Those are among the questions raised in the unusual and provocative new Swedish satire, “The Square.” (more…)

‘Breathe’ inspires us to vanquish our limitations

‘Breathe’ inspires us to vanquish our limitations

“Breathe” (2017). Cast: Andrew Garfield, Claire Foy, Hugh Bonneville, Diana Rigg, Penny Downie, David Wilmot, Stephen Mangan, Edward Speleers, Tom Hollander, Amit Shah, Jonathan Hyde, Emily Bevan, Harry Marcus, Dean-Charles Chapman, Sylvester Groth. Director: Andy Serkis. Screenplay: William Nicholson. Web site. Trailer.

Imagine being confronted by a life of bed-ridden confinement, unable to move or even to inhale your own life-sustaining breath. Add to that the frustration and despondency brought on by an unfeeling health care system that insists upon regimented institutionalization as the only way to address your condition. And, to make matters worse, you’re young and just beginning what’s supposed to be a happy and fulfilling time with the love of your life. If you can picture that, you have an idea of what it’s like to be the protagonist of the new, fact-based romantic drama, “Breathe.” (more…)

‘Lucky’ ruminates on the meaning of life

‘Lucky’ ruminates on the meaning of life

“Lucky” (2017). Cast: Harry Dean Stanton, David Lynch, Ron Livingston, Ed Begley Jr., Tom Skerritt, James Darren, Beth Grant, Barry Shabaka Henley, Yvonne Huff, Hugo Armstrong, Bertila Damas, Ana Mercedes. Director: John Carroll Lynch. Screenplay: Logan Sparks and Drago Sumonja. Web site. Trailer.

The longer we live, the luckier we’re supposed to believe we are, right? But what if that long life is devoid of meaning? In those cases, it seems like we just keep going on and on but without purpose or a sense of what life’s all about. Under those conditions, we have to ask ourselves, is that enough? Does the act of merely biding our time suffice? And, if that’s what’s really happening to us, will we be satisfied with that when we finally reach the end? Those are among the challenges posed to a 90-year-old atheist in the meditative new character study, “Lucky.” (more…)

‘Victoria and Abdul’ celebrates the power and beauty of friendship

‘Victoria and Abdul’ celebrates the power and beauty of friendship

“Victoria and Abdul” (2017). Cast: Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Tim Pigott-Smith, Eddie Izzard, Adeel Akhtar, Michael Gambon, Olivia Williams, Paul Higgins, Fenella Woolgar, Simon Callow, Ruth McCabe, Sukh Olja, Kemaal Deen-Ellis. Director: Stephen Frears. Screenplay: Lee Hall. Book: Shrabani Basu, Victoria and Abdul. Web site. Trailer.

Friendships are one of the most precious, enjoyable and special elements of life. They’re especially prized when they take on magical qualities, those that involve acquaintances who are seemingly unlikely, perhaps even mismatched. So it was when a humble Indian servant met a powerful but lonely, aging monarch trapped by the rigidity and responsibility of her title, a fable-like tale depicted in the new biographical offering, “Victoria and Abdul.” (more…)

‘Battle of the Sexes’ confronts and smashes barriers

‘Battle of the Sexes’ confronts and smashes barriers

“Battle of the Sexes” (2017). Cast: Emma Stone, Steve Carell, Andrea Riseborough, Natalie Morales, Sarah Silverman, Bill Pullman, Alan Cumming, Elisabeth Shue, Eric Christian Olsen, Fred Armisen, Jessica McNamee, Austin Stowell, Wallace Langham, Lewis Pullman, James Mackay, Cooper Friedman. Archive Footage: Howard Cosell, Howard K. Smith, Roosevelt Grier, Chris Evert, Lloyd Bridges, George Foreman. Directors: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. Screenplay: Simon Beaufoy. Web site. Trailer.

Getting ahead in life can be fraught with obstacles that keep us from moving forward. But, no matter how formidable these limitations may appear, they’re all meant to be overcome, provided we believe in the possibility. That can be challenging, especially when the barriers appear on multiple fronts, but it’s by no means impossible, as demonstrated by the new sports biopic, “Battle of the Sexes.” (more…)

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