Libel (1959)

Rather than a lack of subtle clues and foreshadowing due to a meandering script, this story slowly unfolds just as it does for its subject: a former soldier, who may or may not be the man as whom he’s been living. When his identity is called into question, both he and his wife begin to wonder if the trauma he experienced during the war that affected his memory made it easier for him to inherit the life meant for someone else or if his personality genuinely changed. The evidence will reveal the truth and unlock the key to the nightmares and flashbacks that relentlessly haunt him.

Short Term 12 (2013)

There are few angles of American foster care left to explore so this movie explores them all simultaneously. Each situation is unique and the entire system itself is complex; even a counselor might be trying to leave her own dark past behind.

There are new arrivals and seasoned veterans, new staff members and old pros, procedures to be followed and rules to be broken but ultimately, the reason it exists is because Human beings aren’t always valued. Yet whatever its flaws, there will never be a truly perfect system so long as it needs to exist in the first place.

What makes this movie impressive is its skillful handling of such a delicate subject; the bittersweet story is in more than capable hands, which lend their skills to retain the humanity of the types of people each character represents, especially those we rarely– if ever– see depicted outside of a stereotype. It’s a relief to think we’ve moved past the naive rich White saviors of the 1990s into sympathy for the plight of the mistreated, rather than pity for the tragically pathetic.

Gosnell: The Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer (2018)

“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” –John Adams (‘Argument in Defense of the Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials,’ 1770)

This film is not simply based on a true story; there are documents, video footage, court transcripts, etc. from which the filmmakers drew. In fact, one of the leads mistakenly thought actual photos were pictures taken of the movie set. That is not to say it’s gory; on the contrary, the focus is the process of bringing the medical practice of a seemingly professional physician to trial.

“I didn’t help. I’m a reporter; I’m just interested in the truth. If the truth doesn’t match what I believe, I don’t change the truth.” –blogger, Molly Mullaney

While the situation is reenacted by Hollywood professionals, it is real. It is factually accurate. It is historic. May God have mercy on us for our complicity– whether through ignorance or ambivalence– in mass murder.

A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

If you don’t own a copy, you’ve either forgotten about this movie or have never seen it. This is arguably each lead’s most famous role of their career. And for good reason: when an disparate team of jewel theives vie for their loot, Deception is the rule of law in what amounts to The Bermuda Triangle of relationships. Love and lust notwithstanding, greed and revenge bring out a range of emotions– and even slapstick– in those subjected to the whims of manipulative Wanda, a woman so dynamic, a beloved pet is named after her.

Can you ever forgive me? (2018)

In writing, as in life, less is more. Correspondingly, a simple story allowed to stand on its own, free to breathe (i.e. without overt biases and/or contrived themes imposed upon it), will naturally generate “The Conversation” so many artists eagerly crave these days.

Personally, I heard it say, “If you spend half as much time devoted to the task at hand as you do trying to get out of it, you’ll be fulfilled by both the process and the result. In the end, making a quick buck is complicated and expensive!”

But as viewers found with Doubt, everyone will walk away from the movie insisting it was about something else.

Bad Times at The Royale (2018)

Murder and mayhem are in store for deep characters based on historic figures devoid of characature, set in rich tones inspired by a real locale, steeped in the iconic style of Vintage era without a hint of kitsch, in which music is fully integrated into intricately layered secrets anchored by immaculate cinematography.

A Crooked Somebody (2017)

It’s refreshing that some filmmakers can tell a compelling story without overacting, artsy- fartsy camera work and more tropes than can reasonably fit into the script.

Instead of monsters, lasers, robots, or shootouts, this is a cautionary tale of a popular fake psychic, who– against the better judgment of his apprentice shill– takes on a real-life case. With the hope of bolstering his credability, and ultimately his fame and fortune, he announces to the media that he can locate of the buried body of a long-missing beloved person.

Some Like it Hot (1959)

When the speakeasy that employs many musicians gets busted, many performers find themselves job hunting. Moreover, when they witness the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre,  two friends in particular find themselves on the run from the mob. As revenge for their playboy antics, their connection at the employment agency pairs them with an all-female band. At least it’s headed out of state! With no choice but to make the most of the opportunity, the duo must pass themselves off as women. But can they keep their cool while surrounded by pretty girls?

I Think We’re Alone Now (2018)

To pidgeon- hole this as a post- apocalyptic story would be too crass for such a nuanced satire that intimately explores the Human Experience; few films capture such a raw and visceral perspective. One of its co-leads compared this to Harold and Maude, which is apt given its subtle dark humor. However, the isolation the characters […]

The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947)

You never realize just how formulaic the movies you typically watch truly are until you see something completely unique, such as this one. Considering how eager studios are to remake everything, I’m surprised this wasn’t of interest to anyone. It’s probably just as well; they would likely turn it into a slapstick comedy. I’m sure […]