Dreamer: Inspired by a True Story (2005)

Yes, an unlikely competitor defies the odds by overcoming a significant injury. However, when it comes to Sonador, his main backer is a child. Though Cale Crane grew up around horses, racing is actually in her blood; the ranch on which she grew up may be empty but it hasn’t seen its last horse, yet. Training a potential champion becomes a family affair, which garners more than luck and money.

Grizzly Man (2005)

A fair & balanced tribute to a quirky guy obsessed with wildlife, especially bears. To some he was a troubled soul seeking purpose; to others he seemed inspirational. To a few he was simply a nuisance. No matter how you regard his passion, there’s no doubt he died doing what he loved: living like a Grizzly.

The Least of These: The Graham Staines Story (2019)

Contributions from professional talent spanning 5 continents produced a stunning work of art in tribute to the legacy of an Australian who moved his family to India to tend to lepers there. Every effort was made to maintain authenticity, including casting real-life sufferers for a scene shot at an original setting. Regardless of your religious affiliation, this is a genuinely compelling story about humanity, forgiveness, truth, faith, hope and ultimately love filmed with breathtaking cinematography.

The Little Stranger (2018)

A fast- fading mansion with seemingly temperamental qualities is as much a character as the moody people that pass through its rooms. Both lend a consistently brooding tone without resorting to typical genre tropes (e.g. explanatory soliloquies or intrusive graphic flashbacks). The few instances of blood are preceded by obvious horror to the characters, who see it before the audience; the lack of shock value in such a familiar element serves to heighten the film’s uneasy tone. Periodic disclosure of important details keeps the story engaging, despite being enigmatic, and by the end manages to deliver a satisfying revelation.

The Others (2001)

When suspense turns creepy– especially when it’s downright chilling– you know you’re watching a horror movie, even if there’s no gore. As if a haunted house isn’t spooky enough, mysterious visitors appear; some helpful, others ghoulish. Like any proper ghost story, nothing is as it seems.

Swing Kids (1993)

Pit any character against a Nazi and the audience will automatically know who to root for. It’s much harder to show how a reasonable person can become a cold-hearted monster. The zeal with which teenagers approach any popular interest makes them ideal recruits; it only takes a charismatic mentor to offer all the things the War has taken away, which no amount of Big Jazz, Swing dancing, and jive slang could provide. Friendships are strained as loyalties are tested. Could anyone/thing escape the grasp of the Reich?

Incidentally, (and thankfully) no one attempts a fake accent. They all speak American or British English and you don’t even notice.

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.

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.

The End of the Tour (2015)

The cassette tape on the poster conjures memories of Almost Famous, which is unfortunate; it’s about literature (among other things) rather than music. Still, there are striking similarities between professions with the potential for celebrity. Accordingly, seasoned actors carry the weight of the expectations upon their characters as they wax poetic on the nature of […]