Mortal Engines (2018)

How to describe such a unique fantastical premise…

Entire societies are mobile; each hierarchical city functions within its own feat of engineering (think interlocking collapsable compartments). These giant robotic apparatuses roam the globe vying for power, forcibly assimilating anyone who gets in their way. The plucky young heroes could’ve been in The Maze Runner!

Until now, such an imaginative book series couldn’t have been adapted for the screen. Fortunately, The Peter Jackson specializes in bringing fictional worlds to life via intricately detailed sets and props enhanced by state-of-the-art computer animation.

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.

The Foreigner (2017)

The depth of the story drew me in and made me want to follow the main character further. Too bad this wasn’t a TV pilot! To cast a movie that could so easily have been yet another formulaic action flick was no small feat; actors we’ve seem before were wisely utilized for their specialty while being given enough room to break out of their characatures. Moreover, their experience and professionalism allowed the seamless fusion of cultures to tell a story that’s a genuinely fresh perspective on the balance between Justice and Revenge.

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.

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.

Masquerade (2012)

Why are 15 days worth of records missing from annals of the Joseon Dynasty? Though we’ll never know for sure, it’s fair to surmise that since the king was kind but cautious (some would say paranoid), it’s not impossible that arrangements were made in anticipation of a potential emergency. Like the switcheroo in American movie, […]

Wag the Dog (1997)

Who’s leading whom– isn’t the dog supposed to wag the tail? Of greatest importance is at whatever a politician is trying to distract you from looking. Incidentally, one time several major Hollywood stars (2 of whom– Oscars winners, no less– received no money up front) shot a feature length film in under a month with […]

Thank You for Smoking (2005)

Handsome, Nick Naylor is a lobbyist, i.e. Sultan of Spin for Big Tobacco. He may be charming but his only friends are the self- proclaimed, “MOD Squad” because he, VP of the Academy of Tobacco Studies along with the head of the Moderation Counsel (alcohol) and chairman of SAFETY– Society for the Advancement of Firearms […]

In Time (2011)

That so many sociological/ psychological/ economical/ political themes are presented in one Sci-Fi action adventure will either intrigue or infuriate you. When and where time is money– literal currency– one of the poorest teams up with one of the richest to become Bonnie & Clyde with a Robinhood complex. Intentionally or not, the story explores […]