Hanna (2011)

CIA operatives have seen and experienced more disturbing things than we could ever know. Even the most patriotic has a limit to what he’s willing to support. Usually, I like a bit of mystery because it’s enthralling to let the details unfold. But in this case it was hard to know who to trust so […]

Grace is Gone (2007)

When military personnel are assigned to a far-away tour, the loved ones left behind know there’s a chance they might not return. But awareness of the hypothetical doesn’t prepare anyone for reality. How do you tell your daughters their beloved mother is never coming home? How do you accept it yourself?

Love Liza (2002)

Loss itself is not enigmatic. What’s most frustrating is the visceral: the how and the why. Even when the cause of death is known it’s difficult to pinpoint the exact way in which someone came into your life and how they managed to touch you as uniquely as they did. Often the bereaved is left […]

Rope (1948)

Everyone is at least familiar with Alfred Hitchcock, especially iconic classics, such as Psycho and The Birds. But for some reason his adaptation of a stage play that’s right up his alley tends to get overlooked. Obviously, there’s dramatic tension in a slashing knife, a flock of pecking birds, or any other bloody spectacle. But […]

Persepolis (2007)

I’m so glad the author of the autobiographical comic– the basis of this movie– was involved in making this version of her story. An Iranian expat, who came- of- age during the Islamic Revolution/ reign of the Shah describes her historical experiences– personal, cultural and political– in black and white. The bold stylistic choice serves […]

Little Nikita (1988)

Initially, this didn’t impress me, aside from a riveting car chase. I expected more tech(nology/nique); the Mission Impossible franchise set my expectations higher than I dared to admit. However, I was struck by the emotional component we civilians rarely think about– sleeper spies need family and friends just the same as anyone else. Still, I […]

American Fable (2016)

For this movie–which, on the surface may seem inconsistent– its apt title is key to managing expectations. While there’s not much difference between a fairy tale and a fable, this particular story happens to revolve around a particular incident experienced by a young girl but there’s no magical fairies or romance so speak of, royal or otherwise. To attempt to categorize it by a singular scene would only undermine its darkly fantastical/ enigmatic elements, thus reducing it to a meandering by-product of either a Boy Scouts’ campfire collaboration or the summary of someone’s choose-your-own-adventure book. It deserves consideration as an imaginative story that’s completely rooted in the present rather than a re-imagined folktale adapted for a modern context.

Spinning Man (2018)

There’s surprising depth to this Thriller that borders on Post-Modern Noir about a philosophy professor who lives in an endless loop of moral ambiguity rationalized by the principles that led him to push the limits of his questionable decisions in the first place.

Dave (1993)

There have been brief periods when movies were made strictly for entertainment; you weren’t forced to choose between getting hit over the head with an agenda and indulging an experimental hobby project. Who better to give a chance to showcase their range than Kevin Kline?

A small-town professor moonlighting as a POTUS impersonator faces the mother of moral dilemmas when he agrees to stand in for the real—and comatose—Chief of Staff to avoid wide-spread panic. He later realizes how much power and influence everyone around him wields when he tries to avoid getting tangled in the strings of the political puppet masters, who hired him.

Cameos galore (primarily political figures) are the sprinkles atop a sturdy sundae of seasoned actors, who portray earnest characters out of their element finding their way to a heartwarming crescendo.