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2019-04-09Apr 9, 2019

The San Francisco Film Festival opens April 10th and goes to April 23rd. For those of you who enjoyed last month’s Sonoma International Film Festival and the Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival, this one is much bigger and more celebrities attend. The highlight for me at Sonoma was meeting Julia Ormond, who came for her opening night premiere of “Ladies in Black”Opening this month at your local theater is “The Best of Enemies” starring my friend and recent Oscar winner Sam Rockwell and Taraji P Henson. The true story of the unlikely relationship between Ann Atwater, an outspoken civil rights activist and C.P. Ellis, a local Ku Klux Klan leader. Could Sam earn his third Oscar nomination in 3 years? Let’s hope! It opens April 5th. Also opening this weekend is “Shazam!” starring Zachary Levi. A fun superhero movie where teenager Billy Batson tests out his newfound powers. For my live theater fans there is “Jesus Christ Superstar” directed by the very talented Lesley McCauley who has been directing at the Junior College for over 20 years. And so much more...

2019-01-30Jan 30, 2019

Welcome to February. Home to Valentine's Day and The Oscars. The nominations came out last week and I'm very excited that my high school friend, Sam Rockwell got nominated for best supporting actor for his work in “Vice”. He won last year for “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”. It would be amazing if he won twice in a row. His biggest competition is Mahershala Ali for his work in “Green Book”. Ali won two years ago for his work in “Moonlight”. Either way, one of these actors will be winning two Oscars in three years. Amazing! I hope Amy Adams wins best supporting actress for her work in “Vice”. She has been nominated five times before but has never won. Glenn Close has never won an Oscar! I know it's unbelievable. She has been nominated six times before. This can be her year for her work in “The Wife”.

 

2018-12-30Dec 30, 2018

For those of you who haven't experienced the magic that is “Mary Poppins Returns” you still have a chance to see this breathtaking movie in a theater. The Golden Globes nominations came out and both Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda were nominated for their roles in “Mary Poppins Returns”. The film itself is nominated for Best Picture, Musical or Comedy. Their biggest competition is “Green Book” which also is still in theaters. Both Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali were nominated for their roles in “Green Book”. “A Star is Born” was nominated for Best Picture, Drama.

2018-12-18Dec 18, 2018

I recently watched the movie “Roma” named after a neighborhood in Mexico City by well known Mexican Director Alfonso Cuarón. The film is shot notably in black and white as a prelude to its being from the actual memory of the director, and follows the daily life of the family maid, Cleo, in his middle-class family neighborhood.

I had some contextual knowledge so some of the seemingly unexplained scenes in the movie made sense to me. But if one has no historical knowledge of Mexican politics some scenes in the movie would be a bit of a mystery to the viewer. I think the producer would have done well to add a small paragraph at the very beginning explaining the era and some of the events of that time.

2018-11-22Nov 22, 2018

We finally made it to December! The best month for movies. Everyone loves the iconic song,”12 Days of Christmas”. So I made a list for all you movie lovers. 

 

2018-11-18Nov 18, 2018

There is a myriad of films/DVD’s that feature felines prominently but the inspiration for this article came the recent release,Bohemian Rhapsody, the story of Queen frontman, Freddy Mercury. Freddy loved his cats wrote songs about them, dedicated albums to them and when on tour called to chat with them. Another current feature is Can You Ever Forgive Me? Melissa McCarthy delivers an Oscar worthy performance as Lee Israel a down on her luck writer with a drinking problem who decides to fabricate letters that have been written by famous people and sell them to dealers. Her cat is sick and needs to see the vet and she is low on cash.

 

2019-03-27Mar 27, 2019

The title refers to a pamphlet that was published that indicated which establishments were African-American friendly in the southern United States. The script follows Tony Vallelonga, a rough around the edges Italian bouncer who needs an interim job and accepts one as chauffeur to Dr. Don Shirley, a dignified and sophisticated, black, classical pianist. Shirley is on a concert tour into the deep South in the 1960's. Basically we have an odd couple on a road trip. Tony uses muscle. Don uses finesse. Tony leads with his gut. Don is an intellectual. Even though cliche driven, at the end they come to know and respect one another as brothers and it is a delightful evolving. 

2019-02-26Feb 26, 2019

The Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival will launch its 12th annual season in late March. The festival features films from around the world and several panel discussions with filmmakers.

2019-02-26Feb 26, 2019

The 12th annual Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival,  March 28-31. If you love documentaries this one's for you. If you love cats you have to see “The Cat Rescuers”, directed by Rob Fructman and Steven Lawrence playing at the Robert Brent Auditorium. One film I'm excited about is “Alpha Mare”. Near Nicasio Reservoir, Karin suffers a psychotic episode. Through horsemanship, she learns a set of skills that help her manage her condition. Directed by Victor Tadashi Suarez and Mimi Wilcox. Also playing at the Robert Brent Auditorium.

2019-02-25Feb 25, 2019

Jewish Community Center Sonoma County is happy to announce its 2019 film season of the Israeli Film Festival, bringing to our local community a taste of the well-respected, robust and prolific film industry in Israel.

2019-02-23Feb 23, 2019

The film, Roma, is unique for several reasons. First of all, its presentation is unusual. It has played on local screens while being simultaneously streamed on Netflix. When a film is shown originally on TV, it is considered to be in a different category when one is considering award criteria. Because of its theatrical release, Roma garnered a place in the more prestigious Academy Award classification along with nine other nominations. In an additional quirk, it appears on the regular list of nominees and also on the shorter best foreign films list. It is unabashedly autobiographical . Director/writer, Alfonso Cuaron, is mostly known for having helmed Gravity and Children of Men but he also directed such disparate works as E Tu Mama Tambien and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Roma has nothing to do with Italy. It refers to an upper middle class section of Mexico City.

 

2019-02-21Feb 21, 2019
2019-02-13Feb 13, 2019

The basis of this film “I am not your Negro” is an uncompleted work Baldwin first began in 1979, "Remember This House"; an ambitious account of his various encounters with assassinated civil right leaders Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. At the time of his death, the book was still only 30 pages of notes but, courageously, Haitian director Raoul Peck spent a decade working to finish what Baldwin had started. The documentary puts the race problem in its correct truthful context. The problem is seen by Baldwin not one of black people but as one of the sickness within American society; the emptiness the frivolity and unmentionable cruelty it delivers to its African American populace. Baldwin says “you cannot  Lynch me and put me in ghettos, without becoming something monstrous yourselves." What touched me most is when he describes how a black child awakens to this reality when he describes a 5 year old black child suddenly discovering his blackness and realizes John Wayne his hero is actually the one killing the Indians  “colored” people just like his little self. 

2019-01-31Jan 31, 2019

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