Film Review: Klondike

Ukrainian Actress Presents Antiwar Cinematic Stunner at SEEfest   If it’s true, as General William Tecumseh Sherman reputedly observed during America’s Civil War, that “war is hell,” according to Kyiv-born Maryna Er Gorbach’s Klondike, the “hottest seat in hell” (to paraphrase Dante) seems reserved for those ensnared in the civil war in eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk region. One of the grimmest films I’ve ever seen, Klondike is so bleak in its Continue Reading...

Film Review: Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator

Oh! Kolkata: Yogi Bare, Boo-Boos and Bikram Academy Award winning Australian filmmaker Eva Orner’s well-made documentary Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator is an 86-minute creepfest perfect for the #MeToo Movement and moment. This no-punches-pulled nonfiction film purports to chronicle the career, life, lies, and sexual abuse of Bikram Choudhury, the main ballyhooer of Bikram or “Hot Yoga” in America and beyond. The ornery Orner goes after Choudhury Continue Reading...

Film Review: The Pact

Melancholy Danes: A Scandinavian Sunset Blvd Academy Award-winning Danish director Bille August’s screen adaptation of Thorkild Bjørnvig’s (played by Simon Bennebjerg) memoir The Pact, about his experiences with the celebrated Out of Africa novelist Karen Blixen (who was portrayed by Meryl Streep in the 1985 Sydney Pollack-directed film of the same name, but is here played by the Copenhagen-born actress Birthe Neumann), is a movie meditation Continue Reading...

Film Review: Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom

Lunana of the North Snows: Learning Life’s Meaning at the World’s Remotest School Writer/director Pawo Choyning Dorji’s heartfelt Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom will charm the pants off of you – or, rather, the robes off of you. Because this captivating feature was shot mostly in the hard-to-get-to Kingdom of Bhutan, a Buddhist nation of less than 1 million inhabitants straddling the Eastern Himalayas between India and the Tibet region of the Continue Reading...

Film Review: The Whistlers

La Gomera’s Goombahs: Film Noir, Romanian Style Writer/director Corneliu Porumboiu’s slyly stylish The Whistlers is one of those productions film buffs relish largely because of their cinematic references. In one scene characters appear in a theater where John Ford’s 1956 classic The Searchers is being screened. But while the 97-minute-long Whistlers’ Romanian characters may very well be searching for something (and/ or someone), the Continue Reading...

Film Review: The Big Scary “S” Word

Viewers of the World, Unite! As its popularity soars, socialism’s secret sauce is explored in this never pedantic, feel-good movie manifesto that will make you want to own the means of production. Director/producer Yael Bridge’s stand up and cheer The Big Scary “S” Word is one of 2020’s do-not-miss films and deserves a Best Documentary Academy Award nomination. As a producer, Bridge was Emmy co-nominated for the 2017 nonfiction film Saving Continue Reading...

Film Review: Stealing Chaplin

The Great Gravediggers British director Paul Tanter’s droll Stealing Chaplin may be a comedy that will keep audiences laughing from beginning to end, but the other movie it reminds me of is screenwriter Kemp Powers’ One Night in Miami. Although the latter is a heavy-hitting drama, the fanciful stories of both Miami and Stealing are loosely inspired by real life events. In the case of the former, following his 1964 championship bout with Sonny Continue Reading...

Film Review: My Psychedelic Love Story

Flashback: Timothy Leary’s Trip Down Movie Memory Lane The 34th annual AFI Fest is arguably Los Angeles’ biggest and best film festival and this year it is taking place virtually through October 22 (see: https://fest.afi.com/). The closing world premiere of the American Film Institute’s yearly fete is the Showtime documentary My Psychedelic Love Story, wherein Timothy Leary - the High Priest of LSD – meets Errol Morris, the High Priest of Continue Reading...