‘Serenity’ triggers agitation, frustration and exasperation

“Serenity” – Baker Dill (Matthew McConaughey) drinks from a World’s Greatest Dad coffee mug, but he might not be the best at anything.  World’s Greatest Screwup, perhaps.  He’s a fisherman on Plymouth Island, a magical blue and sandy oasis where wealthy tourists descend for a week or two of R&R, but locals need to scrape and herd random sources of cash to keep roofs over their heads.  Baker may be the most desperate, but he is his own worst enemy. As the film opens, his friend Duke (Djimon Hounsou) and…

‘Capernaum’ shines a bright light on dark times

“Capernaum” – “I want them to stop having children.” – Zain (Zain Al Rafeea) This is Zain’s plea/wish/demand that he utters in a Lebanese court of law.  He is about 12-years-old, but this child does not know his age.  Miraculously, his mother and father cannot pinpoint his date of birth either.  The family lives in poverty, and Zain and his siblings suffer from their parents’ neglect and ineptitude. Hence, Zain sues his parents for giving birth to him. This heartbreaking declaration defies comprehension, but since director/co-writer Nadine Labaki illustrates the…

AHFW’s Top 20 Films of 2018

After watching 268 new movies in 2018, ArtHouseFilmWire grabbed our slide rule and protractor, performed numerous calculations and perhaps flipped a coin to proudly reveal our Top 20 Films of 2018.  (By the way, which film just missed the list?  #21 is “Capernaum”, the dizzying and draining Lebanese drama from Nadine Labaki.) 20 – “Can You Ever Forgive Me?” – Melissa McCarthy steps away from her comedic-comfort zone and commands the screen in a dramatic role about author Lee Israel’s true-life scandal.  Unable to pull together a successful book in…

Art House Film Wire’s Golden Globe Predictions

Happy Belated New Year!  Geez, all of a sudden, the calendar flipped ahead another year, and before one can say, “If I had a checkbook, I would stress about writing the wrong year on my checks,” the 76th Annual Golden Globes will arrive too.  Sunday, Jan. 6, to be exact. The second-biggest movie-awards event spreads the wealth, because it splits the best films and lead performances over two categories, Musical/Comedy and Drama, so King Midas works a bit of overtime.  We are happy to work more as well, and although…