Woodard commands the screen with steely and hazy gazes on capital punishment in ‘Clemency’

“Clemency” – For Anthony Woods (Aldis Hodge), his days in prison are lengthy and torturous.  Each drab minute feels exactly like the next, because sitting in a 10-by-10 foot cell day after day, week after week, and month after month does nothing to spur joy or optimism. Time has become his sworn enemy, packaged as a double-edged sword, because the seemingly endless moments are also brutally finite. Anthony is on death row, and he unenviably stands next in line. Warden Bernadine Williams (Alfre Woodard) is enduring troubling days of her…

‘1917’ is a must-see on the big screen

“1917” – “I wanted you to feel like you were there with the characters, breathing their every breath, walking in their footsteps. The best way to do that is not to cut away and give the audience a way out, as it were.” –  Sam Mendes, Variety, Dec. 5, 2019 One military order. Director Sam Mendes’ “1917” can be summed up as one military order carried out by two British lance corporals through No Man’s Land and beyond at the height of WWI.  On the surface, this seems like a…

‘Like a Boss’ should be fired

“Like a Boss” – “Oh, you’re the best friend that I ever had.  I’ve been with you such a long time.  You’re my sunshine, and I want you to know that my feelings are true.  I really love you.  Oh, you’re my best friend.” – Queen, “You’re My Best Friend” (1975) Mia (Tiffany Haddish) and Mel (Rose Byrne) are best friends and have been for decades.  Now, while their gal pals are scoring big jobs, getting married or having kids, Mia and Mel are housemates and share a bathroom, Brady…

Malick shines a caring, admiring light on ‘A Hidden Life’

“A Hidden Life” – “It seemed no trouble could reach our valley. We lived above the clouds.” – Franziska (Fani) Jagerstatter (Valerie Pachner) Franz and Fani Jagerstatter (August Diehl and Pachner) have a beautiful life. This happily married couple own a farm, have three young daughters and much love is felt within their home and also with their supportive neighbors in the tiny village of St. Radegund, tucked away in an Austrian valley. They live openly in St. Radegund, but this community is generally unseen to the rest of the…

Celebrate ‘I’m Not Going to Take It Anymore Day’ with ‘Falling Down’

Have you ever been slighted at work?  Did you have a year go by without a raise?  Worse yet, have you ever been laid off? Well, if you are frustrated with work, today’s politics or feeling paralyzed with the raging infernos in Australia, January 7 is your day.   It’s ‘I’m Not Going to Take It Anymore Day’!  To help celebrate, here’s a clip from 1993’s “Falling Down”. “Falling Down” (1993) – Let go from his defense contract job and stuck on a Los Angeles roadway, William (Michael Douglas) leaves his…