Celebrate Chocolate Cake Day with ‘Kings of Pastry’

Who doesn’t like chocolate cake?  Well, those with allergies, perhaps and those who don’t like chocolate.  Then again, who doesn’t like chocolate? Anyway, Jan. 27 is none other than Chocolate Cake Day, and Art House Film Wire recommends to hit up your local bakery, pick out a humongous slice of chocolate cake, bring it home, and dive into the sugary, buttery goodness while digesting the apropos documentary “Kings of Pastry” (2009). This terrific behind the scenes doc pits several world class bakers and their push to win the coveted Meilleur…

Celebrate International Cat Day with ‘Kedi’

Cat owners are joyfully devoted to their four-legged companions, and their felines love them back, sometimes showing affection in their “own way”, on their own terms, of course.  ArtHouseFilmWire celebrates our pets 365 days a year, and let’s take a moment to recognize that August 8th is International Cat Day! So, why not watch a cat-movie?  We recommend the 2016 documentary “Kedi”! Set in Istanbul, director Ceyda Torun interviews residents from all walks of life who help care for the city’s huge stray cat population.   Each person lovingly describes their…

‘Maiden’ is a must-see voyage

“Maiden” – Some people reach for the stars.  Tracy Edwards reached for the ocean. Growing up in a loving household, Tracy’s sunny trajectory in the UK took a sharp and painful detour, and before one could say “troublemaker”, high school administrators suspended her 26 times.  This frustrated teenager left home, and her unlikely, winding path led her to, of all things, sailing.  In approximately eight years – and fueled by a motivated, adventurous spirit – Tracy hired a crew and captained a yacht in the 1989 Whitbread Round the World…

Hospital Ward ‘5B’ is a heartbreaking and inspirational destination

“5B” – “I was ready, but I was scared.” – Alison Moed Paolercio, Ward 5B nurse manager In 1981, the AIDS crisis frightened the nation.  San Francisco and other U.S. metropolitan centers became ground zero, and this mysterious disease – born from unknown causes – was horribly labeled Gay Cancer. Out of nowhere, young gay men developed ghastly skin lesions, as the disease pulverized their immune system into dust.  Soon after – sometimes within a month – their bodies followed suit. How is AIDS contracted?  How is it spread?  Soon,…

‘Maria by Callas’ bursts with celebration and heartbreak

“Maria by Callas” – “There are two people in me.  I would like to be Maria, but there is the Callas that I have to live up to.” – Maria Callas, 1970 Before Beyonce, Mariah Carey and Madonna, there was Maria Callas.  Callas, who passed away in 1977, is considered one of the best, if not the premier, opera singers of the 20th century, and with her larger than life persona and massive talent, she was also known as La Divina. Director Tom Volf’s directorial debut is nothing short of…

‘Love, Gilda’ offers plenty of reasons to remember and love Gilda

“Love, Gilda” – “Because I’m not a perfect example of my gender, I decided to be funny about what I didn’t have instead of worrying about it.” – Gilda Radner Gilda Radner, the very first cast member selected for “NBC’s Saturday Night”, did not always have it all, but she certainly garnered the adoration of millions and shot up to superstardom as one of three female Not Ready for Prime Time Players in 1975, along with Jane Curtin and Laraine Newman.  Martin Short affectionately remarks that Radner always lit up…

Stern searches for order in ‘American Chaos’

“American Chaos” – “They hate her, and they hate Obama too.” – James D. Stern The aforementioned quote about Hillary Clinton and President Obama is one of the conclusions that director James D. Stern inevitably acknowledges in his documentary “American Chaos” about a nearly two-year-old event, the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.  Stern – a lifelong Democrat who declares that Bobby Kennedy is one of his heroes – probably already knew that particular fact before making his movie.  He confirms it, however, during his own personal ground game. For six months…

‘Dark Money’ sheds light on a massive political problem

“Dark Money” – Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission (2010) – “Political spending is a form of protected speech under the First Amendment, and the government may not keep corporations or unions from spending money to support or denounce individual candidates in elections.” No matter your political stripe, it is difficult to declare that the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision on Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission is good for the country’s democracy.  This ruling – a 5-4 decision – opened up the floodgates for corporations to spend unlimited funds…

‘Eating Animals’ is an important doc and a tough pill to swallow

“Eating Animals” – “I wonder what my grandkids or generations past me will think about this period, a time when we raise our meat, dairy and eggs in many (compromising) ways.” – “Eating Animals” director Christopher Dillon Quinn, June 14, 2018 during a Phoenix Film Festival interview Quinn is speaking about factory farming.  This current practice mass produces 99 percent of the meat that Americans consume today, and his emotional, eye-opening documentary sheds a light on the highly disturbing state of affairs. Narrated by Natalie Portman, who also co-produced the…

‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ is a beautiful tribute to a radical pioneer

“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” – “He was radical.  I know everyone says that, but he was radical.” – Elizabeth Seamans The groundbreaking and absolutely delightful “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” ran for decades on public television, and this children’s program helped positively shape millions and millions of kids’ outlooks and moral compasses.  In 2018, the new documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” is a wonderful, sentimental trip down memory lane for adults who grew up watching the show and its creator, writer, producer, and star:  Fred Rogers. Rogers passed away at…