‘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…

‘Spider-Man: Far from Home’ doesn’t stray from Marvel’s Midas touch

“Spider-Man: Far from Home” – Peter Parker (Tom Holland) needs a break. This teenager fought alongside Tony Stark, became an Avenger, traveled into deep space, battled a purple-skinned, 8-foot Titan, died with half the universe’s population, and – five years later – came back to life.  If you have not seen “Avengers: Endgame” (2019), this critic will not reveal any more spoilers from that film’s colossal closing chapter on the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) first 11 years. Yes, “Endgame” delivered a spectacular ending, with all the madness and pomp and…

‘Hudson’ offers simple pleasures, warm smiles and a couple gentle tears

“Hudson” – Talk to any random group of New York City residents – especially those born and raised in The Big Apple – about Upstate New York, and four out of five will say, “Upstate isn’t really New York.” Technically, they are wrong, but culturally, those blokes and blokettes have a point.  The City sports over 8 million residents in just 300 square miles.  It has Broadway, Chinatown, Greenwich Village, Wall Street, Yankees baseball (and 27 World Series championships), The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and great pizza. Meanwhile, in between…

‘The Fall of the American Empire’ does not have highs and lows

“The Fall of the American Empire” – Three numbers:  .1, 188 and 90. The richest .1 percent of Americans earn 188 times as much as the bottom 90 percent, according to a 2017 study featured on inequality.org.  The 2019 numbers surely have grown more disproportionate, but if one thinks that the U.S. is the only country with such frightening statistics, the answer is no.  Include Canada too. Set in Montreal, writer/director Denys Arcand (“The Barbarian Invasions” (2003)) disburses “The Fall of the American Empire”, an economic inequality commentary delivered by…

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,…