One new film that I have been long-anticipating is GET ON UP, a biopic which chronicles the life and times of James Brown, one of the seminal figures on the American musical scene during the infancy of rock, roll, and soul.
The number of children who for one reason or another go missing not just in the United States but across the globe is staggering, maddening, and heartbreaking. The saga of one such occurrence is told in SIDDHARTH, a heartfelt, quietly shattering new film.
I recently attended the Festival Cinema Invisible, now in its third year, which features an array of new Iranian films, all of varying length. What struck me was the generally high quality of many-- but not all-- of the films, not to mention the universality of their subjects.
World War II may have ended in the mid-1940s. The concentration camps were liberated and those who survived the horrors of the era were supposed to get on with their lives. But for many, the war never really concluded. The brutality of the time and the decisions made by individuals of all backgrounds reverberated through their souls, in many cases for the rest of their lives.
These days, more than ever before, baseball-- otherwise known as America's Pastime-- is a truly international sport. According to the Associated Press, 28.1 per cent of current major leaguers were born outside the United States. They hail from the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Canada, Cuba, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Japan, South Korea, Australia... And the potential for finding big league talent outside the U.S. is examined in MILLION DOLLAR ARM, the story of a sports agent, played by Jon Hamm, who heads off to India in search of players who just might become the next fireballing big league hurlers.
Two current films, both of which are dramatically flawed, still are well-worth seeing for two reasons: They feature superb performances by their leading players; and they offer insightful depictions of the plights of women during earlier ages. These women may have completely different backgrounds, but their gender-- and how they are perceived within the world they inhabit-- are central to their stories.
With the release of GODZILLA, the latest of countless mega-budgeted, special effects-laden blockbusters that seem to be dominating movie theaters these days, the original screen version of the story is well-worth recalling. This GODZILLA, of course, was wildly successful in its day. It was produced in Japan and released in 1954, and baby boomers may recall that the U.S. edition included added footage featuring a pre-PERRY MASON Raymond Burr. The full title of this version is GODZILLA: KING OF THE MONSTERS, and the monster in question is a giant, apparently unstoppable fire-breathing lizard who, like so many 1950s sci-fi movie creatures, was the byproduct of nuclear weapons testing run amok.
As of the second week in May, the top four moneymaking films released theatrically in the U.S. in 2014 were THE LEGO MOVIE, CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER, THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2, and DIVERGENT. All are big-budget extravaganzas that are fashioned to attract a desired demographic: young people, from grade schoolers to twenty-and-thirtysomethings.