They’re everyday saints. The Raineys are a loving family and community activists. They live in northern Philadelphia, an inner-city neighborhood that’s an archetype for lots of struggling, poverty-level American communities. Yet somehow, this endearing clan remains positive through the most challenging moments. Their resilience and family bond are the heart of this very moving documentary. […]


It’s refreshing to see an American-made animated film show such great respect for Mexican culture. The special attention paid to tradition, spiritual elements and family values is amazing to watch. Pixar, co-directors Lee Unkrich and Adrian Molina, imaginative writing, an extremely fine tech crew and a very talented cast have made Coco the best animated […]

Eric Clapton: A Life in 12 Bars

Considering the amount of booze and heroin that rushed through Eric Clapton’s veins back in the ‘60s and ‘70s, his survival is almost miraculous. Maybe not as astonishing as watching Keith Richards dodge the Grim Reaper, but close. Hence the fascination with watching this 2hr 15 min bio/doc about this legendary rock icon. He has […]


Writer/director Dee Rees’ 2011 feature film debut Pariah was a depressing but touching look at black lesbian life. This follow-up film is no less weighty. The key difference is the budget ($10M) for this film is bigger and it is used wisely on a top-notch tech crew and fine actors that elevate this southern WWII-era […]

Murder on the Orient Express

It’s a good time to take a break from the parade of bleak dramas, testosterone-laden superhero epics and bad moms comedies and watch a good old-fashioned mystery thriller. It’s how Agatha Christie, the world’s best-selling author, would have wanted it.  She built her reputation on detective novels that endeared her to readers and firmly placed […]

Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Denzel Washington may be the most accomplished actor of our generation. Like a chameleon, he’s morphed from the stern father in Fences to a dorky, introverted attorney in this meandering crime/drama/thriller. His talent is more than enough reason to sit through the two hours and nine minutes of misguided, anticlimactic storytelling.   Writer/director Dan Gilroy’s […]


  Considering all his major accomplishments, why didn’t someone make a film about Thurgood Marshall’s life that was comprehensive? He was the lawyer who won Brown v. Board of Education, and was the founder of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, United States Solicitor General and the first African American Supreme Court Justice. But […]

2017 New York Film Festival Opens With Homage to War Vets

Last Flag Flying (***) There is a deep sense of camaraderie in this year’s NYFF opening night film. It’s a drama centered on war veterans that is filled with personal history, inner demons, discord and hope. The stirring script, by Darryl Ponicsan (author of the book the film is based on) and director/writer Richard Linklater […]

Alex & Eve

   If My Big Fat Greek Wedding had a bi-cultural Australian child, it would be Alex & Eve. Think back to 2002 and the surprise success of that romantic comedy that starred and was written by Nia Vardalos. Was it the greatest rom/com of all time? No. But there was something infectious, loving and humorous […]

Toronto: The Finest Dining During 2017 International Film Festival

For the 42nd year, the Toronto International Film Festival gathered the highest quality films from around the world and screened them for nearly 500,000 filmgoers. The streets of downtown Toronto were abuzz with movie lovers and celebrities who were enthralled by the 255 films that graced TIFF. Watching world premieres was an exciting experience. Equally […]