Secondhand Lions (2003)

A shy teenager is abandoned by his greedy mother to a pair of eccentric great-uncles in rural Texas. This coming-of-age fantasy is well-shot, could have used a much more interesting script, and was believably and hilariously acted. Sometimes too saccharine, this movie delivers more than expected. Grade: B-. IMDB: Secondhand Lions.

The Rosa Parks Story (2002)

Angela Bassett shines as Rosa Parks, the quiet seamstress who, in one simple act in 1955, launched the Civil Rights Movement. The biopic is effectively scripted, beautiful acted, and nicely shot, but the soundtrack makes it difficult to hear some of the dialogue—a beautiful look at a historical giant. Grade: B+. IMDB: The Rosa Parks […]

The Temptations (1998)

A fitting tribute to one of the greatest musical groups in recorded music, this miniseries chronicles the rise and fall of The Temptations, from Motown beginnings to the reunion tour. The casting could not have been more perfect and the actors brought artists struggling to deal with fame to life. Grade: A. IMDB: The Temptations.

Cry, the Beloved Country (1995)

James Earl Jones shines in this small film about a South African country pastor who has to journey into Johannesberg to find his estranged sister and son, both of whom have gotten themselves into trouble. Despite amazing cinematography, this important and very poignant picture sometimes felt jerky, stuttering, and clunky. Grade: B-. IMDB: Cry, the […]

Good Night, and Good Luck (2005)

George Cloony brings us the story of Edward R. Morrow’s fight against Senator Joseph McCarthy.  David Straitharn does an excellent job as the newsman.  The supporting cast is believable in their roles.  The choice of making this film in black and white gives it an appropriate feel for the time. Grade: A. IMDB: Good Night, […]

Ananda Project – Release (2000)

A beautiful collection of laid-back, stylish house tracks, this CD features good vocal performances, high production value, and a sensual groove. Caron Wheeler of Soul II Soul fame lends her style to some of the tracks. Cascades of Colour, Breaking Down, Falling for You, and Straight Magic stand out. Grade: A-. AllMusic: Release.

The Dreamers (2003)

An American student in Paris falls into an interesting relationship with a nearly incestuous and very intimate twin brother and sister. Set in France during the student riots, this film, directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, features strong on-screen chemistry, very sexual content, and a story about pained and flawed characters. Grade: B. IMDB: The Dreamers.

Crash (2004)

An astonishing cast and a phenomenal story bring this Best Picture Oscar winner to life. This racially charged drama set in Los Angeles brings a gritty realistic tension and centers around a group of people full of pain and confusion. Angry scenes of hatred and violence resolve to beautiful tenderness. Grade: A. IMDB: Crash.

Tom & Viv (1994)

Willem Dafoe and Miranda Richardson lead a talented British cast in this historical drama centered on the relationship between T. S. Eliot and his troubled wife, Vivienne. Beautifully acted, scripted, and filmed, this period piece brings us into the steadily deteriorating marriage and has some very difficult-to-watch moments. Grade: B. IMDB: Tom & Viv.

Snakes on a Plane (2006)

Samuel L. Jackson stars in this funny action thriller which is everything the title describes. The plot is fairly predictable, but the film lives up to its hype and takes us on a fun romp through special effects, simple tension building, shallow two-dimensional characters, and Jackson’s awesome signature style. Grade: B. IMDB: Snakes on a […]

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