MOVIE REVIEW: “East of the Mountains”

Mira Sorvino, Tom Skerritt and Annie Gonzalez
Directed by S.J. Chiro

How has Tom Skerritt never been the star of a movie before? It took a while—way too long—but now at 87, Skerritt delivers a performance that belies a soulfulness and reservoir of talent that has only been briefly glimpsed in his numerous supporting roles over the years. “East of the Mountains” opened Thursday as part of the (virtual) Seattle Film Festival, which is the precisely correct venue ... more >

Ben Wheatley’s “IN THE EARTH” (REVIEW)

Joel Fry, Reece Shearsmith and Hayley Squires
Directed by Ben Wheatley

The Covid-19 pandemic has been hard on the entire world. 2020 and, so far, 2021 have been devastating economically but, most importantly, socially. People are struggling everywhere to maintain their finances and their homes while a demon in virus form breathes its devilish fire on our planet. I’d presume the new film “In the Earth” was borne of this time, even though writer/director Ben ... more >

“I’m fine (Thanks for Asking)” | REVIEW

Kelley Kali, Wesley Moss and Deon Cole
Directed by Kelley Kali and Angelique Molina

Shot in Los Angeles during the COVID-19 pandemic, the new film “I’m Fine (Thanks for Asking)” finds a single mother struggling to provide shelter and a good life for her young daughter after the unexpected death of her husband. Danny (played beautifully by co-writer and co-director Kelley Kali Chatman) has taken her young daughter Wes on an extended camping trip. The reality of their situation ... more >

Magic trick | “MARVELOUS AND THE BLACK HOLE,” our review

Miya Cech, Leonardo Nam and Kannon
Directed by Kate Tsang

Formulaic, “Marvelous and the Black Hole” is a coming-of-age tale that eventually wins over its audience with performances and an accessibility. Miya Cech is quite good as “Sammy,” a rebellious teen with repressed emotions regarding her deceased mother. Carrying a bad attitude that is only getting worse, Sammy acts out. Disrespect to adults (including back giving lip to her dad and sister) ... more >

THE BEAT | Some quick takes from the Garden State and Santa Barbara film festivals

Festival season is in full swing, even with fests either going hybrid or one-hundred percent virtual as the pandemic continues. Here are some films I was able to catch at this year’s Garden State Film Festival, Santa Barbara Film Festival, as well as another interesting film that will be available on demand soon—hopefully along with these other ones. “The Knot” (SBIFF) An intriguing work ... more >

“Taking the fall” or how time decides who our truest companions will be | REVIEW

Directed by Josh Marble

“The problem is, people think the party is over after college... they stop trying, stop doing new things...” The pressures of today’s society can be hell on anyone. Growing up is hard for everyone. Navigating the culture for millennials is a minefield and when one has been gone for a lengthy period, that person may not change but life and society moves on. The pressure that weighs on Tyler ... more >

“French exit” (because why not?) | REVIEW

Michelle Pfeiffer, Lucas Hedges and Tracy Letts
Directed by Azazel Jacobs

Michelle Pfeiffer can do almost no wrong on screen, in my view, and I’m going to declare that it’s not her fault that the new film “French Exit” suffers from overambition and a trace of boredom despite her still-electrifying presence. Not that she doesn’t lean into the role of Frances Price with considerable verve. A lifelong New York socialite, Frances is devastated to learn that her late ... more >