DOC NYC 2020: 9-11 Kids

9-11 Kids explores both race and class in profiling the lives of the children sitting in class when President George W. Bush learned of 9/11. Everyone remembers where they were on the morning of September 11th.  For one group of people, the morning is particularly memorable.  This is because then-President George W. Bush was visiting Emma E. Booker Elementary School. All of us have seen the photo where Bush’s chief of staff, Andy Card, whispers…

"DOC NYC 2020: 9-11 Kids"

DOC NYC 2020: Truth to Power

Truth to Power: Barbara Lee Speaks for Me is a powerful and inspiring biography of the highest-ranking Black woman in Congress. Only one person voted against the 2001 authorization for military force.  That person is longtime Rep. Barbara Lee.  While she is the only one to go through with her feelings on the vote, other colleagues regret not joining her.  A number of colleagues are interviewed about this including Lynne Woolsey (D-CA, James Clyburn (D-SC),…

"DOC NYC 2020: Truth to Power"

DOC NYC 2020: ‘Til Kingdom Come

‘Til Kingdom Come is a documentary that shows why evangelicals and right-wing Israelis have gotten in bed with each other. This documentary may be short but it puts the spotlight on rural communities in Kentucky among others.  If it makes you uncomfortable, then the film is doing its job.  There are a number of Orthodox Jews in America and Israel that welcome evangelical support for Israel.  The thing is that evangelicals are not supporting Israel…

"DOC NYC 2020: ‘Til Kingdom Come"

DOC NYC 2020: The Meaning of Hitler

The Meaning of Hitler is not a conventional film by any means but it is effective in getting its point across about understanding the past. There has been a rise of white nationalism and anti-Semitism in the past few years.  It is not just limited to Europe but we are also seeing it in the United States.  Filmmaking team Petra Epperlein and Michael Tucker seek to understand what is happening now by exploring the past. …

"DOC NYC 2020: The Meaning of Hitler"

DOC NYC 2020: Kings of Capitol Hill

Kings of Capitol Hill is an eye-opening look at the history of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) and its role in American politics. AIPAC was founded in order to support a strategic alliance between the US and Israel. The large majority of the founders were Jewish Democrats.  Eighty percent of Jews had been Democrats for decades and many had been politically involved.  Some came into leadership positions because of American involvement in the Vietnam…

"DOC NYC 2020: Kings of Capitol Hill"

AFI FEST 2020: The Father

Sir Anthony Hopkins delivers yet another top-notch performance as an aging father with dementia in The Father, which is emotionally moving. When the film premiered during Sundance earlier this year, Hopkins was in the closing weeks of the Oscar race for The Two Popes.  While he may have lost out, he’s back in the running and is almost certainly the front-runner.  It’s not unlike Hopkins to deliver a masterclass performance and here is on display…

"AFI FEST 2020: The Father"

AFI FEST 2020: Wander Darkly

Sienna Miller delivers one of her finest performances in Wander Darkly but the film’s narrative approach is where viewers might get lost. Adrienne (Sienna Miller) and Matteo (Diego Luna) are in a car accident shortly after the film starts.  Following the accident, the film takes us on a confusing narrative where the two are in a different sort of state.  We’re seeing them through the events of moments the duo shared together at previous points…

"AFI FEST 2020: Wander Darkly"

AFI FEST 2020: Uncle Frank

Uncle Frank is a period piece following a closeted gay man who is reluctantly returning home for his father’s funeral and unresolved trauma. While conditions have improved to an extent for the LGBTQ community, things are certainly better than they were in 1973.  This is when South Carolinian teenager Beth Bledsoe (Sophia Lillis) heads off to New York University.  The move leads to a reunion with literature professor and Beth’s uncle, Frank (Paul Bettany).  What…

"AFI FEST 2020: Uncle Frank"

AFI FEST 2020: Nine Days

Nine Days features a unique take on the concept of life as one man has the sole power to decide which souls will be born on Earth. Will (Winston Duke) spends his days watching human life on older television sets thanks to videos recorded by Kyo (Benedict Wong).  Think of him as a gatekeeper as he watches people living their daily lives.  It’s a thankless job but I suppose somebody has to do it.  The…

"AFI FEST 2020: Nine Days"

AFI FEST 2020: Pink Skies Ahead

Pink Skies Ahead takes us back to the Los Angeles of the late 1990s when a college students drops out and moves back in with her parents. Aspiring writer Winona (Jessica Barden) drops out of college and gets diagnosed with an anxiety disorder after moving back home with her parents, Robert (Michael McKean) and Pamela (Marcia Gay Harden).  She’s in denial about Dr. Cotton’s (Henry Winkler) diagnosis.  After all, she’s never had a panic attack…

"AFI FEST 2020: Pink Skies Ahead"