Saturday, January 10, 2015

The Suicide Tourist

"Directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker John Zaritsky, The Suicide Tourist is a portrait of Craig Ewert's final days as the Chicago native pursues a physician-assisted suicide in the one place where it's legal for foreigners to come to end their lives: Switzerland. With unique access to Dignitas, the Swiss nonprofit that has helped more than 1,000 people die since 1998, The Suicide Tourist follows Ewert as he debates the morality -- and confronts the reality -- of choosing to die before his disease further ravages his body, and he loses the option to die without unbearable suffering."  2010.  55 minutes  Frontline Information and Video Link.

This is a memorable and thought-provoking documentary.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The Theory of Everything

From Fandango: "James Marsh's biopic of the celebrated scientist Stephen Hawking, The Theory of Everything, stars Eddie Redmayne as the famous figure. Enrolled as a graduate student at Cambridge, Hawking establishes himself as one of the leading minds of his generation, and begins to win the heart of Jane (Felicity Jones). After one of his earliest breakthroughs, Hawking is diagnosed with ALS, and he becomes less and less able to control his own body. With the loyal Jane at his side, he continues his work. However, as the years progress, Jane starts to feel more like a nurse than a wife, and Hawking begins to have feelings for a woman who is hired to care for him. The Theory of Everything screened at the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival. ~ Perry Seibert, Rovi

The NY Times Review.

This movie presents a picture of a most unusual case of ALS -- a > 50 year survival (normal course is 2 - 4 years).  It shows how this devastating disorder impacts on the patient and his family. There is a saying, "the disease affects the patient; the illness impacts on the entire fabric of the family."  The Theory of Everything is not about theoretical physics.  The film is entertaining, not deep.  2 hours and 3 minutes  2014

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Black Heirlooms

Black Heirlooms, by Amanda Brown, is a documentary about wealth in America from an intergenerational perspective. When the 86 year old matriarch, Mee-Mah Royal was hospitalized after a stroke, her 8 children became irreconcilably divided over her care and small estate or roughly $51,000. Through the stories of her children, grandchildren, and supporting interviews with prominent researchers, lawyers, and financial planners Black Heirlooms examines the need for intergenerational planning to transfer family wealth, traditions, and values. Join this critical conversation about intergenerational wealth and the growing wealth gap in America 

The NY Times had an article about this film on November 30, 2014 and an 18 minute version of the documentary can be seen on YouTube.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Late Quartet (2012)

A Late Quartet is a 2012 American drama film co-written (with Seth Grossman), produced, and directed by Yaron Zilberman.[3][4] The film uses chamber music played by the Brentano String Quartet and especially, Beethoven's Op. 131.[5] The film was released in Australia as Performance.

As the Fugue String quartet approaches its 25th anniversary, the onset of a debilitating illness to cellist, Peter Mitchell (Christopher Walken), forces its members to reevaluate their relationships. After being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, Peter announces his decision to play one final concert before he retires. Meanwhile the second violinist, Robert (Philip Seymour Hoffman), voices his desire to alternate the first violinist role, long held by Daniel (Mark Ivanir). Robert is married to Juliette (Catherine Keener), the viola player of the group. Upon discovering Juliette does not support him in this matter, Robert has a one-night stand. Further complicating matters, their daughter, Alexandra (Imogen Poots), begins an affair with Daniel, whom her mother once pined for. Yet bound together by their years of collaboration, the quartet will search for a fitting farewell to their shared passion of music and perhaps even a new beginning.

Definitely high-brow.  Beautifully done and ethereal music!!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Obvious Child (2014)

This is a fine exploration of the impact of an unwanted pregnancy on a 20-something woman in Brooklyn.  It's funny, crude, and deep enough to be meaningful and memorable.  Importantly, it is entertaining as well.

For aspiring comedian Donna Stern, everyday life as a female twenty-something provides ample material for her incredibly relatable brand of humor. On stage, Donna is unapologetically herself, joking about topics as intimate as her sex life and as crude as her day-old underwear. But when Donna gets dumped, loses her job, and finds herself pregnant just in time for Valentine’s Day, she has to navigate the murky waters of independent adulthood for the first time. As she grapples with an uncertain financial future, an unwanted pregnancy, and a surprising new suitor, Donna begins to discover that the most terrifying thing about adulthood isn’t facing it all on her own.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

The Anonymous People (2012)

THE ANONYMOUS PEOPLE is a feature documentary film about the over 23 million Americans living in long-term recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs.

Historically, intense social stigma and discrimination have kept recovery voices silent. Mass media depictions of people with addiction have filled this vacuum, reinforcing stereotypes about people with a preventable and treatable health condition. There are over 23 million Americans in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. They, their family members, friends and allies are building a grass roots social justice movement. Courageous addiction recovery advocates have come out of the shadows and are organizing to end discrimination and the criminalization of addiction, and advance recovery-based solutions.

With the release of The Anonymous People documentary film, Faces & Voices of Recovery and our partners are collaborating to launch a new campaign, MANYFACES-1VOICE.ORG to engage and mobilize the newly emerging constituency to transform public attitudes and policies affecting people seeking or in recovery from addiction to alcohol and other drugs. Whether behind the scenes or on the front line, every recovery voice is needed.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Once Were Warriors (1994)

Director Lee Tamahori's (Along Came a Spider) powerful adaptation of author Alan Duff's best-selling novel centers on the troubled life of a Maori family crippled by poverty, bigotry, alcoholism and domestic violence. Rena Owen stars as Beth Heke, a beleaguered mother who struggles to care for her three children while battling the demons of her erratic, often violent husband, Jake (Temuera Morrison).  103 minutes