“United Skates”

April 30, 2018 § Leave a comment



Winner of the Audience Award in the Documentary Competition at the Tribeca Film Festival 2018.  Roller rinks across America have been around for 30 to 40 years or longer, and are credited with hosting hip-hop and rap artists as a place where they could feel welcomed to perform.  Some may say that hip hop and rap were born out of the skating world.  The rinks have long been a place where those in the African American communities could go and meet up with one another, unwind, and feel free to express themselves through music, rhythm, dance, and motion, while providing a sense of culture and community.  World on Wheels, Skateland, Shake and Bake, and Rich City, are known to LA/Compton, New York/New Jersey, Baltimore, Chicago, and North Carolina, with each one having their own sense of style and musical selections. Sadly, many of the rinks have high real estate taxes, and struggle to keep up.  As rinks are forced to close across the country, the die hard skaters do what they have to do to keep their love and passion alive, and start traveling to get to the rinks that do stay open.


“Momentum Generation”

April 29, 2018 § Leave a comment


From the Directors of “The Two Escobars,” Michael and Jeff Zimbalist, comes a surf documentary about the 80’s/90’s pro surf posse; Kelly Slater, Rob Machado, Shane Dorian, Taylor Knox, Ross Williams, Taylor Steele, and Benji Weatherly.  When Benji’s parents split up, his mother moved to Pipeline on the North Shore of Oahu.  World-renowned surf competitions like Billabong Pipeline Masters, Vans Triple Crown, WSL Championships are held at the Banzai Pipeline and Sunset Beach, with “The Eddie” at nearby Waimea Bay.  Some of the local surfers knew each other from amateur contests, however, once Benji moved to the North Shore, his house became the place to be and hang out.  Their bonds of friendship are tested as they go through different stages of life, love, loss, and competitions.





“Bethany Hamilton: Unstoppable”

April 28, 2018 § Leave a comment


Determination, strength, willpower, and a supportive family, makes female pro surfer, Bethany Hamilton, unstoppable.  She grew up in Kauai, Hawaii, in a family that was passionate about surfing.  She learned how to surf at a young age, was naturally good at it, and let nothing stop her from returning to the sport.  Even when a tragic event occurred as a teenager, only four weeks later, she got right back up on her board, and kept paddling out, turning the negative into a positive. She continuously follows her dreams; to surf the world’s most dangerous waves, to compete in the world’s fiercest competitions,  fall in love, and have a family.  A true inspiration to all.

“To Dust”

April 26, 2018 § Leave a comment



How can a serious topic, like the death of a Hasidic cantor’s wife, be so funny?   Matthew Broderick, plays Albert, a middle aged biology professor at the local community college.  Geza Rohrig, plays Shmuel, a Hasidic cantor who’s wife recently died of cancer.  Shmuel is distraught and his entire life has turned upside down.  He wants answers and he wants them now.  Shmuel is trying to teach his two sons to continue to respect their mother even after she is gone, while his sons continue to search for a dybbuk, or an evil spirit that has entered a living person. The spirit attaches to the soul and possesses a separate personality. Once the spirit has accomplished its goal, it leaves the person.

Shmuel is determined!  He wants to know just how fast his wife’s body will take to decompose, and he will stop at nothing until he gets his answers.  An unlikely friendship develops between two men from two very different backgrounds, cultures, and religions,  when Shmuel goes to the local college to seek out answers from the science professor. The professor is caught off guard and really has no idea how to respond or how to handle “Shmoo’s” obsession with decay, and the extremes he proposes and undertakes in order to learn more about the decomposition process.

Skeptical, Albert goes along with the requests and begins to conduct research on the topic. The two go to all lengths to learn more, meanwhile, they get to know one another better in the process.

Very funny.






“Into the Okavango”

April 26, 2018 § Leave a comment

Conservation biologist, Steve Boyes, holds a Ph. D. in anthropology.  Originally from South Africa, he finds his refuge in the wild nature and vastness of Botswana’s Okavango Delta, and the Kalahari Desert.  This area hosts a large population of elephants, cheetahs, rhinos, lions, hippos, buffalos, red lechwes, zebras, leopards, hyenas and crocodiles. Follow Steve, and his team of explorers,  as they collect and gather data on a four month long expedition across Botswana, Namibia, and Angola, in an effort to preserve the area.  Angola, once a corrupt nation, is changing as development and irrigation systems are being created.  Observe as the group treks up the Cuito river, with all of their food and supplies in a solar powered canoe.

“This is Climate Change”

April 23, 2018 § Leave a comment

A Four-Part Virtual Reality Docu-Series at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Place the headset and headphones on and submerge yourself  into four short films, in four different global locations, all relating to climate change. Look up, down, left and right, and swivel in your chair 360 degrees to get the complete effect.

FEAST: (approximately an eight minute long 360 immersive), starts off with an aerial view flying high over the Brazilian Amazon rainforests. As you look down, you see trees vital to regulating the global climate, being chainsawed down, making room for the lucrative billion dollar cattle ranch industry.

FAMINE: transports the viewer to the once fertile land of Somalia, now a vast, dry, arid land of starving people living in squalor.

FIRE: follows the California wildfire firefighters during last years outbreak.  Learn about the aerial, land, and chemical methods the firefighters use to extinguish them, while listening to the locals personal stories of loss.

MELTING ICE: Glaciers disappearing into the sea.

People at home can watch the first two episodes from the series on the same day it premieres at the festival—April 21st—via the WITHIN app, available on iPhone, Android and all major VR headsets.





April 22, 2018 § Leave a comment

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Instead of having parents who provide for her,  fifteen year old Sarah takes on the role of parent, and acts as the mother to her own mother, and her younger brother and sister. Her mother, who is suffering from bipolar disorder, recently had her welfare benefits cut.  Sarah is also being bullied at school by the popular kids from affluent backgrounds, and is working at the local arcade for food and rent money.

When her drama teacher picks up on Sarah’s angst (without knowing the full extent of her tumultuous personal life), he encourages her to channel her anger and frustration into standup comedy.

The film sheds light on mental health, and the psychologic damage of being bullied.

  • Bipolar I Disorder— defined by manic episodes that last at least 7 days, or by manic symptoms that are so severe that the person needs immediate hospital care. Usually, depressive episodes occur as well, typically lasting at least 2 weeks. Episodes of depression with mixed features (having depression and manic symptoms at the same time) are also possible.
  • Bipolar II Disorder— defined by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes, but not the full-blown manic episodes described above.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder (also called cyclothymia)— defined by numerous periods of hypomanic symptoms as well numerous periods of depressive symptoms lasting for at least 2 years (1 year in children and adolescents). However, the symptoms do not meet the diagnostic requirements for a hypomanic episode and a depressive episode.
  • Other Specified and Unspecified Bipolar and Related Disorders— defined by bipolar disorder symptoms that do not match the three categories listed above.

Great performance from the actress who plays Sarah, Liv Hil.

“Sunday’s Illness”

April 20, 2018 § Leave a comment

A Netflix release.  Director, Ramón Salazar, reflects on the movie’s title.  “I remember when I was eight years old, I deeply hated the feeling I got on Sunday afternoons.  That moment when the sun goes down and all you can do is wait for Monday to arrive.  It was incredibly distressing for me. I was invaded by unease, which went away once Monday came. I would face Monday with strength and hope that Friday would arrive as soon as possible.”

When Anabel, a sophisticated diplomat’s wife, hosts a charitable fundraiser, she comes face to face with one of the waitstaff,  her 43 year old daughter Chiara, who she abandoned 35 years prior.  There is a long pause in the film as Anabel and Chiara glance at one another from across a long banquet table with gazes of uncertainty and certainty, curiosity and disbelief.

Reunited, Chiara, proposes a strange request for her biological mother. She asks that her mother spend 10 days with her at her farmhouse in the country.  Due to the class differences, Anabel’s family is concerned for her safety, and forces Chiara to sign legal documents stating that she will never ask for anything else in the future. Chiara signs the document without any hesitation or review.  Skeptical, Anabel, agrees to the proposition, and with reservations is dropped off in the picturesque country setting.  Gradually, as the two spend time getting to know one other, Chiara, helps Anabel shed her pretension and upscale attire, for a more relaxed attitude, and jeans and sneakers. The two slowly begin to make up for lost time, however, Chiara has a deeper ulterior motive to their visit other than bonding and getting to know one another better.

Stars Barbara Lennie and Susi Sanchez.

A Netflix release.

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