“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.


April 19, 2018 § Leave a comment



“Lemonade” is a riveting story about immigration, a questionable marriage of convenience, cultural differences, abuse of power, corruption, and the desire for a better life for an 8 year old boy.  Female Romanian film director, Ioana Uricaru, stated, “the idea for the story was sparked by a true story based on my own experiences of discovering the American way of life, and the differences between the American and Romanian worldviews.”

Plot: Romanian born, Mara, comes to the US on a temporary work visa to work as a healthcare professional in a medical facility.  While working she meets an American man, Daniel, who sustained an injury on the job and requires dialysis.  The two quickly marry and she quits her job and cares for him.  Mara is the mother of one son, 8 years old, from a previous marriage.  The boy, Dragos, comes to the US to live with his mother and her ‘friend.’  Mara and Daniel are interviewed separately by an immigration officer, Moji, who is investigating the legitimacy of their marriage. Moji accuses Mara of marriage fraud,  and begins to ask her why she never married her son’s biological father in Romania. As the immigration process becomes very controversial, she begins to find herself seeking guidance from attorneys.

‘Lemonade’ is the harsh reality of one young immigrant mother and her 8 year old son who are striving for the American dream.

Must see.

6:00 PM – THU 4/19
 5:45 PM – FRI 4/20
5:45 PM – SAT 4/21
8:00 PM – FRI 4/27



One World Cinema



April 2, 2018 § Leave a comment

From the Director of “The Syrian Bride,” and “The Lemon Tree,” comes a story of a female Israeli Mossad agent who is sent to an apartment in Germany for two weeks to protect their Lebanese informant who is undergoing plastic surgery in order to claim a new identity.  Who can be trusted? Will they make it out alive?

Starts April 6, 2018

Santa Monica, CA-    Laemmle’s Town Center 5

Beverly Hills, CA-  Ahrya Fine Arts