Mental Health Awareness Month: Benny and Joon

“Benny and Joon” (1993) is an odd little concoction of a film. On one hand, it has its cuteness and quirk, and on the other- is a very serious example of one’s struggle with mental illness. Neither can be overlooked, nor appreciated without the other, throughout the course of the film. The melding of these makes it a charismatic picture.

Joon Pearl (Mary Stuart Masterson) and Benny Pearl (Aidan Quinn) are brother and sister. She’s an artist, he’s a mechanic, and he looks after her as her mental illness keeps her from living on her own. They have their own rhythm, and there is safety and harmony in their shared life, but it’s obvious both want more. Continue reading Mental Health Awareness Month: Benny and Joon

Review: DC Universe’s Stargirl Premiere

Now, DC Universe adds another show to its arsenal with a colourful and youthful rise of a new heroine in “Stargirl” and is already showing its potential to be something really special.

Now, before we get into anything with our titular heroine, I have to say that this opening is absolutely fantastic and presents a unique look to the DC Universe as it delves in a lesser-known team – The Justice League Society of America Continue reading Review: DC Universe’s Stargirl Premiere

In Their Own League Hall of Fame: Louise Kolm-Fleck

The first woman to ever direct a movie was Alice Guy-Blaché. Then came Louise Kolm-Fleck. But there is a significant difference between the two. One has made her mark in the history books, is considered a milestone, and does ring a bell for even those not too familiar with female film history. The other one vanished into obscurity. One might argue, if she was “only” the second, maybe that’s why we don’t talk about her anymore? Continue reading In Their Own League Hall of Fame: Louise Kolm-Fleck

Review: A Secret Love

“Are you still holding out?” a man asks, seated across from his husband. Terry Donahue and Pat Henschel sit opposite the men and laugh in response. Despite being together for over sixty-five years, Pat has some hesitations about getting married. Those hesitations along with the couples’ life story are the subject of “A Secret Love” (2020).  Continue reading Review: A Secret Love

Review: Inheritance

There’s a moment in “Inheritance” when Lauren (Lily Collins) is required to lie on the spot. She plays a lawyer here (a DA, to be more specific); she is quick on her feet and unflappable…to a point. In this specific scene, she has called 911–suddenly, she changes her mind and says: “one of my kids was playing with my phone, it won’t happen again”. It is a seemingly inconsequential scene–however, the more I thought about it, the more dangerous its implications appeared to be.

Lawyers double as, Inheritance seems to suggest, trained actors. This is a high-octane thriller, first and foremost, but also a showcase of the dangers of combining family with career (especially when this is in criminal justice and law enforcement). The film dares us to think about people like this; do they serve us, or do they use their political leverage for the interest of themselves and their friends and families? Continue reading Review: Inheritance

Review: Proximity

What if you were abducted by aliens and no one believed you?  But then, in your attempt for redemption and for others to believe, you find that you may not be alone after all.  That is the premise for the indie sci-fi thriller “Proximity” (2020).

Isaac (Ryan Mason), a NASA scientist, is working on two projects: one for tracking signals of satellites and the other is himself.  Encouraged by his therapist, Isaac starts keeping a video diary.  One day, while out merely filming in nature, Isaac sees a commotion and follows it.  The commotion turns out to be extraterrestrials. Continue reading Review: Proximity

Review: The Boy Who Sold the World

It doesn’t matter what idea you come up with, just so long as you can sell it. The thirsty fangs of capitalism seek to draw talent from any source, but if you want to plant your feet in its home territory, then America is the place to be. Ben Pasternak, “The Boy Who Sold The World” (2020), an undeniable person of brilliance, with a knack for technology, digital applications, but at the heart of it – marketing, seeks the opportunity of a lifetime. Moving to the states, with investors & financiers snapping at his heels for a chance to support him can Pasternak follow in the footsteps of high-school dropouts, who rise the ladder quickly, or are the stresses of money, success and being away from home too heavy a burden? Oh, did we mention he was fifteen during this?   Continue reading Review: The Boy Who Sold the World

Review: Sisters Apart (Im Feuer)

“Sisters Apart” (Im Feuer) is a compelling film from Greek director and writer Daphne Charizani and is by far one of the most emotionally touching films that you will come across this year. I had the pleasure of watching it at this year’s Berlin Film Festival, stumbling into a screening as part of a happy accident. Despite being one of the best films I watched at the festival, it seems that not enough people are discussing it and it hasn’t been receiving the attention that it rightfully deserves. The film follows the story of two sisters torn apart by war, and the desperate struggle of one of the sisters’ attempts to reunite their family. It’s not often that we see the stories of women fighting on the frontlines being portrayed on the big-screen, so Charizani’s decision to centre the story around these two sisters whose lives both involve fighting for freedom is something rare and unique.  Continue reading Review: Sisters Apart (Im Feuer)

Mental Health Awareness Month, Retrospective Review: Cries and Whispers

The tagline for Ingmar Bergman’s “Cries and Whispers” sums up the plot nicely: Four women dressed in white in a mansion painted red…haunted by whispers and cries. The film’s runtime is just over an hour and a half, taking place in one location with four key players. By the end of the film, we see each woman for who they truly are: a product of their patriarchal society. Repressed, depressed, manic and dying. One can finally cry out and express their pain and torment. Another remains devoted and empathetic. The other two can only whisper as they struggle to contain their emotions and become consumed by them. Continue reading Mental Health Awareness Month, Retrospective Review: Cries and Whispers

Mental Health Awareness Month, Retrospective Review: Ocean Heaven

In the case of this review; the film in question is the 2010 drama “Ocean Heaven”. The film is best known for being the first non-martial arts role for lead actor Jet Li. Primarily known for his action hero persona, Li is also known for his humanitarian views; in charge of various charities via The One Foundation he established. Considering the content of the story which involves mental health awareness, the role sounds like it would be the perfect segue for him. Continue reading Mental Health Awareness Month, Retrospective Review: Ocean Heaven