NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

There are never, ever any easy answers to the questions teenage pregnancy poses, especially when such pregnancy occurs as the result of abuse. Writer/director Eliza Hittman presents this troubling dilemma to her audiences in this heartbreaking and powerful film. Hittman delivers a gut-wrenching and stressful movie that follows a high school girl, as she desperately seeks out a difficult and emotionally charged remedy for her troubles. The writer/ director does a mostly tremendous job of presenting this tormenting story of a young woman courageously fighting for her herself amongst adversity of various kinds.

Sidney Flannigan stars as Autumn, a Pennsylvanian high school teen whose recent ailments reveal an unwanted pregnancy. Given the circumstances of said pregnancy, Autumn and her close cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder) travel to New York in hopes of getting the pregnancy terminated. As both Autumn and Skylar face obstacles along the way, Autumn must face the realities surrounding her pregnancy must honestly face the ugly truths behind it all.

Going into this film I knew that it would not be a comfortable journey. However, I feel it is a bold and much needed exercise that everyone should experience. Through both her writing and direction, Eliza Hittman has made a powerful statement with this film. At the same time, I feel that the abrupt ending without a definite resolution fails to stick the landing. Nevertheless, I have never seen any other film tackle this particular subject with such immediacy, emotions, and intimacy.

Of course, the director has an exceptional cast that brings all of this realism to fruition. I must give high praise to Sidney Flannigan who delivers an absolutely tremendous performance as Autumn. Talia Ryder also stands tall as Autumn's rock of a cousin, Skylar. The movie has a solid supporting cast, but this film belongs to these two incredible leads who impress and captivate.

Now even though this movie is not at all a comforting watch, it is a most necessary dose of reality that should awaken people who have never been in this situation. Those who have experienced such troubles will appreciate that their voices can be heard by those willing to listen to their cries.

THE DOG DOC

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Now available via VOD and Digital platforms is an engrossing and compelling documentary about alternative veterinary medicine. Most people (myself included) have viewed healthcare for pets in rather short-sighted and limited ways. Such is not at all the case for veterinarian Dr. Martin Goldstein and his colleagues at his Smith Ridge Veterinary Center in South Salem, NY. Unlike most of Western veterinary medicine experts, Dr. Goldstein and his associates seek the means and utilize their knowledge of alternative medicine to prolong the lives of our beloved pets in the most qualitative ways. Taking holistic approaches, including dietary, herbal, and eastern approaches, these amazing healers use medical science intelligently to offer beloved animal companions fighting chances of survival, as comfortably as possible.

Filmmaker Cindy Meehl has taken this truly fascinating subject and presents it in a way that appeals to the hearts of her audience members. The animals and their loving owners are presented in such intimate ways that one cannot help, but sympathize with their struggles. Meehl's direction, in addition to the caring personalities in the documentary really drive these messages home. The film honors and celebrates the valuable contibutions pets give to us by simply being and makes a strong case for the much needed evolution of veterinary medicine.

ReelAbilities Film Festival 2020 Review: OLIVER SACKS: HIS OWN LIFE

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

So, this is my first review after a several week break courtesy of COVID-19. To clarify, I have been most fortunate (so far) that I have not fallern ill to the utterly frightening Coronavirus that has spread like wildfire across the globe. Unfortunately, though, the quarantines resulting from the pandemic had temporarily derailed my access to films up for review. Thankfully, studios, film festivals, and publicists have adjusted accordingly to the current state of affairs.

Besides 2020's SXSW, the ReelAbilities Film Festival in Manhattan has been forced to adapt to an online virtual festival and my favorite New York publicist came through with some online screeners fir me to review. Now considering that we are in the midst of a medical crisis, I gravitated toward what I hoped would be an uplifting.and fascinating documentary about famous medical physician, the late Dr. Oliver Sacks. This truly fascinating and moving film did not disappoint. Sacks might have been well known to his fans and ther medical community as an amazingly creative and intelligent doctor and world renowned for his case studies, but this documentary sheds light onto his personal life.

Director Ric Burns presents a comprehensive and candid portrait of a genuinely remarkable man whose own personal turmoil helped shape him into an empathetic and passionate medical professional. Known best for his work in the late 1960s, which is documented in his first book, Awakenings, Sacks has lived an incredible life full of highs, lows, loneliness and love. Not long before his death in 2015, Sacks would write and publish his final book, On The Move: A Life, his most personal autobiography. The documentary promises to be as candid as his last memoir and delivers as a moving, revealing, and somewhat amusing portrait. It is definitely a captivating documentary for those familiar with Oliver Sacks, but one doesn't even have to be at all familar with the good doctor to enjoy and appreciate his story.

In the coming days, I will contine to review films from the ReelAbilities Film Festival as I delve into more screeners. For those interested in the festival and its offerings, go to https://reelabilities.org/newyork/ for all the details. Stay safe!

I STILL BELIEVE

By Liz Lopez

Rating: B-/C+

The faith-based drama, “I Still Believe” is directed by the Erwin Brothers, Andrew and Jon, the filmmaking team behind their successful “I Can Only Imagine” (2018). “I Still Believe” is based on the real events in Contemporary Christian singer-songwriter Jeremy Camp's life. He was inspired to write a Christian/Gospel song after the passing of his first wife, Melissa, and it was released in 2003. The Grammy-nominated Christian singer-songwriter also wrote the book by the same name and the filmmakers adapted it for the big screen. Jeremy (KJ Apa, “Riverdale”) is from Indiana where he lived with his supportive parents (performed by Gary Sinise and Shania Twain), along with his developmentally challenged younger brother Josh (Reuben Dodd). Early in the film, he leaves home (with his guitar) to attend a Christian college in Southern California and he soon meets Jean-Luc (Nathan Parsons, Roswell), the lead singer of a successful Christian rock band, who is there for a campus concert. Jean – Luc invites him to help during their campus concert and that is where he meets Melissa (Britt Robertson, “A Dog's Purpose”) and love blossoms instantly for him.

The screenplay by Jon Erwin and Jon Gunn is about as predictable as can be anticipated from this college - age romance that turns intensely dramatic when Melissa’s medical condition is mentioned, and she is hospitalized. The strong bond between Melissa and Jean – Luc is highlighted quite a bit early in the film and then just suddenly seems downplayed in this script. I am very surprised as to how little emotion is written for Jean-Luc when he finds out about the couple's romance. The writers inform viewers of Melissa’s cancer and then Jeremy is proposing marriage. They have a simple ceremony and yet with all their faith and prayers offered by friends and family, her remission is short-lived.

For those of us not familiar with the song/book, there are issues of going through difficult periods of time maintaining faith. One of my very favorite scenes is when Jeremy is grieving and is with his father. Sinise delivers a beautiful performance, and that is the one that almost had some tears flow.

There is no doubt that actors Apa and Robertson have a fabulous on – screen chemistry that will make younger viewers swoon. Those familiar with the Camp story will very likely enjoy the big – screen version of these real life events, but it does make a fine matinee for anyone who is willing to learn more about this romance and how he has moved forward in his musical and personal life.

Other cast members include: Melissa Roxburgh, Abigail Cowen, Hali Everette                                

Rated PG, 116 minutes and is in theaters March 13th 2020.

Source: Lionsgate

Entertainment News: GRACE AND FRANKIE

Entertainment News: GRACE AND FRANKIE

Rise up for the penultimate season. Grace and Frankie Season 6premieres globally on Netflix  January 15, 2020. Source: Netflix In Grace and Frankie, Jane Fonda (“Grace”) and Lily Tomlin (“Frankie”) star as two women whose lives are turned upside down when...

Latest

Austin Screening Pass Giveaway: BLOW THE MAN DOWN

Austin Screening Pass Giveaway: BLOW THE MAN DOWN

Source: Amazon

TVR is giving away passes to an advance screening of this movie in Austin, TX, scheduled for Thursday, March 12 at 7:00 p.m.  NO PURCHASE IS NECESSARY. Must be 18 or older to enter. See this movie early and free of charge in a theater before it streams on Amazon!

Welcome to Easter Cove, a salty fishing village on the far reaches of Maine’s rocky coast. Grieving the loss of their mother and facing an uncertain future, Mary Beth & Priscilla Connolly cover up a gruesome run-in with a dangerous man. To conceal their crime, the sisters must go deeper into Easter Cove’s underbelly and uncover the town matriarchs’ darkest secrets. 

Go to http://amazonscreenings.com/BTMDTrueViewReviews to claim your passes. Be sure to print the passes and bring them with you to the screening. Do not hesitate as there may be a limited amount of passes available. Arrive early to the theater as seating is not guaranteed and done on a first come, first serve basis. Please spread the word!

NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS

NEVER RARELY SOMETIMES ALWAYS

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

There are never, ever any easy answers to the questions teenage pregnancy poses, especially when such pregnancy occurs as the result of abuse. Writer/director Eliza Hittman presents this troubling dilemma to her audiences in this heartbreaking and powerful film. Hittman delivers a gut-wrenching and stressful movie that follows a high school girl, as she desperately seeks out a difficult and emotionally charged remedy for her troubles. The writer/ director does a mostly tremendous job of presenting this tormenting story of a young woman courageously fighting for her herself amongst adversity of various kinds.

Sidney Flannigan stars as Autumn, a Pennsylvanian high school teen whose recent ailments reveal an unwanted pregnancy. Given the circumstances of said pregnancy, Autumn and her close cousin Skylar (Talia Ryder) travel to New York in hopes of getting the pregnancy terminated. As both Autumn and Skylar face obstacles along the way, Autumn must face the realities surrounding her pregnancy must honestly face the ugly truths behind it all.

Going into this film I knew that it would not be a comfortable journey. However, I feel it is a bold and much needed exercise that everyone should experience. Through both her writing and direction, Eliza Hittman has made a powerful statement with this film. At the same time, I feel that the abrupt ending without a definite resolution fails to stick the landing. Nevertheless, I have never seen any other film tackle this particular subject with such immediacy, emotions, and intimacy.

Of course, the director has an exceptional cast that brings all of this realism to fruition. I must give high praise to Sidney Flannigan who delivers an absolutely tremendous performance as Autumn. Talia Ryder also stands tall as Autumn’s rock of a cousin, Skylar. The movie has a solid supporting cast, but this film belongs to these two incredible leads who impress and captivate.

Now even though this movie is not at all a comforting watch, it is a most necessary dose of reality that should awaken people who have never been in this situation. Those who have experienced such troubles will appreciate that their voices can be heard by those willing to listen to their cries.

THE DOG DOC

THE DOG DOC

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

Now available via VOD and Digital platforms is an engrossing and compelling documentary about alternative veterinary medicine. Most people (myself included) have viewed healthcare for pets in rather short-sighted and limited ways. Such is not at all the case for veterinarian Dr. Martin Goldstein and his colleagues at his Smith Ridge Veterinary Center in South Salem, NY. Unlike most of Western veterinary medicine experts, Dr. Goldstein and his associates seek the means and utilize their knowledge of alternative medicine to prolong the lives of our beloved pets in the most qualitative ways. Taking holistic approaches, including dietary, herbal, and eastern approaches, these amazing healers use medical science intelligently to offer beloved animal companions fighting chances of survival, as comfortably as possible.

Filmmaker Cindy Meehl has taken this truly fascinating subject and presents it in a way that appeals to the hearts of her audience members. The animals and their loving owners are presented in such intimate ways that one cannot help, but sympathize with their struggles. Meehl’s direction, in addition to the caring personalities in the documentary really drive these messages home. The film honors and celebrates the valuable contibutions pets give to us by simply being and makes a strong case for the much needed evolution of veterinary medicine.

ReelAbilities Film Festival 2020 Review: OLIVER SACKS: HIS OWN LIFE

ReelAbilities Film Festival 2020 Review: OLIVER SACKS: HIS OWN LIFE

By Mark Saldana

Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)

So, this is my first review after a several week break courtesy of COVID-19. To clarify, I have been most fortunate (so far) that I have not fallern ill to the utterly frightening Coronavirus that has spread like wildfire across the globe. Unfortunately, though, the quarantines resulting from the pandemic had temporarily derailed my access to films up for review. Thankfully, studios, film festivals, and publicists have adjusted accordingly to the current state of affairs.

Besides 2020’s SXSW, the ReelAbilities Film Festival in Manhattan has been forced to adapt to an online virtual festival and my favorite New York publicist came through with some online screeners fir me to review. Now considering that we are in the midst of a medical crisis, I gravitated toward what I hoped would be an uplifting.and fascinating documentary about famous medical physician, the late Dr. Oliver Sacks. This truly fascinating and moving film did not disappoint. Sacks might have been well known to his fans and ther medical community as an amazingly creative and intelligent doctor and world renowned for his case studies, but this documentary sheds light onto his personal life.

Director Ric Burns presents a comprehensive and candid portrait of a genuinely remarkable man whose own personal turmoil helped shape him into an empathetic and passionate medical professional. Known best for his work in the late 1960s, which is documented in his first book, Awakenings, Sacks has lived an incredible life full of highs, lows, loneliness and love. Not long before his death in 2015, Sacks would write and publish his final book, On The Move: A Life, his most personal autobiography. The documentary promises to be as candid as his last memoir and delivers as a moving, revealing, and somewhat amusing portrait. It is definitely a captivating documentary for those familiar with Oliver Sacks, but one doesn’t even have to be at all familar with the good doctor to enjoy and appreciate his story.

In the coming days, I will contine to review films from the ReelAbilities Film Festival as I delve into more screeners. For those interested in the festival and its offerings, go to https://reelabilities.org/newyork/ for all the details. Stay safe!

Multiplatform Video Release: LILYANA

Multiplatform Video Release: LILYANA

Source: ABRAMORAMA LIYANA is a genre-defying documentary that tells the story of five children in the Kingdom of Eswatini who turn past trauma into an original fable about a girl named Liyana who embarks on a perilous quest to save her young twin brothers. The...

Review – On DVD & Streaming September 9th: YESTERDAY

Review – On DVD & Streaming September 9th: YESTERDAY

By Laurie Coker Rating: B+ Yesterday were the Beatles and today, only a glimmer remains – or no memory of them all. Director Danny Boyle takes his viewers on an enchanted journey in this twist on the music of the Fab Four. Written by Richard Curtis, Yesterday offers a...

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