My View: Summerland (2020) PG During World War II, a single English writer, Alice (Gemma Arterton), is given an evacuee child, Frank (Lucas Bond), to raise as his father fights the war. Both Frank and Alice will discover friendship and how time can repair anything, including past loves. Right from the start, Gemma Arterton steals your heart as a woman whose life is filled with what could have been. Alice is a woman who wants to be left alone to write, but when Frank joins her world, she slowly comes to realize that her life has been missing something. The storyline is fun and has a few cool twists that I didn’t see coming. I don’t want to give too much away, but let's say that this film is filled with love and Arterton’s winning performance. My Rating: Full Price Summerland Website Available for rent on participating on-demand services.
Indiefest: Yes, God, Yes (2019) R Alice (Natalia Dyer) is a Catholic teenager in the early 2000s and her body in inflict with what her religious upbringing is telling her about sex. Her church has a weekend get together for teens, and it just might provide the answers that Alice is looking for, or will it? This delightful and funny film about a young woman who wants to understand the sexual feelings that she has begun to explore. Alice is a confused and sweet teenager that just wants some answers. Unfortunately, the Catholic church isn’t going to give her the answers she needs or wants. What I loved about this film is that Alice is kind of an innocent dunce as it comes to her sexual feelings, and we delight in her discovery that maybe what everyone is telling her isn’t the truth or set in the real world. The film moves along at a quick pace, and though the film can get a little raunchy, it still is a fun time with a character that is a blast to be with. My Rating: Full Price Yes, God, Yes Website Available for rent on participating on-demand services.
My View: Stockton on My Mind (2020) Documentary on Michael Tubbs, who in his twenties, the same day that Donald Trump was elected President, became Mayor of Stockton, California. Mayor Tubbs, the son of a teenage mother and a father who was always in prison, decided to use private and public partnerships to create innovative and sometimes controversial programs to improve his community's conditions. Watching this movie, you will admire Mayor Tubbs, and you hope that his ideas work, but we never quite get in-depth with the Mayor or what his voting public thinks about him or his programs. The film and its subject are in the right place and maybe in a few years, we can look back and think about how progressive and great the Mayor’s programs are. The problem is that currently, we don’t know and that makes this film seem not quite finished. My Rating: Bargain Matinee Stockton on My Mind Website The film is currently on the HBO platform.
My View: The Secret: Dare to Dream (2020) PG A widow, Miranda (Katie Holmes), is trying to make ends meets while raising three children and dating her boyfriend, Tucker (Jerry O’Connell). A devastating storm comes to town and brings a mysterious man, Bray (Josh Lucas) into Miranda, and her life will never be the same. I wanted to like this movie, but as the film went on, it got just stupid and created an ending that even the Hallmark Channel wouldn’t consider doing. This isn’t a horrible film, but you have to wonder what happened to Katie Holmes's career that she has to take this type of role. The film is filled with preaching about how the power of positive thinking will change your life, but the only thing positive about this film is that you aren’t going to like it. My Rating: Cable The Secret: Dare to Dream Website Available for rent on participating on-demand services.
Indiefest: The Fight (2020) PG-13 The documentary gives an inside look at the lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union and the battles they face during the Trump administration. The film follows four ACLU lawyers, each working on a different case that pits the individual against the government, but each case could have far-reaching results that could go to change how rights are seen. The film does a great job giving us insight into just how the ACLU works as they continually fight for our freedom. The film doesn’t gloss over the idea that sometimes the ACLU fights for the rights of some organizations that most of us don’t approve (like the KKK or radicals), but it also makes the point that is why our democracy works, giving everyone the right to vote, to serve our country and to marry who we want. I will warn you that there a couple of times that you will need a tissue as some of the cases deal with very touching subjects such as parents being separated from their children in detention centers. You may not always agree with who they defend or what those people stand for, but you will understand what a courageous and challenging job it is through this film. My Rating: Full Price The Fight Website Available for rent on participating on-demand services.
Indiefest: Rebuilding Paradise (2020) PG-13 After the devastating ‘Camp Fire’ wildfires in 2018, where 85 people lost their lives, the community of Paradise, California, attempts to pick up the pieces. Ron Howard directed this documentary about what happened to this community in the months after the fire that wiped out over 18,000 homes. The film concentrates on some of the town people, including a former mayor who wants to rebuild a young police officer with a family and a school superintendent who is trying to keep her district alive and working. The film begins with horrific scenes of the fire, including camera phone movies as people evacuated their homes to the fire. The rest of the film explores just how devastating the loss of life and homes was on the people who lived in the area. The film does explore a little bit of the causes of the fire and the environmental damage that people have caused in the area to make the fire more powerful, but the focus is on the people. We get to see just how these people are coping and how hard they are trying to get their lives back together. My Rating: Full Price Rebuilding Paradise Website Available for rent on participating on-demand services.
Forgotten Film: The Crimson Kimono (1959) Two detectives (Glenn Corbett, James Shigeta) are on a case to find a stripper’s killer in the Japanese part of Los Angeles. Little Tokyo. Their partnership is threatened when both men fall for the same woman (Victoria Shaw). I love that this film is two films in one, a murder mystery and a romance that deals with inter-racial relations. The film has a great black and white look to it, making it seem very stark and realistic. The murder mystery is a little weak, but the three-way romance more than makes up for it, creating a movie that was way before its time. My Rating: Bargain Matinee The Crimson Kimono Info
Weird Credits: From the credits of Summerland: Marine Coordinator
Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You: Kajillionaire (2020) R Old Dolio (Evan Rachel Wood) has spent her whole life doing one low-level scam after another with her parents (Debra Winger, Richard Jenkins). Old Dolio’s life is changed when Melanie (Gina Rodriguez) joins the group for a major heist. The film is written and directed by Miranda July, who made one of my favorite movies of the 00s, Me and You and Everyone We Know. The Kajillionaire Info