Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Tune in for Movies with Meaning

Join host Frankie Picasso and me for the next edition of Movies with Meaning on The Good Media Network’s Frankiesense & More broadcast on Thursday, May 31, at 1 pm ET. We’ll discuss a number of new movie releases and other film-related news. For the video version, tune in on Facebook Live by clicking here. And, for the audio only podcast edition, check out The Good Media Network’s home page by clicking here. Join us for some fun movie chat!


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

This Week in Movies with Meaning

Reviews of "Disobedience" and "Pope Francis - A Man of His Word," as well as a book award announcement and a radio show preview, are all in the latest Movies with Meaning post on the web site of The Good Media Network, available by clicking here.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

‘Disobedience’ dares to challenge taboos

“Disobedience” (2018). Cast: Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams, Alessandro Nivola, Anton Lesser, Bernice Stegers, Allan Corduner, Nicholas Woodeson, Liza Sadovy. Director: Sebastián Lelio. Screenplay: Sebastián Lelio and Rebecca Lenkiewicz. Book: Naomi Alderman, Disobedience. Web site. Trailer.

Getting what we want from life, especially in an area as critical as romance, may push us to our limits. We may find ourselves saddled with constraints that push back against us, thwarting our efforts and keeping us from fulfilling our objectives. But these conditions are often wholly arbitrary, capable of being overcome with the right degrees of determination and self-reliance, themes explored in the new romantic drama, “Disobedience.”

When a much-beloved but aging and frail rav (Anton Lesser) passes on, the faithful of his orthodox London synagogue are devastated. The usual and customary ceremonies acknowledging his death, celebrating his life and preparing for his successor are carried out with the expected speed, dignity and efficiency. Everything goes as it’s supposed to. But, in the midst of all this, an unexpected wrinkle pops up: The rabbi’s only child, his daughter Ronit (Rachel Weisz), returns to London from New York, where she’s spent years working as a professional photographer.

Three old friends, Ronit (Rachel Weisz, left), Esti (Rachel McAdams, center) and Dovid (Alessandro Nivola, right), honor the passing of their orthodox synagogue’s beloved rav in the new romantic drama, “Disobedience.” Photo by Agatha A. Nitecki, courtesy of Bleecker Street Media.[/caption]

Ronit’s return comes as a surprise, because she left suddenly, without notice, and has not kept in touch with anyone since her unexpected departure. In fact, most of her father’s friends and associates suspected, given how she left and has remained incommunicado, that they would never hear from her again. But, being a dutiful daughter, she believes that coming home to honor her father is the right thing to do.

On some level, Ronit is uncomfortable about her return, not sure how she will be received. But she soon finds a warmer-than-expected reception, especially from the two friends with whom she was closest while growing up, Dovid (Alessandro Nivola) and Esti (Rachel McAdams). Dovid, who appears to be the rav’s most likely successor, is devout in all he does, and Esti, a school teacher, loves her work. They’ve also married since Ronit’s departure, news that takes the prodigal daughter by surprise – especially since one of them also played a part in her leaving.

So why did Ronit head to New York? As it turns out, she and Esti were strongly attracted to one another, despite orthodox taboos against a romance such as theirs. Their forbidden relationship, once exposed, caused great distress for her father and led to quite an uproar in the congregation. Ronit saw no option but to move away, though she never forgot the love she left behind – which is why the revelation of Esti’s marriage to Dovid comes as quite a shock. But, before long, Ronit learns that the embers of their romance have not cooled. In fact, Ronit’s return marks the rekindling of an old flame, one whose heat won’t be denied this time.

A rabbi’s daughter, Ronit Krushka (Rachel Weisz, right), honors her deceased father at his gravesite in director Sebastián Lelio’s latest offering, “Disobedience.” Photo courtesy of Bleecker Street Media.[/caption]

As events play out, circumstances grow progressively more complicated. Ronit and Esti become closer, an intimacy that increasingly drives a wedge between Dovid and his wife. The marriage becomes strained, and Dovid wonders whether he’ll be allowed to ascend as the rav’s successor. At the same time, though, he begins to question his faith and whether the constraints of its customs and traditions are something he can live with, especially once he sees the genuine affection that’s blossoming between his two longtime friends. Is the “disobedience” of Ronit and Esti really as “bad” as it’s alleged to be? The circumstances raise some hard questions for all concerned, particularly whether they’ll be able to continue leading the lives they always have or if they’ll be forced into adopting new ways of living more in line with their true selves.

Love, as most of us are aware, tends to know no bounds, regardless of the restrictions we may try to place upon it. That’s true even in the most conservative of communities. Such circumstances are chiefly the product of the beliefs that underlie them, the building blocks of the conscious creation process, the means by which we manifest the reality we experience.

Despite the prevailing sanctions against relationships like this, Ronit and Esti – on some level – believe that forging a bond such as theirs is entirely possible. The only thing that has been holding them back is the beliefs of their community, something that they’re free to choose to ignore if they so decide. Granted, such a radically decisive act may not be easy, especially since it’s likely to lead to ostracism from their tribe, but it’s fundamentally not impossible. Because they possess the powers of choice and free will and because conscious creation makes an infinite range of possibilities attainable at any given moment, they have the wherewithal to make their dream come true – if they choose to do so.

Dovid Kuperman (Alessandro Nivola), the apparent successor to a deceased rav, awaits his destiny in the new romantic drama, “Disobedience.” Photo courtesy of Bleecker Street Media.[/caption]

Taking such a bold step can truly be intimidating. Deciding to proceed in this fashion requires overcoming one’s personal fears, having the courage to pursue one’s true self, despite the potential obstacles. Such conditions are certainly called for where Ronit and Esti are concerned, but the question becomes, do they possess these qualities to realize their aspirations?

While same-sex relationships have generally become more accepted in recent years, there are still segments of society where they’re frowned upon and where taking steps to initiate them represents an act of heroic defiance. Thankfully, there are films that aptly illustrate the possibilities in this regard. In addition to “Disobedience,” other offerings, such as the recently released “God’s Own Country” (2017), the Academy Award-winning “Moonlight” (2016) and the charming romantic comedy “Touch of Pink” (2004), examine what it’s like for those living under restricted social conditions to have the faith, confidence and courage to boldly pursue alternate romantic arrangements, regardless of what others might think. The practice of conscious creation and the thoughts, beliefs and intents that make it work give them the means – and the permission – to proceed to fulfill their hearts’ desire.

The taboo relationship between Ronit (Rachel Weisz, left), a deceased rabbi’s daughter, and Esti (Rachel McAdams, right), wife of a would-be rav, drives the tension of the story in the new romantic drama, “Disobedience.” Photo courtesy of Bleecker Street Media.[/caption]

However, while the message of this alternative love story is indeed a valid one, the execution is a bit off at times. Despite fine performances, the film sometimes gets tripped up on its pacing and direction, meandering a little too much for its own good. Although nuance is fine, occasionally it can be overdone, and, in the case of “Disobedience,” a less cluttered, more succinct approach would have made this offering work better. Overall it’s not bad; it’s just not outstanding.

Finding the love of one’s life might not always be easy, but the satisfaction it yields when we truly find it is often beyond measure. If we hope to attain it, though, we must have the courage and forthrightness to push aside whatever stands in our way. To do less is to deny ourselves one of the greatest gifts life has to offer, and I can think of few things that are more disobedient than that.

Copyright © 2018, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

‘God’s Own Country’ encourages us to find ourselves

“God’s Own Country” (2017). Cast: Josh O’ Connor, Alec Secareanu, Ian Hart, Gemma Jones, Melanie Kilburn, Harry Lister Smith, John McCrea. Director: Francis Lee. Screenplay: Francis Lee. Web site. Trailer.

Finding the courage to assert ourselves and lead the life we want can be challenging, especially under unrelenting and oppressive circumstances. We can retreat from the world, drowning ourselves in various diversions, but, while that might take away the momentary discomfort, it doesn’t really solve the issue at hand. And the longer we put it off to the side, the longer the pain lingers and the more likely we’re to grow jaded and embittered. In the end, confronting the matter will provide the only real chance at a solution, but that can be difficult if we don’t know how to proceed. Such a dilemma may feel like a virtual prison sentence, but those are the circumstances faced by a young man stranded in the English countryside in the romantic drama, “God’s Own Country,” now available on DVD, Blu-ray disc and video on demand.

When twenty-something Johnny Saxby (Josh O’Connor) is saddled with the responsibility of managing the family farm when his father, Martin (Ian Hart), is incapacitated, he’s far from  thrilled with the idea. Given that Johnny’s seldom appreciated for his efforts by either his old man or his mother, Deirdre (Gemma Jones), he resents having to take on something that he has little interest in and for which he’ll receive virtually no credit. Also, as someone who’s interested in exploring the possibilities of his emerging gay lifestyle, there are few opportunities for self-discovery in the restrictive ways of conservative rural Britain.

Farm Workers Johnny Saxby (Josh O’Connor, left) and Gheorghe Ionescu (Alec Secareanu, right) discover they have more in common than farm work in the romantic drama, “God’s Own Country,” now available on DVD, Blu-ray disc and video on demand. Photo © 2017, by Dales Productions Limited/The British Film Institute, courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films.[/caption]

To cope, Johnny spends many of his evenings at the local pub, usually coming home thoroughly smashed, or pursuing anonymous, on-the-fly sexual encounters that amount to little more than momentary flings with no long-term potential. In many ways, he feels like one of the farm animals he tends to – penned in and constantly whipped by his keepers, biding time for an eventual demise (and, at the rate he’s going, one that might well be at his own hand).

When the busy season comes, the pressure gets turned up even further. With Martin unable to help Johnny during the impending lambing season, he can see that his unreliable son clearly needs assistance to get the work done. To help him out, Martin hires a Romanian immigrant farm hand, Gheorghe Ionescu (Alec Secareanu), on a short-term basis.

Johnny sees this development as another insult from the old man and subsequently takes out his resentment on the new hire. Because he needs the work, Gheorghe puts up with Johnny’s uncivil attitude initially. But, when those offenses turn personal, the hired hand lashes out in response. A new level of respect is thus established, one that opens their relationship to an entirely new level. Johnny begins to see what a diligent, caring worker Gheorghe is, an attitude that even begins to rub off on his own work ethic. But, even more than that, Johnny comes to understand what a good man Gheorghe is – one who might even make a good life partner. And, fortunately for Johnny, that feeling is apparently mutual, too.

English farm owner Martin Saxby (Ian Hart) demands much from those who work under him, almost driving them to the point of alienation, in director Francis Lee’s debut feature, “God’s Own Country,” now available on DVD, Blu-ray disc and video on demand. Photo © 2017, by Dales Productions Limited/The British Film Institute, courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films.[/caption]

While working in a remote area of the farm for an extended period, those sentiments begin to emerge. Johnny and Gheorghe give in to their romantic desires and freely explore their feelings for one another. But this is more than just off-the-cuff sex; this is genuine romance, something that Johnny’s experiencing for the first time. The nurturing care that Gheorghe so freely shows in his treatment of the animals becomes apparent in his treatment of Johnny, and, given the insufferable family background from which Johnny came, it’s something that he obviously treasures as well.

But will this budding romance last? What will happen when they return from their remote field work? How will they conduct themselves around Martin and Deirdre? Will Gheorghe’s work assignment be extended, or will it end as originally planned? And can Johnny and Gheorghe make things work in the real world in the same way that they did when by themselves in God’s own country? These are a lot of hard questions to be answered.

Having had a taste of what he really wants out of life, however, Johnny now has a new incentive to make things work. For perhaps the first time in his life, he knows what it means to be happy, to be his own person, no matter what others may think. The test for him, however, is, can he rise to the occasion to pull it off for the long term? Being the mature soul that he is, Gheorghe seems prepared for this, but can he say the same about the man who claims to love him? That’s the challenge as their story plays out.

As many of us have no doubt discovered. invoking the courage necessary to be ourselves can be daunting. The conditions around us may be so oppressive that we feel as if we’re being restrained. Even if such suppression is psychological and not literal, the effect can be burdening.

Farm wife Deirdre Saxby (Gemma Jones) fiercely defends and cares for her ailing husband, no matter what his demands, in “God’s Own Country.” Photo © 2017, by Dales Productions Limited/The British Film Institute, courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films.[/caption]

However, no matter how troubling such circumstances can be, what we experience ultimately comes down to what we believe. If we assume that our lives will be stifling, then such an outcome surely will follow. That’s the conscious creation process at work, the philosophy that maintains we manifest the reality we experience through the power of our thoughts, beliefs and intents.

In Johnny’s case, he initially sees no way out of things. The authoritarian dictates of his parents, coupled with the conservative nature of his environment, have convinced him that “That’s just how life is.” He resents these conditions, yet he engages in some acts of defiance, such as his nightly boozing and his clandestine trysts. But these escapes provide only temporary reprieves, because his beliefs in what he sees as unchangeable circumstances keep him locked in place from being able to implement any meaningful permanent change.

That’s all out the window, however, when Gheorghe arrives. He acts as a catalyst to challenge Johnny’s existing beliefs, showing him that other, better options are indeed possible. Through his presence, Gheorghe gives Johnny hope for a new future, one that’s more in line with his wishes and desires, qualities reflective of his true self.

Farm Workers Johnny Saxby (Josh O’Connor, right) and Gheorghe Ionescu (Alec Secareanu, left) give “roll in the hay” an entirely new meaning in director Francis Lee’s debut feature, “God’s Own Country,” now available on DVD, Blu-ray disc and video on demand. Photo © 2017, by Dales Productions Limited/The British Film Institute, courtesy of Samuel Goldwyn Films.[/caption]

Of course, if change like this is indeed possible, one can’t help but wonder why Johnny has set up such a difficult path for himself on his way to making this discovery. One might assume that it would just be easier to create the desired circumstances in the first place, and that argument truly holds water. But sometimes we need to grow into ourselves, overcoming personal challenges and conquering our fears as part of the process. Such steps aid in our individual growth and enable us to discover the nature of our true being, revelations that are often so satisfying that we tend to appreciate the results more than we might have if we’d just been handed them without any effort on our part.

Johnny learns this for himself on multiple levels, too. Not only does he foster the kind of lifestyle he wants, but he’s also able to stand up to those who would try to hold him down, namely, his parents. Changes in his beliefs earn him the confidence he’s long sought to show them that his contributions to the farm’s operations are just as valuable as any practices, procedures or outlooks they try to summarily impose upon him. And, for his efforts, he’s able to secure the respect and appreciation he deserves but that has long eluded them. But, in the end, it all begins with him and his beliefs, for that’s what governs the manifestations that emerge in his life, no matter which area is involved.

In many respects, “God’s Own Country” reminds me a great deal of “Brokeback Mountain” (2005) but with a better narrative and script. Its fine performances are packed with considerable raw emotion, as well as a great deal of nuance, allowing the characters to come across as completely genuine. It’s also heartening to see a film that holds little back when it comes to its depictions of sexual content, presenting this material with an honesty rarely seen in mainstream cinema while avoiding the trap of becoming so unduly explicit as to be considered pornographic. But, most of all, the picture is filled with a tremendous sense of hope, one that will likely inspire most viewers to sincerely pull for the protagonists as they attempt to fulfill their dream. That’s somewhat common in many mainstream romantic releases, but it’s something not often seen in comparable offerings with gay leads. It’s nice to see it here.

If you’ve never heard of this picture, it’s because it had only limited domestic release in the U.S., playing mostly at film festivals and in other special showings in late 2017. However, it received more play in the U.K., where it earned wider distribution, as well as a well-deserved BAFTA Award nomination for best British feature. Given the various home viewing options available now, though, it’s well worth the screening time.

Getting what we want out of life sometimes involves risk, taking chances to express our feelings and to rise up against the people and circumstances that might stand in our way. But, when we see the payoffs that come from such efforts, we often realize how worthwhile they truly are. Such are the conditions that prevail in God’s own country, a land whose promise is worth pursuing for all it has to offer to all who seek it.

Copyright © 2018, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

'Third Real' Named Awards Finalist!

I'm thrilled to announce that my latest title, Third Real: Conscious Creation Goes Back to the Movies, has been named a finalist in the New Age Nonfiction category of the 12th annual National Indie Excellence Awards competition! See the list of winners and finalists by clicking here. Third Real thus joins its companion title, Get the Picture?!: Conscious Creation Goes to the Movies, as an honoree in this competition, having taken the top prize in this category in the NIEA's 10th annual competition, the winners of which can be found by clicking here. My thanks to the NIEA for this tremendous honor!

Monday, May 21, 2018

‘Tully’ nudges us to look at life’s choices

“Tully” (2018). Cast: Charlize Theron, Ron Livingston, Mackenzie Davis, Mark Duplass, Elaine Tan, Asher Miles Fallica, Lia Frankland, Gameela Wright, Joshua Pak. Director: Jason Reitman. Screenplay: Diablo Cody. Web site. Trailer.

Have you ever felt so overburdened by your circumstances that you didn’t know which way to turn first? The workload is so great that you can barely keep up, yet everything has to get done, even when you don’t feel like doing it. Such conditions can be demoralizing, so much so that you stop taking proper care of yourself and even come to resent your own life. If you can appreciate that, you’ll be able to relate to the everyday routine of an overwhelmed mother of three watching her life slip away from her in the touching but brutally honest new comedy-drama, “Tully.”

Marlo Morrow (Charlize Theron) has two kids, Jonah (Asher Miles Fallica), a special needs child, and Sarah (Lia Frankland), a sweet but sensitive eight-year-old. Mom adores the two youngsters, but caring for them can be a handful, especially where Jonah is concerned. She receives some help from her husband, Drew (Ron Livingston), but, as the primary breadwinner, he works long hours to support the family. And, if all of that weren’t enough, Marlo is about to give birth to baby no. 3.

Marlo Morrow (Charlize Theron) feels put upon by the circumstances of her life as a mother of three in the touching new comedy-drama, “Tully.” Photo by Kimberly French, courtesy of Focus Features.[/caption]

Considering the burden she’s carrying, Marlo is seriously weighed down by her life (pregnancy weight notwithstanding). She’s perpetually tired and feels that her needs are rarely, if ever, met. And, with the blessed event now just days away, circumstances are about to become that much more onerous.

Concerned for his sister’s well-being, Marlo’s wealthy brother, Craig (Mark Duplass), poses an intriguing proposal. As a gift for the new baby’s arrival, he offers to hire a night nanny to care for the child so that Marlo can at least get a good night’s sleep. He tells Marlo about the world of good hiring such a caregiver did for his wife, Elyse (Elaine Tan), when she had her children, and he encourages his sister to take him up on the offer. Marlo doesn’t share Craig’s enthusiasm, though. She’s not sure how she feels about a stranger nurturing her child when she should be the one doing so. What’s more, given traditional expectations about motherhood, she believes that she should be able to take care of things by herself, no matter how unrealistic or outdated that notion might be.

Once the baby arrives, Marlo tries to go it alone but soon finds herself overwhelmed. She decides to give the night nanny concept a shot. And, before long, the new caregiver, Tully (Mackenzie Davis), arrives.

At first, Marlo doesn’t quite know what to make of her new service provider. The bubbly but enigmatic twenty-something seems to possess a boundless amount of energy, as well as an unlimited capacity for nurturing, without ever showing any signs of stress. She also seems to have a special wisdom, specifically advising Marlo that she needs to take care of herself as much as she tends to her children. Yet, because it’s been so long since she did anything like that for herself, Marlo almost doesn’t seem to know how. However, with a little “practice,” she grows comfortable with these “foreign” feelings and begins slipping into a new routine where she looks after her own concerns as much as those of the kids.

To help an overwhelmed mother with her caregiving responsibilities, night nanny Tully (Mackenzie Davis) breathes new life into a household in need of rejuvenation in director Jason Reitman’s latest offering, “Tully.” Photo by Kimberly French, courtesy of Focus Features.[/caption]

The relationship between Marlo and Tully gradually evolves. Marlo comes to see the nanny as someone who cares for her as much as she does for the newborn. Tully attends to tasks like the oppressive housework Marlo never seems to have time to address and bakes cupcakes for Jonah’s classmates. But, beyond that, Tully helps out Marlo with her own personal needs, like pampering herself, finding ways to have fun again and even reigniting the long-dormant romance between Mom and Dad. It’s as if Tully has an uncanny insight into how Marlo’s mind works, and she always manages to come up with the solutions Mom needs.

As time passes, Marlo and Tully become more like friends than employer and employee. Tully makes it possible for Marlo to open up about herself, her life and her feelings. This raises a host of issues that the middle-aged mother has been ignoring or suppressing for a long time. It pushes her to confront emotions that have obviously been troubling her but that she’s been burying under the more immediately pressing needs of changing diapers and getting the kids to school on time. So what starts out as an arrangement to help Marlo get a good night’s sleep turns into a profound journey of personal exploration, one that forces her to examine how her life was, how it has turned out and where she would like it to go. And, as it all plays out, this process takes a number of unexpected twists and turns that will surprise the audience as much as it startles the evolving protagonist.

New father Drew Morrow (Ron Livingston) pitches in when he can in the new comedy-drama, “Tully.” Photo by Kimberly French, courtesy of Focus Features.[/caption]

Given the foregoing, anyone who has experienced circumstances like Marlo can surely appreciate what she’s going through. But, at the same time, one can’t also help but have a Talking Heads moment and rhetorically ask, “Well, how did I get here?” That’s especially true if one has a sudden flash of insightful brilliance where there’s an instant – and perhaps somewhat shocking – awakening to the conditions of the moment. The fallout from such a realization can be devastating, especially when one has lost sight of how those conditions arose in the first place.

When such circumstances arise, it’s usually because we’ve put our lives on autopilot, essentially tuning out our consciousness and letting our existence unfold as it will. We may have occasional glimpses of awareness of who we are and where we’re going, but we’re usually so caught up in the day-to-day minutiae that we lose sight of the bigger picture, including the way in which it takes shape. Yet, whether or not we’re aware of it, we continue to play a role in what transpires, even if it doesn’t seem that way, through the practice of un-conscious creation, a default-driven variation on the conscious creation process, the means by which our reality manifests through the power of our thoughts, beliefs and intents. And, given where Marlo’s at, it’s apparent she’s deep into this potentially pitfall-ridden practice – that is, until she’s shaken out of it by the arrival of the enigmatic new caregiver.

Flashes of awareness like those Marlo experiences often emerge when we reach the point where we find our prevailing circumstances intolerable. Things become so insufferable that something’s got to give. And, based on what the protagonist goes through after the birth of her third child, that’s all too clear. Change is needed – and fast.

A concerned brother, Craig (Mark Duplass), seeks to help his overburdened sister with the impending arrival of a new baby in the touching new comedy-drama, “Tully.” Photo by Kimberly French, courtesy of Focus Features.[/caption]

This is how and why Tully appears in Marlo’s life. Even if the middle-aged mom isn’t aware that she’s drawn this healthy new influence into her life, she’s certainly done so – and at just the right time. In addition to attending to the immediately pressing needs of caring for a newborn, Tully takes care of Marlo, helping her care for herself in ways that she hasn’t for a very long time. And, once refreshed, Marlo is sufficiently rejuvenated to address the issues that she’s set off to the side for far too long, namely, assessing the state of her life and how it has taken its current form.

As Marlo conducts that assessment, she looks to her newfound friend for inspiration. In many ways, Tully mirrors the attitudes and outlooks of Marlo’s younger self, someone who the protagonist lost sight of years ago. The cheerful, caring free spirit reminds Marlo of when she was in her 20s, living a fun-filled, freewheeling life unburdened by the often-mundane responsibilities of packing school lunches and shuttling kids to extracurricular activities. But Marlo can’t remember the last time she engaged in pursuits like going out for drinks or even having sex with her husband. When did that part of herself disappear? And is she satisfied with what she’s replaced that life with?

Having a confidante to talk to about these topics helps immeasurably. Tully shows Marlo how to enjoy life again. But, even more than that, Tully helps her older counterpart take a serious look at the life she’s created to help her decide if it’s what she really wants for her future. This, in turn, helps Marlo examine the underlying beliefs that have brought all this into being. It prompts Marlo to ask herself questions like, “Is this what I want?”, “Do I want to go back to what I had?” or “Can I come up with a compromise that fuses the two?” In some ways, whatever she decides is almost irrelevant; what’s most important is her reawakened awareness to how she gets the life she experiences, because, in the end, she can exercise any of the foregoing options, depending on whatever choices she makes and whatever manifesting beliefs she embraces.

At first glance, “Tully” comes across as a no-holds-barred look at contemporary motherhood, and anyone who has gone through such an experience can probably relate to it. But, as the story moves forward, it takes on issues that anyone who has ever reflected on the unfolding of his or her life can undoubtedly appreciate, regardless of whether or not they’ve gone the parental route. It deftly delves into questions of the choices we make, the particulars of the lives we decide to lead and whether or not we’re satisfied with what we’ve ended up with. Did we get what we want? Did we get diverted? Is our experience everything we hoped for, or did we “settle?” That’s a lot to ponder, and the film covers these issues with a curious mixture of amazing depth and honest practicality.

This refreshingly pleasant offering delivers a wealth of heartfelt feelings and ample gentle humor in a comedy-drama that’s both brutally frank and full of surprises. Theron delivers yet another outstanding performance – easily one of the first award-worthy portrayals of 2018 – in a multifaceted role that’s not everything it initially appears to be. The film’s excellent script and uniform pacing – elements not always present in the works of director Jason Reitman and screenwriter Diablo Cody – make for captivating, thoughtful viewing that’s likely to touch viewers of all stripes, not just those whose stories seemingly resemble those of the protagonist. Don’t miss this one.

Life sometimes passes us by faster than we realize – or than we might like. Before we know it, we suddenly find ourselves 20 years older, having left parts of ourselves behind to suit the needs of a present very different from what we might have once envisioned. Are we happy with our decisions, or are the burdens that have resulted more than we can handle? It’s times like that when we need someone like Tully to come into our lives to help take care of us, to enlighten us to our own selves and to help us see more clearly than we may have seen in years.

Copyright © 2018, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

An Ode to One of Filmdom’s Finest

In recognition of the 50th anniversary of the release of Stanley Kubrick’s groundbreaking film, “2001: A Space Odyssey” (1968), a new 70-millimeter print of this cinematic icon is being released in theaters around the country. Produced from a true photochemical restoration printed off of the original camera negative, this new print is sharper and features better color than ever seen before. And, given how remarkably well this picture has held up since its original release, any improvement on it is a truly astounding accomplishment.

At the time of this celluloid enigma’s debut, few understood what Kubrick was trying to say through this film. It was – and still is – open to a range of interpretations, each equally valid in its own right. But, while some viewers may have been frustrated by this apparently intentional ambiguity, it also helps to characterize the picture for the masterpiece that it is. As one of the greatest motion pictures ever made, “2001” opened the door to a host of new cinematic experimentation, options that may not have been possible were it not for this unique offering and those who had the vision – and courage – to bring it to the public.

To this day, “2001” remains one of my all-time favorite films. In fact, my appreciation of this picture is so great that I included it as one of the featured entries in my debut book, Get the Picture?!: Conscious Creation Goes to the Movies (2007. 2014). And so, to honor this auspicious anniversary, I hereby present an updated version of my review from that title, my look at what I consider to be Kubrick’s greatest work.

The Next Frontier

“2001: A Space Odyssey”

Year of Release: 1968

Principal Cast: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood,

William Sylvester, Douglas Rain (voice)

Director: Stanley Kubrick

Screenplay: Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke

Story: Arthur C. Clarke, The Sentinel (uncredited) 

“Who am I?” and “Where did I come from?” Those are questions that theologians, scientists and even the exasperated parents of inquisitive youngsters have wrestled with for eons. But another question that’s just as vital, yet doesn’t get asked nearly as much, is, “Where are we going next?” The answer to that is as important to us as a species as it is to us as individuals. One film that attempts to provide some insight is the enigmatic sci-fi adventure, “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

Even though we’ve long since passed the calendar year that’s part of this movie’s title, the picture itself is by no means outdated. In fact, in these days of shifting consciousness and changing paradigms, its message and mystique are perhaps more relevant than ever.

Although the film’s title makes the picture sound like a movie about space, it has more to do with evolution than astronomy. Director Stanley Kubrick’s cryptic yet poetic approach to the subject makes for a unique style of filmmaking, one that was decidedly way ahead of its time (and that baffled many viewers at the time of its original release).

In many ways, the plotline and characters are almost incidental to this picture. It’s really everybody’s story, that of the evolutionary journey of our species from the dawn of man to the time of our exploration of the heavens, first in our establishment of a base on the moon and then on a manned mission to Jupiter. The common thread linking all these seemingly disparate events is the spontaneous and unexplained appearance of a mysterious black monolith. The exact nature of this rectangular structure is never explained, but each of its appearances is immediately followed by some kind of significant leap in knowledge that helps further the evolution of the species.

Impressive as the monolith’s effects apparently are, however, one still can’t help but wonder what it is. Is it All That Is coming to us in physical form? A projection of the mass consciousness that somehow prompts us to greater self-understanding? A construct of an alien intelligence guiding our species’ progression toward ever-greater awareness? Or do none of these explanations suffice? And does it really matter what it is as long as forward movement results? All these questions are left ambiguously open, suggesting that perhaps the answers are bigger than our present level of comprehension is capable of assimilating but that each leap nevertheless takes us ever closer to discovering the truth.

The significance of this from the standpoint of conscious creation is that the flowering of our evolution is not unlike the constant state of becoming that author and conscious creation advocate Jane Roberts speaks of. That’s reflected in the narrative of the film, whose sequences are self-contained, with virtually no story line elements or characters that overlap or recur, except, of course, for the monolith. The mysterious structure acts like a bridge, linking the sequences, and a catalyst, sparking into existence whatever follows next.

Given that, one might understandably wonder how the monolith itself figures into the conscious creation equation. That’s difficult to answer, especially since its precise nature and function are never delineated. I can’t speak to this from personal experience, either, for I’ve never seen a giant black rectangle appear before me when I’ve been on the verge of a eureka moment. However, given the conditions under which the monolith appears in the film, it always seems to show up when man has been on the brink of needing to make one of those major leaps in cognition. So, if we’re all conscious creators by nature, then one could speculate that the characters who are on those thresholds of evolutionary advances are the ones who summon forth the monolith (and whatever powers its holds or represents) to help facilitate these changes.

In many instances, the needs for advancement depicted in the movie are driven by survival considerations, so one could argue that the monolith is an abstract embodiment of the belief that “necessity is the mother of invention.” Why these characters would feel compelled to manifest a physical symbol of this at all, let alone in the specific form depicted herein, is a bit of a mystery, but perhaps it’s simply meant to be an outward reminder of our innate materialization capabilities, serving like the proverbial string tied around one’s finger. But why an enigmatic black rectangle? Your guess is as good as mine. While a string around the finger might be eminently more manageable from a practicality standpoint, it would also make for far less engaging filmmaking.

Evolution is apparent in a number of ways in the film. It’s most obvious in terms of our physical appearance, first as apes and later as Homo sapiens (and beyond). It’s also present in our physical locations, first as earthbound primates and later as humans soaring toward the stars. It’s even reflected in the complexity of our physical creations, progressing from crude levels to ever-increasing degrees of sophistication, in everything from our tools to the meals we consume. It might be tempting to assume that it’s all possible thanks to a mysterious black rectangle, yet it’s we who manifest the creations that result after its appearance. Maybe the monolith is doing nothing more than trying to remind us, like Glinda in “The Wizard of Oz” (1939), that we’re the ones with the power to create the realities we experience. Armed with that knowledge, it’s exciting to envision the possibilities for what comes next.

Kubrick was clearly at the top of his game with this masterpiece, deservedly earning an Academy Award for the production’s magnificent special effects. Viewing “2001” is more like watching a moving painting than a moving picture. The narrative unfolds before us slowly, like the pace of evolution itself, with its dazzling cinematography and spectacular visual effects shouldering much of the responsibility for telling the story. Backing all this is a classical-based soundtrack that features compositions as whimsical as the Johann Strauss waltz, On the Beautiful Blue Danube, and as inspiring as the introduction to the Richard Strauss tone poem, Also Sprach Zarathustra, a fanfare that has become virtually synonymous with the movie. In addition to Kubrick’s Oscar, the picture earned three more nominations, including nods for best director and best original screenplay.

“2001: A Space Odyssey” is, in many ways, the ultimate road trip film, showing us where we came from, where we’re going and who we’ve been all along the way. The one trait that links all the stops along that path is the sense of awakening that arises within each of us with our passage through each stage of the journey. It affirms, for me at least, the idea that, if you’ve liked what you’ve seen so far, wait till you see what’s next. And that’s something to look forward to.

Copyright © 2007, 2014, 2018, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

This Week in Movies with Meaning

Reviews of "Tully" and "God's Own Country," as well as a book excerpt looking back at "2001: A Space Odyssey," are all available in the latest Movies with Meaning post on the web site of The Good Media Network, available by clicking here.

Tune in for the Latest Cinema Scribe

Tune in for the latest Cinema Scribe segment on Bring Me 2 Life Radio, Wednesday, May 15, at 12:45 pm ET, available by clicking here. And, if you don't hear it live, catch it later on demand!

Saturday, May 12, 2018

‘RBG’ offers hope, reason to a world desperately in need of it

“RBG” (2018). Cast: Interviews: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, President Bill Clinton, Senator Orrin Hatch, Nina Totenberg, Gloria Steinem, Ted Olson, Judge Harry Edwards, Lilly Ledbetter, Sharron Frontiero, Stephen Wiesenfeld, Irin Carmon, Shana Knizhnik, Julie Cohen, Betsy West, Jane Ginsburg, James Ginsburg, Clara Spera, Eugene Scalia, Bryant Johnson. Archive Footage: President Jimmy Carter, Antonin Scalia, Martin Ginsburg. Directors: Julie Cohen and Betsy West. Web site. Trailer.

Those on the outside looking in – and seeking the rights freely accorded those on the inside – need advocates to argue their case. Taking on such tasks can indeed be an uphill battle, too. But, with a well-reasoned strategy, patience, and a calm, clear voice, breakthroughs are possible, as many have discovered over the past half century, thanks in large part to the efforts of a remarkable woman, the subject of the new documentary feature, “RBG.”

Since 1980, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (“RBG”) has left quite a mark on the U.S. judicial landscape, first in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and then in the U.S. Supreme Court. In that time, she has played a pivotal role in joining the majority on a number of key decisions, as well as in penning numerous blistering dissents as part of a vocal minority. But what’s less known is the role that she undertook as a lawyer in the time leading up to her appointments to the bench, a period in which she quietly but significantly reshaped many aspects of everyday life for those seeking equal rights.

Based on the victories of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, RBG employed a similar approach in tackling the women’s rights issues of the 1970s. Having acted as a self-described “kindergarten teacher” to a judicial bench occupied by an all-male, largely white panel of Supreme Court justices, Ginsburg methodically and lucidly drew attention to the inherent discrimination against women in such areas as equal pay and benefits, frequently invoking the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution. She used the term “kindergarten teacher” to describe her role in this effort, because she believed that she was providing the justices with a basic education into the existence of institutional (and often legally sanctioned) gender-based discrimination, an issue of which they had little to no awareness. Through measured, carefully delivered arguments in a number of cases, Ginsburg showed the oblivious justices what it meant to be on the short end of the stick.

In one of her many public appearances, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg speaks to students about the importance of understanding and upholding the U.S. Constitution, as depicted in the engaging new documentary feature, “RBG.” Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.[/caption]

What’s more, to avoid being labeled a partisan feminist, RBG employed a fair, balanced approach to fulfilling her objective, not only in terms of the nature of her arguments, but also in terms of the types of cases she took on. In one suit, for instance, she represented a widower who was denied Social Security survivor benefits simply because he was a man, something to which widows were unreservedly entitled to upon the deaths of their husbands. By taking on this case, she demonstrated that fairness is fairness, regardless of gender, a core element of her approach in seeking equal rights for everyone, no matter what their sex.

Ginsburg’s success in these cases came about in large part from the lessons of her upbringing. Having been raised by a mother who taught her not to shout to make her point, RBG employed this strategy in her court arguments. As seen by her five wins in six cases before the Supreme Court, the approach obviously worked.

Ginsburg also believed in achieving results one step at a time – slow, steady progress made incrementally toward the ultimate goal. She learned this from observing the victories in the civil rights movement and believed that the same tactic would work in securing equal rights for women. Based on her track record in legal wins, as well as her subsequent court appointments, it would seem this strategy worked as well, too.

In 1980, lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg (right) accepts her appointment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit by President Jimmy Carter (left) as seen in the new documentary feature, “RBG.” Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.[/caption]

If you were to ask Ginsburg what helped her the most, however, she would say that it was the unwavering support she received from her adoring husband, Martin, depicted in the film through archive footage dating back to their courtship days when they were undergraduates at Cornell University. In excerpts from Ginsburg’s testimony at her1993 Supreme Court confirmation hearings, she credits her success to Martin, a man quite unusual for his generation in that he recognized her as much for her intellect as he did for her appearance. Throughout her career, he supported her in all of her undertakings, even placing his own work life in a secondary position when necessary to help her advance. For his part, Martin saw the need for gender equality long before many of his peers and continually encouraged RBG to advance the cause, doing whatever he could to provide assistance and support.

RBG was fervent about the plight of women in part because she could relate to the burden of responsibility often placed upon them, especially those who sought to be wives and mothers while building careers. She experienced some of this firsthand while in law school; in addition to attending to her own studies, she was the mother of small children and cared for Martin while he battled a rare form of cancer at a time when he was trying to complete his own legal studies. For women to take on such huge responsibilities and receive second-class treatment was patently unacceptable and, she believed, needed to be corrected.

Of course, Ginsburg’s life is not now and never has been all about career and responsibility. As the film shows, she’s an avid opera lover, having even appeared in some performances herself, as well as a strong patron of the arts. She enjoys the company of family, including her children and grandchildren. And, having experienced her own health challenges, she’s also an ardent fan of physical fitness to keep herself strong. Not bad for an 85-year-old who still works tirelessly at her job.

In 1993, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (second row, far right) joins the U.S. Supreme Court as its newest member, as chronicled in the new documentary feature, “RBG.” Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.[/caption]

What’s more, RBG has demonstrated that it’s possible to rise above the great polarization affecting the country these days. This is illustrated through archival footage depicting her profound friendship with the late Justice Antonin Scalia. While Ginsburg and Scalia were known for being ideologically miles apart, she also made it clear that such philosophical differences needn’t be a barrier to forging a friendship, as was very much the case with this seemingly mismatched odd couple. That, as much as anything, is a lesson many of us could stand to learn from these days.

These lessons and her accomplishments, however, would not have been possible for the strength of her beliefs, the building blocks of the conscious creation process, the means by which we manifest the reality we experience. It’s hard to say if RBG has ever heard of this philosophy, but, based on her achievements, it’s nevertheless apparent that she’s an expert at making use of it, be it unwittingly or purposely.

The power of Ginsburg’s convictions and the depth of the faith she places in them permeate her accomplishments. Their presence is certainly undeniable. And it’s remarkable to think that they all became realized after having started out as mere ideas, intangible conceptions that existed as mere potentials awaiting activation into tangible constructs, something that couldn’t happen until someone came along to infuse the energy into them needed to bring them to life. Those who have benefitted from these initiatives should be thankful for her efforts.

In large part, Ginsburg’s accomplishments came about largely from her ability to envision change, to think outside the box and seek the implementation of the means to bring these new notions into being. This is a fundamental aim of conscious creation, to continually push the envelope so that reality can evolve and express itself as a constant state of becoming. Considering everything she’s been able to achieve during her time both before and behind the bench, it’s no wonder she’s come to be regarded as the genuine legal and judicial rock star she has become, the Notorious RBG, the title given her in the 2015 best-selling biography about Ginsburg written by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik.

Having survived several health challenges, U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg maintains a robust regimen of physical activity, one of her off-bench passions profiled in the new documentary feature, “RBG.” Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures.[/caption]

Despite a slight tendency to gush about its subject, this informative, briskly paced documentary presents an in-depth look at the public and private life of this remarkable woman. Through interviews with Ginsburg, life-long friends, family members, peers, journalists and the politicians who helped shape her career, as well as a variety of archive footage and audio recordings, the film presents a balanced package of information that both enlightens and entertains. For those who are unfamiliar with her many accomplishments, this is must-see viewing.

An old saying maintains that one will catch more flies with honey than with dung. So, in an age where there’s plenty of that substance that so readily sticks to fans freely flying about, it’s comforting to know that there are still reasoned voices out there that can make their points known and build consensus without resorting to unbridled anger or becoming the embodiment of overblown bluster. RBG is one such person, and, no matter how much one agrees or disagrees with her ideologically, we’re all better off for having her in our presence. Her brand of calming, informed argument – even in dissent – is something we need more of if we hope to avoid slipping further into social and judicial chaos. But, even more than that, she presents us with viewpoints that get us to reconsider our views and expand the scope of our sense of inclusiveness in society. And we can probably never have enough of that.

Copyright © 2018, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

This Week in Movies with Meaning

Reviews of "RBG," "Crown Heights" and "Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami" are all in the latest Movies with Meaning post on the web site of The Good Media Network, available by clicking here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

‘Crown Heights’ seeks justice in its absence

“Crown Heights” (2017). Cast: Lakeith Stanfield, Nnamdi Asomugha, Natalie Paul, Bill Camp, Luke Forbes, Adriane Lenox, Zach Grenier, Josh Pais, Skylan Brooks, Nestor Carbonell, Armand Schultz. Director: Matt Ruskin. Screenplay: Matt Ruskin. Web site. Trailer.

Seeking justice is sometimes an unbelievably slow and difficult process. Bureaucratic procedures, sloppy investigative work and officials unwilling to admit making mistakes all contribute to needlessly complicating matters. The frustration can be exasperating for everyone involved, especially those who have been wrongfully convicted. Such is the case in the fact-based biographical drama “Crown Heights,” now available on DVD and video on demand.

In 1980, 18-year-old Colin Warner (Lakeith Stanfield) was arrested, convicted and incarcerated for a murder he did not commit in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York. The young immigrant from Trinidad was not on the scene of the crime, nor did he know the victim. And the evidence used to convict him largely came from the coerced testimony of unreliable juvenile witnesses who essentially said anything to stop the relentless intimidating interrogation they were subjected to by NYPD detectives.

To make matters worse, when put on trial, Warner and co-defendant Anthony Gibson (Luke Forbes) were not represented by adequate legal counsel. And, when sentenced, they received different prison terms. Because he was a juvenile at the time of the shooting, Gibson, the perpetrator who actually pulled the trigger, was sentenced to 9 years to life, while Warner, an adult and who was characterized as a mere accomplice to the crime, earned 15 years to life – all for an offense in which he played no part.

Once behind bars, Warner had trouble adjusting to his surroundings, frequently having run-ins with brutal, harassing guards. One such encounter even landed him in solitary confinement for two years; it seemed like he would never escape his circumstances. That was not for a want of trying, though; appeals were launched on his behalf, but they were dismissed or bungled by inept, ill-prepared attorneys.

[caption id="attachment_9846" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Wrongly convicted inmate Colin Warner (Lakeith Stanfield) spends more than 20 years behind bars while awaiting justice in the gripping biographical drama, “Crown Heights,” now available on DVD and video on demand. Photo courtesy of IFC Films.[/caption]

The pain of Warner’s circumstances weighed heavily not only on him, but also on those who cared about him, most notably his childhood friend, Carl “KC” King (Nnamdi Asomugha), and his onetime romantic interest, Antoinette (Natalie Paul). They organized fundraisers for Colin’s appeals and pursued every available channel to seek his freedom. Carl even went so far as to place his own family’s financial future in jeopardy to help out his friend, firmly convinced in his innocence and the need to be released from prison.

After more than 20 years behind bars, Warner finally caught a break. Thanks to his undying diligence, Carl secured the services of a new attorney, William Robedee (Bill Camp), who could clearly see the errors made in Colin’s prosecution, defense and previous appeals. He believed he could successfully make a case to get Warner out of jail and his conviction overturned. At last, it seemed, justice would finally be done.

“Crown Heights” effectively illustrates how the truth will out, no matter how long it takes and how difficult the process may be. Justice can be done, even when the deck seems heavily stacked against those seeking it. But, thanks to perseverance and the will to succeed, the proof will eventually surface to make such outcomes possible. Indeed, a little bit of conviction can go a long way toward overturning one that’s been wrongfully implemented.

[caption id="attachment_9847" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Seeking justice for an innocent man wrongly incarcerated occupies much of the time and attention of the inmate’s best friend, Carl (Nnamdi Asomugha, right), and significant other, Antoinette (Natalie Paul, left), in the fact-based drama, “Crown Heights.” Photo courtesy of IFC Films.[/caption]

That kind of certainty comes from firmly held beliefs that the desired outcome will emerge, the cornerstone of the conscious creation process, the means by which our reality arises. For Colin and his supporters, the utterly preposterous result that came from his prosecution caused them, at a very deep level, to have no other belief than the fact that it eventually would be overturned and that justice would be served. Even though there were many times when it seemed that such a day would never come, Colin, Carl and Antoinette, among others, never lost sight of what they were seeking – and the beliefs that were driving it.

This is where the power of faith in our beliefs comes to the fore. This is not faith in a traditional religious sense but, rather, an unshakable conviction in the validity and truth of what we’re convinced is an absolute capable of eventual manifestation. Were it not for that kind of faith, one can only imagine how Colin may have fared – and where he might be today.

Of course, those skeptical about the veracity of conscious creation nearly always look at situations like this and wonder, why would anyone seek to materialize such horrendous circumstances in the first place? And, to be sure, that’s an argument that would seem to have some merit. But the answer is not quite so simple.

In all of our conscious creation undertakings, our reasons ultimately are our own (and not really anybody’s business to question). Yet, for better or worse, in many of these endeavors, we often seek to manifest conditions that fulfill our desire to experience certain life lessons, no matter how enjoyable or unpleasant they ultimately may be. For instance, someone wishing to experience the plight of injustice would almost assuredly create circumstances not unlike those displayed here. Manifestations like these truly serve to drive it home with pointed, inescapable fidelity.

[caption id="attachment_9848" align="aligncenter" width="300"]After a long wait behind bars, wrongly convicted inmate Colin Warner (Lakeith Stanfield, left) finally gets to reunite with his romantic interest, Antoinette (Natalie Paul, right), in director Matt Ruskin’s “Crown Heights,” now available on DVD and video on demand. Photo courtesy of IFC Films.[/caption]

That, of course, raises another question – why would anyone want to experience something like the perils of injustice? Again, the specific reasons vary from person to person, but sometimes going through such ordeals helps to draw sufficient attention to them that it prompts its victims to seek ways to prevent it from happening again, to others similarly situated. This kind of “metaphysical activism” can go a long way toward the abolition of such abhorrent circumstances, eventually transforming them into conceptions considered unthinkable.

Colin’s experience is a prime example of this. Having been wrongfully incarcerated for a crime in which he had no involvement, Colin has since gone on to become an advocate to fight for the justice of those who have gone through what he did. Just as erroneously convicted inmate Kenny Waters (Sam Rockwell) and his legal advocate sister Betty Anne (Hilary Swank) discovered in the fact-based drama “Conviction” (2010), the injustice of a false imprisonment is something we as a society cannot tolerate. But sometimes the only way to fully appreciate the indignities of such experiences – and to subsequently seek their correction – is to go through them to see how dispiriting they are firsthand. It’s something not all of us are cut out for, but it’s a sacrifice to be commended – and one for which we should all be grateful.

This overlooked gem from 2017 spent only a short time in theaters, but it’s well worth the viewing time. The heartfelt performances by Stanfield and Asomugha, who earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination for best supporting actor, are truly outstanding, effectively depicting the hope, determination, frustration and heartache that each of them endured. The film also captures the claustrophobic feeling of incarceration, as well as the deplorable, demoralizing conditions of prison life, a true hell for anyone but especially so for the falsely convicted – of whom, the film pointedly notes, there are more than 120,000 such individuals who are mistakenly behind bars in the U.S. today.

[caption id="attachment_9849" align="aligncenter" width="300"]The long wait for justice weighs heavily on wrongly incarcerated inmate Colin Warner (Lakeith Stanfield) in the fact-based biographical drama, “Crown Heights.” Photo courtesy of IFC Films.[/caption]

When justice is elusive, there may be a natural tendency to lash out and seek retribution at almost any cost, an outcome that’s more vengeance than justice. But such rash measures seldom produce the hoped-for results, especially when up against a rigid, slow-moving system. By having faith that the truth will surface and persistently pursuing the means to elevate it from the depths of obscurity, it is possible to secure the prized results.

Copyright © 2018, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.