- Quo Vadis, Aida?: This harrowing tale of one woman’s choice to save her family or save as many people as she can during the Bosnian War is as powerful as a film can get.
- Mass: Two sets of parents meet after one of their sons has killed the other in a school shooting to figure what happened. Along the way, they are forced to answer questions that are painful and difficult.
- Spencer: This fictional take on Princess Diana (Kristen Stewart) and what might have occured during Christmas in the early 1990’s is a unique take on the myth of the late royal.
- Belfast: A young boy is growing up during the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the late 1960’s. As he starts to transition from a child to a young adult, he begins to realize that nothing is ever a simple as it seems to be.
- Black Widow: After ten years, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) finally gets the movie she should have gotten. Trying to atone for her past while living in the present, she must face reality and make up for mistakes.
- Framing Britney Spears: This Hulu documentary took viewers in the life and career of Britney Spears and how it has changed since her father took control over both.
- West Side Story: Steven Spielberg’s adapation of this beloved musical takes it into the 21st century while retaing its message about prejudice and lack of opportunity.
- The Eyes of Tammy Faye: Jessica Chastain not only brings Tammy Faye Bakker back to life, she reveals the real person behind the punchline.
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings: This latest addition to the MCU is more than just the first all Asian cast. It is the story of a complicated father/son relationship and a young man who cannot run from his fate.
- Moxie: A shy teenage girl stands up to the sexist bullshit at school and empowers her fellow female students in the process.
- The Four Winds: Kristen Hannah has done it again. Her Cinderella-esque tale of a woman who resecues herself from a live of drugery, poverty, and low self esteem is one to be read again and again.
- Jewish Pride: Rebuilding a People: Ben M. Freeman‘s treatise on Jews, and Jewish history is a must read for anyone who for once and for all wants to defeat antisemitism and all forms of hate.
- Girly Drinks: A World History of Women and Alcohol: Mallory O’Meara‘s non fiction book explores how inspite of a certain image, women have been creating and drinking all forms of alcohol for centuries.
- I Alone Can Fix It: Donald J Trump‘s Catastrophic Final Year: The subject of you know who will be on the lips of writers and political historians for years to come. Authors Carol Leonning and Philip Rucker examine how the former President believed that he did not need help in running the country.
- Squirrel Hill: The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting and the Soul of a Neighborhood: Writer and podcaster Mark Oppenheimer tells the story of how a single neighborhood was affected by the murders of eleven Jewish residents in 2018.
- Peril: Bob Woodward and Robert Costa take a deep dive into how close the American democracy got close to destruction.
- The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh: This JAFF by Molly Greeley gives the spotlight to Anne de Bourgh, a minor Pride and Prejudice character who has yet to be fully seen or appreciated.
- Three Ordinary Girls: The Remarkable of Three Dutch Teenagers Who Become Spies, Saboteurs, Nazi Assasins-and WWII Heroes: This fascinating and powerful tale of three young ladies who led an underground war against the Nazis during World War II.
- Why She Wrote: A Graphic History of the Lives, Inspiration, and Influence Behind the Pens of Classic Women Writers: Written by the Bonnet at Dawn podcast hosts, this book examines the life and works of the women writers we have loved and respected for generations.
- The Matzah Ball: A Novel: Jean Meltzer’s Chanukah themed rom-com about two people who are secretly in love, but cannot speak the words due to the current and past trauma.
Here’s to the books we loved in 2021 and the books we will love in 2022.
When The Matrix premiered in 1999, it was more than the standard science fiction good vs. evil movie with computer-generated effects and stunts. The narrative question was existential in nature. Both the special effects and the fight scenes were (and still are) awe-inspiring.
The 4th movie in the series, The Matrix Revolutions, premiered last week. Neo (Keanu Reeves) is torn between the world he sees and the world that is just beyond his consciousness. He is the creator of the best-selling video game of all time called The Matrix. He is also seeing a therapist, known as The Analyst (Neil Patrick Harris).
He begins to question his reality when Morpheus (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, replacing Laurence Fishburne) comes back into his life. When he finally breaks from the world he has known, Neo can only save the day once more with the help of Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss). But like Neo, she first has to see the truth.
I wanted to like this film, I really did. It tries to build on the legacy of its predecessors while adding new layers to the story. After nearly two decades. both Moss and Reeves still have the same chemistry. The addition of new cast members builds on this idea of fighting for our individuality instead of just going along with the rest of the crowd. Among the newbies, Harris stands out. I haven’t followed his career closely, but this character from what I know is not one that he normally plays.
The problem is that it just stretches on. It only perks up when Trinity wakes up, which is at about the 60% mark.
Do I recommend it? I would lean toward yes, but only if you have seen the three previous movies.
When we last saw Boba Fett (Temeura Morrison), he had been swallowed by the Sarlacc in Return of the Jedi. The opening shot of the series reveals that Boba is still alive. After fighting to get to the surface and to civilization, he takes the throne and the power from the deceased warlord Jabba the Hutt. Unlike Jabba, Boba does not want to rule via fear, he wants to rule via respect from the local communities. Beside him is his second in command, Fennec Shand (Ming-Na Wen). Though it appears that he and Fennec are welcomed by the locals, there are some who would prefer to eradicate them.
Do I recommend it? Yes.
The Book of Boba Fett is available for streaming on DisneyPlus.
Stories about a child and their pet are a staple of the fictional world.
In the 1997 Air Bud, Josh Framm (Kevin Zegers) is a young man who loves basketball. He would like to join the school basketball team. His obstacles are threefold: he is the new kid in town, he is mourning the loss of his father, and he lacks the confidence to try out. All of that changes when he meets Buddy, a golden retriever who matches Josh’s love of the game and his skill level.
With his beloved dog by his side, Josh not only makes the team, but they both become stars of the show. Their bubble bursts when Buddy’s abusive former owner, Norm Snively (Michael Jeter) demands a piece of the action. Will this boy and his dog stay together or be forced apart?
Air Bud is one of the mildly appealing 1990’s films that I suppose is entertaining. But it depends on the audience. If you’re a preteen child, I can see how you might enjoy it. But as an adult, I would rather watch something else.
Do I recommend it? Not really.