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'Code Black' goes inside LA County Hospital's ER
Many gripping documentaries take the viewer to unexpected places with a first-hand, behind-the-scenes vantage point. That is exactly the case with Dr. and director Ryan McGarry's debut film, "Code Black." It immerses us in Los Angeles County Hospital's emergency room,…
'Frank' inhabits a quirky life of pleasing dissonance
In the age of cookie-cutter movies, along comes "Frank," as direct, atypical and surprising as its one word title. Who would imagine that a major star, Michael Fassbender, would play with a dissonant band--sound and personalities--all the while with a…
Playing games trumps 'Video Games: The Movie'
When I saw the title of the film "Video Games: The Movie," I thought, "Well, finally a documentary about what most Hollywood movies have become, perhaps even an insightful, analytical dissection of recent blockbusters." Nope, truth lies with the title.…
'Land Ho!' meanders, adrift without a plot
In Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens' meandering, plotless film "Land Ho!" with paid plane tickets, Mitch snookers his ex-brother-in-law Colin into accompanying him to Iceland. The country provides irresistibly beautiful backdrops--waterfalls, geysers, glaciers and misty landscapes. Mitch adds his boorish,…
'Calvary' powerfully and profoundly probes sin and virtue
In the opening seconds of writer/director John Michael McDonagh's thought-provoking and unexpectedly funny "Calvary," words attributed to Saint Augustine appear: "Do not despair. One of the thieves was saved." Seconds later, text adds, "Do not presume. One of the thieves…
‘The Hundred-Foot Journey’ begins with chef’s step
If you’ve been led to believe that “The Hundred-foot Journey” is all about whatever character Helen Mirren is playing this time, you might be vexed to discover she’s a secondary character, for this is not her character’s journey. It is…
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