But what drives you crazy as you partake of Kempner's scholarly and entertaining treasure trough of the superbly assembled puzzle that was Newark, N.J.'s, Moe Berg, is, how about all the stuff we probably don't know about him?
Thus, because of its celebrated songbook and heartrending meditation on the search for love, I emphatically endorse "Rocketman" before setting my moviegoing trajectory for "Godzilla II: King of the Monsters," and wonder if I'll construe 'tis also amour that motivates the beast.
Rated PG and boasting a bevy of positive beliefs, with special emphasis on the leadership roles it passionately affirms are rightfully waiting for the fairer sex to assume, it's just the sort of film I'd want to take my daughter, Erin, to when she was little.
Adding insult to the societal injury movies like the John Wick franchise commit, this is big business. It has grossed $53 million as of this writing, and it'll play all summer before going on to the really big money that movies make in the post-theater convenience of our dens.
Pulling no punches in its hardly veiled muckrake of the current four-flushers down in Foggy Bottom, this delightfully quixotic confection, heir to the screwball comedies directors Frank Capra and Preston Sturges buoyed Depression Era audiences with, is shrewdly enjoyable.
The seriocomic adventure tale, a panoply of the very latest computer magic to suffuse the silver screen, is rapid-fire action most of the way, it is ultimately an exuberant kaleidoscope of technology, friendship and the separating of truth from the deceit of those who would bamboozle us. I
Still, my rooting was cautious, always respecting in fearsome awe the uncertainty of youth and the mysteries it held. One misstep and you're on the pre-gentrified Bowery, squeegeeing car windows, or at least that's what my Mom warned whenever she had trouble waking me for school.
Albeit etched with a caustic edge to grant it a realistic PG instead of a Pollyanna G, director Tim Burton makes sure his "Dumbo" remake contains all the elements necessary for the ethical considerations that have been an integral part of fairy tales ever since Oog first adorned the cave walls with his template for Animal Crackers.
Granted, the "scare me, scare me" crowd may be disappointed by the dearth of old-fashioned, unremitting shocks to body and soul. But if one gives serious thought to this feature-length affirmation of cartoon pundit Walt Kelly's theorem that we have met the enemy and he is "Us," it's probably the scariest prospect of all.
I am an outsider to horror, what Alexis de Tocqueville was to American history. And so, while viewing director Neil Jordan’s "Greta," about a lonely older woman who has a rather odd way of seeking companionship, offered no epiphany, it did provide an egoistic pleasure that may shed a glimpse of light.
Admittedly, there is some witty, satirical commentary on the current state of courting among the millennial set. But for the most part, the circumstances and jokes that ultimately lead Natalie to a greater understanding of love's more altruistic properties and purposes don't rise above the usual shtick seen in any run-of-the-mill TV sitcom.
The phone rang, as it usually does whenever I'm sitting in the third-floor witch's hat of my haunted Victorian home in some gothic-like, small New England town with a dark past, anguishing over my Oscar picks. The voice at the other end sounded like Alec Baldwin at first.
"They Shall Not Grow Old," a haunting documentary commissioned by Britain's Imperial War Museum to commemorate the centennial of the conclusion of World War I is a brilliant homage, an artistic accomplishment and a must-see for film students, history buffs and cineastes alike.
Once upon a time, a screenwriter penning a fantasy that painted him into a corner could flee the strictures of his premise and weave a magical ending by suddenly having his protagonist awake from a dream, i.e., "The Wizard of Oz" (1939). Now, as employed in "Serenity," the Brave New Cyber World has created a newfangled escape clause for fiction writers needing to explain away flights of fancy for which there is no logical explanation, at least not in our old, plain, three-dimensional world.
I and my Baby Boomer ilk were introduced to the legends via morning and midafternoon movie shows on TV in the '50s, when stations rented their films at bargain basement prices. We immediately loved them and claimed them for our generation.
Anyone with a heart and a half-decent upbringing will be abashed by the stark divulgences about intolerance in America so artfully unearthed as Mahershala Ali's Don Shirley, the world famous pianist, is escorted on his tour through the Deep South by Viggo Mortensen's Tony Lip.
All this self-indulgent perspective noted, I thank director Bryan Singer for jogging these memories into high-relief via his superb biographical film, "Bohemian Rhapsody," which astutely and soulfully details the birth of the group Queen and the star trajectory of its lead singer, Freddie Mercury.
Such hyperbolic self-examination, while exaggerated for my own literary purposes here, is nonetheless proof of what a fine period piece this film is. Still, while boasting Keira Knightley in a superb title portraiture, those indifferent to belles-lettres and avant-garde sensibilities need not apply.
The acidic, relentless deluge of ominous signs Moore points out is overwhelming, not only because it threatens nearly everything we cherish, but because we know that bury-your-head-in-the-sand apathy is the greater menace. If ever we needed proof that our vote counts, this is it.