Directed by Michael Moore
With great wit, humor and insight, we watch a democracy (ours) become a despotism. The question Moore asks—“How did we get here?”—reveals some surprising answers. It’s not the Trump voters, but nonvoters (Trump won by only 2 votes per precinct in Michigan), President Obama (who failed to help the desperate water crisis in Flint, caused by Republican leadership), and even Gwen Stefani (who was paid more to host The Voice than Trump was to host The Apprentice, causing him to launch a presidential bid in hopes of getting NBC to pay him more) who allowed the country’s current existential crisis of democracy to occur.
Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos
A wry tale of how to use political intrigue for power, even when the reigning monarch is unhinged, spoiled, incompetent, and demands absolute loyalty. No, this isn’t an account of contemporary American politics; this is a period film about Queen Anne (r. 1702-1714). Even though the screenplay was written several years ago, the issues couldn’t be more relevant. Queen Anne (the brilliant Olivia Colman), given to constant ailments and sour temperament, has almost turned the daily running of British empire over to her close companion, Sarah, the Duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz). Meanwhile, a new servant, Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives at the palace with plans of her own to gain the Queen’s favour. Cinematographer Robbie Ryan’s frequent use of fish-eye lenses creates a lot of empty space where the loneliness or entrapment of characters is amplified.
– Dr. David C. Simmons
Breslin and Hamill: Deadline Artists
Directed by John Block, Jonathan Alter and Steve McCarthy
Superb documentary honoring Jimmy Breslin and Pete Hamill, the great New York newspaper columnists (actually, Mr. Hamill might be better classified as a poet). An often-poignant reminder of the last great era of journalism for anyone old enough to remember, and a real eye-opener for all the young folks who have grown up on 24-hour news cycles of all things Kardashian.