According to the rules, tragedy ends in death and comedy in marriage. Yet while Rachel Getting Married - Jonathan Demme's superb rule-bending, heartrending and family-mending drama - ends with a wedding, it resists conventions as brazenly as does the bride's sister.
Queen Latifah is the kind of actor who makes you sit taller, breathe deeper, feel stronger. Her poignant work in Gina Prince-Bythewood's The Secret Life of Bees merits a pillar in the movie colonnade alongside those of Gary Cooper, John Wayne and Denzel Washington.
Now, I won't say categorically that Save Me is a film that both homosexuals and homophobes can embrace. But this earnest, well-acted melodrama has compassion for all of its characters, who include gay men and the Christians dedicated to healing them of their "brokenness."
Bill Maher demands proof. What he gets as he spans the globe interviewing religious fundamentalists of various faiths are testimonials offering no tangible evidence of a deity. Don't tell him it's called faith precisely because there is no tangible evidence.
To her estranged parents, Jasira, 13, is a sexual time bomb that must be disarmed. For her schoolmates, the Lebanese-American teen is a "towelhead" like the Iraqis America is off fighting in the 1991 Gulf War. Jasira? She's just confused - about men, about menstruation, and yes, about that humid feeling she gets when looking at billboards of scantily clad lap dancers in provocative poses.
Robert De Niro and Al Pacino. There are at least 13 ways of looking at these blackbirds. They are, indelibly, the young Vito Corleone and Michael Corleone, the seasoned faces of American conflict and compromise and the most authoritative actors of their generation. If there were a Mount Rushmore of actors, surely their profiles would be chiseled in granite next to those of Marlon Brando and Jimmy Stewart.
Carrie Rickey was born in L.A. around the time the Jennifer Jones/Laurence Olivier movie Carrie hit screens. Hence her name. Since then she's seen more than 12,000 films without losing her love of movies -- or wordplay. But don't envy her job too much. She has to sit through the likes of Battlefield Earth just so she can warn you not to.