Another in a series of occasional film reviews: Starbuck

Fatherhood is a complex state of being—and for some, it’s simply inserting the sperm into the proper vessel. In the totally fun and moving Canadian film Starbuck, now playing here in Los Angeles, our shlepp of a hero David, does just that—in a sperm bank.  Over and over again.  It seems to be David’s best and most reliable way of earning a few extra dollars, over and over again. What David doesn’t realize is that the sperm bank uses his donations in a most enthusiastic…

War Witch: Another in a series of reviews by film critic Jean Oppenheimer

War Witch, one of the five recent Oscar nominees for Best Foreign-Language Film, has a reputation as a powerful but almost unbearably grim film. Is it difficult to watch?  At times, very much so, but don’t let that dissuade you. A story of human resilience in the face of terrible cruelty and sadness, War Witch is a remarkable film on every level: emotionally raw, profoundly moving, totally engrossing and superbly acted, shot and directed. First-time actress Rachel Mwanza gives an extraordinary performance as Komona, a…

Film Review: The Gatekeepers– another in a series of film reviews by film critic Jean Oppenheimer

The Gatekeepers is one of the most remarkable and important films ever made about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israeli director Dror Moreh’s riveting documentary looks at the long-running dispute through the eyes of six individuals whose authoritative views and voices are unimpeachable: the six men who led the nation’s domestic intelligence service, Shin Bet (akin to America’s FBI), from 1980 to 2011. The significance and power of The Gatekeepers, therefore, lies not only in the message being communicated but also in who the messengers are. While…