Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Review by Carla Renata for and  

One day while living in New York City, I ran into Frank Gorshin.  Many of you reading this will not know him, but will recognize his character "The Joker" from the old Batman television series.  I kinda lost my mind a little.  I mean, it felt like "the joker" had jumped out of my television set and onto a street in Manhattan just to meet me!!!


Needless to say, when I heard that there would be a movie where Batman was going up against Superman...I had to check it out!!!

Let's start with the good news.  The technical aspects and photography of this film are absolutely stunning.  Loved the fact that director Zack Snyder kept true to both franchises reminding us of both superhero origins, as well as, bringing back Clarke Kent's film parents Kevin Costner (Jonathan Kent) and Diane Lane (Martha Kent).  The franchise has become somewhat diverse with the additions of Laurence Fishburne  (Perry White) as the Daily Planet Chief and Harry Lennix (Swanwick) as the Chief of Police and Amy Adams (Lois Lane) stays true to being the strong-willed heroine with a heart.


I'm all down for a good superhero fight, but felt like the fight scenes in this film were all about 20 minutes too long.  It felt like they would never end and you could really feel the fact that they were choreographed.

Ben Affleck is my dude!!!  I am one of the few people who saw "Hollywoodland" where he portrayed real George Reeves (Superman from the television series)!!!  So, of course, I was curious to see how he would handle Batman.  Well, I kinda wasn't feeling it!  Love Ben, but his best  moments as Batman I feel got left on the cutting room floor.  on the same note Henry Cavill as Superman was just OK.  I felt like his strength mentally as a superhero was washed over a little in the installment.  Love both Ben and Henry, but again felt like this film didn't do either one of them justice.



Even though director Zack Snyder is a master of the DC comic franchise having also directed Justice League, Aquaman and two untitled DC comic films slated to be released in 2018 and 2019,  I was mortified at the revelation of killing off Superman?  I wasn't having it!!!  How can you kill my boy??!!

My faith in the film was only redeemed in the characterization of Lex Luther portrayed with  much venom by the brilliant Jesse Eisenberg.  It was  a little reminiscent of Gene Hackman's Lex Luther from the old Superman flicks in the way that the humor was very understated yet effective for the character.

So, would I recommended this one?  At the end of the day it doesn't matter what I think.  Batman v Superman:  Dawn of Justice has grossed nearly $300 million dollars thus far and will continue to touch a nerve with all fans of both franchises.



  JOY Review by Carla Renata for and Carla Renata's Corner

QVC and HSN make milllions of dollars and often times have major repeat business. Most of that success is due to Joy Mangano and her "miracle mop" invention, which took QVC by storm in 1990.

The Miracle Mop, a plastic mop with a head made from a continuous loop of 300 feet of cotton that can be easily wrung out without getting the user's hands wet. After selling the mop at trade shows and in local stores on Long Island, but once QVC allowed Mangano to go on-air, she sold 18,000 mops in less than a half hour.  Ten years later, her company was selling $10 million worth of Miracle Mops per year.


I remember this invention well.  Never used it or bought it, but I remember vividly those infomercials about it and seeing Joy on QVC.  Now over at their competitor HSN and has sold over 150 million a year and Mangano holds more than 100 patents for her inventions. "I think my products have been successful because they have mass appeal," she has said. "I'm just like everybody else out there. I'm a mom, I work, I have a house to clean, things to organize. We all have certain similar needs, and I address them."


Well, so does Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Robert DeNiro in the Christmas release based on Joy Mangano's rise to QVC fame!

What is it with Cooper and Lawrence?  This is like their fourth film together with David O. Russell and each time they all seem to strike lightening in a bottle.  I guess the old adage "If it ain't broke...don't fix it" works really well for them and the audiences that come out in droves to enjoy their work.


Lawrence is once again playing a role of a woman well beyond her years, but man if anybody could pull it's her.  She attacks every role without fear and a realism that the everyday man/woman can relate to, which makes her the perfect choice to play Joy Mangano.  Mangano never comprised and neither does Lawrence with her performance.


Bradley Cooper is always charming and easy not he eyes.  He also attacks every role with gusto and enthusiasm, which makes him a great match for Lawrence every time.  He is a master at wrapping very difficult dialogue with rapid fire speed which makes you forget that one is watching an actor.

Which brings me to the show stealers:  Robert De Niro, Virginia Madsen and Isabella Rosellini.  These veteran actors take command of the screen each and every time they appear.  Each one of them makes you want to slap the taste out of their mouths, because their characters are just despicable.  Let's hope Joy's real-life Step-Monster, Dad and Mom weren't as troublesome.


Although, I enjoyed this flick immensely, it is not getting the love I feel it deserves.  Oh well...just my humble opinion.

Joy opens nationwide on Christmas Day.



CONCUSSION Review by Carla Renata for and Carla Renata's CornerDon't watch football...Don't like football and don't even have it on my radar until Super Bowl. So, why would I go to see a movie about football? Well, first off because WILL SMITH is starring in it! Secondly, the title alone caught my attention - CONCUSSION.

Concussion poster

Then, like a flash my memory began to place the pieces of the puzzle together. On May 2, 2012, like so many days on the news in Los Angeles, there was a "breaking news" item. Apparently, Ex-San Diego Charger linebacker Junior Seau was found dead at his home in Oceanside, California from a fatal gunshot wound to the chest. Efforts to revive him were unsuccessful. That's when all the bells and whistles went off for me.

Seau's death was very similar to the way I read that former Chicago Bears great Dave Duerson ended his life. Duerson shot himself in the chest on February 17, 2011. Turns out both these men had symptoms of CTE (chronic traumatic encephalopathy), a trauma-induced disease common to NFL players and others who have received repeated blows to the head.


These are just the two I recalled. As I would learn from watching "Concussion", CTE was like an epidemic sweeping former NFL players. So why didn't the NFL do something about it?


Well, Dr. Bennet Omalu wasn't about to that that go down! While working as a pathologist in Pittsburgh, Omalu uncovered the truth, gave it a name and almost witnessed his medical career ruined while taking on one of the most powerful organizations in America - the National Football League (NFL).


In the words of Dr. Omalu himself, "We’ve known since 1964 that cigarette smoking is harmful to your health. We’ve known for more than 40 years that alcohol damages the developing brain of a child. We’ve known since the mid-1970s that asbestos causes cancer and other serious diseases. Knowing what we know now, we do not smoke in enclosed public spaces like airplanes, we have passed laws to keep children from smoking or drinking alcohol, and we do not use asbestos as an industrial product..."

Dr. Omalu continues..."Over the past two decades it has become clear that repetitive blows to the head in high-impact contact sports like football, ice hockey, mixed martial arts and boxing place athletes at risk of permanent brain damage...Why, then, do we continue to intentionally expose our children to this risk?" Well, Dr. Omalu...It's like they say in the film, the NFL literally OWNS one day of the week on network television. Do you know how many billions of dollars could potentially be lost if the NFL acknowledged they knew about CTE and did NOTHING?

According to PBS’s Frontline, an ongoing joint study by the Department of Veterans Affairs and Boston University has found CTE in 87 of 91 examined brains of former NFL players, bringing the Boston lab’s total to 131 of 165 of former football players at all levels. Well, with "Concussion" opening on Christmas Day the pressure is on the NFL like never before. Will they cave in? Only time will tell and time is what many of these players are not in abundance of.

Will Smith as Dr. Bennet Omalu is giving the best performance of his career. His conviction to every molecule of this character is the stuff Oscar winning performances are made of. Smith has already garnered a Golden Globe nod for his work. Let's hope that the Academy Awards knocks next.


Gugu Mbatha-Raw is a chameleon. This doll seamlessly melts into whatever character's skin she slips under. As a love interest for Smith, she it the perfect choice. Right before our eyes, we witness Prema going from a sweet, African girl to a woman with boundless amounts of strength and conviction even her husband when wants to give up.


Alec Baldwin is always good for a laugh, but his role as Dr. Julian Bailes is anything but comical. Dr. Bailes turns out to be the one ally Omalu has in this whole sordid mess. Baldwin realistically conveys the emotional and moral turmoil Bailes faces when going up against his own community.


The actor who surprised me the most was Hill Harper. As NFL lawyer, Christopher Jones, he is downright despicable...I loved it!!

With a film this heavy, you gotta have a comic relief somewhere and it was right on time with Albert Brooks (Dr. Cyril Wecht).

It will be interesting after this release to see just how much of an impact "Concussion" makes on the acknowledgment of CTE by the NFL or if how it changes the way football players approach the game from this point on!



CAROL review by Carla Renata via and Carla Renata's Corner Remember the first time you fell in love? I mean REAL LOVE and not just a crush or something you knew would fade in time?  I remember mine well.  The man I fell in love seemed perfect.  He had a sense of humor, he was handsome and took care of me.  I mean REALLY took care of me.  He drew bubble baths for me, took me out dining to really cool restaurants and massages were was his undying attention to my every need.

So, you're wondering what happened? Is he still in my life?  Did I marry him?  Did we marry and divorce?  Well, one never one?  What I will tell  you is THAT relationship changed my life.  It changed how and why I love and taught me to live life to the fullest every second of the day!!

Directed by Todd Haynes, "Carol" centers around a young department store employee who falls madly in love with an older, married woman in the 1950's.

I've been a Todd Haynes fan all the way back to "Far From Heaven" starring Oscar winner Julianne Moore.  When Moore and Haynes teamed up again she took home the golden statue after numerous  past nominations.  Maybe teaming up twice will be a good luck omen for Cate Blanchett (who worked with Haynes in "The Talented Mr. Ripley").

Blanchett, who in my opinion, embodies with every fiber of her being what it means to be a "movie star", glows onscreen and takes command even when she is not uttering one single word.  The devilish complexity she layers Carol with makes you empathize with her for not being able to love who she chooses and how she chooses.


Rooney Mara makes Therese transform from a child to a woman right before our eyes.  The impish childishness that she inhabits Therese with is absolutely endearing.  However, when her heart is broken you watch her growing up out of necessity and not choice.  It's absolutely phenomenal to watch.

Mostly having seen Kyle Chandler on television the last few years have been very kind to hi with "Friday Night Lights" and "The Wolf of Wall Street".  As Carol's husband, Harge,  Chandler is  a bully with a heart of gold.  He can't stand the thought of his wife being with someone else, but he can't seem to let her go knowing it's what's best for everyone involved.



According to one-half of Carol's writing team, Patricia Highsmith's novel (The Price of Salt) was inspired by a chance encounter she had with a blond woman in a fur coat that she saw shopping inside a department store in New York City, while she was working as a temporary sales clerk selling dolls, shortly before Christmas 1948.    She recalled completing the outline in two hours that night, likely under the influence of chicken pox which she discovered she had the next day, saying "fever is stimulating the imagination". She completed the novel by 1951.

The plot for "Carol" is loosely based on the romance between Patricia Highsmith and Virginia Kent Catherwood (1915-1966), an older woman and Philadelphia socialite who had lost custody of her child in divorce proceedings involving taped hotel room conversations and lesbianism.

"Carol" received a standing ovation at its Cannes Film Festival international press screening/premiere and with 5 nominations, it is the most nominated film for the Golden Globes in 2015.





TRAINWRECK review by Carla Renata via and Carla Renata's Corner  

We have this type of girlfriend.  You know the one who parties hard all the time, has commitment issues and is uber competitive?  Yup, we all know one and apparently so does Amy Schumer.

As writer and star of "Trainwreck", Schumer puts a familiar, yet comical twist on "those types of chicks".

The laughs are plentiful and come from several unlikely sources, however, the most pleasant surprise was Lebron James.  Yeah, THAT Lebron James!  You know the one who left Cleveland and came back to play ball?  When I tell you his character had me howling...I am not exaggerating!  Laugh out loud funny stuff.  His scene with Bill Hader is one of the best in the film.16990280-mmmain.jpg

Speaking of which, Bill Hader is so sweet and lovable... Hell, I would go out on a date with him and that is saying  It's surely a departure from his usual post SNL type dudes and a very welcomed one to say the least.  The chemistry with he and Schumer is off the charts.


The scenes at the magazine with the staff, include Schumer, but a ridiculously comical Randall Park, Vanessa Bayer and freaking Tilda Swinton.  Let's talk about that fact that I didn't even know Swinton was in the film until the credits rolled.  Now that's what you call a character chameleon!  She's is so comical, but real to the point where she sort of reminded me of some people I know...ouch!


I would venture to say two of my favorite scenes involve Swinton and Schumer, a little surprise number toward the end of the flick that is magnificently hilarious and a doctor office scene that made me holler!!!

Trainwreck is available on DVD, Blu-Ray, Digital HD and VOD.






The Contenders:  CREED vs SOUTHPAW by Carla Renata via and Carla Renata's Corner  

Rocky is one of my all-time favorite film franchises right up there with the Godfather Trilogy, The Color Purple, Martin Scorsese films and ANY Jane Austin flick.  I was always impressed with the fact that Stallone refused to cave in and let the studios buys the rights to his script without him as the star.  Seriously, could you even imagine "Rocky" WITHOUT Sylvester Stallone?

"Creed" is the latest in the "Rocky" film franchise and is the first script NOT written by Stallone. "Fruitvale Station" director cuts his teeth on his first major studio film Directing and Writing "Creed" just as Stallone did 20 years ago and does so magnificently.

Coogler honors the franchise with some formulas from "Rocky" former versions like that infamous statue, which no longer sits atop those stairs, running through the streets of Philly, training at Mick's gym, the meticulously shot and choreographed boxing rounds, the turtles purchased from Adrian in the pet shop, the love interest with a disability, the shorts and a match against a famous foreign boxer.  Needless to say, only a real "Rocky" fan would notice all those intricate details...which I am proud to say I am.


"Creed" introduces us to the illegitimate son of the legendary Apollo Creed, who died before Adonis was born.  Unable to shake his unspoken legacy, Adonis makes a decision to become a professional boxer who only wants to be trained by "Rocky".  One of the most important lines spoken is during the match when "Rocky" ask Adonis what he i trying to prove and he replies, " I need to prove I wasn't a mistake"  That one line says it all.


Something so powerful, yet so simple drives one to make decisions that may not make sense to anyone else but them.

Michael B. Jordan (Creed) is giving the performance of a lifetime and does so with every fiber of his being.  It's magnificently electric and exciting to watch!  Even more exciting is watching the chemistry unfold between Jordan and Tessa Thompson (Bianca).  It's absolutely smoldering in the same fashion it was between Talia Shire and Sylvester Stallone.  Thompson is a mysteriously beautiful enigma who becomes the "beauty" to the "beast" so to speak.


Phylicia Rashad is such a spectacular actress that she makes any role she embodies look like a walk in the park which is a testament to her brilliance.  I only wish she had been on the screen a little longer.


If you are a fan of the "Rocky" franchise, Coogler,  Jordan, Thompson or Stallone, you will definitely not be disappointed in "Creed".  "Creed" is in theaters now.






On the flip side, we have "Southpaw" starring  Jake Gylenhall.  Gylenhall (Billy Hope) is the heavyweight champion of the world and loses his childhood sweetheart and wife in a tragic set of circumstances.  This sets off a chain of events that result in other major loses for Hope including his daughter to child protection services.  In an effort to get his life and career back on track, Hope enlists the assistance of Tick Willis (Forest Whittaker).

It goes without saying that since it s a boxing flick, one is bound to make similarities to "Rocky", but "Southpaw" stands on its own merit mostly due to the amazing performance of Gyllenhaal. This actor has the uncanny ability to disappear into any role he inhabits with gusto.  From "Brokeback Mountain" to "Nightcrawler" to "Southpaw" unarguably proves that.

Rachel McAdams (Maureen Hope) is having a stellar year in film with this performance and in "Spotlight".  As Maureen, she is the perfect counterpart to Gyllenhall and her death scene heartbreaking.

However, it is young Oona Laurence (Laila Hope) who steals the show.  Her emotional range is well beyond her years and she is enchanting to watch.

Southpaw was released in July 2015.



the-big-short-teaser-poster.jpg THE BIG SHORT review by Carla Renata via and Carla Renata's Corner


in 2015, we have already seen another film about the housing crisis here in America - 99 Homes - told completely from the point of view of the homeowners.  "The Big Short" tells that exact same story from the point of view of the finance/bankers whose greed and selfishness placed millions of Americans in unaffordable sub-prime loans.


With this famous quote posted at the start of the know you are about to go on a wild ride where seat belts are definitely in order.

The year was 2006 and I purchased a condo.  I should've known something was up when my own real-estate agent didn't make herself available to be in the room with me and the notary to sign the loan papers.  Nor should I have been surprised when I was told that there were two loans on the same day instead of one making my grand monthly total somewhere in the area of $4000 a month.  Could I afford this - HELL NO!

Like so many Americans, I got suckered into the American dream of owning my own home.  By 2008, the market crashed and I was stuck in sub-prime loan with an adjustable rate.  What does that mean?  It means that if the housing market rates are bad, my mortgage payment stays low.  However, if the rates escalate...then so does my mortgage payment.

Needless to say, I scurried to get a modification only to be denied for nearly three years until Obama took office and incorporated HARP and HAMP.  Why is ANY of this relevant to this review?  It is relevant because my story isn't unique.  There were millions of homeowners with this identical lament.  Millions of homeowners lost their homes, lived in hotels or on the street.  I was one of the lucky ones.

"The Big Short" focuses on four outsiders in the world of high-finance who predicted the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s and decide to take on the big banks for their lack of foresight and greed.

Aside from watching this whole mess unfold, we learn a plethora of terms like:

CDO - A Collateralized Debt Obligation is a type of structured asset-backed security. Originally developed for the corporate debt markets, over time CDOs evolved to encompass the mortgage and mortgage-backed security markets.

Tranche -  A piece, portion or slice of a deal or structured financing. This portion is one of several related securities that are offered at the same time but have different risks, rewards and/or maturities.

Synthetic CDO -A Synthetic CDO (collateralized debt obligation) is a variation of a CDO that generally uses credit default swaps and other derivatives to obtain its investment goals.


Christian Bale (Michael Burry) is a madman, but it works brilliantly for this character.  It just proves the old adage that most highly intelligent individuals sometimes don't possess common sense.  Michael Burry is a doctor and a genius.  A genius that saw the crash coming before it hit and figured out how to cash in on it.

Steve Carell (Mark Baum) plays eccentric to the hilt with massive success. Baum is all about that dollar, but money can't fill the emptiness in his seemingly very busy life.  Carell (in my opinion) was robbed last year for "Foxcatcher".  Maybe he will finally get some acknowledgement for the carefully crafted character work in this flick.

Can I just say that Brad Pitt is a beast!!!  Not only did he produce this bad boy, but it's evident that his acting chops are very well in tact.  It's always a pleasure to see him do his thing.

Ryan Gosling (Jarred Vennett) is the shark in the water looking for blood by any means necessary.  This role is a bit of departure for Gosling.  We are usually rooting for him to win...not in this film.  He is so despicable and unlikeable that the last thing you want him to do is get away with it.

Gosling does most of the to-camera sequences, but he gets a little help from some celebrity cameos. Yes, Margot Robbie sips champagne in a bubble bath while explaining to the viewer how credit default swaps work. It's a brilliant and biting observation on what it takes to get through to people in an era where attention spans are very short

Ultimately, this is Director Adam McKay's show and his contempt for how the whole mess got so out of control informs every facet of this self-aware and often hilarious flick.

The Big Short is in theaters NOW and if you want to check out my review on 99 Homes - CLICK HERE FOR 99 HOMES REVIEW

The Sound of Redemption - The Frank Morgan Story

  The Sound of Redemption - The Frank Morgan Story by Carla Renata via and CarlaRenatasCorner

" father was a pimp and an Ink Spot..."  This is how the daughter of Stanley Morgan describes her father in the documentary "The Sound of Redemption - The Frank Morgan Story".


At the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival, I had the pleasure of screening Sound of Redemption:  The Frank Morgan Story.  It was simultaneously fascinating, sad and inspiring!  To think I have lived in Southern California all this time and had never heard of this jazz legend!!!

Frank Morgan was an alto sax player who, like so many of his fellow musicians of the era, saw his career plagued by drug addiction.  The documentary tells the story of his life and transformation through interviews with fellow musicians and people who were close to him. Holding the story together is footage of the preparation and performance of a tribute concert planned for a prison. The years Frank spent in San Quentin State Prison were significant because there were so many great musicians “in residence” there that the far-sighted warden of the time allowed them to form a big band, known as The San Quentin All Stars. People came from all around the Bay Area to hear them play. Frank was proud to be in that band, and doubtless refined his skills as a musician in the company of the other great players serving time for narcotics related charges.

Once free and decades after the release of his first solo album, Frank became a star at last. His true love, artist Rosalinda Kolb, helped him come back and stay straight. With no children of his own, he saw his legacy in 2007, when he met the young Grace Kelly, a saxophone prodigy.  He introduced her to the public at his gigs, and gave her all he could of his wisdom and love in the last months of his life.


About two years ago, I attended a screening of another film,  "The Girls In The Band".  One of the women featured in that documentary just happened to be very close friends with Frank Morgan.  Clora Bryant, a legendary female trumpeter who crushed it back in the day was feature in this documentary as well.  Clora recounted in the film the night she took Frank to a party thrown by Charlie "Bird" Parker and how that was the beginning of his begin seduced by Lady Heroin.

Here is a trailer and please make it priority when it hits New York's IFC Center on December 2nd and the Laemmle in Los Angeles on December 18th


Review by Carla Renata for Carla Renata's Corner and When a South African photographer sets out to capture images of his people as a means to dispel stereotypes...he runs into Ayanda,  a young South African woman who has lost her life's anchor and mentor through the most tragic circumstances imaginable.  As a result, her family and their lives have been in a holding pattern.

Set in the vibrant community of Yeoville, where African migrants come from across the continent live and fuelled by the electric energy and ethnic diversity of 21st century Johannesburg, AYANDA tells the story of a young woman whose dreams of running a retro car restoration business are threatened by dark family secrets, the complications of love and the challenges of day-to-day life.

Since the death of Ayanda’s father – in his beloved garage – Ayanda’s mother Dorothy has resisted having anything to do with the business, harbouring guilt over her husband’s death. When Ayanda’s ‘Uncle’ Zama, who part-owns the garage, announces at the business is in severe debt and it’s time to sell, Dorothy, quietly relieved, agrees.


For me, AYANDA and The Mechanic is a film about Life - Legacy - Love...posing the question of "When do you stop dreaming"?

Life - Eight years after her Dad's death, everyone in the family attempts to move on. Her Mom (Nthati Moshesh) runs a local laundromat, her brother has become an alcoholic, her Dad's business partner Zama (Kenneth Nkosi) has stepped in becoming a pseudo father/head-of-household and Ayanda (Fulu Moguvhani )naturally has followed in her her father's footsteps of becoming an amazing mechanic.

Legacy - Faced with having to sell the garage due to the immense debt that incurred after his death, Ayanda hatches a plan to re-model cars to come up with the $30,000 in order to save the property. When she auctions off the cars and makes $45,000, all the masks fall off and secrets are revealed that no one wants to acknowledge.

Love - In order to find love for herself, Ayanda abandons the love she has for her man - David, (O.C. Ukeje), her family and the garage to find much needed love for herself. Like the nickname her Dad gave her "Butterfly" - Ayanda will now decides to explore the opportunity to spread her wings and fly onto her next adventure guilt free.

In this instance, the word "mechanic" takes on a whole new meaning.  For Ayanda, the mechanics of manuvering the ghost of her Dad, her feelings for David and adjusting to feelings of self-discovery as a young woman struggling to come into her own identity all seem to weave themselves into a very complicated web.

So, in a quest to find portraits of his country reflecting a more positive image, the photographer stumbles onto so much more and I, for one am elated that he did!

The performances of all of these actors are extraordinary, but the emotional palette displayed by Fulu Moguvhani is a marvel to experience.

Ayanda and The Mechanic had it's World Premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival earlier this year.


Trumbo_Poster Review by Carla Renata for Carla Renata's Corner and On Air With Tony Sweet/

With opinions ranting left and right on social media like a fresh-cut that barely has time to scab, there was a time in American history where expressing your opinion had consequences and repercussions.  One could even say that nowadays there is a "societal blacklist" that occurs  in social media.  Just ask Bill Cosby, any Kardashian or the hundreds of cops being called out for their reprehensible behavior.

The HUAC (House Un-American Activities Committee)  accused many of engaging in Communistic/Un-American activities in the Hollywood community.  Ten screenwriters refused to answer questions regarding their possible communist affiliations, and, after spending time in prison for contempt of Congress, were mostly blacklisted by the Hollywood studios.

The group originally included the German writer Bertolt Brecht, but Brecht fled the country on the day following his inquest, and the remaining 10 were voted in contempt of Congress on Nov. 24, 1947.  The 10 were Alvah Bessie, Herbert Biberman, Lester Cole, Edward Dmytryk, Ring Lardner, Jr., John Howard Lawson, Albert Maltz, Samuel Ornitz, Adrian Scott and Dalton Trumbo.

Even Arthur Laurents (The Way We Were, West Side Story, Gypsy, The Turning Point) was called in to account for his political views. He explained himself to the House Un-American Activities Committee, and his appearance seemed to have no obvious impact on his career, which at the time was primarily in the theater. 

Years earlier, Laurents and Jerome Robbins had developed Look Ma, I'm Dancin'! (1948), a Broadway musical about the world of ballet that ran for 188 performances.  Robbins approached Paramount Pictures about directing a screen version, and the studio agreed as long as Laurents was not part of the package.  It was then that Laurents learned he officially had been blacklisted, primarily because a review of Home of the Brave that had been published in the Daily Worker. Laurents spent three months trying to clear his name.  Just think, if Laurents name had not been cleared, American theater would not have some its iconic classics we still enjoy today.

The Brave One, Roman Holiday and Spartucus are all films written by the brilliantly talented screenwriter and novelist Dalton Trumbo and according to events  in the feature film of the same name, "Trumbo" was very passionate about his writing and his politics.

Bryan Cranston as Dalton Trumbo gives a tour de force performance only to be rivaled by his spectacular Emmy/Golden Globe winning performance on "Breaking Bad" His gruff, eccentric and often times comedic portrayal could be seen as a master class in character work onscreen.


Michael Stuhlbarg is having an amazing cinematic year.  In addition to Trumbo, he has Miles Ahead (The Miles Davis Story), Pawn Sacrifice, Steve Jobs either already in theaters or slated to open in 2016, which is literally around the corner.

As Edward G. Robinson, Stuhlbarg's portrayal reminds you how difficult it must be to choose between your beliefs and your career.  Especially if those choices may end the career and comfort that you have come to know and rely upon.  It's a safe bet that both he and Cranston will be walking a lot of red carpets this year.

Joining them on the carpet will most certainly be Dame Helen Mirren for her "balls to the wall" performance of the legendary gossip monger/former actress - Hedda Hopper.  Nowadays, social media makes stars, but in Hollywood's heyday, women like Hopper, Louella Parsons and Sheila Graham Westbrook could make or break a Hollywood career.  Mirren recreates that essence with such bravado and commitment that one could only wonder just how treacherous the real Hedda Hopper truly was.


Luckily for us, Louie C.K. as Arlen Herd has finally been given a character that has arc to it and not just a small cameo for storytelling purposes.  I adore him!

Kudos to Director Jay Roach and Trumbo's daughters Nikola and Mitzi for having the patience and tenacity for seven years to ring this story to the forefront.  The timing couldn't be better.  An extra special thanks to Kirk Douglas, without whose courage and support of Dalton Trumbo assisted giving us some of the greatest cinematic story ever told onscreen.

"Trumbo" is in limited release beginning November 6th and for those writers out there, you definitely want to add this screening on your "to do" list.

Here's an excerpt from Cleo Trumbo's acceptance speech for Dalton in 1992 at the WGA.