The teaming of Billy Crystal and Tiffany Haddish promised to be a combo of comic gold. Instead, “Here Today” is a sweetly sentimental drama written and directed by Crystal about an aging comedy writer who relies on a newfound friend when his struggles with dementia become increasingly difficult to hide. The stars are appealing, and the movie has a warm heart even though the schmaltz is laid on a bit too thickly. “Here Today” will have cynics rolling their eyes while others dab a tear or two from them.
Kelvin Harrison, Jr. gives a solid, well-rounded performance in the dark social drama, “Monster.” Harrison plays a teenager who goes on trial as an accessory to murder after a botched convenience store robbery. Was he actually involved, or just an innocent bystander? The answer is slowly revealed in a series of flashbacks as viewers are pulled in and forced to draw their own conclusions before the final reveal. While the filmmaking is sometimes awkward and a number of other films have covered this territory more successfully, “Monster” is a respectable and somber critique of our imperfect justice system.
“The Human Factor” is an informative documentary about the confounding difficulties that U.S. negotiators have faced as they’ve tried in vain to secure peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The filmmakers get the lowdown directly from those who toiled in the shadows for over three decades through multiple presidential administrations. The complications range from profound to petty. The negotiators’ frustrations are palpable as successes come close only to have their hopes dashed time and again. “The Human Factor” is an instructive behind-the-scenes look at a seemingly intractable problem.
Your local art house theaters are offering online viewing options for a number of intriguing movie titles. More information is available at nelson-atkins.org, Screenland.com, fineartsgroup.com and drafthouse.com.day,day