Hope you’all had a wonderful holiday season. Here’s some movies that touched my heart and I want to recommend.

On the serious side, ‘Frontera’ is the story of a collision between cultures on the Mexican border. A rancher’s wife dies while out horse riding (ably played by Ed Harris and his real-life wife Amy Madigan). At times painful yet honest, the movie paints a bit more of the picture immigration covers than our representatives would lead us to understand.

‘The International’ is a great expose on how things run globally, camouflaged as a shoot-em-up action adventure. Showcasing the always superb Clive Owen, he is supported by an all-star cast (Armin Mueller-Stahl, Naomi Watts). A story based on the real-life exploitations of two secretive and long standing financial corporations — the Canadian-based Permindex Trade Organization and the Pakistani-based Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), here-in lies the shadow darkness that if seen, will lead us to a better more human way to do business.

chef‘Chef’ got mediocre reviews which leads me to wonder about reviewers. A joyous romp of fun, beauty, and cultural exploration, asking the always-needed question, “What is most important in this life?” Food is a wonderful vehicle that teaches so much and transports us through this journey of a chef’s effort to reclaim his creative promise, while piecing back together his estranged family. And, ‘Chef’ has great music, a top-notch soundtrack, something movies pay less attention to these days.

I’ll end with ‘Still Mine’, a tender jewel of a movie that deserves wider viewing. It stars two masters of the screen at the peak of their powers, the beloved James Cromwell (of ‘Babe’ fame, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor) and Geneviève Bujold (of French- Canadian ancestry, star of numerous European, Canadian and America films). Cultural topics abound in this quiet treatise on aging, self-reliance, God-reliance, government bureaucracy, wood + carpentry and more. This film got little attention when released but nothing diminishes its beauty, power, and lasting impact on those who seek it out. It brings to mind a quote from William James, an American philosopher and psychologist who was trained as a physician and was a Grandfather to 12 Step, “There is an organic affinity between joyousness and tenderness, and their companionship in the saintly life need in no way occasion surprise.”