LET THE SUNSHINE IN – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

letsunshinein.P“Is this my life? I want to find love.” So laments Juliette Binoche as Isabelle. This is something of a comfort: if a woman of such luminousness, grace, and intelligence can’t find a man, then maybe it’s not us, but them. And truly, all the men in her life are awful in mundane, conventional ways that are very recognizable: they’re self-centered, unfaithful, crude, wishy-washy, posturing, demanding, casually insulting when they think they’re being flattering. One man tells her, “I like your synthetic mind,” which is simply a terrible thing to say to anyone… though she doesn’t seem to notice. So there’s that, too: Isabelle is so lonely and so desperate for male company that she seems to have no taste at all in men. Continue reading…

read more

RAMPAGE — Review by Susan Granger

If A Quiet Place could be considered sublime horror, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s new monster movie, based on a 1986 arcade game, falls into the ridiculous category. Back in 1993, there was breakthrough bio-engineering technology, known as CRISPR, which gave scientists a way to treat incurable diseases through genetic editing. In 2016, fearing its misuse, the U.S. Intelligence Community designated genetic editing a “Weapon of Mass Destruction and Proliferation.” Continue reading…

read more

LET THE SUNSHINE IN — Review by Cate Marquis

Juliette Binoche plays a middle-aged Parisian artist who is searching for true love, the French-language Let the Sunshine In. Director Claire Denis takes us on as emotional journey with Binoche, one that leads more to self discovery and insights than romance, as her character explores romantic possibilities. Surprisingly, this is the first film collaboration of these two giants of French cinema. The film is billed as romantic comedy but the comedy is both subtle and very French. Also very French are the conversations, which often tend towards the philosophical and world weariness, with a dash of idealistic hope. Continue reading…

read more

THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Female Helmers take HALF THE PICTURE and LUKE CAGE 2. Hodson Writes BATGIRL — Brandy McDonnell reports

Amy Adrion’s documentary, Half the Picture, presents a compelling account of the horror stories female directors face. Femme-helmers will rule the set for half of the episodes of Luke CageSeason 2. Unforgettable scripter Christina Hodson has been tapped to write the Batgirl movie. Continue reading on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

read more

LITTLE PINK HOUSE — Review by Susan Wloszczyna

little pink house posterMay we all be so lucky to have an always-mesmerizing actress like Catherine Keener play us if our lives ever inspire a film. Within the first few minutes of Little Pink House, the two-time Oscar nominee swiftly establishes real-life paramedic and nurse Susette Kelo as a thoughtful and quietly alluring life force to be reckoned with. Just the way she tends to the ailing mother of an old classmate and puts her at ease during an ambulance ride suggests she would be someone you would want to be at your side in a fight. It is not so surprising, then, that Susette would end up being the compelling face and voice of a nearly decade-long legal battle that would pit Big Pharma against blue-collar residents over the right of their town’s officials to invoke “eminent domain” to force them out of their humble abodes. The landmark case would eventually be tried by the Supreme Court in 2005 with Susette as the plaintiff. Continue reading…

read more

WHERE IS KYRA? — Review by Diane Carson

Where Is Kyra? is not a film that grabs headlines; it is one that lingers with a profound emotional, empathetic appeal. For Kyra is that rare woman in narratives: middle-aged, unemployed, down-on-her-luck, and becoming increasingly desperate. With credit cards canceled and homelessness looming, Kyra becomes resourceful by necessity, adopting her recently deceased mother’s identity in order to cash her checks. Continue reading…

read more

BEIRUT — Review by Susan Granger

Charismatic Jon Hamm (TV’s “Mad Men”) is such a good actor that it’s a shame his considerable talents are wasted on this disjointed political thriller, set in war-torn Lebanon in 1982. Hamm plays Mason Skiles, a top U.S. diplomat, happily married to Nadia (Leila Bekhti) and living in Beirut. Having no children of their own, they’ve taken in Karim (Yoav Sadian Rosenberg), a 13 year-old Palestinian refugee, treating him like “part of the family.” Continue reading…

read more

EVEN WHEN I FALL – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

evenwhenifall.P“Just because you work in a circus doesn’t mean you’re a prostitute.” This is a statement of feminist support, a denial of the received wisdom, from an audience member for Saraswoti and Sheetal, founders and performers in Nepal’s Circus Kathmandu. It’s an expression of an enlightened, go-girl attitude, exactly the sort of thing that the two women have been fighting for and struggling toward for the six years during which the extraordinary documentary Even When I Fall has been following them. Continue reading…

read more

LOVE & BANANAS: AN ELEPHANT STORY — Review by Diane Carson

The documentary Love & Bananas: An Elephant Story begins in northern Cambodia with David Casselman in a helicopter surveying and commenting on the appalling deforestation of seventy-five percent of the Cambodian jungle by logging companies. Casselman makes clear the related peril for the endangered Asian elephant and the critical need for the one-million-acre Cambodia Wildlife Sanctuary he has co-founded. Continue reading…

read more

A QUIET PLACE — Review by Susan Granger

a quiet place posterSome moviegoers absolutely love to be scared, frightened out of their wits. If so, this dystopian horror thriller is for you. Emily Blunt and her husband John Krasinski play Evelyn and Lee Abbott, a married couple, living on a secluded farm in upstate New York. It’s Day 89 – after most of the civilized world has been decimated by an alien invasion of hideously hungry creatures who detect their prey by super-sensitive sound. Knowing that silence is absolutely essential to survival, the Abbotts, always barefoot and alert, are determined to protect their three young children. Continue reading...

read more