WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR — Review by Susan Granger

Admittedly, it’s too early to talk Oscar, but I’d be stunned if Morgan Neville’s uplifting documentary about TV’s Mister Rogers doesn’t get a nomination and, perhaps, win. A look behind-the-scenes of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” reveals many surprises. The real Fred Rogers was an ordained Presbyterian pastor who viewed the mass media of children’s television as his ministry. Arriving at the end of the turbulent 1960s, his soft-spoken, yet persuasive message was one of love and kindness. Continue reading…

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TAG — Review by Martha K. Baker

That it’s based on a true story helps keep Tag being yet another exercise in testosteronic idiocy, of which the movie industry has been grinding out examples since the 19th century. Tag“is not Hangover. Tag is its own funny exercise in the brotherhood (with a couple of sisters) of tag. Continue reading…

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THE EXPERIMENTAL CITY — Review by Diane Carson

The Experimental City chronicles an inventive, futuristic venture. Athelstan Spilhaus is not well-known but should be. He can still teach our environmentally abusive and wasteful society a great deal, for he spearheaded an impressively progressive, inventive futuristic venture beginning in the 1960s. Spilhaus and a distinguished steering committee, including Buckminster Fuller, researched and proposed an experimental city of 250,000 residents to be built in northern Minnesota. Continue reading…

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FIRST REFORMED — Review by Susan Granger

Ethan Hawke plays an alcoholic, emotionally tormented, cancer-plagued pastor in this bleak, character-driven drama. In upstate New York, Reverend Ernst Toller (Hawke) impassively tends an old Dutch Reform church, best known for its historical importance. Years ago, it was a stop on the Underground Railroad for escaped, Canada-bound slaves. Continue reading…

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INCREDIBLES 2 — Review by Martha K. Baker

The 14 years between “Incredibles” and “Incredibles 2” woke up a few film folks to feminism, for “Incredibles 2” is female-centric. Thank you, Brad Bird. Bird wrote and directed the sequel to his Pixar story of a family of super heroes to create a bam biff pow story. Continue reading…

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HEREDITARY — Review by Susan Granger

Australian actress Toni Collette becomes the new ‘scream queen’ in Ari Aster’s terrifying psychological thriller about parents left with a diabolical legacy after the family matriarch’s death. This ominous story begins with a terse eulogy for dementia-addled, 78 year-old Ellen Taper Leigh by her dry-eyed daughter Annie Graham (Collette), who describes her difficult mother as so secretive and suspicious that she won’t be missed by those left behind. Continue reading…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Filmmaker Amy Scott talks HAL and Women in Hollywood — Brandy McDonnell interviews

amy scott hedshotAmy Scott was inspired to helm Hal, her first feature film, after reading Nick Dawson’s Being Hal Ashby: Life of a Hollywood Rebel. Chronicling the influential insider’s career, Scott’s documentary is an insightful chapter in Hollywood history. “It was a fascinating look at his life and his journey. And I just connected with Hal because he was an editor for a number of years, won an Oscar for editing ‘In the Heat of the Night.’ And he directed his first film when he was 40, and I thought, ‘Hmm, OK, it’s not too late,” Scott said. Continue reading on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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NYWIFT’s AfriAmerican Immigrant Screening: Local Stories, Global Themes – Madeline Johnson reports (Exclusive Guest Post)

nywift logoIn Astoria’s historic Kaufman Studios, filmmakers from the African diaspora shared local stories that reverberated deep into universal themes and questions as part of the fourth annual New York Women in Film & Television’s (NYWIFT) Women Filmmakers: Immigrant Stories screening on May 31, 2018. Highlighting narrative and documentary shorts about the New York immigrant experience, the selected films covered issues ranging from the #MeToo movement to Trump’s travel ban, and from the immigrant experience to what it means to be American. Continue reading on THE FEMALE GAZE

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WOMAN WALKS AHEAD — Review by Nikki Baughan

woman walks ahead posterThe exploration of history through the female experience remains a rare thing in filmmaking – and perhaps nowhere more so than in the Western genre. Director Susanna White’s Woman Walks Ahead boldy takes on this overtly masculine cinematic landscape with this sensitive portrayal of real-life Native American rights campaigner Catherine Weldon, who travelled from 1880s New York City to the Dakota plains in order to paint legendary Chief Sitting Bull and subsequently became embroiled in their fight to regain control of their lands. Continue reading…

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MOUNTAIN — Review by Diane Carson

mountain posterMountain surveys attitudes toward the world’s highest peaks. Director Jennifer Peedom’s documentary essay is as varied as the subject it tackles. From black-and-white archival footage of the first mountaineers to contemporary high-tech daredevils, the relationship between humans and mountains encompasses everything from awe to terror, triumphs to disasters, enthralled obsession to unfettered risk taking. While not in depth on any one element, this overall meditative, fairly solemn consideration delivers a moving tribute to nature and a provocative examination of individuals confronting our highest peaks. Continue reading…

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