BLACKKKLANSMAN — Review by Susan Granger

Opening with a Civil War scene from Gone With the Wind (1939) and closing with footage from the Charlottesville riots (2017), Spike Lee’s “crazy, outrageous, incredible true story” about Ron Stallworth is both historical and relevant. In the early 1970s when Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) became the first African-American detective in the Colorado Springs Police Department, he wanted to go undercover. His chance comes when he’s assigned to surreptitiously record a speech by former Black Panther leader Stokely Carmichael (Corey Hawkins), a.k.a. African nationalist Kwame Ture. Continue reading…

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EIGHTH GRADE — Review by Susan Granger

eighth gradeposterIf you still had any doubts about how social media has changed suburban adolescence, check out Bo Burnham’s perceptive, R-rated debut dramedy about angst-riddled Kayla’s last week in middle school. Shy, lonely 13 year-old Kayla Day (Elsie Fisher) spends most waking hours on her iPhone. She’s either checking out Instagram/Snapchat or making YouTube videos, offering advice to a non-existent audience. “You have to put yourself out there,” she says, “but where is ‘there’?” Although Kayla claims to be “funny and cool and talkative,” her classmates just voted her “most quiet.” Awkwardly vulnerable and painfully insecure, Kayla yearns to be popular and attract the attention of one particular boy (Luke Prael) in her class. Continue reading…

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THREE IDENTICAL STRANGERS — Review by Susan Granger

three identical strangers posterWhat if – on your first day as a college freshman – people greeted you as if they knew you, girls kissed you and everyone called you Eddy, even though your name was Bobby? That’s what happened to 19 year-old Robert Shafran in 1980. That’s when he discovered he was one of identical triplets who had been separated at birth and adopted by three different families. His brother Eddy had attended Sullivan County Community College in upstate New York the year before. Continue reading…

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THE WIFE — Review by Cate Marquis

Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce give searing performances in The Wife, a drama about what happens to a long-married couple when the husband is awarded the Nobel Prize for literature. The film is an astoundingly good drama, with gripping performances and an engrossing story. Continue reading…

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THE EQUALIZER 2 — Review by Susan Granger

equalizer 2 posterIt’s been more than 20 years since the TV series The Equalizer (1985-1989) made its debut opposite Denzel Washington’s popular St. Elsewhere. Now Denzel has become shadowy Robert McCall, the ex-CIA Black Ops assassin-turned-vigilante. In the 2014 Equalizer, righteous McCall was a grieving widower determined to wreak vengeance for a victimized teenage prostitute (Chloe Grace Moretz). Now he’s back, working in Boston as a laconic Lyft driver who, when his passengers are in danger, comes to their aid. Like when some spoiled, rich kids get their kicks by drugging and raping a defenseless woman. McCall brutally slices one with his own credit cards, muttering, “I expect a five-star rating.” Continue reading…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: 9 TO 5 sequel, ‘CHARLIE’S ANGELS’ reboot, RGB and OCEAN’S 8 at home — Brandy McDonnell Reports

The hours may be different these days, but Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton are going back to work for a 9 to 5 sequel. Rashida Jones is attached to co-write a script with original screenwriter Patricia Resnick. Kristen Stewart and British newcomer Ella Balinska are cast as the new team in the latest iteration of Charlie’s Angels, with Elizabeth Banks directing as co-starring as Bosley. RBG, the documentary about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, comes to DVD and Blu-ray next month, while Mimi Leder’s Ginsburg biopic, On the Basis of Sex starring Felicity Jones, is due in theaters December 25. Ocean’s 8, the all-female iteration of the action adventure franchise. is due out soon on 4K UHD Combo Pack, Blu-ray Combo Pack, DVD Special Edition and Digital. Read the full stories on THE WEEK IN WOMEN

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What’s Up Down Under? LOST GULLY ROAD – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

lost gully roadWomen horror filmmakers in Australia – as in many other countries – are a tight knit community, and an accomplishment for one is seen as an accomplishment for all. Australian filmmaker, artist, and academic Donna McRae’s sophomore feature film Lost Gully Road speaks both to that particular professional network and represents the increasing success of women in the field in Australia over recent years. As if that weren’t enough, it also reaches out through the codes and conventions of the genre itself to address very real, very urgent issues facing women in the country (and around the world) more broadly. Continue reading…

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PUZZLE – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

SONY-PZMI-05_8.5x11.inddThe opening scene of Puzzle is a hushed horror, I don’t think it’s too extreme to call it, of domestic servility. Housewife and stay-at-home mom Agnes is so busy hosting a party at her suburban New York home that she cannot participate, much less enjoy it… unlike her husband, who is having a ball and doing not one single damn thing to help. The kicker of the scene is sadly perfect, a plaintive moment of resigned acceptance on Agnes’s face as she acknowledges to herself, for what we may take as the zillionth time, that this is what her life is now and will forever be: small, lonely, and taken for granted. Continue reading…

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Fork Films Funds 16 Femme-Helmed and/or Produced Documentaries — Jennifer Merin reports

fork films logoAbigail Disney’s Fork Films is dividng $625,000 in grants among 16 new documentaries that align with the company’s dedication to promoting peacebuilding, human rights, and social justice. All are directed and or produced by women. Selected from 500 applicants, the chosen films address topics ranging from refugee and immigration stories, to incarceration, civil rights, disability rights and media depictions of transgender people, as well as other timely topics. The unprecedented number of applications indicates growing demand for nonfiction storytelling in this turbulent time. Continue reading on CINEMA CITIZEN

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Fantasia International Film Festival 2018: Born of Woman Section Dominates — Liz Whittemore Reports

This year’s Fantasia International Film Festival (July 2-August 2) showcased some extraordinary femme-centric thrills and terror in its BORN OF WOMAN section. In the nine selections in the program, stories range from sci-fi to horror, all the way to to the downright strange and unusual. What makes these shorts unique is that fact that they are all directed by women and their stories are all about women. When Fantasia International Film Festival gave birth to BORN OF WOMEN program in 2016 incarnation, it added something that has long been missing in a genre that is known for its predominantly misogynistic overtone. For a rundown of the nine films showcased this year, continue to I SCREAM YOU SCREAM.

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