INCREDIBLES 2 — Review by Susan Granger

14 years after the original, Brad Bird’s digitally animated superhero franchise has a super sequel, revolving around the Parr family. Bob, Mr. Incredible (voiced by Craig T. Nelson), is the traditional strong, protective patriarch and Helen (voiced by Holly Hunter), is his flexible wife – a.k.a. Elastigirl. Violet (voiced by Sarah Vowell) is their angst-laden teenage daughter, while Dash (voiced by Huck Milner) is her rowdy, impulsive younger brother, and Jack-Jack (voiced by Eli Fucile) is the baby. The family’s best friend is Lucius Best – a,k.a. Frozone (voiced by Samuel L. Jackson). Continue reading…

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Summer Docs Watch: The Missing Honeybees — Documentary Retroview by Jennifer Merin

more than honey posterCommentaries posted across the internet report that as summer progresses across the nation, fields of clover coming to bloom sweeten the air with their delicate fragrance. But the web buzz is that the honeybees, usually attracted to pollinate the flowers, are in absentia this year, as they have been for several years past. Several extremely good documentaries that have been released during the past decade, have set off alarms about the missing honeybees by chronicling and explaining ‘colony collapse disorder,’ the phenomenon that threatens to put honeybees on the endangered species list, to upend the ecosystem and to disastrously disrupt our food supply. Continue reading…

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AMERICAN ANIMALS — Review by Diane Carson

American Animals tells the astonishing, true story of a rare book heist. The narrative twists and turns conventional heist movie formulas into a riotous blend, thereby delivering a wildly creative, tragicomic remix. It begins with a perfect flourish. Interviews capture astonished, appalled parents trying unsuccessfully to fathom how four privileged young men, their sons, could go so wrong that they decided to steal extremely valuable books from Transylvania University’s special collection. Continue reading…

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OCEAN’S 8 — Review by Susan Granger

oceans 8 posterOpening with a scene reminiscent of Steven Soderbergh’s Ocean’s Eleven (2001), this caper comedy introduces the late, lamented Danny Ocean’s younger sister Debbie (Sandra Bullock), leaving prison after five-years, eight months and 12 days behind bars. Swinging into action, Debbie purloins beauty products from Bergdorf Goodman, forges a posh Manhattan hotel registration, liberates a suitcase off a bellman’s cart and contacts her cool wing-woman Lou (Cate Blanchett) to explain an intricate scheme she’s been working on during her incarceration. Continue reading…

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WOMAN WALKS AHEAD — Review by Cate Marquis

Director Susanna White’s woman-centric Western stars Jessica Chastain as a painter who travels from New York into the West with the intention of painting Sitting Bull. Once again, Chastain lands a role as a strong woman carving out her own way in the world. The story is based on a real person, who did travel to North Dakota and became a confidant and adviser to the Lakota chief. Continue reading…

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THE WEEK IN WOMEN: Alfre Woodard Talks Inclusion, ‘Luke Cage’ and What’s Next — Brandy McDonnell interviews

alfre woodardAlfre Woodard, named one of the deadCenter Film Festival’s 2018 Oklahoma Film Icon Award winners, considers herself an “original gangster,” saying that after four decades in show business she has seen plenty of trends come and go. That includes the trend of including women or people of color in movies and television shows just because it happens to be fashionable at the moment, or because someone else had success doing it. Continue reading on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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HALF THE PICTURE – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

halfpicture.PIf you’ve been paying the teensiest bit of attention, there isn’t a lot in Half the Picture that will be news to you. But there is so much authority and insight in this film that is it essential viewing nevertheless for anyone who cares about all the great stories we are not seeing on our TVs and in our multiplexes because the voices of women storytellers are far too often stifled. With her feature debut, director Amy Adrion delivers a straightforward talking-head documentary that gives time and space — much needed cultural breathing room — to some remarkable female film/TV directors and industry watchers to discuss all the ways in which women get shut out of the power corridors of the pop-culture dream machine, and constantly undermined if they do manage to find their way inside. Continue reading…

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THE YELLOW BIRDS — Review by Jennifer Merin

yellow birds poster new small>Alexandre Moors’ powerful drama shatters notions that going to war makes heroes of ordinary men. Neither Bartle (Alden Ehrenreich), age 21, nor Murph (Tye Sheridan), who is barely 18, have any idea about what they want to do with their lives, so they join the military. They meet in basic training, and bond as brothers, determined to get through the military drill together. Their conmection is strengthened when Bartle meets Murph’s doting and very anxious mom (Jennifer Aniston), at an on base family dinner before the two deploy to Iraq, where they quickly learn that war is not a video game. Continue reading on CINEMA CITIZEN…

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WESTWOOD: PUNK, ICON, ACTIVIST — Review by MaryAnn Johanson

WESTWOOD POSTERShe’s been a fixture of the counterculture since, well, she helped invent the punk aesthetic in London in the 1970s with her then-partner Malcolm McLaren, who dressed the band he managed — the Sex Pistols — in clothes she made, such as a T-shirt with straitjacket-esque too-long sleeves. Today, in her 70s, she remains an iconoclast in her artistic sense, her designs alive with funky prints and retro-futuristic shapes, as well as in her business sense: her company is almost unique among the big designers in that it is completely independent, not a subsidiary of a global corporation. So it’s difficult to believe that there hasn’t been a significant documentary about Vivienne Westwood until now. Continue reading…

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OCEANS 8 — Review by Martha K. Baker

Oceans 8 continues the franchise with diamonds. The Oceans probably stole their family tree. Every branch, from Danny Ocean on down, holds a con artist. It’s Debbie Ocean’s turn to steal. Would that she have pulled off her heist with her eight titular companions with a bit more levity and a lot more suspense. Continue reading…

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