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RIPLEY – Review by Susan Granger

The idiom “Everything old is new again…” can be applied to writer/director Steven Zaillian’s sensational new noir Netflix series Ripley, based on Patricia Highsmith’s pulpy, best-selling novels. Sociopathic antihero Tom Ripley (Andrew Scott) is a down-on-his-luck grifter in 1961 New York who is hired by wealthy shipping magnate to travel to Italy to try to convince his prodigal son Dickie Greenleaf (Johnny Flynn) to return home. Tom’s acceptance of this lucrative job opens the door to a labyrinthine life of crime. As soon as he arrives in the picturesque coastal village of Atrani, he begins to ingratiate himself with entitled Dickie, much to the annoyance of his resentful girl-friend Marge Sherwood (Dakota Fanning), who is suspicious from the getgo. “I’m not someone who takes advantage of people,” Tom claims when, in fact, that’s exactly who he is.

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ARCADIAN – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

Honestly, it doesn’t look so bad, as postapocalyptic societies go. Nicolas Cage’s dad to two teen boys in a postcollapse afterscape has a cosy little cottage, with books and chess and a dog and a crackling fire in the evenings. Okay, yes, sure, Something Unfathomable comes a’knockin’ — literally — at their defenses in the depths of night. But nowhere’s perfect, amiright?

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CHALLENGERS – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Early in Challengers, Zendaya as a young tennis prodigy leans back on a motel bed, watching a situation unfold. Her smirk is both amused and aroused, turned on by her power more than her company. Director Luca Guadagnino’s hot and heavy sports drama pumps up the sensuality, with sweaty closeups of eyes, glistening torsos, and plenty of grunting—and that’s just on the tennis court. What the film mostly explores is a menage-a-trois—not the one hyped in the trailers but the complicated relationship of three competitive people who can’t stay out of each other’s business. Challengers offers a messy contest of wills and connections with a lot to unpack.

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LA CHIMERA – Review by Diane Carson

Italian director Alice Rohrwacher avoids cinematic clichés, forging a unique blend of complex characters in unusual circumstances and settings. She’s true to form in her latest film, La Chimera, Rohrwacher’s critical assessment of a band of tombaroli, grave robbers in an eccentric 1980s Tuscan community. The foreigner Arthur and his Italian colleagues propel the narrative with unanticipated twists and turns. Pushing us out of a relaxed comfort zone, Rohrwacher includes characters’ direct-address to the camera, singers and dancers presenting alternative perspectives, and magical realism interwoven with Italy’s signature cinematic neo-realism.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 19, 2024: WE GROWN NOW

Growing up can be a fraught experience in the best of circumstances, and life in the deteriorating Cabrini-Green public housing project in early 1990s Chicago is far from the best of circumstances. But, in Chicago native Minhal Baig’s moving drama We Grown Now, it’s also a place where friendship and community thrive — until tragic violence attracts the attention of the forces of “law and order,” and everything changes for best friends Malik and Eric.

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Opening April 15 to 21, 2024 – Margaret Barton-Fumo reports

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists highlights movies made by and about women. With a vigilant eye toward current releases, we maintain an interactive record of films that are pertinent to our interests. Be they female-made or female-centric productions, they are films that represent a wide range of women’s stories and present complex female characters. As such, they are movies that will most likely be reviewed on AWFJ.org and will qualify for consideration for our annual EDA Awards, celebrating exceptional women working in film behind and in front of the camera.

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AWFJ MEMBER NEWS, April 2024 – Wendy Mitchell reports

The Alliance of Women Film Journalists brings together some of the world’s leading female film critics, writers and journalists, and we’re always amazed at the scope and breadth of our colleagues’ creative talents and achievements. Our Member News column spotlights these amazing women and their latest achievements in their professional and personal lives. Help us celebrate our members’ latest successes and milestones.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Amy Poehler honored at CinemaCon 2024 – Brandy McDonnell reports

Primetime Emmy Award winner Amy Poehler will receive this year’s CinemaCon Vanguard Award. CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners, is taking place from April 8-11 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. Poehler will be presented with the honor at the Big Screen Achievement Awards ceremony April 11 at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

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CIVIL WAR – Review by Susan Kamyab

Filmmaker Alex Garland’s fourth directorial feature hits harder than most war films. Civil War is a painfully realistic portrayal of a journey across dystopian future America driven by haunting characters, graphic visuals and heart-pounding sound effects. The film focuses on a team of four journalists following the Second American Civil War. Caught between the American government and “Western Forces”, they set out on a suicide mission through a surge of war crimes to reach the president before rebel coalitions strike the White House.

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LATE NIGHT WITH THE DEVIL – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

I first saw this last year, and it has been embedded in my brain ever since, like an itchy splinter. I thought: This is an astonishing movie: uniquely fresh while also deeply lodged in the history of cinematic horror. But it’s now been a bit soured by the recent news that the filmmakers utilized “AI” “art” in their production design.

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