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MOVIE OF THE WEEK October 1, 2021: STOP AND GO

Time has moved differently since March 2020, often slowing to a glacial crawl. For that reason, the charming road comedy Stop and Go — which is set during the early days of Covid-19 — already feels quaintly nostalgic. Remember when we doused everything in Lysol? And changed clothes after coming back from the store? And were terrified our loved ones would catch Covid and die? (Hmm. Maybe things haven’t changed so much since lockdown started after all.)

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Opening September 29 to October 1, 2021- 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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FALLING FOR FIGARO – Review by Marilyn Ferdinand

One notable effect of the COVID-19 pandemic is the massive reassessment many people have made about how they are spending their precious time on earth. The large number of people who have told their employers to “take this job and shove it” has been both a shock to the capitalist class and an inspiration to those who want to live more fulfilling, humane lives. Ben Lewin’s winning romcom, Falling for Figaro, takes on this phenomenon with humor and heart, aided mightily by its star, Danielle Macdonald.

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BIRDS OF PARADISE – Review by Maitland McDonagh

Birds of Paradise treads the well-worn path blazed by films powered by the refrain that ‘everything is not beautiful at the ballet.’
The dance drama is beautifully made (even if it works the birds metaphor pretty hard) and never succumbs to the temptation to make the ballet world more “accessible” by revolving around an implausible outsider–I’m looking at you, Flashdance, and other misguided attempts to make the “stodgy” world of classical dance more relatable by focusing on a rebel whose mission is to make it less classical dance-y.

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BETWEEN WAVES – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Science fiction often walks a tightrope, giving us enough information to join a story’s world while not becoming overwhelmed with unfamiliar terms or loads of exposition. The sci-fi romance Between Waves lets viewers piece together a lot on their own, which at first suits its sense of mystery, then unfortunately peters into a puzzling conclusion.

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AWARE: GLIMPSES OF CONSCIOUSNESS – Review by Leslie Combemale

Are plants aware, and what does that even mean? Is it true using psilocybin in a controlled environment can actually alter understanding of self permanently? What is left of us, of our consciousness, when we die? These are just a few of the universal subjects being examined in the documentary Aware: Glimpses of Consciousness, from filmmaking collaborators Frauke Sandig and Eric Black. The film follows six researchers into consciousness coming at the big questions from very different perspectives, while interspersing the dialogue with meditative, naturalistic footage relating to the discussion. The result is a fascinating look at who we are, and how we fit into the cosmos and life’s continuum.

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THE GUILTY – Review by Martha K Baker

Jake Gyllenhaal is one of the producers of this remake of the Danish entry as Best Foreign Film of 2018. He gives his character, Joe Baylor, a wide range of hysteria, fright, concern, and frustration. He plays up Nic Pizzolatto’s screenplay, which is more sensational than the original, which felt creepier for being subtler. Still, “The Guilty” is unpredictable, heart-stopping, and, most of all, imaginative.

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HOLD YOUR FIRE (TIFF2021) – Review by Pam Grady

Taking place only months after the bank robbery/hostage situation that inspired Dog Day Afternoon, the January 1973 incident at John and Al’s Sporting Goods in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, went on far longer – lasting nearly four days – and resulted in the death of a cop. It is also the event credited with ushering in the modern age of hostage negotiation. And it is has been pretty much lost to history – until now with the Toronto International Film Festival world premiere of Stefan Forbes’ Hold Your Fire, a riveting documentary on the subject.

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