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CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: WITHOUT A NET

Anyone who has ever “ooh”-ed and “ah”-ed over a Cirque du Soleil show – that means the more than 215 million people in 70 countries who have seen one – will feel like they’ve been given a backstage pass to the magic, thanks to this intimate documentary. In Cirque du Soleil: Without a Net, filmmaker Dawn Porter takes viewers behind the curtain to see how the sausage is made – specifically O, which was forced to come to a complete halt in March 2020 when the pandemic hit. Cirque du Soleil was forced to lay off 3400 performers and declare bankruptcy. When, 400 days later, they’re given the okay to go back to work, they have eight weeks to prepare for the relaunch of the show.

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DARK WINDS – Review by Diane Carson

Dark Winds tells Diné stories from their perspective. Set on the Navajo Nation, based on author Tony Hillerman’s novel series Leaphorn and Chee, Dark Winds foregrounds investigations into murders and mayhem by Tribal Policeman, Lieutenant Joe Leaphorn, his deputy Jim Chee, and Sergeant Bernadette Manuelito. The two seasons, six episodes each, immerse viewers in the reservation near Monument Valley with events straddling forensic and spiritual realms.

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THE BEAR Season 3 – Review by Susan Granger

During its first two seasons, The Bear captivated fans and critics alike with its endearing rough-around-the-edges cast, led by Jeremy Allen White’s Carmen “Carmy” Berzatto. Following Carmy’s ongoing uphill battle to revive and totally reinvent his Italian family’s failing Chicago beef sandwich shop, Season 3 focuses on the dysfunctional restaurant kitchen crew as they anxiously await a Chicago Tribune review that could determine the restaurant’s future.

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LOVE, CHARLIE – Review by Diane Carson

The popularity of the streaming series The Bear, dramatizing the stressful, unforgiving, upscale kitchen environment of this fictional Chicago restaurant, has renewed attention to culinary brilliance. And among the real legendary chefs of the world, in and beyond Chicago, include Charlie Trotter, profiled in writer/director Rebecca Halpern’s documentary Love, Charlie: The Rise and Fall of Chef Charlie Trotter. Commentary and archival footage, including personal letters, establish Charlie’s never tolerating mediocrity for himself or others, creating difficult, but also stimulating collaboration. Notably, he inspired a generation of chefs in the U.S. and globally.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Scout Taylor Compton directorial debut BRING THE LAW Stars Mickey Rourke – Brandy McDonnell reports

Actor Scout Taylor Compton, known for her roles in 2007’s Halloween, Halloween II and The Runaways, is making her directorial debut with the action thriller Bring the Law, starring Oscar nominee Mickey Rourke. Bring the Law will follow a grieving homicide detective, who is chosen to lead a task force in Los Angeles to stop a criminal organization and soon unravels a conspiracy involving corruption in his own department.

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THE MORNING SHOW Season 3 – Review by Susan Granger

With 16 Emmy nominations, The Morning Show has finally become a major contender in the 2024 Drama Series race as showrunner Charlotte Stoudt catapulted it into the modern-day media crisis era with its 10-episode third season. New York City-based anchorwomen Alex Levy (Jennifer Aniston) and Bradley Jackson (Reese Witherspoon) are now on very different paths. What will become of compelling former UBA CEO Cory Ellison (Billy Crudup) who over-leveraged the company but was fired because of his questionable romantic relationship with Bradley? And will there be a place for Bradley’s now-ex, NBN anchor Laura Peterson (Julianna Margulies)?

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TWISTERS – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Twisters, a run-toward-disaster action film, is not without its charms but not as goofily fun as perhaps it could be. There’s not a flying cow in sight. The weather-nerd exuberance – “We’ve got striation!” – recalls the dumb fun of the original Twister, but Twisters isn’t a barnburner. However, fans of the original might find reason enough to get carried away.

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TWISTERS – Review by T. J. Callahan

A new generation of extreme weather chasers are back on the trail of the cylindrical cyclones in this sequel to the 1996 Bill Paxton/Helen Hunt storm adventure. Twisters blows in bigger and louder and has you on the edge of your seat and in the path of an EF 5 tornado right from the start. Under the direction of Lee Isaac Chung, it is more realistic, more dangerous and more sympathetic, but not necessarily more believable than its 28 year old counterpart. It’s a Hallmark movie with really good special effects. Love in the Time of Tornadoes.

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TWISTERS – Review by Susan Kamyab

We’re staying on the topic of films but moving from “under the sea” to “above ground” weather disasters. This week, I review the sequel to an iconic cult classic that made us even more afraid of Texas tornadoes. The original film, Twister, starring Helen Hunt and the late Bill Paxton, was released in 1996. Now 28 years later, a sequel to what was already considered a visually groundbreaking thriller, makes a whirlwind return with even more impactful storms.

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TWISTERS – Review by Nadine Whitney

Callbacks to the original film are well placed with a brilliant action set piece in a cinema echoing the drive-in sequence in Twister. Twisters isn’t simply relying on fan service and familiarity, however. Lee Isaac Chung skimps on nothing. The environmental stakes are brought into sharp focus, as is the reality of disaster profiteering where venal companies land grab when people are at their most vulnerable. The action sequences are top-notch, and the character driven moments have excellent payoffs. Glen Powell’s star power is at its mega-watt brightest, and he sells the “ride your fear” ethos with his heart on his sleeve.

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