STRAY – Review by Kristen Page-Kirby

Cats: The humans give me food, shelter, and love. I must be god. Dogs: The humans give me food, shelter, and love. They must be god. That’s one of the main differences between Stray and 2016’s feline-focused Kedi, to which it will be inevitably compared. Both documentaries follow their respective stray animals through the streets of Istanbul, looking at their unique places in the Turkish life.

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DEAR SANTA – Review by Kristen Page-Kirby

You probably won’t cry through ALL of Dear Santa, but expect your eyes to be a little leaky through most of it. The documentary Dear Santa follows the stories of the 2019 version of Operation Santa, a charity begun in 1912 that matches children (and some adults) who have written letters to Santa with donors. Writer and director Dana Nachman follows a few of Santa’s “elves,” including an elementary school’s student government, a postmaster in a small Arizona town and a former Operation Santa recipient.

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THE JUMP – Review by Kristen Page-Kirby

The Jump is about a leap into faith by a young Russian who tried to leap to freedom, but missed by inches. In 1970, Simas Kudirka, a sailor, on a Soviet vessel off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard jumped ship to seek asylum on the nearby USS Vigilant. a coast guard ship. The documentary chronicles his story.

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CAN YOU KEEP A SECRET? – Review by Kristen Page-Kirby

Emma is low in the hierarchy at work and low on confidence everywhere. Already a nervous flier, after a few cocktails and a lot of turbulence, she blurts secrets large and small to the guy sitting next to her, figuring it’s no big deal to tell a stranger every embarrassing thing that’s happened to her moments before she dies. But wait! They survive! And it turns out that Jack, her seatmate, is her company’s new CEO! Oh nooooo!

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ASTRONAUT- Review by Kristen Page-Kirby

When Astronaut soars, it really nails the landing. In one scene, Angus encounters workers filling potholes on a crumbling road and says “these roads were only meant to last 15 or 20 years, you know.” Then McLeod cuts to Angus (Richard Dreyfuss) walking across a stone bridge that’s clearly been there for centuries. Some things are built to last.

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AMAUROSIS (THE UNSEEN) – Review by Kristen Page-Kirby

Nothing shatters a parent — or a marriage — like the loss of a child. Amaurosis (The Unseen) is an unflinching look at the unimaginable grief that strikes Gemma (Jasmine Hyde) and Will (Richard Flood) after the sudden loss of their young son. When they try to escape, they find that there simply is no escape from their mental and psychological anguish — an anguish that begins to manifest itself into physical symptoms.

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ON THE BASIS OF SEX – Review by Kristen Page-Kirby

Amazingly, Ruth Bader Ginsburg did not emerge, fully formed and clad in judges robes, from the ocean of awesomeness. “On the Basis of Sex” highlights her time in the fire that forged her into the woman she is now. While all fans of the Notorious RBG will enjoy seeing the beginning of her superheroic quest, what may be more valuable to younger viewers is how systemic discrimination was — and how recently sexism was coded into law. “On the Basis of Sex” is a valuable movie about one of America’s most valuable resources.

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Filmmaker Margaret Betts on NOVITIATE — Interview by Kristen Page-Kirby

Novitiate” is a love story about a girl in a relationship with a guy who just doesn’t seem to be paying much attention to her. It’s a fairly typical tale, except the girl is a 17-year-old nun in training and the guy is God. In the drama, opening Friday, Cathleen (played by Margaret Qualley) enters the (fictional) convent of the Sisters of Blessed Rose in 1964. She begins her journey toward becoming a nun with a one-year stint as a postulant, getting used to the daily routine of the convent.

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