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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JUSTICE LEAGUE — Review by Kristen Page-Kirby

“Justice League” shares many of the problems that have cropped up in DC Comics films — a thinly written villain, a criminal underuse of both Amy Adams and Lois Lane, LOUD NOISES, (presumably) Zack Snyder shooting Gal Gadot like she’s on a late-night Cinemax show. And it’s terribly uneven; Joss Whedon was brought in to complete the film, and Whedon and Snyder aren’t exactly the chocolate and peanut butter of cinematic styles. Its fundamental flaw, though, lies at its moral center.

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BRIMSTONE & GLORY — Review by Kristen Page-Kirby

The feature debut of director Viktor Jakovleski, the film “Brimstone & Glory” looks at the city of Tultepec, the so-called fireworks capital of Mexico, during the National Pyrotechnic Festival. That celebration — essentially the city’s high holy days — has its roots in the festival of St. John of God, patron saint of fireworkmakers and (coincidentally) firefighters.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 17, 2019: Amy Poehler’s WINE COUNTRY

If you can’t get to wine country with your own girlfriends anytime soon, you could do far worse than tagging along with Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, Rachel Dratch, and their crew as they celebrate female friendship in all its messy glory. Blending crisp whites and robust reds with both humor and introspection, Wine Country is like a cross between a buddy comedy and a midlife-crisis therapy session.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 10, 2019: Mary Harron’s CHARLIE SAYS

motw logo 1-35Bringing a female gaze to one of the 20th century’s most notorious criminals and the influence he exerted over his zealous followers Mary Harron’s Charlie Says is a compelling look at the power of community and the need to belong. By focusing her film on the women around Charles Manson, rather than directly on Manson himself, Harron shows us how that need can lead to delusion, denial, and destruction.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 3, 2019: Laura Steinel’s FAMILY

Stories about stand-offish/lonely/workaholic adults being transformed by their relationship with precocious/charming/offbeat kids aren’t hard to find in Hollywood, but — until Family — none have hinged on the transformative power of acceptance by the Juggalos. And that helps make Laura Steinel’s quirky, poignant comedy about a reluctant aunt and her awkward niece stand out from the crowd.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 26, 2019: Jennifer Townsend’s CATCHING SIGHT OF THELMA & LOUISE

Few films have made the kind of impact on feminist-minded moviegoers as Thelma & Louise did when it hit theaters in 1991. Ridley Scott’s story of female friendship and empowerment struck a powerful chord with women (yes, men, too, but let’s let the ladies own this one) — one that still resonates almost three decades later. In the compelling documentary Catching Sight of Thelma & Louise, director Jennifer Townsend, helming her first film at age 80, digs into exactly why the movie had — and continues to have — such an impact.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 19, 2019: BE NATURAL – THE UNTOLD STORY OF ALICE GUY BLACHE

motw logo 1-35Briskly paced and packed with fascinating information about one of film’s true pioneers, Pamela B. Green‘s Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blache is a crash course in film history — or, more accurately, film herstory. Because, as it turns out, the roots of cinematic storytelling are as feminine as they can be.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 12, 2019: GIRLS OF THE SUN

motw logo 1-35A determined mother prepares to battle an extremist regime in desperate hopes of finding and rescuing her young son, who was torn from her by the same oppressors who turned her into a sex slave. No, it’s not The Handmaid’s Tale — it’s director Eva Husson’s powerful Girls of the Sun, which is based on all-too-real circumstances in present-day Kurdistan.

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