MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 26, 2019: FOR SAMA

Raw, intimate, and devastating, Waad Al-Khateab’s documentary For Sama is a powerful story of what it was like to live in Aleppo during several years of Syria’s destructive civil war. Co-directed by Edward Watts, the film explores the human consequences and casualties of battle, while simultaneously proving that life can continue — and even flourish — in even the most hellish circumstances.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK July 19, 2019: Claudia Myers’ ABOVE THE SHADOWS

Just about everyone ends up feeling invisible at some point during their teen years — but what if you actually disappeared? That’s what happens to Holly in writer/director Claudia Myers Above the Shadows, a drama/fantasy that serves as an allegory for what it’s like to be marginalized out of your very existence.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK: Lynn Shelton’s SWORD OF TRUST

Opportunity makes strange — but ultimately well-suited — bedfellows in Lynn Shelton’s quirky dramedy Sword of Trust. Centered on an antique weapon that may (or may not) have played an unexpectedly important role in American history, it digs into the denial and hate that are tied into so much of the divisiveness that’s currently plaguing our country. All with an absurdist tone, naturally.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 28, 2019: Claire McCarthy’s OPHELIA

Much analyzed and, according to many, much misunderstood, Ophelia has always been one of Shakespeare’s most enigmatic characters. With Ophelia, director Claire McCarthy and screenwriter Semi Chellas aim to demystify Hamlet’s lady love, turning her into a smart, fully fleshed-out woman with spirit and agency.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 28, 2019: MAIDEN

As tense and exciting as anything scripted in Hollywood, Alex Holmes’ documentary Maiden is all the more remarkable for being a true story. It takes viewers back to 1989, when Tracy Edwards, then 24, became the first skipper of an all-female sailing crew to enter the Whitbread Round the World Race. Facing both the elements and skepticism from the establishment, Edwards and her team defied expectations — and scored a victory for feminism in the process.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 21, 2019: LATE NIGHT

Cross The Devil Wears Prada with 30 Rock, and you might get something like Late Night, director Nisha Ganatra’s timely comedy about a starry-eyed young comedy writer named Molly (Mindy Kaling) who gets the chance of a lifetime when she’s hired to work for iconic late-night talk show host Katherine Newbury (Emma Thompson). Written by Kaling, the movie mixes behind-the-scenes showbiz humor with smart observations about what it’s really like for women to break down barriers.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 14, 2019: TONI MORRISON: THE PIECES I AM

Inspiring and intimate, Timothy Greenfield-Sanders’ documentary Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am is a revealing portrait of a true American icon. The Nobel Prize-winning author shares details of her life and work honestly and openly, while fellow luminaries — and enthusiastic fans — like Oprah Winfrey, Fran Lebowitz, Walter Mosley, and many more wax rhapsodic about Morrison’s talent and significance as a writer.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 7, 2019: ALWAYS BE MY MAYBE

Even when you have a pretty strong sense of how it’s going to end, there’s something immensely appealing about a good, old-fashioned romantic comedy; they’re the comfort food of movies. And while Nahnatchka Khan’s “Always Be My Maybe” is, thankfully, refreshingly NEW-fashioned in terms of representation — and has some genuinely surprising comic elements — it’s exactly the kind of romcom that’s perfect to curl up in front of on a Saturday night. (Plus, it has a subplot all about actual comfort food, so there’s that.)

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 31, 2019: Rachel Carey’s ASK FOR JANE

Movies don’t get much more timely than Ask for Jane, director Rachel Carey’s earnest, fact-based feature film debut about a group of young college women in pre-Roe v. Wade Chicago who formed the Jane Collective, an underground organization that defied current laws and risked criminal prosecution to help women with unwanted pregnancies secure safe medical abortions.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 24, 2019: ASK DR. RUTH

With her twinkling eyes, mischievous grin, and clear zest for talking about all things intimate, Dr. Ruth Westheimer — the public version of her, anyway — has always been an easy woman to like. Happily, Ryan White’s engaging documentary about America’s pre-eminent sex therapist, Ask Dr. Ruth, provides ample evidence that she’s just as appealing once you get to know her better.

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