MOVIE OF THE WEEK June 2, 2023: USERS

Through a mix of mesmerizing images and contemplative narration, director Natalia Almada explores humanity’s relationship with technology in the thought-provoking documentary Users. It’s more of a tone poem than an analytical investigation, raising complex questions that don’t have straightforward answers and reminding viewers that we all have choices when it comes to how we interact with the digital tools and devices that are so prevalent in our modern world.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 26, 2023: YOU HURT MY FEELINGS

Writer/director Nicole Holofcener does what she does best in You Hurt My Feelings: Get inside the heads of insecure characters who are at a crossroads in their lives, figuring out how to navigate the thornier aspects of life and love. There’s a lot of big interpersonal drama, but there’s plenty of humor mixed in, too. (How could there not be, with gifted comediennes like Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Micaela Watkins playing smart, sophisticated sisters?). Kudos to Holofcener for portraying a marriage that has its bumpy bits but is fundamentally built on genuine affection and frank communication. We may not all talk as expressively as Holofcener’s characters, but we can all take a page from their book and grow through honesty.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 17, 2023: THE THIEF COLLECTOR

Tiger King meets The Thomas Crown Affair in Allison Otto’s captivating documentary The Thief Collector. As it tells the story of colorful couple Jerry and Rita Alter and their likely role in the 32-year disappearance of Willem de Kooning’s Woman – Ochre — one of the modern art world’s most valuable paintings — from an Arizona museum, it will remind you quite forcefully that truth really often is stranger than fiction.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 12, 2013: THE MOTHER

Jennifer Lopez takes the concept of the “mama bear” and ratchets it up several notches to “raging grizzly mom” in Niki Caro’s tense action thriller The Mother. Lopez’s unnamed sniper/assassin mows down bad guys without flinching — or remorse — as she puts everything on the line to save the daughter she reluctantly gave up at birth to protect her from the evildoers who will stop at nothing to wreak their revenge.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 5, 2023: CHILE ’76

A well-to-do Chilean woman’s comfortable life is turned upside down when her eyes are opened to the terrors of the Pinochet regime in Manuela Martelli’s tense, atmospheric Chile ’76. As Carmen (Aline Küppenheim, in a compelling performance) gets drawn into the fringes of the resistance through caring for an injured activist, she starts to realize just how precarious her protected existence really is — and begins to look at her world with new eyes.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 28, 2023: POLITE SOCIETY

If you crossed Bend It Like Beckham with The Marvels and put an Everything Everywhere All at Once filter on the finished product (with maybe a dash of Jane Austen or Bridgerton for kicks), you might come up with something like Polite Society. But make no mistake: Nida Manzoor’s energetic, gonzo action comedy about an aspiring young stuntwoman doing everything she can to prevent her older sister’s marriage is a true original.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 21, 2023: JUDY BLUME FOREVER

In a time when right-wing politicians’ and parents’ efforts to ban kids from reading “controversial” books are leading to terrified teachers and empty school library shelves, Judy Blume’s story couldn’t be more timely or relevant. Blume shares her experiences as a frequently challenged – but even more frequently celebrated — children’s author in Davina Pardo and Leah Wolchuk’s engrossing documentary Judy Blume Forever, which sheds light on both Blume’s career and her personal life.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 14, 2023: HILMA

One of modern art’s most significant — and simultaneously least well-known — figures gets her moment in the spotlight in Lasse Hallström’s lovingly filmed biopic Hilma. The film tells the story of Hilma af Klint, a Swedish painter whose affinity for mysticism and the spiritual world led her to create large-scale abstract art that you’d swear was influenced by Kandinsky … if you didn’t know with certainty that af Klint’s work predated his.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 7, 2023: THE LOST WEEKEND: A LOVE STORY

Sex, drugs, rock ‘n’ roll — they’re all present in The Lost Weekend: A Love Story, the revelatory documentary from filmmakers Eve Brandstein, Richard Kaufman, and Stuart Samuels, about former music executive May Pang’s experiences with John Lennon and Yoko Ono in the 1970s. But this isn’t a salacious, Behind the Music-style expose. Rather, it’s a thoughtful, loving reminiscence about the formative role the relationship played in Pang’s life – and its lasting impact.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK March 31, 2023: A THOUSAND AND ONE

Teyana Taylor is fiercely compelling as Inez, a mother with a complicated history who will do anything for her son, Terry, in writer/director A.V. Rockwell’s powerful drama A Thousand and One. That includes pulling him out of the foster system without permission (in other words, kidnapping him) and giving him a new name to protect him and their life together. As the film follows Inez and Terry over more than a decade, it captures the highs and lows of their relationship and the bond that connects them.

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