STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, MERU, MISTRESS AMERICA and other August 14 Openers – Reviews by Jennifer Merin

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straight outta comptonStraight Outta Compton is explosive, relevant and brilliantly scripted by Andrea Berloff, who stands her ground in the male-dominated milieu of culture-transforming rap group N.W.A. and its talented, controversial members Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, DJ Yella and MC Ren, artists in residence in (and beyond) Compton. Thrilling and visually stunning, Meru documents mountain climbers attempting the first conquest of the Shark’s Fin, a treacherous granite rock face on Mount Meru in the Himilayas. Mistress America, written by and starring Greta Gerwig, is a chatty NY comedy about two women who (sort of) become friends. Plus: Ten Thousand Saints, She’s Funny That Way, Final Girl, Return To Sender and The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Read the reviews…

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Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin

Jennifer Merin is the Film Critic for Womens eNews and contributes the CINEMA CITIZEN blog for and is managing editor for Women on Film, the online magazine of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, of which she is President. She has served as a regular critic and film-related interviewer for The New York Press and About.com. She has written about entertainment for USA Today, The L.A. Times, US Magazine, Ms. Magazine, Endless Vacation Magazine, Daily News, New York Post, SoHo News and other publications. After receiving her MFA from Tisch School of the Arts (Grad Acting), Jennifer performed at the O'Neill Theater Center's Playwrights Conference, Long Wharf Theater, American Place Theatre and LaMamma, where she worked with renown Japanese director, Shuji Terayama. She subsequently joined Terayama's theater company in Tokyo, where she also acted in films. Her journalism career began when she was asked to write about Terayama for The Drama Review. She became a regular contributor to the Christian Science Monitor after writing an article about Marketta Kimbrell's Theater For The Forgotten, with which she was performing at the time. She was an O'Neill Theater Center National Critics' Institute Fellow, and then became the institute's Coordinator. While teaching at the Universities of Wisconsin and Rhode Island, she wrote "A Directory of Festivals of Theater, Dance and Folklore Around the World," published by the International Theater Institute. Denmark's Odin Teatret's director, Eugenio Barba, wrote his manifesto in the form of a letter to "Dear Jennifer Merin," which has been published around the world, in languages as diverse as Farsi and Romanian. Jennifer's culturally-oriented travel column began in the LA Times in 1984, then moved to The Associated Press, LA Times Syndicate, Tribune Media, Creators Syndicate and (currently) Arcamax Publishing. She's been news writer/editor for ABC Radio Networks, on-air reporter for NBC, CBS Radio and, currently, for Westwood One's America In the Morning. She is also a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. For her AWFJ archive, type "Jennifer Merin" in the Search Box (upper right corner of screen).