COMING HOME AGAIN – Review by Lois Alter Mark

Some movies are so quiet and slow and intimate, you don’t realize their impact on you until long after the credits have rolled. Coming Home Again is one of those rare films. Wayne Wang has taken Chang-rae Lee’s lovely essay in The New Yorker about caring for his dying mother, and turned the figures in the narrative into flesh and bone human beings.

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SHE IS THE OCEAN – Review by Lois Alter Mark

It’s said that salt water – sweat, tears or the sea – is the cure for anything. She Is The Ocean proves these are not mutually exclusive as it shines a spotlight on nine women who rely on the ocean to compete, to heal, to survive. Director Inna Blokhina has crafted a documentary about the force of nature that takes up more than 70 percent of our planet, and the lure it holds for these women – many of them forces of nature themselves.

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THE REASON I JUMP – Review by Lois Alter Mark

This beautiful, sensitive documentary is based on the groundbreaking book of the same name, which was written by Naoki Higashida when he was 13 years old. It is astonishing for so many reasons, not the least of which is the unique, inside perspective it offers of what’s it like to live with autism. The fact that it was written at all proved that so much of what the public assumed about people with autism – that their issues are cognitive, that they can’t express themselves, that they don’t see beyond their own, internal world – was just plain wrong.

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ETERNAL BEAUTY – Review by Lois Alter Mark

Sally Hawkins is a treasure. Her presence alone elevates any movie she’s in, giving audiences a reason to stay riveted even when the story doesn’t quite live up to her performance. Eternal Beauty, written and directed by Craig Roberts, is a perfect example. Hawkins stars as Jane, suffering from depression and schizophrenia after being jilted at the altar years ago and due to abuse by her mother. Hawkins brings such compassion to her flawed character. And because Roberts brings her to his flawed movie, it is powerful to watch. Hawkins is truly, as Jane’s therapist would say, “in her oils.”

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URSULA VON RYDINGSVARD: INTO HER OWN – Review by Lois Alter Mark

The theory that great art comes from great pain just may be validated in Daniel Traub’s moving documentary about Ursula von Rydingsvard, the acclaimed sculptor whose massive works reflect a past she continues to grapple with and explore. Born in Germany in 1942, von Rydingsvard was one of seven children. Her father was physically and emotionally abusive, and she admits she’s grateful she was able to channel her anger and pain creatively.

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THE SECRETS WE KEEP – Review by Lois Alter Mark

It feels wrong to criticize a movie that’s focused on punishing Nazis so, instead, let’s just say you need to go deeply into suspend disbelief mode to really appreciate this revenge thriller. The Secrets We Keep raises some thought-provoking and fascinating points about vengeance, forgiveness and redemption. And about never really knowing the people who live down the street – or in your own house.

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BABYTEETH -Review by Lois Alter Mark

Milla is dying, and she’s determined to experience love – in all its messiness – before she leaves this earth. She knows her first love will also be her last, and she accepts that. In the meantime, though, she wants to live – really live – and Moses takes her out of her middle class suburban comfort zone both literally and figuratively.

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EATING UP EASTER – Review by Lois Alter Mark

The pandemic is the perfect time to watch Eating Up Easter – especially if you’re an avid traveler. Not only does this documentary about Rapa Nui (known to most of the world as Easter Island) cinematically transport you to the mysterious island and make you want to plan a trip to see the ancient statues for yourself but, more importantly, it makes you re-examine that desire and start to understand the devastating environmental impact of tourism.

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BOTERO – Review by Lois Alter Mark

Botero – or, more appropriately, BOTERO, in homage to the artist’s scale – is a love letter to Fernando Botero, oft referred to as “the guy who paints fat ladies.” His bold, larger-than-life style is immediately recognizable and has given him the distinction of being the living artist with the most museum exhibits, most books published about him, greatest international appeal and largest number of people visiting his exhibits.

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THE HIGH NOTE – Review by Lois Alter Mark

After seeing the trailer for the dozenth time, I admit I didn’t have high hopes for The High Note, which looked like generic rom-com-ish fluff. But, thanks to solid performances by Tracee Ellis Ross, Dakota Johnson, Kelvin Harrison, Jr. and Ice Cube, the movie rises above its genre to become truly compelling.

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