MY WONDERFUL WANDA – Review by Lois Alter Mark

My Wonderful Wanda is such a trip, you’re better off not knowing much about the movie ahead of time so you can just let writer-director, Bettina Oberli, take you for a ride. Because, oh, what a ride it is. Oberli has created a satire that gets to the heart of family dynamics, privilege, motherhood, class – and lack of it. In so many ways, My Wonderful Wanda is pretty wonderful.

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FOOD CLUB – Review by Lois Alter Mark

If we weren’t grounded at home because of a pandemic and if we hadn’t all become smitten with Stanley Tucci during our weekly trips to Italy with him, I might have just written off Food Club. But we are and we have, and you could do worse than spend an hour and a half with these middle-aged Danish gal pals as they drown their sorrows at a cooking retreat in Puglia.

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MARTHA: A PICTURE STORY – Review by Lois Alter Mark

What makes this movie about Martha Cooper so much more thrilling than most documentaries about photographers is the subject herself. From the outside – white, female – she was an unlikely chronicler of the New York City graffiti scene. But her respect for those street artists and her enthusiasm for their art – she often accompanied them into dark train stations in the middle of the night to get the shot – turned her into a beloved icon (a word she hates) and makes her a joy to get to know.

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LAND – Review by Lois Alter Mark

With Land, the new movie she both stars in and directs, Wright has traded in the peak of American political power for the peak of a remote mountain far removed from civilization. Land is a slow, quiet, thoughtful movie about the human condition. It’s about the profound power of human kindness and our need for connection. Focusing on grief and isolation and, ultimately, the importance of connecting with other people, Land just may be the perfect movie for the pandemic.

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SUPERNOVA – Review by Lois Alter Mark

“You’re not supposed to mourn someone while they’re still alive,” says Tusker (Stanley Tucci) in Supernova, a quietly powerful movie in which he and his longtime partner, Sam (Colin Firth), are doing just that. Tusker is suffering from early onset dementia and they both know that he doesn’t have long to remain himself. There’s a tenderness to their love that is so rare in movies – especially between two men – and it is a joy to watch. In fact, the world would probably be a better place if more moviemakers featured male characters with this depth of emotional intelligence.

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I CARE A LOT – Review by Lois Alter Mark

I Care a Lot is a wild ride of a movie – which is definitely not what you would expect from a story about legal conservatorship. Rosamund Pike is riveting as Marla Grayson, a legal guardian who preys on the elderly. I Care a Lot joins Promising Young Woman in a new genre of films that present important topics in a fresh, original way and make people pay attention. Rather than preach or lecture, they get their point across by brilliantly using dark humor and eye-popping style.

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GUSTAV STICKLEY: AMERICAN CRAFTSMAN – Review by Lois Alter Mark

For people who love furniture and design or just want to learn more about them, Gustav Stickley: American Craftsman is a must-see. Considered the founder of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, Stickley was born in Wisconsin in 1858. Although he had very little formal education, he was responsible for an entirely new approach to furniture and many of his guiding principles are as relevant today as they were more than a century ago.

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THE TRUFFLE HUNTERS – Review by Lois Alter Mark

To simply call The Truffle Hunters a documentary feels disrespectful. Directors Michael Dweck and Gregory Kershaw have created a piece of art themselves, paying homage to a handful of elderly Italian men – and their dogs – who have dedicated their lives to finding Alba truffles, the increasingly rare fungi whose knobby shape and dirty hue belie their exorbitant value to gourmands.

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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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