THE RABBI GOES WEST (OXFF2020) – Review by Lois Alter Mark

Did you hear the one about the Brooklyn rabbi who moves to Montana and celebrates his daughter’s birthday at a shooting range? There’s no punchline to this. It’s a real scene from The Rabbi Goes West, a fascinating and surprising documentary about the Jewish community in Big Sky Country.

Read more

THE SURROGATE (SXSW2020) – Review by Lois Alter Mark

It’s rare to find a movie that manages to find a fresh new angle to approach a subject we’ve seen so many times before. That’s what The Surrogate does – and it’s one of the many reasons it’s such a treasure. Writer-director Jeremy Hersh has created a small gem that puts us in the shoes of people forced to make difficult moral decisions. And that makes us not just more involved viewers but better human beings.

Read more

WE ARE AS GODS (SXSW2020) – Review by Lois Alter Mark

Imagine if someone in real life was trying to bring back animals that were extinct. That idea is explored – epically – by directors David Alvarado and Jason Sussberg in their fascinating documentary, We Are As Gods, focusing on Stewart Brand, Whole Earth Catalog founder, environmentalist and leader of the counterculture since the 1960s.

Read more

SAINT FRANCES – Review by Lois Alter Mark

Every once in a long while, a movie comes along that touches you on some visceral and unexpected level. For me, that movie is Saint Frances. Kelly O’Sullivan, who wrote the beautiful screenplay, stars as Bridget, a lost thirtysomething year old spending a summer as a nanny to six-year-old Franny (played to perfection by Ramona Edith Williams).

Read more

FOR MADMEN ONLY (SXSW2020) – Review by Lois Alter Mark

I was a little wary about watching For Madmen Only because I had never heard of its subject, Del Close. But with the perfect timing of the comedians it celebrates, narrator Michaela Watkins begins this fascinating documentary by reassuring viewers, “If you never heard of Del Close, well, congratulations. That means you’re not a comedian, which, all in all, is probably good news for you.”

Read more

I WILL MAKE YOU MINE (SXSW2020) – Review by Lois Alter Mark

What happens when someone you once loved is the person who actually created the soundtrack of your life?
I Will Make You Mine follows three women connected by their past romances with singer/songwriter, Goh Nakamura. They’ve never quite gotten over him, and when he comes back into their lives at once, each woman must come to terms with what she wants from him and from her own life.

Read more

DUMPLIN’ – Review by Lois Alter Mark

A movie called Dumplin’ could go either way but, thanks to an appealing cast and feel-good message, this one is a winner. Despite the fact that her mom is former beauty queen, plus-size teen Willowdean is comfortable in her own skin. She enters the local Miss Teen Bluebonnet pageant, becoming a role model for other unlikely entrants.

Read more

ON THE BASIS OF SEX – Review by Lois Alter Mark

On the Basis of Sex is the back story of how Ruth Bader Ginsburg became notorious by winning a landmark case that prevented discrimination, well, on the basis of sex. The fact that she won that case by defending a man was brilliant, and the fact that her beloved husband, Marty (Armie Hammer), brought her the case is couple goals, for sure.

Read more