WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT COSBY (Sundance FF 2022) – Review by Martha K Baker

Among the many significant aspects of W. Kamau Bell’s analysis of Bill Cosby is Bell’s timeline. Bell addresses the issue of Cosby because both are Black and both comedians, albeit one a seeming role model and the other once a fan. Who better than Bell to talk about the comedian who went from America’s Dad to a pervert?

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK January 14, 2022 – WHO WE ARE: A CHRONICLE OF RACISM IN AMERICA

Once more, for those in the back: The United States is a racist country. As lawyer Jeffrey Robinson, the deputy legal director and director of the Trone Center for Justice & Equality at the ACLU, clearly and eloquently reminds viewers in Sarah Kunstler and Emily Kunstler’s must-see documentary Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America, the U.S. was founded by White men who enslaved Black people, and that legacy has had an impact on everything that has come since.

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KURT VONNEGUT: UNSTUCK IN TIME – Review by Martha K Baker

Filmmaker Weide spares nothing about Vonnegut’s moodiness (PTSD?), his vanity, his humor, his teaching, and writing and writing and writing. He includes Vonnegut family films and photographs as well as images of Vonnegut’s escape into art work, stand-alone as well as included in Breakfast of Champions. Weide plays audio of phone calls Vonnegut made to him and video of letters he wrote to Weide; the documentary presents interviews with Vonnegut’s children and nephews, his friends, like reporter Morley Safer.

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PASSING – Review by Jennifer Merin

Passing is Rebecca Hall’s beautifully realized directorial debut. Written, produced, and directed by Hall, the film is an adaptation of Nella Larsen’s 1929 eponymous novel about two Black women who were best friends during their childhood days in Harlem and who, after having gone their separate ways for decades, are accidentally reunited in the tea room of a downtown NYC hotel.

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OLD – Review by Susan Granger

After The Sixth Sense and Signs, M. Night Shyamalan built a reputation on campy, convoluted, even corny sci-fi thrillers with a catchy, surprise twist. As Old begins, Guy Capa, a statistics-obsessed insurance-actuary, and his museum-curator wife Prisca are taking their two children on a luxurious tropical island vacation before telling them that they’re planning to divorce.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK May 7, 2021: KNOTS: A FORCED MARRIAGE STORY

Ultra-conservative religious sects. Girls prevented from getting an education and learning practical skills. Forced marriage between teen girls and abusive men far older than their reluctant brides. No, this isn’t The Handmaid’s Tale; it’s daily life in the United States right now for thousands of underage girls forced into marriages they aren’t ready for and don’t want. And as Kate Brewer’s Knots: A Forced Marriage Story makes abundantly clear, it needs to stop now.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK April 9, 2021: SLALOM

As challenging — and stark — as the mountains its main character hurtles down in the pursuit of athletic glory and personal validation, French filmmaker Charlène Favier’s debut feature Slalom is an unflinching look at the impact of what happens to a vulnerable teenage girl when an authority figure abuses his authority and position of power.

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MOVIE OF THE WEEK February 12, 2021: COWBOYS

The consequences of denying your loved ones the right to live authentically plays out in dramatic fashion in Cowboys, writer/director Anna Kerrigan’s moving film about a family in crisis. Starring the talented Steve Zahn and Jillian Bell as Troy and Sally, the divorced parents of 10-year-old transgender boy Jo (Sasha Knight), the film ultimately shows the power of unconditional love and acceptance.

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MANGROVE – Review by Diane Carson

British director Steve McQueen’s truth-based Mangrove, set in west London’s Notting Hill area beginning in 1968, imaintains disconcerting relevance today with racism on full display. Prevalent, brutal police prejudice sparks repeated, illegal and destructive raids and appalling harassment of restaurant-owner Frank Crichlow.

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