MY TRUE FAIRYTALE – Review by Carol Cling

After more than a year of harrowing pandemic heartbreak, A True Fairytale’s arrival couldn’t be more timely. Its heart is clearly in the right place, yet the movie sometimes undercuts its impact through a largely one-note approach. Throughout, too many characters exchange too much in-your-face, on-the-nose dialogue, revealing too many things they already know.

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SENIOR MOMENT – Review by Carol Cling

True to its title, this genial exercise in audience-pleasing never rises above its modest expectations. Then again, like its golden-age protagonists, it doesn’t have much to prove. Take former Air Force and NASA flyboy Maj. Victor Martin (trusty, blustery William Shatner). His days in the cockpit may be over, but he’s never lost his zest for piloting sports cars and ogling bikini-clad babes.

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NIGHT OF THE KINGS – Review by Carol Cling

Never underestimate the power of a spellbinding story. It just might save your life. Ask Scheherazade, whose enchanting Arabian Nights tales lasted a thousand and one nights. Or ask Roman, whose life — like Scheherazade’s — depends on keeping the king captivated by the stories he spins. That’s the premise of Night of the Kings, an unusual but effective mix of visual fantasy and stark prison drama from writer-director Philippe LaCote.

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HOPELESS ROMANTICS – Review by Carol Cling

The triumph of hope over experience. That’s how 18th-century English writer Samuel Johnson characterized a second marriage. It’s also a good description of the comedy-drama Hopeless Romantic. Judging by the title, you know what to expect. But you keep hoping for the best anyway.

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OUR FRIEND – Review by Carol Cling

Too bad Charles Dickens has dibs on the title Our Mutual Friend. It would have worked perfectly for Our Friend – which played at Toronto International Film Festival 2019 as The Friend.. The latter is what Matthew Teague titled his Esquire magazine article about his wife’s losing battle with cancer – and their best friend’s role in helping them deal with the agonizing reality. This screen adaptation adaptation ricochets through the years so relentlessly you need a spreadsheet to chart who’s who, who’s where – and why they keep saying things everybody already knows.

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GUNDA – Review by Carol Cling

Victor Kossakovsky’s wordless, black-and-white documentary offers an up-close-and-personal view of farm life — from the perspective of its four-, two- and (in one case) one-legged creatures. As a mama sow searches for the runt of her litter, you may say “Awwww.” That is, until the parent plants a hoof atop her newborn offspring. It’s a signal not to expect any endearing anthropomorphism. From the Three Little Pigs to Babe, movies have endowed porcine protagonists with distinctive personalities. Gunda’s pigs may display definite behavior patterns, but there’s nothing human about them.

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WONDER WOMAN 1984 – Review by Carol Cling

Anyone who thinks 2020 has been a fiasco should be grateful to escape to Wonder Woman 1984’s Orwellian year. Despite its “Me Decade” setting, the long-delayed sequel to the character’s 2017 introduction proves strikingly timely. WW84 may take place in the greed-is-good Reagan era, but its central villain — a con-artist TV personality turned megalomaniac — may remind you of a certain contemporary figure. (Any similarities are, we’re sure, hardly coincidental.)

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PIECES OF A WOMAN – Review by Carol Cling

The title Pieces of a Woman is a clue that reveals more than the filmmakers probably intended. That’s because the protagonist, Martha (a heartbreaking Vanessa Kirby), isn’t the only disjointed, fragmented one. So is the movie that tells her story. Director Kornel Mundruczo seems more interested in displaying symbol-alert imagery than in concentrating on the people in pieces.

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