GOD’S CREATURES – Review by Diane Carson

Introduce a wild card into an isolated community and watch the pressure cooker surge to explosive levels. That’s the tense scenario directors Saela Davis and Anna Rose Holmer present in God’s Creatures, set in a contemporary Irish fishing village. The catalyst for conflict arrives via Brian O’Hara, unexpectedly returning after seven years in Australia.

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RESERVATION DOGS – Review by Diane Carson

Teenage driven narratives stretch back to earliest films and television dramas. But, to its immense credit, the two season series Reservation Dogs breaks new, extraordinary ground. Set on an Oklahoma Indian reservation, and there are many in Oklahoma, we’ll learn four young men and women face what they consider bleak futures on the rez and envision better lives elsewhere. Typical, eh? But several unique elements elevate and recommend Reservation Dogs above what certainly could be formulaic struggles.

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HOLD ME TIGHT – Review by Diane Carson

From the opening moments of Hold Me Tight (Serre moi fort), French director Mathieu Amalric invites us to put assorted jigsaw puzzle pieces together. Soon revealed as the mother of son Paul and daughter Lucie, Clarisse sits before a dozen face down photos which she turns up and then back to face down, repeating angrily, Let’s start again.

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AWFJ Presents SONG WITHOUT A NAME – Review by Diane Carson

In Song Without a Name, Peruvian director Melina León with tender compassion tells a tragic tale of abducted newborns. Never hurried, the story, inspired by actual events, unfolds at a measured pace with maximum effect devoid of sensationalism since, clearly, none is needed for this repulsive crime. With the perfect choice of black and white cinematography, the images complement the 1988 time frame and the milieu of the twenty-year-old, indigenous Andean mother Georgina Condori Ñaupari.

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BLONDE – Review by Diane Carson

Blonde offers a dismal, pitiful representation of Marilyn Monroe. Producing a film on an iconic individual, much less a movie star, presents a problematic, controversial endeavor. The public has an image of the person, often accompanied with an emotional investment in their representation. That’s the daunting challenge embraced by director Andrew Dominik in Blonde, his adaptation of Joyce Carol Oates’ freewheeling book on Marilyn Monroe.

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Telluride Film Fest 2022: A Woman’s Wrap – Diane Carson reports

Over Labor Day weekend, the 49th Telluride Film Festival presented thought-provoking films to its full complement of attendees, a nice rebound from the all-mask 2021 event. As always, no one could come close to seeing all the enticing films on offer, so tough choices and constant second guessing rules. This year women directed and dominated exceptionally strong selections that tell stories of quite different time periods and subjects. Intelligently and insightfully observing internal and external struggles, revealing the specificity of contemporary and historical pressures (so remarkably relevant today), the fest’s films reached out and inspired as they informed. We are, indeed, a global community.

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ZERO CITY – Review by Diane Carson

Zero City offers a wonderfully satiric critique of the Soviet world. In late 1980s Soviet Union, Alexey Varakin, an engineer from the Moscow Mechanical Plant, visits a small town that has supplied his business with air conditioners for fifteen years. Alexey hopes for adjustment to back panels that no longer fit changed technology. As director Karen Shakhnazarov shows in Zero City, Alexey’s task will immerse him in an absurdist drama.

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ONE MAN DIES A MILLION TIMES – Review by Diane Carson

The title of director Jessica Oreck’s One Man Dies a Million Times announces dire prospects. Yet what follows delivers an encouraging, poetic narrative crediting dedicated scientists’ determination and nobility as they observe threats of “declining food security, climate change, monocultures, factory farming, seed patenting, and disappearing ecosystems.” Opening titles announce an arresting integration of past and future.

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CLAYDREAM – Review by Diane Carson

In the 1970s and ‘80s Will Vinton’s stop motion, three dimensional clay animation delighted viewers. Vinton and co-creator Bob Gardinar’s eight-minute Closed Mondays won the 1975 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, and the 1986 California Raisins commercial proved immensely popular. Writer/director Marq Evans includes discussion of these and other entertaining Claymation works, but his documentary Claydream focuses elsewhere.

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THE OLD MAN – Review by Diane Carson

The Old Man reinterprets and reinvigorates spy drama. A great mix of distinctive characters pays dividends episode after episode, humor and great repartee alternating with terrifying suspense. Increasingly important as the plot disentangles, the women prompt some disconcerting developments with multiple levels of meaning.

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