THE STARLING – Review by Martha K Baker

Oooh, you think, this is going to be a great movie. Just look at that cast! Melissa McCarthy! Chris O’Dowd! Daveed Diggs! Kevin Kline! Then you look at the movie, and you think, “Meh!” The Starling is a film with more promise than delivery but worth analyzing for what went wrong.

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COME FROM AWAY – Review by Martha K Baker

On September 11, thousands of Americans were massacred, and that same day, the skies shut down air traffic. Flights were forced to land. When several dropped down in Canada, a small miracle happened: 7,000 people in Gander, Newfoundland welcomed 7,000 refugees. Librettists saw the legend of this event. A dandy little musical called Come from Away, a phrase for those born outside Gander, was developed at the Canadian Music Theatre Project.

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BLOOD BROTHERS – Review by Martha K Baker

They were friends, these two men, friends and brothers by admiration and affection. But not for long. Director Marcus Clarke bases his fine double-bio-doc of Malcolm X and Muhammad Ali on Johnny Smith and Randy Roberts’ biography, Blood Brothers, and lifts it off the page. Blood Brothers, a compact filmic lesson in Black history, is shot through with compassion and insight.

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WORTH – Review by Martha K Baker

Worth succeeds on so many levels. Backed by the Obamas’ production company, the impressive feature film addresses the massacres that occurred on Sept. 11, 2001. It concentrates on compensating deaths and injuries to more than 3,000 victims, that is, on the work of two men, Ken Feinberg and Charles Wolf.

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ONLY MURDERS IN THE BUILDING – Review by Martha K Baker

Trust Steve Martin and Martin Short in their sixth collaboration to produce and star in a funny who-dun-it. Trust that the published author Martin with his writing partner John Hoffman has dug deep into a mystery. Trust, too, the addition of Selena Gomez in this troika of hellbent, albeit amateur, detectives.

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THE WHITE LOTUS – Review by Martha K Baker

Set in a luxurious Hawaiian resort, The White Lotus is about entitlement, or “enwhitelment,” as a comedian labeled it, with people of color at the beck of white people as described by creator Mike White. But it’s also about political correctness, parenting, and complicity, about secrets and stealing and sex. The White Lotus satisfactorily delivers, just remember that “Aloha” means both “hello” and “goodbye.”

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BARBARA LEE: SPEAKING TRUTH TO POWER – Review by Martha K Baker

“Barbara Lee speaks for me!” That’s the chant that resounds at Lee’s rallies. Her constituents in California’s 13th District, covering Berkeley and Oakland, support her because she supports them. As Van Jones says in this finely filmed biodoc, “She’s not a normal politician: she helps people who need help, not who can help her.”

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ANNETTE – Review by Martha K Baker

Annette is not wholly successful, but that’s all right because it’s wholly mesmerizing. It begins with the cast and crew introducing themselves and the film to follow in procession. The film is a collaboration between scriptwriters Ron and Russell Mael (the band Sparks) and director Leon Carax. This opening number is meant to throw you off. It’s a bumpy ride. Annette is also unforgettable as journey more than destination.

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