A CRIME IN THE BAYOU – Review by Martha K Baker

A Crime on the Bayou is a defining documentary, excellent and exhilarating. The place: the Bayou of Louisiana. The time: the Sixties. The Crime: one boy touching another to stop a fight. Because the touching was effected by a black teenager, the attempted deterent turned into a federal case that with ancillary cases that re-defined the Constitution.

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RITA MORENO: JUST A GIRL WHO DECIDED TO GO FOR IT – Review by Martha K Baker

In her 70 years in show biz, Rita Moreno has won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. That’s how versatile she is as an actor, singer, and dancer. But this excellent biodoc about her long life shows her to be also political, persuasive, puckish, and dedicated — attributes that also led to all those awards.

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THE GIRL WHO WORE FREEDOM – Review by Martha K Baker

On June 6, 1944, Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy to take back the region occupied by the Axis powers. Many, many works have described D-Day. The documentary, The Girl Who Wore Freedom, differs because it tells the story from the points of view of the citizens of Normandy.

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TOVE – Review by Martha K Baker

If you were a big fan of the Moomins but had no idea who created them, Tove will fill in all the blanks. Tove Jansson was an artist and a writer in her public life but also in her private adult life, she started with a man, then with a woman, so the feature film is perfect for Pride month.

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CRUELLA – Review by Martha K Baker

A so-called “prequel,” Cruella quotes more than it originates. Set in the punking ’70s in London, the film traces the early days of the evil-doer known as Cruella back to the time that she was Estella. Even as a child, her white and black hair symbolized her good and evil sides.

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THE CRIME OF THE CENTURY – Review by Martha K Baker

Really, it’s almost too much to take in. The overwhelming facts and figures presented in the documentary The Crime of the Century record the extent to which Big Pharma is responsible for the deaths of thousands. Writer/Director Alex Gibney has produced a searing exposé in cooperation with the Washington Post’s investigative reporters.

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PERCY V. GOLIATH – Review by Martha K Baker

Percy v. Goliath may not be the finest film every produced, but it is of interest. Clark Johnson’s truth-based drama is about Canadian farmer Percy Schmeiser’s legal battle against Monsanto regarding patented seeds. It also gives Christopher Walken a chance to portray a real man, a farmer, rather than another caricature.

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IN OUR MOTHERS’ GARDENS – Review by Martha K Baker

The title comes from a book by Alice Walker, who wrote: “How simple a thing it seems to me that to know ourselves as we are, we must know our mothers’ names.” The third documentary sponsored by filmmaker Ava DuVernay under the Array title bangs drums of Black family history. Director Shantrelle P. Lewis celebrates all things family by interviewing a raft of Black women about their ancestors. Some sit and reminisce, some cook and rail, some show up in old films or albums, some rehearse stories their mothers told about their mothers. The stories they tell are magnetic, and this film demands attention.

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