A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD – Review by Martha K Baker

Take one jaded reporter, add one children’s pastor, and stir. That’s the formula for “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood.” The title for the film comes from one of the Rev. Fred Rogers’ own little songs. The formula works, in part, because it retains strands of the original story, pounded out by writer Tom Junod.

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BY THE GRACE OF GOD – Review by Martha K Baker

By the Grace of God is based on true stories of rapes, betrayals, cover-ups, resistance, and, finally, this year, of the conviction of Cardinal Philippe Barbarin of Lyon of concealing the conduct of Bernard Preynat. The film is so good that it’s hard to tell whether it’s a documentary or a feature film. By the Grace of God matters — no matter what.

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THE IRISHMAN – Review by. Martha K Baker

“The Irishman” is a nearly perfect movie. From dialogues to monologues in Steven Zailian’s script, from Rodrigo Prieto’s camera angles and Robbie Robertson’s music to vintage scenes designed by Bob Shaw. Martin Scorsese has directed a movie that can be described only as brilliant. Except for one thing: it is based on a fable.

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FRANKIE – Review by Martha K Baker

The film “Frankie” is set in Sintra, Portugal, known for its dense landscapes. “Frankie” involves dense plotting — but not garden plots. This film is either a delicate disquisition on marriage, or else it attempts to pull the wool over arthouse audiences that think pausing between palavering is the same as significant introspection.

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THE CURRENT WAR – Review by Martha K Baker

Back in 1880, when electricity was new, alternating current competed with direct current. Thomas Edison and George Westinghouse, with side notes from Nicola Tesla, duked it out in their labs. It’s hard to imagine such a time, but director Alfonso Gomez-Rejon, who also directed the winsome Me and Earl and the Dying Girl, brings the current history to light.

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WHERE’S MY ROY COHEN – Review by Martha K Baker

Where’s My Roy Cohn? presents Trump’s origin story. Most people have heard of Roy Cohn. Most people know to link his name with Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s. Most people even know to modify Cohn’s name with “evil” and “mendacious” as well as “arrogant” and “Satanic.” But few know now why those adjectives apply to Donald Trump’s role model.

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