CUNNINGHAM – Review by Martha K Baker

Merce Cunningham changed the face — and the feet and the feats — of dance. People who know next to nothing about dance have probably heard of him, but Alla Kovgan’s documentary will fill in the blanks of this choreographic force. The Russian director interfaces vintage film with recreated dances in inventive spaces.

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BOMBSHELL – Review by Martha K Baker

One of the hardest parts of watching “Bombshell” is telling the women apart. Fox News hired svelte blonde women, and the film’s make-up department, headed by Vivian Baker, made the actresses uncannily resemble the newscasters. Harder, however, is watching the sexual harassment unfold in the network culture of Fox news (“news” used advisedly).

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JUST MERCY – Review by Martha K Baker

In 2014, Stevenson wrote Just Mercy, which recounts the beginning of the Equal Justice Initiative, similar to the Innocence Project and the Midwest Innocence Project. Stevenson’s book has become a most respectable film, the kind that forces a sob to rise from the heart at the end as captions explain what happened after the last scene fades to black.

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QUEEN & SLIM -Review by Martha K Baker

Although Melina Matsoukas has previously directed mostly musical videos, she directed Queen & Slim with deep understanding of the words and the characters and the society she was dealing with. Queen & Slim is going to be lost in the melee that is December film openings, but it deserves so much more. It deserves to be found.

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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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