MADE IN ITALY – Review by Martha K Baker

Do not confuse Made in Italy with The Burnt Orange Heresy. Yes, both are set in beautiful, sunny Italy and both are about art and artists and art dealers. Whereas The Burnt Orange Heresy centers on stealing and head trips, Made in Italy focuses on an estranged widower and his motherless son’s finding each other.

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THE PAINTED BIRD – Review by Martha K Baker

The Painted Bird pictures abject cruelty. The film version of Jerzy Kosinksi’s 1965 novella proves as hard to watch as the slim book was to read. And anyone who has not read the book but peeks at the plot might be dissuaded. The story is about a Jewish boy as he seeks succor or just to survive in Eastern Europe near the close of World War II.

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STATELESS – Review by Martha K Baker

Stateless universalizes a true story from Australia’s recent history: there’s no way to watch it without thinking of the cages on America’s border with Mexico or the countless Syrian refugees. Stateless builds and builds as it tells a very painful, very needed, truly inspired story of the boundaries of land and law.

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ATHLETE A – Review by Martha K Baker

Tension defines this terrific documentary about the sexual and emotional abuse rampant in Olympic gymnastics. Tension abounds among the female women gymnasts, eager for fun and medals. Tension also defines the efforts by investigative reporters at the Indianapolis Star, who uncovered the whole story two years ago.

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EUROVISION SONG CONTEST: THE STORY OF FIRE SAGA – Review by Martha K Baker

The actual Eurovision Song Contest has provoked many a joke, so why shouldn’t Will Ferrell pile on? This fluffy little film, streaming on Netflix, provides just the distraction needed in annus horribilis. It has music and romance, irony and silliness plus several energetic choruses of Ya Ya Ding Dong.

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HAMILTON – Review by Martha K Baker

Concerning this televised version of Hamilton, analyst Soraya McDonald asked in a recent essay, “What now?” If Hamilton turned a “revolution into a revelation” when it opened in 2015, she wrote, how is its take on history going to be viewed today, with revolution in the streets?

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BULLY. COWARD. VICTIM. THE STORY OF ROY COHN – Review by Martha K Baker

In this documentary, filmmaker Ivy Meeropol never loses track of the connection between Roy Cohn and his mentee, Donald J. Trump, strengthening the link in the chain between the two as she films another chapter in Trump’s origin story. Bully. Coward. Villain. has the advantage of compassion, but it is still righteously damning.

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