HOMECOMING: A FILM BY BEYONCÉ – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

If you don’t already understand why superstar singer-songwriter Beyoncé is damn near worshipped as a goddess, the new documentary Homecoming (streaming globally on Netflix) is here to show you why. Part concert film, part myth-in-the-making, this is a glorious pop spectacle that is both enormously entertaining and hugely important.

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NERVOUS TRANSLATION – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

Eight-year-old Yael (Jana Agoncillo) has long afternoons to fill when she is home alone after school, a daily reverie that writer-director Shireen Seno depicts with a delicately observed melancholy and a charming whimsy reminiscent of the films of Miranda July. An imaginative and self-contained child, Yael is often left to her own devices. The heart breaks for her…

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RED JOAN – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

Is sweet little elderly English librarian Judi Dench a spy for the KGB?! There’s a lot of hot-button stuff going on in the loosely based-on-a-true-story Red Joan, from Marxist radicalization at Cambridge University in the late 1930s through sexism at Britain’s atomic-bomb project during World War II and into the Cold War…

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BE NATURAL: THE UNTOLD STORY OF ALICE GUY-BLACHE – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

This is what feminism often means, unfortunately: rediscovering — over and over again — the achievements of the women who blazed trails before us who have been erased in the annals written in their wake. And so it is with Alice Guy-Blaché, who isn’t just an innovator and trailblazer among women filmmakers but of cinema on the whole.

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WILD NIGHTS WITH EMILY – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

It’s like Drunk History, but sober. Based on Emily Dickinson’s own work, which also features here in illustrative voiceovers,Wild Nights with Emily is an absolutely brilliant, absolutely hilarious, stupendously ultradry sendup of a costume drama with the very serious feminist mission of setting the historical record straight — or, actually, setting it queer — on the poet.

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THE BRINK – Review by MaryAnn Johanson

The Brink — a documentary portrait of Donald Trump’s propagandist and chief strategist Steve Bannon — is an essential chronicle of one piece of the mess that got us here, a cautionary tale of one kind of vile bastard to keep an eye out for next time… and perhaps a last-gasp attempt by its subject to demonstrate his relevance and importance.

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