13 MINUTES – Review by Rachel West

Thirteen minutes is all the time four families in a Central Midwest town have to seek shelter from the tornado of the century. Directed by Lindsay Gossling, the disaster drama does a remarkably good job of depicting the massive tornado and its wake of destruction on what is surely a minimal budget. The 13 minutes leading up to the tornado’s touchdown and the immediate aftermath are the strongest elements in the movie. However, the tornado strike alone isn’t a compelling enough reason to watch the personal dramas unfold in the build-up to disaster, making 13 Minutes worth not much more of your time.

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HALLOWEEN KILLS – Review by Rachel West

One thing Halloween Kills gets right is showing Michael Myers as a brutal, sadistic killing machine. He is utterly relentless when it comes to butchering people in gruesome and blood-soaked ways that will make slasher fans squeal with delight. The first half of the film features some of the franchise’s more-inventive kills before the story gets muddled with too many unmemorable characters, side plots, and drama.

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BECOMING COUSTEAU – Review by Rachel West

Liz Garbus’ documentary takes a deep dive – literally – into the world of legendary French oceanographer Jacques Cousteau. His undersea films introduced millions around the world to the wonders of the ocean as he became one of the earliest celebrity faces to warn about the devastating effects of climate change. Chronicling Cousteau’s life from his early years through to his 1997 death, Garbus effectively swims between both the educational aspects of his career – including his invention of the Aqualung and his warnings of sea warming – and that of his personal life on the path to reaching celebrity status.

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YAKUZA PRINCESS (Fantasia 2021) – Review by Rachel West

Directed by Vicente Amorim and based on the graphic novel Samurai Shirô by Danilo Beyrouth, Yakuza Princess is set in São Paulo, Brazil, home to the largest Japanese community outside of Japan. Hyper-violent Yakuza Princess offers little intrigue to audiences with a tired script and a emotionless performance by Japanese singer-songwriter Masumi in her film debut.

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MATERNA – Review by Rachel West

Materna’s strength lies in unifying culturally diverse stories and while fimmaker David Gutnik makes some choices that aren’t always successful, the film is effective in exploring the themes at hand as he offers what is ultimately a unique and refreshing perspective on both motherhood and womanhood.

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BEFORE I GO – Review by Rachel West

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Anabella Sciorra in a leading role worthy of her talent and if the unassuming new drama Before I Go is what brings her back into the forefront on film, it was worth the wait. Avoiding clichés at every turn, Before I Go is a quiet exploration of depression and belonging that will have audiences rooting for Sciorra’s Samantha every step of the way.

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QUEEN BEES – Review by Rachel West

The new comedy Queen Bees shows what happens when Mean Girls grow up. Headed by a cast of screen legends including Ellen Burstyn, Ann-Margret, Jane Curtin, Loretta Devine, James Caan and Christopher Lloyd, Queen Bees may be predictable but there’s no denying the feel-good movie will delight viewers.

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